Time Loop/Breaking Books

Hey Bookies! I like a book that has a weird time loop or time skip element in it. It’s weird, but give me a Rip Van Winkle-esque or Groundhog day-esque book and I’m a happy camper =). Here’s some books for you if you like the same wibbly wobbly timey wimey elements this Groundhog’s Day!

Your Life Has Been Delayed

Jenny Waters boards her flight in 1995, but when she lands, she and the other passengers are told they disappeared . . . 25 years ago. Everyone thought they were dead.

Now contending with her family and friends fast-forwarding decades, Jenny must quickly adjust to smartphones and social media while being the biggest story to hit the internet. She feels betrayed by her once-best friend and fights her attraction to a cute boy with an uncomfortable connection to her past. Meanwhile, there’s a growing group of conspiracy theorists determined to prove the whole situation is a hoax. Will Jenny figure out how to move forward, or will she always be stuck in the past?

Class of 1983 by Victoria Maxwell

When Magz finds an old key in a dusty old high school yearbook, she hardly expects it to open up a time travel portal in the school’s book room that sends her back in time to 1983.

But she soon finds out that time travelling is not all record shopping, pizza parties and puffy prom dresses.

Falling head over vintage heels in love with Sammy Ruthven, the raddest guy in the class of 1983, Magz must find a way to change his future if she has any chance of being with him in the past.

But can you really change destiny? And what if your destiny has already happened? How do you change it then?

Like a Twilight versus Back to the Future dance off directed by John Hughes, Class of 1983 is Victoria Maxwell’s debut Young Adult novel about escaping persecution, falling in first love, friendship, destiny and free will.

Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch
Jillian Westfield has the perfect suburban life straight out of the upscale women’s magazines that she obsessively reads. She’s got the modern-print rugs of Metropolitan Home, the elegant meals from Gourmet, the clutter-free closets out of Real Simple, and the elaborate Easter egg hunts seen in Parents. With her successful investment banker husband behind the wheel and her cherubic eighteen-month-old in the backseat, hers could be the family in the magazines’ glossy Range Rover ads.

Yet somehow all of the how-to magazine stories in the world can’t seem to fix her faltering marriage, banish the tedium of days spent changing diapers, or stop her from asking, “What if?”

Then one morning Jillian wakes up seven years in the past. Before her daughter was born. Before she married Henry. Suddenly she’s back in her post–grad school Ikea-furnished Manhattan apartment. She’s back in her fast-paced job with the advertising agency. And she’s still with Jackson, the ex-boyfriend and star of her what-if fantasies.

Armed with twenty-twenty hindsight, she’s free to choose all over again. She can use the zippy ad campaigns from her future to wow the clients and bosses in her present. She can reconnect with the mother who abandoned her so many years before. She can fix the fights at every juncture that doomed her relationship with Jackson. Or can she?

With each new choice setting off a trajectory of unforeseen consequences, Jillian soon realizes that getting to happily ever after is more complicated than changing the lines in her part of the script. Happiness, it turns out, isn’t an either-or proposition. As she closes in on all the things she thought she wanted, Jillian must confront the greatest what-if of all: What if the problem was never Henry or Jackson, but her?
Down World by Rebecca Phelps
As the site of a former military base, there have always been rumors that East Township High School was the site of experiments with space and time. For years, students have whispered in the hallways of a doorway created within the school, one that can access multiple timelines and realities, a place known as the Down World.

As the new kid in school and still reeling from the unexplained death of her brother Robbie, Marina O’Connell is only interested in one thing: leaving the past behind. But a chance encounter with handsome Brady Picelli changes everything. He will lead Marina to a startling discovery. The Down World is real and the past, present, and future are falling out of balance.

Brady is determined to help Marina discover what really happened to her brother. However, what is taken from one world, must be repaid by another. And Marina is about to discover that even a realm of infinite possibilities has rules that must be obeyed.
Before I Fall

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is … until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

Kindred

The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given…

11 Birthdays (Willow Falls, #1)

GROUNDHOG DAY meets FLIPPED in this tale of a girl stuck in her birthday.

It’s Amanda’s 11th birthday and she is super excited — after all, 11 is so different from 10. But from the start, everything goes wrong. The worst part of it all is that she and her best friend, Leo, with whom she’s shared every birthday, are on the outs and this will be the first birthday they haven’t shared together. When Amanda turns in for the night, glad to have her birthday behind her, she wakes up happy for a new day. Or is it? Her birthday seems to be repeating iself. What is going on?! And how can she fix it? Only time, friendship, and a little luck will tell. . .

A Week of Mondays

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

The Loop

Ben and Maggie have met, fallen in love, and died together countless times. Over the course of two pivotal days—both the best and worst of their lives—they struggle again and again to resist the pull of fate and the force of time itself. With each failure, they return to the beginning of their end, a wild road trip that brings them to the scene of their own murders and into the hands of the man destined to kill them.

As time circles back on itself, events become more deeply ingrained, more inescapable for the two kids trapped inside the loop. The closer they come to breaking out, the tighter fate’s clutches seem to grip them. They devise a desperate plan to break free and survive the days ahead, but what if Ben and Maggie’s only shot at not dying is surviving apart?

Neverworld Wake

Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim – their creative genius and Beatrice’s boyfriend – changed everything.

One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft – the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world – hoping she’ll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death.

But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.

Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions.

Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers… and at life.

And so begins the Neverworld Wake.

Rules for Vanishing

Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her–and who won’t make it out of the woods?

It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her…or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca–before she’s lost forever. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends–and their cameras–following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side.

Recursion

That’s what NYC cop Barry Sutton is learning, as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

That’s what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face to face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds, but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

Pretty in Punxsutawney

A Groundhog Day meets Pretty in Pink mashup from author Laurie Boyle Crompton, Pretty in Punxsutawney tells the tale of a girl willing to look beneath the surface to see people for who they really are.

Andie is the type of girl who always comes up with the perfect thing to say…after it’s too late to say it. She’s addicted to romance movies—okay, all movies—but has yet to experience her first kiss. After a move to Punxsutawney, PA, for her senior year, she gets caught in an endless loop of her first day at her new school, reliving those 24 hours again and again.

Convinced the curse will be broken when she meets her true love, Andie embarks on a mission: infiltrating the various cliques to find the one boy who can break the spell. What she discovers along the way is that people who seem completely different can often share the very same hopes, dreams, and hang-ups. And that even a day that has been lived over and over can be filled with unexpected connections and plenty of happy endings.

See You Yesterday

Barrett Bloom is hoping college will be a fresh start after a messy high school experience. But when school begins on September 21st, everything goes wrong. She’s humiliated by the know-it-all in her physics class, she botches her interview for the college paper, and at a party that night, she accidentally sets a frat on fire. She panics and flees, and when she realizes her roommate locked her out of their dorm, she falls asleep in the common room.

The next morning, Barrett’s perplexed to find herself back in her dorm room bed, no longer smelling of ashes and crushed dreams. It’s September 21st. Again. And after a confrontation with Miles, the guy from Physics 101, she learns she’s not alone—he’s been trapped for months.

When her attempts to fix her timeline fail, she agrees to work with Miles to find a way out. Soon they’re exploring the mysterious underbelly of the university and going on wild, romantic adventures. As they start falling for each other, they face the universe’s biggest unanswered question yet: what happens to their relationship if they finally make it to tomorrow?

One Last Stop

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

This Is How You Lose the Time War

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.

