Staff Picks - April 2019

    • Courting Darkness
      Robin LaFevers

      First in a duology, this YA fantasy follows LaFevers's “His Fair Assassins” series. It continues the story of Sybella (daughter of Mortain, the god of Death) which alternates with the new assassin Genevieve. As with the original series, the audience is led on a lightning-paced chase through a story of adventure, romance, and ever-deepening medieval intrigue. Perfect for fans of Throne of Glass and Red Queen.

    • The Enchanted Hour
      Meghan Cox Gurdon

      Considering this current age of distraction, reading to our children has never been more important! Turn the devices off and read with a child – you will both benefit greatly! – Sue

    • Ghosted
      Rosie Walsh

      Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart. I did not see the twist coming. - Sarah L.

    • The Hate U Give
      Angie Thomas

      In a timely YA novel Starr, a 16-year-old black girl living in Garden Heights, is sent to a suburban school after the shooting of her best friend. Now in the minority, living in two different worlds, she creates two versions of herself: ghetto Starr and cool Starr. She meets an old friend at a party but when gunshots ring out, they leave. As Khalil drives her home, a police officer pulls them over and shoots Khalil. Starr has now seen the shootings of both of her best friends. What she says (or doesn’t) could change the course of events or even endanger her life. The audiobook narrator was excellent, especially with all the slang, dialect, and different character voices. – Katy

    • Heartland
      Sarah Smarsh

      An eye-opening memoir of working-class poverty in America that will deepen our understanding of the ways in which class shapes our country. Born a fifth generation Kansas wheat farmer on her paternal side and the product of generations of teen mothers on her maternal side, Smarsh gives us a beautifully written memoir that combines personal narrative with powerful analysis and cultural commentary. Heartland examines the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less.

    • Honor Among Thieves
      Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

      For an updated version of Anne McCaffrey’s The Ship Who Sang try this YA science fiction series kick-off. The authors take the concept of sentient ships and make them alien beings who are space explorers that have humans living and working inside them. The Leviathan saved us from self-annihilation and now offer to selflessly give 100 humans a year a lottery that includes space travel. What could possibly go wrong?

    • A Howl of Wolves
      Judith Flanders

      How kind of Sam Clair to attend the West End play in which her upstairs neighbors have small parts. And how shocking that when the second act opens, the director is found dangling from the rafters. The fourth in the Samantha Clair series gives readers a fascinating backstage look at the theater and insight into the amusing workings of the British publishing world. Anyone interested in mysteries and books and humor (and who isn't?) will enjoy Flanders' latest delightful novel.

    • The Radleys
      Matt Haig

      Everyone in town knows that something's a little odd about the Radleys, but their neighbors would never guess that they are really abstaining vampires (and neither would their two children). This book is as much about family as it is about vampires, and I found the characters as endearing as the plot was exciting. - Carrie

    • Slayer
      Kiersten White

      As a huge fan of the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I really enjoyed this book. There are tons of throwbacks to the show, including quips and dialogue. Just like the original, Slayer is about more than vampires. It’s a coming-of-age story of how a teenage girl finds her worth and strength as the newest Chosen slayer. I had fun with the unique characters and the comedic value they added. I especially like that the main character and her twin sister were named for the goddesses Athena and Artemis.

    • Small Great Things
      Jodi Picoult

      Picoult takes a hard look at racism and white privilege in this novel of a white infant who suddenly dies a day after his birth and the hard-working black nurse, who is blamed for the death. It is told from three points of view: the nurse, the white supremacist father who believes his baby was murdered, and the white public defender who is good-hearted, but is mostly oblivious to institutional prejudice in this country. Picoult’s writing ranges from poetic to expertly detailed as the situation requires. A very worthwhile read! – Kevin

    • The Stranger Diaries
      Elly Griffiths

      In a departure from her acclaimed mystery series, Griffiths offers a gripping gothic standalone. Clare Cassidy, a high school English teacher specializing in Victorian writer R.M. Holland, is horrified to see her world collide with the storylines of her favorite literature. Has Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger”, come to life? Perfect for fans of British mysteries and classic whodunits like the The Magpie Murders.

    • Warlight
      Michael Ondaatje

      Years after growing up in the care of a group of mysterious protectors who served in unspecified ways during World War II, a young man endeavors to piece together the truth about his parents and the unconventional education he received. A mesmerizing new novel by the author of The English Patient.

    • When God Doesn't Fix It
      Laura Story

      Worship leader and recording artist Laura Story's life took an unexpected turn when her husband, Martin, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Their lives would never be the same. This book is about how her faith has helped her deal with her husband’s illness, and all the struggles since.

    • Where There's Hope
      Elizabeth Smart

      What I liked about this book was that it’s not just about her own story, but also stories from a variety of people from all walks of life and how they found hope and were able to move forward to reclaim their lives. - Laura

    • Women Warriors
      Pamela D. Toler

      From Vikings and African queens to cross-dressing military doctors and WWII Russian fighter pilots, these are the stories of women who fought because they wanted to, because they had to, or because they could. In this fascinating and lively world history, Toler not only introduces us to women who took up arms, she also shows why they did it and what happened when they stepped out of their traditional female roles to take on other identities.