Derrick has been in the book industry for five years – at Borders before our bookstore opened. He is very book savvy and loves ordering books for customers. He is handling our corporate/school sales too. If you need a recommendation for a good read – stop in & chat with Derrick. He is a big sports fan too. The Broncos are his favorite NFL team. That is ok...we think.
Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit is reminiscent of The Book Thief, Number the Stars and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Anna and her father live in Krakow in 1939. One day when Anna's father doesn't come home, she goes wandering for him and she meets the Swallow Man. Together they travel all over and he teaches her about life. This is a great cross-over book, both for young adults and adults.
Also, a Mike Staff Pick.
Kevin Canty's The Underworld looks at a community after a terrible mine fire and how three certain individuals grieve after hearing the news. Canty does a great job looking at characters before, during and after the tragedy. Having grown up in Kellogg it was nostalgic to read about places I frequented when I was a child.
The Girl in the Well is Me by Karen Rivers is a great coming-of-age tale about a girl, Kammie, who falls down a well and gets stuck. She's stuck because she was trying to join the club of popular girls. While stuck, she ponders life, her dad's in prison and they just moved to a small, boring town. Rivers does a great job at capturing a young teenage girls voice!
Neil Gaiman (one of my favorite authors) does a great job in Norse Mythology, writing about...you guessed it! Norse Mythology! Any Greek Mythology fan will love this book full of short stories. Any fan of Gaiman will read this in one sitting. It's classic Gaiman writing!
Spinelli is one of my favorite authors and he doesn't disappoint in The Warden's Daughter. Cammie lives at the prison where her father is the warden, but she lives in a different type of prison as well. The prison of grief she has from her mother who died when she was a baby. Check out Spinelli's other novels as well.
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich is literary fiction at its best. It's focused around four main characters: Jenny, Elizabeth, Wade and Ann. A horrible event has occurred and this story is about how all four characters are coping. Set in North Idaho, Emily does a great job capturing love and heart break, loss and grief, and empathy.
The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky is Percy Jackson for adults. Selene a.k.a. Artemis is determined to find out who has brought back an ancient ritual. Which Greek God is it? I couldn't put this mystery down!
Ian Lawrence's The Skeleton Tree is a modern day Hatchet. Chris and Frank are ship wrecked after their boat sinks. They have to live off the land and live with each other, which proves to be difficult. Over time a bond develops. Some mild language.
What a fast-paced, enthralling read! I couldn't put The Passenger by Lisa Lutz down. Tanya Dubois finds her husband dead at the bottom of their stairs. Because of something in her past, she decides to run. Along the way she changes identities several times! Buckle up because this will have you at the edge of your seat from the first chapter on.
Dwight Schrute errr I mean Rainn Wilson tells about his faith and how he became an actor in his hilarious memoir The Bassoon King. Rainn goes into detail about his theater background and how he almost gave up acting (multiple times)! Laugh-out-loud funny!!
This was my first Wally Lamb novel and it didn't disappoint. For I'll Take You There, Lamb did his research! Felix is a movie buff and when two ghosts from the movie industry present themselves, he goes into his past to deal with a major family problem! Great read, couldn't put it down!
Travis Mulhauser's Sweetgirl is an excellent read. Percy James braves a bad winter storm to go search for her drug addicted mother. In a meth house she finds a baby who has been neglected. Now she has to get the baby to a safer environment, while the snow keeps coming down. Set in the backwoods of Michigan, I couldn't put this book down!
I read Gertie's Leap to Greatness in two days! I couldn't put it down. Kate Beasley does an excellent job writing about Gertie and how she wants to be the Greatest Fifth Grader in the Universe! However a new girl in her class disrupts her mission. Reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, this book will appeal to all ages.
The Elephant Man, Jack the Ripper, ghosts and mystery! What more could you ask for? A Taste for Monsters by Matthew Kirby has it all. Evelyn was meant to be the caretaker of John Merrick because of her disfigurement. She is getting used to the idea until ghosts from Jack the Ripper's victims keep haunting the hospital! They seem to need John and her help!
Heather Gudenkauf is one of my favorite mystery authors. In her newest book, Missing Pieces, Jack and his wife, Sarah, go back to Jack's hometown after his aunt has an accident. Or was it? Sarah finds there is more to Jack and his family than meets the eye!
