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The Angel of Indian Lake (The Indian Lake Trilogy #3) By Stephen Graham Jones Cover Image
ISBN: 9781668011669
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: S&S/Saga Press - March 26th, 2024

Ryan's March 2024 pick

The Angel of Indian Lake opens its pages like the elevator doors in The Shining and an endless wave of blood surges out. 

This isn’t just a slasher. This is a hundred slashers. This is every slasher. This is a massacre

As you wade through the third act body dump, picking your way through dismembered limbs and severed heads, flinching away from axes and chainsaws and bear claws and corpses grabbing for your ankles, a hand reaches through the carnage and pulls you to relative safety (but are you ever really safe?). Jade Daniels, back in Proofrock, Idaho, returns as your tour guide for the slaughter in this finale. 

The Angel of Indian Lake is more brutal, more bloody, more horrific by far than its older siblings, going off the rails in the best possible way and taking as many lives as it can grab on the way. Through all of it, you can’t help but feel safe with Jade Daniels by your side. She’ll loudly declare that she is no final girl, has never been the final girl, can’t possibly be the final girl, but readers, Jade Daniels is my Final Girl. She will always be my Final Girl. 

This book is a perfect ending to a perfect trilogy…though if Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter has taught me anything, it’s that there’s always a chance the slasher will return… 

Horror fans, brace yourselves, you’re in for a grisly ride, and you’re going to love every blood-soaked second. 

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Nestlings By Nat Cassidy Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250265258
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tor Nightfire - October 31st, 2023

Ryan's October 2023 pick (1 of 7)

A terrifying and heartrending mashup of the horrors of parenthood, disability, and vampires. This book will be sticking with me for a long time.

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Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror By Jordan Peele (Editor), John Joseph Adams (Editor), Jordan Peele (Introduction by), N. K. Jemisin (Contributions by), Rebecca Roanhorse (Contributions by), Tananarive Due (Contributions by), Nnedi Okorafor (Contributions by) Cover Image
By Jordan Peele (Editor), John Joseph Adams (Editor), Jordan Peele (Introduction by), N. K. Jemisin (Contributions by), Rebecca Roanhorse (Contributions by), Tananarive Due (Contributions by), Nnedi Okorafor (Contributions by)
ISBN: 9780593243794
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - October 3rd, 2023

Ryan's October 2023 pick (2 of 7)

I was, indeed, out there screaming when I received an early copy of this Anthology of New Black Horror edited by none other than Jordan Peele. I continued screaming as I looked at the table of contents and saw some of the best writers in horror on that list. My screaming got more intense with every single story, as I picked my way through the gorgeously written and utterly terrifying short stories that make up this anthology. I was still screaming as I tried to pick a favorite story, or even a top three, and realized that my favorite story is whichever one I’m reading at the time because they’re all perfect, they’re all scary, they’re all brilliant. Now, I’m out there screaming about how amazing this anthology is, and how every fan of horror needs this in their collection. I mean, it’s an anthology of Black Horror edited by Jordan Peele. Why do you need me to convince you? You should own this already. 

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Mister Magic: A Novel By Kiersten White Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593359266
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - August 8th, 2023

Ryan's October 2023 pick (3 of 7)

Imagine if your favorite show from childhood ended suddenly, tragically, and then no clips or info about it ever surfaced online. You only have your memories, and the collective nostalgia of others online who also remember the program. The only proof that the show ever existed is a single Wikipedia page with a cast list, nothing more. No director, no producer, even the host doesn’t seem to exist. Just the names of the children from the show, and the occasional Reddit thread that will inevitably be deleted after a few days. 

Then, suddenly, a podcast about the show promises a cast reunion thirty years later. 

Now, memories will resurface, secrets will be revealed, and perhaps there will be answers to all of the burning questions surrounding the mysterious show.  

With Mister Magic, Kiersten White has captured the uncanny valley of television programming in such a way that as you’re reading, a deep weirdness settles into your chest, making you absolutely certain that something incredibly sinister is lurking nearby, watching you, and yet if you were to turn your head and look…there’d be nothing there. 

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Bloom By Delilah S. Dawson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781803365756
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Titan Books - October 3rd, 2023

Ryan’s October 2023 pick (4 of 7)

This is the most delicious sapphic horror. 

Delilah S. Dawson lures you in with a sweet and seductive sapphic romance, distracting you with cupcakes and plants and cottagecore vibes, until suddenly you’re tied up in a nightmare that you didn’t notice twisting around you. This book pulses with desire and dread. It seethes with tension and seduction. It tantalizes and terrifies in equal measure. 

Bloom is dangerously delectable and I absolutely devoured it. 

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Starling House By Alix E. Harrow Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250799050
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - October 3rd, 2023

Ryan's October 2023 pick (5 of 7)

Welcome to Starling House. It’s creepy, it’s decrepit, it’s probably cursed. It sits in the middle of Eden, Kentucky, a small town plagued by mysterious deaths and disappearances. 

Come for the spooky house, stay for the incredibly dark, romantic, contemporary southern gothic fairy tale that swirls and twists and spins like a murmuration of starlings. 

Alix E. Harrow’s latest novel is Beauty and the Beast meets The Haunting of Hill House. The main character is neither the feisty Opal who will do whatever it takes to get her brother out of Eden, nor the trauma-laden, rarely glimpsed Arthur Starling, but in fact the borderline sentient Starling House with the temperament of an annoyed cat, a penchant for choosing its family, and a basement full of beasts. 

I want to live in the pages of this book. Starling House is one of the best things I’ve read this year. 

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Maeve Fly By CJ Leede Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250857859
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Nightfire - June 6th, 2023

Ryan's October 2023 pick (6 of 7)

Maeve Fly is the novel for the person who loves the Disney Parks as much as they love Horror.

It’s for the person who listens to Halloween music all year round.

It’s for the person who doesn’t bat an eye at gore and depravity in their movies and novels.

It’s for the person who laments the lack of female serial killers in the genre.

Maeve Fly is the novel for the person who hears the pitch “Disneyland’s Elsa by day, American Psycho by night” and responds with, “sign me all the way up”.

It’s me. I’m the person Maeve Fly is for. 

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Fever House: A Novel By Keith Rosson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593595756
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - August 15th, 2023

Ryan's October 2023 pick (7 of 7)

The Wire meets Supernatural in this devilishly gruesome, gritty, incredibly cool book. 

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The September House By Carissa Orlando Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593548615
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - September 5th, 2023

Ryan's September 2023 pick (1 of 4)

Humans really can normalize anything, regardless of whether or not it’s healthy for them to do so. The September House is a masterpiece in Horror, and you know that I do not say that lightly. 

Margaret has found her dream home, and it’s absolutely perfect. Okay, sure, every September the walls start bleeding and the ghost children return, but it’s her dream home, and it’s not so bad, really. You see, Margaret has learned the rules, and so long as you follow the rules, everything will be fine… (Reader, everything will not be fine). 

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. There were moments where I sat frozen in fear simply from the anticipation of what might happen next in the novel (and it is incredibly difficult to scare me). There were other moments where I was laughing so hard, tears were running down my face. And then there were the moments where my heart truly broke as I grappled with the horrors of humanity that haunt these pages. The September House was a blistering journey of emotion that I was wholly unprepared for, and of which I loved every second.

