June 2015 Library Reads Picks

Visit LibraryReads for more information about how this list was created, and to view favorites from previous months!

Eight Hundred Grapes:
A Novel
by Laura Dave

“Take your time and savor the family dynamics. Enjoy the romantic twists in this tale of a career-minded young woman circling back to her roots at a California winery. The appeal is broader than that of a romance since it delves into the complexities of various relationships — parent to parent, parents and children, even winery and owner. This is an excellent summer read!”

– Joan Hipp, Florham Park Public Library, Florham Park, NJ

The Truth According to Us: A Novel
by Annie Barrows

“It is 1938 in a rural West Virginia town and a young woman arrives to write the town’s history. Layla doesn’t really know what to expect from the town, and the town doesn’t know what to make of her. This is the heart of the South, the soul of small towns, where everyone looks out for you and knows your history. Sweet story tailor-made for fans of Billie Letts, Fannie Flagg, Pat Conroy and Harper Lee.”

– Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX

The Book of Speculation: A Novel
by Erica Swyler
Published: 6/23/2015/2015 by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 9781250054807

“A roller coaster of a read! This is the story of a librarian from a splintered family with a tragic past who is gifted a mysterious book that leads him to dive deep into his family’s history, all while his present life seems to be falling to pieces around him. If you loved Morgenstern’s The Night Circus or Kostova’s The Historian, this is a book for you.”

– Amanda Monson, Bartow County Library System, Cartersville, GA

The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel
by Nina George

“Quirky and delightful, Nina George’s book focuses on Jean Perdu, owner of the Literary Apothecary, a floating bookshop. When a new tenant in his apartment building sets in motion events that force Jean to re-evaluate his past, he finds himself floating off down the rivers of France in search of lost love, new love, and friends he didn’t know he needed.”

– Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

The Invasion of the Tearling: A Novel
by Erika Johansen

“The Mort are coming! Johansen introduces new characters and enticing bits of history, with the second volume of her intriguing tale of fantasy, mystery and royal politics. Kelsea, the new Tearling Queen, has broken the Red Queen’s treaty and prepares to suffer the consequences as her nation is about to be invaded. Readers will be eager for the final volume in the Tearling saga.”

– Lucy Lockley, St. Charles City-County Library, St. Peters, MO

In the Unlikely Event: A Novel
by Judy Blume

“The obvious ‘unlikely events’ of Judy Blume’s latest — the three plane crashes afflicting Elizabeth, NJ in one horrifying winter — set the framework for everyday unlikely events around love, family, friendship, relating all that can go so wrong, and so right, with all three. Readers will enjoy the period detail and relatable characters that feature in this hybrid domestic/disaster tale.”

– Becky Bowen, Kenton County Public Library, Independence, KY

The Rumor: A Novel
by Elin Hilderbrand
Published: 6/16/2015 by Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 9780316334525

“Elin Hilderbrand has done it again! Grace is married to Fast Eddie, a successful real estate broker on the island. They live with their twin teenage daughters in a beautiful house with three manicured acres overlooking the harbor. Financial troubles, affairs or supposed affairs, teenage angst and shady deals kick the rumor mill on the island in high gear. The Rumor is the ideal beach book for this summer!”

– Claudia Silk, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT

The Precipice: A Novel
by Paul Doiron

“When two women go missing while hiking a difficult part of the Appalachian Trail, Maine game warden Mike Bowditch helps in trying to determine where the women were last seen. Mike then discovers there is no shortage of people whose behaviors make them suspicious. With a puzzle that keeps the reader guessing, and a main character that you can’t help but empathize with, The Precipice is another home run for Doiron.”

– Lora Bruggeman, Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, IL

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry: A Novel
by Fredrik Backman
Published: 6/16/2015 by Atria Books
ISBN: 9781501115066

“From the author of one my favorite books of last year, A Man Called Ove, this book packs a similar emotional punch at the end, but has some significant differences. It is told from the point of view of Elsa, a seven-year-old child who loves Harry Potter, fairy tales, and her grandmother. Once I stopped trying to make the story fit my adult view of the world and entered into Elsa’s world, I had a whale of a time.”

– Janet Lockhart, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC

Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship
by Robert Kurson

“This is the journey of Tracy Bowden, John Chatterton, and John Mattera as they follow a quest to find the sunken pirate ship named the Golden Fleece. I think anyone would be interested in the treasure of a famous buccaneer, Joseph Bannister. Many people, including me, have dreamed of digging up a treasure chest of gold. What could be more fun than traveling along with treasure hunters to find a lost pirate ship?”

– Linda Payne, Lake Placid Memorial Library, Lake Placid, FL

May Library Reads Picks

Visit LibraryReads for more information about how this list was created, and to view favorites from previous months!

Uprooted
by Naomi Novik

“A young girl is unexpectedly uprooted from her family and becomes involved in a centuries-old battle with The Wood, a malevolent entity which destroys anyone it touches. Fast-paced, with magic, mystery and romance, Novik’s stand-alone novel is a fairy tale for adults.”

