Ruby's Staff Favorites

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

I've also reviewed the audiobooks of Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri and Ordinary Girls by Blair Thornburgh over at Libro.fm!

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Starling House: A Reese's Book Club Pick By Alix E. Harrow Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781250799050
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Tor Books - October 3rd, 2023

A story about a haunted house that wants to be a home, and the price of history in a small town. With a (fake) bibliography that will leave you wishing you could research all the references, this is an imaginative and captivating read.


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Translation State By Ann Leckie Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780316289719
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Orbit - June 6th, 2023

This new venture into the universe of the Imperial Radch trilogy explores the vastness of existence and culture and the very personal stories of three characters coming into their own. It's wonderful to be immersed in their stories and to see Ann Leckie play with some of the assumptions that formed around the Radch, and revisit some of our favorite characters.


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Thornhedge By T. Kingfisher Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250244093
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Tor Books - August 15th, 2023

A fairytale that blooms with heart and strangeness. As only T Kingfisher ever could, this tale flips changeling mythologies and Sleeping Beauty around, and providing us with a gem of our own to enjoy.


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Nettle & Bone By T. Kingfisher Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250244048
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Tor Books - April 26th, 2022

Reading T. Kingfisher's novels got me through 2020, 2021, and probably 2022. Nettle & Bone is my second most highly anticipated book of 2022 (the first being Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir).


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The Bone Orchard By Sara A. Mueller Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250776969
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Tor Books - March 14th, 2023

This is a thoughtful and powerful spin on the court-intrigue fantasy, featuring psychics and laboratories. When Charm is offered an unfettered mind in exchange for solving the Emperor's murder, the mechanisms that she had in place to keep herself and her boneghosts safe are threatened. Solving the mystery means tearing both at the seams holding the rotting empire together and the seams of her own life. I love the characters, and the way Mueller details the corrosive and insinuating ways a strictly biased society enforces its power.


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Hench: A Novel By Natalie Zina Walschots Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062978585
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - November 9th, 2021

Almost like it takes place in the world of The Incredibles -- except we get to see the villain's side, and our protagonist works for a temp agency that hires out henchs. When she's left without healthcare coverage or a job after a posting-gone-wrong, she takes things into her own hands. Funny and emotionally resonant, this is turning out to be one of my escapist (but also soul-enriching) favorites this year.


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Summer in the City of Roses By Michelle Ruiz Keil Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781641291712
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Soho Teen - July 6th, 2021

How to say it? Michelle Ruiz Keil's coming of age novels are steeped in the tangled realities of what it means to be a family, to be in a relationship, to stand and run and fight for yourself and for others. But Summer in the City of Roses is like staring at the reverse side of a tapestry or embroidery. Our reality is visible, but the depth and pattern are revealed. Iph and Orr will capture your heart!


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One Last Stop By Casey McQuiston Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250244499
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - June 1st, 2021

So if there wasn't enough tension and the stakes weren't high enough in Casey McQuiston's Red, White, and Royal Blue (there was, and they were) now we're given One Last Stop: a girl lost in a time and a romance that's destined to be a missed connection. Good to the last drop! Just like RW&RB it exists in an "alternate" 2020, which might be a relief to read, or a bit surprising (how can these girls be making out on a subway train, where are their masks?), and makes for perfect romantic escapism with heart and kindness. 


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Black Water Sister By Zen Cho Cover Image
By Zen Cho
$17.00
ISBN: 9780425283431
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Ace - May 11th, 2021

Jess has kept secrets from her family her whole life, and she’s about to learn they’ve got some of their own. When her family moves back to Malaysia in the wake of her father’s illness, Jess gets to know her grandmother better—except her grandmother passed away before Jess arrived. Haunted, and realizing that keeping secrets from ghosts is difficult, Jess is forced to confront the forces of family history that set her future spinning out of control. Zen Cho’s usual heartfelt characters and humor ground the story, even as it tackles intense issues, including violence against women and coming out. Black Water Sister is a ghost story and a thriller that immerses the reader in Penang’s George Town. If you want more about Malaysia and Singapore when you finish, check out Sonny Liew’s masterful graphic novel history of Singapore through the eyes of a comics artist; The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye.

 


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Winter's Orbit (The Resolution Universe) By Everina Maxwell Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250758842
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Tor Books - December 28th, 2021

If you liked A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine, Winter's Orbit is another equally delightful space (romance) full of politics, intrigue, and great characters. Ann Leckie recommended an early version of the story that was posted online by saying, "Space princes. I mean. Seriously. Give it a look"! I agree!


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The Beadworkers: Stories By Beth Piatote Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781640094277
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Counterpoint - October 13th, 2020

I devoured this short story collection in a single evening. While unrelated in plot or character, each story melts into the next, a chorus that ends with a retelling of Antigone.


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A Deadly Education: A Novel (The Scholomance #1) By Naomi Novik Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593128503
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Del Rey - May 4th, 2021

Naomi Novik writes characters with delightful voices, and this disastrous magical academy won't be a place you'll forget! The series continues with The Last Graduate.


