A Most Efficient Murder: A Mr. Quayle Mystery The Woman in the Library The Bruising of Qilwa Sabrina & Corina: Stories The Bruising of Qilwa Half a Soul Widowland
Hummingbird Salamander Night of the Living Rez Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest After the Fall: The Rise of Authoritarianism in the World We've Made Night of the Living Rez The Woman in the Library The Monsters We Defy
After the Fall: The Rise of Authoritarianism in the World We've Made Hummingbird Salamander The House of Rust Half a Soul The Dead Romantics: A GMA Book Club Pick (a Novel) The House of Rust A Master of Djinn
Sabrina & Corina: Stories The Dead Romantics: A GMA Book Club Pick (a Novel) A Master of Djinn A Most Efficient Murder: A Mr. Quayle Mystery The Monsters We Defy Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest Widowland

Brittany’s Summer Reading List Part 2: New Releases/Paperback

Brittany’s Summer Reading List Part 2: New Releases/Paperback

By A Sanctuary Cafe: Coffee, Books & Cats
Night of the Living Rez

Night of the Living Rez

Morgan Talty

$17.95 $16.69

There were several things that attracted me to this book: its setting in the Penobscot Native community in Maine, the rave reviews by indigenous authors I respect (Tommy Orange, Brandon Hobson, Terese Marie Mailhot) and it’s gorgeous cover and intriguing title. This wasn’t an easy read—many of the stories address difficult topics like intergenerational trauma and addiction—but these are important stories that Talty tells extraordinarily well. While officially a collection of short stories, they are all structured around one character (David/Dee) as past and present experiences spiral in to a defining moment in his family’s life. Highly recommended for people looking for truly excellent literary fiction, up-and-coming/fresh new voices, and/or complicated family histories. (Fiction, Publication Date: July 5)

The House of Rust

The House of Rust

Khadija Abdalla Bajaber

$16.00 $14.88

This book has a truly unique voice and approach to storytelling. It is absolutely bursting with life, with fascinating characters, wonderfully mysterious supernatural elements, delightful moments of humor and the city of Mombasa itself jumping off the page. It is also arguably two books in one (in a good way!): one about an incredible high seas adventure featuring monsters and a talking cat, the other a kind of sequel focusing on the aftermath and protagonist Aisha’s competing desires to be the daughter her family/society expects and wanting to discover her personal potential. After reading a print copy of the book, I felt compelled to learn more about Mombasarian folklore and proverbs, then experienced the book again in audiobook form. So, having enjoyed The House of Rust as a print book and an audiobook (and trying to pick which one I should recommend here), I’ve decided they both show off specific strengths of the book best: reading the print version, the beautiful descriptive language and subtleties of characters really shine, while the audiobook did better justice to the exciting tension of certain moments and the rhythm of the wonderful dialogue. Highly recommended in either/both versions! (Magical Realism/Literary Fiction)

The Woman in the Library

The Woman in the Library

Sulari Gentill

$16.99 $15.80

I really enjoyed the format of this book, alternating between a fictional author’s emails from an author/fan and the freshly drafted chapters of a new mystery novel that is influenced by this correspondence. It also delivered on a wonderfully twisty, dark mystery. I was hit-and-miss with the Boston setting: the author is Australian and it was written during quarantine, so sometimes the research really paid off and was surprisingly accurate, but other times it was off in a way that really distracted me from the main substance of a scene. (Examples: the times Copley Square was called Copley Plaza (a hotel on the square), getting street nicknames like “Mass Ave” half-right, and at critical, time-sensitive moments, cars effortlessly parking in areas where finding spots are typically impossible.) However, unless you are an even bigger stickler than I am about Boston details (which would be impressive!), this should be a satisfying, clever mystery for most readers. (Mystery, Publication Date: June 7)

The Bruising of Qilwa

The Bruising of Qilwa

Naseem Jamnia

$15.95 $14.83

It’s hard to review this wonderful, dark little book. Parts of it feel so familiar (a democracy that isn’t as free as it claims to be, the inhumane treatment of refugees, the intersection of disease with inequity and poverty), while other parts stretch or completely depart from reality (a queernormative society in which magical abilities are special but not particularly exceptional qualities). I came to love Firuz and their blood and found family, and the central mystery kept me turning pages late into the night. (Fantasy, Publication Date: August 9)

Sabrina & Corina: Stories

Sabrina & Corina: Stories

Kali Fajardo-Anstine

$17.00 $15.81

What an incredible collection of short stories! In her Acknowledgements, Fajardo-Anstine says this book took her a decade to write, and the time and care put into each piece in the collection really shows. The stories and characters are beautifully crafted, and I developed a habit of going back and re-reading the first lines of each story right after finishing the final ones. These re-readings confirmed what a special journey each story had been: lines I had read less an hour before surprised me (had the story really started there?) and revealed news layers of meaning I couldn’t have understood in my first reading. I look forward to rereading these complex women’s stories in the future, but first I plan to dive into her debut novel, Woman of Light. (Fiction, Original Publication Date: 2020)

