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april

April

art

The Art of Mending - Elizabeth Berg

Is it too late to make up for the past? Laura Bartone looks forward to her annual family reunion with a mixture of excitement and wariness. Every year, she and her siblings return to their parents' home outside Minneapolis to attend the state fair. This year, things are different. As soon as she arrives, Laura realizes that something is not right with her sister Caroline. On their first evening together, Caroline confronts Laura and their brother Steve with devastating allegations about their mother. Taken aback and incredulous, the siblings are unable to reconcile their perceptions of their childhood. A sudden tragedy forces them to face the past, their own culpability and their need for love and forgiveness.

Recommended by Gwen

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dumplin

Dumplin' - Julie Murphy

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed "Dumplin'" by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked... until Will takes a job at Harpy's, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn't surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant -- along with several other unlikely candidates -- to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she'll shock the hell out of Clover City -- and maybe herself most of all.

Recommended by Linda

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garden

One Man's Garden - Henry Mitchell

In the sequel to The Essential Earthman, the Washington Post columnist offers a harvest of sharp observations and humorous adventures gathered during a year in his garden, along with much down-to-earth advice on horticulture.

Recommended by Jeff

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hero

Big Damn Hero - James Lovelace

The first original novel tying into the critically acclaimed and much-missed Firefly series from creator Joss Whedon. While picking up a new cargo on Persephone, Captain Malcolm Reynolds is kidnapped by a bunch of embittered veteran Browncoats who suspect him of sabotaging the Independents during the war. As the rest of the crew struggle to locate him, Mal is placed on trial for his life, fighting compelling evidence that someone did indeed betray them to the Alliance all those years ago. As old comrades and old rivals crawl out of the woodwork, Mal must prove his innocence, but his captors are desperate and destitute, and will settle for nothing less than the culprit's blood.

Recommended by Becky

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joust

Joust - Mercedes Lackey

Vetch, an Altan serf, must learn the secret of the Tian jousters and their dragons in order to save his people.

Recommended by Vanessa

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knife

Knife Creek - Paul Doiron

When Maine game warden Mike Bowditch is tasked with shooting invasive feral hogs that are tearing up the forest in his district, he makes a horrific discovery -- a dead baby buried in a shallow grave. Even more disturbing: evidence suggests the infant was the child of a young woman who was presumed to have died four years earlier after she disappeared from a group rafting trip. As Bowditch assists the reopened investigation, he begins to suspect that some of his neighbors aren't who they seem to be. When violence strikes close to home, he realizes that his unknown enemies will stop at nothing to keep their terrible secrets. Mike Bowditch has bucked the odds his whole career, but this time the intrepid warden may have finally followed his hunches one step too far.

Recommended by Stacy

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romantics

The Last Romantics - Tara Conklin

When the renowned poet Fiona Skinner is asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and a betrayal that reverberates through time. It begins in a big yellow house with a funeral, an iron poker, and a brief variation forever known as the Pause: a free and feral summer in a middle-class Connecticut town. Caught between the predictable life they once led and an uncertain future that stretches before them, the Skinner siblings--fierce Renee, sensitive Caroline, golden boy Joe and watchful Fiona--emerge from the Pause staunchly loyal and deeply connected. Two decades later, the siblings find themselves once again confronted with a family crisis that tests the strength of these bonds and forces them to question the life choices they've made and ask what, exactly, they will do for love.

Recommended by Sheryl

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