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Displacement By Kiku Hughes Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250193537
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: First Second - August 18th, 2020

Kiku Hughes is one of my favorite artists, and this graphic novel is a beautiful and powerful look at memory and history.


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Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb Series #2) By Tamsyn Muir Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781250313225
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Tordotcom - August 4th, 2020

A total surprise, and I loved it! Spend time on Gideon and Harrow and you won't be disappointed by these space necromancers and their very, very bad jokes.


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Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb Series #1) By Tamsyn Muir Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250313188
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Tordotcom - July 14th, 2020

It's a book that doesn't make sense until you start it, and only then once you've started it a second time. Perfection!


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Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery (A Vera Kelly Story #2) By Rosalie Knecht Cover Image
$15.95
Email or call to check availability.
ISBN: 9781947793798
Published: Tin House Books - June 16th, 2020

Who Is Vera Kelly? and its sequel, Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery, are spy (and private detective) mysteries set in the 1960s. Spanning the Western hemisphere from New York to Argentina and later to the Dominican Republic, these novels give us a woman who operates outside of every system she encounters, a feat she manages by blending in seamlessly to most situations. But how much can she keep a secret, when she gets closer and closer to the subjects of her mission?


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A Choir of Lies By Alexandra Rowland Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781534412842
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
NON-RETURNABLE. May take longer to arrive. Please confirm this is the edition you want.
Published: S&S/Saga Press - June 2nd, 2020

Alexandra Rowland's sequel to A Conspiracy of Truths picks up with my favorite character and a bunch of footnotes -- what better way to tell a story about stories? As the fantasy version of the Dutch Tulip mania grips a coastal town, the power of stories is once again put to the test, and our new Chant learns that it all depends on how you use them, for money, for politics, or for community.


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Magic for Liars: A Novel By Sarah Gailey Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250174628
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Tor Books - May 5th, 2020

A noir and a magic school murder? Count me in!


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I Wish You All the Best By Mason Deaver Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781338608359
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: PUSH - May 5th, 2020

This young adult novel should be the next read for fans of contemporary fiction that doesn't flinch away from the heartbreaking and the joyful. Mason Deaver has given us a character whose fight to come into their own should be cheered loudly. Ben has to start over at a new school when they are forced to move in with their sister, who they haven't seen in years. It's a novel about finding support, building trust, and making the world a better place one relationship at a time. Deaver's writing is effortless and emotional, the perfect accompaniment to Ben's journey. 


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The Satapur Moonstone (A Perveen Mistry Novel) By Sujata Massey Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781641291316
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Soho Crime - March 10th, 2020

Sujata Massey introduced us to Perveen Mistry in The Widows of Malabar Hill and has now released a sequel, The Satapur Moonstone. The mysteries are a delightful blend of thoughtful lawyering and high-stakes drawing room drama. Inspired by real-life lawyer Cornelia Sorabji (who also makes an appearance in the first book in the series), Perveen Mistry is a lawyer practicing with her father's firm in 1920s Bombay. Her status as a Parsi woman allows her to assist on cases that a male lawyer could not: representing women who practice purdah. In both books, Perveen takes on cases involving widows and mothers and navigates the tricky waters between British law, Indian law, and a variety of religious tenets. The tangled politics of interwar India, class divides, and women's rights all conspire to make each case trickier than the last. In The Satapur Moonstone, Perveen ventures away from Bombay to the royal palace of Satapur, a fictional kingdom in the Western Ghats south of Bombay. Massey is as deft at conjuring rainy jungles and isolated palaces as she was at bringing cosmopolitan Bombay to life in The Widows of Malabar Hill. It is this wealth of detail and research that make the books stand out, along with Perveen's endearing and forthright spirit.


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A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1) By Arkady Martine Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250186447
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Tor Books - February 25th, 2020

Mahit Dzmare is sent on a diplomatic mission without some vital pieces of information -- but what new ambassador expects their job to be easy? This political- and personal- intrigue space opera has it all; a lot of secret court maneuvering, a little romance, cultural clashes, and some unsolved assassinations.


The Priory of the Orange Tree (The Roots of Chaos) By Samantha Shannon Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781635570304
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - February 18th, 2020

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The Galleons: Poems By Rick Barot Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781571315236
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Milkweed Editions - February 11th, 2020

Beautiful and luminous! Poetry steeped in history.


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Miss Kopp Just Won't Quit (A Kopp Sisters Novel #4) By Amy Stewart Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781328614216
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Mariner Books - May 7th, 2019

This series is so much fun! Start with Girl Waits with Gun.


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The Widows of Malabar Hill (A Perveen Mistry Novel #1) By Sujata Massey Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781616959760
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Soho Crime - November 20th, 2018

A delightful historical mystery!


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Loudermilk: Or, The Real Poet; Or, The Origin of the World By Lucy Ives Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781593763909
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Soft Skull - May 7th, 2019

Truly the only novel about an MFA poetry program that matters; part parody, part homage, and another* Cyrano de Bergerac retelling, this ridiculous farce of collegiate-town manners and betrayal is a heady read.

