Sharon's Staff Favorites

Sharon joined the Annie Bloom's staff in October 2011.

I enjoy reading fiction of all sorts, especially historical fiction, mystery, fantasy and short stories.  My favorite novels usually involve a mystery, but not necessarily a murder, and are written in a way that evokes a strong sense of mood and atmosphere.

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Since We Fell Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062129383
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press - May 9th, 2017

Since We Fell could be described as a psychological thriller, but it is much more than that. Lehane devotes much of the book to our protagonist, Rachel. She is a journalist who has had her share of challenges, from an overbearing mother who refused to tell her who her father was, to a traumatic on-air breakdown that goes viral and crushes her emotionally and professionally. By the time she falls in love and marries the seemingly perfect husband, we are emotionally vested in her. She has overcome a lot, but just when her life starts to regain some semblance of normalcy, she realizes that she has been deceived in a big way. It becomes apparent that things are not at all as they seem, and that's when it gets pretty intense! This is a book that builds steam as it goes. If you are looking for a good escape read, this is a great choice.


The Nix Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101970348
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 2nd, 2017

Samuel is eleven when his mother abruptly walks out of his life. Decades later she reappears just as suddenly in the form of a news media sensation: the notorious "Packer Attacker." She wants his help... but first, he must find answers to questions about his family that have plagued him his entire life.

Nathan Hill writes with humor and heart in this far-reaching saga that traces back to a small village in WWII Norway and on to the 1968 riots in Chicago, while also taking hilarious pokes at the absurdities of modern America, such as technology addiction, entitled youth, and the national media circus. You won't know whether to laugh or cry-- but either way you'll savor every minute of it!


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Today Will Be Different Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316403436
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little Brown and Company - October 4th, 2016

Eleanor Flood knows she is often disorganized and self-absorbed, so today she is determined to be a better person, to give to the people in her life the attention, gratitude and love that they deserve. But events seem to conspire against her, and despite her best intentions the day spirals out of control faster than you can say "I know... right?" In Today Will Be Different Maria Semple has brought us another imperfect but lovable and zany character that we can't help rooting for as she grapples to accept certain aspects of her life, and she is blindsided by the fact that her husband has taken a one-week "vacation" from work that she knew nothing about. Fans of Where'd You Go, Bernadette will welcome the return of Semple's singular sense of humor and her unique combination of sensitivity and funniness that kept me turning the pages.


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Dark Matter Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101904244
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - May 2nd, 2017

What happens when parallel universes are able to intersect? A wild and terrifying romp through the multiverse, where every possible outcome of a given moment in time is represented by a new reality. This book is a thriller that will leave your mind reeling, but it will also leave you questioning the nature of reality and examining the significance of how the choices we make in life define our unique identity.


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Lovecraft Country Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062292070
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - February 14th, 2017

Atticus Turner and his friends go looking for his father and become unwitting targets of a secret cult of powerful warlocks. They face them fearlessly and turn out to be formidable adversaries... they have faced worse. They are, after all, young black people traveling the in the south during the Jim Crow era. The cover of this books proclaims "America's demons revealed!" but clearly it is not referring only to the evil sorcerers in the story.


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I'm Thinking of Ending Things Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781501126949
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - March 21st, 2017

You can never truly know someone unless you know what they are thinking. This is one of the things Jake's girlfriend is thinking as she embarks on a bizarre road trip with him to visit his parents. She knows something is not quite right, and so does the reader, but it's hard to pinpoint what is amiss. One thing is for sure, it can't end well-- it's dark and it's disturbing, but you will be on the edge of your seat while you figure out what exactly is happening in this psychological thriller.


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Jane Steele Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780425283202
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - March 14th, 2017

She's no Jane Eyre... yet her life mirrors that of her favorite heroine in many ways. A self-proclaimed serial murderess who will charm  you with her confessions!


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Slade House Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812988079
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - June 28th, 2016

A mysterious house only shows itself via a small iron door that appears to a special person (or should I say victim) every nine years. Each occasion is a story of its own, but they connect in that mysterious Mitchell way to work against the terrible two behind it all. Would be a great book to read in one sitting on Halloween!


