Staff Book Reviews

Dinner on Monster Island: Essays By Tania De Rozario Cover Image
Reviewed by: Ilana
Posted: February 25, 2024

A compelling personal memoir in essay form, this book is also a fascinating and insightful cultural critique of the power of women in horror films, the demonization of womens' bodies both on screen and off, and the dangers of growing up as a queer, brown girl in Singapore. Fueled by her relentless rejection of all the forces seeking to define and "fix" who she is, De Rozario's indomitable spirit, instinct for survival, and sheer bravery is something I wish for every reader including myself.

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Daughters of Shandong By Eve J. Chung Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: February 23, 2024

This was just riveting. Set in post WWII China, when the Nationalists and Communists were battling for the future of China, girls aren't valued and sons are little emperors. Hai is the eldest daughter in a wealthy family, who only values sons. Hai and her mom and sisters are soon abandoned and left to the mercy of the victorious communists, and soon Hai, is tortured in place of her father.  Hai's mother is determined to bring them to safety, first to Hong Kong and then to Taiwan. This piece of historical fiction is a story not often told, and is so important. It's partially based on the author's own beloved grandmother. Hai and her family, survive, through grit and determination, and soon demand their own rightful place in the world.

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A Novel Love Story By Ashley Poston Cover Image
Reviewed by: Caitlyn
Posted: February 23, 2024

When literature professor Eileen, Elsy, Merriweather decides to go on her book club's usual New York cabin trip alone, she never expects to drive straight into the fictional town from her favorite romance series. Ashley Poston has absolutely knocked it out of the park again, with this novel that felt like a romance sprinkled with magical realism. The tension between Elsy and Anders, the town's grumpy bookseller, kept my rapt attention. I devoured this book, compulsively turning the pages to find out what happened next. This is for anyone who wishes they could jump straight into the pages of their favorite book. One of my new favorite romances that totally gave me Big Fish the movie vibes. 

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Bite by Bite: Nourishments and Jamborees By Aimee Nezhukumatathil Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: February 21, 2024

This read will delight all your senses. Nezhukumatathil's mini essays on fruit and food are so evocative and will not only have you craving the food in that essay, but will also intellectual stimulate your mind with so many interesting facts as well. I appreciated how she wove in her love of the specific dish, in with her memories of pivotal and mundane moments of her life. And, the pictures are wonderful as well.  This is a true love letter to food and family and will completely satiate your soul.

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The Golden Spoon: A Novel By Jessa Maxwell Cover Image
Reviewed by: Crissy
Posted: February 21, 2024

If you've ever watched The Great British Bake Off and thought the only thing missing was a little murder, then this is the book for you! So many suspects! So many motives! And baking!

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The Ministry of Time: A Novel By Kaliane Bradley Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: February 19, 2024

This time travel book will be the blockbuster of the year. And for good reason. It has it all - time travelers, government conspiracies, a potential love story, social commentary and just good all fashioned fun. Graham Gore (based on a real person from an ill fated Arctic expedition) is charming and so, so funny. And the unnamed narrator is earnest and forms deep bond with Graham and a few other of the other out of time people. But underneath it all, is a message that is deeply profound and not soon forgotten.

The Literary Undoing of Victoria Swann By Virginia Pye Cover Image
Reviewed by: Stacey
Posted: February 19, 2024

It took me days to emerge from the world created in this book because of how vivid it all was! Victoria is a famous writer who moves from writing romance/adventure novels to novels that are truer to herself, defying her publisher and even her fans. She hardly wavers, feeling so strong and confident in what she wants, and proceeds to make that happen.  You’ll love Victoria, the colorfully drawn descriptions of The Gilded Age, and the fun of having it all set in the Boston area. - Stacey

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Luigi, the Spider Who Wanted to Be a Kitten By Michelle Knudsen, Kevin Hawkes (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Caitlyn
Posted: February 17, 2024

A wonderfully goofy book about a fuzzy spider who befriends an old woman who names him Luigi and thinks he's a kitten. Such a cute book with illustrations that are so perfect. I love when Luigi uses 2 of his spider legs as cat ears! 

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The Return of Ellie Black: A Novel By Emiko Jean Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: February 17, 2024

This was a super fun, twisty page turner that will have you reading late into the night. Detective Chelsey Calhoun is still scarred by the disappearance and murder of her sister. When another missing girl, reappears, she is determined to find out what happened and seeks justice. And, the twist, was a genuine twist to me, I thought it was going somewhere else. I really hope this is the start of the new series bc I will follow this author, to any new books she releases.

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Reading the Room: A Bookseller's Tale By Paul Yamazaki, Rick Simonson (Foreword by) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: February 17, 2024

This is a love letter to books, bookselling and readers, directly from one of the great booksellers, Paul Yamazaki. In these interviews, we are brought back to the past, present and future of not only City Lights in San Francisco, but for the industry itself. And we are able to see snippets of Paul's love of music and books, as well as his customers and friends. This is a must read for all readers.

A Shadow Crown By Melissa Blair Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: February 16, 2024

This second book doesn't disappoint. We learn more about Keera, Killian, Riven as well as their pasts. This is such an engaging read with that shows the complexities of the world. I cannot wait to read books 3 and 4.

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Love, Lies, and Cherry Pie: A Novel By Jackie Lau Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: February 16, 2024

OMG. I loved this so much. Take fake dating, family dynamics, lots of food, an insider look at publishing and mix this with a dash of Bridget Jones and a soupçon of Pride and Prejudice. It also has some laugh out loud moments. See how Emily gets her mom off her back about getting married and later learns, that not all is what it seemed. And, Mark, isn't as buttoned up as he seems. You will fall in love with these two as they find their HEA.

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