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  • BN Editors 4:09 pm on 2020/04/28 Permalink
    Tags: a man called ove, , bridget jones diary, , daisy jones & the six, evvie drake starts over, feel good fiction, Fiction, , like water for chocolate, , the boy, , the girl with the louding voice, ,   

    Feel Good Fiction 

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    We know being stuck at home isn’t easy, so we’ve rounded up some great feel good fiction to help keep us all happy and occupied. From the hilarious to the heartwarming, some old and some new, these are the best kinds of comfort reads. (Even better: there’s a bit of everything to choose from.)  Below are 9 inspired reads we’re highlighting now; the full list is here.

    A Man Called Ove
    Fredrik Backman

    Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon – someone with staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. Add in boisterous new neighbors and a flattened mailbox and you’ve got the start of a comical and heartwarming tale of unexpected friendship mixed with the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. This read is life-affirming, relationship driven, and a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.  In other words, it’s perfect!

    Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy #1)
    Kevin Kwan

    A hilarious and crazy fun obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers. This bestselling novel turned motion picture darling is an over-the-top romp through the unbelievable jet-setting lives of Asia’s super elite. It’s wickedly funny, decadent, and delightfully soapy. A must read even if you didn’t watch the movie adaptation over and over and over again.

    The Girl with the Louding Voice
    Abi Daré

    A beautiful portrait of a women finding her strength and shaping her own destiny. Trapped in a life of servitude, a young Nigerian woman determined to fight for her dreams and future paints a story of relentless hope amidst the struggles of living in a toxic patriarchy. This bold debut is lyrical in its prose and captivating in its journey. “It will break your heart and then it will put it back together again.”  — Jenna Bush Hager on The Today Show

    High Fidelity
    Nick Hornby

    An all too wise and hilarious look at love, heartbreak, and rock and roll—and the basis for the acclaimed Hulu series starring Zoe Kravitz. This highly relatable story brilliantly explores the memories, mishaps and soundtrack of youth. With a parade of wildly offbeat characters, witty dialogue, and ingenious top five lists for days, this charming read is perfect for highly opinionated pop music junkies and anyone just searching for a great read about love, identity and second chances.

    The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (B&N Exclusive Edition)
    Charlie Mackesy

    “What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the mole. “Kind,” said the boy. This modern fable offering some much-needed inspiration and hope in uncertain times is also our first B&N Book of the Year. With hand-written narratives accompanied by dozens of simple drawings Charlie Mackesy creates a world of infinite kindness, wisdom, and true friendship. In a similar vein to The Tao of Pooh and The Giving Tree, this book radiates with warmth and wit and will be one you’ll find yourself revisiting like an old friend.

    Evvie Drake Starts Over
    Linda Holmes

    A wonderful debut about the unlikely relationship between a young woman who’s lost her husband and a major league pitcher who’s lost his game. With beautifully flawed characters at its core this joyful, hope-filled read will have you cheering for the two most unlikely comebacks of the year—and will leave you wanting more from Linda Holmes. “A quirky, sweet, and splendid story of a woman coming into her own.”—Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Daisy Jones & The Six

    Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel
    Robin Sloan

    So, we might be biased here – a feel-good read about a mysterious, possibly magical bookstore! While all true, this literary adventure is much more than that. Part old-fashioned fantasy, part technological meditation on the quest for permanence in the digital age, this love letter to books is delightfully funny, clever, and just like a great bookstore, one you’ll never want to leave. “A book about passion—for books, for history, for the future…There is nothing about Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore that I didn’t love.” —Cory Doctorow

    Like Water for Chocolate
    Laura Esquivel

    Earthy, magical, and utterly whimsical, this tale of family, forbidden love, and food in turn-of-the-century Mexico blends poignant romance and bittersweet wit. A quick and delicious page-turner that reads like a soap-opera and swirls with the flavors and spirit of Mexico. Lovingly atmospheric, this is a story that will remind you just how beautiful language can be. So, if you’re looking for an epic romance in under 300 pages that’s literally told through food this book is *chef’s kiss*!

