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Love from A to Z by SK Ali

Zayneb has always spoken up against her Islamophobic teacher, but one day he has finally had it and gets her suspended the week before spring break. Already having plans to travel to Qatar, she leaves a week early and stays with her Auntie Nandy. Adam is returning to Qatar to visit his dad and sister and to finally tell them about his multiple sclerosis diagnosis. On the airplane from London to Doha, Qatar, Zayneb and Adam meet. Both being Muslim and keeping a journal recording life’s marvels and oddities, they feel a connection and intrigue towards each other. Adam and Zayneb continue to run into each other in Doha, and find that they are attracted to the other. Told through alternating journal entries of marvels and oddities, Adam and Zayneb realize things about themselves, and discover ways to overcome their obstacles.

 

Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali is a powerful and impactful story about two Muslim teens struggling with challenges in their life. What I find most important about this story is its realness and truthfulness. The glimpses of Doha accompanied with Islamic culture helps to set the tone for the story and allows the reader to feel as if they are connected with the characters. In addition, Ali wrote with such passion that the reader is able to step into the character’s shoes and experience their feelings. Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali is an unforgettable book that expanded my global perspective.

Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith

When the power goes out all across New York City, Lucy and Owen meet for the first time in an elevator. Not having any other plans once they are out of the shaft, they decide to spend the rest of the day together, and end up talking about postcards. However, once the power comes back on, the blackout’s spell is broken and Lucy and Owen return to their routines. A few days later, they both find out that their families are moving in complete opposite directions, and they realize this might be the last time they see each other. But as they continue their new adventures, it becomes clear that they still think about what could have been. Through a series of postcards, emails, and meet-ups, Lucy and Owen find their way back to each other in  The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith.

 

I was drawn to this story because I thought the premise of being stuck in an elevator was creative, and I was interested to see how the story would go from there. The story was well-developed and I felt transported to where the characters were in that point in time. I also really enjoyed the connection the characters shared with getting caught in the elevator during the blackout, and their postcard connection. It was really enjoyable to watch the characters grow and discover themselves, too. For lovers of geography and unexpected meet-cutes, The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith combines both in an unforgettable way.

Books: 
The Geography of You and Me Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780316254762
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Poppy - March 3rd, 2015

A Prescription for Cabin Fever

Spring hasn’t sprung yet, but the switch to daylight-savings has us itching for green, growing things, and sunshine. Here are some transporting reads to help combat cabin fever.

Wendy recommends Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Girodano. “A super fun mystery set in Sicily! Auntie Poldi and her wig set out to solve the murder of her handyman, a great start to the series, I can’t wait to read the next one!”

Anna recommends the classic A Room with a View by EM Forster as another great book, also set in Italy, that is “just so NOT my life.”

Kasey was bowled over by Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken. “A fun, and strange, multigenerational journey” about a highly idiosyncratic family managing a candlepin bowling alley.

Jessica encourages you to truly sail away with Lily King’s Euphoria - a fictionalized account of the life of Margaret Mead - which has the reader, much like the famed anthropologist, examining the mundanity of everyday life, but through the dramatic jungle lens of the south pacific.

For those who have truly had enough, Kris recommends The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. This bright orange book will “get you out of your head long enough to appreciate being in the moment. He also has a new book coming out that I'm really excited for!"

Stop in and ask a bookseller what your next great read should be!

 
Books: 
Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions (An Auntie Poldi Adventure #1) Cover Image
By Mario Giordano, John Brownjohn (Translated by)
$14.99
ISBN: 9781328588784
Availability: On Our Shelves as of 9am Today
Published: Mariner Books - February 5th, 2019

A Room with a View (Vintage Classics) Cover Image
$11.00
ISBN: 9780679724766
Availability: On Our Shelves as of 9am Today
Published: Vintage - October 23rd, 1989

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Bowlaway: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062862853
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - February 5th, 2019

Euphoria Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802123701
Availability: On Our Shelves as of 9am Today
Published: Grove Press - April 14th, 2015

Staff Pick Badge
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062457714
Availability: On Our Shelves as of 9am Today
Published: Harper - September 13th, 2016

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How Big WAS the Fish?

