Joey (Joanna) hails from the Seattle area, but has called Bend home since 2020. She loves to travel, cook, go for walks, and read. When she's not at the bookstore, she also narrates audiobooks and writes fantasy and mystery. She was a high school English teacher for over a decade. So basically everything in her life is about books! She has school aged kiddos who are also avid readers, and a boat-designer husband who puts up with all the literary obsession in the house quite patiently.
Joey reads a little from every section in the bookstore, but mostly Fantasy, Mystery, Young Adult, and Middle Grade. Even in general fiction, she usually looks for a little murder or magic thrown in--both is even better! Favorite authors include: V.E. Schwab, Diana Wynne Jones, Laini Taylor, Neil Gaiman, Ann Cleeves, and Leigh Bardugo. She also leads our Out of This World book club and would love to see you there!
This book destroyed me: palpable longing, gut-wrenching tragedy, heartbreaking loss, sparkling wit, hilarious banter, psychological complexity, and broken family systems. At the heart are Harriet and Wyn, who I was dying to see end up together, even as Henry unfolds the very real and difficult circumstances that make it impossible. Her gags and one-liners and gorgeously wrought characters shine as bright as in her other works, but this one had a depth that will keep me thinking for a long time. And don't worry, the ending definitely satisfies.
Hilarious, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, this reads like the candid stand-up comedy of Taylor Tomlinson or the extremely self-aware and self-deprecating wit of Jenny Lawson. It's no rom-com, though dating after divorce at age 29 features heavily (and often hilariously), but our girl has to do some serious self-investigation to figure out where her life went sideways, how she contributed, and what she wants now. A delight and a page-turner, I loved it.
A beautiful story, Flowerheart relays the coming-of-age of a young witch with unruly magic against a backdrop of cottagecore coziness and a friendship blossoming into love that is swoony from chapter one. Bakewell's magical world asks deeper questions about how society should address mental health needs and who should have the authority to decide what is right, but despite the story's deeper soul, the telling remains light and fast-moving. The main characters give Anne and Gilbert vibes (she even has red hair!) that sold me immediately. But so did the proliferation of flowers and the story of a headstrong witch making her own way in a world that fears her strength. I hope Bakewell writes more of Clara and Xavier!
I really enjoyed this psychological thriller about an aspiring writer whose once-in-a-lifetime chance to be mentored by her literary idol at an exclusive retreat devolves into terror and violence. The depictions of female relationships at the heart of this novel were insightful, portraying loyalties, competitiveness, jealousy, pettiness, sacrificial love, and both conscious and unconscious attraction. The twists and turns of the story kept me turning pages late into the night, and the backstory of the haunted mansion where the retreat is set was sufficiently creepy with eerie overlaps into the present timeline. Especially interesting to an aspiring writer who would do anything to see their book in print. Anything? After reading this, maybe not. A deliciously scary read.
This book is deceptive. Initially, it seems straightforward. A man goes in search of a beloved teacher who disappeared some forty years prior: Miss Isles. Her interest in a certain author, Edith Twyford, may or may not have been related to a secret code hidden in her books. But even as Steve narrates his search for Miss Isles and the Twyford code, even as he recounts his own sordid past, even as he gets drawn deeper into an elaborate conspiracy, there's far more going on than it appears. Far more. This book is a clever puzzle within a puzzle within a puzzle, a dazzling intellectual and narrative feat that left me in amazement. At turns, funny, poignant, and devilishly clever, it's a worthy read for any mystery lover.
The Windeby Puzzle is a beautiful example of the way small glimpses into history spark rich imaginings that can take us back in time, to the story of a single person and who they might have been. Lowry's interest in the preserved body of an adolescent from the first century found in a bog in Germany led her to imagine their potential story, the facets of their life, and the common humanity of their experiences. She leaves the reader with admirable characters and poignant stories. I found myself in tears multiple times as I came to care deeply for the characters. Necessarily, these are stories that end in death, but the human resilience and bravery that precede them are truly moving. A beautiful book from one of the great storytellers for children of our time.
Reading this book was like moving through a dangerous and beautiful dream. It delivers suspense, romance, and mystery written with Ernshaw's spare poetic prose and signature twists and surprise reveals. Vega is forced to leave everything she has ever known, armed with lost knowledge that will cause everyone to hunt her if her true identity is discovered. This is a post-apocalyptic road quest story, a story of pioneers and outlaws, of a mysterious plague slowly destroying the population, and of a single girl who must be brave enough to endure them all in her attempt to save her world. A gorgeous, heart-wrenching, breath-snatching book that will haunt you long after the final page.
This much-anticipated sequel does not disappoint! Bardugo returns with a Yale just as arcane, dangerous, and intriguing as in Ninth House, though Alex has become Virgil now–more confident and adept in her role at Lethe, even as she continues to break all the rules and perform increasingly elaborate rituals in her desperate search for Darlington. A new spate of murders complicates everything, providing the delicious mystery meets magic combo that Bardugo serves like a witch’s midnight feast. Characters continue to develop: Alex's relationships before Yale, including criminals she wishes had forgotten her; Darlington's childhood at Black Elm; and Turner's less than spotless history in law enforcement. Meanwhile new characters rise to the fore, including Alex's roommate Mercy, Lethe's Oculus aka Pamela Dawes, and hapless blueblood Tripp Helmuth. Bardugo weaves the perfect tapestry of magical intrigue, gritty survival, and academic grandeur for an impeccable darkly glittering atmosphere. How will we bear waiting for book three?!
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