The Looking Glass by Janet McNally

Reviewed by Avery H (Library Patron)

I really enjoyed this story of falling in love, experiencing heartbreak at the ends of tragedy, all the while being on a quest to search for answers. In this novel, Sylvie, a ballerina, sets out to find her older sister, Julia, who left a year ago leaving no clues or any traces of where she’s gone behind. When Sylvie receives a package in the mail from her, everything changes. The book follows her on a journey that ends up changing her forever. I think this story is beautifully written with it’s touches of magic here and there and the way it goes deep into Sylvie’s past to show how she develops as a character. I would categorize this novel as fantasy/fiction. Anyone who loves a good mystery with touches of romance and fantasy, this one’s for you.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC MCNALLY)

We Never Learn Vol. 1 by Taishi Tsutsui

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

In order to secure a full-ride to the college of his choice, Nariyuki Yuiga must tutor three of his classmates: Rizu Ogata is an ace with math and science, but can’t grasp humanities, Fumino Furuhashi is a humanities genius but can’t wrap her head around equations, and Uruka Takemoto is a swim star but struggles with academics in general.

We Never Learn is a cute slice-of-life/rom-com manga with some pretty funny gags and likeable characters. I’d recommend this to folks who like Nisekoi and Horimiya.

Available through the Bridges Library System

The Secret Recipe for Moving On by Karen Bischer

Reviewed by Taylor H (Library Staff)

It’s the beginning of senior year and Ellie’s boyfriend, Hunter, has just dumped her. To make things even worse, he immediately starts dating someone else—and their relationship may have started before the breakup. Ellie has to watch the two of them be all lovey-dovey during their shared home economics class, and it becomes her goal to beat them in the home ec competition. However, her group consists of Luke, AJ, and Isaiah, people who many in the school would consider social misfits. What follows is a semester of shenanigans, surprises, and mishaps.

I loved this book. Ellie’s journey of figuring out who she is without Hunter was done very well. The characters felt like real people, and the romance is both sweet and believable. Ellie and her love interest have a lot of chemistry. If you are looking for a feel-good YA novel, I highly recommend this one!

Available through the Bridges Library System

American Royals by Katharine McGee

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

With a fabulous cover and a premise like “What if America had become a monarchy with George Washington as its first king?” I was looking forward to seeing what this book had to offer. It ended up not what I expected and yet I was not at all disappointed.

We had four narrators: Bea, the duty-bound future (and first!) queen of America; Sam, the wild “spare” to Bea’s “heir”; Nina, Sam’s best friend who likes Sam’s twin brother, Jeff, but does not like the spotlight; and Daphne, the picture-perfect ruthless ex-girlfriend of Jeff who still has her eye on the crown. American Royals explores the concepts of duty, celebrity, and being true to yourself, all with witty banter, steamy romance, and wish-fulfillment glamor.

If you go in expecting a probing exploration of an alternate history, you will be let down–the American monarchy angle turned out to be merely fancy set dressing that didn’t penetrate into the fabric of the story. However, if you go in expecting less history and more histrionics, even the most hearty appetite for drama will be satisfied. This book is not going to change your life but it sure is fun.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC MCGEE)

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Reviewed by Taylor H (Library Staff)

Ever dream of winning the lottery? In The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Avery Grambs does just that. However, it’s not the lottery in the traditional sense. Instead, she finds out that a billionaire has just left her with nearly his entire fortune, a billionaire she has no known connection to. What follows is a completely new life for her, filled with paparazzi and the billionaire’s unhappy (and potentially dangerous) relatives. Avery and the billionaire’s four grandsons also discover that he left a web of puzzles behind for them to figure out, puzzles that may reveal why he chose Avery.

I definitely enjoyed the twists and turns in this book, and I wanted even more (good thing there’s a sequel). I thought the characters were interesting. They each had their own distinct personality and reasons for doing things. As Avery began to unravel the family secrets, I was right there with her, eager to learn what she was discovering. My only complaint is how the characters deal with the person who tries to have Avery killed. If you like puzzles, mysteries, and a little of bit of danger and romance, this is a book for you!

