Best New Books: Week of 10/1/2019

If you like to be scared then this October is shaping up to be a good one for you. Elements of fear and the supernatural creep into the majority of this week’s best new books, even one of the memoirs. And for the truly brave, we have 3 new straight-up horror entries to recommend. For those with a weaker constitution however, don’t worry, there are still plenty of less nightmare-inducing books to pick from too.



FICTION



The Topeka School by  Ben Lerner ★

topeka schoolAdam Gordon is a senior at Topeka High School, class of 1997. His mother, Jane, is a famous feminist author; his father, Jonathan, is an expert at getting “lost boys” to open up. They both work at the Foundation, a well-known psychiatric clinic that has attracted staff and patients from around the world. Adam is a renowned debater and orator, expected to win a national championship before he heads to college. He is an aspiring poet. He is–although it requires a great deal of posturing, weight lifting, and creatine supplements–one of the cool kids, passing himself off as a “real man,” ready to fight or (better) freestyle about fighting if it keeps his peers from thinking of him as weak. Adam is also one of the seniors who brings the loner Darren Eberheart–who is, unbeknownst to Adam, his father’s patient–into the social scene, with disastrous effects.

Deftly shifting perspectives and time periods, Ben Lerner’s The Topeka School is the story of a family’s struggles and strengths: Jane’s reckoning with the legacy of an abusive father, Jonathan’s marital transgressions, the challenge of raising a good son in a culture of toxic masculinity. It is also a riveting prehistory of the present: the collapse of public speech, the trolls and tyrants of the new right, and the ongoing crisis of identity among white men.

Description from Goodreads.

“Fiercely intelligent.” – New York Times Book Review

“This third novel from Lerner arrives laden with the kind of hype that can sink a story from the get-go (‘the future of the novel is here’). And then the book itself―page by page, sentence by sentence―surmounts it… The onset of a coming, nameless dread is palpable―as is the sublime pleasure of Lerner’s prodigious mastery of plot, style, and form.” – Vogue

“…weaves a masterful narrative of the impact that mental illness, misogyny, homophobia, politics, and religion have on children who want to be men… It’s rare to find a book that is simultaneously searing in its social critique and so lush in its prose that it verges on poetry.” – The Paris Review

“…thoroughly, intimidatingly brilliant and absolutely contemporary… It’s funny, and at times, painfully acute… [Lerner] is a supremely gifted prose stylist, at once theoretical and conversational; he never bores or blathers, and is always limpid. Rather than inviting the reader to look at him or his life, he invites the reader to look through him.” – Harper’s

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Frankissstein: A Love Story by  Jeanette Winterson ★ 

frankisssteinIn Brexit Britain, a young transgender doctor called Ry is falling in love – against their better judgement – with Victor Stein, a celebrated professor leading the public debate around AI.

Meanwhile, Ron Lord, just divorced and living with Mum again, is set to make his fortune launching a new generation of sex dolls for lonely men everywhere.

Across the Atlantic, in Phoenix, Arizona, a cryogenics facility houses dozens of bodies of men and women who are medically and legally dead… but waiting to return to life.

But the scene is set in 1816, when nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley writes a story about creating a non-biological life-form. ‘Beware, for I am fearless and therefore powerful.’

What will happen when homo sapiens is no longer the smartest being on the planet? Jeanette Winterson shows us how much closer we are to that future than we realise. Funny and furious, bold and clear-sighted, Frankissstein is a love story about life itself.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] dazzlingly intelligent meditation on the responsibilities of creation, the possibilities of artificial intelligence and the implications of both transsexuality and transhumanism… Winterson’s great gift as a writer… is the ability to inject pure thought with such freewheeling enthusiasm and energy that ideas take on their own kind of joyous life. Frankissstein abounds with invention… Deeply evocative historical realism balanced by hilarious, almost bawdy set pieces… A work of both pleasure and profundity, robustly and skillfully structured.” – The Guardian

“Sparky, funny and finely calibrated to ask weighty questions with the lightest of touches, Frankissstein is romantic, unsettling and beautifully written.” – Sunday Express

“A riotous reimagining with an energy and passion all of its own that reanimates Frankenstein as a cautionary tale for a contemporary moment dominated by debates about Brexit, gender, artificial intelligence and medical experimentation… While the story has a gripping momentum of its own, it also fizzes with ideas.” – Financial Times

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook


The Library of the Unwritten by  A.J. Hackwith

library of the unwrittenMany years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing—a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell… and Earth.

Description from Goodreads.

