Kathy's Picks

The Deep by Alma Katsu

Katsu is back! This time, injecting the supernatural into two of historys most intriguing tragedies, the sinkings of the RMS Titanic and her sister ship the Britannic. Young, humble, and deeply troubled Annie Hebbley, wishes to escape her past, and hires on as a first class stewardess for the Titanic’s maiden voyage. Doting on rich elites like the Astors, Guggenheim, Stead, and the Duff Gordons, keeps stewards and stewardesses busy, day and night. One first class passenger in particular, catches Annie’s eye. What Annie feels for Mark Fletcher is undeniable and unexplainable. Or is it? While servants run ragged fulfilling the requests of the rich and pampered, the bored socialites fill their hours with teatimes, gossiping, dressing for dinner, and extravagant parties. When W.T. Stead hosts a séance in his stateroom, he ushers in a menacing spirit resulting in the death of a child. Or, has the Sea Witch that Annie encountered as a child been waiting for this exact opportunity to claim her price of ‘an innocent?’ I really enjoyed the Upstairs/Downstairs approach to story telling here; the juxtaposition between the haves and have-nots and the first class, third class, and servant class dynamics. Katsu displays an intimate knowledge of the history involved and relishes flaunting the “what ifs” everywhere she finds gaps and holes in well-known stories. This is as haunted, dark, sexy, and sumptuous as a tragedy can get.

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

When a storm cuts the power and closes all routes into and out of a remote mountainous community, one boy goes missing. Another dies. A witch, alone in the malicious Wicker Wood, sees a harbinger of death. Instead of a body, Nora finds Oliver, the missing boy from Jackjaw Camp for Wayward Boys. He’s unconscious, nearly frozen, barely breathing, with sizable gaps in his memory. How has he survived alone in the woods for nearly two weeks?? She’s a witch. He has secrets. The Wicker Woods hold grudges. You’ll be unable to resist this story’s spell. I was hooked IMMEDIATELY. The writing is captivating and evocative.

God: A Human History by Resa Aslan

Did God make us in His image? Or did we make God in ours? This (somewhat?) controversial question is at the heart of Reza Aslan’s thoughtful and exhaustive study. EVERY primitive and advanced society has identified and worshipped diety. In the end, we simply DO. NOT. KNOW the nature of God. But thanks to Aslan’s engaging and decisive writing, we can acknowledge the history. By shelving the topics of religion and faith, and focussing solely on the history of God, Aslan creates the perfect manual for theologians and laymen alike. I was a fan of Resa Aslan’s show _Believer_, but this was my first introduction to his writing. I GOBBLED it up. I will read everything he writes. Forever. Guaranteed.

Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall

This is one of the creepiest books I’ve read in ages!!! It’s two parts Blair Witch Project, one part The Exorcist, with a generous sprinkling of Slender Man-like creatures!!! If you like portal fantasies and mockumentaries...If you’re into horror, hauntings, and scary stories to keep you up at night... *whisper* look. no. further. it’s. hhhhhhhhhere.... A small town. Local lore. A story of a young girl who wanders away and is never seen again. A legend in the making. She whispers at night, in dreams, “Come find me.” The road. It appears every year on the anniversary of Lucy’s disappearance. One night only. Many take the challenge. If you play the game right, you live. Sara’s sister Becca disappeared a year ago. Suspicion and gossip descends like fog. Friendships fracture. Prior to the anniversary of Becca’s disappearance, the students of Briar Glenn High receive a text: SHE WENT TO PLAY THE GAME. YOU CAN PLAY TOO. FIND A PARTNER. FIND A KEY. FIND THE ROAD. When the road opens again, Sara and her estranged friends take the first steps toward each other, and toward getting Becca back.