– Lucy Lockley, St. Charles City-County Library, St. Peters, MO

A Court of Thorns and Roses
by Sarah J. Maas

“The human world is in peril. Feyre, a semi-literate girl, hunts for her family’s survival. After she kills an enormous wolf, a fierce fey shows up at her doorstep seeking retribution. Feyre is led to beautiful eternal springs, but the journey is not without danger. Maas masterfully pulls the reader into this new dark fantasy series which feels like a mix of fairy tales, from Beauty and the Beast to Tam Lin.”

– Jessica C. Williams, Westlake Porter Public Library, Westlake, OH

A God in Ruins: A Novel
by Kate Atkinson

“In A God in Ruins, we become reacquainted with Teddy Todd, the beloved little brother of Ursula from Atkinson’s last book. As with Life After Life, this novel skims back and forth in time, and we see the last half of the 20th century through Ted’s eyes and the eyes of his loved ones. At times funny and at others heartbreaking, Atkinson revels in the beauty and horror of life in all its messiness.”

– Jennifer Dayton, Darien Library, Darien, CT

The Water Knife: A Novel
by Paolo Bacigalupi

“Bacigalupi’s novel looks at the possible struggle for water rights in the southwestern United States. Reading Bacigalupi’s novel made me thankful for the current easy access to clean drinking water, yet fearful for our future. A great read for any fan of dystopian fiction.”

– Lindsay Atwood, Chandler Public Library, Chandler, AZ

The Knockoff: A Novel
by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

“The Knockoff is a digital-age mash-up of old-school movies The Women and All About Eve, set in the Devil Wears Prada world of a high fashion magazine. I absolutely loved this fresh, charming, addictive and ultimately heroic story of 40-something cancer survivor Imogen’s quest to rescue and rebuild her career, despite the machinations of a younger tech-wiz rival.”

– Janet Schneider, Bryant Library, Roslyn, NY

Early Warning: A Novel
by Jane Smiley

“In the second book of the Langdon trilogy, the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist follows the next generation of the unforgettable Iowa family introduced in Some Luck. Beginning with the death of the patriarch Walter in 1953, Smiley chronicles the social consciousness in America of the 1960s. The book goes up to events in the 1970s and early 1980s that touch each family member in unforeseen ways.”

– Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ

Seveneves: A Novel
by Neal Stephenson

“Stephenson’s back in fine form with this hard science fiction masterpiece, combining the detail of Cryptonomicon with the fast-paced action of Reamde. Fans of Anathem will appreciate Stephenson’s speculation about the possibilities of human evolution. This book is a great follow-up for readers who enjoyed the science of Weir’s The Martian. I heartily recommend Seveneves to SF readers.”

– Keith Hayes, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC

The Ghost Fields
by Elly Griffiths

“Griffiths has written another strong entry in her excellent Ruth Galloway series. Here, Ruth is called in when a World War II plane is excavated, complete with pilot–but the pilot is in the wrong plane. Strong characters combine with an absorbing puzzle to create a hard-to-put-down mystery.”

– Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

Our Souls at Night: A Novel
by Kent Haruf

“Beautiful, elegant and poignant, this novel is a distilled experience of Haruf’s writing. The story of how two elders attempt to poke at the loneliness and isolation that surrounds them will stick with me for a long time to come. I’m amazed at how Haruf says so much with such spare prose. He will be missed.”

– Alison Kastner, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR

Little Black Lies
by Sharon Bolton

“Set in the Falkland Islands, this novel grabs you from the opening paragraph. A child is missing, and he’s not the first. The incident sets off a chain of events leading to multiple characters confessing to murder. Accustomed to living in an idyllic community, fear and anger escalate among the locals. Bolton has created a page-turner of a story with a surprise ending.”

– Elizabeth Kanouse, Denville Public Library, Denville, NJ

February 2015 Library Reads List

Visit LibraryReads for more information about how this list was created, and to view favorites from previous months!

A Spool of Blue Thread
by Anne Tyler

“In this book, we come to know three generations of Whitshanks–a family with secrets and memories that are sometimes different than what others observe. The book’s timeline moves back and forth with overlapping stories, just like thread on a spool. Most readers will find themselves in the story. Once again, Tyler has written an enchanting tale.”

– Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

A Touch of Stardust: A Novel
by Kate Alcott

“With the background of the making of Gone with the Wind, this is a delightful read that combines historical events with the fictional career of an aspiring screenwriter. Julie is a wide-eyed Indiana girl who, through a series of lucky breaks, advances from studio go-fer and assistant to Carole Lombard to contract writer at MGM. A fun, engaging page-turner!”

– Lois Gross, Hoboken Public Library, Hoboken, NJ

My Sunshine Away
by M.O. Walsh

“A crime against a 15-year-old girl is examined through the eyes of one of her friends–a friend who admits to being a possible suspect in the crime. This is a wonderful debut novel full of suspense, angst, loyalty, deceit, and most of all, love.”