  “A people are as healthy and confident as the stories they tell themselves. Sick storytellers can make nations sick. Without stories we would go mad. Life would lose its moorings or orientation … Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart larger."

 

Story Slams, or live storytelling, a la The Moth Podcast, is a new iteration of a very old artform. Our human ancestors, and perhaps those not so human, once congregated to communicate about their experiences as a way to find and give meaning.

Storytelling competitions allot 5 minutes each to the teller to share their story around a theme, with no notes, but also not memorized. There are many forms that tellers can use to frame their story; plain first person narrative, a diary entry, a frame tale, a modernization or setting change, a dialogue, interview or script, or a ballad.

Telling is both of the mind, and of the body, giving dual emphasis to content and performance. The story’s transmission is a collaboration of energy and imagination within both the teller and listeners. The urgency and vulnerability in exposing so much of the self creates a palpable connection that roots our community and sparks empathy.  

I’ve been telling stories for about as long as I can remember. There’s nothing quite like a well told story. We’ve all of us experienced things in our lives that seem unbelievable, astounding, shocking, and heart-wrenching but it’s in the way the story is told that holds the power. There are stories I’ve told everybody to the point that people who know and love me could probably tell them for me. There are stories so dark and secret and precious, only a few people have ever heard me tell them. There are stories so embarrassing that I probably should have kept them to myself and have ended up telling entire audiences. I have stories that have changed and morphed over time and ones I no longer remember. We all of us have a story burning inside us. How will you tell yours? - Harry Jahnke

We can’t wait for Bozeman Untold’s StorySlam honoring One Book One Bozeman on Thursday, February 21st, on the theme of “Love, and Other Consolation Prizes.” This singular way of honoring the spirit of a community reading project invites participants to tell a story, not read one (indeed no notes are allowed), in 5 minutes - much like poetry slams you may be familiar with. The act of storytelling honors the individual experience, challenges dominant narratives, and deepens community connection. Whether a first person narrative, a dear diary entry, or a modernization, you’re invited to hook the audience and build a bridge with your community.

 

Tips:

Make an outline, memorize the bullet points, and play with the details.
Have some stakes.
Have a great first line.
Have an ending - don’t meander.
This is not a space for stand-up, essays or rants.
No fake accents

See you at the mic!

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Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Pre-order Today! Due out July 2019!

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim is an enchanting story described as Mulan meets Project Runway, that later develops into an adventure of epic proportions. Filled with trials, romance, and a pair of magic scissors. Maia will take you on her quest to become the greatest tailor in the land.Where you mill travel with her through a beautifully crafted world of war, riches, and natural power; where you will experience every possible emotion. 


If there's not a sequel I will die inside.
 

- Maggie S

Books: 
Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780525646990
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - July 9th, 2019

Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith

Hugo and his girlfriend Margaret were going to spend the last part of summer going on a train ride across the United States before starting college. At the last minute, Margaret breaks up with Hugo but encourages him to still go on the tour. The only problem being that everything was booked under the name Margaret Campbell. Hugo’s solution is to find another Margaret Campbell who is willing to be his travel companion (solely for the purpose of being the name of the reservation). He gets plenty of responses and in the end he chooses Mae—an aspiring filmmaker who’s looking for an adventure, and a new film idea. At first, their companionship is strictly business, but as the ride continues they realize it may be something more.

 

Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith is a contemporary approach to the intrigue of the strangers on a train premise. I immediately fell in love with Hugo and Mae, but as the story continued I loved them even more. Both characters are dealing with a sort of pressure that they try to work out on the train—Hugo is expected to go to college on scholarship with his siblings, and Mae was rejected to her dream film program for college. It’s this in common that really brings them together and helps encourage them. You couldn’t help but cheer on Hugo and Mae. In addition, the story was light-hearted making it even more enjoyable to read. You also get glimpses of the two families and what it’s like traveling by train. One of my new favorite romances, Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith is a wonderful story of self-discovery on one train ride.

Books: 
Field Notes on Love Cover Image
Email or call for price & availability
ISBN: 9780399559419
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Delacorte Press - March 5th, 2019

Book Boyfriends with Jennifer Ryan!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

I asked a few of my favorite western romance authors…

Who is the book boyfriend you’d like to be your Valentine?

