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Off the Shelf: Spring into some adventure and romance

Lately I’ve been dipping my toe into a few new romances that just came out and I’m having a blast. “Meet Cute” by Helena Hunting begins as Kailyn is crossing the quad, earbuds in place, when (former teen star) Daxton misses a Frisbee and crashes into her. They share a moment as they lay sprawled together: Kailyn fangirling when she realizes who just ran her down. Although they compete throughout college they never become more than friends. But destiny intervenes to bring them back together when Kailyn finds herself being the lawyer that can help Daxton’s family. Fun, funny, and emotionally satisfying, by the time Kailyn joins a clueless Dax at the drugstore to assist him looking for personal products for his younger sister, I was just laughing out loud. I liked these characters and smiled all the way through this contemporary romance.  

I heartily recommend “Flatshare” if you like an unconventional (Tiffy), and quirky (also TIffy), romance (Tiffy and Leon.) Rebounding from a breakup, Tiffy needs a new place to live right away. Leon needs extra cash so he wants to share the rent on his flat, if he can just find the right person. The catch: they will be sharing a bed. Since Leon works nights and sleeps days, and Tiffy works days and sleeps nights, the arrangement could actually work. Their plan: They will share a bed but never meet. And so their relationship begins with Post-it notes and slowly develops into texts and phone calls before they ever meet face to face months later. A cute and zany romance; I was laughing a lot reading this one. (I found the part regarding Tiffy’s bizarre deduction about knitted scarves under the bed hilarious.) “Flatshare” by Beth O’Leary is like a favorite dessert, you enjoy every bit of it.

Besides reading some romance I’ve never really veered far from suspense. Starting “The Reign of the Kingfisher” by T.J. Martinson I expected a lot of “Pow!” and “Bam!” and got a thoughtful thriller instead. The Kingfisher: some call him a hero, others say he’s a vigilante. For years he kept crime down and criminals wary in Chicago. But three decades have passed since he died. Now a masked individual has taken hostages. He demands to see the medical report that proves Kingfisher is really dead or he will start eliminating his hostages. When the first death is televised everyone watching realizes this person is serious, but even then some people have more to lose if the report does come out. The plot revolves around a superhero and has action and suspense. But it also has characters that make choices to do the right thing, delving into the idea that what really makes a hero is doing something beyond yourself for the best possible reasons. I was blown away by this one, it gets all the stars from me.

I just put down “A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World” by C.A. Fletcher and was sad to let it go. In the century since maybe plague, possibly worldwide infertility, or perhaps climate change ended it, (the cause doesn’t much matter to the scant number still left) and people and their few animals are just struggling to survive. This book asks the question: how far would you go for your best friend? Because when a stranger steals his dog, Griz impulsively takes off after him willing to go all the way to retrieve Jess. In this dystopian adventure Griz is often met with dangers and tragedies. But it isn’t all sadness, as he also encounters wonders and moments of joy like when he scavenges a house and recognizes books he’s read and muses that it was just like meeting an old friend in a different place. I’m a reader who doesn’t often look ahead, but I was constantly flipping ahead to make sure Griz and the dogs were safe because I was so invested in this story. And if you think a new dystopian has nothing new to offer, this one has plenty of surprises all the way through to the end. Fletcher writes with a lot of heart and I’ll be reading more from this author.

Between romance and suspense to the end of the world…whatever your interests come into the library and check something out.

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