Rock, Paper, Scissors by Naja Marie Aidt

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Everything gets worse over time…

The above sentence pretty much sums up everything you need to know about Thomas O’Mally Lindström – a shopkeeper in an unnamed city.  As Naja Marie Aidt’s novel opens, Thomas is cleaning out his abusive dead father’s apartment with his sister Jenny.  And if you think that couldn’t get worse, then you are mistaken.  This grim task is only the beginning for Thomas.  While dealing with his father’s death and an emotionally fragile sister, his relationship with girlfriend Patricia is also deteriorating.  Patricia wants a baby.  Thomas doesn’t.

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The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

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What I really need is a friend just like me; I’m sure I’d be my own best friend

When single, middle-aged Laurent finds a woman’s handbag outside of his Paris bookstore, his first instinct is to leave it alone.  But a deeper curiosity inspires the bookseller to locate the owner of this mysterious mauve handbag and return it.  With only a few personal effects, how is Laurent supposed to find one woman in a city of millions?

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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

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The words you can’t find, you borrow

A.J. Fikry is a lonely bookstore owner with a deep appreciation for certain literature and a “purcupine heart.”  He calls himself old and decrepit, but he’s really just a quirky middle-aged man who forgot how to take care of himself.  Island Books used to be a hub of activity in its small town – filled with children, laughter, and happy customers.  But since his wife died, A.J. hasn’t cared for the bookstore the way he used to.  Island Books is still open and fully functional, but its reputation has soured since A.J. became a widower, shutting out the world and his heart.

But when a mysterious woman abandons her child in the store the same week his prized (and highly valuable) Edgar Allen Poe book is stolen, A.J. must abruptly awaken from his haze of grief, self-pity, and depression in order to save a life.  But A.J. needs saving more than anyone, so toddler Maya is just the breath of fresh air that he needs.

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Beyond the Pale Motel by Francesca Lia Block

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There is a skeleton of pain beneath your flesh and I can see it.

Francesca Lia Block has been a sensation in the YA scene for over 15 years.  Since her 1989 debut of Weetzie Bat, Block has been casting spells over readers with tales of magical realism in the glittering world of Los Angeles.  With a fearless exploration of love, sex, abuse, heartbreak, and redemption, her novels are powerful yet whimsical portrayals of growth, discovery, and perseverance.

With this novel, Block steps out of her YA comfort zone and into the Adult Mystery genre with a tale of lust, deceit, addiction, and murder in L.A.  Beyond the Pale Motel introduces readers to Catt, a fierce yet deeply heartbroken and damaged woman.  After more than ten years of sobriety, Catt and her best friend Bree are finally settling into positive routines, happiness, and health.

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Petite Mort by Beatrice Hitchman

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I am a miserable stranger

In Beatrice Hitchman’s debut novel, readers are transported to 1913 Paris – a time where fashion, film, and art flourished and all the world was a stage.  For 17-year-old Adele, Paris is a place for opportunities and new beginnings.  As a seamstress to the stars, Adele is always close to glitz, glamour and fame, but never in the spotlight.  But when she begins an affair with married silent film producer André, her circumstances abruptly change, and Adele is promoted to the role of assistant to André’s beautiful and famous wife, Terpsichore.

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