Audrey's Staff Picks

A little bit about Bookseller Audrey:

Audrey H. is a recovering lawyer and is now applying those skills to reading as widely as possible. She's been with the store from the beginning and she reads pretty much anything. Be prepared to be overwhelmed with an armful of books and feel free to tell her to stop pulling books off the shelves. Audrey H. can also talk your ear off about food since she is constantly thinking about her next few meals.

Most read genres: Fiction, MYS, SFF, Romance, Cookbooks,  Bio/Memoir, True Crime, YA, Middle Grade

These are the titles she loves!

A Wish in the Dark Cover Image
ISBN: 9781536204940
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Candlewick - March 24th, 2020

A 2021 Newbery Honor Book

A boy on the run. A girl determined to find him. A compelling fantasy looks at issues of privilege, protest, and justice.

Know My Name: A Memoir Cover Image
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9780735223707
Published: Viking - September 24th, 2019

The woman fka Emily Doe comes out with her story and her truth. Chanel Miller is a powerful voice and one to be seen and heard for many years. And even if she chooses to never publish or speak again, her words will resonate with all victims, survivors and humans. She reminds us (and frankly, she shouldn’t have to), the only one to blame is the rapist/offender. Those who excuse him are not only enabling him but enabling all predators. She spells out the rape culture that surrounds us as well as privilege in all its forms. But most importantly, Chanel Miller is more then the Stanford Rape victim. She is a writer, artist, sister, daughter and whatever else she chooses to be. Most of all, is is resilient and a force to be reckoned with.

Queenie Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501196027
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - November 5th, 2019

This was excellent on so many levels. It's been comped as a Bridget Jones + Americanah. But, I think that description does all three books a disservice. Queenie does have some LOL moments but it's has many more serious moments and issues. I listened to this and much of the listen, I was stressed as AF for Queenie. I listened to her make terrible decisions and choices and I listened to her hit rock bottom. And, the whole time, I was rooting for her to just get better. There are so many intersections of race, harassment, coming of age and friendships that it made it a satisfying read. And, just as important, the reader was FANTASTIC.

The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan Cover Image
By Sherry Thomas, Christina Chung (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781620148044
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Tu Books - September 10th, 2019

This retelling of Hua Mulan was so much fun. This book has it all, political intrigue, spies, warfare, romance and best of all, martial arts heroes aka wuxia. It combined history with the myth and legend of Mulan - just in time for the live action film. Loved it.

Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares (A Memoir) Cover Image
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9781250204752
Published: Celadon Books - October 1st, 2019

NPR Tech Reporter, Aarti Shahani's memoir is both illuminating and devastating. Not only is the criminal justice system flawed, the immigration system is inherently biased against those who are not white and those without financial means. Moreover, this book clearly shows, through one family, not only the love can help sustain a soul sucking fight, but how the system can destroy a person, piece by piece. Above all, the voice that speaks throughout this book is passionate yet approachable. Shahani’s family story depicts the American dream as well as the American nightmare.

Second Sister Cover Image
By Chan Ho-Kei, Jeremy Tiang (Translator)
ISBN: 9780802129475
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Grove Press, Black Cat - February 18th, 2020

If you like dark and twisty, this is for you. This complex cat and mouse mystery explores grief, revenge, bullying and the power (and abuse) of the internet. I audibly gasped at least twice and be prepared to stay up late to finish this deceptive page turner.

More to the Story Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481492096
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for You - September 3rd, 2019

A really lovely book about 4 sisters (of Pakistani) descent. Loosely inspired by Little Women, I loved how these sisters fought and made up and rallied when things got tough. I hope there is a sequel bc I want more of this family and their friends.

The Mountains Sing Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616208189
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Algonquin Books - March 17th, 2020

This family epic about how colonialism and the American War has shaped the Vietnamese, gripped me from the very first page. Told from the dual perspectives of grandmother and granddaughter, one sees how their love of family and survival in the foreground as devastation surrounds them. Between the communist land reforms post colonialism in the north, to the fighting against the south, the family history of tough choices made out of love, friends, enemies and politics slowly unfolds. This family won’t leave you anytime soon and I loved every word of this book.

IQ (An IQ Novel #1) Cover Image
By Joe Ide
ISBN: 9780316267731
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Mulholland Books - September 19th, 2017

This was an unexpected fantastic read. I was looking for an engaging audio book for a long car ride. And, I loved this so much that I finished it in record time. IQ lives in Long Beach and crime is real there. He's a bit of a slow burn. He sits back, observes and deducts. He's a private investigator for his community, charging what each person can afford. It's his way of giving back. In this first book, IQ is hired to find the people involved with the attempted murder of a rap star. The chapters alternate between this case and IQ's background and the plot lines work seamlessly together.

