Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J. K. Rowling

“The summer after his first year at Hogwarts is worse than ever for Harry Potter. The Dursleys of Privet Drive are more horrible to him than ever before. And just when he thinks the endless summer vacation is over, a creature named Dobby the house-elf shows up issuing a grave warning to Harry not to go back to school or disaster will happen! Of course, Harry has to go back- and he does so in grand style, in a flying-car magicked by his friends Ron and Percy Weasley. But getting back to Hogwarts isn’t the cure Harry expects it to be. Almost immediately a student is found turned to stone, and then another. And somehow Harry stands accused. Could Harry Potter be the long-feared heir of Slytherin? Harry and friends Hermione and Fred are stretched to their limits in a desperate fight against Draco Malfoy and his gang, the hideously stuck-up new professor Gilderoy Lockheart, the malevolent owner of the diary of Tom Riddle, giant spiders, and perhaps even…Hagrid!” -amazon.com


How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House
by Cherie Jones

“More than two hundred full-color photographs complement a “In Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, Lala’s grandmother Wilma tells the story of the one-armed sister. It’s a cautionary tale, about what happens to girls who disobey their mothers and go into the Baxter’s Tunnels. When she’s grown, Lala lives on the beach with her husband, Adan, a petty criminal with endless charisma whose thwarted burglary of one of the beach mansions sets off a chain of events with terrible consequences. A gunshot no one was meant to witness. A new mother whose baby is found lifeless on the beach. A woman torn between two worlds and incapacitated by grief. And two men driven into the Tunnels by desperation and greed who attempt a crime that will risk their freedom – and their lives.” -amazon.com


Nelson Mandela: A Hero’s Journey
by Kelly Knauer

“Join TIME to explore the full story of Nelson Mandela, the remarkable man whose incandescent smile, forgiving spirit and work for reconciliation made him one of the most significant leaders of the 20th century and one of the most admired people in the world. This sweeping, richly illustrated volume traces the twin journeys of Mandela and his nation away from the hateful system of racist apartheid to the creation of the modern South Africa where all people are free.” – amazon.com


Star Wars: Outbound Flight
by Timothy Zahn

“It began as the ultimate voyage of discovery–only to become the stuff of lost Republic legend . . . and a dark chapter in Jedi history. Now, at last, acclaimed author Timothy Zahn returns to tell the whole extraordinary story of the remarkable–and doomed–Outbound Flight Project.

The Clone Wars have yet to erupt when Jedi Master Jorus C’baoth petitions the Senate for support of a singularly ambitious undertaking. Six Jedi Masters, twelve Jedi Knights, and fifty thousand men, women, and children will embark–aboard a gargantuan vessel, equipped for years of travel–on a mission to contact intelligent life and colonize undiscovered worlds beyond the known galaxy. The government bureaucracy threatens to scuttle the expedition before it can even start–until Master C’baoth foils a murderous conspiracy plot, winning him the political capital he needs to set in motion the dream of Outbound Flight.” -amazon.com


Tom Sawyer’s Dark Plot
by Tim Champlin

“Bored after their previous adventure, Tom Sawyer concocts a scheme to bamboozle the villagers of St. Petersburg into believing that Bigfoot-type monsters are migrating up the Mississippi River. He and his friends, Huck, Becky, Jim, and Zane Rasmussen, a teen time-traveler from the 21st century, fake footprints and blood evidence to claim that they have killed one of the monsters on an island and saved the village. They are heroes once again. But their plot is upstaged when a man is found mauled by an unknown creature on an island and huge footprints are discovered. The co-conspirators are chilled to realize they might be dealing with a real monster. The youngsters, the law and the villains gradually come together in a crashing climax.” – amazon.com


The Search for Nefertiti
by Dr. Joann Fletcher

“Her power was rivaled only by her beauty. Her face has become one of the most recognizable images in the world. She was an independent woman and thinker centuries before her time. But who was Egypt’s Queen Nefertiti?

