Anne Z.'s blog

Review: Empire of Ice and Stone by Buddy Levy

Review by J.T. Menard

It’s frigid here in the Yakima Valley as I write this. Temperatures are expected to head into the single
digits just in time for Christmas. As I deal with the local cold snap, it gives me a newfound respect for the
turn-of-the-twentieth-century explorers who willingly braved far colder conditions in the Arctic and
Antarctic. Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott, Ernst Shackleton, these are the well-known names of
polar exploration.

2022 Bestsellers & Staff Favorites

It is that time of the year again, when we reflect on all we have accomplished, or in our case, on all we have read!
Our Bestsellers and Favorite reads for this year are varied in genre, length, and style, and we hope you find a book (or three) in this list to add to your 'must read' pile. 
Our top Bestsellers (instore and online), in order, are: The Luke McCain Mysteries by Rob Phillips; The Dark Olympus Series by Katee Robert; Tanum by Susan Summit Cyr; Criminal Prosecutor: The Fight for Yakima by V. Kusske; It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover; Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens; Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid; Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown; The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy, and Verity by Colleen Hoover.
We have shared all these titles with you in our seasonal bestsellers lists this year through our Reviews at the Yakima Herald Explore. So to diversify things a little, we are going to give our Staff Favorites as well. Our personal favorite reads this year are:
The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer (Graydon House, $17.99)
The Warsaw Orphan is a WWII historical fiction novel based on real life events. It follows Elzbieta Rabinek over the course of the war, her involvement with the Resistance, and her love for a young man imprisoned in the Jewish ghetto whose passion leads him to fight in the Warsaw Uprising. 
Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater (Disney Press, $19.99)
Maggie Stiefvater has been a favorite author within the Young Adult genre for a long while and her books are always a favorite. In Bravely Princess Merida embarks in a series of epic journeys trying to save those she loves from a supernatural being that appears on Christmas Eve with the intention of destroying her kingdom. 
The Ballad of Never After is the second book in the Once a Broken Heart Series. The series is a Young Adult tale about love, curses, and what people are willing to do for their happily ever after. A beautiful fairytale full of magic and adventure perfect for the modern reader, that be young adult or adult!
The Birdcage by Eve Chase (G.P. Putnam's Sons, $27)
The Birdcage is "an emotional mystery set in the rugged remote landscape of north Cornwall full of dark secrets and twists, about three unusual sisters forced to confront the past." -publisher's marketing
Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl (Milkweed Editions, $16)
"I always look forward to Margaret Renkl's writing on nature and culture in the New York Times. This collection of essays includes stories of family members she lovingly remembers and keen observations of the natural world in the American South."- Amy Harlvorson Miller, Inklings Assistant Manager
Red Rising by Pierce Brown (Del Rey Book, $17)
This is the only sci-fi in our list and it is loved by many. Pierce Brown's work has been published in thirty three languages! The main character Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. He and his fellow Reds work all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Except that has been accomplished generations ago by the powerful. Longing for Justice he infiltrates their prestigious Institute with the intention of bringing them down. 
This book is a wonderful mix of whimsical tale and the macabre. Hart is a demigod and a marshal tasked with the job of patrolling the magical lands of Tanria. He is so lonely he one days writes a letter addressed simply to "a friend". The letter is delivered to the undertaker (a mortician of sorts) who he has a horrible relationship with. But he doesn't know it's her, she doesn't know it's him, and through letters they discover there is more to both of them than what they see at work. 
"Bestselling author Cheryl Strayed has for more than a decade dispensed advice under her pseudonym Dear Sugar in various formats. This book compiles the best of her articles. It's encouraging, funny, challenging, and downright delightful. It's a book for everyone." - Amy Stoothof, Inklings Bookseller
This is the story of three Vampire girls seeking revenge against their mutual ex, who turned them as teens. Holly has been trapped at the age of 16 for over 30 years now, only being able to do crappy jobs and not succeed in life due to her apparent 'age'. When her ex abandons her she discovers she is not the first and they band together to seek revenge and stop him from preying on others. The book is for those that like a vampire story but also those that like books that emphasize female friendship and found family. 

Review: What If 2 by Randall Munroe

Review by JT Menard

In 2014, Randall Munroe, the creator of the popular web comic XKCD released his first book,
“What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions”. The book used
Munroe’s background in physics and experience as a former NASA programmer to answer a
variety of theoretically possible scientific questions. For example, what if a major league pitcher
could throw a baseball at 99% the speed of light? Answer: Nuclear explosion. The book was
popular and paved the way for two other books, “How To?” and “Thing Explainer”. While
unique and interesting in their own way, neither reached the heights of “What If?”. Munroe has
now followed up with a sequel, “What If? 2: More Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd
Hypothetical Questions”.

Review: Now is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson

Reviewer: Lex Weber, Inklings Bookseller

I’m admittedly not much of a literary fiction reader. I find that the story lines of literary fiction in comparison to the epics of fantasy, for some reason, make me more emotional. Maybe that’s just simply because literary fiction is quite a bit more relatable than worlds I’ll never experience, but either way, I tend to avoid them. 