*See my YA novel recommendation We Are the Perfect Girl above.


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Spinning Silver: A Novel By Naomi Novik Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780399180996
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Del Rey - May 7th, 2019

There are a lot of things to love about Naomi Novik’s latest novel. It’s a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin that plucks the heart out of that fairy-tale and sprints off in a whole new direction. The elves who ride the icy roads around Miryem’s small village care about one thing only, and that’s gold. So when Miryem starts to scrape in enough money to keep her family comfortable through the next winter, she has more to deal with than just the jealousy of her neighbors. Of course, things get more complicated when the crown prince, the local warlord’s daughter, and some magical jewelry get involved. Told in multiple, distinct perspectives, Novik’s Spinning Silver tears along to a powerful ending. It’s my favorite book of 2018, and introduces so many great heroines—this is the kind of fantasy we need more of!


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On a Sunbeam By Tillie Walden Cover Image
$22.99
ISBN: 9781250178138
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: First Second - October 2nd, 2018

A space opera coming-of-age with some of the most delightful artwork, and a tender story. Where space operas in novel form get their world-building across in words, Tillie Walden has shaped a universe of physical impossibilities that I long to visit, with images alone.


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The City of Brass: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy) By S. A. Chakraborty Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062678119
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Harper Voyager - July 3rd, 2018

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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Who Is Vera Kelly? (A Vera Kelly Story #1) By Rosalie Knecht Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781947793019
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Tin House Books - June 12th, 2018

A historical mystery that is in the spy novel genre; a bit noir, a bit political escapade, Vera Kelly makes for a fantastically memorable series.


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Jane Steele By Lyndsay Faye Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780425283202
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - March 14th, 2017

Read this murderous take on Jane Eyre and then check out Faye's historical fiction romance set in Portland: The Paragon Hotel.


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What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours By Helen Oyeyemi Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781594634642
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Riverhead Books - March 7th, 2017

These short stories will sweep you up and away into strange houses and worlds beyond the every-day; and yet every single one feels as immediate and perfect as a cup of tea on a cold day.


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A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes Novel #1) By Brittany Cavallaro Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062398918
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - January 3rd, 2017

This is the first novel in a four book series that reimagines Sherlock and Watson as their own descendants, Charlotte and Jamie, who have to deal with the legacies of their famous forebears. Every single book adds something powerful and exciting to the series; gripping!


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The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World By Andrea Wulf Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780345806291
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
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.

 


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The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (Pantheon Graphic Library) By Sonny Liew Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781101870693
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Pantheon - March 1st, 2016

This side- and footnote-filled graphic novel ties for my favorite along The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage; the opposite of Sydney Padua's sadly out of print Adventures, The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye takes a fictional comic artist and recreates his work. A biography told in comics, the history of Singapore in the life of one man -- there is so much to see and learn in Sonny Liew's masterpiece! Stunning and endlessly rewarding.


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Bone Gap By Laura Ruby Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062317629
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Balzer + Bray - April 26th, 2016

A beautiful YA novel about what it takes to see someone, and to build a family.


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Margaret the First: A Novel By Danielle Dutton Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781936787357
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Catapult - March 15th, 2016

A pocket-sized novel of a real historical figure; the cover matches the mood of this novel, and you'll come away with a real sense of place and person.


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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer (Pantheon Graphic Library) By Sydney Padua Cover Image
$40.00
ISBN: 9780307908278
Availability: Backordered - availability and arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Pantheon - April 21st, 2015

History of technology? Graphic novel? Cartoon? Biography? Filled with footnotes and research? A romp!


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The Hungry Tide: A Novel By Amitav Ghosh Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780618711666
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Harper Perennial - June 7th, 2006

Amitav Ghosh was a historian, critiqued for his novelistic essays, before becoming a novelist in name as well. This novel tackles the contemporary ramifications of the history of the Sundarbans in northeastern India with an eye to the ineractions between people, convervancy, and the natural world that surrounds them.


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Mrs. Mohr Goes Missing (A Zofia Turbotynska Mystery) By Maryla Szymiczkowa, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translated by) Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780358161462
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: HarperVia - March 17th, 2020

The first in a mystery series by Polish partners Jacek Dehnel and Piotr Tarczyński, writing with the pen name Maryla Szymiczkowa. It is a great historical mystery that captures a time and place on the edge of great turmoil. I would highly recommend this series to fans of my other favorite historical mysteries, The Widows of Malabar Hill and Girl Waits with Gun, but Zofia Turbotynska occupies a different place in her society than the heroines of those stories; she is perfectly willing to use the biases of her society to her advantage. Because, or perhaps in spite, of that lack of self-reflection, Zofia waltzes through Cracow at the crux of great change with her extravagant hats held high. The story immerses us in Cracow of the 1890s, and through Zofia and her sleuthing we get to visit the bright and dim corners of this time and place in history.