Rachel R's Staff Recommendations

Welcome to Rachel Ross's recommendations! Check out what Rachel R has been reading below.

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I'm Afraid You've Got Dragons By Peter S. Beagle Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781668025277
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: S&S/Saga Press - May 14th, 2024

Every once in a while, we are presented with one of those lovely and rare gems of fantasy: a new story that evokes the wondrous feeling of a classic fairy tale. Akin to Gaiman’s Stardust or Goldman’s The Princess BrideI’m Afraid You’ve Got Dragons is one such treasure. We follow a batch of young characters who are feeling woefully miscast in their own lives. This includes Robert Thrax, a dragon exterminator who secretly loves the creatures he’s hired to eliminate, Princess Cerise, who is determined to make herself useful yet finds herself inundated by preening suitors, and Prince Reginald, who desperately longs to escape his princely duties and hit the road. The three of them must (reluctantly) join forces to face a chaotic evil surfacing in their land. While the book is glimmering with witty and sardonic humor, it also harbors a sinister edge. It’s about bravery, breaking away from family expectations, young love, and following your dreams. Oh, and there's plenty of dragons. A truly charming tale from a master storyteller.  


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Sorcery and Small Magics (The Wildersongs Trilogy #1) By Maiga Doocy Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780316576758
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Orbit - October 15th, 2024

Polar opposites Leovander Loveage and Sebastian Grimm are both in their last year at The Fount, a magical school that trains sorcerers. Not exactly mortal enemies, not exactly academic rivals, they’re more like… mortal annoyances to one another. Despite recent efforts to avoid each other, one of them has (accidentally!) cast an inconvenient (slightly illegal!) compulsion spell on the other. Their search for a counterspell leads them into a deeply sinister magical forest with only each other to (very reluctantly) rely on. Bursting with eminently fun characters, exuberant magic paired with entrancing music, and a tantalizing slow burn, this book feels like sitting next to a cozy campfire that occasionally spits sparks. It explores surmounting personal barriers, forgiving yourself, and learning to trust others. I wanted to crush my e-reader like a soda can when I realized I was in for a wait before the next entry in this planned trilogy.


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Buried Deep and Other Stories By Naomi Novik Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780593600351
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Del Rey - September 17th, 2024

Buried Deep is an enchanting collection of Naomi Novik’s short stories. If you’re already a fan of Novik, there is so much to love here. We return to the familiar worlds of Temeraire and The Scholomance alongside plenty of stand-alone tales, such as an early version of Spinning Silver. If you’ve never picked up one of her books, consider this a great place to start! It’s so easy to fall into one story after another. From bewitching fantasy worlds to a Greek myth retelling featuring Ariadne and the Minotaur, a brief foray into sci-fi, and even a peek into the new world of her forthcoming fantasy series, there is something here for everyone. This anthology is well worth spending some time with as readers await Novik’s next novel.


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Gravity Lost: A Novel (Ambit's Run #2) By L. M. Sagas Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250871282
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Tor Books - July 23rd, 2024

The crew of The Ambit is back with a bang in this follow-up to Sagas’ explosive debut, Cascade Failure. While everyone may still be in one piece following the tumultuous escapades of the first book, they’re all also dealing with the fallout. Bedrock beliefs have been cracked, trauma has been sustained, and systemic rot has been exposed. This entry is chock full of my favorite space western tropes: a bar fight! A haunted (?) derelict spaceship! Murphy’s Law in full effect! And most importantly, the greatest found family in the Spiral. Gravity Lost is brimming with humor, unabashed love, white knuckle peril, compulsively readable action, and repeated (borderline gleeful?) emotional gut punches. Through it all, Sagas shows us that true family isn’t just the people you’d die for, it’s also the people you would choose to live for. 


