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True Love and Happily-Ever-Afters with author Jennifer Ryan

We running into National Romance Month with Jennifer Ryan, and getting excited for Bookstore Romance Day on Saturday August 17th. Stop in to see these and more recs from author Jennifer Ryan and our booksellers. 

Something Old

Linda Lael Miller is one of my go-to western romance authors. Since it’s wedding season, I couldn’t help pulling out The Brides of Bliss County and diving into THE MARRIAGE PACT. 

You guessed it, Hadleigh and her two girlfriends make a pact to find a husband – something Hadleigh almost had, if not for Tripp busting in and stopping her wedding. He saved her from a huge mistake - not that she’d tell him that. Ten years later, Tripp is back and his best friend’s little sister is all grown up and he wants Hadleigh to be his wife.

This book is filled with friendship, loss, family bonds, and love that proves life is better when you have someone special in your life.

Something New

Janet Chapman is a longtime author, but she’s new to me, and I’m so glad I read IT’S A WONDERFUL WIFE! Set in beautiful Maine on a private island, this book is filled with humor, scandal, adventure, a bit of whimsy, and a romance that will suck you in. 

Jesse wants a wife like his brothers found with their partners and passel of kids. Cadi is looking for Mr. Right after her fake engagement ends in scandal. Jesse falls hard for the model-making Maine beauty when she shows him the custom house miniature he wants built on his island will only be a real home with her as his wife. All he has to do is keep her safe – and convince her he doesn’t need a New York socialite, but a loving a wife.

Something Borrowed

One of my favorite authors – and friend – Sophie Jordan always brings the sexy romance wrapped in a twisty plot. HOW TO LOSE A BRIDE IN ONE NIGHT is no exception.

She can’t stop thinking about Lisa Berne’s debut novel YOU MAY KISS THE BRIDE…

“…it fully swept me away. The book consumed me. It felt like the first time I read a romance novel and my eyes were opened to the genre. I could not put it down. All the characters felt like family and I can't remember ever being so invested in a hero and heroine's journey. I cared about their romance together but loved them each as individuals, too.”

Something Blue

I LOVE this beautiful Susan Wiggs cover!

Fans of the Lakeshore Chronicles have been waiting for this story, but you don’t have to read the whole series to love this book – though I bet you’ll love the whole series! 

In MARRYING DAISY BELLAMY Daisy has to decide between the two men who have been in her life since she was a troubled teenager. Making the right choice now still isn’t easy – but true love always pulls people together.

This warm, deep, tumultuous story will draw you in and make you feel like you’re part of the endearing family and community. You’ll root for Daisy to get the wedding of her dreams and the man who makes that dream perfect.    

I hope you enjoy all of these recommendations. 

Don’t miss my upcoming women’s fiction novel THE ME I USED TO BE Publishers Weekly called “…an intoxicating blend of hair-raising suspense, betrayal, and true love…”

I hope you enjoy it and all these books. Happy reading!

Books: 
The Marriage Pact Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780373778706
Availability: Backordered
Published: Hqn - May 27th, 2014

It's a Wonderful Wife (Sinclair Brothers Novel #1) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780515155150
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley - August 25th, 2015

How to Lose a Bride in One Night: Forgotten Princesses Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062033017
Availability: Backordered
Published: Avon - July 30th, 2013

You May Kiss the Bride: The Penhallow Dynasty Cover Image
Email or call for price & availability
ISBN: 9780062451781
Availability: Not Currently Available to Order
Published: Avon - March 28th, 2017

Marrying Daisy Bellamy Cover Image
Email or call for price & availability
ISBN: 9780778317715
Availability: Not Currently Available to Order
Published: Mira Books - July 28th, 2015

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Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite, and Mirtza Moulite

Claire enjoyed Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika and Mirtza Moulite, She says:

