Staff Picks   Outstanding Titles We Enjoy & Recommend

     


Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders

The captivating first novel is about Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven year old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War. On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt alone. Set over the course of that one night and populated by ghosts, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief, the powers of good and evil, a novel  unlike anything you have read before. It is an exploration of the deeper meaning and possibilities of life, written with humor, pathos, and grace.

The Punishment She Deserves, by Elizabeth George

Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley are forced to confront the past as they try to solve a crime that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of a quiet, historic medieval town in England. The cozy town of Ludlow is stunned when one of its most revered and respected citizens is accused of a serious crime. Then, while in police custody, Ian is found dead. Did he kill himself or was he murdered?

When Barbara Havers is sent to investigate the chain of events that led to Ian’s death; all the evidence points to suicide. But Barbara can’t shake the feeling that she’s missing something. She decides to take a closer look at the seemingly ordinary inhabitants of Ludlow, mainly elderly retirees and college student, and discovers that almost everyone in town has something to hide.

Wolves of Winter, by Tyrell Jonsson

A very personal post-apocalypse survival story of Lynn McBrie - resourceful, tough but caring, and with the skills needed to handle violence when it comes. Her family has fled to the Yukon Territory to escape a virulent flu and "The Immunity", an aggressive medical group attempting to cure the flu they in fact created as a weapon that spiraled out of control during the nuclear winter. 

Chilling and haunting, yes; but the story of family strength and love.

 

     

The Alchemists Daughter, by Mary Lawrence

In the year 1543 of the turbulent reign of King Henry the VIII, Bianca Goddard, the daughter of a notorious alchemist finds herself suspected of cold-blooded murder. She employs her knowledge of herbs and medicinal plants to concoct remedies for the disease-ridden poor in the squalid slums of London. But when her friend Jolyn comes to her complaining of severe stomach pains, but the prescription seems to kill her on the spot. Bianca suspects Jolyn may have been poisoned before coming to her but the local constable is not convinced. Bianca must apply her knowledge of the healing arts to deduce exactly how her friend was murdered and by whom.

Unique characters, a twisty plot and a bold, bright heroine.

Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz

Clever beyond words, this mystery within a mystery may be the most satisfying closed-room murder case you'll ever read! The inside novel is an Agatha Christie-like mystery set in a peaceful 1950's English village. It's a manuscript that's been delivered by the author just before his untimely death--but the final chapter is missing! And as the editor looks into the mysterious circumstances surrounding her author's death, she becomes convinced that clues to his death are hidden in the manuscript. Truly a double mystery! 

 

The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah

Intriguing tale of moving to a remote cabin in 1974 Alaska from a spunky teenage girl's point of view. The characters are each unique and believable: the father, damaged from his time as a POW in Vietnam, the mother with enough personality for any 3 women, and the Alaskan neighbors who welcome the family with survival preparation for winter. They learn to hunt, to protect themselves from wild animals, to grow vegetables, and cut enough firewood. These are all necessary skills a young city girl has never considered - but she's a fast learner who will grasp your heart and be long remembered.

 



   

KATHERINE'S FAVORITES - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

Celine: a novel by Peter Heller

Celine is a hard-nosed, Glock-carrying though aged private investigator with a stellar reputation. But when a young woman, Gabriela, asks for her help, a world of mystery and sorrow opens up. Her father was a photographer who went missing on the border of Montana and Wyoming. He was assumed to have died from a grizzly mauling, but his body was never found. When she undertakes finding the missing father, Celine and her husband Pete, overcome her health (and lifestyle) to track him down. These characters are unique, family ties are strong, and you will want to follow Celine on more adventures!

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain

This intelligent and often surprising book is a pleasure to read and will make introverts and extroverts alike think twice about the best ways to be themselves and interact with differing personality types.


The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis - The True Story of the Paper Brigade of Vilna, by David E. Fishman

 by Katherine Osborne 

      
A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles

War & Peace meets Eloise in this absolutely delightful novel from Amor Towles. Written with charm and grace, the story of Count Rostov's post-Revolutionary life under house arrest in the Metropol Hotel gives us a fascinating view of Russian life both large and small. As old regimes give way to new, how much do we fight to hold on to our mores and ideals? Towles brings a light touch to a deep subject making this a novel you do not want to miss.                                                    

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: a novel, by Gail Moneyman

 Meet Eleanor Oliphant who is completely original and the right kind of weird. She struggles with appropriate social skills and says exactly what she's thinking. She wears the same clothes every day and is a bit of a loner. But everything changes when she meets Raymond, the bumbling unhygienic IT guy from her office. Her life and her past, combined with such kindhearted characters, made for a compulsively readable, heartwarming story. Highly recommended!

                                                         
News of the World, by Paulette Jiles

Jiles captures the flavor of the post-Civil War American West perfectly in this tale built around two very strong characters. Captain Kidd brings news to isolated Texans by giving paid readings drawn from East Coast and European news articles. The elderly widower accepts the task of returning a ten-year-old girl to her faraway relatives.  She had earlier been captured by the Kiowa and adapted to their Indian ways. Now her crafty intelligence and surprising skill helps to save them both from attack. I do love westerns and recommend this pageturner highly!


