Melissa's Picks

Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker

I liked this story and I think readers will root for Ware & think about how everyone can make a difference in the world - be a champion of the Right and the Good. What a great message!

THe Hold Out by Graham Moore

I thoroughly enjoyed this legal thriller. The central character, Maya, is the lone holdout on a highly publicized murder trial. After convincing her fellow jurors to acquit, their lives are never the same. Ten years later, Maya is a successful attorney suddenly accused of murdering a fellow juror.  A multilayered whodunit with a few really well done twists. Loved it!

The Wall by John Lanchester

Futuristic, dark yet hopeful novel encompassing climate change, political power and class struggle. So well-written, Lanchester balances an intense grim setting with so much humanity. Well done!

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Wow - it really is the best thriller I've read in a couple years! So carefully plotted and well-written. I just could not stop reading - I had to know what happened. The twist is soooo awesome! Read this & just enjoy the ride!

The Authenticity Project by Clare Dooley

Oooh I enjoyed reading this heartwarming story! What if you found a journal and were challenged to write your deepest life truth in it? What if you met people who wrote in the journal too? As the story unfolds, the various characters meet each other and find life amongst new friends can be surprising, interesting and pretty special.

The Adventurer's Son by Roman Dial

An adventure memoir I could not put down. From the early family travels and trips with his son, to the search for Cody "R2" when he went missing, Roman Dial captures both the adrenaline rush of adventure and the guilt-ridden grief of a parent. So well written and heartfelt.

The Hike by Alison Farrell

Fun, engaging nature story about the joys of discovery along the trail. There is so much to learn when you get outside!

The God Game by Danny Tobey

Addictive, twisted, intense - "The God Game" book and the game itself! I found myself wanting Charlie & his friends to quit the game and yet trying to quit raised the stakes. Put aside your "to do" list & read this thriller. It's quite a ride!

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

Fun read! Gavin & his buddies read romance novels to become better partners in life & love. Could that really work? Oh to be wooed like Gavin wooed Thea!!

Sea Sirens by Amy Chu

Imaginative graphic novel series set in a world of Sea Sirens and Serpents. Trot and her talking cat (selective talking of course)! The illustrations and story compliment each other so well. I'm looking forward to the next book!

The World Ends in April by Stach McAnulty

When Eleanor reads online about an asteroid that will destroy Earth, she tries to convince her dad and her classmates of the threat. Only her grandpa who is a survivalist is willing to listen. Great story & life lessons on internet news & true friends.

Bad Bella by Ali Standish

Adorable story for dog lovers young and old! Bella seems to have a great family, but when trying too hard to "help" around the house, she ends up at the pound. When a couple adopts her, she is afraid to believe it will last. Funny, heartwarming, and just a real nice read.

After the End by Clare Mackintosh

A deeply emotional novel about difficult choices and the aftermath over the years. I thought Mackintosh weaving Robert Frost's Road Not Taken was a perfect metaphor - the unknowns as we travel through life with or without a partner. A very well-done, thought provoking read.

I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall

I read this survival story on a rainy day out camping - what a tense, suspenseful read. Told from a "Before" & "After" perspective, Jess is determined and scared to face the wilds of Alaska on her own. I'm not sure I would have been as brave as Jess!

The Girl Who Lived Twice by David Lagercrantz

Another fun read - Lisbeth Salander is one of my all -time favorite heroines. She is wanting to be rid of her sister once & for all, but that proves to be difficult & she's just not on the top of her typical devious game. Family sure can complicate things!

The Holdout by Graham Moore

I thoroughly enjoyed this legal thriller. The central character, Maya, is the lone holdout on a highly publicized murder trial. After convincing her fellow jurors to acquit, their lives are never the same. Ten years later, Maya is a successful attorney suddenly accused of murdering a fellow juror. A multilayered whodunit with a few really well done twists. Loved it!

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Wealthy families on vacation, tropical beaches, resort workers eyeing young women. This novel is a well-crafted slow burn, layered with memories - painful recollections of the past. When Claire decides to look deeper into her sister's murder, her life gets complicated and confused. An excellent debut!

The Bitterroots by C.J. Box

Another stellar standalone mystery from C.J. Box. I loved the setting and the story really kept moving & had plausible twists & turns that were well done. Cassie is a tough PI & I'd love to see her be the lead character in a new series!

The Warehouse by Rob Hart

Near future...workplace and housing and never leave...the Cloud is a powerful all-knowing company that has taken over vast portions of the global economy. It was creepy, alarming a bit depressing for a retail business owner! Thankfully it's a work of fiction...for how long??

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Now I see why Brene Brown's books are so loved! Dare to Lead is really good - great examples, thoughtful advice. It is the best leadership book I have read in a long time. Using it with our management team - lots of tools online too. Excellent!!

The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner

I enjoyed this debut graphic novel very much! When Moth finds out she is a witch she wants to learn magic & understand why her mom never told her. Funky things happen at school - and a talking cat lands on her doorstep. Funny and thoughtful & all-around great!

The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger

One of my favorite novels this year! Such an addictive read - timely, creative, shocking, sometimes funny & oh so well done. Parenting and privilege coupled with secrets & lies. I can't stop talking about it!

The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfeld

Oooh I loved this book! Haunting and so well-written, I could not put it down. Naomi is searching for her lost sister and gets involved with the murders of local homeless teens. Celia is homeless due to abuse and she imagines seeing butterflies to negate the sadness in her life. The imaging is beautiful and hopeful. That is what Denfeld does so well - difficult topics with underlying hope and grace.

Cog by Greg van Eekhout

Laugh out loud - really loud - when you learn all about COG. He's the coolest robot around. COGnitive development means making mistakes and learning from them, and that is what COG and his robot buddies do on their crazy cross country adventure. I'll never think of grocery shopping or eating a hot dog the way I did before I read this book! So. Darn. Clever.

A Better Man by Louise Penny

Rich storytelling, familiar characters with new challenges and complexities - Penny is just so good at weaving a murder mystery into a compelling, emotional read. Yes, a whodunit, but more about the why. What drives a person to the edge - to commit murder? What drives investigators to parse through the lies and obstructions to find the truth? Thoroughly enjoyed!

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Historical Fiction at its best! Spain under dictatorship, aftermath of civil war and stolen children form the backdrop of this well-researched novel. The young people in this story are brave, determined and scarred by their childhood during wartime. Ruta is an exceptional author. I can't wait to recommend this book!!

Frankly in Love by David Yoon

Cross-cultural, multi-racial, laugh-out-loud funny and thoughtful novel about first loves, annoying parents, great friends and figuring out who you really are. Navigating senior year started out confusing and not so fun for Frank, but little by little things fall into place and he finds out what is truly important.

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

I was looking so forward to reading This Tender Land and it was the gem I hoped it would be. Drawing you in to the people, the landscape, the era - it was a journey I did not want to end. A depression era "school" that mistreated the children, leads Odie and his three friends to escape and run from the law and the scary school owners. They meet well-meaning people, unscrupulous people and hard-scrabble folks just trying to survive on so very little. What a privilege it is be a bookseller - sharing a literary novel with such deep meaning and quiet insight into the human spirit.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Two families with children who are best friends. An unthinkable tragedy happens and their lives are never the same. This novel explores so many facets of contemporary lives - parenting, marriage, friendship, loneliness, loyalty, addiction, mental illness. Sounds heavy and depressing, but Ask Again, Yes is so hopeful and redemptive, so powerful and enthralling. Ordinary people facing difficult challenges. Will they overcome them, or be defined by them? A brilliant novel!