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A Magical Girl Retires: A Novel By Park Seolyeon, Anton Hur (Translated by) Cover Image
By Park Seolyeon, Anton Hur (Translated by)
$21.99
ISBN: 9780063373266
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperVia - April 30th, 2024

Wow, you certainly don’t need to have been an avid Sailor Moon fan in your youth to relate to this pithy tale. Park Seolyeon presents us with the whimsical premise of magical girls, then systematically dismantles every part of the trope. A Magical Girl Retires is about the millennial desire to be plucked from your mundane life, bestowed powers, and inducted into an elite society. But this fantasy is swiftly deconstructed as we learn more about the dark side of magical girl society. It perfectly encapsulates the snowballing hopelessness of debt, the climate dread that hangs above all of our heads, and why we must find a way to persist regardless.


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Fathomfolk (Drowned World #1) By Eliza Chan Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780316564922
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - February 27th, 2024

Eliza Chan invites us to the grand city of Tiankawi, a half-submerged oceanic metropolis which acts as a floating refuge for society following years of heavy pollution and war. Cultures collide as the humans who live in the towers and luxury homes clash with the fathomfolk (various races of sea creatures) who inhabit the lower levels of the city. We explore Tiankawi from the viewpoint of several fathomfolk, including Mira the half-siren border guard, Nami the coddled water dragon, and Cordelia the duplicitous sea witch. Each character struggles to navigate the unjust system of Tiankawi in their own way, whether that means attempting to change it from within, using extremist tactics from without, or pulling the strings of individuals and institutions for personal gain. Fathomfolk may particularly appeal to fans of The Legend of Korra and Babel, as it unflinchingly depicts racial tensions and issues, tackling immigration, discrimination, and revolution.


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Running Close to the Wind By Alexandra Rowland Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9781250802538
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Tordotcom - June 11th, 2024

This incredible book is not so much a loving serenade to Terry Pratchett as it is a power ballad tribute to him, blasted via loudspeakers from the backs of giant turtles as absurd pirates wreak absolute havoc on everything in their path. Rowdy, bawdy, and raunchy, this story begins with a miraculously lucky man with some sensitive intel rejoining his (former) peevish pirate captain and their crew, including a recent addition: an intolerably handsome monk with an irksome vow of celibacy. Featuring suspiciously knowledgeable tarot cards, huge turtle islands, violently moody sea serpents, glowing dogs, and a cake competition that beggars belief, the absurdity and hilarity of this tale escalate with every page turned. I can only describe this as a spectacle of comedic storytelling, and I’ll never look at a seagull or a cake the same way again. 


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Ocean's Godori By Elaine U. Cho Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781638930594
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Zando - Hillman Grad Books - April 23rd, 2024

In her debut novel, Cho submerges readers in an atmospheric sci-fi world with lyrical prose. Boasting a spaceship full of compelling characters, Ocean’s Godori delves into their haunted pasts, explorations of identity, family expectations, and cultural ideologies. Watching this crew forge their tenuous connections into something more was as gratifying as the gripping action. I hope this is the first of many stories from Cho.


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Cascade Failure: A Novel (Ambit's Run #1) By L. M. Sagas Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250871251
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - March 19th, 2024

LM Sagas bursts out of the gate with her debut novel, Cascade Failure. This is a nonstop space western romp set in a galaxy where corporate powers clash relentlessly with both the workers who fuel development and the guild preventing everyone from tearing each other to shreds. In the wake of these forces, Sagas grounds us in the Ambit, a ship helmed by a curious AI who has collected a crew of human misfits. Sagas writes like a boxer, alternating punches of action-soaked adventure with genuinely heartfelt character scenes. Each character has motivations that propel them through the narrative and personalities that make them a joy to ride along with. Simply put, this is one hell of a crew fighting to make a difference in their largely hostile capitalist world, and it’s time for some thrillin’ heroics. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel as soon as possible! 


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Sunbringer: A Novel (Fallen Gods #2) By Hannah Kaner Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780063350106
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Voyager - March 12th, 2024

Hannah Kaner has crafted a remarkable sequel with Sunbringer, the follow-up to Godkiller. No time is wasted as Kaner pulls on her existing story threads and starts weaving in new elements to build a bigger picture for readers. Secrets come to light, relationships fracture and are reset, and characters struggle to cope with the ramifications of all they’ve been through. In this world, you may be able to kill gods, but that doesn’t mean you can destroy the faith that creates them. Will the humans and gods of Middren be able to break the cycle of violence they’re trapped in? I am eagerly awaiting the final volume of this outstanding series. 