Beastly Bones follows up the first book in the series (Jackaby) brilliantly. Jackaby and Abigail go into the country to examine fossils and someone who has been stealing them. Little do they know the fossils don't come from what they think. William Ritter is an awesome author and mixes mystery and sci-fi to a tee. Think Harry Dresden or Dr. Who meets Sherlock Holmes!Also a Melissa staff pick!
Second Life by S.J. Watson is a great psychological thriller dealing with cat fishing on the internet. When Julia's sister is murdered, Julia goes somewhat undercover on dating sites to find out the truth, but one thing leads to another and she meets someone on the internet. Obviously he isn't who he says he is. This book will have you staying up til 3am reading!
Lily and the Octopus is a diamond in the rough. It reminds me of The Art of Racing in the Rain. Ted's dog Lily has an "octopus" on her head (but of course there's no "octopus" it's something else), and Ted has to deal with the side effects from said Octopus. This story is about a deep love for your loved ones even if they aren't human!!.
The Dog Master by W. Bruce Cameron is one of my favorite reads in a while. Don't be overwhelmed by it's size. I flew through this book within a few days. This story is about how cavemen domesticated wolves. Weaving thru several characters and different time periods, Cameron does a great job detailing two different clans leading up too the Dog Master and how he trained a wolf.
The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man is a fast paced read you won't want to put down. W. Bruce Cameron writes great characters you end up rooting for. Ruddy is a Repo Man who one day wakes up from a vivid dream. After that a voice named Alan appears in his head. Alan has been killed and he wants Ruddy to help find his killer. Along the way Ruddy falls in love, Repos a few vehicles, and almost loses his parents bar. Follow Ruddy in this great whodunit!
Matthew Quick is vastly becoming one of my favorite authors. He delivers again in Every Exquisite Thing. Nanette is given a cult classic novel from her favorite teacher. She ends up falling in love with another fan of the book, who was introduced by the author of said book. This coming-of-age high school story is great!
This is the Part Where You Laugh has a lot going on. It delves into homelessness and drug addiction, on the lighter side basketball and friendship. All Travis wants to do over the summer is play basketball with his best friend and stay out of trouble. When a new girls moves in across the lake he has a new goal, get to know the girl.
John Hart, one of my favorites, is at it again! This time it's with a female lead character. Hart's 5 year hiatus was worth the wait! Redemption Road is Hart at his best. There are so many good plots going on it's too good to write them here, but one of them is Liz and how she deals with her last case! It's enthralling!!
Laura Dave's Eight Hundred Grapes is a great, quick read. We meet the Ford family, and every member has a secret that ends up being revealed a few days before Georgia's wedding. In the style of Jonathan Tropper, Dave writes a dysfunctional family perfectly. No wonder Tropper endorses her as a writer!
The Last Monster is reminiscent of the Percy Jackson series. After her battle with cancer, Sofia has been chosen to be the Guardian. The Guardian of what? she has no idea until Monsters climb thru her window needing her help. Ginger Garrett's detail in describing the monsters is great.
Meet the Plumb family. The most dysfunctional family you will ever meet. Everyone has secrets and their lives change after one incident that drains their inheritance, or what they deem as "The Nest." I couldn't put this book down. I had to find out what happened next to the poor Plumb family.
Carolina (Carol) has to spend her summer vacation on her grandpa's sheep farm in the middle of the New Mexico desert. Not only that, but her grandpa has dementia. He complains about nonsense, like the bees stealing his lake and causing the 100 year old drought. Soon Carol realizes he might not be talking nonsense after all.
Terrible Two Series
Jory John and Mac Barnett follow up their hit The Terrible Two, with this great book, The Terrible Two Get Worse. Miles and Niles are up to their old tricks again! Pranking!! This time they go to far and Principal Barkin gets fired, replaced by this father who hates nonsense and especially pranks!
Dennis Lehane is at it again with World Gone By. Set in the 1940s, Joe Coughlin is a retired gangster just trying to live a normal life. Things are going good until he gets word there’s a hit out on him. He tries to track down who ordered the hit and he finds out it might not be who he thinks it is. Lehane is at his best with this gangster novel set in Tampa.
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George is a great children’s read. I read this in 7th grade and remembered I loved it. Julie runs away from home and gets lost on the Arctic tundra. Her only hope of survival is to become part of a pack of wolves. Find out if she does, along with her history and why she ran away from home.
