Melissa's Picks

A Wolf Called Wander by Rosanne Parry

What would it be like to be a wolf? It's one thing to part of a pack - your family. It's a lot more challenging and scary to be on your own, trying to survive. Based on a real wolf, Swift tells his story so honestly and vividly. I felt like I was on the journey with him. When a book like this comes along, I feel so grateful to be able to share it with as many readers as I can reach.

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Powerful novel based on events that happened in a Mennonite village. Brutal attacks the men tried to cover up. The women secretly meet to decide what to do. Unable to read or write, they ask a villager to take "minutes" of their meetings. They argue, laugh, cry, & lead each other to a big decision. I'll think about this book for a long time.

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

One of my new favorite suspense writers. Harper's books are very well-written with enough complexity to keep you guessing throughout the book. Many interesting characters - both family members and foes - whose lives intersect in the heat of the Australian Outback. A great read!

The Oddmire by William Ritter

Oooh! A new series by William Ritter - Yeah! Tinn & Cole grow up as brothers & best friends. One happens to be a goblin! Scary adventures await in Wild Wood - a mysterious witch, dark forces & foggy swamps. I liked this new series - it's good!!

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

Ignore your "to do" list and carve out a chunk of time for "Watching You"! Lisa Jewell's latest thriller unfolded layer by layer, watcher by watcher. Trying to figure out who actually committed the murder and why was immensely satisfying. Afterwards, you may just look over your shoulder to see if anyone is watching you!

The Honey Bus by Meredith May

Part memoir, part nature story, woven together so well. Meredith had a difficult childhood, but a wise, loving grandfather taught her about bees. The bees in turn taught Meredith so much - hard work, resilience and what family really means. Life lessons on the Honey Bus. A memorable book!

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

Juicy, atmospheric novel that I read in one sitting! Oxford grads meet for a New Years celebration. Lots of champagne and even more secrets - what could go wrong? I liked how the story was structured and how the secrets and twists were slowly revealed. Loved it!

48 Hours by William Forstchen

Yikes! Another "this could really happen" thriller. A CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) from the sun threatens all living beings on earth! What would you do? Seek out precious moments with family? Become a desperate, panicked looter? Besides the science in his books, Forstchen does a great job writing about humanity and morality.

Polar Bear Explorers' Club by Alex Bell

Fun new series! Meet Stella and her Junior Explorer friends. Polar bears, wolves, menacing fairies and adventure in the Icelands. These explorers are both curious and resourceful while they test the boundaries of friendship. Can't wait to see what is next!

The Current by Tim Johnston

Oooh I love Tim Johnston's novels! His writing draws you into the story, place and characters so well. A car plunges into a freezing river. One young woman lives, another dies. An accident or something much more sinister? I loved the Descent and this novel is even better. A suspenseful, literary read!

Let's Go Swimming on Doomsday by Natalie C. Anderson

Wow! This novel is heartbreaking and haunting. An adrenaline rush mixed with compassion and retribution. I could not put it down. One of the best contemporary YA writers. Read this book!

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

Equally entertaining and creepy! I ended up reading in one sitting - I just had to know what was going to happen. If you think your mother in law is Pammie!

The Trail by Meika Hashimoto

Great adventure story! Toby takes off for the Appalachian Trail, determined to finish The List he started with his best friend Lucas. It's a lot harder and scarier than he imagined. Along the way he confronts his fears and negative thoughts about himself. He makes a few unlikely friends along the way and grows into quite a young man. Highly recommended!

Out of the Maze by Spencer Johnson

Great sequel to Who Moved My Cheese. Through another parable, Johnson shows us how easy it is to believe things that aren't true. "You are not your belief" "You are the person who chooses your beliefs."

The Friendship War by Andrew Clements

An amusing, lighthearted story that explores the meaning and substance of friendship. Plus - a button fad that takes over Ellie's entire school! Sometimes it takes a new friend to help you see more clearly how to believe in yourself and learn to make amends.

The Hotel Between by Sean Easley

I liked this story a lot! Cameron is a good brother who gets caught up in a strange hotel where every door opens to a different country. Exciting adventure awaits!

How to Be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery

One of my favorite books in quite some time. Sy seems to connect on such a deep level with the animals she encounters. She strives to become a good creature and through her stories I see how I want to become a good creature too. Beautifully told and wonderful illustrations. A special book!

Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy

So many thought-provoking, helpful tips and tricks. We are bombarded with information and distractions every day. Tracy helps cut through the unnecessary things on our lists & on our mind. Do the most critical items in the first part of your day. Seems like common sense! Here's to a more productive approach to work - and life!

