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Zoo 2

In this short story sequel to Zoo, the adventure starts with Jackson Oz narrowly escaping from a polar bear. He and his family have set up housekeeping in the arctic thinking they would be safe from infected animal attacks.

Oz and wife Chloe were considering the dubious safety of Greenland when Oz gets invited to join a new effort to end the pandemic of animal attacks. There is a concern that the infection could spread from animals to microbes. Then the infection begins to be noticed in some humans in remote areas. Oz joins a team of researchers to capture an infected human alive. Infected humans are as savage as their animal counterparts but can speak and know how to use weapons.

This is an exciting standalone story but I recommend reading Zoo first—and check out my review of that title. Jay Snyder's excellent reading won't let you put this audiobook down till the end. Listen to the audiobook via Hoopla or read the ebook via Overdrive. Check out Zoo 2 (2016) by James Patterson and Max DiLallo today.



Chlorine Sky

This #OwnVoices story follows teenager Sky through her journey to self-acceptance. Told in verse, this touching story perfectly displays the often overwhelming feelings of uncertainty and angst that will resonate with teens and adults alike. Poet Mahogany L. Browne's lyrical writing is inspiring without being cliché and will stick with you long after you've finished reading.

Check out Chlorine Sky (2021) and other works by Mahogany L. Browne today.


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Convenience Store Woman

At 176 pages, Convenience Store Woman (2018) is a brief, quirky story that you'll think about long after you finish the novel. Translated from Japanese, the story centers on 36-year-old Keiko. She's lived in Tokyo for her entire life and spent the last 18 years working part time at a convenience store. In so many ways, offbeat Keiko doesn't fit into society's expectations.

With wry humor, Sayaka Murata's engaging novel is thought-provoking social commentary and satire. There is so much to discuss—this would make an excellent choice for your book club. In addition to topics already mentioned, participants can discuss similarities and differences between American and Japanese culture and expectations, careers vs. jobs, and what it means to be a functioning member of society.

Available on Hoopla, read the ebook or listen to the audiobook today.



Wild Symphony

Yes, you read the author correctly. This picture book is, in fact, written by the Dan Brown of The Da Vinci Code fame. I was shocked just seeing his name on the cover, and even more so learning that Brown is also an incredibly impressive composer. On the surface, each page features a poem about the animals on that spread with a little life lesson from Maestro Mouse. But there are so many extras! Find hidden letters to unscramble, decode a secret message, and look for the reveal of each animals' instrument on the page following.

To top it all off, the book itself has a free, corresponding app of the same name with music composed for each poem by Dan Brown himself. Once you listen through the book on the app, you just might uncover one extra surprise.

All in all, I am very impressed by Brown's first picture book Wild Symphony (2020) with all of the bells and whistles to boot. I can't wait to see what he does next.



Save Me from Dangerous Men

Nikki Griffin is a private detective. She also owns a bookstore and practices her own brand of vigilantism against men who abuse women. She is hired by Silicon Valley CEO Gregg Gunn to follow an employee Gunn believes is stealing information from the company. As Nikki observes the employee, Karen Li, she notices that Karen acts more like someone who is scared rather than an errant employee. Soon, Nikki is involved in something that puts her in great danger--and she knows that she has limited time to figure out the puzzle of what Gunn is really involved in before people lose their lives.

Save Me from Dangerous Men (2019) is the debut of a new series by S. A. Lelchuk and doesn't disappoint--an intriguing main character, engaging story, and a solid sense of place.

Listen to the novel in Hoopla instantly or read the ebook in Overdrive.



Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Clay lost his Silicon Valley job due to the recession and takes a job at an unusual bookstore, working odd hours. The few customers that patronize the store are a curious bunch and seem to return again and again without buying anything, but rather check out very old books. He soon discovers a pattern to the activity which leads to a 500-year-old mystery.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (2012) by Robin Sloan is a fun read, with elements of suspense and mystery, plus plenty of quirky characters. For those who like to listen, narrator Ari Flakos sets the tone just right. Listen to the audiobook or read the ebook on Overdrive.

We have an entire list of Books for Book Lovers—check it out!


The Bell in the Lake

Wonderfully atmospheric and steeped in local legends and lore, The Bell in the Lake (2020) is a captivating historical novel set in rural Norway during the late 19th century. The story revolves around a local farm girl, Astrid Hekne, whose ancestors donated the mysterious 'sister bells' to the local stave church. When the new pastor decides to sell off the historical church to Germany, he stirs up ancient myths and endangers his budding romance with Astrid.

Lars Mytting's writing conjures up images of Norway's remote villages, the stoic people who inhabit them and their historic stave churches; describing the unique architecture and designs which mix Viking paganism and Christianity.

Read the novel instantly via Hoopla.



Goodnight Beautiful

Don't plan on getting anything done at home once you start Goodnight Beautiful (2020) by Aimee Molloy). What a wild ride: so creepy and so entertaining to read! Sam Statler is a well-liked psychotherapist in upstate New York. He's a newlywed; he and his wife Annie are very happy together. One stormy afternoon after leaving his office, Sam just disappears into thin air. Even his car can't be found. Annie feels something really terrible has happened. Many others, including the police, think that Sam has just taken off, due to serious financial troubles. So, who is right? Filled with several surprising twists, Goodnight Beautiful is one novel you won't want to miss.

