Author Archives: Krista Roy

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by Mike Le and Stephanie Le mixes Asian and Italian noodles dishes with an American twist. The book includes a mixture of recipes that are quick weeknight staples–like Chitarra al Tonno, or spaghetti with canned tuna, olives, and tomato–and more involved recipes, like Lasagna di Carnevale, which has meatballs tucked inside the layers of pasta. There are also chapters on different noodle preparations, from pho to ramen to yakisoba to plain spaghetti and meatballs. For some innovative twists on classics, try French Onion Mac and Cheese, the Smoky Bacon Kimchi Fried Udon, or the Super Creamy Chicken Miso Ramen. (Cookbook)

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by Jessie Sheehan defines a “snackable” bake as something you can whip up quickly to satisfy a craving, ideally with things you mostly already have in your pantry. The recipes are organized by dominant flavor, or whatever you happen to be hankering for: vanilla, chocolate, fruit, nuts, and salty/sweet. Standout treats include Farmstand No-Churn Strawberry Ice Cream (perfect for summer!), Pink Grapefruit Graham Bars, and Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding Cake. (Cookbook)

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The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures by Paul Fischer is an intriguing look at a forgotten figure in the history of cinema. The man of the title is not Thomas Edison, as commonly thought, but rather a little-known Frenchman named Louis Le Prince who was experimenting with moving film images as early as the 1880s. Fischer, along with many other historians, claims that it was Le Prince who created the first real moving picture, before the Lumière brothers or Edison. Yet, Le Prince disappeared mysteriously before his single-lens camera could be unveiled, meaning that his contributions to the invention of the movies have been largely unknown. In an unsubstantiated but fascinating detail, Le Prince’s wife believed that Edison had him killed to prevent Le Prince from beating him to the punch. Although that’s mere speculation, and Fischer’s book explores more credible culprits, Edison does come off as a corporate villain, snapping up credit for inventions that were not fully his and eventually getting the glory with his own invention, the Kinetoscope. The details of Le Prince’s life, and the takedown of Edison’s mythology, make this book read like fiction. (Non-Fiction)

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Two Nights in Lisbon by Chris Pavone is a suspenseful thriller that keeps the reader guessing until the very end. Newlyweds Ariel Pryce and John Wright spend a passionate night in a hotel room in Lisbon – but when Ariel wakes up the next morning, John is gone. No note, no message, and he isn’t picking up his phone. Baffled, Ariel soon receives a ransom note for 3 million euros and begins to discover that John is not who she thought he was. Once the CIA gets involved, they begin to suspect Ariel as well, who has gone by several names and whom both the kidnappers and the authorities think might be hiding something. But is she? This is a fast-paced read, perfect for a summer afternoon!

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by Emma Straub is a time-traveling adventure that discusses loss and regrets with humor and profundity. Alice Stern has always been slightly stuck in the past: she still works at the fancy private high school in New York City that she once attended and feels a little embarrassed that her single lifestyle doesn’t match the glittering careers or perfect families that her friends have created. Still, she’s always had a great relationship with her father, Leonard, a successful fantasy writer who raised her as a single parent with an unconventional style. But, Leonard’s health is now in steep, heartbreaking decline and Alice doesn’t know how to manage her grief. Then, on her 40tbirthday, she wakes up to find herself in her childhood bedroom, reliving her 16thbirthday. If she changes the events of this one day, in 1996, can she reorient the whole course of her life–and maybe save Leonard? Straub’s book has fun with the time travel elements, but its heart is the sweet, imperfectly perfect relationship between Alice and her dad.

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by Toni Morrison is the late, great writer’s one and only short story, first written in 1980 and republished this year as a standalone piece, with an illuminating new introduction by Zadie Smith. The story tracks the friendship of two young women, one white and one Black, as they meet during a brief stay as wards of the state at a dour institution called St. Bonadventure. The girls are in care because Twyla’s mother “dances all night” and Roberta’s mother is sick, yet they make friends and make the best of things. Over the years, as both women weave through the 1960s and 1970s, their lives diverging, they meet again for a few emotionally and racially charged interactions. There’s one catch, though: Morrison never reveals which girl is white and which girl is Black, playing on the assumptions and the racial codes that underpin American society, making the reader, as Smith’s introduction puts it, “the subject of the experiment.” A short but fascinating must-read.

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by Grace, D. Li has the vibe of a blockbuster heist movie, with high-stakes art theft, shady business moguls, and a close-knit ring of thieves. Harvard art history student Will Chen gets pulled into the world of art theft when accidentally witnesses a heist targeting Chinese artifacts at the university’s museum and, on impulse, pockets one of them. The thieves notice and slip him the business card of their boss, Wang Yuling, who soon pulls both Will and his sister Irene into his employ. Their goal is to steal five priceless Chinese treasures, looted from Beijing long ago to fill the halls of Western museums, in exchange for $50 million. But, when another thief beats them to one of their targets, tensions begin to mount within the misfit group

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by Gustaf Skördeman, translated by Ian Giles, opens with a stunning murder that causes the reader to question not who did it, but why. It’s the end of summer in Stockholm and Agneta Broman, a loving wife, mother, and grandmother is sending off her grandchildren after a long visit. Moments after waving goodbye, Agneta calmly shoots her husband of fifty years, Stellan, and then vanishes. The catalyst for this turn of events is a phone call that Agneta received moments before she shot Stellan, a call that said only one word, “Geiger” but has triggered a series of events set into motion decades before. Meanwhile, Sara Nowak is a police officer who is drawn to investigate the murder because she grew up with Agneta and Stellan’s kids, despite the fact that her ordinary workload in the prostitution unit is heavy and her personal life is threatening to overwhelm her. Fans of Scandinavian mysteries will enjoy this multifaceted Cold War thriller.

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by Emily Henry is a feel-good romance that also pokes gentle fun at the conventions of feel-good romances. Nora Stephens is not the kind of woman to leave behind high-powered city life and fall for the Hallmark movie charm of a small town. In fact, she’s a successful literary agent who loves her Peloton-fueled lifestyle and relishes her professional ambitions. Still, when her pregnant sister Libby suggests a trip for the two of them to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina, Nora agrees to go, hoping for some bonding time with Libby. But, the presence of Nora’s professional nemesis, the grumpy book editor Charlie Lastra, threatens to derail the trip. As chance would have it, Charlie is from Sunshine Falls (his mother runs the local bookshop), and Nora can’t seem to get away from him. Sparks inevitably fly in this enemies-to-lovers romance.