♥♥♥♥♥

Maisey Yates, author of GOOD TIME COWBOY, says, “My Valentine book boyfriend is Jack Armstrong from COWBOY SEAL REDEMPTION by Nicole Helm. He’s a cowboy and a former Navy Seal and an all-around great guy who falls in love with a bad girl bartender. It’s a wonderful book!”

♥♥♥♥♥

My sweet friend, Lori Wilde, author of HOW THE COWBOY WAS WON, sent me two recommendations!

“My western romance pick is Jodi Thomas's TALL, DARK AND TEXAN. The perfect marriage of convenience story. The hero is such a strong protector. Gotta love a man who'll take on another man's children to raise as his own. Romantic, tender and heartfelt.

My book boyfriend is from an oldie but a goodie, Bobby Tom Denton from Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s HEAVEN, TEXAS. He is so hot and the way he grovels to get the heroine back! Be still my heart.”

♥♥♥♥♥

Carolyn Brown, author of COWBOY BRAVE, came back with another great recommendation. “The book boyfriend I’d like to be my Valentine is sexy Austin Davis from Laura Drake’s book, THE LAST TRUE COWBOY!”

♥♥♥♥♥

If you love the romance of Valentine’s Day – dinner for two, heart shaped boxes of chocolates, flowers, and the perfect date – I’ve got 3 great stories for you in CONFESSIONS OF A SECRET ADMIRER.

Find your book boyfriend in my very own WAITING FOR YOU, Candis Terry’s SWEET FORTUNE, and Jennifer Season’s MAJOR LEAGUE CRUSH.

♥♥♥♥♥

In case you missed it, DIRTY LITTLE SECRET – Wild Rose Ranch, came out in December. Noah inherits his step-father’s ranch, but has to share it with a woman he’s never met and knows nothing about – but he’s drawn to her like no other woman he’s ever met. What will happen when he discovers her dirty little secret?

I hope you enjoy all of these recommendations.

 

Happy reading!

 

Jennifer Ryan

Sign up for my newsletter – www.jennifer-ryan.com/newsletter

Follow me on Twitter @jenryan_author and on

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jenniferryanauthor/

 

 

Books: 
Good Time Cowboy: An Anthology (Gold Valley Novel) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781335474612
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hqn - August 21st, 2018

Cowboy Seal Redemption (Navy Seal Cowboys #2) Cover Image
Email or call for price & availability
ISBN: 9781492641568
Availability: Not Currently Available to Order
Published: Sourcebooks Casablanca - June 5th, 2018

Cupid, Texas: How the Cowboy Was Won Cover Image
Email or call for price & availability
ISBN: 9780062468253
Availability: Not Currently Available to Order
Published: Avon - March 27th, 2018

Tall, Dark, and Texan (A Whispering Mountain Novel #3) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780515145434
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley - October 28th, 2008

Heaven, Texas (Chicago Stars #2) Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780061731143
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - May 19th, 2009

Cowboy Brave: Two full books for the price of one (Longhorn Canyon #3) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781538744932
Availability: On Our Shelves as of 9am Today
Published: Forever - January 8th, 2019

The Last True Cowboy (Chestnut Creek #1) Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9781538746431
Availability: On Our Shelves as of 9am Today
Published: Forever - December 4th, 2018

Confessions of a Secret Admirer: A Valentine's Day Anthology Cover Image
Email or call for price & availability
ISBN: 9780062328595
Availability: Not Currently Available to Order
Published: Avon Impulse - March 11th, 2014

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Together at Midnight by Jennifer Castle

Kendall and Max haven’t seen each other for a while, but they run into each other when both happen to be in New York City during the winter holidays. Kendall and Max exchange small talk. However, during this exchange, an accident occurs—and none of the bystanders tried to change the outcome. Kendall and Max are unable to forget that evening and feel guilty about not stepping in to do anything. So, when they meet at a diner to talk about it, a waitress overhears their conversation and dares them to perform seven random acts of kindness—one for each witness at the accident—before January 1. At first, they take it as a bit of a joke, but soon realize that maybe it’s a good idea.  