    Bridget Jones’s Diary
    Helen Fielding

    A devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud account of a year in the life of a thirty-something Singleton on a perpetually doomed quest for self-improvement. With a blend of flighty charm, existential gloom, and endearing self-deprecation…who hasn’t been Bridget Jones at some point in life? Funny and at times horrifyingly familiar, read this (especially if you’ve seen the movie!) to laugh and recharge.

    The post Feel Good Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • BN Editors 10:57 pm on 2020/01/23 Permalink
    Tags: Fiction   

    Isabel Allende’s A Long Petal of the Sea Highlights a Refugee Story 

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    In one of the many vivid scenes in Isabel Allende’s new novel A Long Petal of the Sea, a young, barely-trained doctor on the Republican side of Spain’s brutal Civil War assists in a battlefield operation to save a soldier’s life:

    Carefully removing the bandages, he saw to his amazement that the wound was still open and was as clean as if it had been painted onto his chest…Having worked for nearly three years on the side of the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, at first on the fronts at Madrid and Teruel, and then at the evacuation hospital at Manresa, Victor Dalmau thought he had seen everything , become immunized to the suffering of others, but he had never seen an actual beating heart.

    As she has so often in her works of fiction and memoir, Allende places the beating hearts of her characters in front of us, and A Long Petal of the Sea is a novel that challenges our own sense of being “immunized to the suffering of others.” It’s a beautiful, bittersweet epic grounded in the journey of two people — Victor and Roser, the pregnant young widow of Victor’s brother Guillem — who join the hundreds of thousands of refugees who flee their native country in 1938 to escape death at the hands of the Fascists. Their odyssey, in Allende’s fluidly sweeping narrative, intersects with the fascinating true story of the S.S. Winnipeg, a ship chartered by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, on which two thousand Spanish refugees fled from squalid camps in France to Chile — the “long petal of sea and wine and snow,” in Neruda’s words, that gives Allende her title.

    A Long Petal of the Sea wraps the Victor and Roser’s uneasy partnership in a broader, wrenchingly timely story of exiles torn in a moment from their homelands, and who spend their lives wrestling with the question of belonging, and the conflict between the call to remember and the need to move forward. Allende leads us through decades of life for Victor and Roser, and as she does so we travel into the heart of the real-world political calamity that resulted in the author’s own flight from her home country. The result is a call to empathy for all who have to remake their lives in a place strange and new.

    Since Allende’s arrival on the literary stage in 1982 with the family saga The House of the Spirits, she has woven history and invention together, allowing each to inform the other as she explores themes of exile and return, oppression and liberation, and especially the voices and experiences of women in cultures that often seek to silence them.

    The author of two dozen widely acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction, a human rights activist, and the recipient of multiple honors including the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, Allende continues use her pen to enchant and educate in the same moment. “The only thing I can do is tell stories,” Allende told us when she joined us in 2017 on the B&N Podcast. With A Long Petal of the Sea, she reminds us once again what a monumental calling that is.

    Explore all of Isabel Allende’s books here.

    Listen to our podcast interview with Isabel Allende here.

    Author photo of Isabel Allende (c) Lori Barra.

    The post Isabel Allende’s <em>A Long Petal of the Sea</em> Highlights a Refugee Story appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Tara Sonin 4:00 pm on 2019/11/13 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Fiction, find me, , josh malerman, malorie, , , , , , , , to be continued   

    6 Sequels and Series Continuations We’ve Been Waiting For 

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    The only thing better than loving a book is knowing the story isn’t over—that’s what sequels and companion novels are for! This year and next, we’re being gifted with a number of returning characters and continuing stories. Here’s a sampling of these second helpings, which range from the aftermath of a young, tragic love story to the fall of a dystopian regime.

    Find Me (Sequel to Call Me By Your Name), by André Aciman
    Some romances—and some novels—change us forever. Broken hearts around the world rejoiced at the news that Call Me By Your Name was getting a sequel (perhaps in part due to the success of the movie?) that would reveal what happened to Elio and Oliver in the years after their love affair. In sensual, heartrending prose, Aciman reveals that Elio has become a classical pianist who lives in Paris, and Oliver a college professor tempted to seek Elio out after all this time apart. Readers will be left breathless by the story’s end.