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The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R.M. Romero is a lyrical novel in verse that tells the enchanting, magical realist story of Ilana Lopez’s life-changing visit to Prague. Ilana is a biracial Jewish girl who longs to be a violinist but is discouraged from following her passion by her parents, who want her to choose a more practical path in life. They send her to stay with her aunt in Prague, away from the distractions of her home life in Miami, in hopes that her grades will improve and she will forget about the violin. Instead, she finds an abandoned Jewish cemetery near her aunt’s cottage and befriends the ghost of a boy who died a hundred years earlier and whose soul is held captive by a mysterious power that Ilana begins to discover. (Young Adults)

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Duet by Elise Broach is a sweet book narrated from the point of view of Mirabelle, a songbird who loves to watch over her musical neighbor, a piano teacher named Mr. Starek. When a young boy, Michael Jin, arrives as a wildly talented but reluctant pupil, Mirabelle helps coax Michael out of his shell by singing along as he plays Chopin in preparation for a big competition. The collaboration between Mirabelle and Michael creates a beautiful friendship that inspires both performers to exceed their expectations. Readers will also learn details about the composer Frederic Chopin’s life and the fascinating mystery of his lost piano. (Chapter Books)

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by Mac Barnett and Shawn Harris is a hilarious graphic novel featuring a cat, a toenail-clipping robot, and, of course, pizza. When rats from an alien galaxy start eating the moon, the world’s best scientists have only three days to solve the problem. Military officials headquartered at the Hexagon deploy their ultimate rat-destroying technology: a cat! Not just any cat, either, but a specially enhanced cat with a microchip in its brain and a craving for pizza. This adventure is both funny and exciting, with colorful art that brings the story to life. (Graphic Novel)

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by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Leo Espinosa, is the perfect book to kick off summer! Woodson’s sunny book basks in her memories of growing up in Brooklyn where, as soon as school let out for the summer, the neighborhood sidewalks became a playground. On hot days, someone would always turn on the fire hydrant and spray cool water like a fountain all over the street. Kids would jump rope, build forts out of boxes, and play street baseball in hopes of becoming just like the kid from the neighborhood who went on to play for the Mets. Woodson’s writing conjures up the jingle of ice cream trucks, the dimming of city streetlights in the summer twilight, and the feeling of being a kid as “free as summer.”

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by Jean Reidy, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins, is a cute ode to a spider, a creature that many might overlook or shoo away. This particular spider, Sylvie, lives in “the rusty underside of a fire escape” on the side of a brick city building. It’s not easy being a spider, but Sylvie loves to watch over the people who live in the building’s apartments. There’s a painter, a little girl who loves tea parties, a young man drawing up plans, and a girl with her “exceptionally brave” tortoise. But lately, something seems off: none of Sylvie’s friends seem happy or act like themselves. Sylvie wants to find a solution to help her friends so that everything is “just so” once again if only she can find the courage to step into the sunlight! Cummins’s fun, colorful illustrations give Sylvie a cheerful smile.

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by Marie Dorléans, translated by Alyson Waters, is a perfect book for summer, when the outdoors becomes a playground full of possibilities. In the story, three friends set out for an adventure at their fort, talking and laughing the way friends do. But, in order to get there, they have to pass the neighbor’s loud dog, wind their way through a sea of tall grass, and deal with an unexpected summer storm! This beautifully illustrated book celebrates friendship, imagination, and long summer days.

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by Aimee Reid and Jing Jing Tsong is an adorable book of baby’s firsts. The reader watches as a baby grows into a child, from first peekaboos, first laughs, and first walks, to first birthdays, best friends, scraped knees, and school plays. Finally, the child gets a brand new first: a new sibling! The beautiful illustrations show the range of feelings, depicted in bright, swirling colors that accompany all these milestones

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by Chris Van Dusen is a lovely rhyming story about problem-solving in a small island community. One day, a huge truck with an oversize load is on its way to a tiny island. First, it travels by barge, then must navigate the twisty turns of the island’s roads–until one curve is too tight and the truck skids into the mud. The truck is blocking the road with two sets of cars stuck on either side: a real problem for people with places to go! Meg has a swim meet, Barry has ballet class, Paul has a volcano project to finish with Peter, and Sue’s dog needs a bath. How will everyone get where they need to be? How will the truck get unstuck? The answer to these questions is a sweet reveal, as is the contents of the truck’s shipment

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SERIES (NR)  Inspired by the unfinished novel by Jane Austen. High-spirited heroine Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) returns to the picturesque coastal resort of Sanditon and the companionship of her friend Georgiana Lambe (Crystal Clarke). What adventures, scandals

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THE GREAT, Season 1 NEW SERIES (NR) 

The Great: Season One is a satirical, comedic drama about the rise of Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning). From writer Tony McNamara, comes a fictionalized, fun, and anachronistic story of an idealistic, romantic young girl who honors an arranged marriage to the mercurial Russian Emperor Peter (Nicholas Hoult). Instead of love and sunshine, she finds a dangerous, deprived, and backward world. Catherine becomes driven to change Russia and fulfill her destiny as the longest-reigning female ruler in Russia’s history. All she has to do is kill her husband, beat the church, baffle the military and get the court on her side.

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WRITING WITH FIRE – FOREIGN DOCUMENTARY (NR)
OSCAR NOMINEE 

HINDI with English Subtitles -In Uttar Pradesh in northern India, a fearless group of journalists maintains the country’s only women-led news outlet. Reporting from an environment where people are divided by gender and social caste, the team at Khabar Lahariya (Waves of News)–Dalit women from the lowest rung of India’s caste system–begin to shift the newspaper from print to digital. Armed with new smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her fellow investigative journalists confront the biggest social and political issues in India today, providing a voice for members of society who have long been voiceless. Timely and Inspiring documentary!

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SUMMER OF SOUL (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)  DOCUMENTARY–(NR) OSCAR WINNER A Must-See Film! Debuting filmmaker Ahmir Thompson presents a powerful and transporting part music film, part historical record documentary. Created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture, and fashion. Over the course of six weeks in summer 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, NY, the Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was largely forgotten, until now. Shining a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and standing as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past, and present.  A Must See Film!

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ATTICA –DOCUMENTARY (NR) OSCAR WINNER
This Is NOT history, this is AMERICA.

Survivors, observers, and expert government officials recount the 1971 uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, NY, initiated by inmates demanding better living conditions. A maximum-security prison, it was the site of the famous prison riot, a violent five-day standoff between mostly Black and Latino, and law enforcement gripped America. Also known as the Attica Prison Rebellion, the Attica Uprising, or the Attica Prison Massacre, it highlighted the urgent need for prison reform, then and now; still an ongoing need 50 years later. A Showtime Documentary film. A perfect companion film to see with Summer of Soul (see below).

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LICORICE PIZZA (R) OSCAR NOMINEE 

Alana Kane (Alana Haim) and Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) grow up, run around and fall in love in California’s San Fernando Valley in the 1970s. Writer-Director Paul Thomas Anderson shifts into a surprisingly comfortable gear–with his fresh-faced leads. It might make you nostalgic for your own youth–if you don’t mind drifting through its dreamy, loose, and perhaps illogical style, with potentially star-making performances. Also stars Sean Penn and Bradley Cooper.

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EXPIRED –(R) 

You can’t really live until you’re ready to die…Ryan Kwanten and Hugo Weaving star in this futuristic thriller set in a neon-drenched metropolis. As Jack (Kwanten) works as a hitman, his lonely life is altered by two strangers 0 one a club singer, the other a scientist (Weaving). Jack and the singer fall in love, but as their relationship grows stronger, Jack grows physically weaker, unable to assassinate the targets he seeks and it doesn’t take long for the scientist to discover the shocking reasons behind Jack’s deadly affliction.

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DOG –(PG-13)

DOG is a buddy comedy that follows the misadventures of two former Army Rangers paired against their will on the road trip of a lifetime. Army Ranger Briggs (Channing Tatum) and Lulu (a Belgian Malinois dog) buckle into a 1984 Ford Bronco and race down the Pacific Coast in hopes of making it to a fellow soldier’s funeral on time. Along the way, they’ll drive each other completely crazy, break a small handful of laws, narrowly evade death, and learn to let down their guards in order to have a fighting chance of finding happiness.