“Elaborate worldbuilding, poignant and smart characters, and a layered plot… An ode to books, writing, and found families.”-  Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Hackwith writes a fast-paced, suspenseful story set in an intriguing world where storytellers can duel with words and souls are not what they seem.” – Booklist

“…excellent… Hackwith builds her world and characters with loving detail, creating a delightful addition to the corpus of library-based and heaven vs. hell fantasies. This novel and its promised sequels will find a wide audience.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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Baby by  Annaleese Jochems

baby“Cynthia can understand how Anahera feels just by looking at her body.”

Cynthia is twenty-one, bored and desperately waiting for something big to happen. Her striking fitness instructor, Anahera, is ready to throw in the towel on her job and marriage. With stolen money and a dog in tow they run away and buy “Baby”, an old boat docked in the Bay of Islands, where Cynthia dreams they will live in a state of love. But strange events on an empty island turn their life together in a different direction.

Baby is a sunburnt psychological thriller of obsession and escape by one of the most exciting new voices in New Zealand fiction.

Description from Goodreads.

“Dripping with cynicism and green-eyed lust, this suspenseful debut from a Kiwi author is driven by the compulsively off-kilter worldview of its 21-year-old heroine… Creepy and tense, with a blood-thirsty climax.” – Daily Mail

“Jochems’ debut is witty and unique… A promising new voice.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Cynthia, the simpering, scheming, covetous emotional sinkhole of New Zealander Annaleese Jochems’s assured debut novel, Baby, is alive and squirming; a memorable addition to the growing coteries of unapologetic antiheroines (dis)gracing the pages of contemporary fiction… There are echoes here of Megan Abbott, Emma Cline, Zoë Heller and Miranda July: writers drawn to the intricacies and ferocious possibilities of female friendship. There’s a dollop, too, of Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley; a dash of Lord of the Flies.” – The Guardian

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook


Reinhardt’s Garden by  Mark Haber

reinhardt's gardenAt the turn of the twentieth century, as he composes a treatise on melancholy, Jacov Reinhardt sets off from his small Croatian village in search of his hero and unwitting mentor, Emiliano Gomez Carrasquilla, who is rumored to have disappeared into the South American jungle–“not lost, mind you, but retired.” Jacov’s narcissistic preoccupation with melancholy consumes him, and as he desperately recounts the myth of his journey to his trusted but ailing scribe, hope for an encounter with the lost philosopher who holds the key to Jacov’s obsession seems increasingly unlikely.

From Croatia to Germany, Hungary to Russia, and finally to the Americas, Jacov and his companions grapple with the limits of art, colonialism, and escapism in this dense, fast-paced comedy where dark satire and skewed history converge.

Description from Goodreads.

“An exhilarating fever dream about the search for the secret of melancholy… Haber’s dizzying vision dextrously leads readers right into the melancholic heart of darkness.” – Publishers Weekly

“The cynicism of Haber’s book is tempered with a sweetness that gives it a lovely balance… an innovative piece of fiction” – Houston Chronicle

Evokes Gertrude Stein, contemporary European and South American writers like Matthias Énard, Roberto Bolaño, and César Aira, with the Quixotic atmosphere of Werner Herzog films like Fitzcarraldo… A strange but lavishly imagined tale of a hard-to-describe feeling.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook


A Tall History of Sugar by  Curdella Forbes

tall history of sugarA Tall History of Sugar tells the story of Moshe Fisher, a man who was “born without skin,” so that no one is able to tell what race he belongs to; and Arrienne Christie, his quixotic soul mate who makes it her duty in life to protect Moshe from the social and emotional consequences of his strange appearance.

The narrative begins with Moshe’s birth in the late 1950s, four years before Jamaica’s independence from colonial rule, and ends in the era of what Forbes calls “the fall of empire,” the era of Brexit and Donald Trump. The historical trajectory layers but never overwhelms the scintillating love story as the pair fight to establish their own view of loving, against the moral force of the colonial “plantation” and its legacies that continue to affect their lives and the lives of those around them.

Written in lyrical, luminous prose that spans the range of Jamaican Englishes, this remarkable story follows the couple’s mysterious love affair from childhood to adulthood, from the haunted environs of rural Jamaica to the city of Kingston, and then to England—another haunted locale in Forbes’s rendition.

Following on the footsteps of Marlon James’s debut novel, John Crow’s Devil, which Akashic Books published in 2005, we are delighted to introduce another lion of Jamaican literature with the publication of A Tall History of Sugar.