Along with the engaging plot, Sullivan Jones, the narrator was absolutely fantastic. It was easy to tell who was speaking through his tone and inflection. He's a narrator I will be looking forward to hearing more from.

The City of Brass: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062678119
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Voyager - July 3rd, 2018

This fantasy based on Middle Eastern mythology and politics is unputdownable. The characters are all interesting and you just want to find out more. Nahri and Ali, the two narrators, have distinct points of view and perspectives. Nahri, especially, since she comes from our world and is transported into this new land. The book depicts the complexities of the geo political, religious, tribal and cultural differences of the people who live in our Middle East as well as the fantastical world. The issues are so complex and everything is in shades of grey and somehow, you just want everyone to find some middle ground so there can be peace in the region.

Moon of the Crusted Snow Cover Image
ISBN: 9781770414006
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: ECW Press - October 2nd, 2018

What happens during an apocalypse when you barely notice that the apocalypse has happened. For the Anishinaabe tribe, are outside of mainstream society and their people were decimated centuries ago. When they begin to lose services (electric, cell, internet) it’s more par for the course instead of oh no, the world is ending. The community is used to being that, a community, but it’s when unwanted outsider(s) come in, is when real problems begin. In other words, an allegory for our times.

Here and Now and Then Cover Image
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9780778369042
Published: Mira Books - January 29th, 2019

This was a fantastic and fun read. There is just enough time travel jargon for it to make sense without overwhelming the senses. And, just enough paradox (and grandfather paradox) for it to be thoughtful without hurting the brain. It was exciting to read about Kin and his life in the past as well as the future. But, mostly, this was a touching ode of parental love and obligation. I loved this book.

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations Cover Image
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9780399589041
Published: One World - March 26th, 2019

This graphic memoir was so good on so many levels. It touches upon the author’s childhood and coming of age, as an East Indian growing up in New Mexico, colorism, relationships, marriage, family and our current political situation. These were the most thoughtful scenes, trying to explain to her brown child, about Trump and his supporters, including members of the author’s own family. I especially loved the artwork, drawings superimposed on pictures and found them so fitting for her story. This is the author’s story but I (and I suspect many) can relate to so much of it. 

Miracle Creek: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374156022
Availability: Temporarily Out of Stock
Published: Sarah Crichton Books - April 16th, 2019

This book is so much more then (an extremely well done) courtroom drama. It delves on issues of belonging, race, communication, parental love, disabled kids and alternative medicine. The author does a fantastic job, weaving in the various background stories as the trial unfolds. And the reader can sympathize and emphasize with almost all of them (bc really, not every character is likeable). And, the cherry on this book? It’s so well written that it seemed effortless. And all trial lawyers know, that effortless is the result of untold hours of prep. 

This should be one of the big reads of 2019. 

This Time Will Be Different Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062473448
Availability: Temporarily Out of Stock
Published: HarperTeen - June 4th, 2019

I loved this book. I loved it so much that I don't even know where to start. The characters - CJ and her friends and family. The relationships show how fully realized these characters were written. And, the history of the Japanese American internment during one of the more shameful parts of our history. CJ's grandparents were unlawfully imprisoned and the financial losses and outright racism were staggering for all the Japanese Americans. Throughout the plot, CJ weaves in her past relationships as well as family history in such a natural way. But, she also manages to tell this shameful history that isn't preachy and WHY it's still relevant, all these decades later. Just as important, these kids, are kids, with kid problems including relationships, parents, coming out and things that just happen in high school.

The Bride Test Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451490827
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - May 7th, 2019

I can’t believe that I may love this book more then Kiss Quotient. Bride Test definitely doesn’t suffer from second book syndrome. If anything, it’s even more aware and developed then the first. Esme is such an appealing heroine and has so much integrity and grit. And, her ambition on how to make a better life for her and her family is so important to the plot. It's as much an immigrant story based on the author's mom's experience as it is a love story. The romance that develops between her and Khai happens naturally (despite his mom choosing her) and it’s just so sweet. If you want a fun, and adorable romance read, look no further. And, here’s hoping that Quan will be the focus of book 3.