On the surface, The September House is a haunted house book perfect for fans of Grady Hendrix, where the main character has simply accepted the hauntings. Scratch that surface, however, and it is a deeply moving and tender novel about humanity's (and women in particular) ability/tendency to normalize things that should never be normalized. 

Carissa Orlando has taken the haunted house trope, flipped it on its head and given us a brilliantly clever novel about so much more than ghosts. This is one of the best Horror books of the year.

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What Kind of Mother: A Novel By Clay Chapman Cover Image
ISBN: 9781683693802
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quirk Books - September 12th, 2023

Ryan's September 2023 pick (2 of 4)

Clay McLeod Chapman got me haunted with Ghost Eaters, and has me crawling out of my skin with What Kind of Mother

A gorgeous and heartbreaking southern gothic folk tale about the horrors of parenting and love gone too far. 
What Kind of Mother is drenched with love, with loss, with the screaming ache of a parent’s worst nightmare, and then…can it be? A wish granted. But reader, be careful what you wish for.

This book lures you in with false hopes and a gentle tide, and then flips your boat and drags you to the bottom of the river where the crabs are waiting to feast. 

Give me your hand and come with me into the murky depths of this horrifically beautiful novel. 

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Black Sheep By Rachel Harrison Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593545850
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - September 19th, 2023

Ryan's September 2023 pick (3 of 4)

It’s not easy being the black sheep of your family. Especially when your family is made of religious extremists. Rachel Harrison has gifted us a wicked novel about toxic family dynamics and the pressures of finding your path in life. 

This book is devilishly fun. It’s for everyone who was raised by narcissists, for everyone with toxic family members, for everyone with religious trauma, for every black sheep. 

Reading this book felt like watching Eddie Munson shred Metallica in the Upside Down. BLACK SHEEP rocks.  

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Black River Orchard By Chuck Wendig Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593158746
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - September 26th, 2023

Ryan's September 2023 pick (4 of 4)

Evil Apples. Need I say more? 

Okay, fine, I'll say a little bit more. 

The Ruby Slipper (Harrowsblack) Apple. Have you tried it yet? It's so dark it's almost black, and it will cure all of your ailments and make you better and stronger in every way and improve your life beyond measure, and look! Everyone you know is eating this apple, they can't get enough. Go on, just take a bite, it'll all be fine... 

Chuck Wendig's fairytale-esque horror novel about evil apples is deliciously terrifying. I am desperately craving an apple right now, but also I'm uncertain if I will ever eat an apple again.  

If you like your fairy tales with a heaping portion of body horror, a dash of obsession, and a spoonful of eldritch monsters, this is the novel for you. 

Go on, take a bite.

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Spin a Black Yarn: Novellas By Josh Malerman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593237861
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - August 15th, 2023

Ryan's August 2023 pick

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if Josh Malerman writes a book, it will become one of my staff picks. 

Malerman is taking us to the fictional city of Samhattan (right next to Goblin) for this collection of spooky tales. Here you'll find a pair of siblings in a half-haunted house, a would-be serial killer on his death bed, a tourist wracked with guilt on a freefall trip through Jupiter, a horrible couple trapped and confronted by their past and secrets, and a despicable Scrooge-like murderer haunted by his most recent victim's brothers. 

Samhattan is dark and gritty and gray compared to Goblin's rainy green aesthetic, and the citizens are much more sinister. This is, of course, the city that gave us Daphne. 

I loved this collection of dark novellas, and hope that you will join me in visiting Samhattan, if just for a little while. 

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Camp Damascus By Chuck Tingle Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250874627
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Nightfire - July 18th, 2023

Ryan's July 2023 pick

Welcome to Neverton, Montana, a perfectly pleasant God-fearing town with an incredibly faithful population, a strict religious high school, and Camp Damascus - the most effective Gay Conversion Camp in America…

Rose is as devout as they come, working Bible verses into every conversation, keeping herself free from sin, and honoring The Four Tenets:
Respect - I will honor when I do not understand,
Integrity - I will believe when I do not witness,
Service - I will strive when my sin is heavy,
Excellence - I will persevere when my body does not.

When, while hanging out with her new, pretty friend Martina, Rose sees a strange woman with dark stringy hair, white eyes, long fingers, a smile too large for her face, and a red polo shirt, she is understandably shaken. Then she throws up a bunch of living mayflies, and she starts to panic. But hey, at least she’s not gay, right? Right??

This book is scary and captivating, at times deeply sweet and uplifting and other times dark and chilling. The subject matter of this book is handled with great care. Camp Damascus is Queer Horror at its finest.

Do you like body horror? Demons? Revenge? Queer folks? Flame-throwers? You will love this book.

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Fourth Wing (The Empyrean #1) By Rebecca Yarros Cover Image
ISBN: 9781649374042
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Entangled: Red Tower Books - May 2nd, 2023

Ryan's July 2023 pick (2 of 2)

I don’t often cave to BookTok hype, but when bookseller after bookseller told me they’d read this book and loved it, I knew I had to read it for myself. I almost regret to inform you that this book absolutely lives up to the hype. It’s awesome. 

Strong Female Character? Check. Disability Rep? Check. Dragons? Check. Enemies to Lovers Subplot? Check. Revenge? Check. Family Tension? Check. Sacred Bonds? Check. Murder? Check. Dark Academia? Check. 

All of that, plus it is compulsively readable. A total “devour it in one sitting and then yell about the ending and immediately preorder the sequel” kind of book.

This is perfect for folks who want to dip a toe into the Fantasy genre because they like dragons, but they’re intimidated by giants like Tolkien and Martin. Fourth Wing is widely accessible, settling perfectly into that “New Adult” genre between Young Adult and Adult. 

(Plus, not only are there dragons, but the dragons can talk to their riders and they’re sometimes grumpy, sometimes funny, sometimes adorable, and all the time epic…I would absolutely lay down my life for Andarna). 

I really, truly loved Fourth Wing, and I’m here to tell you that in this case…you should listen to the hype. 

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The Edge of Sleep: A Novel By Jake Emanuel, Willie Block, Jason Gurley (With) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250284938
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - June 20th, 2023

Ryan's June 2023 pick (1 of 2)

Perfect for fans of A Nightmare on Elm Street, this book will make you fear going to sleep while simultaneously convincing your brain you haven’t slept in days.

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Everything the Darkness Eats By Eric Larocca Cover Image
ISBN: 9781955904278
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clash Books - June 13th, 2023

Ryan's June 2023 pick (2 of 2)

If you like your Horror to leave you battered and raw, buckle up, I have your next read.

Everything the Darkness Eats is bursting with malevolence, desperation, trauma, and love. At times you will feel utterly consumed by the darkness, and at other times you will catch a glimpse of the light. This novel may be small, but it is a beast in its own right...do not underestimate it. Eric LaRocca’s writing is gorgeous and addictive.

Everything the Darkness Eats is razor sharp and it will hurt you, so…if you’re into that...? Go for it. I did, and I regret nothing.