Description from Goodreads.

“Forbes’ novel, rich in metaphors and biblical and fairy-tale allusions, explores the cyclical nature of birth and death, and the overwhelming and terrifying power of love. It is also a forceful critique of colonialism…Born to this complicated heritage, Moshe and Arrienne discover their voices in art and social protest as Jamaica grapples with independence and identity. A fascinating post-colonial blend of romance, social history, and myth.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“In her immersive modern fairy tale, Forbes unspools an unlikely love story as well as a haunting, hypnotic piece of postcolonial Jamaican history… Arrienne’s recount moves in hopscotch fashion, but it’s driven forward by her enchanting voice, to which Forbes brings an electric lyricism. Her dialogue beautifully captures the lilt and variety of Jamaican patois… Forbes’s ambitious, fantastic tale will appeal to fans of multigenerational sagas.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“In some ways this book tells a story of a love too deep to become romantic. In other ways it’s a novel of colonialism and its tragic aftermath of racism and economic despair. But most of all, the book is a journey. The characters are so vivid, their depictions so intimate, that the skin of the pages themselves almost pulse beneath the reader’s fingers. A powerful journey into the souls of two lovers, two countries, and the people caught in the wakes of empires.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook



SUSPENSE



The Butterfly Girl by  Rene Denfeld

butterfly girlA year ago, Naomi, the investigator with an uncanny ability for finding missing children, made a promise that she would not take another case until she finds the younger sister who has been missing for years. Naomi has no picture, not even a name. All she has is a vague memory of a strawberry field at night, black dirt under her bare feet as she ran for her life.

The search takes her to Portland, Oregon, where scores of homeless children wander the streets like ghosts, searching for money, food, and companionship. The sharp-eyed investigator soon discovers that young girls have been going missing for months, many later found in the dirty waters of the river. Though she does not want to get involved, Naomi is unable to resist the pull of children in need—and the fear she sees in the eyes of a twelve-year old girl named Celia. Running from an abusive stepfather and an addict mother, Celia has nothing but hope in the butterflies—her guides and guardians on the dangerous streets. She sees them all around her, tiny iridescent wisps of hope that soften the edges of this hard world and illuminate a cherished memory from her childhood—the Butterfly Museum, a place where everything is safe and nothing can hurt her.

As danger creeps closer, Naomi and Celia find echoes of themselves in one another, forcing them each to consider the question: Can you still be lost even when you’ve been found? But will they find the answer too late?

Description from Goodreads.

“Chilling, suspenseful and yet full of hope, Denfeld’s second mystery is as satisfying as her first.” – Washington Post

“…gripping… Denfeld depicts the bleak lives of street kids in heart-wrenching detail; the realities of homelessness are rendered in stark language, a striking juxtaposition against Celia’s fantasy world. Denfeld emphasizes throughout that even where there is horror, there is still hope, a theme borne out in the bittersweet conclusion. Readers will be enthralled.” – Publishers Weekly

“…a riveting novel that ripples with truth, exploring the depths of love and sacrifice in the face of a past that cannot be left dead and buried.” – Criminal Element

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook


Empire of Lies by  Raymond Khoury

empire of liesIstanbul, 1683: Mehmed IV, sultan of the Ottoman Empire, is preparing to lay siege to Vienna, capital of the Holy Roman Empire, when a mysterious visitor arrives in his bedroom–naked, covered in strange tattoos–to deliver a dangerous, world-changing message.

Paris, 2017: Ottoman flags have been flying over the great city for three hundred years, ever since its fall–along with all of Europe–to the empire’s all-conquering army. Notre Dame has been renamed the Fatih Mosque. Public spaces are segregated by gender. And Kamal Arslan Agha, a feted officer in the sultan’s secret police, is starting to question his orders.

Rumors of an impending war with the Christian Republic of America, attacks by violent extremists, and economic collapse have heightened surveillance and arrests across the empire. Tasked with surveying potential threats, Kamal has a heavy caseload–and conscience.

When a mysterious stranger–naked, covered in strange tattoos–appears on the banks of the Seine, Kamal is called in to investigate. But what he discovers is a secret buried in the empire’s past, a secret the Sultan will do anything to silence.

With the mysterious Z Protectorate one step behind, Kamal, together with Nisreen–a fierce human rights lawyer–is caught up in a race across the empire and time itself–a race that could change their world, or destroy it.

Description from Goodreads.