Outlander (Outlander, #1)

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

In a Holidaze

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

Ruby Red (Precious Stone Trilogy, #1)
Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended – and rather eccentric – family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors’ peculiar history, she’s had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn’t been introduced to “the mysteries,” and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley. It comes as an unwelcome surprise when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past.

She’s totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He’s obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she’s seen in any century…
The Time Machine
“I’ve had a most amazing time….”

So begins the Time Traveller’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era—and the story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him his reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes…and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth.  There he discovers two bizarre races—the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks—who not only symbolize the duality of human nature, but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well.  Published in 1895, this masterpiece of invention captivated readers on the threshold of a new century. Thanks to Wells’s expert storytelling and provocative insight, The Time Machine will continue to enthrall readers for generations to come.
11/22/63
On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King’s heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination—a thousand page tour de force. Following his massively successful novel Under the Dome, King sweeps readers back in time to another moment—a real life moment—when everything went wrong: the JFK assassination. And he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history.

Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk. Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.
Now, Then, and Everywhen (Chronos Origins #1)
When two time-traveling historians cross paths during one of the most tumultuous decades of the twentieth century, history goes helter-skelter. But which one broke the timeline?

In 2136 Madison Grace uncovers a key to the origins of CHRONOS, a time-travel agency with ties to her family’s mysterious past. Just as she is starting to jump through history, she returns to her timeline to find millions of lives erased—and only the people inside her house realize anything has changed.

In 2304 CHRONOS historian Tyson Reyes is assigned to observe the crucial events that played out in America’s civil rights movement. But a massive time shift occurs while he’s in 1965, and suddenly the history he sees isn’t the history he knows.

As Madi’s and Tyson’s journeys collide, they must prevent the past from being erased forever. But strange forces are at work. Are Madi and Tyson in control or merely pawns in someone else’s game?
Back To You

Searching for history’s greatest pastrami on rye, Chris arrives from 1,000 years in the future and hides his time machine in an alley. But Eddie sees through the disguise, takes an unexpected ride, and demonstrates it to his boss at a failing cable TV network. Through a series of adventures, the time machine becomes damaged, friends become stranded, and history gets changed in many ways—some dangerous, all humorous. Two romances—one quite unconventional—blossom along the way. Back to You is a hilarious science fiction romp in the tradition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The Time Traveler's Wife
A funny, often poignant tale of boy meets girl with a twist: what if one of them couldn’t stop slipping in and out of time? Highly original and imaginative, this debut novel raises questions about life, love, and the effects of time on relationships.

Audrey Niffenegger’s innovative debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

The Time Traveler’s Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare’s marriage and their passionate love for each other as the story unfolds from both points of view. Clare and Henry attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals—steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.
Here and Now and Then
To save his daughter, he’ll go anywhere—and any-when…

Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in I.T., trying to keep the spark in his marriage, and struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.

Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.

Their mission: return Kin to 2142 where he’s only been gone weeks, not years, and where another family is waiting for him. A family he can’t remember.

Torn between two lives, Kin is desperate for a way to stay connected to both. But when his best efforts threaten to destroy the agency and even history itself, his daughter’s very existence is at risk. It’ll take one final trip across time to save Miranda—even if it means breaking all the rules of time travel in the process.

A uniquely emotional genre-bending debut, Here and Now and Then captures the perfect balance of heart, playfulness, and imagination, offering an intimate glimpse into the crevices of a father’s heart, and its capacity to stretch across both space and time to protect the people that mean the most.
The Time Bubble (The Time Bubble #1)

Charlie and Josh’s interests were the same as most other teenagers: drinking, parties and girls. That was until the day they discovered The Time Bubble. It starts at a bit of fun, jumping a few seconds into the future. Soon things take a more serious turn as the leaps in time increase in duration. When a teenage girl goes missing and the police become involved, suspicion falls on Charlie. How can he explain where she is? Will anyone believe him?

Set in a small market town in Southern England in the early 21st century, this light-hearted time travel novel has plenty to delight readers of all ages. It is the first part of a series which continues with Global Cooling.

Timebound (The Chronos Files #1)

When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence.

Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and Kate’s genetic ability to time-travel makes her the only one who can stop him. Risking everything, she travels to the Chicago World’s Fair to try to prevent the killing and the chain of events that follows.

Changing the timeline comes with a personal cost, however—if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And regardless of her motives, does she have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1)

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1)

It was a dark and stormy night.

Out of this wild night, a strange visitor comes to the Murry house and beckons Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O’Keefe on a most dangerous and extraordinary adventure—one that will threaten their lives and our universe.

Winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal, A Wrinkle in Time is the first book in Madeleine L’Engle’s classic Time Quintet. 

Books for Dog Lovers

Hey Bookies! Recently I read this book by Casey Griffin called Falling for the Underdog and I absolutely loved it for many reasons, but the most important was the importance of dogs in the book. I loved that aspect so much that I decided to do a short list of books for dog lovers.

Falling for the Underdog (A Rescue Dog Romance #2)
She dreams of Prince Charming. He’s seriously rough around the edges. Can they collar a dognapper and steal each other’s hearts?Addison Turner has her entire fairytale life planned out. But just as the dachshund lover is about to hit it big with her doggie grooming and fashion line, thieves snatch her valuable four-legged clients right from under her nose. And to her disgust, the only one who knows the show scene enough to help is the infuriatingly hot bartender who turns her down cold.
Cocktail-slinger extraordinaire Felix Vaughn longs to open his own bar. So when he gets a gig at a high-society tail-wagging event, he thinks his gravy train has arrived and isn’t about to involve himself with a suspected thief. But when more pooches get pinched and he’s fingered for the crime, he reluctantly teams up with the fluffy prima donna to find the pups and split the reward.
With her reputation on the line, Addison doggedly follows the clues, afraid she’s falling for a mutt. And as their chemistry reaches a boiling point, Felix reveals exactly how much of his heart he stands to lose…
Will they both end up in the doghouse, or will their love win Best in Show?
Paws off the Boss (A Rescue Dog Romance #1)
She’s in the doghouse. He’s in the penthouse. When their worlds collide, can their lonely hearts become one?

Aspiring veterinarian Piper Summers has worked herself to the bone to graduate. But after she loses two of her three jobs, Piper worries she and her dachshund will be tossed out on the street. So when a hunky, cash-rich CEO offers her a lucrative gig as his dog walker, she swallows her pride and takes the position.

Billionaire Aiden Caldwell buried his fun behind a firm handshake and a sharp suit. But when the fetching woman of his dreams accidentally mauls him, he’s determined to break his leash and retrieve her heart. And after hiring her to walk his rescue hound, he’s willing to jump through every hoop to win her affection.

Though Piper is falling head over tail with Aiden, when her precious rescue center is vandalized and the wealthy man offers help, she fears he only sees her as a charity case. And as Aiden tries to prove his intentions are true, he struggles when business and pleasure start to blur into a serious case of puppy love.