Read the ebook from Overdrive.



The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Suzanne Collins' latest novel is a prequel to her well-known trilogy, The Hunger Games, which were also made into feature films. Not having read the books in some time, I started Hunger Games #0 without any expectations, simply following along with the story and characters and trying to piece everything together with the original trilogy.

While I feel that The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2020) is not necessary in the grand scheme of things, Part 3 and the epilogue do provide a few big revelations to explain what transpires over the 60-year period before Katniss Everdeen finds herself wrapped up in the 74th Annual Hunger Games in Book #1: The Hunger Games (2008).

Read the ebook or listen to the audiobook on Overdrive. The audiobook is also available to check out today on Hoopla.


A Silent Voice

A Silent Voice (2015) is a Japanese manga that follows the story of Shoya, a rambunctious kid who always gets into trouble with his friends. When Shoko, a deaf girl, transfers to his school he becomes obsessed with her in all the wrong ways, teasing and bullying her at any chance he gets. Eventually things get so bad that Shoko transfers schools and the bullying transfers towards him now. Years pass and Shoya and Shoko run into each other by pure chance. Now Shoya wants to find a way to make amends for his past deeds, while dealing with his own insecurities.

Check out the complete series by Yoshitoki Oima today.

An Unwanted Guest

Looking for a weekend getaway, best friends Riley and Gwen book a room at a small quaint inn in the middle of the woods where they are away from the bustle and hustle of city life. Joining them is a group a people who come from varying backgrounds coming for a calming weekend. Everything is going well until they hear a scream in the middle of the night and wake up to find a fellow guest at the bottom of the stairs. Caught in the middle of a snowstorm, they have no choice but to spend their weekend inside with someone who might be lurking in the shadows. Tensions rise as suspicion grows with every minute and the group begins to wonder if they will make it to the end of their trip alive.

Check out An Unwanted Guest (2018) by Shari Lapena. Visit Overdrive to read or listen to the book. For similar books, check out our lists of Psychological Suspense and Domestic Thrillers.


Series Spotlight: Bridgertons

Are you enthralled by the beauty, drama, and wit of the newest Netflix phenomenon Bridgerton? Great news—this TV show is based on the bestselling 8-book series about the Bridgerton siblings by Julia Quinn. Start with The Duke and I (2000) for Simon and Daphne's story, then check out The Viscount Who Loved Me (2000) to see Anthony fall in love (and for a hysterically competitive game of croquet).

While the Netflix adaptation shares many traits with the novels, there are, of course, differences. In the books, you'll discover even more witty banter, family antics, and a lighter tone in these Regency-set romances.

We've made the books available in as many places as we could! The Duke and I is available in regular print and large type. You'll find the audiobook in eMediaLibrary and on our preloaded iPods. Check out eMediaLibrary to read Bridgerton Collection: Volume 1, which includes the first three books in the series.

You'll find the complete series available in print at the library, and most as ebooks or audiobooks via Overdrive and Hoopla.

And if you're wondering what to read next... we've got ideas for you! Check out our lists on our website and Overdrive.

Don't have Netflix? Borrow one of our Rokus so you can binge Bridgerton too.



Beat the Reaper

This is a funny book, but the humor is very dark. Peter Brown tells the story himself. He is an emergency room intern. His real name is Pietro Brnwa, and he's a mob hitman. Because the story is told by this former hitman, the language is pretty crude. Very crude. But it has to be, given his background. And the violence is bone crushingly graphic. Still, Beat the Reaper (2009) is really funny. Author Josh Bazell has an M.D. from Columbia (the university, not the country), giving authenticity to Dr. Brown.

The tough guy narration by Robert Petkoff brings Dr. Brown to life. This audiobook is first class entertaining (if you're okay with language and violence). Get this audiobook and thank me later.

Listen to the book on Hoopla or read the book on Overdrive.



Black Sun

A fantasy novel inspired by pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas, Black Sun (2020) swept me away into a world of adventure and vengeance. The stories of a Sun Priest dealing with political intrigue and assassination attempts, a blind young man raised to fulfill a prophesy and a somewhat unstable sea captain, who is still discovering the extent of her aquatic powers, all converge on the day of the winter solstice in the holy city of Tova. Pandemonium ensues and I can't wait for the next installment of this exciting new series.

Rebecca Roanhorse brings to life a fantasy world that is decidedly not Eurocentric or gender binary. Black Sun will appeal to readers who enjoy epic fantasies with a refreshing twist.

Visit Overdrive to check out the eBook.



The Age of Miracles

The Age of Miracles (2012) is beautifully told from the point of view of eleven-year-old Julia. As the Earth's rotation slows, it has unintended and dire consequences for all life on the planet. Meanwhile, Julia is already grappling with all the complexities of being a pre-teen girl, including a crush on a boy, falling out with close friends, and strained relations with her father.

Karen Thompson Walker does an excellent job of putting you in the frame of mind of this young girl, which makes the calamity seem that much more real and heartfelt. Read the ebook or listen to the audiobook on Overdrive.