Staff Picks - Tori


Tori fell in love with books at an early age and followed that passion to Kepler’s. She is an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy, with a special interest in young adult and children’s literature. Her favorite book is The Lord of the Rings and she is always eager to recommend it and other fantasy novels to those looking to add a little magic and wonder to their reading list.


A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, Book One) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553535907
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Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - September 20th, 2016

Henrietta Howell is NOT the chosen one. To save herself and her best friend from execution, she just let everyone in Victorian society think she is. Now she must train with a group of gentlemen sorcerers, protect London from eldritch abominations, and play along with a prophecy she knows can't come true. Yet as she struggles to hide the truth, she begins to suspect that she's not the only one with secrets. This debut from author Jessica Cluess is the bizarre, delightful love child of Howl's Moving Castle, Harry Potter, and H.P. Lovecraft. --Tori

The Lie Tree Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419718953
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Amulet Books - April 19th, 2016

I can't overstate how much I enjoyed this novel. It has everything: murder, scandal, historical drama, and a sharp-witted heroine with a bone to pick with society. Faith Sunderly is the Darwinist daughter of a fraudulent preacher who must navigate scandal and sexism to solve her father's murder. The key? A strange tree her father planted in a lightless cave, a tree that feeds on lies and that may bear fruit that leads her to the killer. Billed as Young Adult, I think this novel is just as much of a treat for the adult reader who enjoys a a touch of the supernatural in their thrillers. --Tori

And I Darken Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553522310
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Published: Delacorte Press - June 28th, 2016

It is 1440. You are standing on the peak of a cold, northern mountain. Below you, a wilderness spreads out over the foothills like a quilt. You see a castle, crumbling; the prince within it is not a prince, but a servant to the overwhelming power of the Ottoman Empire. War broils outside the walls of Constantinople. The Pope prepares for crusade. And at home, you and your little brother are leagues away from safe, even if you do not know it yet. What role will you play in your own future? From NYT bestselling author Kiersten White, this imaginative historical drama is ideal for fans of The Historian, Salt to the Sea, and Game of Thrones. Check it out. It has bite. --Tori

A Great and Terrible Beauty Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385732314
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Press - March 22nd, 2005

This rich historical drama pairs beautifully with a fantasy twist to create a powerful coming-of-age tale about identity, independence, and standing up for yourself and others. After her mother dies in India amid scandal, Gemma Doyle is sent to a prestigious boarding school in Victorian London. There she meets a group of tenacious girls who want more than a future as married matrons. When they stumble on a dangerous secret, they may get their wish -- if it doesn't kill them first. No other book had such an impact on me as a teenager: while the premise reads like classic genre fiction, the depth of the characters and the author's acute understanding of the social struggles of the time (and today) transcends genre. --Tori

Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins Cover Image
ISBN: 9780064407724
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Teen - February 27th, 1999

I get excited about books I can describe as "transgressive," "ethereal," or "gay as hell," and Emma Donoghue's spectacular collection of fairy tale retellings is conveniently all three. Following hot on the heels of such visionaries as Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood, these short stories are a magical delight. When you get to the end, read the stories end-to-beginning -- trust me, you'll want to. Oh, and as the title suggests, the prince isn't the only one who gets to go around kissing people. --Tori

Huntress Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316039994
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - June 12th, 2012

Hey, fantasy fan. I know what you're thinking. You've seen this one before: kingdoms in peril, the promise of a magical cure, dangerous journeys, sword-fighting, and the blossom of young love. Sigh. Not more love triangles. But what if the young lovers were both girls? And what if their quest to the city of the unpredictable Fairy Queen means they'll be separated forever?  --Tori

The Abyss Surrounds Us Cover Image
ISBN: 9780738746913
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flux - February 8th, 2016

A girl who trains sea monsters is kidnapped by pirates and forced to raise a stolen monster pup for the people she once fought. With far more than her own life at stake, her loyalties and morals become as murky as the dangerous waters of the NeoPacific. The author's understated prose sneaks up and sucker-punches you with its depth and keen understanding of what makes people tick -- or kill. This is science-fiction at its leanest, meanest, most honest self. A perfect crossover title for teens and adult readers. --Tori

