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Annette's Picks

Eloquent prose threads its way through exotic 1921 Malaya when renowned author W. Somerset Maugham visits an old friend. Maugham finds inspiration for his next book in the story of a decade-old murder that serves as a backdrop for the complexities of social mores, cultural clashes, and one’s inner truth. Alluring and moving! This book has staying-power and will be talked about for years to come!


Prepare to step back into the life of a midwife in the 1700s who is drawn into crimes of rape and murder. Led by a strong heroine whose compassion and moral strength transcend the skewed code of ethics of the times, this well-crafted story strikes the reader with every harsh detail and nuance of the early American justice system. Not every battle is won, but an unforgettable moment definitely left me cheering!


This book is in a league of its own; there isn’t enough space to sing its praises! A totally immersive story of two giraffes being transported across the US in 1938; it’s wonderfully atmospheric, bringing you right into the Great Depression and flashes of the Dust Bowl. Even more than that it’s about tragedies, resolve, dreams, and love of life, with connections to animals and our fellow humans. A real winner of a book that will stay with me a long time!


Pure love—that’s what I felt about this book! It’s smart, witty, and emboldening! I don’t know how many countless times I cheered or chuckled. A female chemist struggles to rise above the chauvinistic male domination of the 1960s and live life on her terms despite ingrained oppression of women. Hooray for this feminist heroine who points out that just because women’s bodies are smaller than men's doesn’t mean their brains are!


Delightful and uplifting! This book is a sweet ray of sunshine (with a few stabs to the heart)! A group of grief-stricken people find solace in Italy and each other.


This book celebrates the magic of literature! I thoroughly enjoyed the concept of how one book affects each reader differently with respect to what’s happening in their own lives and their own unique challenges. One single book can mean something else for each individual reader; it can be the conduit for healing, change, understanding, renewal, or closure.


A charming read about quirky characters who find their way into an irritable old man’s life and start a book club. I love novels about friendships formed around books, and this story was even more special since it takes place in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho! I also enjoyed the title-knitting challenge in the Reading Group Guide—fun!


This book, about a woman who opens a museum of objects belonging to regular people instead of historical figures, is a touching, uplifting, story of the connections to friends and families that keep on living past a person’s time on this earth. It is also about hope, love, and forgiveness--a flawless mix to touch the heart. And with a perfect narration for the audiobook, I could have listened to the main character, Jess, all day long.


Simply stunning! It immediately seized me in its grip and did not let go. Blinded by Hitler’s sinister reality, a Jewish family chose to see hope instead of hate—until it was too late. Only one person escaped in this thrilling, mesmerizing, heartrending story made all the more poignant because it was based on true events. Incredible!


An engaging and fact-filled middle-grade historical fiction of a twelve-year-old stowaway on the Titanic who aspires to become a journalist and gathers information about the ship. Along the way, she uncovers the plot of a couple planning to steal from her new first-class passenger friend and she enlists the help of a boy porter.


A fun, cozy mystery where an amateur psychic (who regularly hosts “klairvoyant karaoke”) helps a cop solve a murder in Seattle!


This book knocked me off my feet! It’s about guilt, conscience, our role in society, and as humans. It was such a well-crafted slow burn, I had a difficult time putting it down. In this riveting narrative, we are pulled from one page to the next edging toward a 91-year-old woman’s secret from WWII. At the same time a drama plays out in current-day London, with both culminating to a jaw-dropping moment. So good!!


Loved it! A story about a vampire bunny that’s not scary, but sure is funny—(with humor that adults will appreciate, too!) Anyone who loves animals, especially, cats and dogs will find smart Chester and Harold delightful! This is a timeless kids’ classic that people of any age will enjoy.


Great writing, interesting story, characters, and portrait of the Great Depression. Checks all the boxes—big thumbs-up!


What a joy this book was! I loved being invited into Shaun Bythell’s daily life as a bookseller in Scotland. His dry humor and deadpan observations had me smiling and even laughing out loud page after page. Several fellow booksellers read it before I did and highly recommended it. They were so right! Good choice.


Based on the real lives of the aristocratic Mitford sisters, this book provides an utterly engaging glance at the rise of fascism in Britain leading up to WWII and one sister’s infatuation and friendship with Hitler. We gain a thought-provoking sense of how ideologies can escalate to dangerous levels.


Wow! Wow! Wow! Each page of this book exposes one new shocking revelation after another of life in North Korea. And a whole new nightmare begins when mother and daughter escape to China. It’s tough to imagine such relentless horrors. A captivating, astonishing read!


A smart and endearing action adventure! In this delightful take-off on Frankenstein, an 11-year-old girl completes her great-grandpa’s experiment in creating a being. Now she, the talking-head portion of her robot tutor, her chimpanzee, and a new friend hunt to bring back the monster who’s on the loose. Loved it!


This book swept me away from page one. The writing is electric; the visual descriptions are a treat! A story of three siblings growing up in an unconventional British family, follows their bond as children who put on theatre productions, to adulthood facing the turbulent times of WWII. This 545-page book is perfect to cozy up with in the cold winter months.


Great book! Gives an inside look at the massive operations behind the scenes of the White House. Find out what’s hidden under the Press Briefing Room, which president liked to eat squirrel stew, and which president and first lady went by code names Rawhide and Rainbow. Geared for mid-kids readers ages 8-12, but I found it highly intriguing and recommend it for all ages. This book is an absolute treasure!


This book sparkles with humor and is filled with love, as a family copes with tragedy. It hits at the funny bone and the heart! A director has already been selected for the movie version of this book. Woohoo!


An uplifting, feel-good book buzzing with hope! In the small apple orchard region of Hood River, Oregon, three people in need come together: a beekeeper with a tragic loss; an 18-year-old wheelchair-bound boy trapped in a terrible home life; and a well-meaning but bumbling, nervous 24-year-old with a checkered past. All lost in their own way, they find strength in each other with the help of bees.


Wow! This well-written, well-researched book about the German Lebensborn Society was totally captivating! Coburn’s chilling details of the lesser-known program as well as life in WWII Germany had me glued to each page.


Exactly what I look for in historical fiction: learning about the past through a well-told, gripping story such as this one, which encompasses an unforgettable tragedy in Michigan, amazing escape and evasion gadgets constructed to outwit the Germans, and going undercover in occupied Holland. All of it was fascinating!


Historical fiction at its best! A jaw-dropping book about a boy in Romania during one of the most oppressive communist regimes, led by dictator Nicolae Ceausescu (Beloved Leader) and is wife Elena (Heroine Mother).

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