The Second Sleep by Robert Harris

The year is 1468. The spoken and written word matches the language of King James’ bible. Wars between the followers of Christ and Allah rage in distant lands. To study the sciences (in any form) is strictly forbidden; its pursuers labeled heretics. Novice priest, Christopher Fairfax, has been summoned to a remote Wessex village to officiate the funeral of Father Lacy, who died under mysterious circumstances. In the waking hours between the first and second sleep, Fairfax makes a casual study of Father Lacy’s shelves, ONLY TO DISCOVER.... ... to say more, would deny readers the pleasure of experiencing for themselves a CCCCCOMPLETELY UNEXPECTED twist. To avoid *SPOILERS* let me simply add: I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this book. It’s clever on crack. It’s intelligent as hell. It’s masterfully timed. It’s definitely MY. KIND. OF. STORY!!!!! Picture me heaping ALL the praises on this book!! *****

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

If you know his name...you should know hers. For anyone who’s sat in silent shame or defiantly said, #metoo, this is a deeply moving memoir; a cathartic guide to ‘reawakening’ and ‘reemerging.’ Chanel’s voice is an anthem of feminine strength, and resilience, .... and ENOUGH...STOP. It’s a cautionary tale for parents. Your child could be the victim...or the perpetrator... of sexual assault. It’s a gentle reminder that good people are everywhere. Chanel’s heroes came in the form of two Swedish students who recognized she was in distress and incapacitated. It’s a MADDENING peek under the dingy throw rug of our justice system...with it’s pileup of untested rape kits and the unrelenting scrutiny of victims over assailants. It’s a sad commentary of our society. Everyone has an opinion, and some are only too willing to spew it in calloused online comments...affording themselves the anonymity NOT afforded to victims. Chanel’s mother once told her, “Good and Bad Things come from the Universe...holding hands. Wait for the good to come.” Her mettle has been tested. She has broken through to the other side. The broken pieces of her life have been made beautiful like the kintsugi pottery depicted on the cover art. I hope the Good has finally come to stay.

The Remaking by Clay McLeod Chapman

What a fantastic ghost story!! A woman living alone in the woods with her daughter is accused of causing the death of a pregnant woman. Mob justice is swift and cruel. Both mother and daughter are burned alive. To further degrade the victims, they’re buried separately; the mother in an unmarked grave in the woods, her daughter in the cemetery, in a metal coffin under several feet of concrete and surrounded by a crucifix fence. Follow the evolution of a true spine-tingler. The author introduces a dark moment in history that gives birth to local lore which quickly becomes an urban legend. And, just as the ghost story experiences an evolution, so do the story-tellers. Tales once told around campfires become a 70s slasher B-movie, which later experiences a 90s revival and remake, only to land on the scrap-heap of a skeptical millennial’s debunking blog. I really enjoyed this multidimensional story told from varying points of view. “Three stories for the price of one urban legend. You can’t beat that!” 1. The original ghost story. 2. The various directors obsessed with telling the story. 3. The actors hired to breathe life into the story, and the psychological ramifications of doing so. The cover art is evocative and PERFECT! GOOD. GOOD. GOOOOD!

The Art of Making Memories by Meik Wiking

What a fantastic exploration into the making and KEEPING of memories!! What makes our mind hold onto some experiences while losing grip on others? The author explores the 8 essential ingredients necessary in creating and cementing good memories. Slow down. Engage your senses. Read this book. You’ll learn how to resurrect the best of the ‘glory days,’ as well as make the most of important or joyous moments yet to come. Combine this book with the Hygge game and it’s PERFECT for the holidays!!!

Three Things I Know are True by Betty Culley

This debut novel bursts from the pages in verse form. It’s dramatic and heartbreaking; a story that will sear your senses and break your heart. One shot. *BOOM* Jonah accidentally shoots himself in the head with his friend Clay’s father’s gun. Jonah’s alive, but not at all the same. He now requires around-the-clock care. His mother is trapped in an endless spiral of heartache, bitterness, and regret as she seeks restitution from Clay’s family. Jonah’s sister Liv learns coffee and music make everything better, a hot meal makes you realize people care, and touch makes you feel you’re not alone. This is a beautiful book about tragedy, sorrow, forgiveness, family, and friendship. And yes, it’s a powerful reminder of the dangers and responsibilities associated with gun ownership.

