Derrick's Picks

Middle School Bites by Steven Banks

Who wouldn't have a bad first day of middle school when you are part vampire, part werewolf, and part zombie? That's exactly what happens to Tom! After spending some time at his Gram's house he gets bitten three times! He then has to deal with middle school as a vam-wolf-zom! Hilarious! Middle School Bites by Steven Banks is awesome!

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

This novel is a witty and funny one about two kids who happen to spontaneously combust when they get agitated. Don't let this funky premise turn you off though. It is quite moving. I finished it in two days, just couldn't put it down!

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Wow, Wow, Wow!! What a debut by Alex Michaelides! This was such a page turner I was late for work a few times because I couldn't put it down. Dive into Alicia's life after she kills her husband and hasn't uttered a word since! WHOA! Such a great twist at the end too, had my jaw on the floor!! Best mystery I have read in years!!

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Great piece of horror fiction! There were a lot of creepy parts in this huge book! I couldn't put it down and I didn't know where it was going at all!

The Whisper Man by Alex North

This novel had me hearing whispers every time I read it! It's creepy but SO GOOD! This has everything: Copy Cat crimes, twists, turns, look over your shoulder while you read-ness! Loved it!!

Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo

What a great way to end this nice little trilogy about three best friends growing up in Florida. Beverly, at the age of 14 runs away from home.  She is out on her own and she does quite well for her self! Great story!!

A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

I couldn't put this book down! Two unreliable narratives are better than one. While reading I didn't know what or who to believe and I loved it! 

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

This is a creepy spin on that classic game we have all played. Set in Florida, Amy's past is  brought up from a stranger, Roux, that just moves into the neighborhood. Amy will stop at literally nothing to save her dark past from coming out. Creepy good fun!

Providence by Caroline Kepnes

Fantastic novel that reminded me a little bit of the show Stranger Things. When Jon suddenly disappears, his friend Chloe is devastated. Jon then reappears four years later and things are different! A lot different!!!

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally

This is a hilarious, witty biography about Hollywood's funniest couple! Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman dive into their lives including how they meet, their family life and how they love to do jigsaw puzzles! LOL!!!

Cape May by Chip Cheek

This novel reminded my of The Great Gatsby only racy and erotic. Newlyweds Henry and Effie spend their honeymoon on the nearly deserted Cape May. Here they meed socialites Clara and Max. Partying and drinking ensues, along with something more taboo.

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

Jennifer McMahon's novel, The Invited, is a creepy, edge of your seat thrill ride. Helen and Nate buy a piece of property and build their own house. Helen wants to incorporate local history into their build. Once she does strange things start to happen. She might have built her own haunted house! Creepy good fun!!

Deep Dark by Gregg Olsen

This is a great piece of regional non-fiction. Gregg talks about the Sunshine Mine Fire in 1972. He reads like a novel and you won't want to put it down. My grandfather and uncle are in the book (both survived). Great read for any history or regional buff!

Justin and the Best Biscuits in the Worldy by Mildred Pitts Walter

One of my childhood favorites. Justin doesn't like to do "women's work," but a few days at his grandfathers ranch teaches him more lessons than he can ask for! Great middle grade read!

Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech

I love all of Sharon Creech's novels, and this is no exception. Louie has problems with raising animals, but when a sickly baby donkey comes home, his luck just might change. Quick, easy, and fun read for the whole family.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

O.M.G.! This is my favorite book in the past year! The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson is a MUST READ!! I couldn't put this Appalachian novel down! Cussy Mary aka Bluet is born with an affliction, she has blue skin. She is also part of a program that brings library books to patrons in the mountains. That's just the tip of the iceberg! You will have to read it to find out more! LOVE!!

The Editor by Steven Rowley

Rowley's new book, The Editor is a slight departure from his first novel, Lily and the Octopus, but it was still fantastic! James Smale writes a novel about a dysfunctional family based on his own family. When his editor, none other than Jackie Kennedy Onassis, pushes him to mend his relationship with his mother and finish his novel with a bang! Hilarity ensues along with forgiveness and love! Couldn't put this book down!!

