Ruby's Staff Favorites

Ruby joined the Annie Bloom's staff in 2013. She enjoys fiction (especially science fiction, short stories, and YA) and history. 

Past Staff Favorites include: Loitering, The Goldfinch, Of Things Gone Astray, The Glass Sentence Series & The Crimson Skew, Margaret the First, Bone Gap, Book of Ages, Landfalls, Excellent Daughters, Six of Crows, SPQR, The Hungry Tide, The Ancillary series (starting with Ancillary Justice



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The City of Brass Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062678102
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Voyager - November 14th, 2017

S. A. Chakraborty has opened what promises to be a jaw-dropping fantasy trilogy with The City of Brass. I tore through this book, and if you’re looking for a satisfying and dynamic story, this one has it all: magical cities, family feuds, political games, a little romance, friendship, and treachery. When Nahri, a con-artist, is forced to flee Cairo, she finds herself under the protection of a powerful djinn. But is her new refuge all it seems? Age-old resentments are simmering in the City of Brass, and Nahri can’t help but stir the pot.

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Akata Witch Cover Image
ISBN: 9780142420911
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Speak - July 11th, 2017

Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch and its sequel, Akata Warrior, are set mainly in Nigeria, where Sunny discovers a world that exists side-by-side with the one the rest of us inhabit daily. Used to being an outsider in both America and Nigeria, Sunny is awed to discover she belongs to the Leopard People, a group of scholarly and powerful magicians. Finding a place she belongs doesn’t necessarily make all her problems go away; when there’s still homework, and proving to her brother’s friends that a girl can play soccer too—plus some noxious magical attacks that are starting to get pretty scary. Will Sunny learn enough, fast enough, to save herself and her new friends? Okorafor’s writing is wonderful, and she’ll have you rooting for Sunny from page one.

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Provenance Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316388672
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - September 26th, 2017


This is the story of a young woman finding her place in the galaxy, in spite of some highly illegal behavior and a very competitive brother -- a heist novel only Ann Leckie could write: with alien treaties, space stations, and new, intricately constructed cultures. Ingray is a foster daughter, with no hope of inheritance, who is taking a desperate chance. Her traveling companions may not be who they say they are, and some archeological discoveries might put her cultural identity in jeopardy. Ann Leckie delivers a standalone gem, packed with great characters and her trademark humor and empathy.

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Grendel's Guide to Love and War Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399555541
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - April 18th, 2017

Kaplan is definitely part of the next-gen of young adult writers, following Rainbow Rowell and Becky Albertalli in honest, funny, heart-wrenchingly good writing. You don't need to have much familiarity with the story of Grendel to enjoy this very loose retelling -- but Kaplan's sense of detail and homage to the original is stunning. Tom Grendel wants to understand the people around him: his father's PTSD, his mother's legacy, the girl-next-door's ambiguous attitude toward him. The only things standing in the way? A summer of hot weather, escalating prank wars, and the return of an old enemy. You won't want to put it down!

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October: The Story of the Russian Revolution Cover Image
ISBN: 9781784782771
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Verso - May 9th, 2017

It has been 100 years since the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the history of that year is still being told and retold. Enter China Mieville with October, a nonfiction day-by-day and month-by-month recounting of the revolutions of 1917. This is a great history for anyone who wants an introduction or a refresher to those tumultuous days. Mieville, known for the bizarre politics and protests that populate his sci-fi/fantasy novels, demonstrates his strengths as an academic scholar (which he is, London School of Economics degree included) in this nonfiction work. October covers everything from the bicycle brigades that patrolled Petrograd to the politics of Russia’s borderlands and the wracking effects of World War I. Ending with the rise of the Bolsheviks in October, Mieville’s history does not venture into the aftermath of this revolutionary year. Instead, Mieville asks how we look back, 100 long years later, at the men and women who believed that history could be molded and shaped at the people’s will.

