Check It Out Category: Staff Picks

Why MPPL Staff Love Talia Hibbert

Zoom Program: Meet the author Talia Hibbert, Saturday, July 17 at 11 a.m.

What is it about Talia Hibbert’s books that has won the hearts of our readers’ advisors? Peek over the shoulders of MPPL staff to learn six reasons why they are infatuated, and join us for a live virtual conversation on Saturday, July 17 to hear from the author herself. Can’t wait? Try a reading date with Get a Life, Chloe Brown, the first of the Brown Sisters trilogy, as ebook or e-audio on Hoopla.

Real and Relatable Characters

“I enjoy how real both her male and female characters are. They have many facets to them and they are normal people with things like tough pasts, mental health issues, and/or disabilities, and I find that so refreshing and relatable.”

What We Already Love but More

“I love that the sisters make reappearances throughout the whole trilogy and that there is overall a general kindness to these books even in the enemies-to-lovers trope. Speaking of tropes: Hibbert covers a bunch of them (fake dating, enemies to lovers, person teaching other person to LIVE), but because she has such superb character development and banter between characters it feels like fresh takes on the tropes.”

Ultramodern with Ease

“I liked that the writing was effortlessly contemporary. There are references to social media and other bits of modern life that don’t feel clunky like they sometimes do when an author is trying to seem ‘with it.’ It feels like the author could be writing about her own life — that’s how real the characters, places, and social media bits feel.”

 

Accessibility and Tone

“A way in for me was when I was trying to stretch my reading, and I was able to do so easily  thanks to the humor and not-often-talked-about issues. I’d probably recommend to a reader looking for a more contemporary/real-life (right now) romance with a bit of humor. I’d definitely mention the fun back and forth/quirkiness between the characters. So romantical!”

Inclusivity

“The book I read had two Black main characters, a bisexual lead, two non-Christian religions, and a mental health subplot, and still managed to be funny and fun to read.”

Delicious Audio Productions

“I love the snappy dialogue, and the audiobooks’ narrators are fabulous!! Yes, I’m swooning!”

Added note: Steamy Encounters 

Talia is renown for romance with lots of sizzle. Whether you are looking for more stories with equal heat or some that lean into slow-burn simmer instead, we can suggest just the right recipe!

Winter Reading Ideas: Most Anticipated Reads of 2021

most anticipated reads of 2021

Staff share their most anticipated reads of 2021! 

The Lost Apothecary book cover

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner (Laura)

Beneath the Keep book cover

Beneath the Keep by Erika Johansen (Liz)

Aftershock book cover

Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu (Al) –

“Reading it for the Social Justice badge in the Winter Reading challenge”

How Beautiful We Were book cover

How Beautiful We Were by Mbue Imbolo (Denise)

Klara and the Sun book cover

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Cathleen)

Detransition, Baby book cover

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters (Chelsea) –

“Planning to read for the LGBTQ+ authors badge in the Winter Reading challenge”

The Kindest Lie book cover

The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson (Jenny)

The Perfect Guests book cover

The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous (Nancy)

 

Be sure to log all your 2021 reads for Winter Reading on Beanstack and you may earn a prize!

 

Winter Reading Ideas: Staff Favorites of 2020

FAVT Staff Favorites 2020 header

We would not dream of celebrating the start of a new year without first cheering the reads that proved exciting company during the last. Choose one of these 2020 staff favorites to kick off your own Winter Reading season, and let us know if you agree! Most are available in both physical and digital collections. Contact us for help with access or to request a title hand-picked just for you.

 Top Favorite!
House in the Cerulean Sea book coverLiz, Al, Denise, and Kelda recommend
The House in the Cerulean Sea
TJ Klune

Vanished Birds book coverAl recommends
Vanished Birds 
Simon Jimenez
Witch Hat Atelier book coverAbby recommends
Witch Hat Atelier series
Kamome Shirahama
Dont Go Without Me book coverJohn recommends
Don’t Go Without Me
Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
From Scratch book coverJenny recommends
From Scratch
Tembi Locke
Frankly in Love book coverAndrea recommends
Frankly in Love
David Yoon
When All Is Said book coverLaura recommends
When All Is Said
Anne Griffin
Foul Is Fair book coverCathleen recommends
Foul Is Fair
Hannah Capin
Anxious People book coverDenise recommends
Anxious People
Fredrik Backman
narrated by Marin Ireland
Sellout book coverChelsea recommends
The Sellout
Paul Beatty

 

Nothing to See Here book coverNancy recommends
Nothing to See Here
Kevin Wilson
narrated by Marin Ireland
House in the Cerulean Sea book coverAndrea recommends
Stamped
Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
narrated by Jason Reynolds
Ninth House book coverLiz recommends
Ninth House
Leigh Bardugo

 

Leave the World Behind book coverKelda recommends
Leave the World Behind
Rumaan Alam
narrated by Marin Ireland
Slaughter House-Five book coverJohn recommends
Slaughterhouse-Five
Ryan North
illustrated by Albert Monteys
story by Kurt Vonnegut
Charming as a Verb book coverJenny recommends
Charming as a Verb
Ben Philippe

What to Read from Home: More Staff E-book Picks

More Staff E-book Picks image

Do you long for books that might quiet your mind, excite the eye, or take on real life? Available with little or no wait, this week’s staff ebook suggestions spotlight thoughtful, personal stories of different moods, and each can be checked out from the Library’s digital services. Now’s a great time to try something new!