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Ghost Eaters: A Novel By Clay Chapman Cover Image
ISBN: 9781683693789
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quirk Books - June 6th, 2023

Wanna get haunted? 

Ghost Eaters is a terrifying story of grief and addiction. A pill called Ghost that supposedly parts the veil and lets the user see their dearly departed? What could possibly go wrong?

This book is chock full of body horror, stunningly disturbing imagery, horrifying ghosts, and deeply upsetting portrayals of addiction. 

I absolutely devoured it. 

Clay McLeod Chapman is a master of horror. His ghosts crawl off the page and burrow under your skin, pushing their fingers into your brain, turning you into their own Haunted House, refusing to leave after you’ve finished the book, and even then, you will crave more. 

So I ask again, wanna get haunted? (You do. You really, really do).

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Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club: A Novel By J. Ryan Stradal Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984881076
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pamela Dorman Books - April 18th, 2023

Ryan's May 2023 pick

When I interviewed J. Ryan Stradal about Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club, I asked him, if this book was a meal what meal would it be? He answered that it would have to be the prime rib platter at a supper club: less a meal, more like a friendly opponent. A good value for the price. 

I love that answer, but also I have a very different one. The meal that mirrors this book would need a variety of flavors. It would be complex, but fit together really well. It would be difficult to prepare, but ultimately delicious. When eating it, this meal would conjure up memories, nostalgia, and deep emotions. If this book was a meal, it would be the specific plate of ratatouille served to the food critic in the 2007 film, Ratatouille. 

This is a book of family and trauma and love and loss and healing and legacy spanning multiple generations, woven around food. Throw in one of the most stubborn, passive aggressive characters I’ve ever met, and you’ve got yourself a dang good novel. Warning, this one made me ugly sob on more than one occasion. It is beautiful and tender and complex, and I loved it so, so dearly. 

Listen to my interview with J. Ryan Stradal here

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Happy Place By Emily Henry Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593441275
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - April 25th, 2023

Ryan's April 2023 pick

This book made me feel so many things over the course of 400 pages. It’s got spice (yes of course, it’s Emily Henry) but it also has the butterflies of falling in love, the heartbreak of love ending, the grief of losing family, the raw ache of friends growing apart, the hopefulness that everything can work out somehow.
This is a romance, and it has its happily ever after, but wow does Emily Henry make you earn that happily ever after. There were times when I was wracked with sobs reading this novel, and in the next chapter my tears were dried by the heat of my skin as I read a steamy scene.
This book is a beautiful roller coaster of emotions. It’s a novel of love… every kind of love. Romantic love, familial love, the love of found family and best friends, love lost and love rekindled, the ache that love can cause, and the warmth that love can provide.

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Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide By Rupert Holmes Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451648218
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - February 21st, 2023

Ryan's March 2023 pick

Michael, if you’re reading this…I would never

Now that’s out of the way, allow me to introduce you to the delightfully dark comedy, Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide Vol. 1. 

After he tries and fails to murder his horrible boss, Cliff Iverson is recruited to The McMasters Conservatory for the Applied Arts. This is, of course, the very fancy, well-rounded school for learning the art of homicide. Here, Cliff is educated in all manner and methods of deletion (read: murder) so that he may rid the world of his boss, this time successfully. 

There are four questions that a potential deletist (murderer) must answer: 

1. Is this murder necessary?
2. Have you given your target every last chance to redeem themselves?
3. What innocent person might suffer by your actions?
4. Will this deletion improve the life of others?

If the deletist can answer enquiries #1,# 2, and #4 in the affirmative and #3 with “none”, then they may move on to the next phase of actually learning and mastering the various skills that will assist in their task of deletion. 

If you like your humor dry and your reading macabre, you must pick up this novel. 

This book is hilarious and droll and so much fun to read. I found myself wanting to visit the McMasters Conservatory, though of course it would be impossible to find as it is in such a secret location that even the staff and students don’t know where they are, and if I did somehow wind up there, it would certainly be a one-way trip. 

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Legends & Lattes: A Novel of High Fantasy and Low Stakes By Travis Baldree Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250886088
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - November 8th, 2022

Ryan's February 2023 pick (1 of 2)

I bet you didn’t know you needed a story about an Orc who lays down her sword and opens up a coffee shop, but you absolutely need this story. 
Viv is getting out of the battle business. She’s hanging up her sword, literally, and opening a café, which is a completely foreign concept to the folks in the city of Thune. Viv garners the help of Cal, Tandri, and Thimble, and her quiet dreams begin to come true. 

This book is deliciously cozy. I found myself completely swept up in the mundane day-to-day workings of the coffee shop. I was riveted by the process of opening the cafe. I delighted in Thimble’s confections and concoctions. I blushed every time Tandri and Viv lightly flirted. Legends & Lattes is so heartwarming and sweet, and filled to the brim with kindness and love, and the teeniest pinch of adventure sprinkled in. 

I absolutely devoured this book. Reading it was like sipping a perfectly made cup of coffee. This is a book that everyone can enjoy. Whether this is your first foray into fantasy, or you’ve been deep in the genre your whole life, this sweet, uplifting novel is exactly what you need. Trust me. 

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We Spread By Iain Reid Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982169367
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - May 30th, 2023

Ryan's February 2023 pick (2 of 2)

When you pick up an Iain Reid book, you know you’re in for a deeply disturbing, confusing, unsettling ride. He has a way of making you feel like you’ve got your footing and then pulling the rug out from under you so you’re falling and scrabbling but there are no handholds or footholds. 

This book messes with time and memory and aging and paranoia and is both a depressing look at the way society views its elders and also an unstable horror novel about sinister people taking advantage of the most vulnerable population.

Just like “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”, “We Spread” will stick with me for a long time.

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How to Sell a Haunted House By Grady Hendrix Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593201268
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - January 17th, 2023

Ryan's January 2023 pick (1 of 3)

I want to preface this by saying I do not often reread books, because as a bookseller, I simply have too much to read. So with that in mind, let me tell you that I have read How To Sell A Haunted House twice already, with plans to read it at least twice more this year. It may only be January, but this is already shaping up to be my favorite book of the year.

Have you ever wished the Chucky movies were scarier? Do you love reading about family trauma and family drama? Are you a fan of Haunted Dolls? Are you freaked out by puppets? Wow, do I have a book for you.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say this: Pupkin is one of the most unsettling characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading, and Grady Hendrix got a full-body reaction out of me with ONE WORD in this book. Like Horrorstör, this is a book that is so much scarier than you think it’s going to be, but it also tackles some really nuanced issues like grief and familial relationships and guilt.

This book made me scream AND cry, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since the first time I read it. It's terrifying, it's beautiful, it's powerful, it's so deeply disturbing, I loved every second of it.

Grady Hendrix has absolutely outdone himself with this one. I love How To Sell A Haunted House and I can’t wait for you all to read it.

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All Hallows: A Novel By Christopher Golden Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250280299
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - January 24th, 2023

Ryan's January 2023 pick (2 of 3)

Halloween, 1984. 

A father and daughter setting up their annual Haunted Woods for the final time. 

Children getting ready to Trick or Treat through their suburban neighborhood. 

A family setting up for the giant neighborhood Halloween Party. 