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Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot’s (Kenneth Branagh) Egyptian vacation aboard a glamorous river steamer turns into a terrifying search for a murderer when a picture-perfect couple’s idyllic honeymoon is tragically cut short. Set against a landscape of sweeping desert vistas and the majestic Giza pyramids, this tale of unbridled passion and incapacitating jealousy features a cosmopolitan group of impeccably dressed travelers, and enough wicked twists and turns to leave audiences guessing until the final, shocking denouement. The all-star cast includes Tom Bateman, Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders, and Letitia Wright. Written by Michael Green.

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by Sayantani Dasgupta are a witty Pride and Prejudice retelling set amid dueling high school debate teams and featuring two Desi romantic leads. At Longbourn High, Leela Bose is a talented debater with a good dose of Elizabeth Bennet’s high spirits and sense of humor. She meets Firoze Darcy, the handsome but snobbish forensics team president from rival private school Netherfield Academy, as she’s standing on a table in the school cafeteria belting out her favorite songs from Hamilton. After teasing Darcy playfully about his obvious wealth, Leela hears him scoff about her attractiveness in a way that readers familiar with the original Pride and Prejudice will immediately recognize. From then on, the two are rivals in debate and in romance, at least until Leela realizes that first impressions may be misleading. Dasgupta updates the original text in a lively, refreshing way, while still hewing closely to the spirit of Austen’s work. This is such a fun treat. (Young Adults)

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Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros is a cute story of friendship. Isaac Castillo and Marco Honeyman have been best friends since they were in kindergarten, although they couldn’t seem more different on the surface: Isaac is tall and a great basketball player but has a hard time with schoolwork, while diminutive Marco is a stellar student but not so super when it comes to sports. Yet, both boys bond over their troubled backgrounds and provide each other with kindness and support. Now they’re both entering sixth grade and Isaac is determined to get better grades, just as Marco has his heart set on joining the basketball team. The book shows with both humor and empathy the ways in which the boys navigate their individual challenges together. (Chapter Books)

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I Survived the Attack of the Grizzlies, 1967 by Lauren Tarshis, illustrated by Berat Pekmezci, is the latest in the graphic novel installments of the “I Survived” series. It’s the summer of 1967, and 11-year-old Melody Vega has returned to Glacier National Park, where her family vacations every year and one of the few places she feels truly free. This year, however, the park is filled with bittersweet memories of her mom, who has just died. Plus, to make matters worse, the park’s grizzly bears, which have never been seen near campers before, are suddenly everywhere, chasing Melody to her family’s cabin and exhibiting behavior that even the park rangers notice isn’t normal. Melody and her family will need to keep their wits about them, and their wilderness knowledge handy, in order to survive. Like all of the “I Survived” books, this graphic novel takes true events and brings them to life with a story that’s adventuresome and a little scary! (Graphic Novels)

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Bake, Make & Learn to Cook by David Atherton, illustrated by Rachel Stubbs, is a charming starter cookbook for aspiring chefs. Great British Baking Show alum Atherton offers fun and tasty recipes that are easy for kids to put together, with some grown-up help. There are tacos with ground beef and kidney beans, “magic” tomato sauce that can be adapted to many different meals, and some fun sweet treats, like a caterpillar made out of cupcakes! (Non-Fiction/Cookbooks)

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No One Likes a Fart by Zoe Foster Blake, illustrated by Adam Nickel, is a hilarious and ultimately sweet book about friendship and belonging. When a jaunty, cheerful fart is released into the world, he can’t wait to make friends! There’s just one big, stinky problem: he can’t understand why no one likes him. When he enters a room or tries to get on a bus, everyone mysteriously runs away. Fart wanders through the world, lonely and looking for connection, only to be met by groans of disgust and fleeing people (even dogs!). Isn’t there anyone who will accept Fart for who he is? The answer is a cute and funny surprise. This book, with its fun illustrations, is perfect for prompting a case of giggles.

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Kick Push: Be Your Epic Self by Frank Morrison is about a young boy who is such a great skateboarder that his friends nicknamed him “Epic.” But, when he moves to a new neighborhood and loses his crew of encouraging, supportive friends, he feels lost. Trying out other sports to fit in doesn’t work, but neither does give up on skating altogether. When his parents encourage him to skate down the street to the bodega, Epic’s skills and tricks draw a new crowd of admirers, proving that he can find friends in his new neighborhood by letting himself shine.

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I Love You Like Yellow by Andrea Beaty and Vashti Harrison is a sweet, slightly abstract poem, accompanied by gorgeous, colorful illustrations demonstrating the many forms that love can take. “I love you like yellow” is paired with the image of a mom and child sharing a cheerful yellow umbrella, and “I love you like crunchy and crispy” shows two children and a dad gleefully sharing a bag of delicious popcorn. The rhythm of the words is fun to read, and the message–that sharing, spending time together, and other everyday acts equal love–is beautiful and universal.

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Counting Kindness: Ten Ways to Welcome Refugee Children by Hollis Kurman, illustrated by Barroux, poignantly shows the many ways in which people can help refugee children settle into a new home. “When a place gets so scary that we have to leave home, every kindness counts”, the book begins, listing kindnesses that range from a boat for safe passage to books, three square meals, and welcoming friends. Told from the perspective of an unnamed refugee child, this book beautifully illustrates both the way children feel when settling in a new place and ways for new neighbors to make the experience a safe and comfortable one.

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by Avery Monsen and Abby Hanlon is a charming book about a boy who loves words but suddenly forgets how to make them rhyme! This makes him feel like “a clock that could not tell the…hours or seconds or anything!” On each page, as Chester goes through his day, the book sets up an obvious rhyme and then subverts it deliberately: “It baffled poor Chester. He almost felt queasy. To match up two sounds, it was always so…simple for him.” Will Chester find his rhyming rhythm again? This is a great read-aloud book that encourages interaction: young readers will have fun guessing the rhymes that Chester misses!

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by Frank Adrian Barron, with photographs by Joann Pai, is a gorgeous celebration of French desserts, with an American twist. The book is divided into seasons and includes tips on how to shop and what to do during each time of the year in Paris. A pistachio cherry tea cake means spring, a white peach tart harnesses the flavor of summer, a Tarte Normande (a rustic apple tart from Normandy) means fall, and a crème brûlée cake is the perfect holiday showstopper for winter. Even if you’re not planning to visit Paris anytime soon, the travel tips and colorful photos make this a joy to armchair travel with. (Cookbooks)

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Fabulous Modern Cookies by Chris Taylor and Paul Arguin is a fun, colorful book for anyone who loves baking and wants to spice up their repertoire. Fabulous Modern Cookies puts a spin on some traditional favorites, like Pumpkin Spice Latte Thumbprints or Birthday Cake Rugelach Slices. Some of the recipes involve a little extra effort, but the book also provides some tips for tweaking easy, tried-and-true staples, like the Next-Gen Peanut Butter Cookies, where the secret ingredient is sesame oil to boost the cookie’s nutty flavor or Raspberry Lemonade Cookies that use a whole lemon in the batter to give them a fresh summery flavor. Next time you need to bake up a batch of cookies, this is a great resource to turn to. (Cookbooks)

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The Palace Papers by Tina Brown is a juicy follow-up to her last British royal biography, The Diana Chronicles. Here, she focuses her acerbic gaze on the whole family from the turbulent years after Princess Diana died up until the present. The book covers the high points – like the royal courtships and weddings of Princes Harry and William–and the scandals that have rocked the family’s public image, including the allegations of Prince Andrew’s involvement with Jeffrey Epstein and the recent rift between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the rest of the family. Brown’s tone is gossipy but informative. Fans of the TV series The Crown will be especially interested; consider this a good read to pick up while waiting for the next season! (Non-Fiction)

