Happily Ever After (07/19/2021): Red, White & Royal Blue

Red, White & Royal Blue (cover)

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

Next Meeting:
July 19th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

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Library Reads (07/15/2021): Bellman & Black

Bellman & Black (cover)

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

rom the instant #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth Tale comes a “poetic and mysterious” (Booklist) story that will haunt you to your very core.
Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But rooks don’t forget…

Years later, when a stranger mysteriously enters William’s life, his fortunes begin to turn—and the terrible and unforeseen consequences of his past indiscretion take root. In a desperate bid to save the only precious thing he has left, he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner. Together, they found a decidedly macabre business.

And Bellman & Black is born.

Next Meeting:
July 15th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

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Enjoying the Classics (07/21/2021): The Rise of Silas Lapham

The Rise of Silas Lapham (cover)

The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells

Howells’ best-known work and a subtle classic of its time, The Rise of Silas Lapham is an elegant tale of Boston society and manners.

After garnering a fortune in the paint business, Silas Lapham moves his family from their Vermont farm to the city of Boston in order to improve his social position. The consequences of this endeavor are both humorous and tragic as the greedy Silas brings his company to the brink of bankruptcy.

The novel focuses on important themes in the American literary tradition—the efficacy of self-help and determination, the ambiguous benefits of social and economic progress, and the continual contradiction between urban and pastoral values—and provides a paradigm of American culture in the Gilded Age.

Next Meeting:
July 21st @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

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The Nail Biters (07/20/2021): In a Dark, Dark Wood

In a Dark, Dark Wood (cover)

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.
Sometimes the only thing to fear…is yourself.

When reclusive writer Leonora is invited to the English countryside for a weekend away, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. But as the first night falls, revelations unfold among friends old and new, an unnerving memory shatters Leonora’s reserve, and a haunting realization creeps in: the party is not alone in the woods.

Next Meeting:
July 20th @ 6:30 PM at Virtual Library

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Celebrate Pride Month with an Award-Winning Read

June is LGBTQ Pride Month, and Algonquin Area Public Library District is delighted to celebrate the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community, by highlighting some the best in LGBTQ literature, including winners of the 2021 Lambda Literary “Lammy”  Awards.

The awards are given by Lambda Literary, which began in 1987 when the owner of the Lambda Rising Bookstore in Washington D.C., published the Lambda Book Report, (now the Lambda Literary Review) covering the LGBTQ book world. The awards were launched in 1989, and award excellence in numerous categories of LGBTQ fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

AAPLD’s Adult Services staff has created a special Pride Month display, located near the reference desk, which showcases selections by LGBTQ authors, including recent Lambda “Lammy” Award winners.

Learn a little more about some of the Lambda Award winners you’ll find at AAPLD:

Written In The Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur – After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love-and the inevitable heartbreak-is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass. (Amazon.com)

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby  – “Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. She has left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books and has been friendzoned by Hollywood, left Chicago, and moved into a house with a garden that requires repairs and know-how with her wife in a Blue town in the middle of a Red state where she now hosts book clubs and makes mason jar salads. This is the bourgeois life of a Hallmark Channel dream. She goes on bad dates with new friends, spends weeks in Los Angeles taking meetings with “TV executives slash amateur astrologers” while being a “cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person,” “with neck pain and no cartilage in [her] knees,” who still hides past due bills under her pillow. The essays in this collection draw on the raw, hilarious particulars of Irby’s new life. Wow, No Thank You is Irby at her most unflinching, riotous, and relatable” (Amazon.com)

Fiebra Tropical by Juliana Delgado Lopera – “In this novel told in Spanglish, fifteen-year-old Francisca is uprooted from her life in Bogotá, Colombia, and moves with her family to Miami, Florida, where she is ushered into an evangelical church and falls in love with the pastor’s daughter” (from the publisher)

Browse the display virtually here or click here to learn more about the Lamdba Awards. Place items on hold online, or give the Adult Services department a call. We’re happy to help!


Forever Young (07/12/2021): Sabriel

Sabriel (cover)

Sabriel by Garth Nix

A tale of dark secrets, deep love, and dangerous magic!
Since childhood, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the random power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who refuse to stay dead. But now her father, the Charter-Mage Abhorsen, is missing, and to find him Sabriel must cross back into that world. With Mogget, whose feline form hides a powerful, perhaps malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage, Sabriel travels deep into the Old Kingdom. There she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life—and comes face-to-face with her own hidden destiny.

Next Meeting:
July 12th @ 6:30 PM at Virtual Library

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The Latest High Octane Action and Adventure Novels

Are you looking for a fast-paced read this summer? Do you love action and adventure stories? Check out one of these brand new thrilling page-turners today. From super spies to daring archaeologists and intrepid explorers, these books will send you to far flung and exciting locales as the heroes battle to save the world and the ones they love.