Four strange children in outdated Halloween costumes looking terrified and murmuring about The Cunning Man. 

With twin flames for eyes, limbs that are twiggy and long, and a voice like the laughter of long lost children, The Cunning Man stalks the night. 

All Hallows lures the reader in with nostalgic Halloween memories, hooks them with neighborhood gossip, then guts them with a merciless, malevolent monster. 

There is evil in this book, and it will chill you to your core. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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The Nightmare Man: A Novel By J. H. Markert Cover Image
ISBN: 9781639101702
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crooked Lane Books - January 10th, 2023

Ryan's January 2023 pick (3 of 3)

Horror Novelist Ben Bookman should be celebrating the launch of his latest novel, The Scarecrow, but instead he’s being questioned by the police over a murder that looks suspiciously like one of the ones described in his new book. There’s an awful lot of crime in the strange town of Crooked Tree, more than some of the big cities, even, and Detective Mills has his hands full catching serial killers and kidnappers and burglars and all manner of insidious folks, each with their own nightmarish moniker: The Boogeyman, The Screamer, Bad Cop, The Scarecrow, and more.

Now, watching the events of his novel unfold in the real world, Ben is forced to confront his past and try to remember what happened during his unexplained blackouts.

Imagine your worst nightmares coming to life and hunting you down…this novel is sufficiently creepy, flashing back and forth in time, following the point of view of various characters, unfolding a mystery and a nightmare with each turn of the page.

This book is perfect for Horror fans who also love grisly detective novels and serial killer stories.

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Ghost Eaters: A Novel By Clay Chapman Cover Image
ISBN: 9781683693789
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quirk Books - June 6th, 2023

Wanna get haunted? 

Ghost Eaters is a terrifying story of grief and addiction. A pill called Ghost that supposedly parts the veil and lets the user see their dearly departed? What could possibly go wrong?

This book is chock full of body horror, stunningly disturbing imagery, horrifying ghosts, and deeply upsetting portrayals of addiction. 

I absolutely devoured it. 

Clay McLeod Chapman is a master of horror. His ghosts crawl off the page and burrow under your skin, pushing their fingers into your brain, turning you into their own Haunted House, refusing to leave after you’ve finished the book, and even then, you will crave more. 

So I ask again, wanna get haunted? (You do. You really, really do).

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Jackal: A Novel By Erin E. Adams Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593499306
Availability: Backordered
Published: Bantam - October 4th, 2022

Ryan's December 2022 pick (2 of 3)

 If you read and loved Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow at my recommendation, let this be your next read.

Jackal is a social horror novel that is forever going to be mentioned in the same breath as Get Out, and that is incredibly well deserved.

In Johnstown, PA, if you heard something or saw something in the woods? No you didn’t. Ignore the shadow, and it can’t get you. When it calls your name, don’t turn. When it snaps a branch next to you, don’t turn. When you see something out of the corner of your eye, don’t focus on it. If you give the shadow any attention at all, it will be the last thing you ever do.

The shadow creature in the woods is terrifying, yes, but the true horror of this novel is the racism soaked into the very earth of the town, and the lengths the white residents will go to in order to keep the Black residents in their “proper place”.

This novel is exquisite and horrifying and is sure to stay on the forefront of your mind long after you’ve finished it.  

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Road of Bones: A Novel By Christopher Golden Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250875181
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - December 27th, 2022

Ryan's December 2022 pick (3 of 3)

 This book is cold.

An American documentary crew travels to Siberia to film on the famously haunted highway known as the Road of Bones and are instead met with a recently deserted town, a strange little girl who refuses to speak, and a new mission to reach safety before succumbing to the fatal temperatures. Oh, and there’s something in the woods…and it’s following them.

Road of Bones is incredibly intense, fast paced, genuinely scary, and Golden’s descriptions of the cold had me shivering, regardless of the actual temperature in my home. 

I couldn’t put it down.  

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What Happened to the Bennetts By Lisa Scottoline Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525539759
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - August 9th, 2022

 Ryan's November 2022 pick (1 of 2)

I spent the first few chapters of this novel with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, reading through the terror and panic and grief that the Bennetts experienced as their daughter was killed in a carjacking. Then the story shifted slightly and for the rest of the book I was completely rapt, on the edge of my seat.

This thrilling story thrusts a totally normal, almost boring, suburban dad into the role of Action Hero in order to save his family as they are put into the Witness Protection Program and suddenly find themselves embroiled in conspiracy and adventure, with so many twists and turns that you will be holding onto the book for dear life.

What Happened to the Bennetts celebrates “everyday superpowers” and the average person rising to heroic levels to save the people they love the most. Dealing with grief and love and familial relationships in an action setting, this novel is riveting and I couldn’t put it down.  

Listen to Ryan's interview with Lisa Scottoline on The Laydown!

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Ring Shout By P. Djèlí Clark Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250767028
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tordotcom - October 13th, 2020

Ryan's November 2022 pick (2 of 2)

What if the K.K.K. were literal demons?

Ring Shout adds dark fantasy elements to very real, very racist history in this horror novella that pits the demons wearing white hoods against demon hunters and resistance fighters. The demons in this book are fueled by hatred and their numbers grow and grow as the hatred spreads like a virus. There is body horror and cathartic fighting and you will find yourself tense and on the edge of your seat through the climax.

If this book makes you uncomfortable then it’s doing its job. 


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Such Sharp Teeth By Rachel Harrison Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593545836
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - July 25th, 2023

Ryan's October 2022 Pick (1 of 7)

It was very tempting to make my entire review simply: WEREWOLF BOOK! WEREWOLF BOOK! WEREWOLF BOOK! 

Yes, there is body horror, yes there is biting and howling and fur and general wolfy goodness, but to simply describe Such Sharp Teeth as a werewolf book is to do it a great injustice.

Instead, I will tell you that not only is this a fantastically spooky werewolf book from one of my favorite writers (hang out with me long enough and the conversation will inevitably turn to my love of Rachel Harrison’s The Return), this is also a gorgeous examination of trauma and forgiveness and scars (both literal and metaphorical). Such Sharp Teeth explores things like loss of control, bodily autonomy, new life, transformations, and feminine rage. This is a gruesome and cathartic novel that grasped me in its claws and had me craving the next full moon.

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Man, Fuck This House By Brian Asman Cover Image
ISBN: 9781736467725
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mutated Media - October 19th, 2021

Ryan's October Pick (2 of 7)

If the title alone doesn’t get you to read this book, maybe this will: This book is for every millennial who was obsessed with the movie Smart House as a kid, and is obsessed with Horror now as an adult. Add in a dash of Baba Yaga as a treat.

This house isn’t so much haunted, as sentient.

When Sabrina Haskins and her family move in, it seems absolutely picture perfect. (Well, except that her already unnerving son Damien is acting even more strange than usual). Slowly, over the course of this quick read, things begin to spiral out of control, culminating in one of the most wild showdowns between house and family imaginable.

If you like haunted house books, you absolutely have to read this one. It is a terrifying blast that had me cackling with both delight and fear.

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Motherthing By Ainslie Hogarth Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593467022
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - September 27th, 2022

Ryan's October 2022 pick (3 of 7)

Motherthing is biting horror for those among us who find ourselves utterly fascinated and horrified by stories of psychotic mothers-in-law, for those of us who love when the narrator slowly spirals into madness, and for those of us who appreciate a great ghost story. 