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by Elena Ferrante is a collection of essays, originally intended as lectures before the pandemic intervened, in which the acclaimed Italian writer explores her craft and gives readers a glimpse into her mind and her process. This is particularly interesting because ‘Elena Ferrante’ is a pseudonym and the real identity of the author of My Brilliant Friend and The Lying Life of Adults remains open to debate. Fans of Ferrante’s work will be intrigued. (Non-Fiction)

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by Margo Jefferson is a memoir that reads as a companion to Jefferson’s previous book, Negroland, about her childhood and the forces that shaped her. In Constructing a Nervous System, she broadens her lens and looks to the elements of American culture that have inspired and challenged her throughout her life. These include the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, and Billy Eckstine, the writing of Willa Cather and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the performance talents of Josephine Baker and Hattie McDaniel, among others. Through these cultural touchstones, Jefferson explores her own life and mind with rigorous clarity. (Non-Fiction)

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by Douglas Stuart is a dark, coming-of-age love story set against the grim backdrop of Glasgow’s slums in the early 1990s, a setting that Stuart also explored in his Booker Prize-winning 2020 novel Shuggie Bain. Fifteen-year-old Mungo is gay, growing up with an alcoholic mother in a social landscape where the definition of masculinity is rigid and is measured by the ability to inflict pain and violence. He falls in love with another boy, James, a relationship that’s forbidden not only because it’s homosexual but also because James is Catholic and Mungo is Protestant. In striking a balance between the tenderness of first love and the brutality of this hard, gritty world gripped by poverty, Stuart’s writing is unflinching in its honesty but also vivid and gorgeous.

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Under the Golden Sun by Jenny Ashcroft is a World War II-era romance that crosses continents. In 1941, a young Englishwoman, Rose Hamilton, answers a newspaper advertisement to be a companion to a four-year-old orphaned boy, Walter, who is traveling back to his home in Australia, where he is heir to a rich cattle farm. For Rose, leaving behind an indifferent fiancé and a dishonorable discharge from her job at the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, the journey and friendship with Walter are a welcome change. But, when she arrives in Australia and finds his relatives less than welcoming, she feels compelled to stay with the young boy. Things get complicated when she finds herself drawn to Walter’s uncle, Max, a wounded pilot, and begins to learn the secret behind Walter’s family and his inheritance.

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Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel is both a journey through time and a mediation on the nature of time. Best known for her stunningly prescient pandemic novel Station Eleven, Mandel writes in Sea of Tranquility about the resonance of shared experiences between characters living worlds apart. In 1912, a young British man is banished to Canada and has a bizarre, otherworldly hallucination in the middle of a forest in Vancouver. This vision is also shared by Olive Llewelyn, a writer from 2203 who is traveling between a moon colony and Earth, which has just been hit by another pandemic. What’s the meaning of this vision and why does it occur across time and space? The novel unspools in tightly plotted, enthralling episodes that ultimately answer the book’s many questions.

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by Rebecca, Serle is a sweet, unusual story that answers the question: what would it be like to spend time with your mother before she was your mother? At 30, Katy Silver is grieving the loss of her mother, Carol, who was her closest friend and confidante. Feeling lost, she decides to take the trip that she and her mother had planned to Positano, Italy, a trip that was supposed to introduce Katy to some of the wonders that Carol had experienced traveling in Italy in her youth. When Katy arrives in Italy, however, she’s astonished to run into none other than a 30-year-old Carol. She doesn’t recognize Katy as her daughter but treats her as a new friend and, in the process, Katy learns more about not just who her mother was but who she is, too.

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by Lee Cole is set amidst the 2016 election, but the anxieties it deals with are personal as well as political. Owen Callahan is an aspiring writer in his 20s who has recently moved back home to live with his Trump-supporting grandfather in Kentucky, feeling stuck and unsure if he’ll ever be able to leave his depressed hometown again. Working at a nearby liberal arts college, Ashby, as a groundskeeper so that he can take writing classes for free, Owen meets the magnetic Alma Hadzic. She’s a talented and successful young writer-in-residence at Ashby, with an Ivy League education and coastal elite background that highlights the economic hardship and bone-deep conservatism of Owen’s upbringing. But, Alma is also the daughter of Bosniak Muslim refugees, with residual childhood trauma that her fiction explores. Her relationship with Owen navigates differences in class, politics, and background, all of which Cole captures with a keen eye.

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The Decameron Project: 29 New Stories from the Pandemic

by the editors of the New York Times Magazine is an experiment in capturing a historical moment in time through short fiction. Inspired by the original Decameron, which was written in 1353 by Boccaccio as the plague ripped through Florence, these stories were commissioned by some of the biggest names in contemporary fiction, including Colm Tóibín, Margaret Atwood, Mona Awad, Rachel Kushner, Yiyun Li, and David Mitchell. Unlike the Boccaccio’s Decameron however, which told tales that were bawdy, funny, or tragic but avoided discussing the plague, these modern stories process the acute experience of living through the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic through fiction. It’s a remarkable collection.

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by Don, Winslow is a complex thriller, the first in a planned trilogy that sets the basic outlines of The Iliad against the backdrop of warring crime families in Rhode Island. For years, there has been an uneasy peace between the rival Irish and Italian mob families in Providence, Rhode Island, a détente cemented every year by a beach party that includes a wide range of Irish and Italian families. At one of these parties, however, the arrival of Pam Davies, a gorgeous incarnation of Helen of Troy from Greenwich, Connecticut, shifts the balance of power. The fact that Pam is the girlfriend of Paulie Moretti, an Italian mobster, doesn’t stop Liam Murphy from grabbing her inappropriately, an act that will have lasting and violent repercussions. Caught in the middle unwillingly is Liam’s brother-in-law, Danny Ryan, a dockworker, and family man who longs to escape the internecine wars of his hometown but feels trapped. This is an explosive start to what promises to be a fascinating series.

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SING 2  – NEW CHILDREN’S MOVIE (PG)

All your favorite singing, and dancing all-stars from Illumination’s SING return in the definitive feel-good event of the year. The ever-optimistic koala, Buster Moon, and his cast have big dreams of staging their most dazzling show yet in the glittering entertainment capital of the world, Redshore City. There’s just one hitch: They must persuade the world’s most reclusive rock star, Clay Calloway, to join them. Rosita, Ash, Johnny, Meena, and Gunter return with all-new characters, spectacular hit songs, and electrifying performances in SING 2, a comedy about the emotional healing power of music.

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THE MITCHELLS vs. THE MACHINESNEW CHILDREN’S MOVIE (PG) OSCAR NOMINEE 

Young Katie Mitchell embarks on a road trip with her proud parents, younger brother, and beloved dog to start her first year at film school. But their plans to bond as a family soon get interrupted when the world’s electronic devices come to life to stage an uprising. With help from two friendly robots, the Mitchells must now come together to save one another–and the planet—from the new technological revolution.

The Mallorca Files Season 2 (PG-13) 313 minutes

British police procedural television drama series set on the Spanish island of Majorca, starring Welsh Miranda Blake (Elen Rhys) and German Max Winter (Julian Looman).  Total opposites, they are teamed up by Inés Villegas (Maria Fernandez Ache), the Chief of Palma Police, to solve crimes, generally ones committed against the international community, on the island of Mallorca. Blake is a Detective Constable with London’s Metropolitan Police and Winter is a Detective. Usually, Inés gives them cases with less importance as the detectives are not Spanish.