Together At Midnight by Jennifer Castle is a heartwarming story about two teens trying to make a difference. At first, it is about completing the dare, but by the end, it is about doing the right thing from their hearts. Max and Kendall are inspiring characters that made me think about the little moments that we overlook, and how one kind gesture can make a person’s day (or prevent certain outcomes). In addition to Max and Kendall’s perspectives, Castle also includes the perspectives of the people they help. This is a neat inclusion because it allows the reader insight into their situation and an understanding of  how the kind gesture helps them. Together At Midnight by Jennifer Castle is a hopeful book that shares the goodness of people.

Books: 
Together at Midnight Cover Image
Email or call for price & availability
ISBN: 9780062250513
Availability: Not Currently Available to Order
Published: HarperTeen - January 2nd, 2018

Holiday Romance Recommendations from Jennifer Ryan

Something Old

If you believe in fate and soulmates, you’ll love Cathy Maxwell’s A SEDUCTION AT CHRISTMAS. They locked eyes across a ballroom once, but when Fiona Lachlan meets the Duke of Holburn she has next to nothing in this world except her beloved hound Tad – and someone is trying to kill him. If he doesn’t find out who and stop them, he’ll miss his Christmas wedding and a life with the only woman he ever loved.  

Something New

I love discovering a new author. And this debut hooked me.

Carly Bloom’s BIG BAD COWBOY is sweet and naughty, sexy and heartwarming, a thoroughly enjoyable – and a little bit wicked – read.

Something Borrowed

My very good friend and fellow Avon author Lori Wilde writes a Christmas book every year for her fans. This year is no exception - THE CHRISTMAS KEY received a starred review from Publishers Weekly! “The magnetism between Naomi and Mark is breathtaking and real, the magic of Christmas enhances their romance. Readers will cheer for the wounded warrior who may have found a place to call home.”  

So it’s no wonder I asked Lori for her favorite Christmas read…

“I recommend Annie Rain's CHRISTMAS ON MISTLETOE LANE. I love her writing and the book just gives you all the feel-good tingles of the holiday season. It's heartwarming, emotional and sweetly captures the spirit of Christmas.” Lori Wilde

Something Blue

If you want to laugh and have your heart melt, I highly recommend you read a Jill Shalvis book. Once I start reading, I can’t put them down. SWEET LITTLE LIES starts off her Heartbreaker Bay series. San Francisco is the perfect romantic backdrop to this heartwarming friends-to-lovers story. Sometimes your heart’s desire is only a wish away.

Look for my upcoming release DIRTY LITTLE SECRET – book 1 of my brand new Wild Rose Ranch series that’s all about romance and scandal for the women who grew up at the notorious Nevada brothel as they try to make a life outside their mothers’ world.

I hope you enjoy all of these recommendations.

Happy reading!
-Jennifer Ryan
Sign up for my newsletter – www.jennifer-ryan.com/newsletter
Follow me on Twitter @jenryan_author and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jenniferryanauthor/

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The Wonder of Us by Kim Culbertson

Best friends Abby and Riya have spent their junior year miles apart. Wanting to fix things between them, Riya invites Abby on a trip to Europe over the summer. Abby doesn’t really know what to expect from the trip, but heads to Europe to meet Riya. Unexpectedly, Riya’s cousin Neel is also tagging along on this adventure. While Riya is annoyed by his presence, Abby doesn’t seem to mind him too much. The girls moving from country to country with Neel in tow makes for an interesting itinerary—Neel always has a tour arranged, or something else to rush off to, while the girls prefer a laid-back approach. The dynamic of the trio changes as secrets are revealed or kept secret, making for an emotionally rocky trip.


The Wonder of Us by Kim Culbertson is an entertaining tour of Europe, perfect for the armchair traveler. Even though their friendship isn’t always perfect, Abby and Riya are a great duo. They both look out for each other and are actively working to become the friends they once were. They also balance each other well, which creates a nice dynamic between the two. I also appreciated that this story is really based on friendship and while there is a romance that develops, it doesn’t consume the story (after all, friendship was the basis behind the whole trip). In addition, Culbertson includes many wisdoms in the story among humor and history tidbits, that all work together to make the book especially interesting. The Wonder of Us by Kim Culbertson is the story of two friends, set in the rich culture of Europe.

Books: 
The Wonder of Us Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780545731515
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Point - April 25th, 2017

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