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Summer Reading

Staff Summer Reading Picks for June

Looking for a good read this summer? Find some summer reading picks from our staff.

Find more reading suggestions at Books & More.

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See You At Harry's by Jo Knowles

Well, it took seven tissues but I finished See You at Harry's. Cataloged as teen it has adult crossover appeal especially for Book Clubs that don't mind a few tears. I don't think the title or cover will make this book jump off the shelf. Twelve-year-old Fern's family members and friends must find away to deal with their grief with the loss of the three year old brother, Charlie. This novel was very well written and the characters exceptionally memorable.

Genre: Teen, Death & Dying
Recommended by Cathy at Library Headquarters

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Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick

First in a new trilogy - Ladies of Lantern Street. Private inquiry agent Evangeline escapes an attack by hiding in the ominous "Crystal Gardens". Mysterious owner Lucas Sebastian steps in to save her from a hired killer and the carnivorous plants. Mysteries grow. Love blooms. Another good read from Jayne Anne Krentz's pseudonym.

Genre: Victorian paranormal romance
Recommended by Cindi at Library Headquarters

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Straight Talk, No Chaser by Steve Harvey

This sequel to "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" gives specific scenarios of the relationship advice that Steve Harvey offers to women. The bonus for me was that the audiobook is read by Steve Harvey so you feel as if he is speaking to you directly. Mr. Harvey's tips of how to handle the many problems that cause bumps in the road in relationships are approached in a straight forward easy to swallow manner, just as the title states. All major issues in relationships from cheating to finances are covered in this "relationship tell-all" book for women. At the end he also lists things men should do to keep the woman in their lives happy.

Genre: Non-fiction, Relationships
Recommended by Daria at East Rancho Dominguez Library

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The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

This novel, the first for this author, has been one of the biggest fiction hits of the last year and with good reason. The two protagonists, Henry Skrimshander and Mike Schwartz, are on the baseball team of a small Midwestern Liberal Arts College. Henry is being scouted by the majors; Mike, though he acts as Henry's coach and mentor, isn't nearly as talented. This book has plenty of atmosphere that takes you into the gritty world of small-time college athletics. Though it's got plenty of offbeat detail and a large cast of characters you'll enjoy getting to know, this is ultimately a story about friendship, commitment, and love.

Genre: Fiction
Recommended by Edmond at Maywood César Chávez Library

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Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen

Picking up a Quindlen book is like catching up with an old friend. She re-examins her faith, her body, her progression to an older, wiser self. You'll hate to get the end, but as she writes, "To be continued." I hope so.

Genre: Memoir
Recommended by Elaine at La Cañada Flintridge Library

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus is such a beautifully written debut! It tells the story of two young magicians who are used as pawns in a dangerous game of sorcery and power. Erin Morgenstern's prose easily captures the imaginations of readers with its rich descriptions of magic and illusion. I was enthralled and eagerly await her next book!!!

Genre: Fiction
Recommended by Iris at La Cañada Flintridge Library

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Engines of change : a history of the American dream in fifteen cars by Paul Ingrassia

Automotive culture is a central part of American culture, and in this book Ingrassia takes a look at the 15 cars that he sees as being the most iconic. His choices are not always the autos that were the most technologically advanced, beautiful, or best-selling--indeed he includes the ill-fated Corvair and the mundane Chrysler minivan in his discussion. Ingrassia uses these cars to illustrate tensions that prevailed in twentieth-century American culture and still exist today: flamboyant versus practical, culture versus counterculture, style versus substance. A fun read, this is recommended for anyone who's interested in cars or culture.

Genre: Non Fiction
Recommended by Jesse at Diamond Bar Library

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Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

A Rogue werewolf has attacked the home of young Bryn, but she is rescued by the alpha of a large pack. She grows up among them, not a werewolf, but part of the Pack nonetheless. This, the first in the series, is a quick, delightful read, that I have already recommended to teens and adults alike - if you are at all interested in the werewolf paranormal kind of books, check this book out!

Genre: Teen, Paranormal
Recommended by Jessie at Westlake Village Library

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Bzrk by Michael Grant

Conjoined twins, Benjamin and Charles Armstrong, owners of the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation, are the masterminds behind a global conspiracy to transform the world into a utopia with no wars, hunger or free will. Opposing them is Bzrk, a group of guerilla-fighter teens. Their battles are fought at the nano-level, with very, very, very small robots and creatures, inside the human brain. Great for Michael Grant fans eagerly awaiting the final book in his Gone series.

Genre: Science Fiction
Recommended by Katherine at Hermosa Beach Library

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The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow

Rachel has grown up overseas with her Danish mother and African American father. When she is sent to live with her African American grandmother in Portland, OR, she must confront her racial identity, along with her family's past.

