The Brightest Sun by Adrienne Benson

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In Benson’s debut novel, we are swept away to the world of Africa, where European settlers in the big cities live alongside traditional villages with its inhabitants and culture. Throughout the stories in this book, the thread that ties it all together is the theme of motherhood.

We meet Leona, a woman traveling from the United States to study and live among the villagers. After accidentally getting pregnant and giving birth to her daughter Adia, Leona decides to hand off raising the child to Simi, the only villager who can speak English and who yearns for a child of her own but cannot have.

Meanwhile, Jane, another Westerner, has arrived to photograph the horrors of elephant poaching. She winds up falling in love with a fellow ex-pat and the two have a daughter of their own: Grace.

Eventually, the stories of Leona, Simi, Jane, and Grace all intertwine like the gnarled roots of an African tree rising high from the desert ground. This is an epic tale of mothers and daughters, friendship, culture and colonization, family secrets, and the need to belong, all set against the backdrop of the blazing African sun (Submitted by Alan).

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The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart

Image result for the sacrifice boxTeen fans of Stranger Things and campy 80’s horror will enjoy this novel about a group of misfit teens. After one glorious summer spent together, they seal their friendship with a sacrifice to a mysterious box they found in the woods. The rules are simple: Never come to the box alone. Never open it after dark. Never take back your sacrifice. Four years later and their small town is overrun by strange occurrences and terrifying events. Someone has broken the rules. Now all of them must pay… (Submitted by Erin M.)

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Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

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Penny is angry with her mom, Celeste. She’s going away to college to be a writer. Sam is stuck. He is in a low paying job as a baker/barista, his ex-girlfriend is pregnant, he has no money, and he wants to be a film director. Their paths collide in the centre of town and they become each other’s Emergency Contact. Great writing from 2 points of view, believable scenarios. (Submitted by Sharleen)

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

big-little-liesI feel like I’m a bit late to the party with this popular book, but it’s amazing! It’s one where you know something really bad has happened, but not to whom or who did it, so there’s a sense of foreboding throughout.  It follows 3 mothers whose children have just entered Kindergarten and unravels the tragic events at a school function. There’s suspense, sadness, friendship, and a surprising amount of humour. It particularly resonated with me, as my child entered Kindergarten this fall – I hope nothing so dramatic happens to me! I can’t wait to see the HBO series and see how Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman tackle the characters of Madeline and Celeste. (Submitted by Gayle)

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The Woefield Poultry Collective by Susan Juby

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What a delightful cast of characters. The author did a wonderful job of giving each a unique voice and I thoroughly enjoyed how she managed to provide different points of view on the same set of events without it becoming tiring. A great read with laugh-out loud moments! (Submitted by J. Wilson)

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An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

american marriage“Until Death Do Us Part” or… until jail sets us apart – that’s a focal point of this well written, discussion-stirring novel by Tayari Jones. Celestial and Roy are a married couple, just one year into their love-filled relationship, doing well financially, planning for a child – when something unexpected happens and overturns their lives, sending Roy to prison for 12 years. Now, Celestial is at the cross roads and it seems like no matter what she chooses there is no joyful solution for either her or Roy. The first half of the book just zoomed by me; it was easy flowing and intriguing. The second half did slow down a bit, but it was still very good. The book touches on multiple subject matters including: racism, injustice, love & friendship, obligations, search for happiness. A good book for a book club discussion – evokes various feelings and opinions. (Submitted by Mariya)

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11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass

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I love preteen novels with elements of the supernatural and this book doesn’t disappoint. Amanda and Leo are old friends, born on the same day and always happy to celebrate their birthdays together. Until this one. Something happened to their friendship that left them estranged. Turning eleven can be hard but in this instance it gets harder as the day repeats on Amanda. She can’t escape all the bad feelings and her miserable Hollywood theme party creating a fun ride as she attempts to face it differently each time. Age appropriate relationships and the unexpected ways the day plays out will keep a young reader engaged in this enjoyable work. (Submitted by Pippa)

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