Welcome to Jen's recommendations! Jen has been selling books for 18 years and wears many hats in the bookstore. She is the creative mastermind behind all of our beautiful gifts as well as being the Baragin Queen and doing the purchasing of baragin books. What can we say, she is a woman of many trades! Some of Jen's favorite genres include Fantasy, Historic Fiction, and her favorite all time book is Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Lastly, Jen's favorite quote, "Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died!"- Erma Bombeck
Check out what Jen has been reading below!
When Suzanne Malherbe meets Lucie Schwob it's practically love at first sight for the two young women. Their love surpasses two world wars, fascism, Nazis, and the intolerance of early 20th century societal norms. Moving to Paris, Lucie and Suzanne become Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore working to make a name for themselves in the art world. Soon they find themselves attending shows with the likes of Dali, befriending other avant garde artists, and moving in the Surrealists’ close knit circle. When Claude and Marcel decide to move to their home away from home in the Channel Islands because of the looming threat of Hitler, everything changes. Soon they are faced with Nazis occupying their picturesque island forcing the two women to rebel against this grotesque occupation. Rupert Thomson has created a stunning and intimate novel that makes you wonder if perhaps he traveled back in time to witness this extraordinary relationship.
I absolutely loved this book! The story of how it came to be is even more incredible. These forbidden stories are powerful voices of light shining through the dark. The Accusation shows us how the human spirit can flourish even in the harshest elements. A moving collection of short stories that I couldn't put down!
Ragnvald and his sister Svanhild find themselves witnesses to history in the making. Their lives are not entirely free to do as they wish. Each will encounter many obstacles and sacrifice much. In the ever-changing landscape of their ancestors, the siblings find themselves at the center of kings and the games they play. The Half-Drowned King is the storied tale of the legendary King Harold and the rise of a united Norway. It's a Viking saga set in the 9th century, full of traditions and myths, glory and adventure, love and betrayal. Linnea Hartsuyker breathes new life in the historical fiction genre!
After seven husbands and fifty years in the spotlight, Evelyn Hugo has decided to tell her story. Hollywood's most scintillating star will tell all. It's an interview of a lifetime for Monique Grant, who has been handpicked by Evelyn. Monique will be the only one to ask and get the answer that the world has been dying to know: Who was the love of Evelyn Hugo's life? It's the golden age of Hollywood. There's scandal, extravagance, leading men, lavender marriages and overbearing studio bosses. If you're like me, reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo will leave you utterly absorbed and wishing Evelyn Hugo was a real-life film star!
A father's gentle nature, a mother's sacrifice, a daughter's trust and a son's determination are the cornerstones of this grand multi-layered saga. Pachinko follows one family through an ever changing cultural landscape from 1910 Korea to 1989 Japan. As the bonds of family are put to the test in the harsh realities of their world, Sunja and those she holds dear manage to carve themselves a place to call home with hard work, self-sacrifice and a little kimchi. Through it all is a message about love, faith, and the deep rooted bonds of family. Min Jin Lee gives us a phenomenal story about one family's struggle that resonates to us today. It will take hold of you and not let go!
Please note this is will be for sale on February 7, 2017 but you can still pre-order on our site!
Thi Bui's illustrated memoir is an honest, up close look at the numerous struggles and sacrifices made by one family. As Thi becomes a mother for the first time, she reflects on the enormity of that responsibility. Tracing her family's history and narrow escape from South Vietnam to America, Thi finds a way understand who her parents are now that she is an adult and a mother herself. The Best We Could Do is a superb look at the ties that binds us.
Please note this is will be for sale on March 7, 2017 but you can still pre-order on our site!
Raymond Electromatic, the robot sleuth turned killer first chronicled in Made to Kill, has found himself in something of a mystery. If he wants to get to the bottom of this new assignment, Ray must ditch the assassin role and play the P.I. for a while. Unfortunately for Ray, he only has a 24-hour memory tape and a boss who's not always forthcoming with the details. Throw in a missing real estate mogul, a mob boss with his hands in every pocket of Los Angeles and a mysterious woman who ‘had the tools and knew how to use them.’ Taking classic elements of noir and sci-fi, Adam Christopher's Ray Electromatic mysteries have become a must read!