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Divine Might: Goddesses in Greek Myth By Natalie Haynes Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780063314672
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - January 2nd, 2024

Divine Might is an exploration of major female figures in Greek mythology and how they have been represented over time. This was such a thoughtful and fun entry from Haynes as she highlights not only the female Olympians, but also lesser goddesses, the Muses, and the Furies. I particularly liked how Haynes described different pieces of art that these figures have been featured in across the ages, as well as how she highlighted their influence on and representation in contemporary media. Haynes continually urges us to consider how the stories of these feminine figures were overwhelmingly recorded and recounted by men, and how that lens has shaped our perspective of them.


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Floating Hotel By Grace Curtis Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780756419301
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DAW - March 19th, 2024

Welcome to the Grand Abeona Hotel, the finest luxury spaceship hotel the galaxy has to offer. As the Abeona coasts through space serving grand food, gorgeous views, and relaxing experiences, the staff work in a flurry to keep the whole thing from falling apart. Meanwhile, there is a mystery wrapped up in the heart of the Abeona that threatens the livelihoods of everyone on board. Curtis threads her narrative neatly through a wide cast of characters as if they are each a bead on a string, tying the ends of the story together neatly with Carl, the longtime manager (and one-time stowaway) who holds the ship together. Floating Hotel really captures both the brain-curdling frustration and giddy camaraderie that comes from working in hospitality, and as we step from character to character we learn about their previous lives and current relationships while catching glimpses of the capitalist hellscape they inhabit. In some way or another, they’re all seeking connection and a place to belong, no matter how transitory that place may ultimately be.


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The Fox Wife: A Novel By Yangsze Choo Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250266019
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - February 13th, 2024

The Fox Wife is a beautiful wintry read from Yangsze Choo set in Manchurian China in 1908. Combining elements of folktale and mystery, we follow the shapeshifting fox spirit Snow as she seeks revenge for her lost child. Although she’s a supernatural creature, Snow runs up against plenty of challenges in human society since she takes the form of a young woman. While she seeks her target, the investigator Bao shadows her footsteps. Bao’s life was mysteriously touched by foxes in his youth, and now he’s determined to follow the rumors and illuminate the enigma of foxes for himself. At its heart, this is a character driven novel about how love and loss intertwine throughout life. Quietly touching and magical, pick this up to read on a snowy day.  


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Bookshops & Bonedust (Legends & Lattes) By Travis Baldree Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250886101
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - November 7th, 2023

Sidelined by a battle injury, stalwart orc Viv is forced to recuperate in a tiny seaside town. There she meets a mousey bookstore owner, spitfire gnome, dwarven baker, and a literal bag of (reanimated) bones. Baldree’s return to his realm of cozy fantasy is a quiet triumph, conveying beauty in the mundane, the joy of sharing a book together, and the sweet melancholy of how some people who only briefly pass through our lives can nevertheless be carried in our hearts for a lifetime. 


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A Power Unbound (The Last Binding #3) By Freya Marske Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781250788955
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tordotcom - November 7th, 2023

Marske masterfully concludes her Last Binding Trilogy with A Power Unbound. Following another shift in character perspective, long-held secrets are finally revealed, relationships are deepened, and all hell breaks loose. It was immensely satisfying to watch all of our underdogs coalesce rather violently into an unstoppable team against the dangers arrayed against them. Somehow, my least favorite character from book one became my favorite of the entire series. Alternating hits of searing spice with tender emotional beats, this is everything you could want from a final volume, leaving you with possibly the worst book hangover of your life (in the best way).