For Fans of Jason Bourne-style Spy Thrillers

The Kobalt Dossier by Eric Van Lustbader

After thwarting the violent, international, fascist syndicate known as Nemesis, Evan Ryder returns to Washington, D.C., to find her secret division of the DOD shut down and her deceased sister’s children missing. Now the target of a cabal of American billionaires who were among Nemesis’s supporters, Evan and her former boss, Ben Butler, must learn to work together as partners – and navigate their intricate past.

Their search will take them from Istanbul to Odessa to an ancient church deep within the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. And all along the way, an unimaginable enemy stalks in the shadows, an adversary whose secretive past will upend Evan’s entire world and everything she holds dear.

Shadow Target by David Ricciardi

Jake doesn’t know who is trying to kill him and he doesn’t know why. Still, it’s a threat he can’t ignore.

When his small plane crashes in the Alps, Jake is the only survivor. A rescue helicopter soon arrives, but the men inside are not there to save anyone. They are determined to complete the murderous job they started.

Jake escapes from the mountainside deathtrap, but it won’t be the only attempt on his life. If he’s to have any chance at surviving, he’ll have to find out who’s behind the killings. But the circle of people Jake can trust is distressingly small as he suspects that someone inside the Agency is feeding his every move to the very people who are trying to end his life.

Jake’s quest takes him to the candle-lit cathedrals of Paris and the rain-slicked streets of London. He makes contact with old friends and new enemies along the way—but his true nemesis may be closer than he imagines.

For Fans of Tom Clancy-style Military and Political Thrillers

Sons of Valor by Andrews & Wilson

Navy SEAL Keith ”Chunk” Redman has been one of the military’s top doorkickers since the day he pinned on his trident: loyal, single-minded, lethal. Tasked to lead a new, covert team of Tier One SEALs — the most elite special operators in the world — Chunk can no longer simply rely on the status quo. To safeguard America, he needs help to stay a step ahead of its adversaries.

Brilliant at spotting patterns in the data that others miss, ex-CIA analyst Whitney Watts sees evidence of a troubling link between illicit Chinese arms sales and an attack on a US military convoy in Afghanistan. If she’s right, it would portend not only massive casualties, but a devastating threat to global stability.

The Executive Order by David Fisher

In a post-Trump and Biden world, an independent senator, Ian Wrightman, is elected president to heal a nation frayed by extreme partisanship. After years of reporting chaos in the White House, digital journalist Rollie Stone and his colleagues embrace the normalcy. But after the country is rocked by a series of devastating terrorist attacks, the new administration springs into action and begins rolling out executive orders that claim to protect the American people–while slowly chipping away at their constitutional freedoms.

Rollie Stone is a wounded warrior whose hi-tech Mighty Chair serves as his unique assistant in investigations. When he uncovers evidence that the terrorist attacks are being coordinated much closer to home, he knows he needs to get this information into safe hands–but the president has declared war, and through his new executive powers is rounding up journalists, dissenters, and anyone else who gets in his way. Forced on the run with the help of an underground resistance movement, Rollie finds himself in a race for his life to reveal the truth. But who can he trust?

For Fans of Michael Crichton-style Technothrillers

Version Zero by David Yoon

Max, a data whiz at the Facebook-like social media company Wren, has gotten a firsthand glimpse of the dark side of big tech. When he starts asking questions about what his company is doing with the data they collect, he finds himself fired…and then blackballed across all of Silicon Valley.

With time on his hands and inside knowledge about the biggest tech companies, Max and his longtime friend—and sometime crush—Akiko, decide to get even by…essentially, rebooting the internet. After all, in order to fix things, sometimes you have to break them. But when Max and Akiko join forces with a reclusive tech baron, they learn that breaking things can have unintended—and disastrous—consequences. And those consequences will ripple across the world, effecting every level of society in ways no one could have imagined.

We Are Watching Eliza Bright by A.E. Osworth

Eliza Bright was living the dream as an elite video game coder at Fancy Dog Games when her private life suddenly became public. But is Eliza Bright a brilliant, self-taught coder bravely calling out the toxic masculinity and chauvinism that pervades her workplace and industry? Or, is Eliza Bright a woman who needs to be destroyed to protect “the sanctity of gaming culture”? It depends on who you ask…

When Eliza reports an incident of workplace harassment that is quickly dismissed, she’s forced to take her frustrations to a journalist who blasts her story across the Internet. She’s fired and doxed, and becomes a rallying figure for women across America. But she’s also enraged the beast that is male gamers on 4Chan and Reddit, whose collective, unreliable voice narrates our story. Soon Eliza is in the cross-hairs of the gaming community, threatened and stalked as they monitor her every move online and across New York City.