Can they shed all their doubts and let passion bark up the perfect tree?
OFF THE LEASH is a group portrait of dog people, specifically the strange, wonderful, neurotic, and eccentric dog people who gather at Amory Park, overlooking Boston near Fenway Park. And it’s about author Matthew Gilbert’s transformation, after much fear and loathing of dogs and social groups, into one of those dog people with fur on their jackets, squeaky toys in their hands, and biscuits in their pockets.
Gilbert, longtime TV critic at The Boston Globe, describes his reluctant trip into the dog park subculture, as the first-time owner of a stubbornly social Yellow Lab puppy named Toby. Like many Americans, he was happily accustomed to the safe distance of TV viewing and cell-phone web surfing, tethered to the digital leash. But the headstrong, play-obsessed Toby pulls him to Amory, and Amory becomes an exhilarating dose of presence for him. The joyous chaos of wrestling dogs and the park’s cast of offbeat dog owners – the “pack of freaks” – gradually draw him into the here and now. At the dog park, the dog owners go off the leash, too.
Dog-park life can be tense. When dogs fight, their owners – such as the reckless Charlotte – bare their teeth at each other, too. Amid the rollicking dog play, feelings tend to surface faster, unedited. But Gilbert shows how Amory is an idyllic microcosm, too, the home of enduring friendships and, as the droll but vulnerable Hayley knows, romantic crushes. Meeting daily, a gathering of dog owners can be like group therapy, or The Office, or a standup concert.
As a TV critic, Matthew Gilbert is well-known by his readership for his humorous and wry writing style. A charming narrative that will appeal to anyone who has ever enjoyed watching a puppy scamper through a park, OFF THE LEASH is a paean to dog lovers and their pets everywhere, perfect for fans of Marley & Me and Merle’s Door.
Travels with Charley in Search of America by [John Steinbeck, Parini, Jay]
In September 1960, John Steinbeck embarked on a journey across America. He felt that he might have lost touch with the country, with its speech, the smell of its grass and trees, its color and quality of light, the pulse of its people. To reassure himself, he set out on a voyage of rediscovery of the American identity, accompanied by a distinguished French poodle named Charley; and riding in a three-quarter-ton pickup truck named Rocinante.
 
His course took him through almost forty states: northward from Long Island to Maine; through the Midwest to Chicago; onward by way of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana (with which he fell in love), and Idaho to Seattle, south to San Francisco and his birthplace, Salinas; eastward through the Mojave, New Mexico, Arizona, to the vast hospitality of Texas, to New Orleans and a shocking drama of desegregation; finally, on the last leg, through Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey to New York.
In 2002, Larry Levin and his twin sons, Dan and Noah, took their terminally ill cat to the Ardmore Animal Hospital outside Philadelphia to have the beloved pet put to sleep. What would begin as a terrible day suddenly got brighter as the ugliest dog they had ever seen–one who was missing an ear and had half his face covered in scar tissue–ran up to them and captured their hearts. The dog had been used as bait for fighting dogs when he was just a few months old. He had been thrown in a cage and left to die until the police rescued him and the staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital saved his life. The Levins, whose sons are themselves adopted, were unable to resist Oogy’s charms, and decided to take him home.

Heartwarming and redemptive, Oogy is the story of the people who were determined to rescue this dog against all odds, and of the family who took him home, named him “Oogy” (an affectionate derivative of ugly), and made him one of their own.
Teddy is a gifted dog. Raised in a cabin by a poet named Sylvan, he grew up listening to sonnets read aloud and the comforting clicking of a keyboard. Although Teddy understands words, Sylvan always told him there are only two kinds of people in the world who can hear Teddy speak: poets and children.
Then one day Teddy learns that Sylvan was right. When Teddy finds Nickel and Flora trapped in a snowstorm, he tells them that he will bring them home—and they understand him. The children are afraid of the howling wind, but not of Teddy’s words. They follow him to a cabin in the woods, where the dog used to live with Sylvan . . . only now his owner is gone.
As they hole up in the cabin for shelter, Teddy is flooded with memories of Sylvan. What will Teddy do when his new friends go home? Can they help one another find what they have lost?
The stubbornly hilarious Lulu has decided it’s time to buckle down and earn some cash. How else can she save up enough money to buy the very special thing that she is ALWAYS and FOREVER going to want? After some failed attempts at lucrative gigs (baking cookies, spying, reading to old people), dog walking seems like a sensible choice. But Brutus, Pookie, and Cordelia are not interested in making the job easy, and the infuriatingly helpful neighborhood goody-goody, Fleischman, has Lulu at the end of her rope. And with three wild dogs at the other end, Lulu’s patience is severely tested. Will she ever make a friend—or the money she needs?
Blah! Mr. Raisin is a bit of a grump. He lives all alone in a little house, and he likes it that way just fine.

One day, a mysterious basket appears on Mr. Raisin’s doorstep. When he opens it up, it seems there’s nothing inside . . . until he notices a floating dog bobbing along his ceiling.

What follows is a heartwarming, hilarious tale about embracing the unexpected―and finding friendship that takes you to new heights, in John Himmelman’s Floaty.
Duke, Actually
Maximillian von Hansburg, Baron of Laudon and heir to the Duke of Aquilla, is trapped. Under pressure from his domineering father, he must marry a suitable bride before he inherits a title that feels like a prison sentence. In New York to meet a prospective wife, he ditches his responsibilities and appears on Dani Martinez’s doorstep. He’s been intrigued by the no-nonsense professor since he met her at the Eldovian royal wedding and is determined to befriend her.

Newly single Dani is done with love—she even has a list entitled “Things I Will Never Again Do for a Man”—which is why she hits it off with notorious rake Max. He’s trying to escape relationships, and she’s resolved to avoid them at all costs. All they want from each other is friendship and a distraction from their messy lives.

As their bond begins to deepen, so does their attraction, until they end up in bed together. Falling in love was never part of the plan—Max’s family doesn’t see Dani as a perfect match, even as his heart tells him she’s the one, and Dani isn’t sure she can make it in Max’s world. Can they find the courage to live they life they desire, even if it means risking everything?
I Hate You More
Ruby Taylor gave up pageant life the day she turned eighteen and figured she’d never look back. But when an old friend begs her to show her beloved Golden Retriever at the upcoming Canine Classic, Ruby reluctantly straps on her heels and gets to work.

If only she knew exactly what the adorably lazy lump of a dog was getting her into.

If there’s one thing veterinarian Spencer Wilson knows in this world, it’s dogs. Human beings are an entirely different animal. Especially stubborn, gorgeous women clearly in way over their heads. As judge for the local dog show, Spencer advises Ruby to quit while she still can, but her old fervor for winning has returned―and she wants to show the stern, broody-eyed judge that she’s more than just a pretty face. In the end, she’ll show him who’s best in show.
Seven Perfect Things
Thirteen-year-old Abby Hubble lives in an unhappy home in the Sierra Nevada foothills where her father makes life miserable for her and her mother, Mary. One day Abby witnesses a man dump a litter of puppies into the nearby river. Diving in to rescue all seven, she knows she won’t be able to bring them home. Afraid for their fate at the pound, she takes them to an abandoned cabin, where all she can offer is a promise that she’ll be back the next day.

To grieving widower Elliot Colvin, life has lost meaning. Looking for solace, he retreats to the hunting cabin he last visited years ago, before his wife’s illness. What he discovers is not at all what he expected: seven puppies and one determined girl with an indomitable heart.

As Abby and Elliot’s friendship deepens, Abby imagines how much better her life—and the puppies’ lives—would be if her mother were married to Elliot instead of her father. But when Abby’s father moves the family hundreds of miles away, Abby and her mother must decide how long they’re willing to defer happiness.

Seven Perfect Things is a story about joy, where to find it, how to know it when you see it, and the courage it takes to hang on to it once you have it.
Best in Snow (Andy Carpenter, #24)
In this Christmas mystery, lawyer Andy Carpenter and his golden retriever, Tara, are on the beat after a body turns up in the snow and a journalist is the prime suspect.

Christmas has come early to the town of Paterson, New Jersey, in the form of a snowstorm that dumps two feet of snow on the ground. Lawyer Andy Carpenter likes snow – white Christmas and all that – but it can cause problems for the walks he takes his dogs on every day.

