Book List, Staff Picks

New Staff Picks

After a year of these posts I’m running out of clever titles and intros, so without further ado, here are our latest staff picks! Each cover is followed by our own blurbs and the publisher’s description – click on the cover to purchase or our names to see our most recent picks!

The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea

Words simply cannot express how excited I was to find a WWII novel set on the Orkney islands. I have long loved the archipelago and the history of Scapa Flow (a bay used during both World Wars by the British Royal Navy) and I found myself completely immersed in the story woven by Caroline Lea about the young women coming to terms with both loss and the meaning of life itself.

In the dark days of World War II, an unlikely romance blossoms between a Scottish woman and an Italian prisoner of war in this haunting novel with the emotional complexity of The Boat Runner and All the Light We Cannot See—a powerful and atmospheric story of love, jealousy, and conscience that illuminates the beauty of the human spirit from the author of The Glass Woman.

In the wake of the Allies’ victory in North Africa, 1,000 Italian soldiers have been sent to a remote island off the Scottish coast to wait out the war. Their arrival has divided the island’s community. Nerves frayed from three years of war and the constant threat of invasion, many locals fear the enemy prisoners and do not want them there.

Where their neighbors see bloodthirsty enemies, however, orphaned sisters Dorothy and Constance see sick and wounded men unused to the freezing cold of an Orkney winter, and volunteer to nurse them. While doing so Dorothy finds herself immediately drawn to Cesare, a young man broken by the horrors of battle.

But as the war drags on, tensions between the islanders and the outsiders deepen, and Dorothy’s connection to Cesare threatens the bond she shares with Constance. Since the loss of their parents, the sisters have relied on each other. Now, their loyalty will be tested, each forced to weigh duty against desire . . . until, one fateful evening, a choice must be made, one that that will have devastating consequences.

Where the Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass

With lush descriptions that bring the island of Tobago to life, and lyrical writing that makes the entire book feel like a song, WHERE THE RHYTHM TAKES YOU is a love story that will carry you away. Reyna is a beautiful, strong, independent girl coming into her own, and the love she has for her home, her mother’s hotel, her family, her friends, and Aiden give this romantic comedy the extra special something that makes it stand out and be heard. Absolutely sublime and an enjoyable read.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s PersuasionWhere the Rhythm Takes You is a romantic, mesmerizing novel of first love and second chances.

Seventeen-year-old Reyna has spent most of her life at the Plumeria, her family’s gorgeous seaside resort in Tobago. But what once seemed like paradise is starting to feel more like purgatory. It’s been two years since Reyna’s mother passed away, two years since Aiden—her childhood best friend, first kiss, first love, first everything—left the island to pursue his music dreams.

Reyna’s friends are all planning their futures and heading abroad. Even Daddy seems to want to move on, leaving her to try to keep the Plumeria running.

And that’s when Aiden comes roaring back into her life—as a VIP guest at the resort.

Aiden is now one-third of DJ Bacchanal—the latest, hottest music group on the scene. While Reyna has stayed exactly where he left her, Aiden has returned to Tobago with his Grammy-nominated band and two gorgeous LA socialites. And he may (or may not be) dating one of them…

Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire

If my soul could write books it would have written this one! Sparrow Hill Road tells the classic urban legend of the hitchiking ghost, but turns it on its head by telling it from the ghost’s point of view. Filled with road witches and the incredible blend of urban legend and mythology I cannot recommend this book enough. PLUS a third novel in the series just came out!

Rose Marshall died in 1952 in Buckley Township, Michigan, run off the road by a man named Bobby Cross—a man who had sold his soul to live forever, and intended to use her death to pay the price of his immortality. Trouble was, he didn’t ask Rose what she thought of the idea.

It’s been more than sixty years since that night, and she’s still sixteen, and she’s still running.

They have names for her all over the country: the Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. Mostly she just goes by “Rose,” a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what’s his. She’s the angel of the overpass, she’s the darling of the truck stops, and she’s going to figure out a way to win her freedom. After all, it’s not like it can kill her.

You can’t kill what’s already dead.

They Never Learn by Layne Fargo

Is it wrong to be obsessed with a morally-ambiguous professor who has a murder side-gig? Probably… and yet, here I am, totally obsessed. Layne Fargo’s They Never Learn is a super satisfying thriller; think Jennifer’s Body meets Gone Girl meets Law and Order meets If We Were Villains. If you love media about vengeful ladies, this is a must read.

From the author of the “raw, ingenious, and utterly fearless” (Wendy Walker, USA TODAY bestselling author) Temper comes a dynamic psychological thriller about two women who give bad men exactly what they deserve—perfect for fans of Killing Eve and Chelsea Cain.