    Olive, Again (Sequel to Olive Kitteridge), by Elizabeth Strout
    The follow-up to the Pulitzer prize-winning novel Olive Kitteridge once again returns to the town of Crosby, Maine, and follows Olive (and her family, neighbors, and friends) as they navigate the ups and downs of everyday life. Readers fell for Olive’s cantankerous, imperfect personality as she strived to understand her distant but loving husband, connect with her son, and eventually, move on from a major loss. This time around, Olive has found happiness in the aftermath of that grief, but life always finds a way of messing with a sure thing. With unforgettable characters who return for an encore as well as new faces who help Olive find her way, this sequel may restore your faith in humanity.

    Royal Holiday (Wedding Date #4), by Jasmine Guillory
    Romcom lovers, rejoice in another Jasmine Guillory story just in time for the holidays. This one stars Maddie’s mom (from The Wedding Party) Vivian as she embarks on a no-strings-attached fling while accompanying Maddie on a work trip to England. The catch? The work trip is with royalty, and the fling is the Queen’s trusted aide. What begins as a low-stakes romance evolves into a serious choice Vivian must make about whether she’s ready to make a holiday treat into a real-life love affair.

    The Testaments (Sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale), by Margaret Atwood
    On the heels of the incredible third season of the hit Hulu show, Atwood released a sequel to her original dystopian tale meant to answer the most popular questions she received in the three decades since: What happened to Gilead? How did it rise, and who orchestrated its eventual fall? Following the perspectives of three women, two inside the regime, and one in Canada, The Testaments answers those questions with unfolding tension and characters in contradiction, ultimately giving readers a satisfying conclusion (or second chapter?) to a gripping saga.

    Starsight (Skyward #2), by Brandon Sanderson (11/26/19)
    In Skyward, a YA sci-fi fantasy novel by renowned adult novelist Brandon Sanderson, we met Spensa, one of the last survivors of an alien war, who wants to be a pilot. When she comes into contact with a ship that seems sentient, she decides to pursue this dream at all costs—and by the end, those costs have come crashing down on her, and she learns some terrible truths that will impact her fate. This novel builds on Spensa’s journey towards carving her own destiny in the stars despite a great betrayal unearthed from the past.

    Malorie (Sequel to Bird Box), by Josh Malerman (7/21/20)
    The much-anticipated sequel to the sci-fi thriller Bird Box arrives soon! Details on the plot of Malorie are being kept under blindfolds, so all we know is that she is the star. It picks up in the aftermath of the previous story (which was also adapted into a Netflix movie starring Sandra Bullock) where Malorie, Boy, and Girl have reached the colony of people secluded from the mysterious creature attacks that have taken down modern society. Will we learn the origins of the creatures? Will Malorie remain with Boy and Girl? We’ll find out next May!

    What new sequels are you excited for?

    The post 6 Sequels and Series Continuations We’ve Been Waiting For appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Sarah Skilton 5:00 pm on 2019/11/08 Permalink
    Tags: christmas shopaholic, , Fiction, , josie silver, julia whelan, last christmas, london belongs to us, my oxford year, one day in december, , , sarra manning, ,   

    5 London-Set Books to Read After You See Last Christmas 

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    Anglophiles, assemble! Last Christmas hits theaters today, about a young woman (GoT’s Emilia Clarke) who works at a year-round ornament store and whose holiday blues start to lift when a handsome stranger (Crazy Rich Asians’ Henry Golding) enters her life. Besides the romance, what I’m most looking forward to are the scenes showcasing the beauty and quirks of London during the holidays. Here are five more new and recent romances set in Merry Old to keep you cozy this weekend.