– Alison Nadvornik, Worthington Libraries, Columbus, OH

 

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy
by Julia Quinn

“At a dreaded music recital, a cellist catches Sir Richard Kenworthy’s eye, and he determines to marry her. Iris Smythe-Smith is a smart cookie and rightly suspicious of Sir Richard’s motives when he comes courting, but finds herself falling for his charm. Things seem to be working out well until Iris finds out what a big secret Richard is keeping.”

– Sharon Redfern, Rockville Public Library, Vernon, CT

Half the World
by Joe Abercrombie

“Fifteen-year-old Thorn, determined to become a king’s soldier, is fighting not just physical opponents, but her world’s social mores. Girls are supposed to desire nothing more than a wealthy husband. Period. Thorn’s struggles to achieve her dream make for a riveting read. Second in a series, this book reads very well as a standalone.”

– Cynthia Hunt, Amarillo Public Library, Amarillo, TX

Finding Jake: A Novel
by Bryan Reardon

“Stay-at-home dad Simon Connelly receives the call every parent dreads: there’s been a shooting at his children’s school. Through flashbacks and present-day narratives, he mines his memory for clues to what may have happened. This is a refreshing take on the well trodden “bad kid” novels, and an excellent thriller to recommend to all who liked Defending Jacob or We Need to Talk About Kevin.”

– Alissa Williams, Pekin Public Library, Pekin, IL

A Darker Shade of Magic
by V. E. Schwab

“Fantasy fans should enjoy this atmospheric novel, where London is the link between parallel universes, and magician Kell is one of two Travelers who can move between them. Now something sinister is disturbing their equilibrium, and Kell must try to unravel the plot with only feisty street thief Delilah Bard as an ally.”

– Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

A Murder of Magpies
by Judith Flanders

“Loved this mystery! The acerbic narrator is 40-year-old British book publishing editor Samantha, whose best author goes missing after writing a tell-all book about a famous French fashion designer who died under suspicious circumstances. Very funny, and great secondary characters as well.”

– Ann-Marie Anderson, Tigard Public Library, Tigard, OR


The Siege Winter: A Novel
by Ariana Franklin and Samantha Norman

“I couldn’t have been more excited when I learned Franklin wrote a new book. This wonderfully written novel takes place during King Stephen and Empress Matilda’s tumultuous civil conflict to claim England, no matter what cost to themselves or their subjects. The story conveys the brutality of the period without sacrificing the complex nature of the time and the people.”

– Elizabeth Carroll, Madison Public Library, Madison, WI


Dreaming Spies: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes
by Laurie R. King

“Considering that King is one of the finest mystery authors writing today, it’s no surprise that the latest in the Russell/Holmes series is an engaging read. Intrigue follows the duo as they board a liner bound for Japan and meet up with a known blackmailer and a young Japanese woman who is not all that she seems. Great historical research and rich atmosphere!”

– Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI

LibraryReads Favorite of Favorites 2014

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry:
A Novel
by Gabrielle Zevin

“A middle-aged bookseller mourning his lost wife, a feisty publisher’s rep, and a charmingly precocious abandoned child come together on a small island off the New England coast in this utterly delightful novel of love and second chances.”

– Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

The Rosie Project: A Novel
by Graeme Simsion

“Don Tillman, a brilliant geneticist, thinks that having women fill out a six-page, double-sided questionnaire before a date is logical and reasonable. Rosie Jarman, an impetuous barmaid, thinks Don should loosen up and learn to live a little. Follow the unlikely pair in this laugh-out-loud, feel-good story of unexpected joys, discovery and love.”

– Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
by Anthony Doerr
Published: 5/6/2014 by Scribner
ISBN: 9781476746586

“Set during World War II Europe, this novel is sobering without being sentimental. The tension builds as the alternating, parallel stories of Werner and Marie-Laure unfold, and their paths cross. I highly recommend this beautiful and compelling story.”

Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, IN

Fangirl
by Rainbow Rowell

“At turns funny, sweet, smart, and sad, Fangirl traces Cath’s journey to independence as she begins college, struggles to have an identity separate from her twin sister, find her voice and passion as a writer and fall in love, maybe, for the first time. As sharp and emotionally resonant as Rowell’s previous novel, Eleanor & Park.”

– Stephanie Chase, Hillsboro Public Library, Hillsboro, OR

The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt

“Fans of The Secret History will rediscover the Tartt they loved back in 1992. Readers who love the novelist for her richly developed, dark, multi-layered characters and thoroughly researched topics will not be disappointed. Tartt pulls together many threads of a story across a long span of pages and into a complete masterpiece.”

– Kim Dorman, Princeton Public Library, Princeton, NJ

We Were Liars
by E. Lockhart

“This brilliant and heartbreaking novel tells the story of a prestigious family living on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Full of love, lies, secrets, no shortage of family dysfunction, and a shocking twist that you won’t see coming. Though this book is written for teens, it shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone looking for a fantastic read.”