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THE HANDMAID’S TALE, SEASON 4 – (PG-13) In a futuristic, theocratic, and dystopian United States, Offred (Natasha Richardson) is forced to become a handmaid–a sexual slave that serves as a surrogate for couples who desire children but who are unable to have them themselves.

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FAMILY BUSINESS, Season 1 NEW FOREIGN SERIES (R)

French with English subtitles = In this drama, mother and daughter Astrid (Catherine Charchal), and Audrey (Ophelia Kolb) are lawyers specializing in family law who make the perilous decision to work together. Along with partner Sofie (Chalotte des Georges) and assistant Roxanne (Clementine Justine), they deal with clients from a divorcing couple fighting over their bulldog to an unusual case of online adultery. And their own personal lives are as messy as their clients’ cases, with secret affairs and gambling addiction!

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DALGLIESH, Season 1 NEW SERIES (R)

Based on the global bestsellers by P.D. James, this new series stars Bertie Carvel as enigmatic Inspector Adam Dalgliesh in what is being called an “immensely deductive performance”(WSJ).  A recent widower and acclaimed poet, Dalgliesh is a cerebral, reserved man but possessed of exceptional empathy and insight. As he investigates complex crimes in 1970s England, he plumbs the darker depths of the human psyche in his pursuit of justice. These adaptations of James’s award-winning novels include Shroud for a Nightingale; The Black Tower; A Taste for Death.

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MLK/FBI  – DOCUMENTARY (NR)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered today as an American hero: a bridge-builder, a shrewd political tactician, and a moral leader yet, he was often treated by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies like an enemy of the state. In this virtuosic documentary, award-winning editor and director Sam Pollard lays out a detailed account of the FBI surveillance and harassment that dogged King’s activism throughout the ’50s and ’60s, fueled by the racist and red-baiting paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover. In crafting a rich archival tapestry, featuring some revelatory restored footage of King, Pollard urges us to remember that true American progress is always hard-won.

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BEN FRANKLIN, Season 1  – DOCUMENTARY (NR)

Ken Burns’ new biography and documentary has 2 episodes:

1. Join or Die (1706-1774) Following his success as a printer in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin earns worldwide fame from electricity experiments and then turns to politics.

2. An American (1775-1790) Benjamin Franklin helps Thomas Jefferson craft the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia; in Paris, Franklin wins French support for the American Revolution; Franklin works on the U.S. Constitution. With Peter Coyote as narrator, Mandy Patinkin as Ben’s voice, Carolyn McCormick as Deborah Franklin’s voice, Josh Lucas as William Franklin’s voice, Paul Giamatti as John Adams’ voice, and Liam Neeson as Alexander Wedderburn’s voice.

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WEST SIDE STORY  –(PG-13) Oscar Nominee

STEPHEN SPIELBERG’S and Tony Kushner’s adaptation of the 1957 musical, a tale of forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. When young Tony (Ansel Elgort) spots Maria (Rachel Zegler) at a high school dance, love at first sight strikes. Their burgeoning romance helps to fuel the fire between the warring Jets and Sharks–two rival gangs vying for control of the streets. Rita Moreno as Doc’s widow Valentina, Ariana Debose as Anita, David Alvarez as Bernardo, Mike Faist as Riff,

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SPIDERMAN: NO WAY HOME – (R) Oscar Nominee

For the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man (Tom Holland), our friendly neighborhood hero’s identity is revealed, bringing his Super Hero responsibilities into conflict with his normal life and putting those he cares about most at risk. When he enlists Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) help to restore his secret, the spell tears a hole in their world, releasing the most powerful villains who’ve ever fought a Spider-Man in any universe. Now, Peter will have to overcome his greatest challenge yet, which will not only forever alter his own future but the future of the Multiverse.

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PARALLEL MOTHERS – (R) OSCAR NOMINEE 

In Spanish and English. A Film by Pedro Almodovar. Two women, Janis and Ana, coincide in a hospital room where they are going to give birth. Both are single and became pregnant by accident. Janis (Penelope Cruz), middle-aged, doesn’t regret it and she is exultant. The other, Ana (Milena Smit), an adolescent is scared, repentant, and traumatized. Janis tries to encourage her while they move like sleepwalkers along the hospital corridors. The few words they exchange in these hours will create a very close link between the two, which by chance develops and complicates, and changes their lives in a decisive way.

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MARRY ME – (PG-13)

A betrayed pop star, Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) slated to marry her pop star fiancé Bastian (Maluma), on stage before an audience of their fans in a ceremony that will be streamed across multiple platforms. Instead, she marries a stranger from the audience–a divorced high school math teacher, Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson). Charlie has been dragged to the concert by his daughter Lou (Chloe Coleman) and his best friend (Sarah Silverman). What begins as an impulsive reaction evolves into an unexpected romance. Against the odds, their sham relationship develops into something readable. But can two people from such different worlds bridge the gulf between them and build a place where they both belong?

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Known as The Sun King, Louis XIV (Pierce Brosnan) is the most powerful and influential monarch on the planet. Obsessed with his own mortality and the future of France, Louis turns to his spiritual advisor, Père La Chaise (William Hurt), and the royal physician to help him obtain the key to immortality. Believing a mermaid (Fan Bingbing) contains a force that grants everlasting life, Louis commissions a young sea captain to search the seas and capture the mystical creature. Further complicating his plans is his orphaned daughter, Marie-Josèphe (Kaya Scodelario), who returns to court with an abundance of elegance and inherent defiance of authority. With a rare solar eclipse approaching, Louis will discover where his daughter’s true loyalties lie as he races against time to extract the mermaid’s life-giving force.

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Erik Blake (Richard Blake) has gathered three generations of his Pennsylvania family to celebrate Thanksgiving at his daughter’s, Aimee (Amy Schumer) apartment in lower Manhattan. As darkness falls outside and eerie things start to go bump into the night, the group’s deepest fears are laid bare. The piercingly funny and haunting debut film from writer-director Stephen Karam, adapted from his Tony Award-winning play, The Humans explores the hidden dread of a family and the love that binds them together.

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DUNE – MOVIE Blu Ray & DVD (PG-13) Oscar Winner

Based on the popular novel by  Frank Herbert of the same name. Paul Atreides, a brilliant, gifted young man born into a destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence, only those who can conquer their fear will survive.  Includes over an hour of bonus features and a stellar cast: Timothee Chalomet, Stellan Skarsgard, Jason Momoa, Javier Barden, and Charlotte Rampling, to name only a few.

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CYRANO – (PG-13) Oscar Nominee

Award-winning director Joe Wright envelops moviegoers in a symphony of emotions with music, romance, and beauty in Cyrano, re-imagining the timeless tale of a heartbreaking love triangle. A man ahead of his time, Cyrano de Bergerac (Peter Dinklage) dazzles whether with ferocious wordplay at a verbal joust or with brilliant swordplay in a duel. But, convinced that his appearance renders him unworthy of the love of a devoted friend, the luminous Roxanne (Haley Bennett), Cyrano has yet to declare his feelings for

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LAST LOOKS – FOREIGN (R)

Charlie Waldo (Charlie Hunnam) is an ex-LAPD superstar who left the force and now lives a life of simplicity and solitude deep in the woods. Alistair Pinch (Mel Gibson) is an eccentric actor who spends his days drunk on the set of his TV show. When Pinch’s wife is found dead, he is the prime suspect and Waldo is convinced to come out of retirement to investigate what happened. The case finds Waldo contending with gangsters, Hollywood executives, and pre-school teachers, all in pursuit of clearing Pinch’s name… or confirming his guilt.