    Royal Holiday, by Jasmine Guillory
    An impromptu mother-daughter trip to England to style a duchess for the holidays? So much yes. Guillory’s fourth book centers on an older protagonist, 50-something Vivian Forest, whose daughter Maddie (last seen in The Wedding Party) provides the impetus for the trip of a lifetime. When Vivian meets Malcolm Hudson, a veddy proper private secretary to the Queen, sparks fly. The problem is, Vivian’s due back in the States after New Year’s. Is a magical fling worth the possible heartache to follow?

    Christmas Shopaholic, by Sophie Kinsella
    Becky Bloomwood Brandon is eager to share a traditional English Christmas with husband Luke and daughter Minnie at her parents’ place, complete with ugly sweaters and caroling. Then her mum and dad drop a bombshell: they’re moving out of the village of Letherby and into a trendy London ‘burb. As such, they need Becky to host the festivities this time around. Bargain shopping, well-meaning yet screwball attempts to help loved ones, and surprises in the form of an ex-boyfriend, ensue. Like a mug of cocoa with marshmallows on top, this looks to be a sweet and heartwarming delight. This is Becky’s eighth outing, but newcomers to the Shopaholic series needn’t have read the previous volumes.

    One Day in December, by Josie Silver
    What happens when your best friend lands the guy you’ve been fantasizing about for a year? That’s Laurie’s predicament in this romance that spans a decade and begins with a missed connection out a bus window in London. When Laurie and Jack first glimpse each other from afar, their mutual and intense attraction is put on simmer—they have no idea how to find each other again—until months later when Jack shows up on the arm of Laurie’s mate Sarah at a holiday party. Does fate intend for them to pursue each other, or is it better for everyone if they walk away? Perfect for fans of Love Actually.

    My Oxford Year, by Julia Whelan
    When Rhodes Scholar Ella Durran arrives at Oxford to study English lit, it’s the culmination of a lifelong dream. Soon, however, she’s torn between her education and a job opportunity working for a rising politician. Then there’s the banter-filled and swoony romance she’s begun with Jamie Davenport, a young, mischievous professor who pushes all her buttons in the best ways. But Jamie’s hiding something from Ella that will change everything—and force Ella to make choices that all seem headed toward heartbreak. Have Kleenex on hand for this gorgeous and emotional debut.

    London Belongs to Us, by Sarra Manning
    Fans of fast-paced stories set in a single night will tear through this love letter to London. When teenage Sunny discovers the truth about her boyfriend—he’s two-timing her with a girl from another school, and has been for a while—she sets off on a cross-city trek for answers. Zipping through villages both lesser-known and iconic (Notting Hill, Soho, Camden…), she meets a colorful cast of characters and learns what she’s willing and unwilling to do for love—and herself.

     What London-set romance novels would you recommend to Last Christmas fans?

    The post 5 London-Set Books to Read After You See <i>Last Christmas</i> appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Sarah Skilton 1:00 pm on 2019/11/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , Fiction, final option, gwendy's magic feather, , richard chizmar, spy, sword of kings, the age of anxiety, ,   

    The Season’s Can’t-Miss New Releases in Fiction 

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    Seven years after The Night Circus won our hearts, Erin Morgenstern returns with an equally riveting sophomore novel full of magic, lush imagery, and secret societies. The incomparable Danielle Steel is also back with a World War II spy tale, and in his debut novel, rocker Pete Townshend brings us an operatic, psychedelic meditation on creativity. If you’re not ready to leave behind the thrills and chills of late fall, look no further than Gwendy’s Magic Feather, by Richard Chizmar (with a foreward by Stephen King).

    The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern
    In this love letter to books and the power of stories to transform and make sense of our lives, The Night Circus author introduces us to graduate student and bibliophile Zachary Rawlins, who discovers a magical underground library that’s in danger of being destroyed. Soon Zachary is following clues that relate to an incident from his childhood, somehow captured in a book he never wrote. Painted doors that lead to lost cities; masquerade parties; secret societies; and a love story to call his own await him. Morgenstern’s masterful ability to immerse readers in fantastical realms will enchant and delight.

