GRAPHIC NOVELS John Paul recommends highly for reluctant readers.

Anya's Ghost (Graphic Novel) by Vera Brosgol     

A nice graphic novel about a girl and her ghost.   A ghost who is not what she makes herself out to be.     

A Wrinkle in Time (Graphic Novel) by Madeleine L'Engles      

This early 1960s Science Fiction for kids is still going strong.  Expanded into a graphic novel, you can experience the grand story of little Meg and her family as she tries to understand where her father has disappeared to.   (came before the movie)

Scooter Girl (graphic novel) by Chynna Clugston Flores    

A lightweight romance comic book?  Hardly. Flores transfers the 1960s London street scene to the modern Southern California.  Its a tale of a Casanova undone by his infatuation with/curse of a Mod girl femme-fatal.  Art and story meld wonderfully.  I enjoyed it.  

Lost Trail (Graphic Novel) by Don Fendler    

 A Maine Classic of a youth who was lost for nine days on Mount Katahdin.  An adventure involving depravation, starvation, nightmares, cold, rain, sunburns, lacerations, near drownings, bear encounters, Artist Bishop does great illustrations to move the story along. 

 El Deafo (graphic novel) by Cece Bell      The experience of going deaf, how people of respond to her and how it affects Cece. Illustrated in non-threatening art.  A good way to understand handicaps from El Deafo herself.     

Sisters (Graphic Novel) by Raina Telgemeier    A memoir dedicated to her sister, Raina's family life in visual form is like watching an old TV sitcom; comforting, familiar and light.     

Staff Picks   Outstanding Titles We Enjoy & Recommend

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! - Karen

Bellewether, by Susanna Kearsley 

I like the technique whereby Kearsley smoothly transitions from one time period to the next with just an a tricky phrase. Her love story during the 1850's and in present time, runs with unbroken interest as we anticipate the next move; and the ghost story ties it all together. 

Beginning with the French & Indian War, this thriller is with rich historical resonance! It's the summer of 1759, and the world is at war. Loyalties are complicated. Many in New York have been playing a treacherous game with their British rulers. In this world of conflict and secrecy, a young captured French Canadian lieutenant is billeted with a Long Island family, only to find himself drawn to the daughter of the house. He cannot speak her language, but he can see into her soul. Legend has it that their love ended tragically, but centuries later, a young historian discovers that the clues they left behind might unveil the true story.   - Karen


Mary B: An untold story of Pride and Prejudice, by Katherine J. Chen

I really loved this book by Katherine Chen. Her writing is perfect. I've always been intrigued by the character of Mary Bennett and I felt like this novel was written just for me.     - Kath

What is to be done with Mary Bennet? The awkward middle child of five, she possesses neither the beauty of her eldest sister, Jane, nor the high spirited charm of Lizzy. Even compared to her frivolous younger siblings, Kitty and Lydia, Mary knows she is lacking in the ways that matter for single women in nineteenth-century England, who must marry in order to secure their futures. At least she has the silent rebellion and secret pleasures of reading  and writing to keep her company.     

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.  -  by Katherine Osborne


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.    

American by Day by Derek B. Miller

Norwegian by Night is one of my favorite novels, so you can understand my trepidation regarding this sequel. The story picks up about a month later, with Police Chief Sigrid Odegard, who is struggling with the outcome of Sheldon Horowitz's adventures, and while on leave, travels to America to find her brother. I needn't have worried. This novel is just as great as the first. Beautifully written with snappy dialogue, great characters, and most importantly - soul. - Katherine


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!


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 is 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.

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.

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.

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 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.