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC BARNES)

Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

YouTuber Vanessa Price quit her job to travel the world because she is worried she won’t live past 30, like her mother and sister. But when her other sister leaves her baby with her, Vanessa is stuck back in Minnesota dealing with the baby, her hoarder-father, and her half-brother who loves a good get-rich-quick scheme. Vanessa struggles, but luckily there is an extremely hot lawyer (Adrian) who lives next door and he seems to be a magic baby-whisperer. With his help, maybe Vanessa can handle everything that life is throwing at her.

This book (and others by Abby Jimenez) is utterly charming and wonderful. It is the perfect book to pick up and read when you are having a bad day. I loved the two main characters the most, but the cast of side characters are also wonderful. There is humor, romance, and fun, while also sharing the message about living every day to the fullest. I highly recommend this book.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC JIMENEZ)

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

Being a self-confessed nerd, I was eagerly awaiting the release of Spoiler Alert, a romance with a different twist–the main character writes fanfic and attends Cons to support her fandoms. I was disapointed in the execution however. April is a geologist by day, prolific fan fic writer by night. Her most famous ‘ship is from the megahit show Gods of the Gates (a clear Game of Thrones knockoff) staring her favorite actor, Marcus Caster-Rupp. Both characters have inner struggles in their own lives before they come together in a chance Twitter exchange that leads to love. While the writing itself was fine, the story was all over the place and attempted to tie too many threads together–Marcus’ dyslexia, April’s new job and not being herself, both of their relationships with their respective parents, etc. However, the biggest con (pun intended) for me was the main crux of the story being about April’s obsesity. We live in an era where a “movie star” would not date a severely overweight person so I get the inclincation to expand on that topic. But Wade to me, uses it too much as a “teachable moment.” April’s weight is her only story arc, affecting her relationship with Marcus, her parents and her coworkers. While I applaud the use of a character like April in a story, the author didn’t do enough to fully flesh out her character and we are left with a pale imitation of someone who is preachy.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC DADE)

Float Plan by Trish Doller

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

Anna was supposed to go on a sailing trip with her fiancé, but after a heartbreaking loss, she decides to sail by herself. But after a tough night at sea, Anna realizes that she can’t sail alone so she hires a handsome Irish professional, Keane who also has demons to deal with. What follows is an enjoyable trip through the Caribbean as both Anna and Keane grow and learn.

This was a charming story that I enjoyed, especially the two main characters. The settings were gorgeous, and I now want to go sail around the Caribbean!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC DOLLER)

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

“I have always had a love affair with Jane Austen and her books, so any time a retelling or spin of one of her classics is released, I often find myself wanting to read it. When I saw The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow followed Mary Bennet (the bookish, marginalized middle daughter of Pride and Prejudice) I knew I had to pick it up because while I might wish to be Elizabeth Bennet, I’m really more of a Mary.

The Other Bennet Sister follows Mary as she learns to find herself in a society that doesn’t understand her. And while her story includes a man (because this is based on Jane Austen after all) Mary must decide if he is the one for her and if she is worthy of love.

I really enjoyed this novel because it took a very small character from my favorite novel and created a whole story for her. I always felt bad for Mary in Pride and Prejudice so i was so glad to see her get her own story.

Available through the Bridges Library System

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Reviewed by Lia (Library Patron)

Henry Montague, also known as Monty, is a young aristocrat in 1700s England. We learn early on that Monty isn’t very pleased with his life, especially hearing the constant disappointment from his father for “mucking around with boys.” He decides to put a little distance between them for a while and take a Grand Tour. Monty is accompanied by his best friend and secret crush Percy, and his little sister Felicity, who he isn’t very fond of. In this book, the three of them face adventure, love, and the occasional enemy.

I think that this is a great read for both teens and adults. It is a relaxing and enjoyable book. It also has fun-loving characters who grow tremendously throughout the book and the action and fighting sequences towards the end of the book are exciting. Something that I commend the author for is tapping on the issues of racism, gender equality, and sexual preference. I think it’s unusual to see these things addressed so directly in the genre of fantasy or historical fiction. I don’t read much historical fiction but this book was really fun to read. Both my sister and I liked it enough that we encouraged my mom to read it and she liked it enough that she read the sequel right away.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC LEE)

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