2017 Staff Favorites

We asked our staff for the titles of books they read and loved this year. Here are the ones they shared. Happy reading! The Hate You Give – Angie Thomas “Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between…

Fall Reading: A Few of My Favorite Mysteries

Quieter Than Sleep by Joanne Dobson “Karen Pelletier abandoned her life in New York for a professorship at Massachusetts’s elite Enfield College. But she quickly learns that New England is not the peaceful enclave she had imagined–and that not even the privileged world of academia is immune to murder….Professor Karen Pelletier’s prime literary passion is…

Michelle Reviews: Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book – Gerard Jones

There’s no lie in that subtitle: the birth of the comic book (the storytelling, the art, the characters, the industry, all those egos) is the axis on which Men of Tomorrow turns. The thing is, a whole, beaming-bright universe of American history glommed on for the ride. There be decades in these pages, long years that hosted war and prohibition and depression and hope that ebbed and flowed like the tide. And I loved every minute spent on delving into the details.

Jim’s Bedside Table

I tend to always have way more books than I could possible read. As a result there is a big stack of books on my beside table that threatens to crush me in my sleep. I can’t review them because I haven’t read them yet but they all have a story for why they are on my bedside table.

Jen Recommends

The Perfume Collector – Kathleen Tessaro After receiving an unexpected inheritance from a complete stranger, newlywed socialite Grace Monroe must uncover the identity of her mysterious benefactor. Weaving through the decades from 1920s New York to 1950s Monte Carlo, Paris and London, the story Grace uncovers is that of an extraordinary woman who inspired one…

Staff Suggestion: Orphan Train – Christina Baker Kline

About Orphan Train: “Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and…

Staff Recommendation: Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Brunt

In this striking literary debut, Carol Rifka Brunt unfolds a moving story of love, grief, and renewal as two lonely people become the unlikeliest of friends and find that sometimes you don’t know you’ve lost someone until you’ve found them. 1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s…

Letters from Skye ~ Jessica Brockmole

Jessica Brockmole’s debut novel written in letters sparkles from the start. Don’t let the format put you off. If you are thinking of long-winded letters from the 18th Century, think again. These letters move the pace along in this historical novel often leaving the reader hanging and highlighting the desperation of the time period. Brockmole…

Staff Suggestion: Close My Eyes – Sophie McKenzie

About the book: “Gone Girl meets Before I Go to Sleep in Sophie McKenzie’s Close My Eyes, a riveting psychological thriller about a grieving mother who finds out years after her daughter’s death that her child may still be alive When Geniver Loxley lost her daughter at birth eight years ago, her world stopped… and never fully started again.…

Staff Pick: The One Way Bridge by Cathie Pelletier

“Welcome to Mattagash, the last town in the middle of the northern Maine wilderness. The road dead-ends here, but Mattagash’s citizens are fiercely proud. Yet this simple town connected by a single one-way bridge is anything but tranquil. While neighbors bicker publicly over trivialities such as offensive mailbox designs and gossip about suspicious newcomers, they…

1356 ~ Bernard Cornwell

Set in the early years of the Hundred Years War, 1356 sees the resurrection of Cornwell’s irascible archer, Thomas of Hookton. Thomas is given a quest to find La Malice, the oddly-shaped sword believed to have been used by Saint Peter to lop off the ear of one of the men who arrested Jesus Christ.…

Staff Recommendation: The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood

About the book: “A sophisticated and suspenseful novel about the poignant lives of two women living in different eras. On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, an uncompromising young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie O, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage or follow…

Staff Recommendation: Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner

About the book: “Justin and Libby Denbe have the kind of life that looks good in the pages of a glossy magazine. A beautiful fifteen-year old daughter, Ashlyn. A gorgeous brownstone on a tree-lined street in Boston’s elite Back Bay neighborhood. A great marriage, admired by friends and family.  A perfect life. This is what…

Staff Recommendation: Once We Were Brothers – Ronald Alson

“Elliot Rosenzweig, a respected civic leader and wealthy philanthropist, is attending a fundraiser when he is suddenly accosted and accused of being a former Nazi SS officer named Otto Piatek. Although the charges are denounced as preposterous, his accuser, Ben Solomon, is convinced he is right. Solomon urges attorney Catherine Lockhart to take his case,…

The Quest ~ Daniel Yergin

An exhaustive explanation of the history of consumable energy in the industrialized world, from animal oils to petrochemicals to nuclear power to renewables (solar, wind etc.). Daniel Yergin somehow manages to cram an improbable amount of information into a considerable amount of pages (804 in all!). “The Quest” delivers an illuminating (and, often, surprisingly entertaining)…

A Walk Across the Sun ~ Corban Addison

Reviewed by Charlotte “When a tsunami rages through their coastal town in India, 17-year-old Ahalya Ghai and her 15-year-old sister Sita are left orphaned and homeless. With almost everyone they know suddenly erased from the face of the earth, the girls set out for the convent where they attend school. They are abducted almost immediately…

Staff Recommendation: Mice by Gordon Reece

Publisher’s Summary: “An electrifying psychological thriller about a mother and daughter pushed to their limits. Shelley and her mom have been menaced long enough. Excused from high school where a trio of bullies nearly killed her, and still reeling from her parents’ humiliating divorce, Shelley has retreated with her mother to the quiet of Honeysuckle…

Staff Recommendation ~ The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Publisher’s Summary: “An international publishing sensation, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel. Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues…

Juliet ~ Anne Fortier

Juliet is the debut novel by Anne Fortier and what a grand debut it is. For those of you who are Romeo and Juliet purists, a word of warning; while there are many similarities, there are also just as many differences such as instead of the story being set in Verona it takes place in…

Elfland ~ Freda Warrington

A tale about English villagers who are of elvish lineage. They are trapped in the human world because the gate to the other world is closed. The quest to open the gate has as many convolutions as a soap opera: there are star-crossed lovers, suspense and mystery. There is a good sense of place and…

Staff Pick: Summer at Tiffany – Marjorie Hart

Publisher’s Summary: “New York City, 1945. Marjorie Jacobson and her best friend, Marty Garrett, arrive fresh from the Kappa house at the University of Iowa hoping to find summer positions as shopgirls. Turned away from the top department stores, they miraculously find jobs as pages at Tiffany & Co., becoming the first women to ever…

Escapade ~ Walter Satterthwait

In the summer of 1921, English society is fascinated by the spiritual world – perhaps no one more than the great mystery writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, one of thirteen eager guests at a weekend party and seance in a stately Devon manor house steeped in history and tradition. But, as Sir Arthur puts it,…

Every Boat Turns South ~ J.P. White

Matt Younger is a 30-year-old boat delivery captain, who returns to Amelia Island, Florida from the Dominican Republic to make a confession to his dying father. With two companions, a cook named Jesse, and Phillip, a French mechanic, Matt tells his father how he set off from West Palm Beach on board Stardust, a 40′…

Staff Picks: Sarah’s Key ~ Tatiana de Rosnay

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th…