The Friend Zone Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538715604
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Forever - June 11th, 2019

This was such a delight and so much fun. I loved the banter between Kristen and Josh. And, it’s so refreshing to have Kristen not mince words to her wants and desires. Don’t be fooled by the cover or description though. This is a romance but there are serious issues weaved throughout the plot. Be prepared to get a little teary eyed or sniffly before arriving at the HEA.

The Caregiver Cover Image
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9781501178795
Published: Simon & Schuster - July 9th, 2019

Juxtaposed between Mara’s past in Brazil as a child and in the present in the US as an undocumented immigrant working as a caregiver to a dying woman. Mara is haunted by the love for her mother as well as her mother’s actions during the turbulent 80s. What makes this especially poignant was the author was suffering from stomach cancer, the way Mara’s patient was. The insights on living and dying took a completely different meaning, knowing this while reading.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419732096
Availability: Temporarily Out of Stock
Published: Harry N. Abrams - June 25th, 2019

This was just a delight. I listened to it and there were many times where I just started laughing. Genie is such an appealing heroine and I loved her interactions with Quinton and the other gods. Part Buffy and part Willow, I can't wait to read more about her adventures. The narrator was also fantastic and would listen to anything she reads.

The Chai Factor: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781443459877
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperAvenue - July 9th, 2019

So good and doesn’t quite fit the rom com label. While it does have rom com moments, it goes into so much more then a meet cute. It’s a book based on reality. Cultural barriers and expectations, homophobia and acceptance, misogyny and sexism and just plain old goofiness and corniness. Plus, Amira was such a relatable main character, filled with anger bc she had reached her limit with society’s labeling of her as a brown, Muslim woman. She’s outspoken and speaks her mind. She calls people out on their racism and sexism and it’s not her issue if she makes people uncomfortable with the truth. She’s also smart and in a STEM field. She’s awesome in so many ways, particularly bc she is a prickly porcupine. I loved the relationship she had with her family and how she navigated so many issues. This book should be getting more shout outs bc on top of all that, it’s so unputdownable.

Southland Cover Image
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9781888451412
Published: Akashic Books - April 1st, 2003

Southland depicts a side of Los Angeles that most people don’t know about. The book jumps in time and point of view to give the reader a true sense of place and atmosphere. Jackie, a third year Japanese American law student, looks into her dead grandfather’s past as a shop owner in the Crenshaw area of LA and why he closed the store after the watts riots. We see his point of view before and after the Japanese internment, his bravery in the 442nd and working in a store that serves the community. Lastly, Jimmy’s search into his cousins murder at that store has haunted him as he and Jackie dig into the past. Truly atmospheric makes this such a satisfying read.

That Time I Loved You: Stories Cover Image
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9781631495526
Published: Liveright - February 26th, 2019

I loved these interconnected short stories, set in a suburban neighborhood in Canada. These neighbors are, overall, neighborly, but secrets reside in each house in this diverse setting. June, a Chinese Canadian girl is the thread in these stories and her observations as well as those observing her, are illuminating with the multiple points of views.

This Is How You Lose the Time War Cover Image
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9781534431003
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - July 16th, 2019

This time traveling novel about two spies at war is really something else. Told from the respective positions of Red and Blue, they communicate by secret letters. At first taunting and at times musing, there is always mutual respect. But these letters, these letters are so beautifully written that one just wants more and, it ends in such a satisfying way.

My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250299437
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Picador - September 3rd, 2019

This memoir, presented in essays is so thoughtful, thought provoking and at times funny. I found myself nodding in agreement throughout most of her essays. Her observations are sharp and spot on. But, most importantly, it will give most people things to think about since she articulates her points in a way that is honest and real. She points out privilege while acknowledging her own as well as her own faults.

Jade War (The Green Bone Saga #2) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316440929
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Orbit - July 23rd, 2019

This was an amazing second book of a trilogy. The plot advanced, time passed smoothly, and the attachments one formed from book 1 continued throughout this one. It took me about 50 pages to reacquaint myself with this world and the cast of characters was incredibly useful. I gasped and was on pins during various points. And, the people have all grown and matured in all ways. Hilo, Shae, Anden and their underlings. But just as importantly, this isn’t only about the clans on Kekon. There is global expansion of the world and how it’s effecting the No Peak and Mountain clans. And how the politics of these other nations will effect the cultural values of Kekon. I can’t wait to see what happens in Jade Legacy.

Down the River unto the Sea Cover Image
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9780316509640
Published: Mulholland Books - February 20th, 2018

Walter  Mosley is a master of the craft. Is there any writer who writes as broadly or diversely? Here, Mosley returns to his roots...the Private Investigator mystery and it shines. In one book, he has developed characters who you root for and you want to succeed. The relationship between Joe King Oliver and his daughter, Aja-Denise, is especially touching and real. A seriously satisfying read.