Renia's Diary by Renia Spiegel

War is ravaging Europe. Hitler’s armies are everywhere. Poland is divided between the Germans and the Russians. Renia’s mother is trapped on the German side in Warsaw, while Renia and her younger sister are with their grandparents in Russian Przemysl. With chaos surrounding her, and desperately missing her mother, you might expect Renia’s diary entries to focus on the hardships of occupation and war. Instead, it is what you might expect from any 15-17 year old. It’s full of the angst and insecurity of youth, friend drama, boy crushes, gossip, her first kiss, her first (last, and only) love. It’s also generously peppered with her original poetry. Had she been allowed the GIFT of growing old, she would have been a writer. I’m sure of it. This is a beautiful and heartbreaking story as powerful and haunting as Anne Frank’s. Perhaps more so. It’s mind-boggling to imagine her diary has been locked in a safe deposit box for the last 40 years; a story too intimate and heartbreaking for her surviving sister to read. Keep a tissue handy, Renia’s is a story that hits you square in the solar plexus. May we never forget.

Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

This is a beautifully detailed memoir of a daughter swept into the middle of her mother's torrid affair with a family friend. When the line between parent and child is warped and twisted into "best friends and confidants" the ramifications can be life-long and devastating.

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Whatever else you’re reading...it can wait. Ignore your ‘to be read’ pile...it’ll keep. THIS is the story that will keep you up at night!! THIS is the book you won’t be able to put down!! Chbosky returns with this STELLAR modern masterpiece of horror. Remember those early days of Stephen King, when you slept with the lights on, (if you could sleep at all)?! It’s all that, added with Chbosky’s unparalleled ability to capture the highlights and lowlights of growing up. He did it the first time with _The Perks of Being a Wallflower_ and high school. He returns now, to second grade, with Christopher, his single mother (on the run from an abusive ex-boyfriend), and Christopher’s new _Imaginary Friend_. A friend he “picked up” after disappearing into the woods for 6 days. Omg! So. Good!!!!!! (In all the best ways, you may be reminded of Stephen King’s _The Body_, later filmed as _Stand By Me_, _The Shining_, _Stranger Things_, _Outbreak_, and _Friday the 13th_! At the same time, it’s WHOLLY original.)

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

I was devastated by this book. Devastated, in all the ways that make reading one of life’s singular pleasures. I saw beauty and poetry flow from each page...(seemingly) as effortless as ocean waves lapping a shore. You’ll hear music, young people singing by the fire, a whale song. You’ll smell sea salt, and unwashed clothes, beach fires, and aquarium tanks. Above all, you’ll appreciate a simple truth: you need the shipwreck before you can discover the sunken treasure. Violet has ruined her life. Perhaps she’s lived 50 already, and she’s only 16. Her brother is in a treatment center in Vermont. Her parents, in New York. She’s been banished to her uncle’s care, and the ancestral family home in Lyric Maine. Lyric, named after a ship. Lyric, founded and named by the shipwrecks sole survivor, Violet’s great great great great grandmother, Fidelia. How can Violet be sinking? She’s a descendent of survivors. Finding the truth about the wreckage becomes her life vest. Anything to keep her head above water. Anything to help her forget how she can’t find the words to write her brother. Anything to distract her from Orion and his perfect eyebrows...and Liv with her amazing brain and all those edges. ...Liv, what IS it about Liv? .... I’ve been trying for DAYS to review this book. What can I say after admitting the “mom gene” had me reading through laced fingers? I worried for these characters, not because they’re my children, but because I recognize ALL youth on these perfect pages. Beautiful. Brutal. Brutiful. _The Last True Poets of the Sea_ is for readers “for whom discovery - like the concept of the journey - is the treasure itself.”

Little Weirds by Jenny Slate

I read the back of this book and laughed out loud. OMG! SOLD!!! Then I dove in, feet first. What I hadn’t expected was one of the most thought-provoking pieces of self exploration and BECOMING, I’ve read in the last decade. Slate writes with the lyrical intensity of Kahlil Gibran and narrative storytelling of Joan Didion! I’ve been wakened to her incredibly fresh talent, her unabashed feminine vibrancy, and her 120-Color-Crayola-Crayon-Box personality.