As the violent power of an angry male collective descends upon everyone in Eliza’s life, it becomes increasingly difficult to know who to trust, even when she’s eventually taken in and protected by an under-the-radar Collective known as the Sixsterhood. The violence moves from cyberspace to the real world, as a vicious male super-fan known only as The Ghost is determined to exact his revenge on behalf of men everywhere. We watch alongside the Sixsterhood and subreddit incels as this dramatic cat-and-mouse game plays out to reach its violent and inevitable conclusion.

For Fans of Robin Cook-style Medical Thrillers

Phase Six by Jim Shepard

In a tiny settlement on the west coast of Greenland, 11-year-old Aleq and his best friend, frequent trespassers at a mining site exposed to mountains of long-buried and thawing permafrost, carry what they pick up back into their village, and from there Shepard’s harrowing and deeply moving story follows Aleq, one of the few survivors of the initial outbreak, through his identification and radical isolation as the likely index patient.

While he shoulders both a crushing guilt for what he may have done and the hopes of a world looking for answers, we also meet two Epidemic Intelligence Service investigators dispatched from the CDC–Jeannine, an epidemiologist and daughter of Algerian immigrants, and Danice, an M.D. and lab wonk. As they attempt to head off the cataclysm, Jeannine–moving from the Greenland hospital overwhelmed with the first patients to a Level 4 high-security facility in the Rocky Mountains–does what she can to sustain Aleq.

Both a chamber piece of multiple intimate perspectives and a more omniscient glimpse into the megastructures (political, cultural, and biological) that inform such a disaster, the novel reminds us of the crucial bonds that form in the midst of catastrophe, as a child and several hypereducated adults learn what it means to provide adequate support for those they love. In the process, they celebrate the precious worlds they might lose, and help to shape others that may survive.

The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

Only men carry the virus. Only women can save us all.

The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland–a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic–and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien–a women’s world.

What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus’s consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the “male plague”; intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal–the loss of husbands and sons–to the political–the changes in the workforce, fertility, and the meaning of family.



Book Wizards (07/13/2021): Ninth House

Ninth House (cover)

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their eight windowless “tombs” are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street’s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.
Ninth House is the long-awaited adult debut by the beloved author of Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. Leigh Bardugo will take her place alongside Lev Grossman and Deborah Harkness as one of the finest practitioners of literary fantasy writing today.

Next Meeting:
July 13th @ 6:30 PM at Virtual Library

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Spinecrackers (07/02/2021): The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (cover)

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

A murder mystery novel inspired by Agatha Christie with a dash of Groundhog Day and a hint of Quantum Leap and Downton Abbey.

Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. With a locked-room mystery that Agatha Christie would envy, Stuart Turton unfurls a breakneck novel of intrigue and suspense.

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a breathlessly addictive mystery that follows one man’s race against time to find a killer, with an astonishing time-turning twist that means nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Next Meeting:
July 2nd @ 10:00 AM at Virtual Library

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June Reading Resolutions…Read a Romance novel or Love story

Summer lovin’… brides and grooms… the moon in June makes you swoon… if there’s a better month than June to fall in love with a romantic read, we don’t know what it is! That’s why the June Reading Resolutions challenge is to read a romance novel or love story.

If you’re new to romance fiction, you might not be aware that there is a difference between Romance novels and love stories, but the proof is in the book’s ending.

Romance novels end with the couple together, enjoying their Happily Ever After (or in the case of teens, Happy For Now). Well-known Romance authors include Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Nora Roberts, Lisa Kleypas, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Diana Palmer, and Debbie Macomber, as well as newcomers such as Farrah Rochon, Helen Hoang, Alyssa Cole and Casey McQuiston.

Find this badge in your Beanstack account. Enter the title of the Romance book you read to change it to color

Love stories… well, just like Erich Segal’s famous 1970 novel “Love Story,” the endings may be bittersweet or even tragic.  Authors known for tearjerker love stories include JoJo Moyes, Jill Santopolo, Nicholas Sparks and John Green. (Danielle Steel and Rainbow Rowell write both HEAs and bittersweet endings). Classics such as Wuthering Heights, and Romeo and Juliet are both considered love stories.

Even if the ending isn’t in doubt, romance fiction offers readers a whirlwind emotional ride, unforgettable characters, and books that cover a variety of settings and subgenres, including contemporary, historical, suspense, fantasy, paranormal, young adult, and inspirational. Some are G-rated, others have more explicit content, so if you’re unsure, an Adult Services staff member can help steer you in the right direction.

We’ve set up a Reading Resolutions online catalog to help your browse from home, and a special display in the Adult Services department, to help you find a book you’ll fall in love with.

Already a Romance fan? Consider joining AAPLD’s Happily Ever After book club, for fans of Romance novels, women’s fiction and chick lit. The group meets the third Monday of each month, at 7:00 p.m. June’s read is the futuristic romantic suspense novel Naked In Death, by J.D. Robb, the first book in the long-running bestselling “In Death” series. Click here to register.