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Off the Shelf: Enjoyable recent releases

We’ve added some great books to our collection in the past couple of months. I’ve had the pleasure of reading many that I really enjoyed. Maybe one or two of them will pique your interest!

Leena Cotton has just been put on a two-month paid leave from her job in London after bombing an important presentation. Her grandmother, Eileen, is feeling lonely and frustrated with the dismal romantic prospects in her small country village. Leena suggests that they switch homes for the duration of her two-month leave; Eileen will look for love in London, while Leena will decompress through small-town living. This book packed much more of an emotional punch than I expected. I thoroughly enjoyed following Leena and Eileen’s journeys of self-discovery in Beth O’Leary’s “The Switch.”

Emma loves working as assistant to Hollywood producer and showrunner Jo Jones. Jo is a great boss: she’s excellent at her job and supports the career goals of her staff. Emma wants to be a director and Jo has been helping Emma plan a career path that will achieve that dream. Both women are dismayed when a moment of their banter is caught on camera at an awards show and the rumors start to fly that they are dating and that Emma is sleeping her way to the top. The situation is complicated by the fact that each of them start to feel that there might actually be something to the rumors of their attraction. “Something to Talk About” by Meryl Wilsner was smart, funny, and sweet. I loved these strong and self-possessed female characters and really enjoyed their story.

Comedian and writer James Veitch loves email scams. He responds earnestly to each scammer, asking questions and making connections, drawing them into an ever more ridiculous conversation, with hilarious results! “Dot.Con: The Art of Scamming a Scammer” was a quick read that had me giggling the whole way through.

Dannie Kohan is on track to meet all the goals she laid out in her five year plan. She nails an interview at her dream law firm and her boyfriend David proposes on the same day. That evening, as she falls asleep on the couch, she wakes up five years down the road, in an apartment she doesn’t recognize and engaged to a man she doesn’t know. They spend an hour together, during which Danni tries to figure out what’s going on, before she awakes back in her present life on the couch next to David. Soon after, Dannie’s best friend Bella introduces her to her new boyfriend, who just happens to be the man Dannie met five years in the future! Dannie spends the next five years trying to prevent her future self from betraying both David and Bella. Rebecca Serle’s “In Five Years” turned in a completely unexpected direction and was a surprisingly bittersweet exploration of female friendship.

When she was five, Maggie Holt’s family fled Baneberry Hall after living there for two weeks. Her father swore to all who would listen that the Victorian estate was haunted and wrote a best-selling book about their experiences. Now an adult, Maggie returns to Baneberry Hall after inheriting it after her father’s death. Her father’s book and her family’s notoriety have haunted her since that horrifying night, but Maggie doesn’t really remember their time at Baneberry Hall. She decides to fix up the house and sell it, although her real goal is to uncover the secret of what really happened there when her family fled terrified from its doors. Riley Sager’s “Home Before Dark” kept me up late, racing to finish it, which was really not the best time to be reading a scary story!

Mia Bell has lived in the public eye for years as a popular social media influencer. But when her fiancé cancels their wedding two days before the ceremony she can’t bear to share her pain publicly. She retreats to her mother’s home in Colorado and goes dark on social media. Paige Miller, a standards and quality programmer at a popular social media platform, notices that Mia has stopped posting and decides to impersonate Mia on social media in order to become closer to her own sister, who idolizes Mia. As you might expect, things go hilariously awry. “The Bright Side of Going Dark” by Kelly Harms was a light read with real heart, and I enjoyed the realistically-flawed characters.

Call 507-359-8331 or visit www.newulmlibrary.org and click on Library Catalog to place a hold on any of these titles. Happy reading!

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