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

What is a tapestry without a single thread? What is a single thread without the hope of becoming part of a tapestry? Chevalier’s greatest strength is her ability to bring new focus and humanity to some of history's unsung works of art. Prepare to have your eyes opened (as well as a google image search) to Winchester Cathedral’s embroidered kneelers and cushions, and her guild of broderers. WWI left devastating scars across Europe. Many of the men remaining were either too old, too young, or too damaged. This left a generation of women outnumbering men nearly a thousand to one. Known as “surplus women,” their options were few. Violet’s fiancé and eldest brother were killed in France, her father passed, with her youngest brother miraculously spared, and married. Violet rebels against the strictures of a life caring for an uncaring mother, and abruptly moves to Winchester where she works as a typist, rations her food, and counts her pence...as sparse as her friends. Enter: The Winchester Cathedral Broderer’s (Embroider’s) Guild. Chevalier’s attention to detail is extraordinary. Her ability to bring life and genuineness to her characters (both historical and fictional) is astounding. This is historical fiction at it’s finest.

The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea

You MIGHT (at first) feel like you’re reading an “Icelandic _Jane Eyre_,” but it’s so. much. more. It’s a story as imposing as the waters of the North Atlantic. It trickles, churns, freezes, blizzards, squalls, melts, hisses, and boils. Rósa’s new husband is a mystery. He doesn’t share their marriage bed. He values her obedience above ALL. He doesn’t speak of first wife, or her sudden and mysterious death. Villagers gossip, so Jón forbids Rósa any contact. Regardless, she hears rumors that Jón’s first wife Anna went mad with loneliness. If “you’re as healthy as the secrets you keep,” it’s little wonder madness encircles every locked door and suspicion seeps into every glance. What are the noises Rósa hears coming from the forbidden loft in the dead of night? Why does she feel eyes watching her when she sleeps? Who put the knife under her bed? Everything roils and pitches when the ice cracks and a body bobs to the surface. This is a riveting and surprising mystery. I loved the slow reveal and surprising finish. It’s the sort of story you guzzle, then can’t shake or forget as it slowly seeps from your pores over the next week. Unescapable.

The World that We Knew by Alice Hoffman

This is an absolutely STUNNING novel!!!! A desperate mother seeks the help of a gifted rabbi’s daughter to create a golem; a mystical Jewish creature made of clay and water, imbued with otherworldly abilities, and bound to serve and protect whomever its creator demands. The golem Ava, is created by women, brought to life by their blood and their need for protection. Ava exists solely to protect Hanni’s daughter Lea, and to see her safely out of Germany and Nazi occupied France. Ava knows her purpose. She knows her duty. Despite the chaos and madness, a budding will to love, to feel, to sing and dance with a great grey heron, and to live...begins to take root. This is not your typical World War II story. Amidst the horror of neighbor turning against neighbor, family separation, labor camps, and genocide THIS is a masterpiece of survival, purpose, resistance, defiance, love, joy, and what it means to be alive. I loved this story SO much. I didn’t want it to end! I treated the last 50 pages like a dessert wine, sipping a few paragraphs a day, to delay the ending. This is Hoffman’s finest!

The Beholder by Anna Bright

Welcome to America! This iteration of her differs from the one you may know. This America never fought for Independence. Without states united under a common rule, miniature kingdoms evolve; New York, Nouvelle Orleans, the Potomac, etc. each region is stewarded by a Seneschal. Selah is the Seneschal-elect of the Potomac, and the next in line to rule. After suffering a humiliating and very public rejection to her proposal of marriage, Selah is sent abroad with specific instructions to return engaged, or don’t return at all. Not wanting to leave her dying father in the care of her scheming, evil(?), and very pregnant stepmother, Selah is forced to set sail in search of a partner. She has only 12 days with each potential suitor. Will that be enough time to open her heart and find love in this (what I like to call) OTHERWORLDLY episode of ‘The Bachelorette?’

