All of our staff are voracious readers. Here are some of the books we have just recently finished reading.
We will continue to add books as we can so check back often.
By Book or By Crook by Eva Gates is the first in the Lighthouse Library series. This is a fabulous beginning to this series for any book lover or cozy mystery enthusiast. Lucy is very excited to be hired as the new librarian for the Outer Banks and is hoping it is exactly the escape from Boston she needs. However, her new job is off to a rocky beginning when the chair of the library board is found murdered and a priceless Jane Austen novel has gone missing. Now Lucy is finding herself right in the middle of the investigation.
The setting of Bodie Island and the lighthouse is wonderful. You can visualize how beautiful the inside of the lighthouse must be. I also enjoyed all of the characters. Lucy is smart and doesn’t do the typical, “I know I shouldn’t go in there” routine that occasionally happens in cozy mysteries. I am excited to see how the characters progress. All of the them have potential to really develop and grow as we continue our library journey. The books in this mystery are amazing. I loved how the entire community embraces the Austen collection and becomes fans. This is a fun and cute series to start if you are looking for something that isn’t a cooking or knitting cozy. Although I think fiction fans might enjoy this story. It is very much a character driven tale. (Jody)
Dance of the Bones is J. A. Jance’s latest novel featuring J.P. Beaumont and Brandon Walker. The Last Chance (TLC) group contacts retired Detective Walker regarding a 30 year old case involving the murder of Amos Warren. All of the evidence had pointed Walker toward Amos’ son who was arrested, tried and jailed. Now the case is being re-opened and there is pressure for them to find the “real” killer. The search leads Walker to reach out to Seattle investigator J.P. Beaumont. However, things only become more complicated when someone close to Walker is targeted. The cases are connected, the two just have to figure out how.
As always, Jance packs her book with action and suspense. This book was captivating and hard to put down. I really enjoyed how she wove in the Tohono O’odham lore in the story. It was interesting learning how some stories can only be shared at a certain time of year. I also enjoyed seeing how Walker and Beaumont interact with each other. If you have only read the Beaumont series or the Walker family books, you will still enjoy this novel. If you haven’t read both series this would be a great time to start. (Tricia)
Kim Harrison’s latest novel The Drafter while being very different from her Hollows series still has her crazy suspenseful action and a fearless heroine who is ready to kick butt. Peri has the rare gift of being a drafter, someone who has the ability to change the existing timeline and create a new timeline. The only problem is that she doesn’t remember the original timeline or what changes she makes. In fact, she often loses more than just a few minutes of her memory. Thankfully, she has the help of her anchor Jack. He sees all of the changes she makes during a draft and can remind her of things in the past, as well as both the original and changed timeline. But what happens when you can no longer trust your anchor, the company you work for, or your own faulty memories? Thus begins the first book in the Peri Reed Chronicles.
I loved Harrison’s Hollow series and was worried that her science fiction detour wouldn’t have the same flare, but I was completely wrong. Peri is just as fierce as Rachel and is more than happy to take down a bad guy. I found the premise of this book to be quite interesting: time traveling with a terrible side effect of memory loss, how can you not want to read that? Often we (the reader) were just as confused as Peri. She is constantly questioning who to trust and trying to wade through all of the half truths she is told. Harrison does such a great job of developing her characters. I am really excited to see how the dynamics between everyone grows and changes in this series. Needless to say any Harrison fan or time traveling fan will enjoy her new novel. (Jody)
Slasher Girls & Monster Boys compiled by April Genevieve Tucholke is an engrossing spooky read. If you are craving something that will have your skin crawling before Halloween, then this is the perfect read. The book is a compilation of short stories from some amazing YA authors, such as Marie Lu, Danielle Paige, Carry Ryan, Jonathan Maberry, Leigh Bardugo just to name a few. Each author used a previously published story, movie, or song for inspiration and then re-imagines the tale. At the end they tell you what the inspiration was. Some tales were filled with bloody and disturbing details, but others were more psychological horror that really let your imagination go crazy. After I finished a story, I was excited to go on and see what new sinister creature was lurking around the next page.
The writing throughout is fantastic. Each author created complex characters in a short amount of time as well as really capturing the dark atmosphere. There were definitely times where my hair stood on edge. I really love how creepy this book is and that it is geared for YA readers. It just goes to show that some of the most haunting tales can exist without all of the graphic details.
My favorite short stories were In the “Forest Dark and Deep” by Carrie Ryan and “Hide-and-Seek” by Megan Shepard. (Jody)
After reading FaceOff, I knew there were several new authors I wanted to read. My fist pick was Heather Graham’s Let the Dead Sleep. Her character that was featured in FaceOff was so intriguing that I wanted to know more about her, and let me say wow, it was excellent. The book takes place in New Orleans and is a mystery with a bit of a paranormal kick. Danni is the owner of an antique shop and for the most part nothing too exciting happens. However everything changes when a mysterious statue is brought to her store. Before she can even decide to buy it, the original owner is found dead and the statue is missing. Danni discovers that she is not the only one looking for the statue. A PI has been trying to track it down and destroy it and the long evil history that goes with it. Joining forces, the two begin the harrowing search.
