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Sara's Staff Picks
If you like fantasy with a hint of romance, character-driven stories, and a smattering of death-related non-fiction, you may find your next read here.
This is one of the most delightful books I have ever read, combining 2 of my favorite things -- faeries and academia -- with a hint of romance. This story follows Emily Wilde into a remote Scandavian village as she works on her titular "Encyclopaedia of Faeries." She is eventually joined by her colleague, Wendell Bambley, and they become entangled in the lives of the villagers they encounter, as well as with each other.
I loved loved loved this one and can't wait for it to come out this January!
In 1984, Collette LeSange is the owner of a very elite preschool in New York.
In 1830, she was Anna, the daughter of a gravestone carver.
This book is told in both timelines, and neither of them disappointed, something I rarely find happens in novels told this way. Normally, I like one timeline better than the other -- here, I loved both.
Holland deftly weaves together questions about what it means to be human with a horror twist. The titular god of endings looms over it all, a menacing presence whom we only vaguely understand.
I loved this book. I loved watching Collette's evolution throughout. Nothing in her life is as fixed as her immortality. People come and go in her long lifetime, all of them interesting and alive and sympathetic despite the limited amount of pages each dwells in. Collette herself is at times difficult to sympathize with, but I liked that aspect, too.
If you enjoy a character driven story occupied by a morally grey cast, vampires, and history, you'd probably enjoy this novel.
This is the first book in one of my favorite fantasy trilogies of all time.
This is a beautifully-written and character-driven fantasy romance. Margaret Welty is a sharpshooter, and Weston Winters is a wannabe alchemist. When the hala, a legendary beast, appears in Margaret's town, the hunt for it follows. Margaret does not particularly like Weston when he shows up on her doorstep seeking an alchemy apprenticeship from her mother, but the two team up to hunt down the hala together.
Absolutely incredible. Full of pain (so much of it), struggle, hope and joy and everything else in between. Gyasi is a gifted storyteller, who in so few pages was able to carve space in my heart for seven generations of characters.
This is the book for people who preferred Midsommar over Hereditary: it is deeply unnerving and tense, set in a backdrop that at first teems with natural beauty, only to become dilapidated as one sees the layers lurking under the surface.
This book raises a lot of questions, and it answers next to none of them. That is the beauty in it, to fully surrender yourself to its tide just like the people in the town surrender themselves to the inevitable disappearances of some of their mothers.
This book is going to be one of my favorite reads of 2022 (and I have read a lot of great books this year). Through a cohort of students at the fictional Royal Institute of Translation, Kuang deftly navigates the very real topics of identity and empire, and how academia shapes both. This ambitious novel is ripe with betrayal, complicated relationships, and a unique magic system -- and even includes a secret society. It is an incredible story that I wish I could read for the first time again.
This is not your typical stuffy history book: there are references to Mean Girls and modern serial killers. If you don't know anything about Roman History, you'll learn a lot about ridiculous Romans and their ridiculously brutal crimes. If you already know your Roman History, you'll enjoy a fast and witty refresher. Overall a fun and interesting blend of humor, true crime, and history.