– Susan Balla, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT

Station Eleven: A Novel
by Emily St. John Mandel

“An actor playing King Lear dies onstage just before a cataclysmic event changes the future of everyone on Earth. What will be valued and what will be discarded? Will art have a place in a world that has lost so much? What will make life worth living? These are just some of the issues explored in this beautifully written dystopian novel. Recommended for fans of David Mitchell, John Scalzi and Kate Atkinson.”

– Janet Lockhart, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC

One Plus One: A Novel
by Jojo Moyes
Published: 7/1/2014 by Pamela Dorman Books
ISBN: 9780525426585

“A single mom, her math genius daughter, her eye-shadow-wearing stepson, a wealthy computer geek and a smelly dog all get into a car…it sounds like the start of a bad joke, but it’s actually another charming novel from Jojo Moyes. It’s more of a traditional romance than Me Before You, but will also appeal to fans of quirky, hard-working characters. A quick read and perfect for summer.”

– Emily Wichman, Clermont County Public Library, Milford, OH

Landline
by Rainbow Rowell

“Landline explores the delicate balance women make between work and family, considering the tradeoffs and pain. Rowell has a special gift for offering incredible insights into ordinary life. Never heavy-handed, Rowell’s writing is delivered with humor and grace. I finish all of her books wanting to laugh and cry at the same time–they are that moving. Landline captured my heart.”

– Andrea Larson, Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL

Longbourn: A Novel
by Jo Baker

“Using Pride and Prejudice’s familiar setting and characters, Baker tells a very different story of family, love and self-discovery. Bold and intelligent, Sarah is an orphaned housemaid whose days are filled with hard, body-punishing work. Baker doesn’t sugar-coat. A beautiful, uplifting novel full of mystery, hope and romance. Highly recommended for Austen fans and historical fiction readers.”

– Jenifer May, Secaucus Public Library, Secaucus, NJ

November 2014 Library Reads

Visit LibraryReads for more information about how this list was created, and to view favorites from previous months!

Us: A Novel
by David Nicholls

“Every once in a while you stumble upon a book that makes you wish you could meet the characters in real life. This is the case with Us, the poignant story of a middle-of-the-road British family spiraling out of control, and one man’s attempt to win back their love. Quirky, delightful and unpredictable, the novel delves into what makes a marriage, and what tears it apart.”

– Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX

 

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover: The Fourth Rule of Scoundrels
by Sarah MacLean

“Having lost her innocence in a teenage love affair, Lady Georgiana is a social pariah. Trying to save the tatters of her reputation, she must marry and marry well. By night, she is Anna, the most powerful madame in London, and a powerful seductress in her own right. Will Georgiana succeed in re-entering society, or will her past catch up with her once and for all?”

– Emily Peros, Denver Public Library, Denver, CO

 

Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble
by Marilyn Johnson

“Johnson takes a fascinating look at the field of archeology, profiling a number of archaeologists at work. She visits sites as diverse as an army base, Rhode Island, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and Peru, but the best part of this book is learning about the archaeologists and their passions. A fun, interesting read that may cause an uptick in field school applications.”

– Jenna Persick, Chester County Library, Exton, PA

 

The Burning Room
by Michael Connelly

“In this page-turning procedural, the veteran Harry Bosch is paired with a rising star in the cold case department. Bosch may be nearing the end of his service in the LAPD, but he still has many tricks of the trade to pass along to his young partner, who has a personal stake in one of their investigations. Another great entry in the Bosch series.”

– Elizabeth Eastin, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton, NY

 

Mortal Heart: His Fair Assassin Trilogy #3
by Robin LaFevers

“Annith has been forbidden from leaving the convent of St. Mortain, so she breaks the rules to find out why. On her journey, she meets someone unexpected: the leader of the Hellequin, a group of dead souls repenting for their past wrongs and trying to track down those who are left wandering the earth in order to help them cross over. This is the best of all three books!”

– Hannah Berry, Aurora Public Library, Aurora, IL

 

The Ship of Brides: A Novel
by Jojo Moyes

“Moyes presents a different take on the war bride novel, telling the story of four Australian women who must travel to their husbands in England at the end of World War II. It is a difficult journey under the best circumstances, but for the 650 brides making the trip, it is almost unbearable. These four are among the last of the brides to be shipped out on a fully staffed Navy aircraft carrier. A sweeping, multilayered book with honest voices that holds the reader’s attention through the voyage from the bride’s homeland of Australia to the shores of their new home in the UK.”

– Ilene Lefkowitz, Denville Public Library, Denville, NJ

 

The Forgers
by Bradford Morrow

“Narrator Will and Adam Diehl have something in common: they are both forgers, able to produce and sell authentic-looking inscriptions of Arthur Conan Doyle and Henry James’ books. When Adam is found bludgeoned and missing his hands, Will is inevitably drawn into the murder investigation. The clues and horror mount until realization bursts upon the reader at the end.”