As I said before, this is a great book with not only suspense but quite a bit of creepiness too. In fact there were a few times that I had to set the book down because it was just too late at night to be reading a scary novel. Graham does a great job creating all of her characters. Their interactions are engaging and genuine and it is easy to start rooting for them. I also enjoyed the southern setting. Graham did a great job of incorporating the spooky elements of New Orleans into her tale along with a side of southern charm. If you enjoy your mysteries on the scarier side, then this is the perfect series to start. (Tricia)
Mary-Louise Parker's memoir Dear Mr. You is a uniquely written book that tells about her life through letters. The letters are all written to the men who have impacted her life or helped create the person that she has become. Some of the letters are to real people that she knows, but others are to strangers she has passed on the street or even hypothetical men from her mind. Parker's writing is simple, yet elegant and wholly enlightening as to who she is. The letters create such an intimate look of Parker that you can't help but feel connected to her. This writing style is engaging and entertaining to read, creating an excellent book for her fans as well as non-fiction readers. (Tricia)
Hester Young's debut novel Gates of Evangeline is a gripping tale of missing children and family secrets. After suffering the terrible loss of her son, Charlie is having a hard time readjusting to life. To complicate matters, she has started having visions of children in trouble and is realizing her visions come true. When her old boss contacts her out of the blue for a job opportunity she decides a change is just what she needs (not to mention the little boy in her vision is asking her to come and help him). Leaving New York City behind, Charlie temporarily moves to Louisiana to research and write a book on the thirty year old cold case of the disappearance of a little boy. However, he wasn't from your typical family but in fact an old southern genteel family with plenty of secrets.
Young's writing is great. The book is filled with twists and turns and just a hint of the paranormal which make you keep coming back. I am a sucker for southern books these days and Young does a great job of capturing the atmosphere and southern drawl. The characters are interesting and developed and you want to know what everyone is hiding. This is a great book for mystery enthusiasts as well as contemporary fiction readers. There is a mystery that carries the novel, but you become involved with all of the characters and their story as well. (Jody)
Faceoff is a compilation of short stories edited by David Baldacci. This book is great because each short story has two characters who are often the heroes from their own series who faceoff (or work together to take down the bad guy). Short stories are so much fun when it is a new story with a beloved character or a great story from a new author. I loved how riddled this book is with some of my favorite mystery authors.
Here is a brief look at a few of my favorites:
When Jack Reacher walks into a bar in Boston to watch the Yankees take on the Red Sox, I knew something fun was going to happen. Nick Heller was sitting two stools away and within a couple of innings they had figured out the man sitting between them was trouble. I loved seeing how each of the characters sizes up the situation and helps in their unique way!
(Lee Child & Joseph Finder)
I thoroughly enjoyed Cotton Malone meeting Gray Pierce in the South American jungle while they were each on the same assignment. Working together the two take care of business and in just a few pages are on their way. It amazed me that the authors can create such a seamless story together and still stay true to their own characters and writing style.
(Steve Berry & James Rollins)
And on the creepy side was R. L. Stine’s Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy against Preston/Child’s Agent Pendergast in a gaslight story of the weirdest kind. There is something for every mystery fan in this book. (Tricia)
Philippa Gregory's latest novel The Taming of the Queen takes us back to Henry VIII's glamorous court to meet his last wife, Kateryn Parr. However, this is not the court of the golden king that we all love. Henry is no longer in his prime and is in constant pain with his rotting foot. Always a fiery King, his temper is even quicker to explode than before. This is the court that Kateryn has reluctantly inherited. However, Henry adores her and is encouraging her scholarly pursuits and religious views. The challenge for Kateryn is keeping his affection because this King knows that he can always find a new wife.
It was wonderful coming back to Henry's court. While I have enjoyed Gregory's Cousin War series, her writing truly shines when she writes about the Tudors. Her language is sophisticated and reminiscent of the time period but is still easy to read. She captures the atmosphere of England in the 1500's beautifully. You walk the castles right along with Kateryn and feel her tension of living with a temperamental king. This portrayal of Henry was fascinating. He has become so cantankerous, paranoid and selfish. The once sought after royal court is something to fear. Gregory did an incredible job of developing the arc of the young king, who was constantly betrayed and used to getting his way, to an old and bitter man. If you haven't read Philippa Gregory's Tudor books, I would highly recommend them. Start the books chronologically and you will really see the development of Henry the VIII's reign.
