Fangirl

Cath and Wren have been inseparable, but when they get to college Wren decides it's time to venture out on her own. Cath struggles to adjust to college life on her own and attempts to avoid any situations that are out of her comfort zone. One of Cath's passions is writing fanfiction for her favorite book series Simon Snow, which has manifested into her writing one of the most popular Simon Snow fanfictions online.

Something that I enjoyed while reading the novel was how it includes some of Cath's writing from her fanfiction. Fangirl (2013) brings a mix of family and internal struggles about coming of age with a sprinkle of romance and fanfiction.

Read or listen to this Rainbow Rowell novel instantly on Overdrive.



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Leap of Faith

Marie-Angea, a young French girl, experiences tragedy, leaving her with only one remaining family member. Unfortunately, that relative lives in the United States, the two have never met, and the aunt is a mean and nasty individual. Marie-Angea isn't completely alone, though; she connects with Billy, a neighbor who stays with her and befriends her.

Marie-Angea must work hard to survive at her aunt's house, and it feels like a fairytale story as it progresses, the likes of Cinderella. Marie-Angea can be a bit naive in Leap of Faith (2001), but it doesn't distract from the overall story and is still worth a look at if you like fairytale-esque stories.

Check out Leap of Faith by Danielle Steel today. Listen to the audiobook via Overdrive.



A Study in Scarlet

This book started it all. Watson needs to find a cheaper place to live. Holmes is looking for a roommate. They move to 221B and the legend is born. The first use of a magnifying glass by a detective is here too.

The mystery: Scotland Yard asks Sherlock Holmes for help investigating a murder. Holmes has a look around and says the murderer is 6 feet tall, has long fingernails on his right hand, smokes cigars, was taken to the scene in a carriage pulled by a horse with 3 old shoes and 1 new one, and the man was poisoned. Wow! But that's Sherlock.

Arthur Conan Doyle was criticized for his depiction of Mormons in this book. He eventually apologized. And Holmes kills a dog to find out if a pill contained poison. It did. I didn't much like that scene but that was the 1880s and sensibilities were different then. Check out the classic mystery A Study in Scarlet (1887). 

I listened to the audiobook read by Stephen Thorne (4.5 hours), and you can too through Hoopla. If you prefer to read the book, that's in Hoopla too. Check out the series list.



All My Puny Sorrows

Miriam Toews has written a beautiful book about suicide. She tells it with humor, but this was still a hard book to read. There were times I had to put the book down and walk away. All My Puny Sorrows(2019) is a book that makes you think.

It is the story of two sisters, Elf and Yoli: one has a messed-up life and the other is a famous pianist. And it is the story of mental illness and the depths one will take to achieve what they want. In the end, it's the story of what you would be willing to do for someone you love. Miriam Toews has written a powerful novel that will stay with you and have you wondering, "What would you do?"

Listen to the audiobook on Hoopla today.


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11/22/63

This is a long book, over 30 hours, but worth every minute. It's the story of Jake Epping. His friend Al has found a time portal to September 9th, 1958. Al has been using it to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. But now Al is dying. He shows the portal to Jake and convinces him to take over the project. What could possibly go wrong?

Plenty. The portal has rules. First, while everyone else is whatever age they were in 1958, Jake is still aging normally. Second, the past doesn't want to be changed. The bigger the change, the bigger the resistance to change. Third, every trip through the portal erases any changes made during previous trips. Jake has to start from scratch each time he enters the portal.

Stephen King did a great job researching Lee Harvey Oswald. Jake has to be sure he's got the right man.And then there's Sadie.

Check out 11/22/63 (2011) today. You can read or listen to the book via Overdrive.


The Road

Set in a post-apocalyptic future, The Road (2006) follows a father and his young son heading south on a mostly deserted road, pushing a shopping cart with all their belongings. Any human they encounter is a threat to either steal their food or worse, to eat them as food. Every second is a fight for survival, and barely a page goes by where there is not a description of hunger. The father's sole purpose is to keep his son alive.

I would recommend this Cormac McCarthy title to readers of dystopian fiction.

Check out our list Welcome to Dystopia for more ideas.

The Road is available as an ebook on Overdrive and audiobook on Hoopla.


Perfect Little World

Pregnant by her high school art teacher, Izzy Poole decides to join the Infinite Family Project because of the stability it will provide her and her newborn son, Cap. The project is the idea of Dr. Preston Grind and billionaire Brenda Acklen. Basically, ten families with babies agree to live together for ten years and raise the children communally, with the kids not knowing who their real mothers and fathers are for the first several years.

Izzy finds herself fitting in well with the rest of the parents, but starts to develop feelings for Dr. Grind. Not surprisingly, cracks begin to form in the relationships between other participants, too. Will Dr. Grind succeed in his vision of forming lifelong bonds, i.e. families made of people who aren't related?

Perfect Little World(2020) is an intriguing story about an unusual community and the moral compromises that keep it together. Check out this Kevin Wilson novel today—borrow the ebook or audiobook instantly via Hoopla or Overdrive.