“Alternate histories don’t get much better than this thought-provoking mind bender… Superior and plausible worldbuilding matches an ingeniously imaginative conceit. This ranks as a classic of the genre.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“This untypical thriller powerfully mixes history, culture, warfare, and imagination.” – Kirkus Reviews

“[A] phenomenal writer who never takes a book off. Fans of Steve Berry will especially want to check this one out.” – The Real Book Spy

Available Formats:

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MYSTERY



A House of Ghosts by  W.C. Ryan

house of ghostsWinter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.

At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die.

For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one…

Description from Goodreads.

“A multi-layered, gothic masterpiece. entertaining, thought-provoking and utterly captivating’ – Lancashire Evening Post

“Plenty of conventionally spooky fun to be had, but what gives this book real atmosphere is the well-rendered pathos of a country struggling to come to terms with the loss of a generation’ – The Guardian

“Taut and poetic pose, engaging protagonists, a page-turning plot and an evocative setting – making for another atmospheric and thrilling read. a spooky romantic read that will appeal to fans of historical fiction, crime, ghost and spy novels alike.” – The Lady

Available Formats:

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Bloody Genius by  John Sandford

bloody geniusAt the local state university, two feuding departments have faced off on the battleground of science and medicine. Each carries their views to extremes that may seem absurd, but highly educated people of sound mind and good intentions can reasonably disagree, right?

Then a renowned and confrontational scholar winds up dead, and Virgil Flowers is brought in to investigate… and as he probes the recent ideological unrest, he soon comes to realize he’s dealing with people who, on this one particular issue, are functionally crazy. Among this group of wildly impassioned, diametrically opposed zealots lurks a killer, and it will be up to Virgil to sort the murderer from the mere maniacs.

Description from Goodreads.

“Compulsively readable… Readers who like a bit of unrepentant wiseass in their sleuths will find Flowers fits the bill. Sandford makes blending humor and mystery look easy.” – Publishers Weekly

“Flowers remains one of the great modern fictional detectives, and Sandford, as always, supplies amazing secondary characters, sharp dialogue, and plots that confound and amaze. A near-perfect crime novel.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Sandford is a terrific storyteller who can spin an intriguing tale… Armchair sleuths who are intent on solving the crime for themselves will need to be on their toes.” – Star Tribune

Available Formats:

Print Book | Playaway | eBook | eAudiobook


The Shape of Night by  Tess Gerritsen

shape of nightAva Collette is punishing herself for an unspeakable tragedy. So she flees Boston and rents an old home named Brodie’s Watch on a remote coastal peninsula of Maine, hoping to work on a cookbook inspired by New England cuisine that she’s been trying to finish for months. She immediately feels at peace in the isolated house–until she starts to hear strange noises.

Rumor has it that a sea captain named Brodie has haunted the house for decades. Then, one night, Ava is awakened to find herself face to face with an apparition who looks–and feels–all too real. Meanwhile, there’s been a series of accidental deaths nearby that don’t add up. And as Ava starts to check into the previous renter’s mysterious disappearance, she starts to realize that there’s a disturbing secret some in town are desperate to keep hidden.

Soon all of Ava’s waking hours are consumed by her investigation, and her nights are ignited by Captain Brodie’s ghostly visits. But even as she questions her own sanity, she knows she must uncover the truth before a killer strikes again.

Description from Goodreads.

“This supernatural thriller from bestseller Gerritsen ranks with the best of her crime fiction… This magnetic haunted house story will keep readers riveted from the very first page.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“A spellbinding thriller… Gerritsen shifts a murder mystery into a Gothic thriller, replete with an unsteady widow’s walk, secret alcove, strange smells, ominous sensations, and the ghost. The prologue echoes the dream of Manderley from Du Maurier’s Rebecca… This riveting Gothic thriller explores the limits of love, guilt, and punishment.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

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HISTORICAL FICTION



Cilka’s Journey by  Heather Morris

cilka's journeyHer beauty saved her life – and condemned her.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.

After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to Siberia. But what choice did she have? And where did the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was sent to Auschwitz when still a child?

In a Siberian prison camp, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she makes an impression on a woman doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing. Cilka begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror. And when she nurses a man called Ivan, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

Description from Goodreads.

“…stirring… Morris weaves a fast-paced story that captures the immediacy of Cilka’s duties caring for prisoners while appeasing guards at every step… Morris’s propulsive tale shows the goodness that can be found even inside the gulag.” – Publishers Weekly

“…beautiful…” – The Write Review

Available Formats:

Print Book | Playaway | eBook | eAudiobook



HORROR



Imaginary Friend by  Stephen Chbosky ★

imaginary friendWe can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with Christopher at her side. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Soon Kate and Christopher find themselves in the fight of their lives, caught in the middle of a war playing out between good and evil, with their small town as the battleground.