When Andy’s golden retriever, Tara, goes to play in the snow and instead discovers a body, Andy ends up on the phone with the local newspaper editor. The murder victim is Mayor Alex Oliva, who had an infamous relationship with the newspaper. Last year a young reporter published an expose, and Oliva had him fired for libel. Now, the young reporter – and prime suspect – is in need of a lawyer.

Andy agrees to take the case, though it’s not looking good this holiday season. The evidence is piling up faster than the snow in Best in Snow, the next Christmas mystery in the bestselling Andy Carpenter series from David Rosenfelt.
A Spot of Trouble
Violet March and Sam Nash are as different as night and day and have been enemies ever since Violet accused Sam of dognapping her beloved Dalmatian. Sam knows that’s impossible—for one thing, his dog Cinder is a well-trained fire safety dog who never steps out of line. Violet’s dog Sprinkles, on the other hand, has never met a command that she didn’t ignore completely, much like her bubbly owner. So when Sprinkles and Cinder accidentally switch places during the annual police vs. fire department softball tournament, Violet is thrilled by her dog’s sudden perfect behavior, while stubborn-yet-charming Sam is horrified to find that his dog no longer listens.

But when the dogs are eventually switched back, Sam and Violet are shocked to find that not everything is as simple as it seems. And a little puppy love might be just the thing they’ve been missing…
Kristy and the Snobs

Kristy’s mom got remarried and their family moved to the ritzy neighborhood across town. The other members of The Baby-sitters Club think it’s a good opportunity to get some new business, but the kids who live nearby aren’t very friendly. They criticize Kristy’s clothes and make fun of the BSC. And, worst of all, they laugh at Louie, Kristy’s pet collie, who’s getting old and not feeling well. These kids are total snobs! But if anyone can put them in their place, it’s The Baby-sitters Club!

Allergic: A Graphic Novel
At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with getting ready for a new baby, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie loves animals and thinks a new puppy to call her own is the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She’s severely allergic to anything with fur!

Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet? With illustrations by Michelle Mee Nutter, Megan Wagner Lloyd uses inspiration from her own experiences with allergies to tell a heartfelt story of family, friendship, and finding a place to belong.
Separation Anxiety
Judy never intended to start wearing the dog. But when she stumbled across her son Teddy’s old baby sling during a halfhearted basement cleaning, something in her snapped. So: the dog went into the sling, Judy felt connected to another living being, and she’s repeated the process every day since.

Life hasn’t gone according to Judy’s plan. Her career as a children’s book author offered a glimpse of success before taking an embarrassing nose dive. Teddy, now a teenager, treats her with some combination of mortification and indifference. Her best friend is dying. And her husband, Gary, has become a pot-addled professional “snackologist” who she can’t afford to divorce. On top of it all, she has a painfully ironic job writing articles for a self-help website—a poor fit for someone seemingly incapable of helping herself.

Wickedly funny and surprisingly tender, Separation Anxiety offers a frank portrait of middle-aged limbo, examining the ebb and flow of life’s most important relationships. Tapping into the insecurities and anxieties that most of us keep under wraps, and with a voice that is at once gleefully irreverent and genuinely touching, Laura Zigman has crafted a new classic for anyone taking fumbling steps toward happiness.
The Art of Racing in the Rain
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life … as only a dog could tell it. 
Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog
John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same.

Marley quickly grew into a barreling, ninety-seven-pound streamroller of a Labrador retriever, a dog like no other. He crashed through screen doors, gouged through drywall, flung drool on guests, stole women’s undergarments, and ate nearly everything he could get his mouth around, including couches and fine jewelry. Obedience school did no good—Marley was expelled. Neither did the tranquilizers the veterinarian prescribed for him with the admonishment, “Don’t hesitate to use these.”

And yet Marley’s heart was pure. Just as he joyfully refused any limits on his behavior, his love and loyalty were boundless, too. Marley shared the couple’s joy at their first pregnancy, and their heartbreak over the miscarriage. He was there when babies finally arrived and when the screams of a seventeen-year-old stabbing victim pierced the night. Marley shut down a public beach and managed to land a role in a feature-length movie, always winning hearts as he made a mess of things. Through it all, he remained steadfast, a model of devotion, even when his family was at its wit’s end. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms.
A Dog's Purpose (A Dog's Purpose, #1)
This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, this touches on the universal quest for an answer to life’s most basic question: Why are we here?

Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8 year old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog.

But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders, will he ever find his purpose?

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh out loud funny, this book is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog’s many lives, but also a dog’s eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar’s lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar’s paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles’ once peaceful home. When Edgar’s father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm—and into Edgar’s mother’s affections.

Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father’s death, but his plan backfires—spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father’s murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.

David Wroblewski is a master storyteller, and his breathtaking scenes—the elemental north woods, the sweep of seasons, an iconic American barn, a fateful vision rendered in the falling rain—create a riveting family saga, a brilliant exploration of the limits of language, and a compulsively readable modern classic.
Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog
While on a camping trip, Ted Kerasote met a dog—a Labrador mix—who was living on his own in the wild. They became attached to each other, and Kerasote decided to name the dog Merle and bring him home. There, he realized that Merle’s native intelligence would be diminished by living exclusively in the human world. He put a dog door in his house so Merle could live both outside and in.

A deeply touching portrait of a remarkable dog and his relationship with the author, Merle’s Door explores the issues that all animals and their human companions face as their lives intertwine, bringing to bear the latest research into animal consciousness and behavior as well as insights into the origins and evolution of the human-dog partnership. Merle showed Kerasote how dogs might live if they were allowed to make more of their own decisions, and Kerasote suggests how these lessons can be applied universally.
Where the Red Fern Grows
A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn. Little Ann had the brains, and Billy had the will to make them into the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. Where the Red Fern Grows is an exciting tale of love and adventure you’ll never forget.
The Call of the Wild
First published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is regarded as Jack London’s masterpiece. Based on London’s experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and his ideas about nature and the struggle for existence, The Call of the Wild is a tale about unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike. 

Chet, the wise and lovable canine narrator of Dog on It, and Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator, are quick to take a new case involving a frantic mother searching for her teenage daughter. This well-behaved and gifted student may or may not have been kidnapped, but she has definitely gotten mixed up with some very unsavory characters. With Chet’s highly trained nose leading the way, their hunt for clues takes them into the desert to biker bars and other exotic locales—until the bad guys try to turn the tables and the resourceful duo lands in the paws of peril. Spencer Quinn’s irresistible mystery kicks off a delightful new series that will have readers panting for more.

Karma's A Bitch (A Pet Psychic Mystery #1)
Darwin Winters, reluctant pet psychic, is determined to leave her family’s paranormal past behind and lead a normal life. So she strikes out on her own and opens up a new pet boutique in St. Pete, Florida. When a local homeless man she befriends is found dead, and the police assume it’s a suicide, Darwin has no choice but to use her gift to help collar the killer.

She adopts his grieving mastiff, Karma—and with the dog’s help—tries to piece together the events of that fatal night. Accepting the visions is one thing, but can she solve the mystery without revealing her powers to the jaded, yet drool-worthy, detective in charge of the case? Or will the killer put an end to her psychic sleuthing and bury the truth for good?
A Shot in the Bark (Lia Anderson Dog Park Mysteries, #1)
Would you recognize a serial killer if you talked to one every day? Artist Lia Anderson doesn’t, and neither does anyone else who frequents the Mount Airy Dog Park. But a violent death brings Detective Peter Dourson into the close-knit group, and he is convinced someone is not who they seem. As the investigation uncovers secrets, Lia struggles to cope with warring emotions while a killer watches and plans.
Desperate Housedogs (Pampered Pets Mystery #1)
In posh Laguna Beach, murder has gone to the dogs.