– Nancy Russell, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH

 

In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon
edited by Leslie S. Klinger and Laurie R. King

“A unique, engaging collection of short stories written in honor of Sherlock Holmes. It’s wonderful reading all of the different styles with twists on the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tales, such as a Facebook-type narrative and a story written from the point of view of a horse. Sherlock aficionados will appreciate the whispers of the great detective on every page.”

– Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI

 

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas: Being a Jane Austen Mystery
by Stephanie Barron

“Jane, her sister Cassandra, and her mother are spending Christmas with her brother’s family at Steventon Parsonage. They’re invited to visit the Vyne, where the weather and then a murder (or two) keep them houseguests. Jane’s personality and all of those around her shine throughout this story. I’m now planning to start back at the beginning of the series.”

– Kim Storbeck, Timberland Regional Library, Tumwater, WA

 

Mermaids in Paradise: A Novel
by Lydia Millet

“This delightful book starts out as almost chick-lit, turns into a fantasy adventure, then leads into an underdog heist. The tone reminds me of Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, with just enough absurdity in a tropical location to keep you on your toes. Protagonist Deb’s husband, Chip, is a total babe (in a nerdy way) and her BFF, Gina, is the best kind of snarky. A highly entertaining read!”

– Amanda Monson, Bartow County Library System, Cartersville, GA

October 2014 Library Reads

Visit LibraryReads for more information about how this list was created, and to view favorites from previous months!

A Sudden Light: A Novel
by Garth Stein

“Garth Stein has given us a masterpiece. This beautiful story takes readers on a thrilling exploration of a family estate brimming with generations of riveting Riddell family ghosts and secrets. This is a true exploratory novel, taking readers through secret passageways, hidden rooms, and darkened corridors that engage all of the senses.”

– Whitney Gayle, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT

 

Leaving Time: A Novel
by Jodi Picoult

“Leaving Time is a love story – love between mother and child, love between soulmates, and love between elephants. The story is told from a variety of narrators, all of whom are broken and lost. Jenna is searching for answers to the disappearance of her mother, and seeks the help of a retired police detective and a psychic. Alice, Jenna’s mom, disappeared after a tragic accident at the elephant sanctuary, and her work with the elephants is fascinating and touching. The book is an ode to motherhood in all its forms–the good, bad and the ugly–and it is brilliant.”

– Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX

 

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride
by Cary Elwes

“Even if you don’t have a crush on Cary Elwes, you’ll enjoy this vivid behind-the-scenes account of the making of The Princess Bride. His stories, especially those involving Andre the Giant, will leave you in stitches. Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, and others also recount their experiences. An amusing account of a group of performers who came together to make a heartfelt film that is loved by many.”

– Emily Weiss, Bedford Public Library, Bedford, NH

 

Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir
by Alan Cumming

“This memoir focuses on Cumming’s reaction to being told that his father was not, in fact, his father. An appearance on the UK’s Who Do You Think You Are was meant to reveal the mystery behind what happened to Cumming’s maternal grandfather. Instead, his father’s admission leads Cumming to resolve long-held memories of verbal abuse. Cumming is extremely open, allowing readers to share in his pain and understand his relationships.”

– Tracy Babiasz, Alachua County Library District, Newberry, FL

 

Some Luck: A Novel
by Jane Smiley

“Smiley’s latest is a love song to American farms and the people who keep them. This glorious and heartfelt novel chronicles the lives of an Iowan farm family over 30 years, beginning in 1920. Family members are born, grow, change, and die. Readers follow their triumphs and crushing losses and, along the way, learn about the evolution of farming and society in the United States. Definitely one of the best novels of 2014.”

– Laurie Van Court, Douglas County Libraries, Parker, CO

 

The Boy Who Drew Monsters: A Novel
by Keith Donohue

“Emotionally scarred by a near-drowning experience, young Jack Keenan spends all his time indoors, fanatically preoccupied with drawing strange things. While Jack’s parents chalk his drawings up to the imagination, Nick, Jack’s only friend, notices mysterious things happen whenever Jack picks up a pencil. This detailed coming-of-age tale with a twist offers unique insights into boyhood friendships and the complexities of adult relationships.”

– Courtney Block, Charlestown Clark County Public Library, Charlestown, IN

 

The Life We Bury
by Allen Eskens

“In this well-crafted debut novel, Joe Talbert has finally left home, but not without guilt over leaving his autistic brother in the care of his unreliable mother. A college assignment gets the young man entangled in a cold case, racing to clear the name of a Vietnam veteran. Characters with layers of suppressed memories and emotions only add to the suspenseful plot. Looking forward to more from this Minnesotan author!”

– Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI

 

Reunion: A Novel
by Hannah Pittard

“When Kate learns that her estranged father has committed suicide, she and her siblings travel to Atlanta to bury him and work out years of resentment. Life seems overwhelming to Kate as she battles with infidelity, divorce, and a massive debt. It’s only when she takes a good look at herself that she begins to heal the rift in her family. Unfolding like a saga, this short book packs a punch.”

– Elizabeth Kanouse, Denville Public Library, Denville, NJ

 

Malice: A Mystery
by Keigo Higashino; translated by Alexander O. Smith

“Detective Kaga is investigating the murder of best-selling author Kunihiko Hidaka. Hidaka’s wife and best friend both have rock-solid alibis, but Kaga discovers that the friendship might not have been what it seemed. A classic cat-and-mouse game with twists that keep the pages turning.”

– Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, LA

 

Murder at the Brightwell: A Mystery
by Ashley Weaver

“Lovers of Agatha Christie and Jacqueline Winspear will enjoy this elegant murder mystery set on holiday at the English seaside. What starts out as a lark, intended to make Amory Ames’s misbehaving-but-oh-so-delicious husband jealous, turns into a dangerous and deadly game of whodunit for Amory and her friends. Love, jealousy, and revenge are tangled together in this smart and sophisticated British mystery reminiscent of the genre’s golden age.”

– Vanessa Walstra, Kent District Library, East Grand Rapids, MI

September 2014 Library Reads List

Visit LibraryReads for more information about how this list was created, and to view favorites from previous months!

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
by Caitlin Doughty

“Part memoir, part exposé of the death industry, and part instruction manual for aspiring morticians. First-time author Doughty has written an attention-grabbing book that is sure to start some provocative discussions. Fans of Mary Roach’s Stiff and anyone who enjoys an honest, well-written autobiography will appreciate this quirky story.”

– Patty Falconer, Hampstead Public Library, Hampstead, NH

Station Eleven: A Novel
by Emily St. John Mandel

“An actor playing King Lear dies onstage just before a cataclysmic event changes the future of everyone on Earth. What will be valued and what will be discarded? Will art have a place in a world that has lost so much? What will make life worth living? These are just some of the issues explored in this beautifully written dystopian novel. Recommended for fans of David Mitchell, John Scalzi and Kate Atkinson.”

 – Janet Lockhart, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC

The Secret Place
by Tana French

“French has broken my heart yet again with her fifth novel, which examines the ways in which teenagers and adults can be wily, calculating, and backstabbing, even with their friends. The tension-filled flashback narratives, relating to a murder investigation in suburban Dublin, will keep you turning pages late into the night.”

– Alison McCarty, Nassau County Public Library System, Callahan, FL

Rooms: A Novel
by Lauren Oliver

“A family comes to terms with their estranged father’s death in Oliver’s first novel for adults. Told from the perspective of two ghosts living in the old house, this unique story weaves characters and explores their various past connections. Great book!”

– Rachel Fewell, Denver Public Library, Denver, CO

The Children Act
by Ian McEwan

“Judge Fiona Maye is at a difficult point in her marriage. Taking refuge in addressing other people’s problems in family court, Fiona extends herself more than usual, meeting a boy whose future is in her hands. McEwan is a masterful observer of human distress. With a simple story and flawed, genuine characters, this novel is poignant and insightful.”

– Jennifer Alexander, St. Louis County Library, St. Louis, MO

The Distance: A Thriller
by Helen Giltrow

“Imagine a modern-day Robin Hood who deals not in money, but identity. Karla, the protagonist of The Distance, is a tech guru with a conscience, and the security of several nations dependent on her. This nuanced book kept me on the edge of my seat. I cannot wait until the next one comes out.”

– Cathy Scheib, Indianapolis Public Library, Indianapolis, IN

Horrorstor: A Novel
by Grady Hendrix

“You know how some horror movies would work better as novels? Horrorstor is that book, perfectly capturing everything that is terrific about the horror genre. In its catalog-style pages, you’ll find a hefty dose of satire, as a Scandinavian furniture store is transformed overnight into a prison. With characters that you’re rooting for and terror that creeps up on you, Horrorstor will keep you up all night in the best possible way.”

– Donna Matturri, Pickerington Public Library, Pickerington, OH

The Paying Guests
by Sarah Waters

“You can almost bet that a situation with long-term guests–paying or not–is not going to turn out well. This novel by Waters, who many know from her earlier books Tipping the Velvet and The Little Stranger, will keep you turning the page to see just how tense things can get, and how far fear and passion can push someone.”

– Elizabeth Angelastro, Manlius Library, Manlius, NY

The Witch with No Name
by Kim Harrison

“In this book, Harrison ends her long-running Hollows series, featuring witch Rachel Morgan, vampire Ivy, and pixy Jenks. Rachel’s come a long way; now, she and her friends attempt the impossible and face their toughest battle yet. Harrison skillfully wraps up many plot points, leaving readers sad that the series is over but satisfied by its ending. Fans will surely cheer Rachel on and shed a tear or two.”