The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton is one of my favorite books in the last five years. Set in the backwoods of Kentucky, we meet Kevin, who moves in with his grandpa after a family tragedy. He tries to get used to living in a small town, and ends up meeting Buzzy Fink. Follow Buzzy and Kevin as they go through adventures, some good and some very bad. I couldn't put this book down!!
Bill Heavey delivers again in the hilarious book, You're Not Lost if You Can Still See the Truck! Heavey talks about hunting, fishing and just being an outdoorsman. His stories are down right hilarious and will make you cry laughing. Perfect for the outdoorsman in your family or for anyone that wants to laugh. Check out his other books too!
The Grownup is classic Gillian Flynn. In this novella, we meet a newly appointed aura reader. When Susan walks in the reader's life changes forever. Filled with a huge twist, this ghost story is a great add-on gift. Don't be fooled by the first few pages, this is an excellent read. I read it in 30 minutes, and I couldn't put it down!!
In Gary D. Schmidt's Orbiting Jupiter, he tells the story of an eight grade delinquent who has a daughter he has never met. His foster family, especially his foster brother, are asked to help him find his daughter. Will they? Gotta read to find out. Schmidt does it again!
Garth Stein delivers again with A Sudden Light. Trevor and his father arrive at their families mansion to sell it, along with land to develop other houses. Trevor quickly finds out there is more to The Riddell house than wood and furnishings. Someone or something from the Riddell past also occupies the house and they recruit the help of Trevor to stop his dad and aunt from selling the property. Enjoy this fast, can't-put-down novel!
Amy Poehler's biography, Yes Please, is hilarious, One of the funniest books I've ever read. Amy talks about her life: first starting out in comedy, her life growing up, and about her hit show Parks and Recreation. Follow Amy's life and laugh along the way! Leslie Knope for president!!Also, a staff pick for Caitlin.
Taking a few pages out of Neil Gaiman's work, A Curious Tale of the In-Between is an awesome ghost story. Pram has a special gift, she can see ghosts. When her, Clarence and Felix (a ghost) go on an adventure, bad things happen. This work is very Gaiman-esque and will leave you wanting more. It's not scary or gruesome at all.
You won't want to put Crooked River down. I blasted through the last 100 pages because I wanted to know what happened. Same and Ollie are sisters whose father has been accused of murder. Sam knows he didn't do it, so she tries to find out who did. Ollie doesn't talk after her mother died, but why she doesn't will surprise you. Read Valerie Geary's first novel and get ready to start pointing fingers at who killed the woman!
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a very interesting read. A flu pandemic breaks out in the world, killing off most the population. The people that survive have to find a way to live without power and other things we are used to in this modern world. There's a traveling orchestra and a very rare comic book. Mandel weaves past and present perfectly in this dystopian novel!
Lin Enger writes an awesome story about the Pope family, we witness when Ulysses leaves his family without telling them where he went. His sons go after him, without telling their mother. The High Divide is set in Midwestern America in the late 1800s. Enger does a fantastic job writing the old west. You will encounter family secrets, Native Americans, war, hunting and more in this great novel.
Ellie's Story by W. Bruce Cameron is full of love and compassion. It's told in the eyes of Ellie, who is a search and rescue dog learning the ropes. Ellie realizes her purpose is much more than just finding people. She knows her purpose is way bigger, but she doesn't know exactly what it is.
Fans of Jonathan Tropper will love Courtney Maum's debut novel, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You. Follow artist Richard as his life crumbles when his wife finds out about an affair he is having. Richard tries to win her back in all sorts of ridiculous ways.
Carol Cassella’s Gemini is a great mystery, leaving you wanting to know who left Jane Doe to die in a ditch. Filled with flashbacks, we find out more about the characters, little by little. Also jam packed with medical terminology, you will actually want to go look up what the characters are talking about. You learn about the medical field while you are reading a great story. It’s the best of both worlds!
Origami Yoda SeriesThis hilarious series will appeal to any Star Wars fan, no mater what age. It starts when a student brings an Origami Yoda to school and what he says starts to come true and his advice works. Is it the force??
Shane Kuhn does a great job in The Intern's Handbook. This mystery/thriller is written like a handbook for assassin intern's. It's written by John Lago, who is the ultimate assassin, who is about to retire after this last hit. Obviously things don't go according to plan!