 

View from Penthouse B book cover

The View from Penthouse B
Elinor Lipman

Elinor Lipman writes engaging and optimistic novels that are light but also thought-provoking. In The View from Penthouse B, a unique set of roommates navigate New York City as they work through unexpected personal transitions. ~Nancy

OverDrive: ebook and e-audio
Hoopla: ebook and e-audio

 

News of the World book cover

News of the World
Paulette Giles

There is poetry to this prose, and I wouldn’t have expected to say that about an odd-couple pairing set in the realities of the Old West. This story is rich in local color, laconic yet tough characters, and slice-of-life dialogue. Even only a few pages in, I couldn’t escape echoes of classic American authors such as Ambrose Bierce and Bret Harte. ~Cathleen

OverDrive: ebook
Hoopla: ebook

 

You Deserve a Drink book cover

You Deserve a Drink: Boozy Misadventures and Tales of Debauchery 
Mamrie Hart

Littered with 90s pop-culture references and puns, live vicariously through comedian Mamrie Hart’s over-the-top absurd adventures as she creates a fun time out of almost any situation. Includes a built in drinking game! ~Jenny

OverDrive: ebook

 

 

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters book coverMy Favorite Thing Is Monsters
Emil Ferris

Filled with B-horror movie and pulp monster iconography, the diary of ten-year-old Karen Reyes records her investigation into the murder of her upstairs neighbor Anka Silverberg, a Holocaust survivor (from NoveList) ~Chelsea

Hoopla: ebook

 

 

another-brooklyn book cover

Another Brooklyn
Jacqueline Woodson

August returns home to Brooklyn for her father’s funeral and explores powerful memories of growing up in the 1970s; this gorgeously written book explores family dynamics, adolescent friendship, joy, and regret. ~Nancy

OverDrive: ebook and e-audio

 

 

 

Convenience Store Woman book coverConvenience Store Woman
Sayaka Murata

A lovely, quirky little book that elicits an empathetic and protective response in the reader while still offering biting commentary on society’s expectations for a fulfilling life. ~Cathleen

OverDrive: ebook and e-audio
Hoopla: ebook and e-audio

 

 

Best We Could Do book cover

The Best We Could Do
Thi Bui

An intimate look at one family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam to new lives in America. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family (from publisher’s description) ~Chelsea

OverDrive: ebook
Hoopla: ebook

 

 

Boundaries book cover

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Setting boundaries with others is a struggle for many, and people of faith have a tendency to believe saying yes no matter what is an act of service. This longtime bestseller challenges readers to acknowledge self-destructive patterns and identify healthier choices. ~Cathleen

OverDrive: e-audio (unabridged)
Hoopla: ebook and (abridged) e-audio

 

Still looking? Check out earlier installments of staff ebook and e-audio picks available from home or contact us for suggestions personalized to your mood and taste.

What to Watch from Home – Staff Digital Picks for Chilling Drama

Staff Video Picks Chilling Drama image

There are times when the most satisfying tension release is to lose ourselves in someone else’s (fictional) drama. To help escape our own strain, it can feel cathartic to be swept away in dark thrills, mystery, action, or espionage. If a flair for the dramatic sounds good to you right now, check out these staff suggestions available to watch from home on Hoopla and Kanopy with your library card.

First Reformed video image

 

First Reformed

If you like dark suspense, unstable characters who are navigating their purposes in life, and those who become attracted to the opposite of what they might preach. ~Chelsea

 

Fall TV series image

 

The Fall

This psychological thriller had me on the edge of my seat all season long! The story follows a serial killer and the detective intent on bringing him down. As the story progresses, the two become obsessed with each other. Will he or won’t he be caught? You’ll have to watch and find out. ~Al

 

Down the Shore video image

 

Down the Shore

Starring James Gandolfini. The lives of three childhood friends begin to unravel when a deadly secret from their past is revealed. ~Denise

 

Hidden TV series image

 

Hidden 

Who knew that Wales could hold its own against Scandinavia with moody, can’t-look-away noir? This limited series has all the hallmarks, including baggage-laden investigators and immersive sense of place. ~Cathleen

 

 

Leave No Trace video image

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace follows a veteran and his teenage daughter who live in the woods in the Pacific Northwest. It follows their lifestyle, their bond, and how unsustainable their lifestyle becomes and how both of them try to adapt. ~Chelsea

 

 

Still Life DVD cover

 

Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery

Based on Louise Penny’s novel. Gorgeous scenery and a fascinating mystery. ~Denise

 

 

Charade video image

 

Charade

This classic may be remembered for moments of stylish banter, but it also boasts multiple twists on whom can be trusted. Director Stanley Donen’s playful mix of light and dark is a cross-generational favorite. ~Cathleen

 

 

Gunpowder video image

Gunpowder

Who doesn’t miss Kit Harington from Game of Thrones? Get your next fix of him in Gunpowder, a historical drama set in the 1600s based on the Gunpowder plot to assassinate King James I of England. With striking visuals, a stellar score, and top-notch acting, this will surely please fans of historical fiction ~Al

 

 

Gone Baby Gone video image

 

Gone Baby Gone

Expertly portraying the gritty depths and darkness of human nature, this adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel wisely plants the compelling bleak-yet-determined qualities of the characters at the forefront.  ~Cathleen

 

 

 

Pandemic video imageDenise recommends
Pandemic
Keeping Faith TV series imageKelda recommends
Keeping Faith
Winters Bone video imageCathleen recommends
Winter’s Bone

 
 
Still looking? Check out earlier installments of Staff Movies and TV Picks available from home or contact us for suggestions personalized to your mood and taste.