Emergency Contact Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534408968
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - March 27th, 2018

Two engaging, non conventional and awkward main characters. Smart dialogue, real issues, and funny moments. Great concept as to how Penny Lee and Sam met and became friends. (Sam had an emergency and Penny found him. They decide to be each others emergency contacts if something happened. This led to many texts about daily life and their dreams). Penny had such sharp observations, especially about race. I enjoyed how the chapters alternated the povs and the internal thoughts for both Penny and Sam.

Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting-Pot Cuisine Cover Image
ISBN: 9781579657383
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Artisan - April 17th, 2018

I loved this thoughtful and passionate travel memoir with recipes. Chef Lee explores the intersectionality of food, culture and the evolution of "authenticity." You'll want to visit each of these places and try all the food. The recipes look fantastic with the classic Chef Lee twists. Can't wait to test them out.

The Prince and the Dressmaker Cover Image
ISBN: 9781626723634
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - February 13th, 2018

This is an incredibly charming graphic novel. It's about a friendship between an immensely talented dressmaker and a prince who loves clothes and fashion. Beautifully drawn and a beautiful message about how we have to own our likes, despite what other's may think. When you're finished, you're going to want to hop on a plane to Paris to look for Frances and Sebastian.

The Poppy War: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062662569
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Harper Voyager - May 1st, 2018

This book has it all. A fantasy based on historical facts and location, complex world building interwoven with mythology, excellent and well drawn characters and a kick a$$ heroine. Rin was such a well developed character and you could see her growth and maturity progress with the story. This is a war story with military strategy based on historical events during the brutally violent Sino-Japanese War.

Jade City (The Green Bone Saga #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316440882
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - June 26th, 2018

This was an intense and tense filled read. Despite initial skepticism at such a male dominated world, I was won over with the character and world building. And, the introduction of Shae and Wen and how they developed made this a gripping read. If you are a fan of family dynamics mixed in with power, magic, marital arts and loyalty, this is the read for you.

The Kiss Quotient Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451490803
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - June 5th, 2018

An excellent romance featuring a smart, successful, socially awkward woman, who happens to be on the spectrum. She wants to learn more about how to be in a relationship and more about sex so she hires an escort to teach her. The escort is sensitive with a loving family but has some secrets. Plus, he's gorgeous to boot. I loved watching the relationship develop between the two as well as the family interactions.

An Ocean of Minutes: A Novel Cover Image
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9781501192555
Published: Gallery Books - July 10th, 2018

This dystopian refugee story is both timely and relevant. Polly time travels to become an indentured servant in the future to save her boyfriend's life. When she arrives years later then expected, she is alone, confused and confounded by her new time and the never ending bureaucracy. Because of her lack of citizenship and status in this new world, she is constantly struggling to pay off her debts and to find her place in the unfamiliar world. One really gets the feeling of migration and displacement as Polly navigates her circumstances. For fans of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West.

Though I Get Home Cover Image
By YZ Chin
ISBN: 9781936932160
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Feminist Press - April 10th, 2018

At first, these loosely connected short stories seem to be linked via the theme of pre and post colonialism of Malaya/Malaysia. But, as the stories progress, they evolve into activism, democracy and identity. Random characters begin to show their significance and the threads start coming together. A compelling collection that is just beautifully written.

The Borrowed Cover Image
By Chan Ho-Kei, Jeremy Tiang (Translator)
ISBN: 9780802125880
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Grove Press, Black Cat - January 3rd, 2017

A life and career of a Chinese police detective in Hong Kong. Told in reverse chronological order, from the end of his career to the beginning, these six novellas incorporate solid police procedurals with social context of the times and place. What was especially fascinating was the evolution of Hong Kong policing before, during and after the UK handover to China. Each novella is placed during an important time period, even if some of the events are only mentioned in passing. A must for Sherlock Holmes fans. 

Girls of Paper and Fire Cover Image
By Natasha Ngan, James Patterson (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780316561365
Availability: Temporarily Out of Stock
Published: Jimmy Patterson - November 6th, 2018

Umm. Hello. Asian lesbians fighting against the patriarchy and starting a revolution? Yes please. This book was so much fun and just what I needed. Lei is the right touch of strong and unsure of herself and finds her hidden depths. And, Wren is just amazing. I wish there was a side along book about her background and her perspective. The sad thing is that I now have to wait for book 2.