Melanie's Picks

Highfire by Eoin Colfer

I have not had so much fun since reading Christopher Moore!! Vern is the last dragon on earth and he is a bit crusty! He used to drink beer, but decided keto was a better way to go, so now he drinks vodka!! And he lives near a swamp outside of New Orleans! What’s not to love!!

A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet

A parable, a warning. Hedonistic adults, a terrible climate crisis and the children must take the lead. I am stunned by this book.

If We Were Giants by Dave Matthews

This story is full of humanity and life lessons, adventure and the art of community. Kirra, our protagonist, leads us through her loss and onto her healing. You won't want to miss this page turner with a strong nod towards ecology and working together as community.

The Magnificent Monsters of Cedar Street by Lauren Oliver

Cute monsters, scary monsters, and monsters who don't even know they are monsters abound in this adventurous tale with themes of grief and belonging and friendship.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Loved this! Circe is one strong independent woman/witch/nymph. We get to travel with her through her immortal life and experience the choices she made and her loves and losses. This book is equally good for the neophyte to mythology as for the scholar.

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

I loved this intense story of two sisters and the choices they made. The author seamlessly shifts from present day to the past at a perfectly easy to read pace. A gritty side of Pittsburgh is the setting, where one sister is searching for one gone missing. Police corruption, violence against women, drug addiction, and family struggles are some of the subjects covered. So well written and smooth. Don't miss it!

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Machesy

Charlie Mackesy wrote a truly gentle and beautifully, inspirational, graphic novel. It's deceptively simple words and drawings encourage the reader to fill in the lines. This book would be a precious gift to yourself or a dear friend.

Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

A tense, fast-paced, thriller! Intriguing plot and interesting characters make this one come alive! Time is up for a grand old house and the secrets it holds.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

A humorous but pointed look at race, privilege and our motivation to act. Never preachy, Kiley Reid studies human nature, her debut is a literary novel that reads like suspense.

The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates is a hero to many women and children. She is a successful business woman, philanthropist, mother and wife. She is clearly aware of how she is received and is an example of a woman empowering women. Her writing is inspiring and friendly without moralizing. Don't miss this one.

Full Throttle by Joe Hill

For me, the introduction was completely worth the price of admission! Don't skip it! I thought I would just read one or two of these short stories but I just couldn't stop reading! Each one was unique and interesting and they all were well written and tense and provocative. There is a bonus at the end of a little follow-up by the author on the motivation for each story. My favorite one speaks to the book hoarder in all of us, whose greatest fear is leaving this earth with a book unfinished...

Becoming by Michelle Obama

This book spoke to me as a daughter, wife, mother, woman, human, earthling. Michelle wrote so personally of her hopes, dreams, successes and mess ups that most of the time, I was in tears of sympathy and understanding or laughing out loud. I like these people, for their decency, their honestly, their hope and their humility.

Akin by Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue does not disappoint, in her newest book, Akin, or ever. A completely readable and satisfying story. Using the dual themes of photography and family, we experience a new relationship between an elderly man and a young boy as they contemplate what family means and how it molds them.

All the Impossible Things by Lindsay Lackey

Lindsay Lackey's debut Middle Grade novel is spectacular! A young girl finds herself being tossed about in the foster care system. When she meets the Grooves she has developed a very hard protective shell. With love, trust, farm animals and friends, our girl finds her true ohana (family).

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

My first Karin Slaughter book, completely readable as a stand alone, although part of a series. I was compelled to drop all my responsibilities to read this book in less than 24 hours! I learned more about militant right wing neo nazi groups than I want to know, unfortunately, this is current and foreboding.

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coats

This book begs to be read slowly and savored, every single word. The authors voice sings out in my mind and each line is poetry. Meet Harriet Tubman and other heroes compelled to help "conduct", and experience life in the south for people called "tasked". Beautiful and painful.

A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson

Engrossing and fast paced Swedish legal thriller told from three different perspectives. Insights into the Swedish legal system!

The Swallows by Lisa Lutz

I enjoyed the writing style of Lisa Lutz, her characters were flawed and believable. This is a story of extremes in the age old battle of the sexes that is absolutely current.

Chances Are... by Richard Russo

Richard Russo has done it again! This is a completely satisfying book with wonderfully developed characters, plot and setting. A story of college roommates, meeting up after 40 years and the stories we keep and the truths we believe.

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

This "nail- biter" about the glass ceiling in corporate America is a well thought out mystery, apropos of today's news stories. Women united are a strong force!

Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

A bittersweet coming of age story about memory, with characters so real I had to keep reminding myself they were fictional. Set in the 1980's in Niagara Falls, Canada. Reminiscent of Stand by Me.

The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe

A witchy book with historical references and some wonderful characters. Interesting and enjoyable.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

Perfect summer read. Light romance with sturdy characters and wonderful settings. Enjoy!

Jesuit Guide by James Martin

Humorously written spiritual guide to everyday life.

Nevermoor-The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

A delightful new series that is perfect for fans of Harry Potter and Neil Gaiman. Colorful characters, charming details, blooming friendships and the battle between good and evil! This book will keep your middle grade reader enthralled through the night!

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

Wow! Stunning, melancholy, historical realism. The book pairs with it's "namesake" painting perfectly. The author is masterful in her story-telling. She has captured the essence of her protagonist's life, in muted colors and starkness. 

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

A beautifully written, unforgettable Russian tale that has earned a spot high upon my "favorites" list. It is filled with grace, charm, elegance, dignity and beauty. The characters are my friends and I feel fortunate to know them!

At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier

It was a hard life in the Black Swamp. I will never forget these characters, so richly described and I have a new appreciation for apples and trees. The author expertly wound a story around a place, events, and people in history. 

Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick

A brilliant story about family, fresh starts and love - told with gentleness and grace. 

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox

Very scary, better for older middle school students. Set in England/Scotland during the 2nd World War, when parents sent their children away for safety, but these children were sent into danger. With wits and intelligence and a little magic, they defeat the evil lady of the castle.