When Caro Lamont, former psychologist turned pet therapist makes a house call to help Kevin Blackstone with his two misbehaving German Shepherd dogs, she expects frantic dogs, she expects a frantic dog owner, she even expects frantic neighbors. What she doesn’t expect is that two hours later the police will find Kevin dead, his dogs impounded; and that as the last person to see Kevin alive (well, except for the killer) she is suddenly a person of interest, at least according to Homicide Detective Judd Malone.
Murder, She Barked (Paws and Claws Mystery, #1)
Holly Miller’s life has gone to the dogs. She has no job, her boyfriend’s former flame is sniffing around, and a scruffy but loveable Jack Russell Terrier is scattering crumbs all over her borrowed car. Just when she thought things couldn’t get worse, a troubling phone call about her grandmother sends her rushing home to the family inn on Wagtail Mountain.

The staff—and a frisky Calico kitten named Twinkletoes—adopts Holly and her new dog on arrival. But someone in this friendly town is bad to the bone. One of the employees at the inn has been killed in a hit-and-run accident—which is looking anything but accidental. Now Holly and her furry companions will have to nose out the murderer before someone else gets muzzled.
Dial C For Chihuahua (Barking Detective #1)
Pepe may have soft white fur, big brown eyes, and mucho attitude–but he’s no furry fashion fad. Pepe can talk–even if his new owner, Geri Sullivan, seems to be the only person who can understand him.

When Geri takes on her first assignment for a quirky investigator named Jimmy G and stumbles over a Seattle millionaire’s corpse, Pepe proves to be worth his weight in liver treats. Suspicion falls on the not-so-grieving widow, who wants to finance a reality TV show, Dancing With Dogs.

Normally, Pepe wouldn’t be caught muerte in a sparkly costume. However, he has to sniff out the real killer and keep Geri safe. Lesser dogs might flinch. But Pepe isn’t the kind to turn tail and run. . .
In Dog We Trust (Golden Retriever Mystery #1)
After a bad divorce and a brief prison term for computer hacking, 42-year-old Steve Levitan has returned to his home town of Stewart’s Crossing and taken a part-time job as an adjunct professor of English at his alma mater, Eastern College. While walking around his gated community, he becomes friendly with his next-door neighbor, Caroline Kelly, and her golden retriever, Rochester.

When Caroline is shot and killed while walking Rochester, Steve becomes the dog’s temporary guardian. Together, these two unlikely sleuths work to uncover the mystery behind Caroline’s death.
Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight. ‘Everyone in Greenall Bridge knew Sam Carraclough’s Lassie. In fact, you might say that she was the best-known dog in the village …because nearly every man in the village agreed she was the finest collie he had ever laid eyes on.’ Sam’s son Joe and Lassie are a devoted pair but a time comes when they have to be parted. The Carracloughs are not well off and when they fall on hard times Sam is forced to sell his champion dog to the Duke of Rudling, whose great estate borders their Yorkshire village. But Lassie escapes and makes her way home to the Carracloughs. The Duke, not one to be tricked by a dog, claims Lassie back and she is taken many miles away to the Duke’s other home in Scotland. But again Lassie pines for her proper home and escapes. Undaunted by the challenge, she sets off on the long trek back to her Yorkshire home. She faces many dangers and adventures along the way but she also meets some kind people who offer her help and comfort. At the end, when Joe has given up all hope of ever seeing his long-lost companion again, the weary Lassie returns and he finds her waiting for him at the school gates in her accustomed spot, just like old times. Lassie and Joe are joyfully reunited. Against all the odds, Lassie has come home!
Shiloh (Shiloh Series Book 1) by [Phyllis Reynolds Naylor]
When Marty Preston comes across a young beagle in the hills behind his home, it’s love at first sight—and also big trouble. It turns out the dog, which Marty names Shiloh, belongs to Judd Travers, who drinks too much and has a gun—and abuses his dogs. So when Shiloh runs away from Judd to Marty, Marty just has to hide him and protect him from Judd. But Marty’s secret becomes too big for him to keep to himself, and it exposes his entire family to Judd’s anger. How far will Marty have to go to make Shiloh his?

Queerplatonic Relationships and Non-Romantic Books!

Hey Bookies! Last year I did books for your partner recommendations, but not all of us like being in romantic relationships so I’m bringing in some recs for some great books that don’t have romantic relationships in them:

Loveless
Loveless by Alice Oseman
Baker Thief
Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault
A Queerplatonic New Year (An Aspec for All Seasons, #1)
A Queerplatonic New Year by Katie Fouks
The Last Sun (The Tarot Sequence, #1)
The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards
The Reckless Kind
The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath
The Bedlam Stacks (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, #3)
The Bedlam Stacks, Book 3 of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
Not Your Backup (Sidekick Squad, #3)
Not Your Backup, Book 3 of the Sidekick Squad series by C.B. Lee
Nameless Queen
The Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin (not queer)
Fire Becomes Her
Fire Becomes Her by Rosiee Thor
If It Makes You Happy
If It Makes Your Happy by Claire Kann
Royal Rescue
Royal Rescue by A. Alex Logan
Across a Field of Starlight: (A Graphic Novel)
Across a Field of Starlight by Blue Delliquanti (note: the synopsis says there is a romance but I and others have not seen a romance in this book. It reads as a queerplatonic relationship)

A LULLABY FOR WITCHES Spotlight and Excerpt

LULLABY FOR WITCHES
Author: Hester Fox
ISBN: 9781525804694
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Publisher: Graydon House

Buy Links:
BookShop.org
Harlequin
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s

Social Links:
Author Website
Twitter: @HesterBFox
Facebook: N/A
Instagram: @hesterbfox
Goodreads

Author Bio:

Hester Fox is a full-time writer and mother, with a background in museum work and historical archaeology. A native New-Englander, she now lives in rural Virginia with her husband and their son.

Book Summary:

Augusta Podos has just landed her dream job, working in collections at a local museum, Harlowe House, located in the charming seaside town of Tynemouth, Massachussetts. Determined to tell the stories of the local community, she throws herself into her work–and finds an oblique mention of a mysterious woman, Margaret, who may have been part of the Harlowe family, but is reduced to a footnote. Fascinated by this strange omission, Augusta becomes obsessed with discovering who Margaret was, what happened to her, and why her family scrubbed her from historical records. But as she does, strange incidents begin plaguing Harlowe House and Augusta herself. Are they connected with Margaret, and what do they mean?

Tynemouth, 1872. Margaret Harlowe is the beautiful daughter of a wealthy shipping family, and she should have many prospects–but her fascination with herbs and spellwork has made her a pariah, with whispers of “witch” dogging her steps. Increasingly drawn to the darker, forbidden practices of her craft, Margaret finds herself caught up with a local man, Jack Pryce, and the temptation of these darker ways threatens to pull her under completely.

As the incidents in the present day escalate, Augusta finds herself drawn more and more deeply into Margaret’s world, and a shocking revelation sheds further light on Margaret and Augusta’s shared past. And as Margaret’s sinister purpose becomes clear, Augusta must uncover the secret of Margaret’s fate–before the woman who calls to her across the centuries claims Augusta’s own life.

Prologue

Margaret

I was beautiful in the summer of 1876. The rocky Tynemouth coast was an easy place to be beautiful, though, with a fresh salt breeze that brought roses to my cheeks and sun that warmed my long hair, shooting the chestnut brown through with rich veins of copper. It was enough to make me forget—or at least, not care—that I was an outsider, a curiosity who left whispers in my wake when I walked through the muddy streets of our coastal town.