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by Ibi Zoboi adds a new story to the Marvel Universe. Okoye is a warrior in charge of protecting King T’Chaka of Wakanda so, when the King makes a visit to New York City as part of a special humanitarian visit, Okoye accompanies him. The Wakandan delegation is there at the invitation of Stella Adams, a wealthy real estate executive who also runs a nonprofit called No Nation Left Behind. But Okoye soon starts to distrust Adams and her motives and begins to see the complex layers of social and economic problems plaguing the neighborhood of Brownsville in Brooklyn. Gentrification, economic inequality, and the ravaging effects of a drug called PyroBliss are gutting the community. Okoye decides that her duty lies in helping the people living in Brownsville, which includes uncovering and stopping Adams’s sinister agenda. (Young Adults)

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by Emily J. Taylor is a clever, richly imagined fantasy novel. The Hotel Magnifique is renowned for its magical ability to travel the world, disappearing and reappearing in a new place on the globe every night. For 17-year-old Janine, who has always longed to go someplace else, getting jobs at the Hotel for her and her sister, Zosa, is beyond a dream come true. It also seems like the best way to a better life than Janine’s old, thankless job working in a tannery. But, as soon as the girls join the staff of the hotel, it becomes clear that the Hotel Magnifique is not what it appears to be, and that its magic may hide deep dangerous secrets. With the help of the mysterious, alluring doorman, Bel, it’s up to Janine and Zosa to uncover the truth. Readers will be swept along for the ride. (Chapter Books)

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by Alexis Castellanos is a gorgeous, nearly wordless graphic novel that tells a story through exquisitely drawn pictures and poignant visual details. In 1950s Cuba, after Fidel Castro’s overthrow of Batista’s presidency, young Marisol is sent away from her parents’ home in Havana to the safety of New York City, where she will live with an older couple, the Delfino’s. As Marisol leaves her home in Cuba, the book goes from colorful illustrations to black, white, and gray, mirroring Marisol’s emotional state as she goes from the known to the unknown. She feels lost, doesn’t speak English, and the Delfinos are kind, but their ability to understand her seems limited. Slowly, Marisol begins to open up to her new life: the school library becomes a learning tool and a place of joy, the Delfinos encourage her passion for plants, and a letter from home arrives, bringing comfort. This is a beautiful, emotional story. (Graphic Novel)

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by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Charlie Alder. In this cute graphic novel, Pupper wants to be a hero like the Wonder Dog he likes to watch on TV. But Pupper can’t fly like Wonder Dog, and he worries about a lot of things, like whether or not being a worrier means you can’t also be a hero. But, with the older Doggo’s guidance, and with the encouragement of a Cool Cat, Pupper gains confidence. And, when a couple of baby birds are lost, Pupper learns that he might save the day at just the right moment. (Graphic Novel)

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Nellie vs. Elizabeth: Two Daredevil Journalists’ Breakneck Race Around the World by Kate Hannigan, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon, tells of the adventure two women embarked on in 1889. Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland were both journalists, but their careers were vastly different. Nellie wrote for muckraking publications and would pull of all kinds of stunts to capture readership, while Elizabeth wrote elegant magazine articles and preferred parties at home. Yet, on a challenge, both women set off in opposite journeys around the world to see who can travel faster, by steamship and train. The world watches as both Nellie and Elizabeth race around the globe, reporting on the wondrous sights they encounter (the book quotes directly from both women’s writings, which is a special treat). In the end, it didn’t really matter who won: both Nellie and Elizabeth opened up the world to many new readers, and showed that women were as capable of adventure as men. (Non-Fiction)

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by Lynn Meltzer, illustrated by Carrie Eko-Burgess, is a fun, rhyming introduction to construction. The book gives an overview of various construction tools commonly used and what they do: “Dig now, build later. What do we need? An excavator!” Readers follow the progress from groundbreaking to construction to painting, until finally, a brand new home is ready for a family to move in. This book is fun to read aloud, particularly to fans of trucks! (Board Book)

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Who is it, Whoodini? by Roman Yasiejko, illustrated by Gustavo Ramos, is another mystery-solving adventure! Owl detectives Whoodini and his Dr. Watson-like sidekick, Cahoots, set out to solve the puzzle of the mysterious flying object that crashed into the woods. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? The mystery has the owls and their barnyard friends stumped until Whoodini and Cahoots use their powers of listening to overhear just the right clue. The warm, cozy illustrations bring this story to life.

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by Narisa Togo is a stunning tribute to spring and, in particular, to the annual Japanese festival celebrating the pink cherry blossoms that show up for a brief, spectacular window of time. All winter, people pass the bare branches on their way to work and school without giving them a second glance. But, when spring arrives and the trees unfurl their flowers, “something is a little different this morning.” As the trees bloom cotton candy pink, the Sakura Festival begins, complete with food stands and brightly colored lanterns to illuminate the cherry trees at night. And then, with one stormy night, it’s all over and the blossoms turn into a “pink carpet”–until next year.

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Tiny Fox and Great Boar by Berenika Kolomycka is about the adventures of two friends, Tiny Fox and Great Boar, as they go through the seasons together. Tiny Fox loves his solitary life in a valley with a huge apple tree; he has everything he needs. But, when a Great Boar suddenly shows up, Tiny Fox is surprised, cautious, and then mad: now he has to share everything! The tree, the apples, and Tiny Fox’s favorite game of rolling downhill are all things that Great Boar wants, too. In a huff, Tiny Fox goes off for some private time and space, which makes him feel much better. But when he gets back to the tree and finds that Great Boar is gone, too, both animals soon realize that they miss one another, and things are better together. It’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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by Chihiro Maruyama, translated by Emma Sakamiya, is an interactive book that asks the reader to look for clues in breathtakingly intricate illustrations. The opening pages set the scene with characters, directions, and an ongoing mystery that readers can solve. Each page features a detailed maze with treasures and clues for the extra observant to find. Readers will enjoy pouring over the details of this beautiful book.

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by Seth Meyers, illustrated by Rob Sayegh, Jr., shows with warmth and humor that it’s ok to be both brave and scared. Two friends, Bear and Rabbit, could not be more different: Bear is scared of everything, while Rabbit is so fearless that she brushes her teeth hanging upside down from a tree by her ears. When Bear and Rabbit decide to go on an adventure, Bear is characteristically nervous about everything, but when obstacles arise, it’s friendship and teamwork that finally give scaredy Bear the courage he needs.

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Let’s Do Everything and Nothing by Julia Kuo celebrates the power of togetherness and imagination with gorgeously rendered illustrations. A mother and daughter spend an afternoon adventuring together in their minds, traveling through a colorful fantasy of mountains, oceans, and wide grassy plains. The book prompts readers to their own flights of fancy, transforming the ordinary details of home into other worlds: can a staircase be a mountain? Is the bathtub also the ocean? The afternoon adventuring ends with tea, traditional Taiwanese snacks, and a nap.