Description from Goodreads.

“Chbosky’s horror writing stands on its own… a gleeful meditation… the nine years Chbosky reportedly spent writing the book shows in his well-crafted scares, snappy pacing and finely tuned plot. Imaginary Friend is well worth the time for those who dare.” – TIME

“A creepy horror yarn that would do Stephen King proud… The reader will want to be sure that no one is hiding behind the chair… That’s the nature of a good scary story—and this one is excellent. A pleasing book for those who like to scare themselves silly, one to read with the lights on and the door bolted.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Reminiscent of the epic novels of Stephen King… With multiple points of view that probe the thoughts and nightmares of characters from all over town, this is an immersive read that walks the line between dark fantasy and horror [and] reads like a season of Stranger Things will sell itself to readers who have waited twenty years for a new novel from Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, 1999), but horror fans will also be curious. A big, scary book.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

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Full Throttle: Stories by  Joe Hill

full throttleA little door that opens to a world of fairy tale wonders becomes the blood-drenched stomping ground for a gang of hunters in “Faun.” A grief-stricken librarian climbs behind the wheel of an antique Bookmobile to deliver fresh reads to the dead in “Late Returns.” In “By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain,” two young friends stumble on the corpse of a plesiosaur at the water’s edge, a discovery that forces them to confront the inescapable truth of their own mortality… and other horrors that lurk in the water’s shivery depths. And tension shimmers in the sweltering heat of the Nevada desert as a faceless trucker finds himself caught in a sinister dance with a tribe of motorcycle outlaws in “Throttle,” co-written with Stephen King.

Featuring two previously unpublished stories, and a brace of shocking chillers, Full Throttle is a darkly imagined odyssey through the complexities of the human psyche. Hypnotic and disquieting, it mines our tormented secrets, hidden vulnerabilities, and basest fears, and demonstrates this exceptional talent at his very best.

Description from Goodreads.

“This collection cements Hill’s reputation as a versatile master of scares both subtle and shocking.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Every piece is driven by anxiety and unease and feature Hill’s trademark characters who feel absolutely real. But it is also the sense of place that dazzles, whether it’s a sinister version of Narnia in ‘Faun,’ on a coastal pier in ‘Dark Carousel,’ or on a plane as WWIII breaks out in ‘You Are Released.’ Hill lulls the reader into deep enjoyment, even as the terror lies just around the corner.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“The poet laureate of everyday terrors returns with a baker’s dozen of deliciously sinister tales… Miniature masterworks of modern horror, proving that life is hard, weird, and always fatal.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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The Twisted Ones by  T. Kingfisher

twisted onesWhen Mouse’s dad asks her to clean out her dead grandmother’s house, she says yes. After all, how bad could it be?

Answer: pretty bad. Grandma was a hoarder, and her house is stuffed with useless rubbish. That would be horrific enough, but there’s more—Mouse stumbles across her step-grandfather’s journal, which at first seems to be filled with nonsensical rants…until Mouse encounters some of the terrifying things he described for herself.

Alone in the woods with her dog, Mouse finds herself face to face with a series of impossible terrors—because sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real, and they’re looking for you. And if she doesn’t face them head on, she might not survive to tell the tale.

From Hugo Award–winning author Ursula Vernon, writing as T. Kingfisher, The Twisted Ones is a gripping, terrifying tale bound to keep you up all night—from both fear and anticipation of what happens next.

Description from Goodreads.

“This occult thriller with heart boasts genuine scares.” – Publishers Weekly

“Kingfisher effortlessly entwines an atmospheric and spooky ‘deep dark woods’ tale with ancient folklore and pulls off more than a few very effective scares. Mouse is a highly relatable and frequently funny narrator who is also refreshingly willing to believe her own eyes. The charming supporting cast is a bonus, especially the glamorous, 60-something Foxy, who goes above and beyond the call of duty to help Mouse when she needs it most. Read this one with the lights on.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

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YOUNG ADULT



The Fountains of Silence by  Ruta Sepetys

fountains of silenceMadrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true post-war struggles of Spain.

Description from Goodreads.