Do I miss being beautiful? Of course. But it’s the being found beautiful by others that I miss the most. It was the ambrosia that made an otherwise solitary life bearable. And it was being found beautiful by one man in particular, Jack Pryce, that I miss the most.

He would come to find me out behind my family’s house as I helped our maid hang the laundry on the lines or weeded my rocky garden. He always brought me a little gift, whether it was a toffee wrapped in wax paper from his parents’ shop, or just a little green flower he had plucked because it reminded him of my eyes. Something that told me I was special, that those stories around town of him stepping out with the Clerkenwell girl weren’t true.

“There she is,” he would say, coming up with his hands in his pockets and crooked grin on his full lips. “My lovely wildflower.” He called me this, he said, on account of my insistence on going without shoes on warm days when the grass was soft and lush. Whatever little chore I was doing would soon be forgotten as I led him out of sight of the house. With my back against a tree and his hands traveling under and up my skirts, we found euphoria in a panting tangle of limbs and hoarsely whispered promises. Heavy sea mists mingling with sweat in hair (his), the taste of berry-sweet lips (mine), the gut-deep knowing that he must love me. He must. He must. He must.

But like all things, summer came to an end, and autumn swept in with her cruel winds and killing frosts. Jack came less and less often, claiming first that it was work at the shop, then that he could no longer be seen with the girl who was rumored to practice witchcraft and worship at the altar of the moon on clear nights. Finally, on a day where the rain fell in icy sheets and even the screeching cries of the gulls could not compete with the howling wind, I realized he was not coming back.

Time moves differently now. Then, it was measured in church bells and birthdays, clock strokes and town harvest dances. It was measured in the monthly flow of my courses, until they stopped coming and my belly grew distended and full. Now—or perhaps it is better to say “here”—time is a fluid thing, like water that flows in all directions, finding and filling every crack and empty place, like my womb and my heart.

I did not want to give the babe up, though I knew it could only bring heartache and pain to my family. A mother’s heart is a stubborn thing, and no sooner had I felt the first stirrings of life within me, than I knew I would do anything in the world to protect my little one.

It was folly, I know that now. A woman like me could never hope to bring a child into this cruel world, could never hope that the honey-sweet words of a man like Jack Pryce carried any weight. What irony that I should not realize such simple truths until it was too late. Should not realize them until my blood ran icy in my veins and my broken heart stopped beating. Until the man I thought had loved me stood over my body, staring down as the life ran out of me like a streambed running dry. Until I was dead and cold and no longer so very beautiful.

1

Augusta

“Hello?” Augusta threw her keys on the table and slung her bag onto one of the kitchen chairs. As usual, a precarious stack of plates had taken over the sink, and the remnants of a Chinese food dinner sat out on the table. Sighing, she covered the leftovers with plastic wrap, stuck them in the fridge and followed the sounds of video games to the living room.

“I’m home,” she said tersely to the two guys hunched over their gaming consoles.

Doug barely glanced up, but her boyfriend, Chris, threw her a quick glance over his shoulder.

“Hey, we’re just finishing up.” Turning back, he continued mashing keys on the game controller, shaking his dark fringe from his eyes and muttering colorful insults at his opponent.

Chris and Doug weren’t the best housemates. Sure, they paid their share of the rent on time, but the house was constantly a mess, and video games took priority over household chores. She supposed that’s what she got for living with her boyfriend and allowing his unemployed brother to move in with them. 

“Well, I guess I’ll be in my room if you need me,” Augusta said, too exhausted to pick a fight about the mess in the kitchen.

“You can stay and watch,” Chris said without turning back around.

She’d had a long, hard day. Between the air-conditioning being broken at work and discovering she only had ninety-eight dollars in her bank account after paying her cell phone bill, she wasn’t in the mood to watch Chris and Doug massacre each other with bazookas. She grabbed an apple from the kitchen, and went back to the room she shared with Chris, closing the door against the sounds of gunfire and explosions. Outside, the occasional car passed by in a sweep of headlights and somewhere down the street a dog barked. Loneliness curled around her as she sat at her laptop and began cycling through her bookmarked job listing sites.

Her job giving tours at the Old City Jail in Salem was all right; she got to work in a historic building, it was close enough that she could walk to work, and the polyester uniform was only a slightly nauseating shade of green. But it wasn’t challenging, and she wasn’t using her degree in museum studies for which she’d worked so hard. Not to mention the student debt she was still paying off. The worst was dealing with the public, though. Some of the people that showed up on her tours were engaged in her talks, but mostly the jail attracted cruise tourists who hadn’t realized that it was a guided tour and were more interested in snapping a quick picture for Instagram than learning about the history. The other day she’d really had to remind a full-grown man that he couldn’t bring an ice cream cone into the house, and then had to clean up said ice cream cone when he’d smuggled it inside anyway and dropped it. And the witches! Just because they were in Salem, everyone who came through the door assumed that there would be history about the witches, never mind that the jail didn’t even date from the same century as the witch trials. Most days she came home tired, irritable and unfulfilled. 

From the other room came an excited shout as Chris blew up Doug’s home base. Augusta turned her music up. Most of the listings on the museum job sites were for fundraising or grant writing, the sliver of the museum world where all the money was. She knew she shouldn’t be choosy, the millennial voice of reason in her head telling her that she was lucky to have a job at all. But Chris, with his computer engineering degree, actually had companies courting him, and his job at a Boston tech firm came with a yearly salary and benefits.

She was just about to close her laptop when a new listing popped up. Harlowe House in Tynemouth was looking for a collections manager to work alongside their curator. As she scanned the listing, her heart started to beat faster. She wasn’t familiar with the property, but a quick search showed that it was part of a trust dedicated to the history and legacy of a seafaring family from the nineteenth century. She ticked off the qualifications in her head—an advanced degree in art history, museum studies or anthropology, and at least five years of experience. She would have to fudge the years, but other than that, it was made for her. She bookmarked the listing, making a mental note to update her CV in the morning.

The door swung open and Chris came in, plopping himself on the bed beside her. Tall, with an athletic build and dark hair that was perpetually in need of a trim, he was wearing a faded band shirt and gym shorts. “We’re going to order subs. What do you want?”

“Didn’t you just get Chinese food?” she asked.

“That was lunch.”

Augusta did a quick inventory in her head of what she’d eaten that day, how many calories she was up to, and how much money she could afford. After she’d fished ten dollars out of her purse, Chris wandered back out to the living room, leaving her alone. She picked up a book, but it didn’t hold her interest, and soon she was lost scrolling through her phone and playing some stupid game where you had to match up jewels to clear the board. A thrilling Saturday night if there ever was one.

In both college and grad school, Augusta had had a vibrant, tight-knit group of friends. She’d always been a homebody, so there weren’t lots of wild nights out at clubs, but they’d still had fairly regular get-togethers. Lunches and trips to museums, stuff like that. So what had happened in the last few years?

Her mind knew what had happened, but her heart refused to face the truth. Chris had happened.

She had been with him ever since her dad died. She’d run into Chris, her old high school boyfriend, at the memorial. He’d been a familiar face, and she’d clung to him like a life raft amid the turmoil of putting her life back together without her father. It had been clear early on that beyond some shared history, they didn’t have much in common, but he was steady, and Augusta had craved steady. A year passed, then two, then three, and four. She had invested so much time in the relationship, sacrificed so many friends, that at some point it felt like admitting defeat to break up. For his part, Chris seemed content with the status quo, and so five years later, here they were.