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Speak Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062391209
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press - May 3rd, 2016

In this unique novel five distinct stories, spanning time from 1663 to 2040, are elegantly threaded together to form a poignant exploration of what it means to be human. Among them: Alan Turing as he struggles with the loss of his best friend, a pilgrim girl traveling to a new world, and the creator of dolls so human-like that they are banned and he is incarcerated. Their stories are touching... but how much can they really touch the mind of a machine who knows and thinks about them all? Beautifully written and thought provoking, this book is unlike anything I've read before.


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The Last Bookaneer Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143108092
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - April 26th, 2016

In Pearl's latest novel, we are treated to a glimpse of the hidden world of the bookaneer. These days, we often think of the term "pirating" as the theft of digital content, but in The Last Bookaneer, the theft of intellectual property takes on a much more tangible and exciting form. It is the late 1800s, a golden age for literature when classics such as Frankenstein and Treasure Island are being written. The lack of international copyright laws creates a group of opportunists, known as bookaneers, who take it upon themselves to nefariously obtain manuscripts and provide them to overseas publishers for great financial gain (and glory amongst themselves). With new copyright laws on the horizon, the hourglass is turned and the race is on to find one last great masterpiece. Rumor has it that Robert Louis Stevenson is writing his final novel at his estate in Samoa. Mr. Fergins, a humble London bookseller, is drawn into adventure and intrigue in the South Seas when one of his bookaneer associates, Pen Davenport, decides to go after it. Davenport's rival, Belial, has also taken on the mission. The bookaneers' motives are ambiguous... money and notoriety, most certainly. But they are also lovers of literature, and take a certain pride in their work. And, as Mr. Fergins finds out, their rivalry is also quite personal. Are they con artists and thieves or literary Robin Hoods? It's hard to decide, but trying to figure it out is just part of what makes this a delightful story!


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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780307408877
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - March 22nd, 2016

A fascinating look into the days, hours, and even minutes, prior to the sinking of the Lusitania. Meticulously researched and well told, Larson tells the story from all perspectives, including the German submarine, the secret intelligence office in England, and of course the passengers and crew of the Lusitania. This book is hard to put down despite the fact that we know how it ends!


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The Farm Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781455551064
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - February 24th, 2015

If you are looking for a real page-turner, give this book a try! Suspenseful, and well told this story drew me in from page one.  I have never read this author before, but I surely will be reading more of him now!


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Summer House with Swimming Pool Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780804138833
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hogarth Press - April 28th, 2015

Fans of The Dinner will not be surprised by the cynical and sometimes caustic narration of our main character, Dr. Marc Schlosser, who's perspective on his patients can be somewhat disturbing. But one patient in particular, celebrity actor Ralph Meier, has pushed things to the limit.  After a disasterous vacation at Meier's beach house, Marc's family will never be the same, and his account of the events will have you riveted.


The Plover Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250062451
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - March 31st, 2015

Declan is fed up with life's complications, people's expectations, and other complexities of existence. He decides to set sail on the Pacific in his boat, The Plover. All he wants is to be alone and unencumbered, to live a simple life on the sea with no destination in mind. But things don't turn out as planned. His first companion is an unwanted seagull, whom he grudgingly befriends ... and this is not the only unlikely crew member Declan takes on during his journey. As the cast of colorful characters grows, the adventure begins. Doyle's prose is amusing, at times profound, full of wonder, and always thoroughly enjoyable. The Ploveris a delightful novel--it is a one-of-a-kind south seas adventure--but also an exploration of the interconnectedness of everything and everyone. It pays homage both to the ocean and to the human spirit, in their vast, mysterious, ever-changing beauty.


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Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780307743756
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage Books - August 12th, 2014

Anyone who has any affinity for this marvelous city will appreciate this fascinating account of how a tiny little village in the 1300's grew into a great power of the golden age, and how some of the ideas and values that first appeared there have carried forward to affect many aspects of the governments and economies of today.  The writing flows so naturally and the historical tidbits are so interesting that it is a surprisingly fast read!