The Raven Boys Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545424936
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - July 30th, 2013

This is the first book of Maggie Stiefvater's best-selling Raven Cycle, but despite its success, it's a hard series to describe. How does a quest for a dead Welsh king lead you to small-town Virginia? How do four boys from an ultra-rich and ultra-exclusive boarding school become friends with a misfit daughter from a family of psychics? And how can this quirky set-up devolve into murder, ethereal magic, and gut-wrenching existential crisis? Maybe the fact that one of the characters is destined to die within a year has something to do with it.  --Tori

A Thousand Nights Cover Image
ISBN: 9781484722275
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Published: Disney-Hyperion - October 6th, 2015

"For most of history, Anonymous was a woman." - Virginia Woolf, paraphrased. If I could give a copy of this book to every person on the planet, I would. Far more than a retelling of The Arabian Nights, this novel is a fierce and subtle tribute to the power of small voices. It is a story of self-sacrifice, family, and the desperate struggle of the weak against the strong. It is a celebration of women: the strength of their bonds, the depth of their wisdom, their impossible bravery, and their incredible skills -- skills that, even in our modern world, are too often undervalued for their association with the feminine. However, in this tale, people sneer at women at their own peril, for magic lives in the threads of the loom.... People of all genders, ages, and walks of life should pick up this gem of a book and fall into the oasis of its musical prose and moving story. --Tori

The Anatomy of Curiosity Cover Image
ISBN: 9781467723985
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Carolrhoda Books - October 1st, 2015

Set down your coffee mug and your Moleskine journal, aspiring writers and curious readers, because this book is going to knock your socks off. Three top authors came together to showcase their craft and give you a triple glimpse into what brings good ideas, characters, worlds, and prose to life. In brand-new novellas written exclusively for this collection, they lead you on a tour of their process, highlighting key points through essays, Q&As, and in-depth notations in the stories themselves. Take it from someone who's spent most of her life trying to puzzle out what makes a good story bloom: of all the books on writing craft I've read, this one really clicked. Looking for a gift? This is perfect for would-be authors, young or old (or for yourself! Treat yourself. You're worth it.)  -- Tori

Sorcerer to the Crown Cover Image
By Zen Cho
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ISBN: 9780425283370
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Ace Books - September 1st, 2015

For lovers of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Jane Austen, and the Temeraire series comes a Regency drama of manners made infinitely more complex by the inclusion of magic. Our hero, Zacharias Wythe, is the first black Sorcer Royal, and his challenges are many as he juggles his colleagues' racism, assaination attempts, and the problem of England's dwindling magic. The last thing he needs is an apprentice, least of all a half-Indian woman who wants to expand magical education of women. And above all, he does not need to deal with a cantankerous Malaysian witch, cunning fairy monarchs, or the sudden appearance of seven magical objects that could change the position of magic in England forever. My current metric for my favorite books is whether I get so lost in them that I accidently stay up long past midnight to finish them, and this wonderful novel easily passes that test.   --Tori

The Fifth Season Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316229296
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - August 4th, 2015

Science-fiction's brightest new star returns with a fresh trilogy about vengeance, injustice, and the terrible realities of a world where an apocalypse is not a one-time event. In Jemisin's skillful hands, a world not so unlike our own becomes wondrously alien -- and the people who inhabit it are powerfully familiar. I began this novel one evening and emerged, breathless, in the wee hours of the morning with a pounding heart and a thirst for the next book. It is the only novel I have read that genuinely made me shout and threaten to throw it across the room because of a plot twist.   --Tori

Uprooted Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780804179034
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Del Rey Books - May 19th, 2015

Something I'm always on the prowl for in fantasy novels is the sense of enchantment, danger, and otherworldliness that I found in the Grimm tales and creepy Celtic folklore. Naomi Novik's latest novel is the epitome of this feeling. Based on the Polish fairy tales she grew up with, which lend a unique flavor to the setting, this book follows a young woman as she is unexpectedly swept into a world of sorcery, court intrigue, and the everpresent threat of the dark and corrupt Wood that borders her kingdom. I was smitten with this book; if all medieval fantasy were like this, I would have an empty wallet and overstuffed bookshelves. It's a great pick for both adults and older teens.  --Tori