That night, after Chris had rolled over and was lightly snoring, Augusta lay awake, thinking of the job listing. The words Harlowe House, Harlowe House, Harlowe House ran through her mind like the beat of a drum. A signal of hope, a promise of something better.

Excerpted from A Lullaby for Witches by Hester Fox, Copyright © 2022 by Hester Fox. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

YA Books by Black Authors You Need To Pre-Order in 2022

Hey Bookies! This month is Black History Month and I love to highlight books by Black authors that you NEED this month. There are some amazing ones coming out this year (like every year) and I can’t wait to read them! I also want to highlight two books first and foremost that showcase Black Boys on SFF covers and I’m hoping for more Black boys on SFF covers in 2023.

Beasts of Ruin
Beasts of Ruin, book 2 of Beasts of Prey (which also got an updated cover!!)Out July 26 2022
A Psalm of Storms and Silence (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, #2)

A Psalm of Storms and Silence, book 2 of A Song Of Wraiths and Ruin (this is NOT a 2022 release but deserves recognition as the other of 2 books with Black boys on a SFF cover).

And now for other books by Black authors coming out in 2022! Here’s some other SFF books by Black authors:

The Kindred
The Kindred – Out Now
The Monarchs (The Ravens, #2)
The Monarchs – Out Now
Ashes of Gold (Wings of Ebony, #2)
Ashes of Gold, Book 2 of the Wings of Ebony series – Out Now
Akata Woman (The Nsibidi Scripts #3)
Akata Woman, Book 3 of The Nsibidi Scripts – Out Now
Shattered Midnight (The Mirror, #2)
Shattered Midnight, Book 2 of The Mirror – Out Now
Bitter (Pet #0.5)
Bitter, Book 0.5 of the Pet series – Feb. 15
Okoye to the People: A Black Panther Novel
Okoye to the People: A Black Panther Novel – March 1
Blood Scion (Blood Scion, #1)
Blood Scion – March 8
Survive the Dome
Survive The Dome – March 29
Scout's Honor
Scout’s Honor – April 5
Burn Down, Rise Up
Burn Down, Rise Up – May 3
The Merciless Ones (The Gilded Ones, #2)
The Merciless Ones, Book 2 of the Deathless series – May 31
Deep in Providence
Deep in Providence – May 31
This Wicked Fate (This Poison Heart, #2)
This Wicked Fate, Book 2 of This Poison Heart series – June 21
The Witchery
The Witchery – July 26
The Undead Truth of Us
The Undead Truth of Us – Aug. 9
Master of Souls (Kingdom of Souls, #3)
Master of Souls, Book 3 of Kingdom of Souls – Aug. 16
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The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron (cover to come) – Sep. 20
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How to Succeed in Witchcraft by Aislinn Brophy (cover to come) – Sep. 27
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Monarch Rising by Harper Glenn (cover to come) – Oct. 4
Bloodmarked (Legendborn, #2)
Bloodmarked, Book 2 of the Legendborn series – Nov. 8
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Where Shadows Reign by Patrice Caldwell (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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Monster by Jessica Lewis (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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You’re Breaking My Heart by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (cover to come) – Release Date TBD

Here’s some contemporary/social justice recs:

The Chosen One: A First-Generation Ivy League Odyssey
The Chosen One – Out Now
One True Loves (Happily Ever Afters, #2)
One True Loves – Out Now
Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman
Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman – Out Now
You Truly Assumed
You Truly Assumed – Feb. 8
Turning
Turning – March 1
Every Variable of Us
Every Variable of Us – March 1
Right Where I Left You
Right Where I Left You – March 15
Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl
Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl – May 3
Café Con Lychee
Cafe Con Lychee – May 10
Only on the Weekends
Only on the Weekends – May 12
How to Live Without You
How to Live Without You – May 17
Love Radio
Love Radio – May 31
Finding Jupiter
Finding Jupiter – May 31
Zyla & Kai
Zyla & Kai – June 7
We Weren't Looking to Be Found
We Weren’t Looking to be Found – June 21
We Deserve Monuments
We Deserve Monuments – July 12
Love Times Infinity
Love Times Infinity – July 26
Twice as Perfect
Twice as Perfect – July 26
How You Grow Wings
How You Grow Wings – Aug. 9
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Until We Break by Matthew Dawkins (cover to come) – Sep. 20
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Forgive Me Not by Jennifer Baker (cover to come) – Oct. 4
Looking for Grace
Looking for Grace – Oct. 4
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Wild Jasmine by Chris Clarkson (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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The Blackwoods by Brandy Colbert (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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Never Forget Who You Are by Achut Deng & Keely Hutton (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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Highly Suspicious, Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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Invisible Son by Kim Johnson (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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Briarcliff Prep by Brianna Peppins (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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Bluebell by Destinee Schriner (cover to come) – Release Date TBD

And here’s some mystery/thriller recs:

Murder of Crows – Out Now
Cherish Farrah
Cherish Farrah – Feb. 8
The Rumor Game
The Rumor Game – March 1
Perfect Score
Hunt A Killer: Perfect Score – May 3
Bad Things Happen Here
Bad Things Happen Here – June 28
The Black Girls Left Standing
The Black Girls Left Standing – June 28

And here’s some historical fiction recs:

African Town
African Town – Out Now
Kemosha of the Caribbean – Out Now
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Other Side of the Tracks by Charity Alyse (cover to come) – Release Date TBD

And here’s some books with poetry/prose elements in it:

Vinyl Moon
Vinyl Moon – Out Now
Nothing Burns as Bright as You
Nothing Burns as Bright as You – April 5

And here’s some graphic novel/sequential art recs:

Ain't Burned All the Bright
Ain’t Burned All the Bright – Out Now
Mister Miracle: The Great Escape
Mister Miracle: The Great Escape – Out Now

January Hot Tea Month!

Hey bookies! While I don’t really like anything to drink except for apple juice and water (swearing off caffeine has been so hard) I do love how much love there is around tea on bookstagram! There’s so much that there’s a few boxes who always give some tea with their books and some shops who just specialize in teas with a bookish twist! Here’s some recs if you’re looking for your next great sip:

THE BROKEN TOWER by Kelly Braffet Spotlight

The Broken Tower : A Novel
Kelly Braffet
On Sale Date: January 25, 2022
9780778331797
MIRA Books
Hardcover
$27.99 USD
480 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK:
For fans of A. K. Larkward and S.A. Chakaborty, the sequel to Braffet’s The Unwillling, a deeply immersive, penetrating tale of magic, faith and pride, in which Judah’s power, once splintered, is now restored.

Death pulled them apart. The tower’s will pull them back together.

Judah the foundling has survived her own death, only to find herself in an unknown forest. Nearing a second death from exposure and exhaustion, she falls in with two vagabonds with their own mysterious pasts. Gavin and Elly, having been secretly spirited away to a deserted wilderness guildhall, are rescued in a raid, but soon find themselves surrounded by enemies, and in even more trouble. In New Highfall, the Seneschal has freed the captured Nali chieftain from prison only to force him to experiment with the creation of a new kind of bond. The Slonimi very much want to find Judah so that they can unbind the power held in the tower, even if that means sending their strongest, most ruthless Worker to dig Judah’s location out of Nate’s mind, and even if he doesn’t survive the process. All any of them want is to be left in peace. But now they all have only one choice: fight for their lives, or die.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kelly Braffet is the author of The Unwilling, Save Yourself, Josie and Jack and Last Seen Leaving. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, Vulture.com, as well as The Fairy Tale Review, Post Road, and several anthologies. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University and currently lives in upstate New York.