Haunted by the vengeful ghost of her recently deceased mother-in-law, Abby must fight for her marriage as well as the lives of herself and her husband, and her monster-in-law is not going to make it easy.

The writing is sharp and precise, the characters are darkly interesting, and the narrative winds deeper and deeper into the strange and unusual. I highly recommend this unhinged, creepy novel.

Maybe don't give it to your mother-in-law, though. 

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Hide By Kiersten White Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593359259
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - May 2nd, 2023

Ryan's October 2022 pick (4 of 7)

The most high-stakes game of Hide and Seek you’ve ever played. Take the Hunger Games, mash it up with Squid Game, set it in an abandoned amusement park, add some tragic backstories, a demonic deal, a little bit of human sacrifice, and a monetary prize and shake, shake, shake until you have Hide by Kiersten White in your hands. This supernatural thriller is a ton of fun and kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end.

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The Hollow Places: A Novel By T. Kingfisher Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534451124
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - October 6th, 2020

Ryan's October 2022 pick (5 of 7)

When Kara moves in with her uncle to help him run his shop of curiosities, she does not expect to discover a portal to another world in the walls. Very curious, indeed. In a very Wonderland-esque move, she begins to explore this world, and finds it increasingly upsetting and disturbing. Here, there be monsters. And like the graffiti in this strange world says, you’d better pray they are hungry. (At least if they’re hungry, they’ll just eat you…if they’re not hungry, they might play with you instead). 

Then things start to get weird back in our world, and Kara begins to suspect that something may have followed her back through the portal.

The Hollow Places is a creepy, unsettling, dark adventure with characters you will absolutely adore and a plot that will keep you hooked until the very last page.

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The Hacienda By Isabel Cañas Cover Image
Likely available, but must be ordered by email/phone
ISBN: 9780593436691
Published: Berkley - May 3rd, 2022

Ryan's October 2022 pick (6 of 7)

If you haven’t read The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas yet, and you like haunted house books, you like stories where the dread and unease creeps up around you like vines, you like books that burrow into your subconscious and keep you up at night checking the shadowy corners of your home….then you are in for a phenomenal time, and frankly I’m jealous because I wish I could read it again for the first time. 

The Hacienda is beautiful in it’s terror. The prose slinks up your spine, keeping you tense and rapt. The Hacienda captures you in its malevolent gaze and holds you there until the very end. This book is gorgeous and scary and kept me up at night, which if you know me, is saying a lot. 

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of The Hacienda and thank me later.

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Mistakes Were Made: A Novel By Meryl Wilsner Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250841001
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - October 11th, 2022

Ryan's October 2022 Pick (7 of 7)

Family Weekend gets really awkward when Erin hooks up with a hot young woman only to meet her again the next morning at a casual breakfast with her daughter and her daughter’s roommate. Whoops. 

This is the MILF book I didn’t know I was waiting for. 

Cassie and Erin have chemistry that is off the charts, they can’t keep their hands off of each other, and also they’re maybe falling for each other. But they can never admit that because they don’t want Parker, Erin’s daughter and Cassie’s best friend, to find out about their illicit affair. 

This book is too much fun. It smoothly navigates situations that would otherwise be cringey or upsetting, and ultimately maintains a level of pure enjoyment all the way through to the happy ending. I’m giving this book to all of my mom friends. 

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Daphne: A Novel By Josh Malerman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593157039
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - June 20th, 2023

Ryan's September 2022 Pick

Whatever you do, don’t think about Daphne. 

From the brilliant, twisted mind of Josh Malerman (Bird Box, Goblin, Pearl) comes a terrifying new villain: Daphne. 

Daphne may have been killed decades ago, but that doesn’t mean she’s gone. 

Daphne is one of the most terrifying villains I’ve had the pleasure of reading. The only way to stay safe from Daphne? Don’t think about her. Don’t think about the 7-foot tall, denim clad, KISS-makeup wearing dead woman with hands large enough to palm a basketball or crush a skull. Don’t think about her blue skin. Don’t think about how she smells like smoke and whiskey. Don’t think about how thinking about her will get you killed. Don’t think about Daphne. 

This slasher novel is deliciously cinematic, spiraling with anxiety and dread and terror, building upon itself and consuming your every thought with the one thing you should never let yourself think about: Daphne. 

Daphne is a spine-chilling, hair-raising, grisly slam dunk of a novel. Keep the lights on while reading this one, and whatever you do, don’t think about Daphne.

(I can’t stop thinking about Daphne). 

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The Dead Romantics: A GMA Book Club Pick (A Novel) By Ashley Poston Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593336489
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - June 28th, 2022

Ryan's August 2022 Pick (1 of 5)

The spooky romance you didn’t know you needed.

A ghost writer for a famous romance author is struggling to meet her deadline because she’s just been dumped in the most horrible way and can’t stop herself from killing off her male protagonist every time she attempts to finish her latest book. Then her father dies and she heads back to her hometown where she was ostracized as a teenager when everyone found out that she can see ghosts. To complicate matters, her incredibly hot new editor appears on the doorstep of her family’s funeral home and she discovers that he’s been hit by a car and great, now she’s falling for a ghost.

This book does indeed have a happily ever after, but I won’t give it away, you need to get there yourself. 

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The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy By Megan Bannen Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316394215
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - August 23rd, 2022

Ryan's August 2022 Pick (2 of 5)

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy is a macabre fantasy with You’ve Got Mail vibes that set my heart aflame.  

An enemies to lovers romance between an undertaker named Mercy and a Demigod marshal named Hart, set in a modern day fantasy world. 

Hart writes a letter addressed simply to A Friend, in which he admits to his loneliness and struggles, and to his surprise, A Friend writes back, thus beginning a sweet and flirty epistolary friendship. 

What the Friends don’t realize (but we, the readers do), is that they not only know each other in real life, they actively despise one another. 

Told in alternating chapters between Hart and Mercy, this book has passion, longing, loneliness, grief, and humor. The world building is fantastic, the characters are lovable, and the romance is spicy.

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Thank You for Listening: A Novel By Julia Whelan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063095564
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avon - August 2nd, 2022

Ryan's August 2022 Pick (3 of 5)

This book is like if “Love is Blind” was actually romantic and not a bizarre social experiment set up for Netflix by Nick and Vanessa Lachey. 

A one night stand, secret identities, self discovery, off-the-charts chemistry, crackling passion, this book is everything that I wanted and more. 

Written by audiobook narrator Julia Whelan, Thank You For Listening is a fun peek behind the curtain of audiobooks with all of the love and lust you crave in your romance novels. I couldn’t get enough. If you love audiobooks, have a favorite audiobook narrator, and love romance novels, this is the book for you.

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Cackle By Rachel Harrison Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593202036
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - August 30th, 2022

Ryan's August 2022 Pick (4 of 5)

A deliciously wicked tale of friendships, relationships, mentorships, and powerful women starting anew all wrapped up in a witchy book with magic and spiders and power galore. This book crackles with spooky goodness and unsettling imagery. Cackle was a perfect cup of tea for my creepy little heart.