Alaine, an aspiring journalist, has always looked up to her mom, the host of the popular news show Sunday Politicos. Tuning in to watch every episode from her home in Miami with her father, Alaine is able to “connect” with her mom. Being a feminist and believer of justice, her mom is not afraid to call out guests for saying the wrong things, but on one episode, her response seems uncharacteristic. Due to backlash, she travels home to Haiti to stay with her sister. When Alaine goes to school the days following, she faces a lot of reminders of her mom’s behavior in a not-s0-nice manner. Outraged by her peers reaction, Alaine takes a class assignment too far and ends up getting into a lot of trouble. Disappointed by Alaine’s actions, her father sends her to Haiti to volunteer at her aunt’s organization. It is then that Alaine learns some surprising information regarding her mom. Though it is not under the best circumstances, Alaine is glad to finally visit “the Homeland” and be able to spend time with her mom. And while she’s there, she learns more about her family’s past and what it could mean for the future. 

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite is an intriguing story that unravels through journal entries, letters, postcards, emails, and text messages. In addition to uncovering Alaine’s family history, you are immersed in Haitian culture. The glimpses of Haiti that are sprinkled throughout the book add to Alaine’s discoveries, and further immerses you. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite is an endearing story emphasizing the importance of family and leaves you thinking about the chances you would take for the people you love.

Books: 
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781335777096
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Inkyard Press - September 3rd, 2019

Review: What Makes Us by Rafi Mittelfeldt

Teen Advisory Corps member Marley enjoyed What Makes Us by Rafi Mittelfeldt. Pre-order your copy today!

"Eran Sharon is passionate, maybe a little too passionate. He is quick to anger and always seems to escalate any situation he’s in. After a video of him pushing a man at a protest goes viral, the press is quick to discover that the father Eran has never met was a terrorist. While news vans and reporters pile up at his door, Eran is left wondering if extremism is hereditary or if he has a chance to be different from his father.

    What Makes Us is the type of book that will make you think. It brings up the classic nurture/nature debate, asks if violent protest is different from terrorism, shows how media twists reality, etc. It definitely added an extra layer to the book, making the reader wonder alongside the characters about where they stand on these issues. 

    Rafi Mittlefehldt sometimes shifts into second person in his writing, which also added a level of connection to the characters. He makes the reader look through the eyes of his characters and see their perspective on issues. It made it easy to empathize with the characters.

    Eran’s character development felt very realistic. His development doesn’t start out of nowhere, there are a couple of triggers that spurr him forward along the way. Mittlefehldt shows him thinking about how he acts and how he wants to act as he works to control his anger. I appreciated how Eran slips up a couple of times before he starts to improve and still isn’t perfect by the end of the book. Sometimes it feels like YA books either have no character development or the character develops out of nowhere and is suddenly perfect by the end of the book, so having a book that actually had realistic development was a pleasant surprise. 

    To nitpick, some points in the book that were written to be giant shocking moments fell a bit flat. I think it might be because there were so many moments that were supposed to feel surprising that it wasn’t anymore. Some of the less important points were a tiny bit overwritten too, which might have contributed to that. 

    Overall, I really enjoyed What Makes Us. It was easy to get into, and the characters were likeable. The beginning reminded me of Anger is a Gift and the rest—especially Mittlefehldt’s writing style—reminded me of Picture Us In the Light. I’d give What Makes Us a solid ⅘ and I would recommend it to people who want a realistic book that deals with difficult issues without being too sad. 

Books: 
What Makes Us Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780763697501
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - October 15th, 2019

Big Laughs with David Sedaris

We had an absolute blast with a great crowd for David Sedaris's author talk last Tuesday! Thank you to all our customers who braved the heat, and the standing room only, to spend the evening with one of our favorite humor writers. It was such a treat to get to hear some (as yet) unpublished material, and share some great laughs. We hope you had as much fun as we did. 

If you were unable to make it, we still have signed copies of Calypso available - so grab one today, they make great gifts!

Books: 
Staff Pick Badge
Calypso Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316392426
Availability: On Our Shelves as of 9am Today
Published: Back Bay Books - June 4th, 2019

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True Loves and Happily-Ever-Afters with Jennifer Ryan

It's Wedding Season™ so we asked New York Times bestselling romance author Jennifer Ryan what some of her favorite bookish weddings are.

