April 2021 Staff Picks

This month's recommendations are courtesy of the library's new Readers' Advisory Librarian Nancy. If you would like help finding your next great read, please call, chat or stop by the Information Services Desk at (920) 236-5205, and Nancy can offer you suggestions based on your interests.

"These are some of my own personal favorites, and my go to recommendations for Historical and Contemporary Romance!"

Thief of Shadows
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Winter Makepeace is the humble manager of the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children. He is also the harlequin costumed, masked avenger known as the Ghost of St. Giles. It falls to widowed baroness Isabel Beckinhall to save both of his lives, even though she doesn’t know it. It really gave me everything I want from my romance novels: clever dialogue between two fabulous main characters, danger and suspense, and a slow build up to a very steamy encounter in a moving carriage. 

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake
by Sarah MacLean
Things ladies aren’t supposed to do: smoke cheroot, gamble, attend duels, steal a midnight kiss... 
Our heroine, Lady Calpurnia Hartwell, tired of not living a full life and not expecting this to change as a spinster, makes a list to do all of the things a lady is not supposed to do. Some of the things require a partner, who she finds in her unrequited love interest (for the past ten years) and absolute rake Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston. It turns out that Gabriel also needs Calpurnia to help his image in society, and we’re along for the ride in their banter and tension filled relationship. This is my favorite recommendation for people who want to start reading historical romances!

Beach Read
by Emily Henry
He’s a serious literary writer in a rut. She’s a romance writer who no longer believes in love. They’re opposites in every way. These two characters collide because they’re beach house neighbors for the summer, and they challenge each other to escape their creative ruts: Augustus will write something happy, and January will write a literary marvel. Rom-com montages ensue of their summer together.  This was recommended to me by a friend, and I loved it!  It’s a great read for getting started in contemporary romance, and for couples to read together.

Just a Heartbeat Away
by Cara Bastone
Sebastian was a newly widowed dad who was struggling as a father, but didn’t even know it. In a parent teacher conference, his son’s preschool teacher, Via, pointed out early signs of neglect and gave Sebastian an easy to follow checklist for how to take care of his son. This becomes his lifeline and the beginning of significant changes in his life. Fast forward two years and Sebastian and Via reconnect at school with Via as the new counselor. Via has a boyfriend and issues with craving stability. Sebastian feels like she’s too young for him.  I loved the slow burn of their relationship going from acquaintances to friends to lovers, and their rare ability (in romance novels) to actually talk through their problems for an eventual happy ending. Also, there’s the bonus of some fantastic secondary characters, which can make or break a book for me.

Teen Services Librarian Maggie offers a diverse selection of books grounded in love and romance.

I Wish You All the Best
by Mason Deaver
When Ben comes out as nonbinary to their parents, they’re kicked out of their house. Struggling with anxiety and their parents’ rejection, Ben tries to keep a low profile to finish out senior year. But when charismatic Nathan befriends Ben and feelings start to develop, Ben sees a chance for a happier life. This is such a powerful and emotional read, and you’ll probably fall in love with both Ben and Nathan, too. 

Dating Makes Perfect
by Pintip Dunn
Calling all fans of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before! This is a book for you! The Tech sisters aren’t allowed to date, yet when Winnie’s older twin sisters are asked why they’re not engaged soon after getting to college, they retaliate and say they’re not going to marry for years until they’ve practiced dating. Now, Winnie’s parents insist she start practice dating under their supervision and of course, the first practice boyfriend they choose for her is her sworn enemy. 

Today Tonight Tomorrow
by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Enemies-to-lovers romance alert! Rowan and Neil have been rivals for all of high school, and when Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan’s last chance at victory is winning Howl, the game the senior class plays all over the city. When they learn the senior class is out to get them, Neil and Rowan reluctantly team up. Over the next 24 hours, they begin to learn they share something much deeper than a rivalry. 

Children's Picture Books
Miss Cathy, our children's storytime leader, has chosen some of her favorites that perfectly illustrate the concept of love and kindness.

One Love
by Cedella Marley
Get your dancing shoes on! Dance to the beat of change as one young girl enlists the help of her community to transform her neighborhood for the better. Amazing things happen when we all pull together with one love in our hearts. The illustrations are wonderful!

Love Monster and the Last Chocolate
by Rachel Bright
Love Monster finds a mystery box of chocolates at his door. Monsters love chocolate!  He wants to share with his friends but what if the only one left is the coffee-flavored piece? Oh, ICK! What will he learn when he follows his heart? A delightfully funny story.

Mole’s in Love
by David Bedford
It’s spring and Morris the Mole is looking for love. But moles don’t see very well and he keeps finding the wrong someone to love. Will Morris find his true love or will true love find him? A sweet, engaging story.

Children's Chapter Books
Tweens can probably relate well to the characters and situations in Mr. Matthew's April book picks.

by Jenny Han
You may recognize Jenny Han from her YA novels (To All the Boys, etc.), but did you know she made her authorial debut with this middle grade chapterbook? It’s a strong first novel, with an honest first-person narration of Annemarie’s (Shug’s) transition into middle school and all the confusion and conflict that brings. Readers will root for sweet Shug as she gains self-confidence and confronts tension with family, friends, and first crushes.

by Svetlana Chmakova
“Big Guy” Jorge is known throughout Berrybrook Middle School as the “Sherriff” for stopping would-be bullies in their tracks. He’d rather not deal with all the dating drama his classmates seem ensconced in, but why does he keep losing the ability to speak whenever Jazmine is around? Jorge, his best friends Liv and Garrett, and the rest of the class are well-developed and expressive. If you like Crush, be sure to check out the rest of Chmakova’s Berrybrook Middle School series!

Forget Me Nat
by Maria Scrivan
Nat finds herself in a tough spot. She has great friends in Zoe and Flo, but what she really wants is to spend more time with her crush Derek. Can she find a way to balance them? More importantly, does Derek like her back? Scrivan’s bright, bubbly artwork perfectly conveys the emotions of Nat and her classmates in this excellent graphic novel.