Staff Pick: A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas

Enter Prythian, land of the fae, if you dare! Here, you won’t find humans scrapping out an existence as they do on the lower side of the wall. Instead, creatures from nightmares abound, waiting with sharp teeth and curved claws to lure humans to the other side of the wall, where they will be enslaved… or worse. And, as if that isn’t enough to worry about, there are the High Fae with powers that can shake mountains, powers that can transport you across the world in the blink of an eye, powers beyond imagination. But are all fae bad?

In the first book of this fantasy series (previously mentioned in the Beauty and the Beast Retellings post), Feyre is just a 19-year-old girl who hunts in the forest to keep food on the table for her and her family. But then one day, something happens that will change her life forever. She’s forced to leave her family and go to Prythian, where everything is not what it seems. Could her captor be good, or is he the monster she has always believed the fae to be? And what is happening in Prythian that makes even these immortals shudder? 

As you read through the series, the characters continue to face overwhelming obstacles which only seem to get worse and worse, leading to a war with the lives of both human and fae alike in jeopardy from an evil far worse than anything that has been thrown at the world for a very long time, an evil that may not have been as dormant as everyone hoped over the past 500 years…

With violence and graphic images, this book is not for the faint of heart. 

Reserve physical copies of Sarah J. Maas’s popular ACOTAR series for Curbside Pickup, or check them out online in ebook format on Overdrive or through the Libby app. The first book is also available on Overdrive as an audiobook.

Staff Pick – “Well Met” by Jen DeLuca

All’s faire in love and war for the two sworn enemies of Willow Creek’s local Renaissance Faire!

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy, and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?


This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

This is a great summer read for the rom-com fans who appreciate a bit of wit!

Accessible through Libby & Overdrive.

More Features of NoveList To Help You Choose What To Read Next!

Here are more exciting features of NoveList Plus for the avid reader! We first mentioned this useful book selection tool in a blog post back in April. Here are some features you may not know about!

NoveList has a wide variety of Book Lists. There are fiction lists and narrative nonfiction lists, each separated by age groups. You can browse through different genres such as Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mystery, and Historical Fiction. You can also check out forthcoming titles as well as many specific subgenres.

For example, if you are interested in reading cozies, search under Adult > Fiction > Mysteries > Getting Cozy, where you will find such titles as M. C. Beaton’s The Witch’s Tree (which happens to be in Overdrive and hoopla) and Buried in Books by Kate Carlisle (available as an audiobook on hoopla).

There are extensive lists of Award Winners, which are also separated by age and include fiction and nonfiction. The most recent Pulitzer Prize winner, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, is one of the books displayed under Recent Awards, and it can be checked out on Overdrive.

As we mentioned in the previous NoveList blog post, when you see a book you like and click on the title, a wonderful feature is that you can click on the Series and get a list of the whole series in order, as well as Read-alikes listed on the side.

There are a wide variety of narrative nonfiction book lists, including Biography and Memoir, History, Travel Writing, and Nature and Science. These are also broken down into subcategories.

If you find a title you like, you can visit Overdrive/Libby or hoopla to see if the library has an electronic version of it.

Click here to access NoveList, and feel free to email the Reference Staff at mar@noblenet.org for assistance with using this resource, as well as getting further book recommendations.

Historical Fiction Reviews and NextReads Newsletters

Travel to another time and place with these historical fiction books! You can check these ebooks and audiobooks out with your library card on hoopla or Overdrive/the Libby app.

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Julian Fellowes created the hit PBS series, Downton Abbey, and won many awards for his screenplays. His novel Belgravia has been filmed for a mini-series. The story begins in 1815 Belgravia, London. On the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, events occur at the famous ball given by the Duchess of Richmond that will follow the characters with their secrets to unfold twenty-five years later. 

Read the Overdrive ebook or listen to the hoopla audiobook

Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

Set in early twentieth century Boston, Diamant tells the story of a Jewish girl, Addie Baum growing up with her three sisters and Russian immigrant parents. They live through the 1918 Influenza epidemic. Addie works toward her dream of going to college and becoming a career woman. She enters the work force as a newspaper typist. Diamant began her career as a journalist and is a Massachusetts author.

Read the Overdrive ebook or listen to the hoopla audiobook.

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Award-winning author Colm Toibin delivers an engaging story of Irish immigrant Eilis Lacey’s experiences having to move to Brooklyn on her own to find a job and then being torn between the life she has found there and returning home to her family. Colm Toibin’s wonderful writing depicts life in the 1950s, Eilis living in a boarding house, attending dances, studying at Brooklyn College, her aching homesickness and the people and events that shape the person she becomes.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Abraham Verghese is an American physician and winner of a National Humanities Medal. Born in Ethiopia he emigrated with his family to the United States and did his fellowship at Boston University School of Medicine during the AIDS epidemic. His novel begins in 1947. Twin brothers, Marion and Shiva were born from a secret union between an Indian nun and a British surgeon. Their mother died in childbirth and the father abandons them. The twins grew up cared for by two doctors. The Ethiopian Civil War began and the ill fated love Marion and Shiva shared for the same woman drove them apart. Marion continues his medical training and becomes a surgeon in New York where he becomes reunited with his estranged father and brother. 

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Set in Jane Austen’s time, Chevalier brings to life the world of Lyme Regis where Mary Anning and her friend Elizabeth Philpot search the rocky beaches for fossils. Mary Anning’s amazing discoveries had a significant impact on the scientific community.