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by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Laura Rankin, is an adorable story about a porcupine who perseveres to make her dream come true! Graduation day is coming up soon for Isabel, and what she and her friend Walter want more than anything is to get balloons for graduation like the rest of their classmates. There’s just one problem: Isabel and Walter are both porcupines, and as their teacher, Ms. Quill (also a porcupine) points out, “Porcupines + Balloons = Trouble.” Readers will chuckle at some of Isabel and Walter’s attempts to solve the problem of their spiky quills (bubble wrap, pillows) and will cheer at the sweet ending.

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by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is a comprehensive guide to using the wok, one of the most versatile and, as Lopez-Alt demonstrates, useful kitchen tools for the home cook’s arsenal. As a New York Times food columnist, Lopez-Alt is known for his scientific approach to tweaking cooking methods to make food better, and his book includes tons of such details, like marinating chicken for stir-fries in cornstarch to make it juicier. In addition to recipes for both traditional staples of Asian cuisine and riffs on these conventions, The Wok offers techniques for perfecting textures and flavors, and answers questions like “Should I rinse my rice or not?” This is a fantastic toolkit, a celebration of the diversity of different Asian cuisines, and a great place for cooks of all levels to start. (Cookbook

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by Charles J. Shields looks briefly into the fascinating, complex legacy and all-too-short life of Lorraine Hansberry. The first Black woman to have her play performed on Broadway, Hansberry achieved enormous success with A Raisin in the Sun at just 28 years old. The play is both specific to a moment in history and timeless in its themes, its characters, and the lives it depicts. Shields’s biography delves into Hansberry’s background and how her childhood, her ideals, and her politics influenced her career. Growing up in Chicago to a father who built slums much like the one depicted in Raisin, Hansberry’s discomfort with this led to her becoming a committed Marxist with strong critiques of capitalism. She was also a queer Black woman interested in pushing back against traditional gender roles, and in conversation with some of the most progressive intellectuals of the time. (Non-Fiction)

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by Jami Attenberg is a funny, poignant memoir-in-essays about becoming a writer. The author of “All This Could be Yours” and “The Middlesteins” traces her journey to the page from the beginning–“I was born to be a writer”–through her rocky twenties and into what she calls “moderate” success. Along the way, she mediates on her craft, her travels, including teaching a writing class in Lithuania, and her feelings about not settling down with a husband and kids like the rest of her peers. Attenberg’s tone is warm, witty, and deeply engaging. (Non-Fiction)

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by Elisa Shua Dusapin is set in Sokcho, a beach town that sits close to the North Korean border. The narrator is an unnamed woman whose heritage is half-Korean and half-European; her French father left her mother after a brief affair. When a French stranger arrives, off-season, at the guest house where the narrator works, she’s intrigued by his presence, his Frenchness, and the way he suggests and mirrors her own past. Her relationship with him defies cliché and easy categorization. In her own life, the narrator has ambivalent feelings about marriage to her long-distance boyfriend, the aspiring model Jun-oh, and about her decision to leave Seoul to care for her mother. Told in vignettes and excellent at capturing the atmosphere of the narrator’s life and surroundings, Winter in Sokcho is beautifully written.

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Wildcat by Amelia Morris has been described as “Mean Girls” for adults and focuses on the friendship–and prickly falling out– between two mothers in Los Angeles. Leanne Hazelton is a writer and a new mother, struggling to adjust to parenthood and mourning her recently deceased father, whose voice she still hears sometimes through her haze of grief. Regina Mark is the friend she made ten years ago, but whose lavish lifestyle and values have started to stray far away from Leanne’s. The spark that ignites their feud begins when Leanne attends Regina’s fourth wedding anniversary party (“But why your fourth anniversary?” Leanne thinks) and a drunk Regina exposes opinions that Leanne finds hurtful and upsetting. She finds a new friend in Maxine Hunter, an acclaimed author with an eccentric devotion to cats, and the two team up to take down Regina through social media. Highly entertaining pettiness ensues.

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by Brandon Slocum is a thrilling mystery that also explores racism in classical music and the cost, both literal and metaphorical, of pursuing one’s passion. Growing up as a Black music student, Rayquan McMillian is gifted his grandfather’s old violin and, with it, embarks on the precipitous career trajectory of a highly talented classical musician. When Ray wins a scholarship to college, he discovers that his family heirloom is in fact a Stradivarius, worth millions of dollars. As soon as this information comes to light, Ray’s family tries to get the Stradivarius back–but, more sinisterly, so does another white family, the descendants of the man who enslaved Ray’s ancestors. When Ray’s violin goes missing, a mystery ensues, one that is wrapped up in power, privilege, and the daily realities of and sacrifices required to be a classical musician.

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The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka begins by exploring a group of swimmers from all walks of life who frequent a local pool, documenting their idiosyncrasies and hinting at their lives outside of their lanes. When a mysterious crack appears in the smooth bottom of the pool, however, the swimmers are cast out and the narrative shifts to focus on just one of the swimmers, Alice, and her struggles with dementia. The book is a mythical, dreamy, and deeply moving meditation on memory and how the quotidian details of our lives have more weight than we often realize.

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The Missing Piece by John Lescroart begins with the release of a prisoner, Paul Riley, after being cleared of the rape and murder of a young woman, Dana Rush, by the confession of someone else. But almost immediately after he’s free, Riley is found dead. Dana’s father, Doug, is arrested under suspicion of Riley’s murder, and defense attorneys Wes Farrell and Dismas Hardy agree to defend him. But, the case is complicated by Wes’s crisis of conscience about defending suspects he believes are guilty. Wes thinks it’s obvious that Rush killed Riley, but the plot twists again when Doug Rush vanishes after bail is set. Ideas about what innocence and guilt really mean, and the role of their defenders, swirl throughout the case. This fast-paced thriller takes a hard look at the legal system and the plot will keep readers on their toes.

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by Joe Ide takes Raymond Chandler’s iconic private eye, Philip Marlowe, and brings to him present-day Los Angeles, giving him a mystery and setting that suggests that, in essence, much of Los Angeles hasn’t changed since the days of the original detective. This Marlowe is an ex-LAPD officer who takes on a case on behalf of Kendra James, a famous actor whose husband’s shooting six weeks earlier remains unsolved. But, James is less interested in solving this crime than in tracing the disappearance of her 17-year-old stepdaughter. One missing person’s case links with another and soon, Marlowe finds his cases tangled intriguingly. Ide also gives the detective a more fleshed-out backstory in the complicated relationship he shares with his father, who excelled in the LAPD where Marlowe failed.

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The Christie Affair

by Nina de Gramont takes the mystery at the heart of Agatha Christie’s own life and reimagines it in a vibrant fictional take on real events. In December 1926, just after Christie’s husband, Archie announced that he was leaving her for his mistress, the famed mystery writer disappeared for eleven days, with no indication of her whereabouts. De Gramont tells the story of this unexplained disappearance from the perspective of Archie’s mistress, fictionalized as a troubled young Irish woman named Nan O’Dea. The book inhabits and explores both Christie and O’Dea’s perspectives with empathy, and artfully builds dark secrets into the unfolding of their shared story. This is a real treat.

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Black Cake

by Charmaine Wilkerson is a family saga in which buried secrets come to light. Benny and Byron are estranged siblings brought back together by their mother’s death. The Caribbean “black cake” of the title is a rum-soaked confection with a long history, steeped in memories, which Eleanor Bennett leaves, upon her death, for Benny and Byron to share “when the time is right.” She also leaves a mysterious voice recording in which she tells her children untold details about her life, her dramatic escape from her island home, and previously buried secrets of her past. Will her children be able to reconcile as they come to terms with their mother’s storied past?

