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Review: Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Zoe from our Teen Advisory Corps had this to say about Pet by Akwaeke Emezi:

Sometimes seeing the world through the lens of fiction is the only way to understand reality. Stories have the power of distorting facts in a way that makes them only truer, by exaggerating ideas and concepts in order for readers to understand. Despicable human beings are turned into actual monsters. and those who fight against them become angels. And so it is in Akwaeke Emezi’s novel Pet, set in a world that has seemingly eradicated those monsters that are all too human

Or so it seems. The main idea Emezi explores in Pet is the dangers of believing whole-heartedly in a utopian society, of being blind to unsettling truths even as they grow increasingly obvious. Our protagonist, Jam, is forced to confront this dilemma when a creature named Pet calls upon her to help hunt a monster. And though Jam desperately wants to protect others from this monster, whoever it may be, that means letting go of what she’d always held to be true. 

Along with its important theme, Pet is also significant for its diversity. In this world Jam is free to be herself, a transgender girl who prefers communicating through sign language. The discussion of these attributes helps readers better understand others in the real world and could give readers someone to relate to when characters like Jam are infrequently depicted in media. 

Pet isn’t your typical YA novel. It somehow manages to be one of the most relevant and realistic books I’ve ever read in the genre while still including enough fantasy to bring creatures out of paintings. Some may find the themes to be too obvious or even political, but I believe its lessons are extremely important and universal. Pet is a short novel, but its pages just might contain the power to change the world.

Books: 
Pet Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525647072
Availability: On Our Shelves as of 9am Today
Published: Make Me a World - September 10th, 2019

Match Me If You Can by Tiana Smith

Teen Advisory Corps member Claire enjoyed Bozeman grown author Tiana Smith's reading of her YA debut Match Me If You Can so much she devoured it in one night! She had this to say:

Homecoming is just around the corner, but Mia is still trying to find a date. Robyn, Mia’s best friend and the high school’s matchmaker, thinks that Logan, who always seems to be flirting with Mia, would be the perfect date. Unconvinced, Mia has her eyes on Vince, a soccer player for the school’s team. As much as Mia tries to convince Robyn that they are perfect for each other, Robyn will not match them together. Determined for Vince to ask her to homecoming, Mia logs on to Robyn’s email and against her wishes, matches them together. All is going well, especially when Vince asks her to homecoming at the soccer game. This is exactly what Mia wanted, but as they spend time together, she realizes how awkward it is. When Mia realizes her mind keeps on thinking of Logan, she is not sure which boy is her perfect match.

 

Match Me If You Can by Tiana Smith is an un-put-down-able romance that discusses the struggles of high school and high school relationships. Smith has an honest and genuine voice that truly conveys the thoughts of a high schooler and makes Mia’s situation more relatable. Balancing the love aspect of the story with other concerns such as scholarship opportunities and changing friendships adds to the genuinity of Mia’s life. And though there are times when it seems all hope is lost, Mia works to fix her mistakes, making her a loveable character. Match Me If You Can by Tiana Smith is a hopeful and charming story about teen love.

Books: 
Match Me If You Can Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250168719
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Swoon Reads - January 8th, 2019

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
Email or call for price & availability
ISBN: 9780373778706
Availability: Not Currently Available to Order
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
Email or call for price & availability
ISBN: 9780062033017
Availability: Not Currently Available to Order
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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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
Email or call for price & availability
ISBN: 9780778329190
Availability: Not Currently Available to Order
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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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: 

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.

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

Staff Pick Badge
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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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

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Books: 
Good Time Cowboy: An Anthology (Gold Valley Novel) Cover Image
Email or call for price & availability
ISBN: 9781335474612
Availability: Not Currently Available to Order
Published: Hqn - August 21st, 2018

Cowboy Seal Redemption (Navy Seal Cowboys #2) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781492641568
Availability: Backordered
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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