“[Sepetys] tells a moving story made even more powerful by its placement in a lesser-known historical moment. Captivating, deft, and illuminating historical fiction.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“With The Fountains of Silence, Sepetys has once again written gripping historical fiction with great crossover appeal to adult readers, combining impeccable research with sweeping storytelling.” – BookPage, STARRED REVIEW

“Riveting… An exemplary work of historical fiction.” – The Horn Book, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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Rebel by  Marie Lu

rebelRespect the Legend. Idolize the Prodigy. Celebrate the Champion. But never underestimate the Rebel.

Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s a top student at his academy in Ross City, Antarctica, and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother.

A decade ago, Daniel was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But Day is no longer the same young man who was once a national hero. These days he’d rather hide out from the world and leave his past behind. All that matters to him now is keeping Eden safe―even if that also means giving up June, the great love of Daniel’s life.

As the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve each become since their time in the Republic, a new danger creeps into the distance that’s grown between them. Eden soon finds himself drawn so far into Ross City’s dark side, even his legendary brother can’t save him. At least not on his own…

Description from Goodreads.

“This tale of intrigue, alliances, and love will draw Legend fans and new readers into a fascinating world whose combined layers of privilege and surveillance draw comparisons to many present- day social ills.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

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NONFICTION



Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth by  Rachel Maddow

blowoutBig Oil and Gas Versus Democracy—Winner Take All.
 
Rachel Maddow’s Blowout offers a dark, serpentine, riveting tour of the unimaginably lucrative and corrupt oil-and-gas industry. With her trademark black humor, Maddow takes us on a switchback journey around the globe—from Oklahoma City to Siberia to Equatorial Guinea—exposing the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas. She shows how Russia’s rich reserves of crude have, paradoxically, stunted its growth, forcing Putin to maintain his power by spreading Russia’s rot into its rivals, its neighbors, the United States, and the West’s most important alliances. Chevron, BP, and a host of other industry players get their star turn, but ExxonMobil and the deceptively well-behaved Rex Tillerson emerge as two of the past century’s most consequential corporate villains. The oil-and-gas industry has weakened democracies in developed and developing countries, fouled oceans and rivers, and propped up authoritarian thieves and killers. But being outraged at it is, according to Maddow, “like being indignant when a lion takes down and eats a gazelle. You can’t really blame the lion. It’s in her nature.”

This book is a clarion call to contain the lion: to stop subsidizing the wealthiest industry on earth, to fight for transparency, and to check the influence of predatory oil executives and their enablers. The stakes have never been higher. As Maddow writes, “Democracy either wins this one or disappears.”

Description from Goodreads.

“[Maddow] may be a popular, progressive news-and-commentary anchor on MSNBC, but it’s not to be forgotten that she holds a doctorate in politics from Oxford and seems to devour whole libraries of data before breakfast each day… Expect a tweetstorm as Maddow’s indictment of a corrupt industry finds readers—and it deserves many.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Known for her intense inquiries into complex subjects, Maddow brings her laser-like intuitiveness and keen and wily perception to Big Oil, that stalwart of global economics, and the shadowy nexus of commerce and politics. Maddow likes murky, the murkier the better, and her examination of the intricacies of off-shore drilling, transnational pipelines, and hydraulic fracking is as deep as the coveted wells themselves… Like trailblazing journalists before her, Maddow exposes both the slapdash and sinister practices underlying geopolitics and energy policies and revels in peeling back the layers of malfeasance to stoke righteous outrage.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright by  Paul Hendrickson

plagued by fireFrank Lloyd Wright has long been known as a rank egotist who held in contempt almost everything aside from his own genius. Harder to detect, but no less real, is a Wright who fully understood, and suffered from, the choices he made. This is the Wright whom Paul Hendrickson reveals in this masterful biography: the Wright who was haunted by his father, about whom he told the greatest lie of his life. And this, we see, is the Wright of many other neglected aspects of his story: his close, and perhaps romantic, relationship with friend and early mentor Cecil Corwin; the eerie, unmistakable role of fires in his life; the connection between the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 and the murder of his mistress, her two children, and four others at his beloved Wisconsin home by a black servant gone mad. In showing us Wright’s facades along with their cracks, Hendrickson helps us form a fresh, deep, and more human understanding of the man. With prodigious research, unique vision, and his ability to make sense of a life in ways at once unexpected, poetic, and undeniably brilliant, he has given us the defining book on Wright. 

Description from Goodreads.