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf

Heather Gudenkauf does it again! This was here best novel yet! I couldn't put it down! When a middle school girl is found at the train yard, barely hanging on to life, her best "friends" are partly blamed for it. Told thru the eyes of the victim, one of the other girls mom, the other girls grandpa, and the psychologist assigned to the victim. This is a creepy, psychological novel, but not too creepy! I loved it!

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

I absolutely loved The Chain by Adrian McKinty. It is gruesomely delightful in all the right ways. No one at our bookstore wanted to read it because it was too creepy, so I jumped at the chance to read it! This chills and thrills book is about how much you love your child and what you would go through to keep them safe. When your child gets kidnapped, you then have to pay a ransom and kidnap someone else's child before your own can be set free. How screwed up is that?! So good though!

Scrublands by Chris Hammer

This is an Australian novel set in the Australian Scrub-lands. The setting is just as important as the plot. Hammer describes it so well, you feel like you are there, sweating along with the other characters. This novel is a mystery wrapped around a classic piece of literature. When a priest shoots five people, Martin is sent to do a story on the town a year after it happens. 

Maid by Stephanie Land

Maid by Stephanie Land is a brutal yet hones look at our nations welfare system. Stephanie tells us about her life being a single mom on welfare and all the odd jobs she would do to help feed her daughter, most notable she was a maid for several cleaning companies. Every time she would get a little ahead monetarily she would have the state take away some sort of benefit. She longs to move to Missoula and become a writer. This is a great memoir and an excellent read. 

No Exit by Taylor Adams

No Exit by Taylor Adams is one heck of a good mystery/thriller. It's packed with suspense, I couldn't put it down, especially the last 100 pages. Darby is on her way home, but weather traps her at a rest area. A blizzard traps her and four other people at a remote rest area until morning. While outside, Darby finds a kidnapped child in a van and one of the people in the rest area did it! Fast paced and wicked!!

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher

What an awesome post apocalyptic novel! When Griz's dog is stolen, nothing will stop Griz from getting her back. By land or by sea, Griz embarks on a journey to find Jess and bring her home. Many twists and turns throughout, including in the last 30 pages or so that will make your jaw drop!! I sat there for a good 5 minutes and just thought "WHOA!"

Little Faith by Nickolas Butler

Nickolas Butler's Little Faith is a phenomenal read. My wife and I both read it in two days! When Lyle's daughter starts dating a pastor from her church, he's afraid it is a cult and he might lose her and his grandson (his best friend). This is a riveting novel about letting go and the age old debate about religion!

The Current by Tim Johnston

The Current by Tim Johnston does not disappoint. A pair of college girls go home to help a sick father. While one is attacked, the escape but end up crashing and someone pushes their car into the river. The same river a young girl was thrown into year earlier. The surviving girl investigates all while befriending the young girls father who died years earlier. Great read!

Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo's second book in the trilogy was better than the first. In Louisiana's Way Home we learn all about Louisiana's past. When her Granny decides to move them all of a sudden, Louisiana has to deal with loss for the first time and she doesn't like it. Plus she finds out a few details about her past she doesn't like either!

The Adults by Caroline Husle

The Adults by Caroline Hulse is hilarious family dysfunction at its best. Two couples decide to go on a Christmas vacation together. Harmless right? Well, two adults out of the couples used to be married and they bring their child with them. What's the worst that can happen? A lot actually. There's drinking, archery, Santa and an imaginary rabbit. I couldn't put this novel down, and you won't want to either!

The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King

The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King is an awesome biography about the beloved Fred Rogers! After reading this bio I am fascinated by all things Fred Rogers and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. I learned so much about Rogers and his way of life. All he wanted to do was teach children lessons about life. I can't wait for the bio pic with Tom Hanks!!

And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness goes back to great story telling in And the Ocean Was Our Sky. This is a story in the vain of A Monster Calls. A story of Moby Dick but told from the whale's perspective. The whales hunt humans and vice versa. An easy read but it's gritty and has a lot of heart!