Scarlett Clark is an exceptional English professor. But she’s even better at getting away with murder.

Every year, Dr. Clark searches for the worst man at Gorman University—professor, student, or otherwise—and plots his well-deserved demise. Thanks to her meticulous planning, she’s avoided drawing attention to herself…but as she’s preparing for her biggest kill yet, the school starts probing into the growing body count on campus. Determined to keep her enemies close, Dr. Clark insinuates herself into the investigation and charms the woman in charge. Everything’s going according to her master plan…until she loses control with her latest victim, putting her secret life at risk of exposure.

Meanwhile, Gorman student Carly Schiller is just trying to survive her freshman year. Finally free of her emotionally abusive father, all Carly wants is to focus on her studies and fade into the background. Her new roommate has other ideas. Allison Hadley is cool and confident—everything Carly wishes she could be—and the two girls quickly form an intense friendship. So when Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, Carly becomes obsessed with making the attacker pay…and turning her fantasies about revenge into a reality.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer is a beautiful and magical story. I absolutely love Laini Taylor’s writing. I also love the characters and learning about the world. This is an amazing book and I highly recommend it.

From National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor comes an epic fantasy about a mythic lost city and its dark past.

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around–and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was just five years old, he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the form of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? And who is the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams?

In this sweeping and breathtaking novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

The answers await in Weep.

The Tea Dragon Society by Kay O’Neill

For readers of all ages, The Tea Dragon Society is a beautifully told and illustrated graphic novel featuring a cast of diverse characters, with enough whimsy and hope to brighten your darkest days. Dealing with friendship, the importance of traditions, and featuring many cute dragons in teacups, this short read will leave a lasting impression in one hundred pages or less.

From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes THE TEA DRAGON SOCIETY, the beloved and charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons. After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.

Everybody Has a Podcast (Except You) by Justin, Travis & Griffin McElroy

Have you ever wanted to know how podcasts work? Have you ever been having a conversation with a friend and said, “Wow, we should be recording this!” Then this book is for you. Join your favortist brothers, the McElroys. See how your favorite shows, like The Adventure Zone, MBMBaM, and more were created, and learn how to make fun of yourself to strangers on the internet with your family and friends!

From the #1 New York Times bestselling McElroy Brothers, creators of the hit podcasts My Brother, My Brother and Me and The Adventure Zone, comes a helpful and hilarious how-to podcast guide covering everything you need to know to make, produce, edit, and promote a podcast…and get rich* doing it! (*Results not guaranteed.)

Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy made their names as “advice giving brothers who have no business giving advice” (New York Times) on the hit podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me. But while they may not have the best relationship or workplace advice, they certainly make you laugh, and they do know a thing or two about podcasting.  

In fact, the McElroy Brothers have spent the last decade making podcasts, including My Brother, My Brother and Me; The Adventure Zone; Sawbones; and more. From their start, independently producing and releasing the early episodes of My Brother, My Brother and Me, to their eleven currently available podcasts, the McElroys have become experts in creating successful podcasts. And now, they want to share what they’ve learned with you.

In Everybody Has a Podcast (Except You), the McElroy Brothers will walk you through the process of turning an idea into ear-candy for legions of fans, sharing their expertise on everything from deciding on an effective name (definitely not something like My Brother, My Brother and Me), what type of microphone to use (definitely not one from the video game Rock Band), to making lots and lots of money (spoiler: you probably won’t).

A must-read for anyone interested in podcasting, Everybody Has a Podcast (Except You) shares the keys to success as well as the mistakes to avoid and draws on the vast experiences of three of the funniest and most successful podcasters working today.

The Demonologist by Gerald Brittle

The Demonologist is a collection of some of the most spine-chilling, “true” cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren, the couple at the center of the Conjuring franchise. Read about the real-life Annabelle (a much less intimidating Raggedy Ann doll) and the Enfield poltergeist, along with some of the Warren’s lesser-known cases. Whether or not you’re a believer, this book is a fun and fascinating look at the ultimate paranormal power couple.

Ed and Lorraine Warren are considered America’s foremost experts on demonology and exorcism. With thousands of investigations to their credit, they reveal what actually breaks the peace in haunted houses and how it can happen to you. Don’t miss the Warrens in the blockbuster film The Conjuring. In The Demonologist the Warrens discuss many of their cases including Annabelle and the Enfield Poltergeist — those case files are the basis for the upcoming films Annabelle and The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist. If you think ghosts are only responsible for hauntings, think again. Used as a text in seminaries and classrooms, this is one book you can’t put down. Now includes exclusive photographic documentation of phenomena in progress.

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