“Dazzling…  Ingenious… Plagued by Fire has moments of raw emotional power.” – The American Scholar

“Hendrickson is a researcher of unquenchable curiosity… as [he] travels the arc of Wright’s life, his investigation into its deepest mysteries achieves a powerful momentum. Wright was a genius, an egotist, and a man tormented by conscience and regret, and Hendrickson’s inspired storytelling is worthy of its subject.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book


Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick by  Wendy Wood

good habits bad habitsWe spend a shocking 43 percent of our day doing things without thinking about them. That means that almost half of our actions aren’t conscious choices but the result of our non-conscious mind nudging our body to act along learned behaviors. How we respond to the people around us; the way we conduct ourselves in a meeting; what we buy; when and how we exercise, eat, and drink–a truly remarkable number of things we do every day, regardless of their complexity, operate outside of our awareness. We do them automatically. We do them by habit. And yet, whenever we want to change something about ourselves, we rely on willpower. We keep turning to our conscious selves, hoping that our determination and intention will be enough to effect positive change. And that is why almost all of us fail. But what if you could harness the extraordinary power of your unconscious mind, which already determines so much of what you do, to truly reach your goals?

Wendy Wood draws on three decades of original research to explain the fascinating science of how we form habits, and offers the key to unlocking our habitual mind in order to make the changes we seek. A potent mix of neuroscience, case studies, and experiments conducted in her lab, Good Habits, Bad Habits is a comprehensive, accessible, and above all deeply practical book that will change the way you think about almost every aspect of your life. By explaining how our brains are wired to respond to rewards, receive cues from our surroundings, and shut down when faced with too much friction, Wood skillfully dissects habit formation, demonstrating how we can take advantage of this knowledge to form better habits. Her clear and incisive work shows why willpower alone is woefully inadequate when we’re working toward building the life we truly want, and offers real hope for those who want to make positive change.

Description from Goodreads.

“Many authors have written about habits… but Wood is also a premier scientist in psychology, working on how habits affect and are affected by the human mind. Top tip: Willpower isn’t enough. But through her original research, Wood explains what does work.” – Washington Post

“[An] enlightening debut… [Wendy Wood] eloquently explains current research on the role habits play in everyday activities such as snacking, exercising, and commuting… Her insightful, data-driven advice includes tactics such as “stacking”―grouping desired behaviors together with already-established behavioral patterns to incorporate actions into routines. Wood’s research and perspective on the malleability of habits will bring hope to any reader looking to create long-term behavioral change.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book


Toil and Trouble: A Memoir by  Augusten Burroughs

toil and trouble“Here’s a partial list of things I don’t believe in: God. The Devil. Heaven. Hell. Bigfoot. Ancient Aliens. Past lives. Life after death. Vampires. Zombies. Reiki. Homeopathy. Rolfing. Reflexology. Note that ‘witches’ and ‘witchcraft’ are absent from this list. The thing is, I wouldn’t believe in them, and I would privately ridicule any idiot who did, except for one thing: I am a witch.”

For as long as Augusten Burroughs could remember, he knew things he shouldn’t have known. He manifested things that shouldn’t have come to pass. And he told exactly no one about this, save one person: his mother. His mother reassured him that it was all perfectly normal, that he was descended from a long line of witches, going back to the days of the early American colonies. And that this family tree was filled with witches. It was a bond that he and his mother shared–until the day she left him in the care of her psychiatrist to be raised in his family (but that’s a whole other story). After that, Augusten was on his own. On his own to navigate the world of this tricky power; on his own to either use or misuse this gift.

From the hilarious to the terrifying, Toil & Trouble is a chronicle of one man’s journey to understand himself, to reconcile the powers he can wield with things with which he is helpless. There are very few things that are coincidences, as you will learn in Toil & Trouble. Ghosts are real, trees can want to kill you, beavers are the spawn of Satan, houses are alive, and in the end, love is the most powerful magic of all.

Description from Goodreads.

“Burroughs’ unique ability to translate his fears, anxieties, and dreams into something universal feels a little like, well, magic… This hilarious and spellbinding memoir will generate a whirl of requests.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“An amusing foray into the witchy realms of Burroughs’ life…” – Kirkus Reviews

“…whimsical… Burroughs’s fans will love his comic riffs…” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book | Playaway


Face It by  Debbie Harry

face itDebbie Harry is a musician, actor, activist and the iconic face of New York City cool. As the front-woman of Blondie, she and the band forged a new sound that brought together the worlds of rock, punk, disco, reggae and hip-hop to create some of the most beloved pop songs of all time. As a muse, she collaborated with some of the boldest artists of the past four decades. The scope of Debbie Harry’s impact on our culture has been matched only by her reticence to reveal her rich inner life – until now.