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden is a creepy Middle Grade ghost story. Filled with Scarecrows, ghosts, and other creepy things. After visiting a creepy farm, Ollie and her classmates' bus breaks down and they are transported to an alternate place. Her and two of her classmates decide to leave the bus and go out on their own. At nightfall strange things happen. This is in the vain of Neil Gaiman, Stephen King and Joe Hill. Makes me want to read her adult sci-fi serious. Loved it!!

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

See What I Have Done was an eerie good read. Sarah Schmidt tells the tale of Lizzie Borden, but with a few twists. She introduces different characters that play critical roles in the story, including their maid, their uncle, and a shifty fellow. I couldn't put this creepy book down. "Lizzie Borden took an ax..."

The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash

Wiley Cash's The Last Ballad is a gritty novel about labor unions and workers strikes. Ella May Wiggins works at a mill and gets wrapped up in a union for better pay. The story is told through different people, including Ella May, her daughter, an African-American union striker and several more. Couldn't put this book down!

Eternal Life by Dara Horn

Eternal Life by Dara Horn is a tale about Rachel who lives an immortal life. We follow her from when she is a teenager all through present day. This brings up some pretty interesting questions. Mainly, would you live an immortal life? It sounds great right now, but live through 400 years and it might not seem so great!

Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart's "Lake Success" is a hilarious, cross country novel! Barry Cohen is a hedge-fund manager who runs away from all his "problems" (SEC investigation, autistic son, failing marriage) to find his old college girl friend. Along the way he tries to "mentor" several people!

French Exit by Patrick deWitt

French Exit by Patrick deWitt is family dysfunction at its best. When Frances up and leaves her life in New York City, her son, Malcolm, and their cat, Small Frank, go with her. They arrive in Paris with hardly any money and they have to rely on each other to keep them sane. Reminds me a lot of Buster and Lucille Bluth's relationship off of Arrested Development!!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Deliah Owens

I absolutely loved Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens!! I couldn't put this coming of age novel down. It focuses on a "Marsh Girl" named Kya, and it revolves around a murder trial. Her family abandoned her so she has to survive on her own in the marsh. This novel is so full of heart and vivid images! I felt like I was at the marsh with Kya at times. The ending is very poetic and I was sad when I finished!!

Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave

Laura Dave does it again in this nice read, "Hello, Sunshine!" When Sunshine MacKenzie loses everything: job, husband, fame, money- she tries to put her life back together by moving to her hometown. Her secrets try to destroy her, but will she let them? Funny, compelling and a home-cooked meal of a novel!

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is one of my all time favorite books! I read this book in one sitting, and I encourage you to do the same. This is about a little boy and how he relates to grief. A powerful masterpiece that had me overwhelmed with emotion! I recommend this to everyone I see!

Come West and See by Maxim Loskutoff

This collection of short stories by Maxim Loskutoff all focuses around the Pacific Northwest and a piece of land called the "Redoubt." Brutal but honest at times, these stories will make you want more. See if you can pick up the subtle ways they are all connected. 

Lions & Liars by Kate Beasley

Kate Beasley's sophomore novel, "Lions and Liars," is just as good as her first. Frederick Frederickson describes himself as a flea (basically a wimpy with no friends). He accidentally arrives at a camp for troublesome youth. Here he learns about friendship, values and having fun. They have to band together because there is a massive hurricane coming! Couldn't put it down!

Don't Skip Out on Me by Willy Vlautin

Don't Skip Out on Me was my first Willy Vlautin novel, and he might have become my new favorite author. Horace is a ranch hand on Mr. and Mrs. Reese's farm. However, he leaves his stable life to become a boxer. The Reese's try to talk him out of it, but he has his mind set. The book is fun yet sad as Horace tries to find his real identity.

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

Alma Katsu's The Hunger is an edge-of-your-seat, spooky thrill ride. The books is a retelling of the infamous Donner Party with a supernatural twist. My wife and I both read this and loved it. Full of actual people and places, we are both obsessed with the Donner Party now and will reread and reread this book every year!