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What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594634642
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 7th, 2017

The title of Helen Oyeyemi's short story collection is as delicious on the tongue, as obfuscating and obvious as the stories within: What is Not Yours is Not Yours. In "Books and Roses" romance and tenderness fight tooth and nail with the locked secrets of the past. In "A Brief History of the Homely Wench Society" a different kind of college club tries to figure out its place in the 21st century. A great introduction to Oyeyemi's deft work in the strange, the feminist, the modern fairytale.

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The Vanishing Velazquez: A 19th Century Bookseller's Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476762180
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - November 8th, 2016

The Vanishing Velazquez is a poetic and scholarly treasure hunt. Laura Cumming reconstructs the story of a bookseller and his quest to prove the existence of a long lost Velazquez portrait of Charles I. John Snare, who worked as a bookseller and printer before claiming to have discovered a Velazquez painting at an estate sale (at which point his life dramatically changed direction), intrigued Cumming from the moment she heard of him. Cumming’s own quest takes her from Spain, to England, and finally to America in a centuries-long chase for the elusive combination of paint and canvas that turns lives upside down. Cumming deftly balances the combination of biography and vivid artistic description; although Snare’s Velazquez is elusive, Cumming gives us the next best thing. Interspersing chapters on the dramatic Snare case with illuminating descriptions of Velazquez’s art and world, Cumming captures the feeling of standing before a great work of art—and it’s this feeling that bonds Cumming to John Snare (and us to her story).

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Sorcerer to the Crown Cover Image
By Zen Cho
ISBN: 9780425283400
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ace Books - July 12th, 2016

When Fairyland cuts off England's supply of magic (leaving them at the mercy of the French, which is not to be tolerated) it's up to Zacharias, the new head of the Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers to get it all back. And keep the Society from falling apart beneath him. Oh, and stay alive. Prunella is faced with a whole other set of problems when she discovers the extent of her own magical powers in a country where women with a hint of witchery are ignored or locked away. Ready to overturn all the proprieties constraining Zacharias, Prunella adds a nice dash of chaos to his beleaguered quest. In this delightful (and pitch-perfect) take on Regency fiction, Zen Cho doesn't let anything slip through the cracks. She gives voice to great characters who are in a unique position to the see the disparities of their world, and Sorcerer to the Crown is both an ode to the fiction of Georgette Heyer and Susanna Clarke and a call to expand the context (historical, political) of nineteenth-century magical fiction. And of course, great storytelling too!

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Up to This Pointe Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553537703
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Ember - January 30th, 2018

Jennifer Longo's second novel proves that her skill for finding humor, romance, and self-discovery in the strangest places isn't going anywhere. In Up to this Pointe a San Franciscan ballet dancer takes a giant leap away from everything she's ever known in order to figure out what she really wants. Like other favorites (Eleanor & Park, I Capture the Castle) Up to this Pointe captures both the dark and the light sides of figuring out just exactly where we fit in to this crazy world. Great characters and a plot that is just strange enough to keep you guessing -- this is a winner! (Don't miss her first YA novel either; Six Feet Over It is written for a slightly younger audience -- think just starting high school instead of leaving it.)

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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307908278
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon Books - April 21st, 2015

This graphic novel satisfies every history, science, and steampunk-ish craving I've had recently. Padua's art is open, diligent, and funny--just like her stories. Lady Lovelace and Charles Babbage take on poetry, computers, and Lewis Carroll in this delightful (and footnote packed) graphic novel.

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The Invention of Nature Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345806291
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 4th, 2016

Wulf is one of my favorite science history writers – not least because she always manages to combine language and science, nature and poetry—and Humboldt is a perfect subject for her. With this engaging biography, Alexander von Humboldt is brought to life in all his “chased by 10,000 pigs” glory. Wulf reminds us with vibrancy why we should still care about Humboldt today (alongside some great cameos from 19th century characters of all kinds): climate change, plate tectonics, South American revolutions, the idea that nature is an interconnected web.