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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250037756
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - September 24th, 2013

When Clay loses his high-tech programming job, he decides to take the late shift at a curious bookshop that is open 24 hours.  Once he begins working there he realizes that it is more curious than he first thought-- most of the "customers" are regulars, but no one ever seems to actually buy a book.  Clay decides to find out what is really going on, and thus begins an intriguing and fun adventure that is full of surprises. Funny and clever, loved it from start to finish!


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Wonder Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780375869020
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - February 14th, 2012

Everyone should read this book! It has a great lessons in compassion, acceptance and friendship for all ages. August (Auggie) Pullman is about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep.  He's a great kid... fun-loving, intelligent and inquisitive... much like any other fifth grader.  Except for one thing.  His face is deformed to the point that small children cry and run away when they see him.  He's never been to school with other kids before because his many surgeries and medical issues have prevented it. Now he has decided to give it a try.  InWonder we learn about his experience in fifth grade through many eyes, from Auggie, his sister Via,  and several of his classmates, and the challenges each of them face.  It is a hearbreaking and heartwarming story, I highly recommend it.


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Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781451667264
Availability: Special Order
Published: Gallery Books - June 4th, 2013

If a book can be described as fun and dark, then Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa is that book. Benjamin Constable (yes, the main character shares the same name as the author) is an English writer living in Paris who becomes the unwitting participant in a very unusual treasure hunt. It begins when he comes home one day and is horrified to find a suicide letter from his good friend Tomomi Ishikawa, otherwise known as Butterfly. Certain information in the letter leads him to embark on a trail of mysterious clues, hidden notebooks, and strange coincidences. The notebooks tell disturbing stories, and both Benjamin and the reader begin to wonder where fact and fiction meet. One of the things I loved about this book was that the characters were funny and endearing, despite the dark psychological thriller aspects of the story. It is a book that keeps you guessing right up until the end. -- Sharon


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The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781451632835
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - September 25th, 2012

This book is a great way to learn about the life and art of Frida Kahlo. Using a blend of creative fiction, biographical facts, and some tasty sounding traditional Mexican recipes, Haghenbeck brings us a vibrant rendition of Frida's life. Although she was plagued by crippling health problems, her passionate and colorful personality comes through. We learn of the near fatal bus accident that greatly influenced her life, her tumultuous marriage to the well known artist Diego Rivera (her second "great accident," according to Frida), and her various friendships and affairs with the likes of Georgia O'Keefe, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Leon Trotsky, and Nelson Rockefeller. The recipes from her "Hierba Santa Book" (Sacred Herbs Book) add zest to the story by connecting her passion for cooking to the people that she cared about. The story is told beautifully and imaginatively... and in a style as brazen and colorful as the artist herself.


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The Absolutist Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781590515525
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Other Press (NY) - July 10th, 2012

Does it take more courage to fight in a war, or to conscientiously refuse to fight, only to be called a coward and face execution as a traitor? This is one of the the thought-provoking questions being explored in John Boyne's touching story of two boys who become soldiers in World War I.

This book drew me in from the first page, it opens as Tristan Sadler is traveling to meet the sister of Will Bancroft, his friend who died in France during the war. There are things Tristan would like to tell her about how Will died, but he is not sure if he will be able to tell her the whole truth. Courage, passion, principles, and betrayal are brought to extremes in this compelling story about morality in both love and war. -- Sharon


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Half-Blood Blues Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781250012708
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador USA - February 28th, 2012

Sid Griffiths, an aging jazz musician, recollects his youth playing with Hieronymus Falk and the Hot Time Swingers in 1940, Berlin. Falk, an African-German "mischling" (half-breed), was taken from a cafe in Paris by the Nazis and never seen again, but a tattered recording of him survived and brought him worldwide fame. With unusual slang and a jazz-like tempo, Sid recalls dreams of musical success and a friendship tainted by jealousy. His story is overshadowed by fear as the war encroaches on their lives. Jazz music has been declared degenerate by the Nazis and after an unfortunate encounter with "the boots" the musicians are forced to flee to Paris where they meet up with Louis Armstrong and begin work on the monumental "Half-Blood Blues" recording. I enjoyed this book for its powerful narrative style and for its unique perspective of WWII Europe.-- Sharon