Koontz delivers in The City. This was actually my first book I've read by Koontz and it didn't disappoint. Jonah is a piano prodigy and takes after his grandpa. When Jonah's dad leaves (for good) strange things start to happen in his apartment building. With help from an upstairs neighbor, Jonah starts to investigate and finds out way too much!!
The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick (author of Silver Linings Playbook) is a wild ride. Bartholomew's mother has just passed away, so he has to deal with being alone. Told in letters by Bartholomew to Richard Gere, he tells us about his priest, a girl he has a crush on and a fellow therapy goer who is obsessed with cats.
Terrible Two Series
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John is a hilarious book that will appeal to middle schoolers. Filled with great illustrations, I couldn’t stop laughing. Miles Murphy has to move to a different school and tries to establish himself as the best prankster. However, there is already a prankster and he is good. Almost too good! Watch as a prank war ensues!
Have you ever wanted to say something, but knew it wasn't right? Enter Colin Cowherd. Read Cowherd's You Herd Me! where he says the things the sports man has thought for years, from Michael Jordan vs. Lebron James, to why athletes go broke so quick. You're in the Herd!!
Dennis Lehane's The Drop is excellent. It's a fast-paced and entertaining read. Lehane goes back to the streets of Mystic River in this crime novel. Follow Bob, a down-n-out bartender who finds an abused puppy and takes him in. Things take a turn when the unbalanced owner of the pup wants him back.
Gaiman is up to his old tricks in this semi-sci-fi novel. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is an easy read. Book clubs all over the Us are reading it. Meet the Hempstocks, a family who are older than they seem. When their neighbors get a new nanny things start to take a twist. Lettie helps the boy next door fight weird creatures to return his family back to normal. Fans of Gaiman's Coraline will love this book. It's a must read.
Garth Stein follows up The Art of Racing in the Rain with another wonderful novel, How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets. Meet Evan, a famous guitarist who has epilepsy. When Evan’s ex-girlfriend dies, Evan tries to raise his 14 year old son. Fights and bonding ensue when these two hangout. Stein is a semi-local author whose writing is witty and hilarious.
Tropper delivers again in One Last Thing Before I Go. Family issues are once again the topic of this gem. When Silver founds out he needs a life saving operation, he denies the surgery to repair his relationship with his pregnant daughter. Tropper just knows how to write about men. Great read all the way around.
In the Art Forger, B.A. Shapiro delves into the underground world of art forgery. Follow Claire as she copies a priceless piece of art, and as she goes through all the consequences of doing so. Fans of the Da Vinci Code, will love this plotted page turner. With new technology you can look up the paintings on your phone as you read along.
Jess Walter entwines two characters fabulously in Beautiful Ruins. Pasquale is an Italian motel owner and Dee is an up and coming American actress. Watch what happens when their paths cross. This book is full of detailed characters that all have to do with each other's lives. Walter is an outstanding local storyteller.
Who Was & What Was Series
The Who Was and What Was series are great for middle readers. They can read up on the life of Dr. Seuss or learn about the Boston Tea Party. Filled with fun facts, these books will keep your children entertained for a while, plus they are learning in the process.
Follow the creator of the hit T.V. show 30 Rock, as she tells us about her crazy life. From childhood friends to writing skis for SNL, Bossypants is simply hilarious. After you are done laughing your booty off you will want to go watch some weekend update or 30 Rock, all 7 seasons!!
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is a classic. If you want your children to learn about the Jewish culture during WWII this is the book, not violent at all and it is full of hope. Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen, is Jewish, so when the German’s start gathering up the Jews, Ellen moves in with Annemarie. Danger lurks after this happens.
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes is a great tale about the events leading up to the Revolutionary War. Johnny Tremain was a silversmith’s apprentice until he spilled hot silver over his hand and it crippled him. He was a castaway and tried to find a trade that he could do, but wasn’t successful, until he got a job at a newspaper print shop. From there he became important to the Sons of Liberty!
If you want a witty and hilarious book This is Where I Leave You is the book for you. Tropper is at his best in this family comedy book. Read it before the movie comes out - you will die laughing on the way to the theater.
Gillian Flynn shows us that her first novel, Sharp Objects, wasn't a fluke. In Dark Places we meet the Day Family, who end up murdered, except for Libby and Ben (convicted of the murders). Libby is torn between trying to find out if Ben actually did kill their family, or to just leave it alone. Flynn balances past and present through the characters. This dark mystery is a classic whodunit and will leave you wanting more.