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Coates tells the story of Hiram Walker who was born into slavery on a plantation in Virginia in the mid 1800s. His father was the owner of the plantation. Hiram realizes he has an extraordinary photographic memory except he can’t remember his mother who was sold as a slave when he was young. He then recognizes his mother in a vision as a water dancer when he has a near death experience. Hiram wants to escape slavery and embarks on a journey into the Underground and a fight for freedom. Coates began his career as a journalist and is a National Book Award winner for Between the World and Me.


You can sign up to receive booklist newsletters via email from NextReads through NOBLE. Choose from a variety of genres, including historical fiction, to find your next great read, and search for ebook and audiobook formats to download through Overdrive/the Libby app and hoopla.

You can also search for reading recommendations through NoveList (see our NoveList post for more information on this resource) or contact the Reference staff at mar@noblenet.org.

Cyborgs, Assassins, and Stepsisters: YA Cinderella Retellings

When you think of fairy tales, one that may come to mind is the story of Cinderella. It has been told and retold hundreds of times, sometimes in the form of YA novels. In this post, you will find a few of these tales. They feature cyborgs, assassins, comic-cons, and stepsisters. One of them is even true. So if any of these catch your interest, check out the list below and explore a few of the Cinderella retellings we have accessible for you in Overdrive or through Overdrive’s Libby App.

*All descriptions are from the publisher.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (also available as an audiobook on hoopla)

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Ash by Malinda Lo

In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Their friendship, as delicate as a new bloom, reawakens Ash’s capacity for love—and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah

A Chinese proverb says, “Falling leaves return to their roots.” In Chinese Cinderella, Adeline Yen Mah returns to her roots to tell the story of her painful childhood and her ultimate triumph and courage in the face of despair. Adeline’s affluent, powerful family considers her bad luck after her mother dies giving birth to her. Life does not get any easier when her father remarries. She and her siblings are subjected to the disdain of her stepmother, while her stepbrother and stepsister are spoiled. Although Adeline wins prizes at school, they are not enough to compensate for what she really yearns for — the love and understanding of her family.

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly (also available on hoopla)

Isabelle should be blissfully happy-she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe… which is now filling with blood.

Isabelle tried to fit in. She cut away pieces of herself in order to become pretty. Sweet. More like Cinderella. But that only made her mean, jealous, and hollow. Now she has a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection
Fewer tracks on this version
Japanese version

This next book isn’t a direct retelling, more of an inspired-by. The author mentions in an interview that her inspiration for the story was Disney’s Cinderella soundtrack during the fleeing the castle scene. (Click the images or link above to access different copies of the soundtrack in hoopla – the song is titled “The Stroke Of Midnight /Thank You Fairy Godmother” in all of them.) She felt that the music was a bit too dark and intense for the scene and thought that it would fit better if Cinderella was an assassin sent to kill the prince instead, and so the following story was born.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

If you’re interested in other fairy tales, check out our post on Beauty and the Beast retellings!

The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More

Spring is in full bloom, and most of us are itching to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer us. We admire the trees for their blossoming buds, and we plant gardens full of colorful flowers and aromatic herbs. In Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More, readers learn how to connect more deeply and spiritually with the natural environment they live in. 

Living in Salem’s neighboring cities and towns, we’re all familiar with the terms witch and witchcraft. A common misconception about witchcraft is that it is the same as Wicca. Wicca is a specific and formal nature-based religion, whereas witchcraft (as Hiscock describes) “refers to the practice of working with natural energies to attain goals, without the specific religious context” (p. 14). 

There are many forms and focuses of witchcraft, but the path of the green witch is defined by her relationship to the world around her, by her ethics, and by her affinity with the natural world. With green witchcraft, there are no unique prayers, no uniforms, no holy texts, no obligatory tools, and no specific holiday. Instead, green witchcraft is a practice that combines the use of herbs and other green matter with seven basic energies: harmony, health, love, happiness, peace, abundance, and protection.

Throughout Hiscock’s guide, readers will learn how to use the various elements of nature—the sun, the moon, trees, stones, flowers, and herbs—to connect more closely with the Earth, to create and craft green witch magic, to become a natural healer, and much more.The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More is now accessible in Overdrive and the Libby app!

Get Answers To Your Questions and Suggestions For What To Borrow Next!

Though the building is closed, the Abbot Public Library staff is dedicated to staying connected with our users. If you have any questions, please feel free to email the library addresses below. A staff member will be in touch with you soon to answer.

We welcome all questions, but are especially hoping that you will ask for advice about what to read/view/listen to next. If you have been following the staff blog, you can see that there are many items available in our e-collections to borrow, as well as digital resources you are able to access. We would love to guide you to them and discuss the exciting new additions to our collections. Library staff would also like to hear your suggestions about books, movies, and audiobooks that you have enjoyed during this time.

So, ask us!

Adult Reference Librarians
mar@noblenet.org

Children’s Librarian
marchild@noblenet.org

Teen Librarian
marteen@noblenet.org

Humor and the Apocalypse

Humor and apocalypse – do they go together?

The Last Kids on Earth series of graphic novels, written by Max Brallier and illustrated by Douglas Holgate, is an action-packed comic for ages 8-12 with lots of slimy, squelchy, icky monsters that need to be dispatched in time-honored snarky hero style. Enter 13-year-old Jack Sullivan and his three best friends who might just be the last kids on earth due to a “Monster Apocalypse.” One way to deal with anxiety is to frame a comic with gamer-style action and comedy with kids saving the world.

Reluctant readers have been grabbing this series even before it was rumored to be turned into a Netflix offering soon. Lots of humor, over-the-top villains, and tight friendships.

Read this series on Overdrive or with the Libby app!

Book 1: The Last Kids on Earth
Book 2: The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade
Book 3: The Last Kids on Earth and the Nightmare King
Book 4: The Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond
Book 5: The Last Kids on Earth and the Midnight Blade