Chronological Order: The Constant Princess, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Boleyn Inheritance, The Taming of the Queen, The Queen's Fool, The Virgin's Lover
Moira Fowley-Doyle's debut novel The Accident Season is sure to be a must read YA novel. Every October Cara's family lives through the accident season. This is a time when everyone in the family gets more bruises, scrapes, and broken bones and this year is shaping up to be one of the worst. However, the accident season is not just physical pain but in fact goes much deeper.
Fowley-Doyle's writing is so elegant that you are instantly caught up in her story. Her descriptions are vivid and imaginative. I love the dream world that Cara envisions around her and her friends, as well as the magical realism that she weaves throughout the novel. It was fun not knowing what was causing the accident season or if there even was a cause. I enjoyed the turn the book takes in the middle and I was surprised and satisfied with the ending. This is a book that will haunt you long after you are finished. (Jody)
Conversion by Katherine Howe is a mysterious tale about a private school in Danvers and a mysterious illness that takes over. Colleen is doing her best to stay focused during her senior year but she is juggling quite a few things. First, and most importantly, would be her college applications and interviews. Plus she is desperately trying to stay at the top of her class while trying to hang out with her friends. However shortly into the spring semester Clara (one of the most popular girls in school) is found convulsing on the floor. No one know what caused her to have a “fit” and before long more and more girls are coming down with the mysterious illness that no one can diagnose or stop. As the weeks continue Colleen, who has been reading The Crucible for class, begins to wonder if there is a correlation with the girls of Salem Village and her school. After all, Danvers was once Salem Village.
I liked how Howe told the story and paralleled the current girls with the girls of Salem Village. She did a great job of keeping her readers in suspense and just as clueless as everyone else. You could really feel the pressure the girls were facing with preparing for college and daily life, creating very believable characters. It was easy to get caught up in the drama of their illness and wonder who was going to be next. The Crucible was one of my favorite high school reads, so I must confess that I really enjoyed the historical look at the Salem Village, as well as Colleen’s examination of the play. It was interesting to read about the original girls and how quickly they were all swept up in the herd mentality and how quickly it spun out of hand. This is a fun summer read for someone looking for a YA book that is off the beaten path. (Jody)
Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates is the first book in the Magical Bakery Mystery series and it is a delightful beginning. Katie’s life has taken an unexpected turn, but hopefully it’s for the better. She has decided to partner up with her aunt and uncle and open a bakery in Savannah, Georgia. Now the bakery is coming along beautifully and she is sure it will be a success between her baking and her aunt’s helpful ingredient suggestions, although she does find it odd that her aunt keeps mumbling over the herbs. Days before the grand opening, the most cantankerous lady in Savannah is murdered right in front of the store. The worst part is that all eyes are looking at her uncle since he was the last person to speak to the victim. Before long, Katie finds herself frantically trying to find who the true murderer is all the while discovering more about her family’s magical heritage.
This is sure to be a fun series filled with magic, pastries, and the occasional murder. The characters are charming and you can feel the southern atmosphere. I also love that the witches have animal familiars. For some reason I always feel bad for a witch who doesn’t have a trusted critter companion. I am excited to get to know all of the other witches and see how Katie progresses with her new gift. Needless to say, I will be getting book two quite soon. (Jody)
Rachel Caine’s new series The Great Library is off to a promising start. Book one Ink and Bone introduces us to a futuristic world with steampunk elements. Jess has never known a time when the Great Library doesn’t rule over everyone. It dictates what people can read and only allows books to be read via tablet: real physical books are forbidden. His family specializes in black market books so when the opportunity arises for a job within the library his father doesn’t hesitate to pay for him to get an audition. It would be perfect having a family member inside the library working as a spy. But once Jess starts his journey he finds that things are not that simple and in fact they are quite deadly.
What an outstanding beginning. The atmosphere was engrossing and detailed. I could feel myself in the gritty side streets of London as well as the sweltering desert of Egypt. I also liked that in many ways this futuristic world felt old and reminiscent of the Industrial age. This book was complex with layers of intrigue and I enjoyed learning key tidbits (both past and present) through letters between the heads of the library. I should also mention, that this book is packed with action. Whether it be with the tests that the candidates have to complete or braving a war zone, I often found myself quickly turning the page to see if everyone was okay. That being said, Caine never sacrifices her character development. Jess went from being a bullied son to finding his courage, using his intelligence, and creating lifelong friendships. This is a great read for fans of the Divergent series, Infernal Devices or all book lovers. (Jody)
Perfectionists by Sara Shepard is the beginning of an exciting and suspenseful new series. In Beacon Heights, the only thing acceptable is perfection. You need to be the best athlete or the best musician or the most popular girl and of course get into the best college. However, this doesn’t mean you have to be good. So when five girls realize that they all hate the same person it is easy to plan his murder-or at least his hypothetical murder. But what happens when someone follows through with the murder? How can you prove your innocence when the deck is stacked against you? Thus begins the Perfectionists series.
