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Staff Picks

Lost Fleet: Dauntless by Jack Campbell

June 28, 2017 Andy @ Travelers Rest
Lost Fleet: Dauntless by Jack Campbell

Captain John "Black Jack" Geary is the lone survivor of the first battle of the Syndic-Alliance War. When rescued from his survival pod after 100 years he learns that the Alliance has inflated his reputation to heroic proportions. After taking charge "Black Jack" Geary must lead the Alliance fleet home to safety through hostile space while coming to grips with his manufactured status. The first in a 6 book series, Dauntless combines fast paced space battles and complex character development. 


Super Spy by Matt Kindt

June 26, 2017 Jed @ Hughes Main
Super Spy by Matt Kindt

This graphic novel, as with many by Kindt, seems confusing at the beginning, bringing readers in to the middle of a story without much context. However, persistence pays off with eventual reveals that bring the beginning of the story into beautiful focus and justify the extreme nonlinear storytelling. For somewhat less adventurous readers, Kindt does provide a table of contents that orders the chapters in a more linear narrative.The story covers the machinations of spies on all sides of World War II as they struggle against their enemies at war and with themselves and Kindt examines the nature of loyalty, courage and war itself.


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

June 14, 2017 Kat @ Greer
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Circus isn't like any other circus you've been to before; it's actually magical. Two young magicians, Celia and Marco, are in the middle of a competition to prove who has the stronger magic. Their teachers have forced Celia and Marco into a pact where only one will survive, and despite these dire circumstances the pair continue to show off their skills. Morgenstern creates an incredible world where magic is woven into every day life. Her cast of characters are as compelling as the descriptions she uses to show off the Circus.

I have read this multiple times and still find new things to love and enjoy.


The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

May 31, 2017 Brian E. @ Hughes Main
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season is an incredibly refreshing fantasy novel. What makes the story so engaging is not only the superb world-building that N. K. Jemisin creates, but the fact that the world she creates is doomed to perish in cataclysmic horror. I promise this is not a massive spoiler. The Fifth Season describes a planet that is defined by a history of unfathomable natural disasters, where the only protection comes in the form of orogenes, a small group of the world's population that can magically manipulate the earth to various degrees. The characters are memorable, and the plot is ripe with surprises and twists. Escapism at its finest.


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

May 18, 2017 Jed @ Hughes Main
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo has had enormous success with her recent Six of Crows series, but Shadow and Bone is the first book in the earlier Grisha Trilogy set in the same world. The grisha are magic wielders, rare and prized in a land that resembles a fantasy version of Tsarist Russia. Alina Starkov, the hero, must learn to harness magical powers she never knew she had, while also navigating court intrigue, romance and her own past as an orphan. This book is appropriate for older teens and adults, and is a gripping read that makes a fantastical, foreign land and the people in it seem deeply real to readers.


The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

May 18, 2017 Becca A. @ Pelham Road
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

Aerin is the Sol (or princess) of Damar, the only child of King Arlbeth. She is ostracized by most of the royal court, who accuse Aerin’s late mother of using magic to bewitch and betray the king. They base their suspicions on the grounds that Damarians are all brown-skinned and dark-haired while Aerin is fair-skinned and red-haired, like her mother. Aerin also never developed the Gift, a magical ability evident to some degree in everyone of royal blood. After being goaded into nearly poisoning herself, Aerin begins to study the history of dragons and dragon-slaying. This begins her journey from a lonely, reserved girl to a strong, confident woman who slays dragons, wields a magic sword, defeats an evil enemy, and returns to Damar to rule as Queen. Prequel to The Blue Sword.


Vicious by V. E. Schwab

May 18, 2017 Abbe @ Taylors
Vicious by V. E. Schwab

When Victor is released from prison, his only ambition is revenge against the man who put him there. With the help of an unlikely computer hacker, a young girl with the power of immortality and a resurrected dog, Victor endeavors to track down the friend that betrayed him so many years before and stop him from killing anyone else with "unusual" powers. This is a modern superhero story about two former friends who become mortal enemies in their quest for power. Who is the villain and who is the hero?


The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

May 18, 2017 Abbe @ Taylors
The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

Melanie is an extremely intelligent child who also happens to be a zombie. A new, cognitive zombie strain is discovered in this thrilling and poignant survival story. Melanie's favorite person is her teacher at the military compound where she is held in captivity to be studied. When the compound is attacked and a small group is on the run, can Melanie rely on her human intelligence to resist her basic appetites and save the only person she loves? This is a clever and well-executed take on what it means to be human in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.


What the Dead Leave Behind by Rosemary Simpson

May 16, 2017 David @ Hughes Main
What the Dead Leave Behind by Rosemary Simpson

A fine example of historical fiction and a riveting murder mystery.  We are taken back to New York City in the Gilded Age into the life of Prudence Mackenzie, daughter of a recently deceased judge, whose fiance unaccountably dies in the Great Blizzard of 1888.  Could it have been more than an accident?  Was her mysterious stepmother somehow involved?  The author provides the reader with realistic atmosphere through period detail and excellent characters along with the engaging plot. 


The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

May 13, 2017 Kat @ Greer
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

The Dust Bowl and the Depression go hand in hand, but the unexpected hope during such desperation is beautiful. Timothy Egan writes about a handful of families who lived during this terrible time; families who stayed and the communities that were held together with the dream that good times would come again. People who survived the storms had such a tenacity for life, and their stories are so important to remember.