A Master of Djinn

A Master of Djinn

P. Djèlí Clark

$18.99 $17.66

This book is that rare combination of high-stakes, action-packed adventure, twisty mystery, and beautifully descriptive, clever prose. It also has an incredibly memorable cast of human and non-human characters, with detective Fatma el-Sha’arawi landing a place amongst my all-time favorite heroines. Having previously read “A Dead Djinn in Cairo” (short story) and The Haunting of Tram Car 015 (novella), I already knew that I loved Clark’s djinn-filled, alt-history world, where Egypt has surpassed England as a Great Power with fascinating effects on early 20th century history. I am so grateful that this full-length book provided space for Clark to further develop this alt-Cairo world, and I loved every time I was reminded that this was a *different* 1912 through lovely descriptive details like a building’s neo-Pharaonic characteristics (instead of neo-Classical). Clark’s alt-Cairo trio of writings can be read in any order, but I enjoyed saving this longer novel for last. (Fantasy, Paperback Publication Date: July 19)

Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest

Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest

Suzanne Simard

$18.00 $16.74

Simard’s research is heavily referenced in one of my favorite books of the decade, The Hidden Life of Trees, so it was such a joy to read about her research (and her life) in her own words. What she has achieved as a woman and as an indigenous person in the fairly rigid, white-male-dominated field of forestry is nothing short of spectacular. We already owe her so much for our new understanding of trees, and I look forward to learning so much more from her (and the trees) as her career continues. A great choice for people who liked The Hidden Life of Trees or Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. (Nature/Memoir, Paperback Publication Date: June 21)

The Dead Romantics: A GMA Book Club Pick (a Novel)

The Dead Romantics: A GMA Book Club Pick (a Novel)

Ashley Poston

$17.00 $15.81

This was a perfect summer read, and I believe I finished it within 24 hours of bringing it home with me. In a crowded field of romance novels, this one’s premise is pretty unique: a heartbroken romance novelist, after declaring love (and her career) dead, falls for a ghost. This was the perfect balance of quirky, heartwarming and funny. (Romance, Publication Date: June 28)

After the Fall: The Rise of Authoritarianism in the World We've Made

After the Fall: The Rise of Authoritarianism in the World We've Made

Ben Rhodes

$18.99 $17.66

This book is an excellent synthesis of how the globe has been politically shifting towards authoritarianism. While it was published before the (full) invasion of Ukraine, his interviews with Navalny have never felt more relevant. The book market is always flooded with current event/political pieces, but I believe this one is a particularly well written blend of memoir and reporting, and it includes excellent interviews with activists in Russia, Hong Kong and Hungary. (Politics/Current Events/Memoir, Paperback Publication Date: May 24)

Widowland

Widowland

C. J. Carey

$16.99 $15.80

This page-turner has strong characters and a storyline I got pretty invested in. Part of my motivation to keep reading was how uncomfortably possible the book’s dystopian, alternative history felt in this moment. Set in 1953, women in a German-occupied UK are completely controlled through a caste system that determines everything from their job and marriage prospects to what they are allowed to wear. History is rewritten and classic literature is edited to contain the “right” ideas. When the novel opens, an underground movement has started painting feminist literary quotes on important walls across the Protectorate, and main character and literature censor Rose is asked to investigate by a superior (German) officer. As she tries to complete this nearly impossible task, things get complicated and increasingly dangerous. The ending felt a bit rushed, but I hear there is a sequel in the works. (Dystopian/Alternative History/Thriller, Publication Date: August 9)

Hummingbird Salamander

Hummingbird Salamander

Jeff VanderMeer

$18.00 $16.74

Why I’m Excited to Read This: I think Vandermeer is absolutely brilliant and can’t wait to dive into this eco-thriller. Some of his books get very dark and can have quite fragmented/experimental narratives, so this more conventionally structured thriller may be a good entry point for readers interested in his work. (Thriller/Dystopian)

A Most Efficient Murder: A Mr. Quayle Mystery

A Most Efficient Murder: A Mr. Quayle Mystery

Anthony Slayton

$14.94

Why I’m Excited to Read This: I love P.G. Wodehouse and Agatha Christie, and this murder mystery, which takes place in 1925 at England’s Unsworth Castle, promises a beautifully twisty plot with a heavy dose of charm and understated British humor. (Mystery)

Half a Soul

Half a Soul

Olivia Atwater

$18.99 $17.66

Why I’m Excited to Read This: I’ll keep this simple: Bridgerton with fairies. (Fantasy/Historical Romance, Publication Date: June 28)

The Monsters We Defy

The Monsters We Defy

Leslye Penelope

$18.99 $17.66

Why I’m Excited to Read This: This book has everything: a next-to-impossible heist for a magic ring, unexpected magical individuals (including a jazz musician who can literally hypnotize when he plays), and dangerous bargains with the spirit world. On top of all that, the novel is set in 1920s Black Broadway in Washington, DC! (Historical Fantasy, Publication Date: August 9)