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Nothing But Blackened Teeth By Cassandra Khaw Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250879516
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Nightfire - August 30th, 2022

Ryan's August 2022 Pick (5 of 5)

If you’ve ever wanted to get married in a super haunted mansion...maybe reconsider, lest you end up like the characters in this horrifying haunted house tale. This story is rife with horror and grief and tense relationships. Not to mention a monstrous ghost bride lurking in the shadows ready to drag this group of friends into the darkness. Everything about this book is terrifying. You must read it.

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Nightmare Fuel: The Science of Horror Films By Nina Nesseth Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250765215
Availability: Backordered
Published: Tor Nightfire - July 26th, 2022

Ryan's July 2022 Pick 3 of 3

Do you like scary movies? Have you ever wondered why? Nina Nesseth can tell you why.

She dismembers and dissects the genre, pulling and squishing and poking and prodding, explaining all the while about the ins and outs of the Horror Genre and what our brains do while consuming it. 

Why are jump scares so effective? Why are some monsters so much scarier than others? Why does my heart race when the music changes? Why am I always trying to see into the dark corners in the out-of-focus part of the shot? Nina Nesseth explains it all with wit and humor and a palpable love for scary movies. 

Nightmare Fuel is an entire curriculum of Horror, and if you’re like me, you’re going to take this class over and over again and ace it every time. 

As Gibson’s Official Queen of Scream, I give this book my stamp of approval. Now I’m off to watch some Horror Films.

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Our Wives Under the Sea: A Novel By Julia Armfield Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250229908
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - June 27th, 2023

Ryan's July 2022 Pick 2 of 3

The ocean is infinitely terrifying. Especially when your submarine loses all power and function and sinks down to a part of the ocean that is apparently uninhabited, even though that shouldn’t be possible. There should be fish somewhere, right? Those deep dwellers with natural luminescence? But there’s nothing. Why is there nothing? And what is that sound? And now the crew is losing their grip on their sanity, and how long have they even been down there? 

Six months. Six months and then they return like nothing happened, but clearly something happened because Miri can tell that Leah came back different. Her wife only wants to drink saltwater and her skin has a strange gray shimmer to it, and she’s spending more and more time in the bath, and she won’t talk about what happened. She barely talks at all. She screams sometimes, and vomits huge streams of water, and sometimes her pores bleed. But nothing is wrong, she’s fine, it’s all fine. 

This book is equal parts raw, terrifying, and deeply heartbreaking. This book thrusts you into the horrors of the unknown while begging you to answer the question: how far would you go for the one you love?

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The Splendid City By Karen Heuler Cover Image
ISBN: 9780857669858
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Angry Robot - June 14th, 2022

Ryan's July 2022 Pick 1 of 3

In a world not too far off from our own, Texas has declared itself its own country and the state of Liberty is governed by a President who insists everything is fine because there are parades and candy and sure there’s a water shortage, but his citizens are happy, even the ones who are taken away by government vans never to be seen again. Exiled to Liberty is a witch named Eleanor, forced into house arrest with her vile ex-coworker, Stan, who she turned into a cat. Stan, the talking cat who loves beer, fish tacos, and shooting people, is a narcissistic internet troll who’s convinced he’s the hero of this story. There’s a treasure hunt, a search for a missing witch, and a lot of assurances that everything is fine, just fine, don’t dig beneath the surface it’s all FINE. This book is absurd and funny and not at all disturbing because EVERYTHING IS FINE, JUST ASK THE ANIMATRONIC PRESIDENT HEADS LINING EVERY SIDEWALK. Everyone is happy and satisfied and no one is complaining, and not just because anyone who does complain disappears forever. Everything. Is. Fine. 

If you like Terry Pratchett and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and books that are definitely not at all a critique of our own society, you will love The Splendid City.

Listen to Ryan's interview with Karen Heuler! 

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The House Across the Lake: A Novel By Riley Sager Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593183212
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - June 6th, 2023

Ryan's June 2022 Pick, 2 of 2

Take Rear Window, mix in Girl on the Train, add a dash of We Were Liars and a twist of Behind Her Eyes, throw in a handful of tropes and blend until smooth, and you’ve come close to the brilliant thriller that is The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager. 

This book made me gasp out loud on multiple occasions. This is the summer thriller you’ve been waiting for. 

The House Across the Lake has everything: a cabin on a lake, an unreliable narrator, a hot cop next door, a former model who might be in danger, a ton of wine, a drowned husband, an urban legend, a dubious detective, a whole lot of lies, and an ending that will leave your jaw on the floor. 

I’ve read everything Riley Sager’s written, and this is hands down my favorite so far. Do yourself a favor and grab this one today so we can scream about the ending together. 

Listen to Ryan's interview with Riley Sager!

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A Mirror Mended (Fractured Fables #2) By Alix E. Harrow Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250766649
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tordotcom - June 14th, 2022

Ryan's June 2022, Pick 1 of 2

A Mirror Mended is the direct sequel to A Spindle Splintered, and the final book in the Fractured Fables Duology. In this novella, the multiverse is fracturing further, other fairy tales are slipping through the cracks, and our main character gets pulled through a Mirror Mirror on the Wall into a grim Snow White tale where the Evil Queen is less Evil than she’s typically portrayed, oh and she’s also super hot. Just like with A Spindle Splintered, A Mirror Mended is a wild adventure, whip smart, sexy, and laugh out loud funny. Also it might make you cry at times. If you love fractured fairytales, misunderstood villains, and queer feminist retellings, then get your hands on both A Spindle Splintered and A Mirror Mended as soon as possible and thank me later. 

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Darling Girl: A Novel of Peter Pan By Liz Michalski Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593185650
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - May 2nd, 2023

Ryan's May 2022 pick

“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.” - J.M. Barrie

This is not the Peter Pan of your childhood.
The Darling children are all grown up, and now Wendy’s granddaughter, Dr. Holly Darling, is the head of a skincare company where some of the products seem almost…magical. Things take a turn for Holly when she gets a phone call that her daughter Eden, who’s been in a coma for years following a tragic accident, has suddenly gone missing. Now, with her son Jack’s health on the line, she might just have to take on Peter (yes, that Peter) to save her children, and she’ll have to confront her past trauma to do so.
Peter Pan is not the sweet, charming, innocent boy from the story. He’s a wicked, cruel person with a dark past and even darker future if he isn’t stopped.  
Darling Girl is a dark, unsettling tale of motherhood, fairy tales, pain and trauma, and how far one will go to save their family. This book pays delicious homage to the classic you know and love, while twisting it into something incredibly dark and deeply moving.

Make sure you’ve got some faith, trust, and pixie dust, because Darling Girl is an awfully big adventure.

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And Then I Woke Up By Malcolm Devlin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250798077
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tordotcom - April 12th, 2022

Ryan's April 2022 pick 1 of 2

This is a zombie story...or is it? 

And Then I Woke Up is a terrifying story of truth and perception. 

This gut-wrenching narrative throws you into the zombie apocalypse only to rip you back out again, forcing you to question everything as you’re filled with uncertainty about what’s really true. This story left my brain reeling and my heart racing. And Then I Woke Up is a stark, horrifying look at the world we live in today where “truth” and “reality” and “facts” are not the same for everyone, and there are dire consequences when we’re not on the same page. This apocalyptic tale will chill you to your very core.