    Spy, by Danielle Steel       
    Fans of Steel’s historical fiction (particularly Silent Honor and A Good Woman) will devour this World War II-set espionage tale about a young woman living a life of subterfuge and risk. Alexandra Wickham is a classic beauty, fluent in French and German, and born into privilege in Hampshire, England, but she refuses to remain on the sidelines while her fellow countrymen put their lives on the line. Her volunteer work as a nurse in London quickly springboards to a position as a secret agent. But can she keep her true identity hidden from everyone she’s ever cared about?

    Final Option, by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison
    Juan Cabrillo, leader of “The Corporation” and captain of the Oregon—a disgusting clunker of a steamer that’s secretly the most high-tech ship in the world—is back for a 14th adventure. Sent to extract two American spies who’ve been exposed in Brazil, Cabrillo finds himself scrambling to avoid a trap. Worse, someone has duplicated the formerly one-of-a-kind Oregon in a bid to beat Cabrillo. He’s never faced such a formidable opponent, nor had more to lose if he and his crew fail in their mission.

    The Age of Anxiety, by Pete Townshend
    The Who’s lead guitarist and songwriter (who once owned a bookstore!) has written a novella, an autobiography, and a short story collection in the past, but this month he debuts something entirely new: an “operatic rock novel” ten years in the making. A sprawling, at times hallucinatory meditation on what it means to be creative (and the fine line between brilliance and madness), the book pulls back the curtain on certain aspects of the music industry while following two generations of a London family and the artistic—sometimes broken, sometimes damaged, always fascinating—people who surround them.

    Gwendy’s Magic Feather, by Richard Chizmar
    In Gwendy’s Button Box, Chizmar teamed up with Stephen King for a novella set in the iconic fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. Now Chizmar is flying solo for this full-length sequel that finds Gwendy (the once-hapless girl entrusted with the nightmarish button box) all grown up into an accomplished, happily married woman with political aspirations. Gwendy returns to her hometown when two girls go missing in a storm. Perhaps she’s meant to use the contraption to help aid in the search—or perhaps the contraption is using her.

    Sword of Kings, by Bernard Cornwell
    If you miss A Game of Thrones, why not dive into this bloody, battle-heavy, medieval history of England? In the twelfth book of the series (which inspired the Netflix show The Last Kingdom), 10th-century monarch King Edward sees power slipping from his grasp. He’ll need to rely on Uhtred of Bebbanburg—our narrator—to secure a proper heir by killing the heir’s main two rivals. Reluctant though he is to leave Northumbria (remind you of a certain Stark?) Uhtred is bound by oath and reluctantly up to the task, his sword “Serpent-Breath” by his side.

    The Glittering Hour, by Iona Grey
    At twenty-two, wealthy British socialite Selina Lennox and her wild ways are the talk of the town. But a chance encounter with penniless artist Lawrence Weston changes all that when he and Selina fall in love, although both are aware that their star-crossed romance will be frowned upon. When tragedy forces Selina to make a difficult decision, she chooses safety over passion. Years later, Selina’s nine year old daughter Alice has been left with her grandparents while her parents travel abroad. To keep her entertained, her mother sends Alice letters, and clues which lead her on a consequential treasure hunt. With its twists and turns, unforgettable characters, and lush period detail, this gorgeous historical saga of family, love, and loss will keep you spellbound.

    Africaville: A Novel, by Jeffrey Colvin
    This unforgettable debut follows the lives of three generations of the Sebolt family, whose ancestors, former slaves from the Caribbean and United States, settled in Nova Scotia, where they managed to build a thriving community, despite facing devastating hardships, from harsh winters to racial prejudice. No stranger to these same hardships, Kath Ella is nevertheless disappointed when her defiant son Omar leaves Canada behind for the US, eventually settling in the deep South, where he has a son of his own. He may have left Africaville behind, but Omar still finds himself forced to confront and come to terms with his roots, his identity, and his past in an epic story that weaves together family, history, and identity, against the backdrop of tumultuous historical events over the last century.

    The post The Season’s Can’t-Miss New Releases in Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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