Category Archives: Jez

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare (2014)

romancingthedukeIzzy Goodnight, once a main character in her father’s highly popular fairytales, but now close to penniless, has inherited a castle. The problem? It’s in terrible shape: ransacked by looters, missing windows, full of vermin, and, oh, yeah, it’s still housing its former master—and he didn’t know about the sale. The surly and rakish Duke of Rochester took up residence after losing his sight and pride in a sword fight and now refuses to leave...but so does Izzy. The two are forced to share until the ownership battle is settled and might find themselves in closer quarters than they imagined. Check out Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare to cuddle up with a humorous and steamy romance that will warm up your winter nights.

Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life by Niki Brantmark (2017)

lagomDespite living a few months of the year without sunlight, Sweden regularly appears highly on the Happiness Index. Almost everything, from their friendly, welcoming communities (which take in more refugees than any other country) to eco-friendly construction to their trademark interior decorating can be traced back to the Swedish philosophy of lagom. Roughly translating to “not too little, not too much,” lagom is all about taking life in moderation. In Lagom, Niki Brantmark explains Swedish culture through the eyes of an adopter, discussing how to balance life in a large number of ways. You don’t need to deny yourself pleasures, nor do you need to ignore responsibilities—you just have to find the right amount of each. With tips on crafts, holidays, decoration, health, relationships, diet, and more, Lagom is the perfect whole-life introduction to living like a Swede, wherever you are.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (2017)

turtlesallthewaydownBestselling author John Green is finally back with a new book, five years after his international blockbuster hit The Fault in Our Stars. His newest work Turtles All the Way Down focuses on a teenage girl named Aza who is tortured by her own anxieties. Even the smallest events in life are full of panic, worrying about saying the wrong thing, catching an infection, or letting her own dark thoughts overtake her. Things only get more complicated when Aza is dragged along by her best friend Daisy to search for a missing billionaire to claim the reward, in the process reuniting Aza with a childhood crush. Turtles has everything Green fans want: believable teens, love, family, loss, heartbreak, hope, and friendship—plus a tuatara and plenty of Star Wars fanfiction. This is a must-read for not only die-hard fans of the author, but also for anyone who has struggled with mental health or been unable to understand the day-to-day pain of their affected loved ones.

Audiobook Narrator Spotlight: Bahni Turpin

If you are an audiobook listener, chances are you are already a fan of Bahni Turpin, even if you don’t realize it yet. Narrating over 100 audiobooks, Turpin has set herself up to be one of the best narrators, and she has the awards to prove it. With her clear pronunciation, mastery of accents, easily distinguishable character voices, and immersive storytelling, Turpin brings emotion and life to any book. Though she has voiced a wide range of characters, her melodious voice is, in my opinion, perhaps the best I’ve heard for young African-American female characters. No matter the character, genre, or author, you will never be disappointed with Bahni Turpin at the mic. Here are some of our favorite audiobooks narrated by Bahni Turpin:

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (2016)

Natasha is a girl who believes in science and facts and she’s got far bigger problems to deal with than falling in love. Daniel is an incurable romantic who puts his faith in fate and poetry. The two teens couldn’t be more different, but when they keep crossing paths, they learn that they may have more in common than they first thought. Alternating chapters between the two characters, with interspersed sections written from an omniscient narrator about the teens, their families, and the universe, this beautifully written YA book tackles big issues like deportation, second-generation immigrants, familial expectations, racism, and the existence of love and fate. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon will make you cry tears of sadness, joy, and laughter, and leave you feeling a little glow in your heart.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (2017)

Need more Wonder Woman and don’t want to wait two years for the next movie? Worry not, because Leigh Bardugo’s new novel Warbringer is everything you need. Diana knows not to meddle in the affairs of mortals, but against her better judgment and the advice of the Oracle, she saves the life of a young shipwrecked girl, Alia. Alia is a “warbringer,” a woman descended from Helen of Troy, whose blood will bring about a world war if she reaches adulthood. Determined to change fate, Diana takes it upon herself to deliver Alia to Greece where she can be cleansed of the warbringer line—but Alia doesn’t believe in such stories and just wants to return home. The two must learn to trust each other if they are to survive the lies, assassination attempts, divine intervention, and expensive galas as they race against time to save the world. Full of lovable, flawed, and beautifully diverse characters, this action-packed and humorous coming-of-age novel makes a great read and an even better listen with the audiobook, read by Mozhan Marno, which will leave fans desperate for more.

everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too by Jomny Sun (2017)

Based on Jomny Sun’s popular tweets, this delightfully simple and precious graphic novel follows a young “aliebn,” Jomny, as he first visits Earth and learns about life on our planet, including making friends, making art, and being yourself. Everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too is a soothing balm for the tired soul, sure to get you to smile and immediately force the book into a friend’s hands.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George (2015)

From the shore, Paris’s floating “book barge” may look like little more than a bookstore, but in reality, it is a literary apothecary where its owner Monsieur Perdu prescribes the right novel for any emotional ailment. Perdu, however, is not so good at treating himself and literally runs away when his heartbreak starts to catch up with him—taking his bookshop with him. Along for the ride is literary boy genius Max Jordan, a bestselling author who doesn’t quite know who he is yet. Stumbling through France’s waterways, the two men go on many small adventures, pick up stray travelers, and learn to heal their emotional bruises, all the while sailing towards the truth of Perdu’s lost love. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George is a quirky, yet gentle tale for fans of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared that will warm your heart and suggest a few good books along the way.

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (2016)

Eighth grade is hard enough for any kid, but at times it feels almost impossible for Lily Jo McGruther, a girl born into a boy’s body. As Lily struggles with her transition, figuring out who she is, and wishing her father would accept her as Lily, not Tim, she also makes a new friend. Dunkin (birth name Norbert) has just moved to Florida from New Jersey and is fighting his own battle, one against himself and his bipolar disorder. Between school bullies, doctors, parents, and grandparents, Lily and Dunkin come together to try to save their favorite tree, which is due to be cut down. Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart is a beautiful coming-of-age story about love and acceptance that’s sure to leave you with a warm heart and a big smile.

Arena by Holly Jennings (2016)

In the not-so-distant year of 2054, virtual reality games have become the biggest sensation in televised sports. The players on each team must not only be excellent video game players, but in top physical condition, as the RAGE tournament games mimic real-life abilities. In her early career as a RAGE competitor, Kali Ling fights to become the first female team leader in a male-dominated world. But while Kali can prove herself in a fight, this world demands more than she can handle. Her every move is dictated by sponsors and team management; a teammate recently died of a drug overdose; his replacement is difficult to work with; and her own grasp on reality is getting weaker with each trip into the virtual world. Packed with intense and cinematic action scenes, a love story, and diversity in multiple forms, Arena by Holly Jennings is a must-read for adult and older teen fans of Ready Player One and The Hunger Games.