Genre: Fiction
Recommended by Katherine at East Los Angeles Library

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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Unique fantasy/adventure tale, with some of the storyline drawn from the author's collection of vintage photos. Jacob Portman travels to Wales to solve the mystery of his grandfather's childhood (and his recent murder by a monster). He shifts between current day and 1940, trying to save the "peculiar" children who lived with his grandfather. Ending sets up a sequel.

Genre: Teen
Recommended by Laurie at Lake Los Angeles Library

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Joe Golem and the Drowning City by Mike Mignola

Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy) brings you a sensational story that combines mythology, fantasy, and the occult. This dark tale takes place in post apocalyptic New York. You will follow young Molly through a flooded and gloomy city in her attempt to save a man who is like a father to her. Along the way she allies herself with a creature of the past and man who has long lived past his expiration. There are also delightfully fascinating graphics depicted throughout the book. If you like steampunk and fantasy you will be enthralled by this book.

Genre: Fantasy
Recommended by Lenise at Live Oak Library

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Let's Pretend this Never Happened (a mostly true memoir) by Jenny Lawson

Jenny grew up in rural Texas with her family. Her father is a taxidermist. Hilarity ensues. If you enjoy laughing out loud, pick up this book

Genre: Memoir, Humor
Recommended by Leticia at Sorensen Library

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A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

I had seen this book lying around my English teacher's classroom for a long time. I finally asked about it and he said he actually had never read it, but he had only heard great things about it. At that point I picked it up and started reading it. I was instantly hooked. George R. R. Martin does a wonderful job at making characters come to life. I never read a book that made me truly hate a character or absolutely love them. At one point, it even made me cry which was remarkable. I often times can't even laugh at jokes in books. I highly recommend this book and I really can not wait to continue on with the series!

Genre: Fantasy
Recommended by Lisa at Topanga Library

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Getting Organized in the Google Era by Douglas C. Merrill

I enjoyed reading this book because it provided non- traditional advice on getting organized. It discussed not only how the human brain organizes and encodes information, but how to utilize today's technology to make up for deficits in the brain's capacity to retain the abundance of information that we have to deal with in today's world.

Genre: Non-fiction
Recommended by Marie at Castaic Library

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The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

This hard-boiled detective story, featuring private investigator Philip Marlowe, takes readers into the corrupt, gritty, and morally decadent world of Los Angeles in the 1930's (almost seems like present day, huh?). Although I sometimes had a hard time following his rather convoluted plot line, I was intrigued by his style of writing (excellent figures of speech!), the fact that it was set locally, and some of the more obscure, hard-boiled detective language he uses (e.g., gat = gun). But, case in point that the plot is rather confusing: Even Raymond Chandler himself could not tell the producers of the movie who killed the chauffeur Owen Taylor... Now that's what I call a mystery!

Genre: Mystery
Recommended by Roberta at South El Monte Library

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Death by Cashmere : A Seaside Knitters Mystery by Sally Goldenbaum

The quaint village of Sea Harbor, Massachusetts is a lovely place to relax with the cool ocean breeze, good friends, art galleries, and of course knitting. The shocking murder of two friends has The Seaside Knitters searching to find the killer. Will they unravel this mystery? First in the series, this book was very entertaining. A bonus knitting pattern is included!

Genre: Mystery
Recommended by Ruthann at Norwalk Library

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Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition by Karen Blumenthal

A thoroughly researched, engaging book on the history of Prohibition. Starting with the Temperance movements and continuing to the repeal and beyond, Karen Blumenthal gives an objective history of a very divisive issue.

Genre: Teen Non-fiction
Recommended by Sarah at A.C. Bilbrew Library

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Most Talkative by Andy Cohen

I'm obsessed with all things "Real Housewives," and this dishy memoir by the charming Bravo executive and host reveals many fun behind-the-scenes secrets of the popular reality show franchise. Before becoming a pop culture tastemaker and television host, Cohen had a hard news background working with major names like Dan Rather. Cohen's personal and professional journey will be an enjoyable read for any fan of Bravo shows such as "Real Housewives" and "Top Chef."

Genre: Biography
Recommended by Susan at Central Region

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City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Mortal Instruments, Book 5, has Clary and her friends battling demons and seeking help from angels in an attempt to sever the evil connection between Jace and Sebastion before it's to late. All the various couples face challenges and conflicts as they decide whom to trust, love, betray and how much they are willing to sacrifice to save a lost soul.

Genre: Fantasy
Recommended by Susan at Temple City Library

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Imagine: How Creativity Works  by Jonah Lehrer

Highly recommended! This book has two parts - the first is about the brain science of creativity, what happens inside the brain when a creative breakthrough happens and what might cause it to happen (or not happen). The second part is about groups and environments that enable and encourage creative thought. Jonah Lehrer is an engaging science journalist and the book is a pleasure to read.

Genre: Non-fiction
Recommended by Susan at Library Headquarters