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Henry VIII and the men who made him book cover
Henry VIII and the men who made him book cover

Henry VIII and the men who made him

Tracy Borman

BIOGRAPHY Henry VIII
History

Most of the books we have on Henry VIII are about his wives. There is something to that. His relationships with those "ever-changing" queens are fascinating. They involved death, romance, and political power resulting in the simple adage: divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Henry VIII's favor shifted just as quickly with his courtiers, advisers, and minions, a word borrowed from the French court that started appearing in the English language around his reign. Tracy Borman explores the lives of these individuals in this book. From Cardinal Wolsey, his Lord Chancellor, to Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk, Henry's court was full of intrigue and power struggles impacting England's religion, politics, and foreign relations. It is an interesting read and Borman is a gifted storyteller. If you liked "Wolf Hall," you'll love this biography. -Anne M

Dune book cover
Dune book cover

Dune

Frank Herbert

SCIENCE FICTION Herbert, Frank
Science Fiction

Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family-and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream. A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what it undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.

I decided to re-read my favorite book after 10 years to see if it was as good as I remembered. Thankfully, it definitely is! Dune is considered a Sci-Fi classic for a reason. -Brian

House of salt and sorrows book cover
House of salt and sorrows book cover

House of salt and sorrows

Erin A. Craig

YOUNG ADULT FICTION Craig Erin
Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Suspense

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed. Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor with her sisters and their father and stepmother. Once there were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last -- the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge -- and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods. Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that her sisters' deaths were no accidents. The girls have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who -- or what -- are they really dancing with? When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family -- before it claims her next.

This retelling of the 12 dancing princesses was an intense read from start to finish. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I read this twisted, lovely book! -Callie

Stardust book cover
Stardust book cover

Stardust

Neil Gaiman

SCIENCE FICTION Gaiman, Neil
Fiction, Classics, Fantasy, Romance

Hard to believe that Stardust has been around for just over 20 years! One of, if not the, first book by modern magician, Neil Gaiman, that I read many years ago. Although written with simplistic prose reminiscent of Grimm, and Andersen fairytales, this is a work that is definitely NOT for children. I can hardly wait to cross the wall and seek a fallen star in Faerie again. -Casey

The Dutch house : a novel book cover
The Dutch house : a novel book cover

The Dutch house : a novel

Ann Patchett

FICTION Patchett Ann
Historical Fiction

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves. Cyril's son Danny and his older sister Maeve are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another.

"The Dutch House" compiles a set of memories and stories that span the course of five decades. Ann Patchett skillfully moves us back and forth in time, with the house serving as an integral piece to our understanding of the characters and changing family dynamics. I love the moments and conversations between Danny and his sister Maeve. One particular conversation that stuck with me throughout my reading was when Danny and Maeve were discussing whether or not the past could be viewed as it actually was or whether the past is altered by the lens we use at present. I really enjoyed reading Patchett's, "The Dutch House! It’s a great read for those who enjoy well developed characters, interesting family relationships, fairy tale undercurrents and a historical setting. -Becky

American royals book cover
American royals book cover

American royals

Katharine McGee

YOUNG ADULT FICTION McGee, Katharine
Fiction, Young Adult

In an alternate America, princesses Beatrice and Samantha Washington and the two girls wooing their brother, Prince Jeffrey, become embroiled in high drama in the most glorious court in the world.

What if George Washington had accepted a crown instead of the Presidency? And then, what would that monarchy look like in the modern day? The book covers the adventures of four women: Beatrice, the first to-be-queen to reign America on her own; Samantha, her spunky younger sister; Nina, Sam’s loyal best friend; and Daphne, ambitious ex-girlfriend of Sam’s twin brother, Jeff. It does bop between their differing POVs, but it isn’t confusing or jarring. This was a fun YA read with many things that I love - royalty, romance, really well-written female characters. My expectations were high, and they were definitely met! -Angie

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