Social Links:
Author website: https://www.kellybraffet.com/
Facebook: @kellybraffetfiction
Twitter: @KellyBraffet

BUY LINKS:
Oblong Books (signed copies!): https://www.oblongbooks.com/KellyBraffet
Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-broken-tower/9780778331797
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-broken-tower-kelly-braffet/1139145475
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Tower-Novel-Barrier-Lands/dp/0778331792
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/The_Broken_Tower_A_Novel?id=R7wmEAAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&gl=US
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-broken-tower-3
Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Barrier-Lands-The-Broken-Tower-Series-2-Hardcover-9780778331797/445225029?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=10635

The Birthday Book Tag!

Hey bookies! January 23 is my birthday! This year I’m going to be doing the Birthday Book Tag to celebrate! This challenge was started by Bionic Bookworm (correct if I’m wrong and here’s the link). Do this on your birthday if you want to!

1 – BIRTHDAY CAKE – a book with a plot that seems cliche but you adore it anyway

The Holiday Switch
Was this a typical Hallmark Holiday book? Yes. Did I enjoy it so much? Also yes.

2 – PARTY GUESTS – your most anticipated book release this year

Ophelia After All
I’ve been following Racquel for awhile now and I’m so excited to see her journey into author-ness. Also, sapphic and the cover is bae.

3 – BIRTHDAY PRESENTS – a book that surprised you with how much you loved it

Killer Content
I thought this was going to be an average murder mystery read, but I loved it so so much and I couldn’t put it down!

4 – THE HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONG – a book that certainly deserved all the hype it got

Iron Widow (Iron Widow, #1)
This was the MVP of 2021 and you can’t convince me otherwise.

5 – HAPPY MUSIC – a book with some very beautiful and truly memorable quotes

Small Favors
I’m not a quote reader, I almost always forget quotes, but even with the issues I had with this read I thought this book was so beautiful and had some insightful things to say.

6 – GETTING OLDER – a book that you read a long time ago, but you think that you would appreciate it more if you read it as a more mature reader

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
I read this when I was like 12 and didn’t understand the pure terror in your kid disappearing in a National Park. Now I do as an adult who thinks back to all the strange things that happened to me in the National Parks.

7 – SWEET BIRTHDAY MEMORIES – a book that kept you incredibly happy during a sad or demanding period of your life

The Jasmine Project
2021 was so hard on me, especially during the fall season. This book helped me so much and gave me so much peace during my anxious periods.

And that’s it! Let me know what yours looks like!

Book Blitz Month!

Hey bookies! Are you overwhelmed by the amount of books you were gifted and/or bought in 2021 and now you’re entering 2022 and you’re like “it’s too much”? I got some reading challenge recommendations for you for 2022! January is Book Blitz Month, which means it’s time to read all of those books from 2021 and start buying more in 2022.

The first one I’m going to recommend is the 75 Hard Reading Challenge created by Alyssa aka Nerdy Nurse Reads! This challenge has helped me so much in my reading goals for December and I plan to do it again after I complete Round 1 of this challenge! Link to view the video about this challenge

@book_click_deo, @the_memory_snapper, @bookhoarder_neha, @whisperingourstories, and @the._.bookarazzi have started a yearly book challenge where, every month, there are more prompts to help you get through your TBR and a monthly BOTM to help you add more onto it. Link for the instagram post

If you’re like me and you request a ton of books from Netgalley or Edelweiss (how are you requesting from Edelweiss again?? I have issues with that site lol), than you might want to join this challenge! It’s fun and stress-free! Link to join!

The 52 in 52 weeks is an annual challenge which has 52 unique prompts. You match one book per prompt and read them throughout the year! The goal is to push new authors, but you can use this for backlist reads and/or those new purchases as well. Link to join!

The Beat the Backlist challenge is designed to help you tackle your TBR by making you focus on books that were published in the previous year (so anything 2021 and back). You have to start and finish the book in 2022 and those are the only two requirements! Link to join!

If you’re looking for a reading challenge to do while also watching movies/tv shoes then this is the challenge for you! You can conquer the books that are being adapted in 2022 or go back a couple years for some released in previous years. Link to join!

If you’re into resolutions, then you could try the 2022 Bookish Resolutions Challenge. Sign ups are only until February 28, so please sign up immediately! Basically, you create between 5 or more resolutions related to books/book blogging/writing, create a signup post, and work to complete it in 2022! Link to join!

The Diversity Reading Challenge focuses on intentionally reading more diverse books. This is perfect if you’re wanting to diversify your reading. Basically, read during 2022, reviews are encouraged, and there’s guidelines on how they classify a book as diverse. Link to join!

If you miss traveling and want to experience that with reading, you can join the Travel Reading Challenge! There’s 12 prompts for 12 months that will allow you to read across the world and there’s suggestions for some of the harder prompts like Antarctica! Link to join!

If you’re wanting to use Storygraph more (the better alternative to Goodreads) than you can join one of their challenges for 2022! These all seem so much fun, so definitely check it out and make an account if you haven’t already! Link to Storygraph!

And, probably the most popular reading challenge there is, the POPSUGAR reading challenge. If you’ve not heard about it, basically it’s a list of 50 book prompts that can help broaden your reading horizons. This year, there’s going to be subgenres! Link to join!

National Braille Literacy Month!

Hey bookies! January is national braille literacy month and to celebrate I thought I could broadly define it and offer suggestions on where to find books with braille.

What Is Braille? | American Foundation for the Blind

First off, braille is a tactile writing system used by people who are blind, have low vision, and/or deathblind. It’s wrote on embossed paper and can be read on the paper or by using technology that uses refreshable braille displays that connect to smartphones or computers. The writing system is named after Louis Braille who developed the system based on the French alphabet as an improvement to night writing (a method of writing with raised dots that could be read by touch developed by Charles Barbier as a tactile military code so soldiers could communicate silently at night and without a light source). Braille modified the code into a one-to-one transliteration of the French alphabet, but soon shorthand methods were also created. The two forms of braille are contracted (shorthand) and uncontracted (long-form where every word is spelled out). Fast forward to today and now there’s braille code for 133 languages!

How to Write in Braille: 9 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow

Because of the size of braille lettering, braille books are much bigger than their counterparts and they’re usually broken down into volumes like encyclopedias are. For example, Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary is 72 volumes in braille! There’s also such a large community that reads braille that there’s an annual competition for students to compete in reading comprehension, proofreading, and spelling categories. There’s also the Nemeth Code, which is a version of braille for math and you can even get tattoos in braille! Mainstream toys, like Monopoly and Legos, are also starting to enter the braille world by making their toys more accessible to every child.

Free Children's Braille Book Club | Paths to Literacy

Usually most people don’t see braille books. A lot of libraries carry them and you can always talk to your librarian about obtaining some if needed. When I volunteered at the library in my hometown I remember seeing some and taking the time to look through them. You can also contact organizations like Braille Books for the Blind, Braille Institute Library, and Braille Books Program for access to braille books. However, with the advent of technology, braille is evolving onto computers, phones, and e-readers. There are also audiobooks, which can be less expensive than braille books and more accessible for some to use.

5 Examples of Technology for the Blind: Beyond Braille | OpenMind

Hopefully you learned something today as I did while making this post. Mostly, I wanted to make this post because a lot of people say that accessible reading, like audiobooks, isn’t real reading. People who say that tend to forget that not everyone has sight to see printed words. Many people, not just those who are blind, have issue seeing printed words for various reasons and gatekeeping reading is not going to be accepted in 2022.