Something about Now is Not the Time to Panic stood out to me though, the premise of two teenage artists accidentally causing mass hysteria in the Satanic Panic-obsessed 1990s was alluring. The majority of the story follows 16-year-old Frankie, who is used to her humdrum Tennessee hometown when she meets Zeke, a goofy boy who’s new in town after being the one to discover his father had not one, but multiple girlfriends around the East Coast. 

Signed Books for Christmas with Rebecca Zanetti and Kristin Vayden

We have been doing the Signed Books for Christmas Event for 3 years now, every December. It is always a lot of fun seeing the store all ready for Christmas, and having authors signing and personalizing their books, making everyone's Christmas present's just a tad more special.
This year we will have two amazing PNW authors here December 3rd, 1-3pm.

Native American Authors in Review

We Recommend:

Title: The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson

Title: by Robin Wall Kimmerer and adapted by Monique Gray Smith

Title: Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story by Danielle Greendeer, Anthony Perry, and Alexis Bunten

The Review:

By Amy Halvorson Miller


During this Native American Heritage Month, let’s hear from some Indigenous authors to expand our knowledge of their many tribes and stories. Listen to what they can teach us about their history, but even more, how we can gain understanding for our future with one another as well as the land, our home.

First, an immersive work of historical fiction, The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson, won the 2022 Minnesota Book Award for Fiction. The story begins in Dakhóta country, 2002. An alternating timeline across generations tells the history of Rosalie Iron Wing and her ancestors whose land in Minnesota was stolen in 1862. Rosalie, an orphan and later a widow, returns to her childhood house to heal and somehow connect with her people through friendship and memories of her father’s teachings. 

Local Fifth Graders Review The Last Mapmaker

Review by Luanne Clark

Sometimes independent bookstores are offered unique opportunities to partner with their local communities in meaningful projects. This happened for Inklings recently. Random House Publishing provided 25 copies of the newly released children’s chapter book,  The Last Mapmaker, to be given to students to review. We were fortunate to partner with a class of fifth graders at Naches Valley Middle School and their teacher, Michelle Downs. Each student received their own copy of The Last Mapmaker and Mrs. Downs guided the reading and the writing of the reviews. At the conclusion of the project, a group of teachers read the reviews and chose 4 that impressed them above the others. These students received gift cards from Inklings and the whole class enjoyed a celebration of donuts and pizza. A good book and pizza! Two of the greatest!

Here are the reviews that were chosen for publication.

YA Halloween Reads

Review by Victor Iveson

It’s that time of the year again when “ghoul season” is upon us! If you’re anything like me, I’m always
seeking out shows, movies, and (of course) books to read during the autumnal months. Below are two
creepy-fun young adult books that deliver just the right amount of “spooky” to anyone’s fall night.
Since I was a young boy, I have been a fan of all-things-vampire. I’ve spent countless Halloween nights
in a cape, sporting a set of (glow-in-the-dark) sharp incisors. At the age of thirteen, I even asked my father
if I could have a bed frame made in the shape of a coffin. And though I didn’t get my coffin bed, I still
joke with my husband that I want one. It’s safe to say that this love has carried far into my adulthood.

Cozy Mysteries Review

Let’s plan a murder!

OK, maybe not plan a murder exactly… just read about it. It is October after all, the month for all things mystery, suspense, thriller, etc.

Or maybe we should help solve a murder? Decisions decisions…

Author Emmeline Duncan and author Tamara Berry will be at Inklings this October 22nd, 1 to 3pm, with their newest titles and ready to solve a mystery or two with us. There might even be prizes to anyone that purchases a book from them.

Emmeline Duncan is coming from Oregon. She was here last year for our very first Cozy Mysteries for Halloween event with the first book in her A Ground Rules Mystery series, Fresh Brewed Murder. The book was so good, and everyone loved it so much, we had to order more.

The second book came out this April, and it is called Double Shot DeathAlthough it can be read as a standalone (we will have both available this Saturday), it has the same main character as in the first book, our fabulous master barista and crime solving extraordinaire, Sage Caplin. Sage manages to get a spot at an annual eco-friendly festival held just outside Portland, where fans get to enjoy some great Pacific Northwest music, great food, and fantastic coffee. Sounds perfect right? And it is… until Sage stumbles upon a dead body in the nearby woods, his hands still clutching one of her coffee mugs. Can she help solve yet another murder that just ‘fell’ at her doorstep?

Review: The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

Review by Amy Halvorson Miller

When I finished The Door of No Return by poet and fiction writer Kwame Alexander, not only was I deeply moved, but I knew I’d read a story that we need now in children’s literature. Alexander’s just-published book is historical fiction told in verse especially for older elementary and young adult readers. 

Set in West Africa in 1860, the story is inspired by the real lives of the Asante people and told from the point of view of 11-year-old Kofi Offin, who brings us into his everyday life with his family and village. Kofi is the grandson of Nana Mosi, a great storyteller; cousin of Kofi Katari, a competitive bully (both born on a Friday); best mate with Ebo and hopeful sweetheart of Ama. Kofi experiences the joy and stresses of boyhood and despite the warnings, he loves to swim in the river Offin, where he was born.