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New & Random Recommendations

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One of the perks of being a librarian is that you can get access to Netgalley. What is Netgalley? Remember how publishers sometimes give out galleys for reviewers to read-those books that have Not for Sale and Not Final Product plastered all over them? Netgalley is the new digital form. And, as I’ve often said, digital clutter takes up so much less space!

So, thanks to Netgalley, here are some of the books coming up that I can recommend.

Murder Knocks Twice: a Mystery by Susanna Calkins

Book Description: Gina Ricci takes on a job as a cigarette girl to earn money for her ailing father—and to prove to herself that she can hold her own at Chicago’s most notorious speakeasy, the Third Door. She’s enchanted by the harsh, glamorous world she discovers: the sleek socialites sipping bootlegged cocktails, the rowdy ex-servicemen playing poker in a curtained back room, the flirtatious jazz pianist and the brooding photographer—all overseen by the club’s imposing owner, Signora Castallazzo. But the staff buzzes with whispers about Gina’s predecessor, who died under mysterious circumstances, and the photographer, Marty, warns her to be careful.

When Marty is brutally murdered, with Gina as the only witness, she’s determined to track down his killer. What secrets did Marty capture on his camera—and who would do anything to destroy it? As Gina searches for answers, she’s pulled deeper into the shadowy truths hiding behind the Third Door.

Kay’s Take: Utterly delightful, this is the first book in what I hope is a long-lived series. I especially liked the historical accuracy of Calkins’ work. It sent me off to Professor Google multiple times to look up the history of incidents mentioned in the book.

Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Book Description: Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

Kay’s take: Light, fluffy and funny, Christina Lauren books (a joint project between authors Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings) are uniformly well-written and delightful. I’ve been shoving Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not-Dating into people’s hands for a while now and the Unhoneymooners does not disappoint.

How to Think like a Roman Emperor: The stoic philosophy of Marcus Aurelius by Donald Robertson

Book Description: Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was the last famous Stoic philosopher of the ancient world. The Meditations, his personal journal, survives to this day as one of the most loved self-help and spiritual classics of all time. In How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, cognitive psychotherapist Donald Robertson weaves the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius together seamlessly to provide a compelling modern-day guide to the Stoic wisdom followed by countless individuals throughout the centuries as a path to achieving greater fulfillment and emotional resilience.

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor takes readers on a transformative journey along with Marcus, following his progress from a young noble at the court of Hadrian—taken under the wing of some of the finest philosophers of his day—through to his reign as emperor of Rome at the height of its power. Robertson shows how Marcus used philosophical doctrines and therapeutic practices to build emotional resilience and endure tremendous adversity, and guides readers through applying the same methods to their own lives.

Kay’s take: For some unknown reason, stoicism has become hot again, so when I saw this book offered, I figured I’d give it a whirl. I was pleasantly surprised. Not only is it easy reading, but I found myself highlighting the heck out of my digital copy. This is definitely a book I will come back to again and again. (FYI, we are getting this, but it’s not available for holds yet. Soon, I promise!)

There you go! The worst part of reading galleys is that you have no one to talk to about the book after you finish it, so if you read one of these books, stop by and let me know what you think!