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Idiots: Marriage, Motherhood, Milk & Mistakes By Laura Clery Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982167103
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery Books - April 5th, 2022

Ryan's April 2022 Pick 2 of 2

Idiots will make you laugh, cry, and laugh until you cry. It is delightfully crass, raw, emotional, and cathartic.

Come for the stories she was too scared to tell in her first book, stay for the...everything. If you're a fan of hilarious memoirs that will also give you warm fuzzy feelings (and probably make you feel better about your own life choices), pick this up immediately.

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Sundial By Catriona Ward Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250812704
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Nightfire - March 7th, 2023

Ryan's March 2022 Pick, 1 of 2

This book is not for the faint of heart.

A child who collects bones and talks to ghosts. Another child who’s weak and prone to sickness. A mother with a traumatic past. A father with a dangerously short temper. A farm in the middle of the desert. A pack of brain-controlled dogs. Sundial is a wildly disturbing horror novel from the brilliant author of The Last House on Needless Street. At no point while reading did I correctly guess where the story was going. Sundial is dark, upsetting, chilling, and full of white hot rage. I couldn’t put it down. 

TW: Child Abuse, Domestic Abuse, Animal Abuse, Drug Use

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A Spindle Splintered (Fractured Fables #1) By Alix E. Harrow Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250765352
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tordotcom - October 5th, 2021

Ryan's March 2022 Pick, 2 of 2

Alix E. Harrow is pulling us into the multiverse with A Spindle Splintered, the first book in her Fractured Fables Duology. First, take everything you know about Sleeping Beauty, add feminism, make it queer, throw in pop culture references, and shake it up, and what comes out is A Spindle Splintered, an enigmatic adventure that pulls one Sleeping Beauty into a fractured multiverse of other Sleeping Beauty tales where she does her best to save all of the princesses from their drowsy fates. This novella is everything I’ve ever wanted from a fairy tale retelling and more. 

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Cherish Farrah: A Novel By Bethany C. Morrow Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593185391
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - February 7th, 2023

Ryan's February 2022 pick

Farrah never cried as a baby. She doesn’t appear to feel pain or have real emotions...except with Cherish. Farrah loves Cherish, even when she hates her. 

You’ve heard of books keeping you on the edge of your seat? This book had me pacing my house. 

Cherish Farrah is a brilliant, chilling, unflinching masterpiece of a novel. This is social horror at it’s finest, and it left me spinning.

Listen to Ryan's interview with Bethany C. Morrow

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One Step Too Far: A Novel (A Frankie Elkin Novel) By Lisa Gardner Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593185438
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - July 19th, 2022

Ryan's January 2022 pick, 1 of 3

Frankie Elkin is a drifter. She’s also really good at finding missing people. She travels from town to town solving cold cases. She’s not an ex-cop, she was never in the military, she’s just really good at research and asking the right questions and listening. She arrives in Wyoming ready to join a hiking party to search for the body of Tim O’Day, missing for five years. What follows is three days of terrifying wilderness, long-kept secrets, and everything that could possibly go wrong going wrong. Also possibly the group is being hunted. This book is an edge of your seat thriller set deep in the dangerous mountains of Wyoming with a group of people (and a dog) you will absolutely fall in love with. (The dog doesn’t die). 

Listen to Ryan's interview with Lisa Gardner!

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Ain't Burned All the Bright By Jason Reynolds, Jason Griffin (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jason Reynolds, Jason Griffin (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781534439467
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books - January 11th, 2022

Ryan's January 2022 pick, 2 of 3

A gorgeously illustrated slam poem in three long sentences and 300+ moleskine journal pages about living in a pandemic in 2020. Gut wrenching and heart breaking and beautiful and frustrating and raw. I read this out loud in one sitting, and it rocked me to my core. Then I went back to the beginning and read it again, slowly, poring over each page, devouring the art. This is a book to ingest, to sit with, to study, to embrace, to absorb again and again and again until the spine is breaking and the pages are weary and still it will burrow into your brain and your soul and you will find yourself repeating certain lines again and again, shaking your head at the way this language you've spoken your whole life can still catch you off guard and manipulate your emotions. This piece of art captures the exhaustion and anguish we are all feeling about the world we live in, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Truly, a masterpiece.

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Love & Other Disasters By Anita Kelly Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538754849
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Forever - January 18th, 2022

Ryan's January 2022 pick, 3 of 3

You know what they say: if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the cooking competition. 

If you love The Great British Baking Show, queer romances, and descriptions of delicious food, this book is for you. Love & Other Disasters is a steamy romance between two contestants on a reality cooking show. Dahlia is a recent divorcee who’s trying to figure out who she really is and what she wants in life. London is the first openly nonbinary contestant and they want to show the world (and their Dad) that they are deserving of love and respect. Neither of them expect to fall for the other during the competition, but their chemistry is sizzling and as the competition heats up, so does their romance. 

This book has excellent nonbinary representation, adorable main characters, conflict that doesn’t verge into danger (some side characters are transphobic, but the author never deadnames London, and there are no violent acts), and the romance is both sweet and steamy. 

This is the delicious romance novel you’ve been craving.

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Cackle By Rachel Harrison Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593202036
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - August 30th, 2022

Ryan's August 2022 Pick (4 of 5)

A deliciously wicked tale of friendships, relationships, mentorships, and powerful women starting anew all wrapped up in a witchy book with magic and spiders and power galore. This book crackles with spooky goodness and unsettling imagery. Cackle was a perfect cup of tea for my creepy little heart.

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My Heart Is a Chainsaw (The Indian Lake Trilogy #1) By Stephen Graham Jones Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982137649
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - March 29th, 2022

Ryan's October 2021 pick, 2 of 8

This book is a love letter to the Slasher genre of horror. The main character is obsessed with Slasher movies and is convinced that there is a slasher in her hometown. She’s even identified the Final Girl and has taken it upon herself to train her in the knowledge of Slashers so that she can fulfill her destiny. This book is wild and scary, the narrator is unreliable, and you won’t be able to put it down once you start. If you’re a fan of horror movies, you will devour this book with a wicked grin on your face the whole time.

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Pearl By Josh Malerman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593237854
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - July 5th, 2022

Ryan's October 2021 pick, 3 of 8

An evil telekinetic pig. Hear me out. Pearl the pig gets in your head. He makes you do bad things. He makes you want to do those bad things. This horror novel jumps into the gory action immediately and doesn’t let up until the final page (and even then, is it really over?) I am obsessed with this book. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I finished it. Pearl might just be my new favorite villain. Buckle up, folks. This book is terrifying. 

Listen to Ryan's interview with Josh Malerman!

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The Book of Accidents: A Novel By Chuck Wendig Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399182150
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - March 15th, 2022

Ryan's October 2021 pick, 4 of 8

I am at a loss for how to succinctly describe this bizarre, scary book, but let me try. There are multiple universes, and a person traveling through them systematically murdering the same person over and over, attempting to bring about the end of days. Also there is a serial killer flickering between worlds with revenge on the brain. Also there is a teenage boy dealing with bullies and trying to figure out his strange new friend. There is strange magic and terrifying characters and weird occurrences and horrifying imagery, and it all fits together in a way that only Chuck Wendig could achieve. This book is weird and terrifying and awesome. Just trust me. 