"Meet Raymond Electromatic, private detective turned assassin living in Hollywood. Oh, and he's also the world's last robot. It's just another day in 1965 Hollywood and it's business as usual for Ray and his boss, Ada. That is, until a mysterious woman shows up with a duffel bag full of unmarked gold bars and a request. Unable to pass up all that money, Ray takes the case. Soon, Ray discovers that this is no regular 'find him and assassinate him' kind of job. It gets a lot more complicated when Russian scientists, movie stars and world domination plots are thrown into the mix. Made to Kill brings back noir with a stylish new twist. A captivating tale for people of all makes & models!" --Jen
Keep and eye out for this in paperback, October 2016
"The Kopp sisters, Constance, Norma and Fleurette, live a quiet life out in the country. They tend to their farm animals and chores around the house, they mostly go into town only when supplies are needed. It's 1914 and the world is changing-fast. One seemingly ordinary day, an automobile crashes into their buggy while in town. The reckless driver turns out to be Henry Kaufman, an ill-behaved Industrialist armed with his very own gang. Following the crash, his constant threats and harassments shatter the Kopp sisters' quiet existence. Despite having bricks thrown through their windows and bullets flying at them, Constance does not back down. Constance learns how to shoot and intends to use her gun, if needed, to protect her family. Girl Waits with Gun is a historical novel about Constance Kopp, the first female deputy sheriff. I could not put this book down. It will leave you wanting to know more about Constance and everyone else is this engrossing tale!" --Jen
"The Regional Office is under attack and it's up to Sarah and her mechanical arm to take down these unknown invaders in this Buffy meets Die Hard novel. While Sarah is trying to prevent the demise of the Regional Office, Rose, trained to be an assassin by a Regional Office defector, is trying to prove she is worthy of leading the assault. The Regional Office is Under Attack! is a fast paced and intense wild ride, full of supernatural surprises and very human emotions. Unputdownable!" --Jen
The Bear and the Nightingale is an enchanting mix of fairytale-fantasy-historical fiction, set in medieval Russia. Nestled between the northern wilderness & civilization, is a village where old & new traditions live side by side. Vasya, the last daughter of Pyotr & Marina, is born on the howling winds of autumn. She is different from the others in her village. She is destined to be like her grandmother, gifted with powers that are her birthright. As time goes by, Vasya will be tested. Caught in the conflict between the old spirits and the new religion, Vasya must do everything in her power to save her family and village. Katherine Arden's novel is the rich mesmerizing fairy tale you've been waiting for!
"The Colliers are a young military family starting a new life in Idaho Falls. Paul has been assigned to work at the CR-1, a Nuclear Facility in need of repairs. While her husband is on assignment, Nat has to navigate her way through the challenges that come with being a military wife in 1960. The Longest Night is a compelling, character-driven drama about the complexities of relationships set against the backdrop of a forgotten time in America's nuclear history. This historical fiction is fueled with tension that will keep you enthralled ‘til the very end!" --Jen
"Living in Quinn, Montana might be tough, but the women who do are tougher! After a 9 year absence, Rachel Flood has returned to make amends with her mother, Laverna, and rediscover her home town. Now sober for over a year, Rachel knows it will take a lot of hard work to set things right. Laverna Flood owns the ‘Dirty Shame’ bar and coaches the local softball team, both of which involve a fair share of brawls and booze. Laverna and her best friend, Red Mabel, never expected to see Rachel again. With her homecoming, they're faced with a painful reminder of the past. Rachel moves into her father's trailer home and finds a friend in her 12 year old neighbor, Jake. With his help, Rachel and ‘The Flood Girls’ may just be able to work through their history and learn to be a team. The Flood Girls is absolutely heartwarming and the colorful cast will make you laugh and cry." --Jen
"Coming to a small town in America may not seem like the ideal vacation for most European tourists. But for Sara, it's an ideal trip. The bookstore where Sara worked has gone out of business. It's the perfect time to leave her home in Sweden and visit her pen-pal and fellow bibliophile, Amy, in Broken Wheel, Iowa. Unfortunately, she arrives in Broken Wheel to find Amy has died and she just missed the funeral. Sara's arrival becomes the talk of the town and her new neighbors take it upon themselves to help her stay any way they can, whether she likes it or not. In return for their kindness, Sara is committed to finding just the right book for everyone in town. The best of intentions quickly lead to misunderstandings, shenanigans and self-discovery. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a book for everyone. It is a charming, light-hearted story. If you're not a booklover already, Sara and the town of Broken Wheel may just turn you into one!" --Jen
"Simon Watson is a librarian living in a run down house on the edge of a cliff. He's just received a very strange & cryptic book that will change everything he thought he knew about his family. Simon's family is no ordinary family. They are mermaids and fortune tellers. They are carnival folk, and their history is contained in this newly acquired tome. While exploring its pages, Simon soon discovers that every woman in his family has mysteriously drowned on July, 24th. Could his sister, Enola, be next? In order to save her, Simon must decipher this book before time runs out. The Book of Speculation is mysterious, dark, magical and very hard to put down!" --Jen