Archivist Wasp Cover Image
ISBN: 9781618730978
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Big Mouth House - May 5th, 2015

This is the best YA book I've ever read, and possibly the best science-fiction novel I've seen in the last five years. The prose, pacing, characterization -- all those little pieces that make a book fun and easy to read -- are polished until they sparkle with a light all their own. This is a lean, razor-sharp story that gets its claws in you and does not let go for all 250 pages. Here is the premise: Wasp is tired. Tired of fighting to the death each year to keep her job, tired of fighting the elements in a harsh world ravaged by forgotten disasters, and tired of the dangerous ghost hunts that leave her battered and that seem to lead her no closer to answers about her crumbling society. Then, as Wasp ponders her chances of escape, she encounters the ghost of a supersoldier who offers her a deal she cannot refuse if she wants to leave her village alive. Together, they journey to the underworld to find a friend the ghost lost centuries ago, but their quest might topple the foundations of everything Wasp thought she knew about herself and her world.  --Tori

The Scorpio Races Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545224918
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - April 1st, 2013

Every November, a deadly race begins on a windblown island. Riders must control their water horses long enough to cross the finish line -- but when you ride a creature more wolf than horse, a mistake can cost you everything. Puck Connolly enters the world of the race as a desperate upstart: the first girl to enter, she must overcome challenges she can scarcely imagine if she is going to ride, much less if she is going to win. Sean Kendrick is the young reigning champion, a brilliant rider shadowed by a dark past and an uncertain future. As their stories meet, tensions rise with the tide and draw them both into the dangers and intrigue of the Scorpio Races. Maggie Stiefvater crafts an intricate, vivid tale that will thrill teenage and adult readers alike. --Tori

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060853976
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow & Company - August 7th, 2007

The end of the world is going according to plan -- sort of. The heavenly host and the ranks of the fallen are lining up neatly, plagues and portents are on schedule, and the ineffable Divine Plan is, well, ineffable. But not everyone wants to give up life as we know it: the demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale rather like mankind and our world. Not to mention, the Antichrist may have been misplaced... Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman pen a hysterical story about the apocalypse and the immortals, humans, and bureaucratic snags that get in its way.  --Tori

The Last Unicorn Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451450524
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ace Books - November 1st, 2011

Though perhaps best known for its 1982 animated adaptation, The Last Unicorn was first a breathtaking novel by one of the more talented (if, sadly, not prolific) authors of the last century. The story follows the last unicorn in existence as she seeks out others of her kind in a harsh world that no longer has magic -- or the ability to see it. As her quest takes her closer to the answers she seeks, she soon finds herself both helped and hunted by the few people who can still see her for what she really is. Many people discover this story in childhood thanks to the animated film, but the novel's intelligent, lyrical, often darkly humorous prose is best appreciated by older readers. --Tori 

Interstellar Cinderella Cover Image
By Deborah Underwood, Meg Hunt (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781452125329
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books - May 5th, 2015

Do you know a child who dreams big? Do they love space? Try this book! Cinderella gets a smart sci-fi upgrade in this charming story featuring androids, asteroids, and a heroine with a talent for spaceship repair. Fans of Rosie Revere, Engineer will fall head-over-heels for this story. --Tori

One Word from Sophia Cover Image
By Jim Averbeck, Yasmeen Ismail (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781481405140
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - June 16th, 2015

In this thoughtful and funny picture book, one little girl determined to get a pet giraffe searches for the right words to win over her family. But there is one big, important word she is forgetting...--Tori

George Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545812542
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Published: Scholastic Press - August 25th, 2015

Trying out for a girl’s part in the school play is hard when everyone thinks you’re a boy, but our heroine is determined to be herself, and on the way she learns the most important truths a child can ever hear: you are not alone, and you are loved. --Tori

Six of Crows Cover Image
ISBN: 9781627792127
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt & Company - September 29th, 2015

The sensational Leigh Bardugo returns to the world of Shadow and Bone with the start of a thrilling new series. Six dangerous criminals are thrown together to pull off a deadly heist, but even a simple crime gets complicated when you add magic and international politics to the mix. --Tori