FAVORITES FROM JOHN PAUL

  

The Fantasy Role-Playing Gamer’s Bible by Sean Patrick Fannon

Published in the mid-90s, this delves into the history of RPG up to the time of the early online MUDs.  This gives a great description of the birth of Dungeons and Dragons as well as descriptions of more than 50 prominent and obscure RPGs that helped create the genre.  For me, it was a trip down memory lane.- JP

Monty Python’s Big Red Book by Monty Python

A facetious book by the incomparable comedy troupe of the ‘70s/80s.

Raunchy piece of work.  What fun!  - John Paul


The Clockwork Scarab  [Stoker and Holmes series #1] by Colleen Gleason

What do you do when you are a bored young proper Victorian lady with only the prospect of the next social event?  You go into the Family Business.

And that is what Mina (Detective) Holmes and Evaline (Vampire Slayer) Harker do in the first of a Steampunk series; with evil Egyptian cult, cognoggin Inspectors and Tom Sawyerish futurist thrown in for fun.                   

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 

The World Wide Web is just one big Multi-User Dungeon where the entire worldl does its commerce, socializing and entertainment.  It was created by megamillionaire Mr. Halliday, now deceased.  As his swan song he made out his will to the gamer who can find the 3 Secret Easter Eggs squirreled away in the net, and answer the riddles.  Gamer Wade makes the attempt. This cyberpunk sci/fi story is an homage to the 1980's and computer gaming in general. Vernor Vinge True Names meets "Tron"!      

The Missions of California  by Bill Yenne

 A beautiful bit of West Coast history.   This book describes and shows the famous 21 California missions. From the swallows returning to Capistrano to Zorro’s first romp and other details. 

Left Hand of Darkness  by Ursula Le Guin

A First Contact tale on the ice world of Gethen where a male Ambassador from Known Worlds has an adventure trying to establish a treaty between worlds. One of the first transgender Science Fiction novels.  A Classic.



 
Some more of John Paul's favorites:
 
Spill Zone, Sci/Fi by Scott Westerfeld
    A disaster has hit a small New York city, now quarantined by the government. Only Addie risks entering the zone to take photos of the bizarre outcome. Westerfeld creates a story heavily influenced by the Russian film, Stalker, and Puvillland's edgy artwork makes a compelling graphic Science fiction tale.
 

Of All the Gin Joints, by Mark Bailey

Bite-size biographies are followed by ribald anecdotes and memorable quotes. If a star had a favorite cocktail, the recipe is included. Films with the most outrageous booze-soaked stories, like Apocalypse Now, From Here to Eternity, and The Misfits, are featured, along with the legendary watering holes of the day (and the recipes for their signature drinks). Edward Hemingway's portraits complete this spirited look at America's most iconic silver-screen legends.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, by Carlo Rovelli

Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli guides readers with admirable clarity through the most transformative physics breakthroughs of the twentieth and twenty-first century. This playful, entertaining and mind-bending introduction to modern physics, already a major bestseller in Italy, explains general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, and the role of humans in the strange world Rovelli describes. This is a book about the joy of discovery. It takes readers to the frontiers of our knowledge: to the most minute reaches of the fabric of space, back the origins of the cosmos, and into the workings of our minds.

DoubleCross by Ben MacIntyre

How do you keep secret the location and time of a 150,000 troop European D-Day from the most sophisticated army (Nazi) who are expecting it?  This book covers the astonishing exploits of Secret Intelligence Services who nullified or converted all the German spies in Britain into double agents and so cleverly and skillfully that the Nazis never guessed (or didn't care) they were being duped.

After reading this book, I realized we would never have broken out of the Normandy bocage region if Hitler and the German High Command hadn’t bought into the deception of St. Calais. Full of colorful, idiosyncratic characters that could be straight out of a ‘40s Hollywood comedy.  A must read for Normandy Invasion enthusiasts.  

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Karen's recent favorites:

         
 

Burning Bright, by Nicholas Petrie

Whoa! This is the best pairing since Tarzan and Jane, but cutting edge current! Think Jack Reacher meets Wonder Woman; they both are clever, resourceful and powerful, but each with an Achilles heel that renders them humanly endearing. Petrie grabs your attention for this thriller with the very first paragraph! 

Old Man, by Thomas Perry 

Dan Chase seems a harmless retiree in Vermont with two big mutts and a grown daughter. But most old men don’t have multiple driver’s licenses, savings stockpiled in banks across the country, and a bugout kit with two Berettas stashed in the spare closet. Most have not spent decades on the run. 35 years ago, as a young hotshot in army intelligence, Chase was sent to Libya to covertly assist a rebel army. When the plan turned sour, Chase reacted according to his own ideas of right & wrong, triggering horrific consequences. And someone still wants him dead because of them. Just as he had begun to think himself safe, Chase must use his survival instincts to contend with the history he has spent his adult life trying to escape. Armed mercenaries, a precarious love interest, and an unforgettable chase scene through the snow—this is lethal plotting from one of the best in crime fiction.

Widowmaker,by Paul Doiron 

Our team is quite excited to have this newest Bowditch mystery.  I am reading it now and already know this is my favorite so far. Each new book has been my favorite. It is terrific to see Mike's responsibility level increase, and to meet old friends in each new story. And I love reading about the areas I know so well as settings for these exhilarating tales. The wonderful addition of Shadow, the "wolfdog" will add much to the book's appeal for our mystery-loving customers.

Widowmaker is a very fine mystery. I enjoy Mike's increased responsibility and see him as a talented future detective, while maintaining his humanity, vulnerability and sense of humor.


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