– Ilene Lefkowitz, Denville Public Library, Denville, NJ

Season of Storms
by Susanna Kearsley

“Once again, Kearsley introduces you to a cast of characters who will quickly hold a special place in your heart. Celia and Alex mirror lovers from decades past, sharing similar secrets and passions. Flashbacks are woven seamlessly into the storyline, and the strong family component is handled beautifully, with surprising twists and turns.”

– Marianne Colton, Lockport Public Library, Lockport, NY

August 2014 Library Reads List

Visit LibraryReads for more information about how this list was created, and to view favorites from previous months!

One Kick: A Novel
by Chelsea Cain

“Kick Lannigan survived being kidnapped as a child. Now, at twenty-one, determined never to be a victim again, she has reinvented herself. Martial arts and weapons handling are just a few of the skills she has learned over the years. Kick catches the attention of John Bishop, a mystery man with access to unlimited funds, and together they go after a cabal of child pornographers. A read-in-one-sitting, edge-of-your-seat thriller.”

– Elizabeth Kanouse, Denville Public Library, Denville, NJ


Lucky Us: A Novel
by Amy Bloom

“Is a family the people you are born to, or the people who you find along the way? That’s what Bloom explores in this novel set in pre- and post-WWII Ohio, Los Angeles, New York and Germany. The story follows resourceful Eva, who was abandoned by her mother at an early age, and her sister Iris, an aspiring actress who tries to find love at a time when her kind of love must be secretive. Every character is beautifully drawn, warm, and believable.”

– Kathryn Hassert, Henrietta Hankin Branch Library, Chester Springs, PA


Heroes Are My Weakness: A Novel
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

“Any Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel is going to make it onto my must-read list, but this one is particularly wonderful, and here’s why: she creates, then cheerfully destroys, the romance cliche of the brooding hero with a dark secret who lives in a crumbling mansion and captivates a plucky heroine. The hero is a horror novelist, and the heroine a failed actress-turned-puppeteer. This warm, witty, comedy-drama is a perfect summer read.”

– Donna Matturri, Pickerington Public Library, Pickerington, OH


Lock In
by John Scalzi

“There’s been a good run of fantasy and science fiction books this year. Joining the list of great fantastical reads is John Scalzi’s Lock In. Scalzi is best known for his military SF (especially the Old Man’s War series), so his latest is a change of pace. A blending of SF and police procedural that hits every note just right.”

– Jane Jorgenson, Madison Public Library, Madison, WI


The Miniaturist
by Jessie Burton

“A dollhouse whose figures and furnishings foretell life events, mysterious notes, family secrets and the powerful guild and church of 1686 Amsterdam. All these elements combine for an engaging story of a young bride’s struggle to be the ‘architect of her own fortune.’”

– Elizabeth Angelastro, Manlius Library, Manlius, NY


Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarty

“A horrible act of violence occurs at the Pirriwee Public School’s trivia night fundraiser for parents, but what happened and who was involved? The novel begins six months before that fateful evening and lets us in on the lives of single mother Jane, twice-married Madeline, and Celeste, who secretly suffers from domestic abuse. Big Little Lies is another page-turning read from Moriarty that had me gasping with surprise at the end.”

– Lora Bruggeman, Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, IL


Truth About Leo
by Katie MacAlister

“I always adore Katie MacAlister! Her sense of humor is outstanding, and her heroines have real bodies. This is another installment in the delightful historical Noble series, and it doesn’t disappoint. Fans of humor with their romance are sure to enjoy this regency romp.”

– Jessica C. Williams, Westlake Porter Public Library, Westlake, OH


An Unwilling Accomplice
by Charles Todd

“Bess Crawford, a courageous World War I battlefield nurse, is faced with another complex mystery. A patient about to receive a high honor from the King manages to disappear on Bess’s watch, sending her life into a tailspin. In order to clear her name, she must find the missing patient and find out why he is now accused of murder. Intelligent and fantastic, just like the others in this series!”

– Monicah Fratena, La Porte County Public Library, La Porte, IN


The Magician’s Land
by Lev Grossman

“Even if you haven’t read the first two books in the wonderful Magicians Trilogy, you will enjoy the escapades of Quentin Coldwater. Now 30 years old, Quentin finds himself back at Brakebills, experiencing school from the teacher’s side of the desk. But his adventures are far from over! Although I’m not generally a fantasy reader, I’ve been rooting for Quentin ever since I first picked up this series and am sad to see it end.”

– Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, IN


The Story Hour
by Thrity Umrigar

“Another beautifully written novel by Thrity Umrigar. A relationship develops between Maggie, a psychologist, and Lakshmi, a troubled Indian woman. As their stories develop, it is hard to figure out which woman does more to impact the other’s life. Highly recommended.”

– Ellen Firer, Merrick Library, Merrick, NY

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Win is away at boarding school. He doesn’t see his family anymore and in chapters that alternate between the present and the past, Win, with the help of new girl Jordan and former friend Lex, works to come to terms with the curse within his bloodline.

