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Staff Picks

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

October 5, 2018 Brian E @ Hughes Main
Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

Foundryside is one of the best and most imaginative fantasy novels I have read in years.  The story follows Sancia, a thief that struggles to survive in a city state governed by four wealthy founding houses.  These houses maintain their power through the invention and utilization of industrial magic – magic Sancia is all too willing to steal.  Once she acquires an artifact strong enough to change – or destroy – the world, things get intense, bizarre, and fantastic.  My only reservation in suggesting it is the fact that the rest of the series has not been published yet!  If you like fantasy, or merely want to like fantasy, I would give this book a try.


Calypso by David Sedaris

September 27, 2018 Becca N @ Hughes Main
Calypso by David Sedaris

In his newest essay collection, David Sedaris delves into some morbid territory, though he maintains his trademark humor. His new beach house on the coast of North Carolina, named Sea Section, serves as the backdrop for several of his stories. He discusses the deaths of his mother (cancer) and his sister (suicide) as well as his own tumor story, revealing how his life has transformed from looking to the future to reminiscing on the past. This collection gives readers a better look at Sedaris's family, including his 92-year old conservative father, and shows how our families always keep us laughing. Full of dark humor and deeply personal tales, Calypso is a rewarding read for fans of Sedaris's storytelling. 


The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

September 27, 2018 Beth Anne @ Hughes Main
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down! This psychological thriller begins with two strangers, Ted and Lily, who meet over martinis in an airport bar. Ted has just discovered that his wife Miranda is cheating on him, and finds a sympathetic listener in Lily. The conversation eventually turns to whether he should just murder his unfaithful wife – Lily claims she believes that murder isn’t always wrong and Ted can’t quite tell if she’s serious or not. When the plane lands, Ted still has to decide what he’s going to do next. For anyone looking for a suspenseful read and surprising plot twists! 


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).