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Midwest Connections Picks

Midwest Connections Picks

Midwest Connections are titles selected by regional booksellers as having particular interest or relevance to the Upper Midwest.

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Strange Birds

A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

By Celia C. Pérez
Narrated by: Rebecca Soler
Length: 7 hours 31 minutes

From the award-winning author of The First Rule of Punk comes the story of four kids who form an alternative Scout troop that shakes up their sleepy Florida town.

"Writing with wry restraint that's reminiscent of Kate DiCamillo... a beautiful tale." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review!)

When three very different girls find a mysterious invitation to... Read more »

Audiobook details

The Reckless Oath We Made

By Bryn Greenwood
Narrated by: Alex McKenna, Kirby Heyborne, Adenrele Ojo, MacLeod Andrews, Mark Bramhall, Maxwell Glick, Georgette Perna, Amanda Carlin & Kaleo Griffith
Length: 14 hours 42 minutes

The Reckless Oath We Made

“Greenwood brings these characters -- from Zee with her hard-luck life and equally rough family to autistic Gentry and his quest to be a K-night -- to life with her words, but it was the full cast audio that make them real for me. Each narrator -- one for each character that had a chapter -- brought something new and unique to the character's voice, and that just added depth the whole story. Highly recommended, but especially on audio!”

Watermark Books image Melissa, Watermark Books
Audiobook details

A River of Royal Blood

By Amanda Joy
Narrated by: Soneela Nankani
Length: 10 hours 40 minutes

An enthralling debut perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone set in an ancient North African-inspired fantasy world where two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown.

Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of blood and marrow--a dark and terrible magick that hasn't been seen for generations in the vibrant but... Read more »

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We Speak in Storms

By Natalie Lund
Narrated by: Brittany Pressley & Kirby Heyborne
Length: 10 hours 33 minutes

A powerful and haunting debut novel about friendship, acceptance, and learning to let go as the balance between the living and the dead is upended, perfect for fans of We Were Liars.

It's been more than 50 years since a tornado tore through a drive-in movie theater in tiny Mercer, Illinois, leaving dozens of teens -- a whole generation of... Read more »

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The Topeka School

A Novel

By Ben Lerner
Narrated by: Nancy Linari, Peter Berkrot & Tristan Wright
Length: 10 hours 34 minutes

The Topeka School

“It’s the late ’90s in Topeka, and high school senior Adam Gordon is partying, going to school, and preparing for a national speech and debate competition—living a life he expects to reflect back upon with irony and detachment in some urbane, imaginary future. Lerner shifts between perspectives, stealing stylistic bits from autofiction and documentary; he reinvents the way narrative can place the moments of our lives in the context of history, both global and hyper-local, exploring how history inflicts trauma onto us and how we, in turn, inflict that trauma back onto history. And he does all this while toying with language and the spaces where it breaks down as we attempt to self-define. Simply put, The Topeka School is a work of genius.”

Chris Lee image Chris Lee, Boswell Book Company
Audiobook details

After The Flood

By Kassandra Montag
Narrated by: Hillary Huber
Length: 12 hours 59 minutes

Life is about more than just surviving...

An unforgettable, inventive, and riveting epic saga about a mother, her daughter and their struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic flooded world, which signals the arrival of an extraordinary new talent.


'An adventure rife with great peril and high emotional stakes, this postapocalyptic novel reads like...

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Nothing More Dangerous

By Allen Eskens
Narrated by: Kevin Stillwell
Length: 10 hours 26 minutes

Missouri native Allen Eskens' "stunning small-town mystery" (New York Times Book Review) is a necessary exploration of family, loyalty, and racial tension in America and "a coming-of-age book to rival some of the best, such as Ordinary Grace" (Library Journal, starred review).

In a small Southern town where loyalty to family and to "your people"... Read more »

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Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners

By Gretchen Anthony
Narrated by: Andi Arndt, Eric Dove & Donna Postel
Length: 10 hours 20 minutes

Best Books of Fall 2018 Selection by PopSugar
“Stunning... An intricately satisfying story about love and understanding that is full of both nostalgia and surprising optimism.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A propulsive and endearing debut.” —J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest
A formidable matriarch learns the... Read more »

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This Tender Land

By William Kent Krueger
Narrated by: Scott Brick
Length: 14 hours 19 minutes

This Tender Land

“The work of a master storyteller about the making of a young storyteller, This Tender Land is a coming-of-age novel for the ages. It begins in an isolated Dickensian boarding school in Minnesota during the early years of the Depression, then morphs into the story of four runaways in a canoe à la Huckleberry Finn. On the run from their school headmistress and the law, they encounter other wanderers and escapees from life as they canoe towards St. Louis to find their only known relative and a possible home. Odie, his brother Albert, their schoolmate Mose, and newly orphaned Emmy are unforgettable characters in an unforgiving era. Epic, thrilling, and beautifully written, this is storytelling at its very best.”

The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn image Renee Barker, The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn
Audiobook details

Chronicles of a Radical Hag (with Recipes)

A Novel

By Lorna Landvik
Narrated by: Lorna Landvik
Length: 9 hours 39 minutes

When Haze Evans first appeared in the small-town newspaper, she earned fans by writing a story about her bachelor uncle who brought a Queen of the Rodeo to Thanksgiving dinner. Now, fifty years later, when the beloved columnist suffers a massive stroke and falls into a coma, publisher Susan McGrath fills the void (temporarily, she hopes) with... Read more »

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The Lager Queen of Minnesota

A Novel

By J. Ryan Stradal
Narrated by: Judith Ivey
Length: 11 hours 12 minutes

The Lager Queen of Minnesota

“The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal is a wonderful story about beer, family , resiliency and friendship—what else do you want? Sisters grow up together on a small farm in Minnesota but never quite see eye to eye. When an inequitable inheritance estranges the sisters, we learn how each makes her way through young adulthood, marriage and careers until one day, their paths cross in an unexpected development. Stradal’s fabulous characters will have you listening late into the night!”

Wellesley Books image Phyllis, Wellesley Books
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The Twenty-Ninth Day

Surviving a Grizzly Attack in the Canadian Tundra

By Alex Messenger
Narrated by: Alex Messenger
Length: 7 hours 42 minutes

A six-hundred-mile canoe trip in the Canadian wilderness is a seventeen-year-old’s dream adventure, but after he is mauled by a grizzly bear, it’s all about staying alive.

This true-life wilderness survival epic recounts seventeen-year-old Alex Messenger’s near-lethal encounter with a grizzly bear during a canoe trip in the Canadian tundra. The...

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The Curse of the Werepenguin

Werepenguin: Book #1

By Allan Woodrow
Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
Length: 7 hours 41 minutes

"Young Frankenstein meets The Princess Bride in the most hysterically hilarious book I've read in years."--Chris Grabenstein, #1 New York Times bestselling author

All orphan Bolt Wattle has ever wanted was to find his true family. When a mysterious baron in far-off Brugaria sends for Bolt, he wonders if he's getting closer to finding his... Read more »

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Shop early and gift big! Every purchase supports local bookstores. Make a difference