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Godkiller: A Novel (Fallen Gods #1) By Hannah Kaner Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780063348271
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Voyager - September 12th, 2023

 

Finally, a fantasy book that proves you can craft a living, breathing world without a staggering word count. Coming in under 300 pages, Godkiller is a tightly woven story evocative of the Witcher series with its visceral setting, rousing fight scenes, and found family moments. These characters will steal your heart, including the titular and bawdy Godkiller Kissen, a knight turned baker and a noble girl mysteriously bonded to a god of white lies. I’m excited to see what lies ahead in this series!  


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Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs By Jamie Loftus Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250847744
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Forge Books - May 23rd, 2023

Join Jamie Loftus as she rockets around the continental United States on a mission to sample as many hot dogs as possible during the tumultuous summer of 2021. A mashup of travelogue and history lesson, Loftus expounds on the humble origins of the hot dog, the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest, and the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile as she consumes dogs at independent joints from coast to coast. I was delighted! And disgusted!


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Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World By Henry Grabar Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781984881137
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - May 9th, 2023

Paved Paradise is filled to the brim with engaging stories and intelligent insights into how parking impacts architecture, transit, community, and the climate. Grabar recounts how designing our lives around housing cars has molded American civic life over the last century. This book altered my perception of all things “Parkitecture.”   


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Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club: A Novel By J. Ryan Stradal Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781984881076
Availability: Not in stock at Boswell. Available to order.
Published: Pamela Dorman Books - April 18th, 2023

Settle in for an ode to the Midwest that is equal parts heart-wrenching and heartwarming. Join three generations of women as they navigate their relationships with their families and communities against the backdrop of the Lakeside Supper Club, which is so much more than a family restaurant. Stradal tackles family legacy, Midwestern culture, the depths of grief, and the relief of forgiveness. You’ll want to grab a brandy old-fashioned for this one.


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Monster Kids: How Pokémon Taught a Generation to Catch Them All By Daniel Dockery Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780762479504
Availability: Special Order - There is a small chance we can get this title
Published: Running Press Adult - October 4th, 2022

Monster Kids is an incredibly fun read on the history and cultural impact of Pokèmon and other monster-centered franchises. For anyone who was sucked into the “Pokèmania” vortex in the late 90s and early 00s, this is a delightful and informative retrospective on our favorite monsters, whether they be pocket-sized, digital, or living in a plastic egg.


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Phasers on Stun!: How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World By Ryan Britt Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593185698
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Plume - May 31st, 2022

Ryan Britt condenses the fifty-year history of the Star Trek phenomenon into an enthusiastic and digestible book. He offers a refreshing perspective on the inception and evolution of Star Trek, featuring interviews that span all generations of Trek stars. Britt highlights the fan support that both catapulted Star Trek to the height of popularity and the love that continues to boldly go where no one has gone before. 


Jade City (The Green Bone Saga #1) By Fonda Lee Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780316440882
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - June 26th, 2018

Get ready for mayhem, action, politics, and impossible choices as open clan warfare erupts in the city of Janloon, where jade imparts magical abilities to those capable of wielding it. Jade City kicks off a riveting urban fantasy trilogy packed with morally dubious characters, dynamic fights, intrigue, and family drama.  


Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made By Jason Schreier Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062651235
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Paperbacks - September 5th, 2017

Dive into the world of video game development with Schreier as he illuminates the turbulent histories behind beloved games, from Stardew Valley to the Witcher 3. I enjoyed how each chapter explored a different game development team and the unique challenges each studio overcame before releasing their creations into the world. I walked away from this book with a new appreciation for the craft, labor, and love needed to produce a spectacular video game.  


Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage By Alfred Lansing Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780465062881
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Basic Books - April 28th, 2015

An awe-inspiring true story of survival on the polar ice following a dramatic shipwreck. I loved how Lansing deftly recounted the ordeals faced by this dauntless crew and their indomitable captain. This book truly is a tribute and testament to the endurance of the human spirit.


The Secret Lives of Color By Kassia St. Clair Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9780143131144
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - October 24th, 2017

A delightful compendium of short stories featuring 75 different pigments, dyes, and hues. This beautifully designed book perfectly blends art and science into bite-sized histories. This is a great book for anyone who’d like to learn about the cultural impact and significance of our most fascinating colors.