Remarkables by Margaret Peterson Haddix

What a REMARKABLE story of hope, friendship, redemption, love, and family! Readers will be transported to the 5th grade, complete with insecurities, shifting friendships, new schools, old friends, and new baby brothers. Haddix is an incredibly evocative writer. The woods become another character in the story. You’ll climb the trees with Marin and study the drawings in Charley’s shack. Haddix doesn’t shy from heavy topics like bullying female friend/rival trios, or the unseen wounds a parents’ drug addiction can leave on a child. Instead she demonstrates the healing that comes from engaged and communicative parenting, positive attitude, faith, forgiveness, and family. Readers will be filled with light and hope. I loved it.

Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro

This book marks the first time I’ve dipped a toe into the Labyrinth lore. Somehow I made it through the 80’s without seeing the Bowie movie. I know, it both boggles the mind and confounds the senses. Guillermo del Toro’s rendition is absolute MAGIC! It’s creativity on crack! I thoroughly enjoyed it, cover to cover. It’s an epic mashup of family dynamics, death, war, brutality, fascism, poison, daggers, fantasy, fauns, and fairies! I’ll see the labyrinth in my dreams... and Pálido in my nightmares. Neither, will set me free.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

What makes a creepy ghost story EVEN better? A creepy ghost story involving children, an old tear-down Victorian rebuild with noises in the attic, set in SCOTLAND! Rowan has landed the dream job, nannying for a wealthy family in the Highlands. With unbeatable pay, luxury living, and all expenses covered...exactly WHY have the Elincourts burned through multiple nannies in the last year? Is it the ‘Big Brother’ level of surveillance and lack of privacy that drives them away? Is it Mr. Elincourt’s wandering hands? Is it their dark and brooding middle child, Maddie? Or, is it the ghosts of the previous home owners? Every old house has a few tales to tell, and every family has its secrets. Some more than others. This story is a little bit _Amityville Horror_ meets _The Babysitter_! “The call is coming from inside the house!!” Good good goooood!!!

Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier

I usually make February “Facebook free.” After watching Netflix’s The Great Hack and reading this book...I might delete my social media accounts entirely. I’ve deluded myself (perhaps) in thinking I use them well, and positively. I’m just here to keep up with my friends and look at cute dog memes. Right? Sure. That’s why _I’m_ here. But why are THEY here? Why does my every click, like, mention, and post _benefit_ them, and at my expense? It’s a BUMMER! (Behaviors of Users Modified, and Made into an Empire for Rent) The author advocates that we delete our social media accounts and break the addiction wave. Return when we’ve mastered ourselves, or when the tech giants change! I like that he recognizes the stranglehold they have. Ultimately, we must be like cats: UNTRAINABLE. This was a super super interesting read!

G'morning, G'night by Lin-Manual Miranda

G’MORNING!! Read this book in a single day, an afternoon, a stolen hour. G’NIGHT!! Read this book again, in dribs and drabs, one line each morning, another line each night. Go on. Just read it. The world needs more inspirational and uplifting voices. Miranda’s voice/mind/heart/soul is (and always will be) one of my absolute favorites.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

UTTERLY MAGICAL! Have you ever looked at a door and wondered what lay beyond? The promise is THERE’S A STORY THERE! Harrow takes it to a new and beautiful level in that there are different WORLDS and TIMES behind her doors and passageways. January Scaller is a rare soul with a legacy and inheritance of ‘word working.’ This time, it’s ok to judge a book by its cover. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is as beautifully imagined and written as its gorgeous cover.

Tidelands by Philippa Gregory

In Phillipa Gregory’s new series, she leaves the intrigue and glamor of the Royal Court for the grit and struggle of an impoverished fishing village off the southern coast of England. Parliamentarians clash with Royalists, and Papists secret away from their Puritan neighbors in this 17thC Thorn Birds-esque tale of struggle, caste system, forbidden love, secrets, superstition, temptation, and infidelity. In a small fishing village where anything can be blamed on the evils of women, Gossip rules, Gossip destroys, and ANYONE can be suspected of witchcraft. Gregory never fails to breathes new life into forgotten histories!

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

Bythell’s sardonic humor and undeniable wit and charm will ‘bookworm’ it’s way into your heart and mind. Two things are bound to happen: 1. You’ll add The Bookshop in Wigtown to your bucket list of Scottish destinations; hoping to catch a glimpse of EITHER the author OR the spraying stray cat , or to hear one of Nicky’s verbal gems. 2. You TOO will revile Amazon and its universal chokehold on indie bookstores. I love this book!