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by Reyna Grande. Inspired by real events, this fascinating historical novel is set during the Mexican-American war and tells a lesser-known story. In 1846, fed up with ill-treatment from their superiors, a band of Irish immigrants desert the U.S. Army to form the St. Patrick’s brigade, fighting for Mexico under General Santa Anna. The novel focuses on one of these men, John Riley, and his relationship with Ximena, a Mexican nurse. After the Texas Rangers killed Ximena’s husband years before, she devoted herself to Mexico’s cause during the war. John and Ximena’s relationship is passionate but fraught with complications, not least the wife and children John still has in Galway. This is a sweeping but nuanced look at the harmful American attitudes toward both Irish immigrants and Mexicans, the folly of colonial conquest, and the political corruption that helped doom Mexico’s army.

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VIKINGS, SEASON 6, Part 2

SERIES (NR) As we approach the end of our epic saga, the tumultuous conflict between the Rus and Vikings comes to a conclusion, with grave consequences. While in Iceland, Ubbe is determined to fulfill his father Ragnar’s dream and sail farther west than any Viking has traveled before. And there is unfinished business in England. The Vikings have established settlements there and overrun most of the country–except for Wessex. The King of Wessex, Alfred the Great, is the only Saxon ruler to seriously challenge their complete domination. Ivar the Boneless must again face in battle, the king he only knew as a boy for a final reckoning.

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THE NORTH WATER  MINI-SERIES (G)

A thrilling adaptation of Ian McGuire’s award-winning novel, by writer and director Andrew Haigh. In 1859, disgraced ex-army surgeon, Patrick Sumner (Jack O’Donnell), signs as ship’s doctor on The Volunteer. He’s hoping to lose himself in the tough physicality of an Arctic whaling expedition. Instead, he finds the ferocity of the elements is matched by the violence of his crewmates, with a harpooner, Henry Drax (Colin Farrell) a distinctly brutal force of nature. As the true purpose of the expedition becomes clear, the confrontation between the two men erupts taking them on a journey far from solid ground and way beyond the safe moorings of civilization.

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SERIES (PG-13)  It’s 1958 and trouble is brewing in the Cambridgeshire village of Grantchester. Reverend Will Davenport (Tom Brittney) relishes his role as a firebrand vicar, willing to rock the boat and challenge conventions to help people. But the very role he loves puts him at odds with his own ideas when his kind-hearted curate, Leonard Finch (Al Weaver) is caught up in a scandal. Will’s best friend, Detective Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green), finds his principles shaken, housekeeper Mrs. Chapman (Tessa Peake-Jones) is distraught, and Geordies wife Cathy (Kacey Ainsworth) is defiant. With new crimes around every corner, and morality and legality at loggerheads, it’s going to take all of Will’s skill and empathy to navigate these choppy waters and help the ones he loves. And don’t forget the murders to solve.

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SERIES (PG-13) The charming Father Brown returns to solve more mysteries in the sleepy Cotswold village of Kembleford. Inspired by the stories of G.K. Chesterton, the charismatic Brown investigates the murder of an eccentric beekeeper, uncovers the hidden motivations behind a deadly art exhibition, and steps in when Mrs. McCarthy’s (Sorcha Cusack) family reunion is threatened by the predictions of a fortune-teller. And when Bunty is tried for the murder of a young aristocrat, it’s a race against time for Father Brown to prove her innocence and save her from the hangman’s noose.  10 Episodes

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NEW SERIES (NR) Shortly after moving into their newly finished dream house, Alice’s (Keeley Hawes) partner, Harry (Jason Merrells) dies from falling down the stairs. Harry designed the house himself, so it’s weird, wonderful, and impractical–and one more disorientation for Alice to endure along with her sense of loss and abandonment. Her beloved partner of 20 years is gone and now she can’t even find the fridge. To add to her problems, Alice discovers that Harry had a habit of hiding stuff he didn’t want to deal with, and his sudden death kicks up a storm of secrets, debt, and suspicion that Alice must confront to move forward with her life. Darkly Comic Drama, also stars Joanna Lumley, Gemma Jones, Nigel Havers, Ayesha Dharker, and Rhashan Stone.

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NEW SERIES (NR) Long-TIME, No Spree! Michael C. Hall returns to his role as Dexter Morgan. The world at large believes Dexter died in a tragic boating accident, and in a way, the world at large isn’t wrong. Far from the life he knew, living under a false name in the small town of Iron Lake, NY, he’s successfully tamped down his Dark Passenger for nearly 10 years. With a normal job and a Chief of Police girlfriend, it seems he’s got life under control – until his son shows up and his world is turned upside down. Jennifer Carpenter and John Lithgow also return to reprise their iconic roles. Enjoy…

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THE NOWHERE INN MOVIE (NR)

Mockumentary. From real-life friends Annie Clark and Carrie Brownstein comes the metafictional account of two creative forces banding together to make a documentary about St. Vincent’s music, touring life, and on-stage persona. But they quickly discover unpredictable forces lurking within-subject and filmmakers that threaten to derail the friendship, the project, and the duo’s creative lives.

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THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS MOVIE (R) Dvd & Blu Ray 

The long-awaited new film reunites original stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in the iconic roles they made famous: Neo and Trinity. Return to a world of two realities: one, everyday life; the other, what lies behind it. To find out if his reality is a physical or mental construct, to truly know himself, Mr. Anderson will have to choose to follow the white rabbit once more. And if Thomas…Neo…has learned anything, it’s that choice, while an illusion, is still the only way out of – or into – the Matrix. Of course, Neo already knows what he has to do. But what he doesn’t yet know is the Matrix is stronger, more secure, and more dangerous than ever before. Déjà vu.

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A JOURNAL FOR JORDAN MOVIE (PG-13)

Directed by Denzel Washington and starring Michael B. Jordan with a screenplay by Virgil Williams, A Journal for Jordan is based on the true story of First Sergeant Charles Monroe King (Jordan), a soldier deployed to Iraq who begins to keep a journal of love and advice for his infant son. Back at home, senior New York Times editor Dana Canedy (Chanté Adams) revisits the story of her unlikely, life-altering relationship with King and his enduring devotion to her and their child. A sweeping account of a once-in-a-lifetime love, the film is a powerful reminder of the importance of family.

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HOUSE OF GUCCI MOVIE (R) OSCAR NOMINEE 

Inspired by the shocking true story of the family behind the Italian fashion empire. Drama and Murder! When Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), an outsider from humble beginnings, marries the Gucci family, her unbridled ambition begins to unravel the family legacy and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge, and ultimately…murder.  It’s a legacy worth killing for. Directed by Ridley Scott, starring Adam Driver(Maurizio Gucci), Jared Leto (Paolo Gucci), Jeremy Irons (Rodolfo Gucci),  Al Pacino (Aldo Gucci), and Salma Hayek.

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DARE TO BE WILD  MOVIE (NR) 

Landscape Gardening Movie, Based on the true story of Mary Reynold’s life. An Irishwoman-landscaper who believes in nature’s wild habitats. She goes from being an outsider to a champion at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show. This romantic adventure is based on the true story of Mary Reynolds (Emma Greenwell), a modern-day heroine, and environmentalist Christy Collard (Tom Hughes), whose shared passion for the wild takes them from the green hills of Ireland to the arid deserts of Ethiopia and then to London’s Chelsea Flower Show as they reach for their dreams, one garden at a time and with the support, help and encouragement of many people who come into her life.