Something Old

Kat Martin published Against The Wind in 2011. It’s got flip phones and AOL, but all the heart and heat of a great timeless western romance. Jackson has wanted Sarah since high school, and that hasn’t changed when she returns to Wind Canyon and rents the cottage on his ranch with her little girl. Sarah is looking for a second chance, and she finds it and the possibility of a bright future if she can sort out her dead husband’s bad business dealings and survive the men coming after her for what they think she knows. Jackson is the perfect, protective partner Sarah needs in this steamy, action-packed drama that will end with both of them finding the one thing that’s eluded them: true love.  

Something New

Julie Anne Long is well-known for her wonderful historical romances and the Pennyroyal Green series, but just like her daring heroines, she tried something new with smashing success. Hot in Hellcat Canyon is her debut western romance and it’s fabulous! Two lonely people – a famous movie star and a waitress - with well-protected hearts learn to trust and love and open themselves to the possibility of forever with the person who makes them feel truly happy. Smart, sexy, funny, this book is everything a romance should be.

Something Borrowed

HelenKay Dimon is one of my favorite romantic suspense authors. Her newest release is The Protector: Games People Play and I can tell you it’s fantastic. She thinks you’ll love The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory. “This contemporary romance has a malfunctioning elevator, a fake boyfriend, the terrifying prospect of an ex’s wedding, and loads of charm.”

Something Blue

Sophia Nash is a new author to me, but you know how much I love historical romance and I couldn’t pass up BETWEEN THE DUKE AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA for this category. “Blue” in the title and the gorgeous cover! This wonderful story drew me in and kept me enthralled beginning to end. Nuanced characters graced with wit and deep emotions bring to life true passion and love in this unlikely pairing of a tin miner’s daughter and the Duke of Kress. Palace intrigue, murder, lost and found fortune, and redemption make this a real page-turner.

I hope you enjoy all of these recommendations…and of course, my latest release DIRTY LITTLE SECRET. Happy reading!

-Jennifer Ryan

 

Books: 
Against the Wind (Raines of Wind Canyon #1) Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780778329190
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mira Books - December 28th, 2010

Hot in Hellcat Canyon Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062397614
Availability: On Our Shelves as of 9am Today
Published: Avon - May 31st, 2016

The Wedding Date Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780593098394
Availability: On Our Shelves as of 9am Today
Published: Berkley - May 28th, 2019

Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea (Royal Entourage #1) Cover Image
Email or call for price & availability
ISBN: 9780062022325
Availability: Not Currently Available to Order
Published: Avon - February 28th, 2012

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Somewhere Only We Know by Maureen Goo

Claire says Somewhere Only We Know by Maureen Goo is tops! 

Lucky, one of Korea’s most popular k-pop stars, is about to make her American debut on The Later Tonight Show. But after watching her last performance from her tour, she realizes that her heart may not be in it the way it once was. Hungry for a hamburger,—as her strict diet has not allowed her to indulge in one—Lucky runs away from her hotel to find one. Jack, a destined-to-be banker, has been forced to intern at his father’s bank during his gap year. Bored at one of the banquets, Jack makes an excuse to leave early. Soon after, he receives a text from the editor of the celebrity gossip magazine he secretly works for and heads off to the hotel where the magazine’s next scoop is staying. Both running away from their realities, Lucky and Jack cross paths in the elevator and end up meeting again later that night.

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo follows a cute romance that develops between two teens who take a break from their life for one day. From its announcement, I have been looking forward to reading this book because like many other people on the planet, I love k-pop. I was excited to read about a k-pop idol, and I especially enjoyed the way Goo developed Lucky’s character by discussing the various struggles that an idol goes through—it felt very real. In addition, the relationship between Lucky and Jack developed nicely—I loved reading their dialogue and their thoughts about each other. I also thought that the characters’ self-discovery was a nice inclusion in the story to add an extra element to the character’s relationship. Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo is a summer-y read that will inspire you to follow your dreams.