The Star Shepherd by Dan Haring

While we sleep, the star shepherds watch the night sky for falling stars. Their job: track the stars’ path, reach it before its delicate light burns out, change its casing, and return it to the night sky before the dawns light snuffs it out forever. For Kyro and his father Tirin, shepherding the stars been a passion project; a way to keep the memory of their beloved wife and mother alive. When stars begin falling at an alarming rate, Kyro and Tirin notice disturbing evidence that they didn’t fall...they were cut! Without the stars protective light, ancient EVILS, thought long-extinct, return with a vengeance. When Tirin leaves to find answers, and doesn’t return, the fate of the stars is left to Kyro! What an adventure!!!

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

A TANTALIZING and CREEPY modern gothic tale!! I Love, Love, LOVED it! Is it a story of sheer exhaustion and postpartum psychosis...or is it a dark and twisted tale of child abduction and twin changelings? You'll be on the edge of your seat and asking the questions until. the. last. page....and beyond. Deliciously steeped in folklore with samples of songs, poems, dark literature, myths, and ancient traditions at the beginning of each chapter. *****It’s a page-turner! *****

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson

Part instruction manual, part memoir, 100% practical and enjoyable. Step aside Marie Kondo! Margareta Magnusson employs the nuclear option to decluttering. Death cleaning is exactly what it sounds like. You’re dead. SOMEONE has to take care of what you left behind. If you didn’t want to do it while you were alive, neither will they!! Do your loved ones a favor and get a handle on your sh*t before it gets a handle on you. Think of it as your duty. Because it is. Magnusson’s age (somewhere between 80 and 100) adds charm and vitality to her personal accounts and reminiscings. Ultimately the take-away is: LIVING SMALLER IS A RELIEF. And it is. Truly. Trust the Swedes.

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton

Easily one of the most unique books I’ve read ALL YEAR! How do I describe the indefatigable humor of S.T., a domesticated crow raised by Big Jim, a salty-tongued and irreverent redneck in the Seattle suburbs?? Perhaps all I need say is S.T. is short for “Sh*t Turd, the bird”....and a picture more colorful than _my_ words will emerge. Something truly terrible is happening to MoFos (humans). They are changing. Addiction to an electronic world, and a blatant disregard for nature, has caused their downfall. Domesticated and wild animals are left to make sense of this new world, now missing its former apex predator and evolutionary ladders top rung occupant. _Hollow Kingdom_ is a wildly creative and clever ‘birds eye’ peek at devolution, before the frantic and bloody fight for territory and hierarchy begins again, anew.

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Gilbert’s latest is an unapologetic and unabashed femme tour de force! It is at once, all of the excitement of New York City in the 1940s; the nightlife, the theatre, friendship, sexual freedom and conquest, smoky nightclubs, tumbling into bed drunk at 3am, affairs of the heart, careless flings, and the foibles of youth. We begin with a letter from “Angela” to Vivian asking to know who (exactly) Vivian was to her late father. The novel is Vivian’s response. Fresh from the countryside and raised in privilege, Vivian moves to NYC to work in her Aunt Peg’s theatre, where she spends her days sewing costumes, and her nights sewing wild oats. It’s a fascinating window into an era where many women quietly followed their husbands lead...while a few brave souls forged spectacular and colorful (if not somewhat solitary) paths. Norms (and men) be damned. Favorite Quote: “...as we get older, we learn this sad truth: some things can never be fixed. Some mistakes can never be put right - not by the passage of time, and not by our fervent wishes either. In my experience, this is the hardest lesson of them all. After a certain age, we are all walking around this world in bodies made of secrets and shame and sorrow and old, unhealed injuries. Our hearts grow sore and misshapen around all this pain - yet somehow, still, we carry on.”

