Staff Picks by Linnea
Sophronia Angelina Temminnick spends her days running around on adventures in her family’s Victorian country home in a very un-ladylike manner. So to prepare her to enter society as she becomes a young woman, her family enrolls her into Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. But the school isn’t what Sophronia expects… firstly, it’s not in any sort of building but a giant, floating dirigible! Although she and her new classmates do learn dance, dress, and etiquette, she soon realizes that the school is also an academy to use feminine guiles for more sinister aims like espionage, manipulation, and even assassination! Sophronia’s lessons at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s include learning how to poison with proper tea service and the ins and outs of the aristocracy from a Vampire. With the author’s dry humor and wit, this series both celebrates and satirizes the steam punk world. An exciting, saucy, and hilarious read!
For fantasy fans who want a more historical tale, or historical fiction buffs who want something a little more fantastical this genre-bending book is the perfect choice! It follows Lee Westfall, a young woman living in 19th century Georgia who has a secret: she is a gold diviner. When tragedy strikes her family, her only option for escape and opportunity seems to be joining a wagon trail west to strike it rich in California’s gold rush. But the journey is more harrowing than she can imagine… she must disguise herself as a boy and face all manner of tribulations on the trail. This book is incredibly engrossing… not only is the story suspenseful, but the characters and fantastical elements are portrayed in such an intimate way it feels almost like reading real history.
For anyone wanting to try a steam punk or for steam-punk aficionados this book is ideal. Set in two distinct steam-punk worlds that have turned 19th Century European life on its head: the world of the Clankers, advanced and powerful steam-powered machines in Austral-Hungary, and that of the Beasties, genetically fabricated Darwinian creatures in Britain. The story follows Daryn, a girl disguised as a boy to enter the British Air Service so she can fly. It also follows Alek, the prince of Austral-Hungary who must flee his royal after his parents are assassinated. From two separate opposing worlds, Alek and Daryn are thrown together by extreme circumstances aboard the mighty airship, the giant hydrogen-breathing modified whale of the air the Leviathan. A roller-coaster of action and intrigue, this book is also an incredibly well thought out politically and historically.
A note of caution: this book will ensnare your life and you won’t be able to put it down until the final, anxiety-filled page is turned. On the surface, this is a pretty straightforward mystery: A supermodel with a troubled past is deemed by the police to have committed suicide when her body is found on the ground below the balcony of her posh London flat. But her brother thinks something more sinister is at play and enlists the help of private detective Cormoran Strike. But this book is anything but straightforward. Strike, a paraplegic war veteran investigates every claim with the precision he learned in the military. He also has a troubled past… his late mother lead a life riddled with addiction and adversity. And as Strike delves further into the life of the troubled model, his own past demons and memories color his investigation. Not only is this mystery masterfully written, plotted out, and riveting, it speaks authentically to a multitude of issues like how society judges women who lead unconventional lives, psychological trauma, and the trials and intricacies of family. (Also, this book was actually written by J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym)
“This is our Grandmother Fish. She lived a long, long, time ago. She could wiggle and swim fast. Can you wiggle?” I cannot recommend this book more… A kid’s level story of our evolutionary history that’s all at once fun, interactive, and very scientifically accurate it’s such to be a hit with little evolutionary biologists. And it even has more detailed information about our evolutionary phylogeny at the end for more curious little ones or curious parents!
“A is for Activist. Advocate. Abolitionist. Ally. Actively Answering A call to Action. Are you an Activist?” Don’t you want to know what B stands for? This book is so awesome. It has great references that politically active parents will get a kick out of, as well as fun alliteration and bold, colorful illustrations. A go to baby shower present for me, this book is sure to raise a peace-loving, politically active baby army. Power to the babies!
This book is SO amazing! A beautifully written scientific and personal memoir that is informative, touching, heart-breaking, and inspiring. Jahren’s descriptions of her life and scientific research into the intricacies of the plant world are as poetic and poignant as it gets. The story weaves through her early upbringing in Minnesota, her education, starting her lab with her lovable and eccentric lab partner Bill. It then follows her finding love, motherhood, and her ground-breaking geobiology research. Reading this is like taking a walk through the forest with a friend. Every word is filled with authenticity and a fervent passion for science and this book makes me proud to be studying to become a scientist. It’s a must read for those interested in the natural world or any human who has ever had feelings.
The best kids' book I read in the last year! Funny and heart-tugging. Spunky and inventive Gertie is determined to win her mother's admiration to keep her from moving away, but her plans keep going awary in funny ways. "The bullfrog was only half-dead, which was perfect."