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While Mortals Sleep Cover Image
By Kurt Vonnegut, Dave Eggers (Foreword by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780385343749
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Press - January 3rd, 2012

These 16 previously unreleased stories, written early in Kurt Vonnegut's career, bring us a dazzling array of classic Vonnegut characters. From a man in love with a technology-enhanced refrigerator to a lonely stenographer who responds to a plea for help she receives through a dictaphone record, we find people who are at once funny, tragic, hopeful and sometimes even pathetic, but most of all they are achingly human. As a bonus, the book includes illustrations by the author. A great way to get a daily dose of the dry humor, wit, and insight that Vonnegut fans have come to know and love! -- Sharon


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The Sherlockian Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780446572583
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Twelve - November 21st, 2011

In The Sherlockian, two crimes occur over a century apart and are cleverly woven together, linked only by a missing diary. One storyline follows Arthur Conan Doyle in 1893 London, while the other follows Harold White, a newly inducted member of the Sherlockian group "Baker Street Irregulars", in 2010 New York. When a prominent member of the group is found murdered on the day he was to unveil the missing diary of Arthur Conan Doyle, Harold decides to put Sherlock Holmes' methods of deduction to the test and solve the case himself. Both stories will keep you turning the page while the plots are masterfully merged to finally reveal the content and fate of the notorious missing diary.-- Sharon


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The Book Thief Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780375842207
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - September 11th, 2007

This is one of the most touching and beautifully written books I have read in a long time. It takes place during World War II in Germany. The superb but unlikely narrator, Death (who perhaps is not such an unlikely narrator given the setting), tells us about a young girl named Liesel who loses her only real family when she is young, and whose entire youth is marred by the war. Her love of books somehow shapes her life and helps to pull her through the horrors of the war. Through death’s unique perspective we are touched by the bits of happiness she is able to find, we are sympathetic to the fear and sadness she faces, and we are torn by the tragedy she is a part of. But most of all we are able to see with clarity the beauty in Liesel’s life that is created by love for her new family and friends.-- Sharon


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Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062122681
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - July 10th, 2012

Featuring a great line-up of popular contemporary authors, this is a collection of all kinds of stories: some futuristic and some nostalgic. They are often eerie or melancholy, some tell of childhood gone-by, while others tell of pivotal moments in a life. The common thread is the creativity and imagination that brought them to existence and that they were inspired by Ray Bradbury. The diversity contained in this book is a testament to the widespread influence Ray Bradbury has had on so many writers of our time and, it follows, on so many readers as well. --Sharon

 


The Vanishing of Katharina Linden Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780385344180
Availability: Special Order
Published: Bantam - April 26th, 2011

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The Shadow of the Wind Cover Image
By Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Lucia Graves (Translator)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143034902
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - January 25th, 2005

The romantic, mysterious streets of post civil war Barcelona come to life in this wonderfully told tale. A young boy, Daniel Sempere, visits a secret library and finds a mysterious book that is destined to change his life. When he decides to find out more about the author of the book he embarks on a tale of intrigue, love, friendship, adventure, and even a touch of the supernatural. You will never think of Barcelona in the same way after you read this!-- Sharon


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An Instance of the Fingerpost Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780425167724
Availability: Special Order
Published: Berkley Publishing Group - February 12th, 1999

Set in the post Cromwell 1600's, this is the story of the death of an Oxford don and Sarah Blundy, the young woman who is accused of his murder. It is a tale of deception and intrigue, told four times over, each time by a different character with a radically different perspective. Each telling sheds a new light onto the story, but not until the last account is the full picture revealed.-- Sharon


The Thirteenth Tale Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780743298032
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Washington Square Press - October 9th, 2007