A Stranger in the House

Tom and Karen Krupp live a happy married life until the night of Karen's accident. Suddenly, Karen has no recollection of her crash or why she had been speeding in the worst part of town on the night of a mysterious man's murder. Karen's uncertainty has placed her under suspicion of murder and the police have started coming around. Tom starts to question if his wife is really the person he believes her to be, and their marriage slowly begins to spiral. With the police at their door and a curious neighbor across the street, the Krupps' happy life begins to hang by a thread.

A Stranger in the House (2017) by Shari Lapena is a fast-paced psychological thriller. Visit Overdrive to read the ebook or listen to the audiobook. For more stories in this vein, check out our lists: Psychological Suspense and Domestic Thrillers.



Stepping Stones

This is a charming story of city girl Jen whose family leaves the big city for the country and farm life. If farm life was not bad enough for a city girl, Jen also has two new stepsisters who live in her room every weekend. Stepping Stones (2020) centers on Jen and her sisters' life on the farm and their time spent at the farmer's market. Jen and her new sisters learn about the hard work it takes to run a farm and to be part of a family that sticks together. Overall, Lucy Knisley's story is uplifting and will appeal to readers of books like Smile and Roller Girl

The Vor Game

Miles Vorkosigan is a military cadet about to be stationed to his first assignment. His father is a famous general and has a long list of accomplishments. Miles isn't so lucky; at first look, he is seen as a failure by his peers due to the physical abnormality he was born with. He must work harder, think harder, and be better to get the recognition he feels he deserves.

The world in The Vor Game (1990) by Lois McMaster Bujold is an expansive one with a rich history and backstory around it. Miles is very sarcastic but endearing in what he wants and expects from others. If you are looking for a great series that has an interesting main character and world, then this is a good option to explore.

Listen to the book on Hoopla today.



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American Dirt

Violent, passionate, heartbreaking, heartwarming, suspenseful—all of this and more. Lydia and her 8-year-old son Luca escape a massacre where 16 family members are shot and instantly killed at a Quinceanera party. In shock and running from a drug cartel leader who orchestrated the annihilation of their family, they head to El Norte. With no plan, they follow migrants to the train and learn of the unspeakable dangers that await them in their quest to escape certain death.

As they struggle through their journey, they encounter some very unsavory individuals. Each day brings new threats and always the danger of being caught. In spite of the constant peril, Lydia and Luca cross paths with a few fellow migrants who touch their hearts forever. American Dirt (2020) touches the hearts of readers, who will get caught up in the minute to minute survival of Jeanine Cummins' well drawn characters.

Oprah Winfrey chose American Dirt as an Oprah's Book Club selection. Oprah sat down with the author to discuss the controversy around the book.Visit Overdrive to read the book or listen to the audiobook today.



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The Sweeney Sisters

Liza, Maggie, and Tricia are the daughters of famous American writer William Sweeney. When he passes away, they reunite at the family home in Connecticut to sort out his affairs. Liza, the oldest, lives with her husband, Whit, and their teenage twins. Middle daughter Maggie is an artist who has floundered as an adult. Youngest Tricia is a successful lawyer in New York. While mourning their father and trying to unearth his memoir (due to his publisher), the women learn that they have another sister, Serena, whom William learned about a month before he died.

The Sweeney Sisters (2020) is the story of the four over the course of a summer as they come to terms with the secret, bond, and move forward. An engaging novel, perfect for fans of Elin Hilderbrand and readers who love novels about family relationships.

Check out Lian Dolan's latest novel. Listen to the audiobook or read the ebook through Overdrive today.



What Was Mine

This story, which is told by several characters, is hard to put down once you read the first few chapters. Lucy Wakefield is an ordinary woman, who gets what she wants out of life. There is one thing, however, that life does not give her: a child. After separating from her husband, she does something unthinkable: she takes a 4-month-old baby girl from a shopping cart and ends up raising her as her own. She manages to keep her horrible secret for over 20 years.


What follows is a ripple effect, which alters the lives of so many people. Whether the reader agrees with the way the story ends up or not, this novel is a definite thought-provoking, fast paced page turner.

Check out What Was Mine (2016) by Helen Klein Ross today.

You can also listen to the audiobook on Hoopla or read the eBook on Overdrive.



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Lily and the Octopus

Growing up in a house that always had a dachshund made me pick up this book. Little did I know that it would affect me the way it did.

The beauty of this book is in reading it. I went in knowing nothing about it, and was happy I didn't. It is a story about Teddy and Lily, his dachshund, and the "octopus" attached to Lily's head. The bond between Lily and Ted will resonate long after you finish. I highly suggest having tissue nearby.

I loved this unique, quirky, charming, and yes, heartbreaking story of a beloved dog. Steven Rowley's Lily and the Octopus (2016) was magical from beginning to end.

Listen to the book on Overdrive today.


The Last Flight

Claire and Eva both have reasons for wanting to disappear, so when they happen upon each other at the airport, they decide to take the other person's flight. However, when one of the planes crashes, the danger they thought they were leaving isn't far behind.

The Last Flight (2020) by Julie Clark is a great readalike for The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine, The Passenger by Lisa Lutz, and Peter Swanson.

Borrow The Last Flight instantly from Hoopla today.