In an arresting mix of visceral, soulful storytelling and stunning visuals that includes never-before-seen photographs, bespoke illustrations and fan art installations, Face It upends the standard music memoir while delivering a truly prismatic portrait. With all the grit, grime, and glory recounted in intimate detail, Face It recreates the downtown scene of 1970s New York City, where Blondie played alongside the Ramones, Television, Talking Heads, Iggy Pop and David Bowie.

Following her path from glorious commercial success to heroin addiction, the near-death of partner Chris Stein, a heart-wrenching bankruptcy, and Blondie’s break-up as a band to her multifaceted acting career in more than thirty films, a stunning solo career and the triumphant return of her band, and her tireless advocacy for the environment and LGBTQ rights, Face It is a cinematic story of a woman who made her own path, and set the standard for a generation of artists who followed in her footsteps – a memoir as dynamic as its subject.

Description from Goodreads.

“Blondie fans will love its piquant atmospherics and the energy and honesty of Harry’s take on her singular saga.” – Publishers Weekly

“In this whirlwind tour of her life, Harry, one of the most photographed faces in music, deploys an irreverent style well suited to her story… In a narrative that feels simultaneously heartfelt and spontaneous, Harry recounts close encounters with violence and harassment with the same immediacy as the moments that catapulted Blondie to worldwide fame. Harry doesn’t focus on the challenges of being a woman in the music industry but rather on the collaborations that fueled her creativity. Though her sound and style influenced rock, and especially women in rock, there’s refreshingly little self-congratulation in these pages. Instead, readers will find reflection on life with a budding band and an uncensored view of what it took to succeed… A wild ride of fame, friendships, music, and drugs…” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book


Tartine: A Classic Revisited: 68 All-New Recipes + 55 Updated Favorites by  Elisabeth M. Prueitt & Chad Robertson

tartineThis brilliantly revisited and beautifully rephotographed book is a totally updated edition of a go-to classic for home and professional bakers—from one of the most acclaimed and inspiring bakeries in the world. Tartine offers more than 50 new recipes that capture the invention and, above all, deliciousness that Tartine is known for—including their most requested recipe, the Morning Bun. Favorites from the original book are here, too, revamped to speak to our tastes today and to include whole-grain and/or gluten-free variations, as well as intriguing new ingredients and global techniques. More than 150 drop-dead gorgeous photographs from acclaimed team Gentl + Hyers make this compendium a true collectible and must-have for bakers of all skill levels.

Description from Goodreads.

“Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson of Tartine have grown their famed San Francisco bakery into a small empire, with branches in Los Angeles and Seoul, South Korea, and have written five cookbooks between them. Now, 13 years after the release of their celebrated first book, Tartine, they’ve gone back to their roots with Tartine: A Classic Revisited. It features 68 new recipes, including their beloved morning buns (a sweet roll made with croissant dough and filled with orange-scented cinnamon sugar), as well as updates to older ones to reflect current tastes. Alternative flours abound, and more modern flavors run through traditional pastries. The recipes can be involved, and produce absolute showstoppers, but the book is also full of more accessible classics like shortbread and brownies.” – New York Times

“This revised edition of the beloved baking bible is basically a brand new book, with 55 updated recipes you may already know and love (but better), plus 68 totally new ones, including gluten-free options and the sought-after recipe for the bakery’s lauded morning bun. As you can tell, the photographs are stunning too.” – Chowhound

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook


Amá: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen by   Josef Centeno & Betty Hallock

amaTex-Mex is a delicious, irreverent cuisine that combines the deep traditions of Texan and Mexican cooking. Think meaty stews, breakfast tacos, and tres leches cake. Home cooks will learn how to make them all—in addition to crunchy salads, slow-cooked meats, and fresh cocktails—in this collection of more than 100 recipes from San Antonio native and Los Angeles chef and restauranteur Josef Centeno. Organized into chapters by type of food—including breakfast, vegetables, main courses, desserts, and a super nacho party—this is down-home cooking and grilling at its most inspiring. Presented in a colorful package with more than 100 food and atmospheric photos, this cookbook is a hands-on winner for anyone who loves big flavors, casual parties, and firing up the grill.

Description from Goodreads.

“What happens when Tex-Mex finds a home in Southern California? In Josef Centeno’s new cookbook, Amá, the results are sunny and delicious, from a vegan, cashew-based ‘queso’ built on the flavors of charred onion, garlic and green chile, to a simple halved ruby red grapefruit, broiled with a topping of butter and piloncillo sugar, just like his auntie used to do.” – New York Times

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook

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