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Staff Picks

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

May 16, 2018 Becca N @ Hughes Main
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

This family saga follows the Gold children from the day they encounter a psychic to the dates of their respective deaths. Do their fortunes dictate the day they will die, or do the choices they make decide their fates? The four Golds go down unique paths: one a dancer, a magician, a military doctor, and a longevity scientist. As they question their Jewish upbringing and test the bonds of family, they learn about love, grief, and revenge. This book is a great exploration of family dynamics and belief beyond reality. 


Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

March 29, 2018 Elizabeth @ Greer
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

In her breakthrough novel, Ruth Emmie Lang weaves a tale of loss and love, magic and realism, horned pigs and a boy raised by wolves.  Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is the modern day fairytale of a man named Weylyn Grey told by the people whose lives were touched by the boy raised by wolves who could control the weather and do so much more. The perspective of the novel switches between a host of characters, young and old, to tell the life story of a peculiar man in a way that stays fresh and interesting.

I was drawn to the book by the amazing cover art and the premise of the novel. Weylyn Grey’s infectious personality and the charm of the story had me spellbound and reading late into the night.


The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

March 1, 2018 Ashley @ Hughes Main
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

In this heartwarming children's book, the Vanderbeeker family has just found out they have to vacate their beloved brownstone home due to a grumpy landlord’s request. The precocious children band together to find ways to make sure their family can stay together in the home that holds so many dear memories. Although this book may be difficult for young readers to read independently, it would be a great choice for families to share with children of all ages before bedtime with its themes of family, friendship, and sense of community. Keep an eye out for a sequel to this story coming out later this year!


Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

February 28, 2018 Alicia @ Fountain Inn
Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

This little green hardcover book captivated my attention with the first flick of the pages. I've always had a great love for artistic illustrations in children's books and I must say, this one does not disappoint. Susan Jeffers uses pen and ink to make all the lovely illustrations in this tale. And with a surprising pop of colored pencil in each drawing, it truly is a work of art. Paired with one of Robert Frost's most famous poems, this book was a delight to savor. I'm very glad to have stumbled upon this little treasure. 


Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

February 28, 2018 Alicia @ Fountain Inn
Books for Living by Will Schwalbe
"When I most enjoy reading, I'm not really conscious that I'm reading. It's at those moments when I'm so wrapped up in a book, so engrossed, so moved, so obsessed, or so fascinated, that a part of my mind that is watching me read – maybe keeping track of the pages or trying to decide how much longer I should keep on reading – that part of my mind has gone away. This is what I hope for every time I open a book. It's something of a paradox. To love reading is to want to achieve the state where you don't know you are reading. Where your communication with what you are reading is absolute. Or at least it is for me."
Will Schwalbe, Books for Living, Pg 175

How do I describe a book that seems to have captured my inner thoughts about reading? So much of what I've believed about reading and it's profound effect on me has already been written in this book, ironically. This is one of those books that I found flipping to and fro skipping over chapters and embracing others.

It is a book meant for waiting in lines, in the car, on a quick work break, and those rare moments of sitting and basking in a book for a sweet hour or two uninterrupted (See chapter 'The Importance of Living: Slowing Down). It is a book for gaining insight into the art of reading (See 'Zen and the Art of Archery: Mastering the Art of Reading). It is a book on what to read and which authors to look up. It is a book to remember where we have been and where we are going (See chapter '1984: Disconnecting'). It is a book to relish. And it is a book I plan to come back to again and again. 

"Reading challenges you to figure out the kind of person you want to be."
Will Schwalbe, Books for Living, Pg 100

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

February 16, 2018 Shuly @ Taylors
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology is a well-researched and entertaining retelling of traditional Norse myths. The tales were very engaging and made me chuckle a few times. Gaiman brings each character to life, and his passion shines through, inspiring the reader/listener. His narration of the audiobook is especially entertaining, as he has a beautiful and animated voice. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy mythology, fantasy, or a very good story.


A Christmas Homecoming by Anne Perry

January 5, 2018 Shuly @ Taylors
A Christmas Homecoming by Anne Perry

A Christmas Homecoming, by Anne Perry, takes place in Victorian England during the month of December. Caroline joins her young actor husband, Joshua, to a mansion in a Yorkshire village so that he can practice and perform Bram Stoker's Dracula for the day after Christmas. Unfortunately, as Joshua and the rest of the theater crew practice their scripts, it appears to come out poorly written, and the actors struggle to make it a worthwhile production. In the midst of this conflict, a mysterious stranger named Mr. Ballin appears and claims to be stranded from the snow. The owners of the property agree to let him stay. Throughout the actors' performances, this strange visitor offers his expert opinion on acting and the Dracula work. Who is this mysterious gentleman, and how does he know so much about vampires and acting? Throughout  everyone's stay, Caroline stumbles over a murdered body. Due to the heavy snow, the police are unable to be called upon. Caroline takes it upon herself to get to the bottom of this murder. The pacing of this book was rather slow, but towards the middle-end it finally picked up speed and became more enjoyable. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy historical mysteries (particularly with a holiday twist).


One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson

December 30, 2017 Rebekah @ Greer
One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson

One Summer: America, 1927 is undoubtedly one of Bill Bryson's most epic undertakings, and one of his finest. As the title suggests, this nonfiction history book takes readers on a sweeping tour of America in 1927 and, to an extent, the 1920s more broadly. Bryson masterfully and charmingly weaves together all of 1927's most interesting stories, character sketches, and trivia to create a vivid portrait of an era. There's something here for everyone: sensational crimes, technological breakthroughs, Broadway, baseball, authors and inventors and presidents... This is history the way it was never taught in your high school history class—humorous, surprising, fun, and guaranteed to keep you glued to the page. I especially recommend checking out the audiobook version, which is read by the author.


Murder Past Due by Miranda James

December 11, 2017 Shuly @ Taylors
Murder Past Due by Miranda James

The book, Murder Past Due, by Miranda James, is the first in the Cat in the Stacks series, and it was an amazing read. This novel takes place in Athena, Mississippi, where a librarian named Charlie works in a university archives. He has an enormous cat named Diesel, who he takes everywhere on a leash. Charlie is familiar with a best-selling author named Godfrey Priest, who is from Athena and went to school with him. Mr. Priest comes into town and seeks out Charlie to offer the school his manuscripts, as well as to share sensitive information. However, within hours he is found murdered. Charlie is especially committed to discovering the murderer since he is the one who found the body, and there are personal interests involved. The problem is, Mr. Priest had many enemies in town, and it is not so easy to narrow down the list of suspects. As Charlie looks through the manuscripts that Mr. Priest left him, he discovers some unsettling information. Can Charlie get to the bottom of this murder on time? Meanwhile, Charlie's cat Diesel accompanies him on his investigations, and provides comfort where needed. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy cozy mysteries and cats.  


Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

October 28, 2017 Shuly @ Greer
Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

Lost in a Book, by Jennifer Donnelly, is a re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, but it has a new twist. Readers will be familiar with the story of Belle and how she comes to be locked in the Beast's castle in exchange for her father's freedom. Throughout her captivity she befriends the enchanted inhabitants of this mansion. She also spends much of her time in the castle's library and comes across an enchanted book called Nevermore. In Nevermore, the line between fiction and reality are blurred. Could Belle get lost in a book…literally? Little does Belle know that there are forces of good and evil that fight to shape her future. In this journey, Belle reflects on the true meaning of love and friendship. This book was a cute little read, but the ending kept me hanging. There were many details that I was expecting to be revealed and resolved. In spite of its ending, I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy young adult fantasy and fairy tale re-telling