Books: 
Somewhere Only We Know Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780374310578
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - May 7th, 2019

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Q&A with Pete Fromm for A Job You Mostly Won't Know How to Do

We are very excited to welcome Pete Fromm back to the Country Bookshelf on June 11th for his new novel - A Job You Mostly Won’t Know How to Do. Bookseller Wendy Blake loved it:

Marnie and Taz have it all-they love, laugh and work together, sneak off to swim at their secret spot, and now they are starting a family. But Marnie dies in childbirth, leaving Taz to cope with his incredible loss...and his new baby daughter. Following Taz's sometimes bumbling first two years as a father, I found myself laughing and crying on the same page. Pete Fromm writes so beautifully about the confusing mix of grief and love, and what being a family really means.

Wendy had a couple questions for Pete:

Wendy Blake: The river scenes first with Marnie and later with Midge are so wonderful! Can you tell us about your favorite rivers and how they wove their way into the book?

Pete Fromm: Some of my favorite rivers? Oh boy. I was a river ranger on the Snake in Grand Teton National Park for six years, floating it nearly every day, so that one's right up there, and even figured in my last novel, If Not for This. Another season on the Rio Grande, in Big Bend NP. A winter on the Selway. Countless trips on the Blackfoot, Bitterroot, Missouri, Smith, some on the Flatheads, Madison, Yellowstone, Salmon, Wind, Green. Really it gets ridiculous, but rivers have been a huge part of my life, so much so, that when Taz and Marnie found their perfect swimming hole it really became parts of several favorites of mine from Montana, Idaho and even Texas.

WB: Parenting is, of course, the “job” of the title. You are a parent…is Taz you or is his parenting style different than yours? Also, are Elmo and Rudy also Midge’s “parents” in a way?

PF: No, Taz is not me. You find out pretty quickly that you're not interesting enough to become your characters. But, I did spend many, many nights without much sleep when our sons were young, so it wasn't hard to go into those details, or to find ways for Taz to spend time with Midge, wonder on what he should be doing, what he might be doing wrong. Maybe Taz and I both leaned toward the edge of raising feral children.

And of course Elmo becomes very much a parent to Midge, and Rudy too, speaking of feral parenting.

WB: How did Marnie’s dying in childbirth, leaving Taz as the sole parent become a part of the plot? Did someone you know have that experience? Also, tell us about having Marnie’s voice continue in the book, helping Taz even after her death.

PF: This whole story actually began with a student slapping me in the chest with a copy of Glimmer Train magazine, telling me to read "The Hospital," by Silas Dent Zobel, and then tell him if was a sap for crying. He wasn't. A very moving story of a man whose wife dies in childbirth, it ends with the father taking his first step out of the hospital with this new baby. It was the right end for the story, but I thought, Wow, that's really just the beginning for a much bigger story. So, the next day I started Taz's story; a semi-employed carpenter walking into the half-demolished fixer upper he and his wife had been renovating, alone with this newborn, no idea how to make one move forward. I thought it would be a story of Taz raising this child alone, but almost immediately his best friend showed up to help, making me realize that he was not alone, that none of us really are. More people showed up, family, friends, and, yes, even his wife, not in any ghostly way, but just Taz still so close to her that he could imagine (hear?) what she would say to him from time to time. It acts as another way to show how he is not really as alone as he thought at the outset.

Join us for more from Pete Fromm on Tuesday, June 11th at 6pm. Don’t forget to get your exclusive signed edition, available only at Country Bookshelf.

 
Books: 

Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum

Teen Advisory Corps member Claire has this to say about Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum

Abbi Hope, nicknamed Baby Hope, has been well-known her whole life since she was captured in a famous photo taken on 9/11. Recognized wherever she goes, she has heard many peoples’ stories and remains a symbol of hope for them. But wanting to escape from her life-long legacy for a little while, she takes a job at a local day-camp and spends the day with four-year-olds, her senior counselor, and Josh, the other junior counselor. Meeting for the first time, Josh instantly recognizes Abbi and wants her help on a mission to track down the other members of the Baby Hope picture. Not having much of a choice, Abbi agrees, and together they set out to hear from the other survivors.


Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum is a hopeful story about two teens whose lives are significantly tied to 9/11. As someone who was born after 9/11, I know the devastation of the day, but I will never be able to understand it the same way. Buxbaum’s story allowed me to learn about the true impact of this day and how it still resonates years later. Abbi and Josh’s stories work cohesively to provide different perspectives on 9/11 and are accessible to readers who may not remember 9/11 or who were not alive yet. Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum is certainly not an easy book to read, but definitely an important one.

 

Books: 
Hope and Other Punch Lines Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781524766771
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - May 7th, 2019

Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins

Teen Advisory Corps member Zoe had this to say about Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins. 

Stolen Time isn’t so much about time travel as it is about why you really do not want to be living in Seattle in the future. Seriously, Danielle Rollins’ depiction of the year 2077 showcases a city devastated by an earthquake and tsunami that permanently flooded the area. And then, of course, there’s the rumored cannibal who leads a gang to terrorize Seattle at night. This apocalyptic state awaits our heroine Dorothy, who stows away on board what turns out to be a time machine in 1913. In the future, the pilot must accept Dorothy into his gang of teenage time travelers as they search for their missing leader.

The novel’s concept is tantalizing, but don’t expect a major focus on travel to different time periods. Instead, the dystopian themes take prominence, and a major portion of the book is actually more of a heist story involving breaking into a 1980s military base. Of course, that has an appeal of its own, but the reading experience would have been more enjoyable had I not gone into it expecting a wide variety of time travel. Readers do get introduced to historical elements as the teens discuss when and where they lived before being picked for the team, though these characters do not play major roles.

Ironically, my main complaint about Stolen Time is the pacing. The story takes place in what felt like about one day, which is not nearly enough time to develop the relationships central to the story. Plus, Dorothy seemed to adjust to 2077 life just a bit too fast for someone abruptly ripped from Victorian life. However, the more scientific aspects of Rollins’ work were very interesting, and the last section of the book made for a very exciting read. Overall, the future (sequels) is ripe with possibility.

Books: 
Stolen Time (Dark Stars #1) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062679949
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTeen - February 5th, 2019

The Lovely War by Julie Berry

Teen Advisory Corps member Zoe had this to say about The Lovely War by Julie Berry. 

Sometimes young adult books seem to fall prey to repetitive formats and cliches. And sometimes a book like Lovely War by Julie Berry comes along and suddenly Greek gods are sitting around a World War II-era hotel room and narrating a story that takes place during the previous world war. Despite all the fantasy, somehow, Berry also manages to construct an honest tale and weave together readers’ emotions like the Fates themselves. Through four main characters, Hazel, James, Colette, and Aubrey, we gain insight into a wide variety of perspectives of war and see the struggles facing those two sets of lovers in a way that represents those of so many more.

Lovely War is a study of the relationship between the titular ideas: love and war. And that’s the amazing part of the story, how it’s not just entertaining but meaningful as well. Through James’s perspective, we see the psychological destruction of war, and how that damage affects those like Hazel who love suffering soldiers. Colette represents the true tragedy of war as she has lost so much, and Aubrey helps bring the oft-overshadowed story of black WWI soldiers to life. Their lives intersect like music, fitting as Hazel and Aubrey play piano and Colette sings.

Love, readers learn, is the vital ingredient for surviving war. This Aphrodite explains between glimpses into the lives of humans. And here the book is optimistic, offering hope even for those thrust into the atrocities of war. Plus, Lovely War makes for a very educational historical fiction, as we’re introduced not only to real-life battles but to changing musical trends and civil rights progress as well. Thus, Berry’s writing produces a unique rhythm as it follows a complex melody, suggesting haunting beauty along the way.

Books: 
Lovely War Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780451469939
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - March 5th, 2019

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