The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

Sometimes I pick up a book, looking to escape into a far-fetched and fantastical tale; a sweeping departure from all that is familiar and recognizable. But, more often than not, the most searing and unforgettable stories are those that hold up a mirror to something I know intimately, yet inarticulately. Family. With the prose of Kingsolver and the pace of Pilcher, Conklin’s novel follows four siblings after the death of their father, and their mother’s debilitating depression. To borrow the title of Dave Eggers’ book, The Last Romantics is “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.”

The Wolf & the Watchman by Niklas Natt Och Dag

What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs, floating in the Larder? FAR from a childish joke, this macabre scenario is at the VERY heart of Niklas Natt och Dag’s debut novel! Who is he? Who’s done this to him? Why? With many dips, twists, and turns, you’ll be on the edge of your rattan sedan chair as several seemingly unrelated threads converge into one. eerie. tapestry.

The Missing Season by Gillian French

Gillian French creates a disturbing milieu as disorienting and dark as the surrounding woods, in her latest novel The Missing Season. Woods, where the town’s youth play drunken and reckless games, pair off in romantic exploration, and tell eerie tales of The Mumbler who mutilates and mangles. Woods, where teens wander away, and are not seen alive again. Some have plausible explanations; a train, a runaway, a suicide, a drowning. But the kids know. It’s The Mumbler...and his season is fast approaching. Fear Him. Wow! A truly brilliant edge-of-your-seat, page-turning, spine-tingler.

The Girl Who Sailed the Stars by Matilda Woods

A town made from the wreckage of old whaling ships, a fortune-teller who hears the future in the songs of seashells, a daughter, meant to be born a son, who reaches for a destiny not written in anyone else’s stars...The Girl Who Sailed the Stars will transport young readers to a world of possibility. Oona must break a few rules to get noticed. It’s not easy when you’re the 7th daughter born to a ship’s captain who wanted a son. Her story is for young people who would rather forge their own path than take those that are more tired, boring, and well-travelled.

Wolfpack by Abby Wambach

"Abby, You were never Little Red Riding Hood. You were always the Wolf.” 8 empowering steps from 2-time Olympic gold medalist and world champion soccer player Abby Wambach, who scored more international goals than _any human being on the planet_. Ditch the fairytales! Read Abby’s inspirational story to your daughters and sons. It’s time. Find your pack, discover your howl, and CHANGE. THE. GAME!

The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly by Rebecca Ansari

“I WISH I’D NEVER BEEN BORN!” In a moment of regret, anger, fear, or rage... who hasn’t thought it? Charlie’s birthday wish to be free of his pesky little brother comes true and *POOF* Liam is erased. He’s erased from the memories of friends and teachers. He’s missing from every family photo. He’s been forgotten by his father and his cripplingly-depressed mother. Forgotten by EVERYONE...except Charlie. Charlie grapples with madness, remembering a brother the world has forgotten, and bone-deep guilt thinking he’s the one who caused him to go away. When he learns the dilapidated ruins of the old Asylum houses all the children who’d wished to be forgotten, Charlie devises a plan to sneak in, find his brother, and persuade him to come home. Breaking free of Brona, the ghostly caretaker of the Asylum, however, may prove to be their greatest challenge. A powerful story of learning to forgive others, as well as yourself, ‘The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly’ is a page-turner with imperative life lessons.

Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

An absolutely riveting read!! Omg! “Everybody Lies” is a superbly researched, detailed, and presented analysis of the lies we tell each other, the lies we tell strangers, and the lies we tell ourselves. It would appear the most honest glimpse into “what we’re thinking” is what we google search! By studying Big Data, we can better understand which horse will be more likely to win the Triple Crown...and even how Donald Trump was elected president. I couldn’t put this book down. And that’s NO LIE! A fascinating book, start to finish!!

The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away by Ronald L. Smith

The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away is a surprising mid kids thriller. 12 year old Simon is obsessed with the Gray ones...ALIENS. When he has a personal encounter, (complete with experimentation's, supplanted false memories, and a tracking implant), he reaches out to his family in a desperate bid for their understanding and belief in him. Therapist consults and suppressant drugs are not enough to convince Simon he hasn’t experienced what he knows he has. Who are the Grays? Why are they here? What do they want with him? What is their plan for the human race??

Whiskey When We're Dry by John Larison