After years of intense research, Dr. Joann Fletcher has answered the questions countless researchers before her could not. While studying Egyptian royal wigs, she read a brief mention of an unidentified and mummified body, discovered long ago and believed to belong to an Egyptian of little importance. This body happened to have a wig, which Dr. Fletcher knew was a clear sign of power. After examining the hairpiece and the woman to which it belonged, to the astonishment of her colleagues she identified this body as the missing remains of Queen Nefertiti.”


The Song of Achilles
by Madeline Miller

“A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer’s enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, a marvelously conceived and executed page-turner, Miller’s monumental debut novel has already earned resounding acclaim from some of contemporary fiction’s brightest lights—and fans of Mary Renault, Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series will delight in this unforgettable journey back to ancient Greece in the Age of Heroes.” -amazon.com


Good Omens
by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

“The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.” -amazon.com


Thirteen Soldiers: A Personal History of Americans at War
by John McCain

“John McCain’s evocative history of Americans at war, told through the personal accounts of thirteen remarkable soldiers who fought in major military conflicts, from the Revolutionary War of 1776 to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As a veteran himself, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and a long-time student of history, John McCain brings a distinctive perspective to this subject. Thirteen Soldiers tells the stories of real soldiers who personify valor, obedience, enterprise, and love. You’ll meet Joseph Plumb Martin, who at the tender age of fifteen fought in the Revolutionary War; Charles Black, a freeborn African American sailor in the War of 1812; and Sam Chamberlain, of the Mexican American War, whose life inspired novelist Cormac McCarthy. Then there’s Oliver Wendell Holmes, an aristocratic idealist disillusioned by the Civil War, and Littleton “Tony” Waller, court-martialed for refusing to massacre Filipino civilians.

Each account illustrates a particular aspect of war, such as Mary Rhoads, an Army reservist forever changed by an Iraqi scud missile attack during the Persian Gulf War, and Monica Lin Brown, a frontline medic in rural Afghanistan who saved several lives in an ambushed convoy. From their acts of self-sacrifice to their astonishing bravery, these thirteen soldiers embody the best America has to offer.” -amazon.com


The Story of Arthur Truluv
by Elizabeth Berg

For the past six months, Arthur Moses’s days have looked the same: He tends to his rose garden and to Gordon, his cat, then rides the bus to the cemetery to visit his beloved late wife for lunch. The last thing Arthur would imagine is for one unlikely encounter to utterly transform his life. Eighteen-year-old Maddy Harris is an introspective girl who visits the cemetery to escape the other kids at school. One afternoon she joins Arthur–a gesture that begins a surprising friendship between two lonely souls. Moved by Arthur’s kindness and devotion, Maddy gives him the nickname “Truluv.” As Arthur’s neighbor Lucille moves into their orbit, the unlikely trio band together and, through heartache and hardships, help one another rediscover their own potential to start anew. Wonderfully written and full of profound observations about life, The Story of Arthur Truluv is a beautiful and moving novel of compassion in the face of loss, of the small acts that turn friends into family, and of the possibilities to achieve happiness at any age.


All the Children Are Home
by Patry Francis

When Dahlia decided to become a foster mother, she had a few caveats: no howling newborns, no delinquents, and above all, no girls. A harrowing incident years before left her a virtual prisoner in her own home, forever wary of the heartbreak and limitation of a girl’s life. Eleven years after they began fostering, Dahlia and Louie consider their family complete, but when the social worker begs them to take a young girl who has been horrifically abused and neglected, they can’t say no. Six-year-old Agnes Juniper arrives with no knowledge of her Native American heritage or herself beyond a box of trinkets given to her by her mother and dreamlike memories of her sister. As the years pass and outside forces threaten to tear them apart, the children, now young adults, must find the courage and resilience to save themselves and each other. Heartfelt and enthralling, All the Children Are Home is a moving testament to the enduring power of love in the face of devastating loss.

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