Kuehn does brilliant things here with voice and plotting. As the reader moves deeper into the story it becomes apparent that Win is quite the unreliable narrator. With the chapters alternating between present and past, why Win is unreliable becomes a mystery to be solved with Kuehn giving clues that draw the reader further and further into Win’s story. Kuehn does some very fine work with theme as well, drawing from both physics and paranormal tropes to highlight the horror of Win’s past and his rocky road to recovery.

I loved, loved, loved this book although it was brutal to read. The focus on how Win had to choose to not just survive, but to live was beautifully done. I’m also a sucker for this kind of puzzle mystery. Charm & Strange is a great choice for fans of darker realistic fiction and I’m looking forward to Kuehn’s sophomore effort, Complicit, just published this June!

– Reviewed by Jennifer Jazwinski, YA Librarian at AAPLD

May 2014 Library Reads List

Visit LibraryReads for more information about how this list was created, and to view favorites from previous months!

We Were Liars
by E. Lockhart

“This brilliant and heartbreaking novel tells the story of a prestigious family living on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Full of love, lies, secrets, no shortage of family dysfunction, and a shocking twist that you won’t see coming. Though this book is written for teens, it shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone looking for a fantastic read.”

– Susan Balla, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
by Anthony Doerr

“Set during World War II Europe, this novel is sobering without being sentimental. The tension builds as the alternating, parallel stories of Werner and Marie-Laure unfold, and their paths cross. I highly recommend this beautiful and compelling story.”

– Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, IN

 

The Bees: A Novel
by Laline Paull

“This book is set entirely in a beehive, but the novel and its characters are so beautifully rendered that it could have been set anywhere. Societal codes and social mores combine with the ancient behavior rituals of bees, bringing forth a remarkable story that is sure to be a book club favorite.”

– Ilene Lefkowitz, Denville Public Library, Denville, NJ

Delicious!: A Novel
by Ruth Reichl

“Billie leaves college to take a job with a soon-to-be disbanded food magazine. What follows is an intriguing story involving dusty archives, long-forgotten letters written during World War II to the illustrious James Beard, and a young woman in New York City who learns to trust her culinary talents. This novel is a delectable feast.”

– Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI

The Forgotten Seamstress
by Liz Trenow

“Two women’s stories, separated by close to 100 years, connect through a patchwork quilt. Carolyn finds a quilt in her mother’s attic and is intrigued by its origin, and quiltmaker Maria’s story is told through transcripts. Trenow carefully stitches together a novel about family secrets, using many interesting details about fabrics, needlework, and textile conservation. A strong sense of place and well-told story make this book superior women’s fiction.”

– Leslie DeLooze, Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia, NY

Bird Box: A Novel
by Josh Malerman

“Close your eyes! Don’t look! Something is out there that will drive you mad if you see it. Is it an alien invasion? An environmental toxin? Two sisters, Malorie and Shannon, embark on a journey seeking safety and other survivors. I was unable to put this book down. Horror at its best, not graphic, but truly creepy and scary. Highly recommended for fans of psychological suspense.”

– Mary Vernau, Tyler Public Library, Tyler, TX

Bittersweet: A Novel
by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

“As unlikely a pair of roommates as you’re ever likely to meet: plain, working class Mabel Dagmar and beautiful, privileged Genevra Winslow. Mabel spends the summer in the Winslows’ idyllic lakefront property in Vermont, dreaming of being one of them–only to discover that being a Winslow is not all sunshine, yachts, and ease. Being a Winslow means keeping very disturbing family secrets.”

– Nancy Russell, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage
by Molly Wizenberg

“As Wizenberg tells the story of how she and her husband opened the successful pizza restaurant Delancey, I felt like I was hanging out with a close friend. She also shares delicious sounding recipes for the everyday food they made at home during the hectic days of launching the restaurant. Wizenberg’s writing is so sincere and relatable.”

Michelle Marx, Eagle Valley Library District, Avon, CO

Sixth Grave on the Edge: A Novel
by Darynda Jones

“The continuing adventures of P.I. Charley Davidson and Grim Reaper (not as mutually exclusive as one would think) are just as delightful as in previous books, with new characters including a wonderfully snarky new demon. Jones expands on Charley’s existing relationships and supernatural powers. It’s the perfect paranormal-romance-mystery blend that you never knew you always wanted.”

– Donna Matturri, Pickerington Public Library, Pickerington, OH

The Blessings
by Elise Juska

“This finely-crafted story is told through a series of Blessing family members’ points of view over a two-decade span of time. A deceptively small book with very big themes, this novel is gentle and wise. It made me look at my own close and extended family with new eyes; now I see the ways in which we are alike, not the ways in which we are different. A transformative reading experience. Highly recommended.”

– Janet Schneider, Great Neck Library, Great Neck, NY