John Hart’s The Last Child is one of my all-time favorite books. Johnny’s sister has been abducted for a year, so he takes it upon himself to find her. He has the help of his delinquent friend Jack and the detective on the case is telling him to quit. If you need a quick, great fall read this is absolutely the book you want!!
In Garth Stein's novel Raven Stole the Moon, he entwines sci-fi with mystery. When Jenna leaves her husband to go to Alaska to find out what really happened in her son Bobby's disappearance, she encounters Native American folklore. Everyone around her doesn't believe, but she does. She knows exactly what happened to Bobby, now she just needs to prove it.
Chris Cleave's Little Bee was a huge hit when I worked at Borders and I just now read it! He deserves all the hype it received over five years ago. When a couple goes to Nigeria they meet a runaway girl. A few years later the girl arrives at their house but something drastic has just happened. So they deal with that along with the haunting past they have shared.
Millennium TrilogyThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series is a non-stop thrill ride with twists and turns along the way. It does start off kind of slow, but after the first 100 pages you won't want to put it down. You will want to finish it the moment you pick it up, and you will succeed. R.I.P. Steig Larson
The Art of Racing in the Rain will make you laugh and will ultimately make you cry. Garth Stein is spot-on telling the story through the eyes of the dog. Just an all-around excellent read.
Gary D. Schmidt's Wednesday Wars is an absolute treasure. Holling Hoodhood (what a name) thinks his 7th grade teacher hates him, why else would she make him read Shakespeare. However, he ends up learning a lot from the plays. Along the way Holling has a mishap with cream puffs and tries out for the cross country team.
Bryson's memoir, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, is a laugh-out-loud read. If you were born in the 50s you will relate to this recollection of life from back when. Bryson is a dominant writer and can write about anything. In fact, if you can find a section in the store without a Bill Bryson book I will personally give you a fist bump!
One of my childhood favorites. A Wrinkle in Time is a great middle grade sci-fi novel. Madelein L'Engle does a great job at writing fantasy. Meg and her brother, Charles Wallace, go on a mission to find their missing father. On their adventure they meet three odd ladies, explore different planets and meet a very powerful evil. Will they find their father and bring him home safe?
In Barry and Pearson’s Peter and the Starcatchers series we learn how Peter Pan, Captain Hook and even Mr. Grinn came to be. The story is great for children and adults who are kids at heart. Plus the chapters are super short so the kids can sneak a chapter while learning about Math, shhhhh!!!
I love the classics and you can't get anymore classic than Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. The story is intertwined with great character detail. You end up rooting for Gatsby! Whether you watch any of the three different movies or are old school (like me) and read the book, you will enjoy!!
Life of Pi by Yann Martel is a great and easy read. Follow Pi as he is forced to travel the ocean in a lifeboat with a tiger he names Richard Parker. The two struggle and rely on each other. Will Pi survive life on the ocean? Read and find out.
If you want a heartwarming tale, you gotta read Amazing Gracie by Dan Dye and Mark Beckloff (the founders of Three Dog Bakery). Gracie is an albino Great Dane who is deaf. Dan saves her from being put to sleep, and he has no idea what's in store for him. Gracie teaches him about relationships, life, and love. If you are a fan of dog books (like I am) you will love reading about the adventures of Gracie.
I love Charles Bukowski!! Anything he has written is great, either fiction or poetry. His main character, Henry Chinaski, is loosely based on Bukowski's actual life. He is, however, a drunk and womanizer so if sex, alcohol and bad language isn't your thing then these might not be for you! Factotum is my favorite of his books.
Butcher's Dresden Files series is full of sci-fi lovers favorite things: wizards, magic and beasts. Follow Harry Dresden, a down and out investigative wizard, who just wants to make a few bucks. He takes on cases the police feel need extra attention. I'm not a huge sci-fi/fantasy guy, but this is one of the best series I've ever read.
Jhumpa Lahiri's book of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies, is an excellent read. Each story is full of Indian culture so it feels like you are learning something while reading about great characters and unusual plots.
I remember reading The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton in school and I loved it. Ponyboy and his friends are labeled as "greasers." They wear black, have long hair, put grease in it and break the law. They are always fighting the high society teenagers called the "socs." One day a greaser takes things too far. Find out what Ponyboy deals with the consequences.A Caitlin staff pick too!