"Britt-Marie has just left her husband after discovering his affair, thus setting in motion an array of new experiences. Some of these are wonderful and some are vexatious for Britt-Marie. Britt-Marie is very organized and perhaps worries a bit too much about what other people may think. She has firm convictions about how a cutlery drawer ought to be organized, believes anything can be cleaned with baking soda and thinks swearing is for barbarians. She feels anyone who is civilized would agree with her. She happens, via a small mi-communication, to take a job in the community center in the small village of Borg. With her balcony boxes in tow, Britt-Marie heads to Borg to start her new life and settle in among the colorful denizens of the village. How will she ever feel at home among Borg's motley inhabitants? All Britt-Marie wants is for "someone to know I'm here". Faxin window cleaner may help Britt-Marie see the world better, but will anyone be able to truly "see" her? Britt-Marie Was Here is a wonderful novel full of heart and humor. Read Britt-Marie Was Here and see for yourself if you don't just love Britt-Marie for who she really is." --Jen
Told in graphic novel form, Box Brown brings us the origin story of Tetris and its creator, Alexey Pajitnov. Alexey worked as a computer scientist at the Moscow Academy of Science. It all begins in 1984 over an idea about Pentomino puzzles and human behavior. Eventually Alexey creates Tetris, initially only sharing it with friends. It soon gets everyone hooked and spreads like wildfire. Tetris starts to garner international attention from Nintendo and other software companies. However, in the early 1980s, all business deals were conducted through the Russian government. Alexey would have no control over what is to become of his beloved game and would not even be aware of all the closed-door secret meetings about its future. Tetris: The Games People Play gives us a peak behind the curtain of the world's most addicting game. A must read!
"Sophia has known Mrs. Goldman all her life and Mrs. Goldman has always kept Sophia's head warm with her knitted hats. Providing hats for everyone is Mrs. Goldman's "mitzvah". So, Sophia is naturally astonished to learn that Mrs. Goldman doesn't have a hat herself. Who's going to knit a hat for Mrs. Goldman to keep her "keppie" warm? Putting to use the knitting lessons Mrs. Goldman has given her, Sophia decides it's her "mitzvah" to give Mrs. Goldman her very own hat. The only problem is, Sophia is not a very good knitter. But she does make wonderful pom poms. With determination and love, Sophia sets out to surprise Mrs. Goldman with the most special hat in the world! A Hat for Mrs. Goldman is a heart warming picture book full of delightful illustrations." --Jen
Chloe Benjamin brings us an emotional novel about a universal question--What if you could find out the date of your death? Would you want to know? Would it change the way you live your life? When Daniel Gold hears the rumor that there's a fortune teller nearby, he convinces his sisters, Varya and Klara to go and find out what their future holds with little brother Simon tagging along. However, this is no ordinary fortune teller, this fortune teller will give you the date of your death. For the Gold children, the answers become complex and yet very simple as they figure out how to live their life with a date that looms over as a blessing or perhaps a burden depending on your views. The Immortalists is a phenomenal story that will draw you into each siblings life and leave you hungry for more.
Katherine Arden continues to captivate us with another enchanting tale full of action and wonder! Vasya has chosen an unconventional path to take, one that is simply unheard of for a woman. She has chosen a life of adventure & freedom and journeyed into the forests of Russia. She has disguised herself as a boy so she can travel freely. She has fought bandits, met the grand prince, and reunited with her older siblings. Through it all, Vasya has discovered long-held secrets and found that she has the courage and strength needed to save those she holds dear.
What to Do When I'm Gone is an earnest look at life after someone you love dies. When Hallie Bateman realizes that one day she would no longer have her mother in her daily life, she asks her to write a book. But she doesn't want a collection of her mother's memories and family stories. She wants a book of instructions for carrying on after her mother dies. Suzy Hopkins agrees to Hallie's request and we are lucky to see the result in this moving and often funny book illustrated by Hallie Bateman herself.
Children of Blood and Bone is explosive! I loved everything about it. Eleven years ago Zelie's mother was murdered on the night magic left her people, the night known simply as "The Raid". The brutal King Saran ordered the slaughter of all Maji, thus keeping a younger generation under his heel. But that was then and this is now. By coincidence or divine intervention, Zelie has a chance to restore magic to her people. It's a long and treacherous journey - one that will change Zelie and her companions forever. Tomi Adeyemi's compelling tale is filled with magic, betrayals, danger, and heroines who are forces to be reckoned with.
White Houses tells the complicated story of two women in love. It's the 1930's, and the lovers are Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok, journalist extraordinaire. Told from Lorena's point of view, White Houses weaves a tender and honest love story about two women who were easily the power couple of their time. Reading this feels like you've traveled back in time to witness something very intimate and profound.