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

Lyrical writing, compelling & flawed characters - storytelling at its best. It is hard for me to describe how much I cherish Penny's books. Her latest is another fascinating look at evil & deception...redemption and hope.

5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman

Our new "all-company" read - so helpful in understanding what motivates employees and builds teamwork. No need to have read The 5 Love Languages first. I'm continually looking for ways to thank my staff for their efforts and commitment to our store. I found this book practical and helpful.

Rising Out of Hatred by Eli Salsow

What a timely and important read! Eli Saslow does an excellent job depicting Derek Black's ultimate realization that his long-held beliefs about race are not based on facts.

It was a wonderful reminder that being willing to listen and befriend people who have different beliefs can create real, positive change.

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

Beautifully written memoir! Nicole always wondered whether the story of her adoption was the whole story. The more she learned, the more surprises unfolded. Heartwarming, sad at times, and ultimately a special look at "family."

When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica

I enjoyed Mary Kubica's latest thriller. Parallel stories - Jessie whose mother is dying & she is afraid to be alone in the world without her. Eden who desperately wants a child. Their stories are woven together with clever twists along the way. Her books are so compelling & well done!

VOX by Christina Dalcher

What if??? I kept thinking that the whole time I was reading this book! Chilling premise - 100 words a day for all women and girls. One of those novels that you will think about and talk about long after you finish! A really great, rather scary read!


The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwan

Definitely a new young talented writer! Kwon explores the need for both human and spiritual connection, along with the ease at which a master manipulator can ruin lives. A novel I will keep thinking about and pondering. Excellent!

The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah

French countryside, deep familial roots, hidden history (and oh the food!) all combine to make a great story. An interesting component of WWII wine history too. Loved it!

Bearskin by James McLaughlin

Excellent debut novel! I loved the writing - haunting and descriptive of place. The wilds of nature and human nature are explored - both the good and the bad. A gripping read!!

Demon Crown by James Rollins

Oh I love Sigma Force novels! Fast paced, great characters - plus all the research Rollins does on super ancient history and archeology. Couldn't put it down!

The Weight of Night by Christine Carbo

This is the fourth book in the "Glacier Mystery Series" and I think it is the best one yet! I love how Carbo weaves together the  current story along with the backstory of a character we've met in a previous book. Nature is a consistent character throughout the books. I feel like I am out there - on a cold fall day, looking for a sighting!

The Honey Farm by Harriet Alinda Lye

A literary thriller that unfolds layer by layer. Cynthia owns a honey farm and needs help maintaining the farm. She advertises for artists to come live and work on the farm. What else does she need?? More than most people would be comfortable with! 

Wicked River by Jenny Milchman

From the first chapter to the last page, Wicked River had me mesmerized. A slow burn, unfolding with both clever and sinister twists. I like to hike alone - but may not after this great read!!

Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner

Great debut YA novel! Brynn's life at home and at school has been difficult, if not depressing. An assignment to write to a celebrity turns into draft emails to Rachel Maddow. Over time Brynn starts to see that she does matter and can make a difference. A fun read!

Star of the North by D.B. John

International espionage set in North Korea! Three parallel stories that eventually intersect in unpredictable ways. The author spent time in North Korea and this research led to a tightly written novel.

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

The Perfect Mother is full of twists and surprises. The mothers in the story all have secrets from their partners and each other. The strain of life as with a newborn is too much for each "mommy" in different ways. The last quarter of the book I just kept on reading instead of working...

Great new addition to the thriller genre!

Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown

A sequel as good as the original! Roz is back - on a farm helping with the machines and the animals. Adventures, new friendships and old friends too. A heartwarming tale!

People Like Us by Dana Mele

Clever, clever read! Prep school with "killer" twists, lies and betrayals. What is is like to live with the past when you were the cause of so much pain? Kept me guessing up to the last page.Loved it!

When by Daniel Pink

Science for non-scientists! Timing is everything and Daniel Pink provides fascinating examples of why we have afternoon lulls and really should nap and why I'm not having a mid-life crisis - it's a slump! A great read.

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

There are many ways to describe this novel: enthralling, haunting, capitaving, all come to mind. The writing is so good and the story has stayed with me long after reading the last page.

Saving Tarboo Creek by Scott Freeman

Regional environmentalism and approachable science. So well-written, I felt like I was right there planting a tree or watching a salmon spawn. The Freemans do a wonderful job reminding us that we can make a difference - a little at a time.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

What a ride! Ready Player One is an instant classic and one of my all-time favorite science fiction books. Why? Fun premise, characters to root for, classic good vs. evil and 80's references at every turn. Loved it!!