What We’re Reading
Asperfell by Jamie Thomas
Picked by: Holly Howard
Only the darkest and most dangerous of Mages are sentenced to pass through the gate to Asperfell. Not one has ever returned.
Briony never dreamed she might set foot in the otherworldly prison. She was, after all, neither Mage nor criminal. She was simply her father’s little whirlwind—fingers smudged with ink, dresses caked with mud—forever lost in a book or the spirit-haunted woods surrounding her family’s country estate.
But Briony always had a knack for showing up where she was least expected.
Only by braving the gate of Asperfell could Briony hope to find the true heir to the throne of Tiralaen and save her kingdom from civil war. And so, she plunges into a world of caged madmen and demented spirits, of dark magic and cryptic whispers... and of a bleak and broken prince with no interest in being rescued.
Hauntingly beautiful and lavishly told, Asperfell is a must-read for fans of Jane Austen who always wished she’d dabbled in blood magic.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Picked by: Christi Crump
Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett's mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.
"All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we'd taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season."
It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.
In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a "what if" can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.
A Season in Hell
Small town Texas. Big time trouble.
It's hard to be a woman in the Wild Wild West and if that woman is wearing a badge and slinging a six-shooter, it's even harder. Especially for any foolhardy man who gets in her way.
The frontier town of Ring Bit, Texas, has a way of attracting trouble. Shootouts. Showdowns. Shady drifters.
But it's never seen anything like the mysterious gunman Hawkshaw. Is he good or evil? As the town marshal, it's Tennessee Smith's job to keep an eye on him.
Which is okay because he sure is easy on the eyes.
Of course, Tennessee needs another man in her life like she needs a hole in the head. This mail-order-bride-turned-widow is raising three young stepsons on her own. And now she's taking the boys to Austin the get married again. Between outlaws and in-laws, she's got her hands full.
When Tennesse's stagecoach is ambused- and she's taken hostage- she could use help to shoot her way out. Even if that someone is a dangerously mysterious gunman named Hawkshaw.