If you have enjoyed Pretty Little Liars, then you are sure to love this series too. Shepard is so good at getting you all tangled up trying to figure out who the killer is. Each time you think you have a clue you end up right back where you started. The characters are fun to follow and have just enough personal drama to make you want more. This is a great beach read. (Jody)
Clara Quinn moves back home to the coast of Maine once she realizes that New York City isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. It doesn’t take long for her cousin Stephanie to convince her to work for her at the Ravens Nest Bookstore, which admittedly isn’t exactly what she wants to do, but how do you say no to family. However, things are not so peaceful at the store. In fact, Clara discovers a body in the storage room of the bookstore. Now her crazy, but lovable cousin, has decided they need to uncover the murderer by using Clara’s Quinn Senses.This is a family psychic talent that allows Clara to hear voices that guide her to the truth But since she has blocked the Sense for so long, it is difficult to understand.
Mind over Murder by Allison Kingsley is a fun cozy mystery. The cousins are great characters and the small town vibe is great. Any book that takes place in a bookstore is a winner for me and this was no exception. I have already read the next two in the series. Paranormal and cozy, what more could someone want. (Tricia)
Nancy Coco's Candy-Coated mysteries series is so much fun and a perfect summer read. To Fudge or Not to Fudge is book 2 in the series. Set on the idyllic Mackinac island on Lake Michigan where fudge reigns supreme, Allie has happily settled into running her family business, the historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop. She has decided to put behind her the past debauchery about the murder of her grandfather's biggest rival and focus on work, until her lovable dog Marshmallow finds human bones scattered throughout the island. Now she finds herself knee deep in another murder investigation and has somehow managed to reluctantly get herself on a reality cooking show.
This was such a fun read! I loved the atmosphere of the island and the townspeople. The story takes place right at the beginning of June and you can feel all the travelers, the sun, and the carefree attitude that comes along with summer. Coco's character Allie is a fun, determined and entertaining sleuth. This is very much a story where you think, seriously, nothing else can possible go wrong - and then of course it does. I am not much of a cozy mystery reader, but I found myself quickly ordering the next book in the series. (Jody)
Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold by Katie Finn is book two in the Broken Hearts and Revenge series. Gemma has sworn to get revenge on Hallie but Hallie is proving to be harder to beat than she originally thought. To make things even more challenging, Teddy (her ex-boyfriend who is currently dating Hallie) is in town and Gemma’s long time crush Ford is visiting his father. As Gemma and Hallie continue to spar (often in outlandish and devious ways), Gemma finds her summer being much more interesting than a quiet time lounging on the beach.
I love this series! First of all, Finn’s titles are so witty and whimsical. They perfectly capture the plot and the playful nature of the story. The characters are entertaining and believable. I love how hard Gemma tries to correct the mistakes of her past even when she knows it is next to impossible. You get lost in the chaos of the story and filled with a sense of friendship and new love. This is an absolutely perfect summer read.
Betty Medsger’s The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI was a thoroughly detailed and enjoyable read. Before Watergate and the Pentagon Papers, there was the Media Pennsylvania FBI office burglary. A small group of activists wanted to expose the truth behind J. Edgar Hoover and his secret illegal actions in the United States. The group planned a break-in of the offices to find the incriminating evidence and then exposed Hoover through the press. Betty Medsger was one of the journalists who received copies of the stolen files and then published articles on the findings. Many years later, she learned the identities of the people in the activist groups and was able to interview them bringing even more information to light.
This amazing book looks at not only how the activist group decided to commit the crime but how they carried it out, as well as the toll it took on many of them. Medsger examines the aftermath for the FBI and more importantly, the lengths which Hoover was willing to go to control citizens, congress and even the president. The amount of detail that Medsger includes is incredible. Most of the information I was unaware of or had forgotten. If you are an American History buff, this would be an excellent choice to read. (Tricia)
Where They Found Her by Kimberley McCreight is a gripping tale about a suburban town and the death of a newborn. Molly Sanderson retreated to Ridgedale in order to heal from the loss of her child. She never once imagined that she would be the journalist covering the murder of a newborn baby. Yet, now that she has this break she is determined to follow through and find out what this small town is really hiding.
I loved this book (although I should also mention that I also loved Reconstructing Amelia). McCreight does an amazing job of weaving other forms of writing into her novels, for this book she created the newspaper’s website. Adding in the website allowed the reader to get a better understanding of the town and gives the story a unique twist. Additionally, this story is told through three different women, which really gives you a larger picture of the overall plot and also made you want to try to piece everything together. A great psychological thriller with plenty of twists and turns and small town drama. (Jody)