Evan has lost his faithful companion and nothing can help ease his pain, not even the garden where Evan and his dog enjoyed most of their time together. But something extraordinary is happening in that neglected garden. Something that will help ease Evan's pain. Rough Patch is a thoughtful and impressive picture book about friendship and loss. Brian Lies gives us a picture book that will pull at the heartstrings!
It's 1966 and Argentina is on the verge of political chaos, with CIA operative Vera Kelly smack dab in the middle of it. What should be a typical assignment for Vera suddenly becomes a whole lot more. Over the course of the year, Vera will be betrayed and left stranded in a country with no way out. Who Is Vera Kelly? is the kind of cool, slow-burn spy novel perfect for those summer nights.
10 year old Livy is visiting her Gran in Australia. It's been five years since she visited her Gran, and that's a long time - long enough to forget all about the adventures that were had. Like meeting a green talking chicken named Bob. You'd think that would be unforgettable. Not to Livy, and now, Bob is waiting for Livy to remember him and her promise to help him. If only she'd remember. Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead is magical, laugh out loud story that's sure to warm your heart.
It all starts with the Tollund Man and a letter. When Tina Hopgood sent her letter, she wasn't expecting a reply. She wasn't expecting a new friendship to blossom either, but that's exactly what happened when Curator Anders Larsen decided to respond. While sharing their interest in the Tollund Man, Tina and Kristian discover that their very different lives may not be so different after all. Thus begins a correspondence between two people who have never met in person. Meet Me at the Museum is an eloquent epistolary novel. Reading this felt like I'd discovered a box of letters that were left behind, tucked away by someone who treasured this friendship and the lost art of letter writing.
Reaper at the Gates is the third book in Sabaa Tahir's dynamic Ember in the Ashes quartet. Laia, Elias, and Helene all have a path they are meant to follow, and straying from it might lead to grim consequences. With enemies lurking at every turn, Laia of Serra must find the strength to prevent the Nightbringer's destruction of her people and the world. Helene, the Blood Shirke, must persevere through the ongoing threats, not only from the Emperor himself, but from the deadly Commandant in order to protect her family and the Empire itself. As much as Elias loves Laia and wants to protect her, it may not be within his power. Can Elias fulfill his new duties as Soul Catcher without sacrificing all it means to love and be human? Reaper at the Gates will keep you on the edge of your seat 'til the very end! You will not want to put this book down. I know I didn't.
Ken Krimstein's compelling biography of Hannah Arendt comes to us in graphic novel form. The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt chronicles Arendt's remarkable life in three stages, from childhood to old age. Hannah Arendt led a truly incredible life, from escaping persecution in Europe to becoming a leading philosophical figure in the 20th century. Arendt's work has new life, as it's become a much needed reference for today's climate, and this adroit biography deserves a place on your bookshelf.
The quest for a united Norway continues! Svanhild has chosen love and adventure over family duty and her brother, Ragnvald. It has been six years since Svanhild's fateful decision. Six years of adventures on the high sea, exploring alongside her husband, Solvi, and living a life unheard of for a woman. The skalds sing of her beauty and prowess, drawing the attention of King Harald, enemy of Solvi. Ragnvald the Half-Drowned, now Ragnvald the Wise, has proven himself to be a formidable warrior and great friend to King Harald. He wants to see his king on the throne, ruling all of Norway. Life is precious and often short and there will be many trials and tribulations for friend and foe alike. The Sea Queen is full of intrigue, longing, bloody battles, and ambitions that will change the course of everyone's lives.
It's Carmela's birthday! Waking up to candles in her pancakes and armed with birthday bracelets that jingle and jangle, Carmela is ready for the day! It's a special birthday because it means she can go out alone with her big brother. Along the way Carmela finds a dandelion in concrete, but before she can make a wish she has to decide which wish she wants to make. Bursting with many wishes, it's hard to decide on just one. As she follows her big brother around town and helps him with the chores, Carmela imagines all the possibilities of her wishes as she holds onto her dandelion, jingling and jangling as she goes. Carmela Full of Wishes is full of heart and soul! A picture book that will definitely become a beloved family book to read over and over again.
The magical and memorable world of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books is back in this final installment. The minister of culture is missing and it's up to the alluring Alicia Gris to find him. Saddled with a new partner, Alicia and Vargas set out to solve a mystery that the police are unable to solve. Leaving Madrid behind, Alicia heads for Barcelona, a city she thought she'd never go back to. What starts as a simple missing persons case soon becomes so much more. As Alicia tries to stay one step ahead of the game with help from the Sempere family and some old friends, she falls deeper and deeper into the dark labyrinth of Barcelona, where something sinister awaits. The Labyrinth of the Spirits will make you forget the outside world. You will lose yourself once again in the shadows of Barcelona. It will break your heart, it will twist you up, it will give you hope, it will make you laugh, it will make you fall in love with books all over again.