The Empress by Gigi Griffis
The year is 1853, and Princess Elisabeth “Sisi” of Bavaria has been very clear: She will wait for the head-over-heels love the poets speak of, or she will have no love at all. Just because her older sister, Helene, is eagerly heeding their mother’s advice and preparing to marry Emperor Franz of Austria does not mean Sisi must also subject herself to such a dutiful existence. Sisi knows there is more to life than luncheons and corsets—if only someone would let her experience it all firsthand.
Meanwhile, in Austria, the emperor is recovering from an assassination attempt that left him wounded and scared. In a bid to keep the peace, Franz has recommitted himself to his imperial duties—and promised to romance the pliant Helene of Bavaria at his upcoming birthday celebration. How better to unite the empire than with the announcement of a new empress?
Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner
When Cassie Klein goes to an off-campus bar to escape her school’s Family Weekend, she isn’t looking for a hookup—it just happens. Buying a drink for a stranger turns into what should be an uncomplicated, amazing one-night stand. But then the next morning rolls around and her friend drags her along to meet her mom—the hot, older woman Cassie slept with.
Erin Bennett came to Family Weekend to get closer to her daughter, not have a one-night stand with a college senior. In her defense, she hadn’t known Cassie was a student when they’d met. To make things worse, Erin’s daughter brings Cassie to breakfast the next morning. And despite Erin’s better judgement—how could sleeping with your daughter’s friend be anything but bad?—she and Cassie get along in the day just as well as they did last night.
Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know by Ben Bowlin
Conspiracies didn’t always seem so clear and present. It used to be that people with tin-foil hats who were convinced of secret messages coming through the radio were easily disregarded as kooks and looney tunes. But these days, conspiracies feel alive and well. From internet rumors to lying politicians to the tinderbox that is social media, it’s become remarkably clear that a vast swath of people believe really bonkers things.
Why is that? How did these theories proliferate? Is there a kernel of truth to it or are they fully fiction? Ben Bowlin, Matt Frederick, and Noel Brown are the hosts of the popular iHeart podcast that seeks to answer these questions. With cool heads and extensive research, they regularly break down the wildest conspiracy theories: from chemtrails and biological testing to the secrets of lobbying and why the Kennedy assassination is of perennial interest.
Written in smart, witty, and conversational style, and with amazing illustrations, Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know is a vital book in helping to understand the unexplainable and use truth as a powerful weapon against ignorance, misinformation, and lies.
Daughter of Darkness by Terry Brooks
The thrilling second novel of an all-new fantasy series from the legendary author behind the Shannara saga, about a human girl adapting to her place in a magical world she’s only recently discovered It’s been two years since Auris escaped from the sinister Goblin prison and learned of her heritage as one of the Fae. She is now happily partnered with her Fae lover, Harrow, and deeply bonded with her new family. All seems to be going perfectly–until, surprisingly, the Goblin attacks begin again. Someone, it seems, has not forgotten that Auris exists and seems determined to retrieve her . . . but who? And why? As Auris begins to dig deeper into the mystery, old friends and new enemies appear, and she starts to realize that her still-shrouded past must contain the answers she needs. But even Auris does not suspect how far down the rabbit hole she is about to go, until Harrow is taken and an impossible ransom demand is issued. With two new companions at her side, Auris must attempt to unlock the remaining secrets of her past. For if she cannot, she will never see Harrow alive again.
A Ballet of Lepers by Leonard Cohen
Before Leonard Cohen’s worldwide fame expanded to fourteen studio albums, Grammy awards, and late-career global tours, he yearned for literary stardom. The Canadian songwriter of iconic hits like “Hallelujah,” “Suzanne,” and “Famous Blue Raincoat” first ventured into writing in his early twenties, and in A Ballet of Lepers: A Novel and Stories, readers will discover that the magic that animated Cohen’s unforgettable body of work was present from the very beginning of his career.
The pieces in this collection, written between 1956 and 1961 and including short fiction, a radio play, and a stunning early novel, offer startling insights into Cohen’s imagination and creative process. Cohen explores themes that would permeate his later work, from shame and unworthiness to sexual desire in all its sacred and profane dimensions to longing, whether for love, family, freedom, or transcendence.
An American Martyr in Persia by Reza Aslan
In this erudite and piercing biography, best-selling author Reza Aslan proves that one person’s actions can have revolutionary consequences that reverberate the world over.
Little known in America but venerated as a martyr in Iran, Howard Baskerville was a twenty-two-year-old Christian missionary from South Dakota who traveled to Persia (modern-day Iran) in 1907 for a two-year stint teaching English and preaching the gospel. He arrived in the midst of a democratic revolution—the first of its kind in the Middle East—led by a group of brilliant young firebrands committed to transforming their country into a fully self-determining, constitutional monarchy, one with free elections and an independent parliament.
Daughters of the New Year by E.M. Tran
In present day New Orleans, Xuan Trung, former beauty queen–turned-refugee after the Fall of Saigon, is obsessed with divining her daughters’ fates through their Vietnamese zodiac signs. But Trac, Nhi, and Trieu diverge completely from their immigrant parents’ expectations. Successful lawyer Trac hides her sexuality from her family; Nhi competes as the only woman of color on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show; and Trieu, a budding writer, is determined to learn more about her familial and cultural past.
As the three sisters each begin to encounter strange glimpses of long-buried secrets from their ancestors, the story of the Trung women unfurls to reveal the dramatic events that brought them to America. Moving backwards in time, E.M. Tran takes us into the high school classrooms of New Orleans to Saigon beauty pageants to twentieth century rubber plantations, traversing a century as the Trungs are both estranged and united by the ghosts of their tumultuous history.
Savor: A Chef’s Hunger for More by Fatima Ali
Fatima Ali won the hearts of viewers as the season fifteen “Fan Favorite” of Bravo’s Top Chef. At twenty-nine years old, she was a dynamic, boundary-breaking chef and a bright new voice for change in the food world. After the taping wrapped and before the show aired, Fati was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. Not one to ever slow down or admit defeat, the star chef vowed to spend her final year traveling the world, eating delicious food, and making memories with her loved ones. But when her condition abruptly worsened, her plans were sidelined. She pivoted, determined to make her final days count as she worked to tell the story of a brown girl chef who set out to make a name for herself, her food, and her culture.
The Picture Bride by Lee Geum-yi
“Your husband is a landowner,” they told her. “Food and clothing is so plentiful, it grows on trees.” “You will be able to go to school.”
Of the three lies the matchmaker told Willow before she left home as a picture bride in 1918, the third hurt the most. Never one to be deterred, Willow does all that she can to make the best of her unexpected circumstance. But it isn’t long before her dreams for this new life are shattered, first by a husband who never wanted to marry her in the first place, and then by the escalation of the Korean independance movements, unified in goal, but divergent in action, which threaten to split the Hawaiian Korean community and divide Willow’s family and friends.
Braving the rough waters of these tumultuous years, Willow forges ahead, creating new dreams through her own blood, sweat, and tears; working tirelessly toward a better life for her family and loved ones.