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Nothing But Blackened Teeth By Cassandra Khaw Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250759412
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Nightfire - October 19th, 2021

Ryan's October 2021 pick, 5 of 8

If you’ve ever wanted to get married in a super haunted mansion...maybe reconsider, lest you end up like the characters in this horrifying haunted house tale. This story is rife with horror and grief and tense relationships. Not to mention a monstrous ghost bride lurking in the shadows ready to drag this group of friends into the darkness. Everything about this book is terrifying. You must read it.

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Goblin: A Novel in Six Novellas By Josh Malerman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593237823
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - January 11th, 2022

Ryan's October 2021 pick, 6 of 8

I have no chill over how much I love this book.

GOBLIN is a novel told in six novellas that all take place in the creepy town of Goblin, Michigan. Each novella follows a person in Goblin, either a resident or a visitor, and each story features the perils of obsession in some form. These stories are so creepy and unsettling. There's: A Man in Slices, Kamp, Happy Birthday, Hunter!, Presto, A Mix-Up at the Zoo, and The Hedges. I was going to tell you which one was my favorite but I can't choose! I love them all. They all take place during the same rainy night in Goblin, (it’s always raining in Goblin) and they’re all so creepy. I adore Josh Malerman, and I love this book. Everyone, go read it right now!

Listen to Ryan's interview with Josh Malerman!

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Horrorstor: A Novel By Grady Hendrix Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594745263
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quirk Books - September 23rd, 2014

Ryan's October 2021 pick, 7 of 8

This book is so much scarier than I expected it to be.  There’s a furniture superstore called Orsk. Like Ikea, but not Ikea. And every day is monotonous. Until it’s not. Because it turns out that Orsk is super mega haunted. Like, hallways appearing from nowhere, temperatures dropping, monsters in the dark, horrific torture devices, store becoming a labyrinth, haunted.  A group of employees stay overnight at the store to try to figure out why weird things keep happening overnight, and they have….a time. This book is both absolutely terrifying and at times utterly hilarious. I was pleasantly surprised by this book, and I hope you will be too!

Listen to Ryan's interview with Grady Hendrix!

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Alice Isn't Dead: A Novel By Joseph Fink Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062844149
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - August 31st, 2021

Ryan's October 2021 pick, 8 of 8

This isn’t a story. It’s a road trip. Alice is dead. Or so her wife thought. But then Alice starts showing up in the background of news stories all across the country. So her wife Keisha takes a job as a long-haul trucker and sets out across the country, following clues to find her wife. What follows is a road trip filled with the most unsettling, scary imagery I’ve had the pleasure of reading. There are characters (monsters) in this book that I still picture from time to time, even though I read this nearly five years ago. Joseph Fink is a master storyteller who’s descriptions are terrifyingly vivid. This story is highly addictive, deliciously creepy, and will burrow into your brain and make a nest there forever.

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Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre By Max Brooks Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984826800
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - February 9th, 2021

Ryan's September 2021 pick, 1 of 3

If you like creature features and found-footage style horror, you absolutely must read DEVOLUTION by Max Brooks! Written in a similar style to his other brilliant novel, WORLD WAR Z, this is a first-hand account of a volcano eruption that destroys everything in its path including highways, homes, and forests, and causes local wildlife to flee or die. Mostly safe from the destruction is a tiny experimental community surrounded by valleys. The community, known as Greenloop, is relatively cut off from the rest of the world, and after the natural disaster strikes, they lose all ability to contact anyone for help, or even leave. Gone are their regular food deliveries, gone is the WiFi and phone signals, gone are the roadways they could use to find help. They’re isolated and alone and they need to figure out how to survive the winter because no one is coming to save them. Also mostly safe from the destruction but now starving because all other food sources have fled or perished, is a group of Sasquatches. Yes, you read that correctly. Bigfoot. This group of giant ape-like creatures, fueled by bloodlust and hunger, emerges from their home deep in the forests to hunt down the last remaining food source: the humans living in Greenloop. This book is utterly terrifying and gruesome. It’s told through the journal entries of one of the community members as well as articles and interviews conducted months after the events of what’s now called The Ranier Sasquatch Massacre. When I first read the premise of this book, I scoffed. Sasquatch? Really? Well, no more scoffing from me now that I’ve read it. I never thought I could be scared of Bigfoot, and yet here we are.

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The City We Became: A Novel (The Great Cities #1) By N. K. Jemisin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316509886
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Orbit - July 27th, 2021

Ryan's September 2021 pick, 2 of 3


Audiobook recommendation! This book is phenomenal no matter how you read it, but I want to specifically recommend the audiobook, which is maybe the best audiobook I’ve ever listened to. The human avatars of the boroughs of New York City are fighting a Lovecraftian enemy that’s attempting to devour New York. This book is fantastical and wild and tackles themes of racism and classism while being a thrilling sci-fi adventure. The audiobook weaves in subtle sound effects and musical cues that transport you directly into the world of the novel. The story is addictive and fast-paced and you will not want to stop listening to it. I absolutely devoured this audiobook and have been screaming about it ever since. (If you listen to our podcast, The Laydown, you’ve probably heard me gushing about this book). N.K. Jemisin perfectly gets to the heart and soul of New York City, and the enemy is horrifyingly real. Just trust me on this one. Grab this audiobook from Libro.fm and thank me later. 

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Legendborn (The Legendborn Cycle #1) By Tracy Deonn Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534441606
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - September 15th, 2020

Ryan's September 2021 pick, 3 of 3


LEGENDBORN is the King Arthur retelling I didn’t know I needed. Determined to uncover the truth behind her mother’s mysterious death, Bree infiltrates a magical secret society run by the descendants of King Arthur and his knights. This book is powerful, gorgeous, thrilling, and cathartic. An incredible Young Adult novel, it deals with family trauma, PTSD, overwhelming grief, rage, feminism, racism, and that’s just the tip of the sword. 

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We Ride Upon Sticks: A Novel (Alex Award Winner) (Vintage Contemporaries) By Quan Barry Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525565437
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - February 16th, 2021

Ryan's August 2021 pick

Pop back to the ‘80s with this incredibly fun, deliciously dark novel about a field hockey team that makes a deal with a devil to win the championship game. Come for the ‘80s nostalgia, stay for The Claw. 

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Project Hail Mary: A Novel By Andy Weir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593135228
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - October 4th, 2022

Ryan's May 2021 pick

If you enjoyed THE MARTIAN, then you are going to devour PROJECT HAIL MARY. Dr. Ryland Grace wakes up from a coma alone and in space with little to no memory. As his memories slowly return, he realizes that he’s on a mission to save humanity. No pressure. Armed with his brilliance, creativity, flashbacks, and an on-board laboratory, Ryland goes about completing his mission, and then he discovers that maybe he’s not as alone as he thought. PROJECT HAIL MARY will have you laughing, crying, and hanging on for dear life as you desperately root for Ryland to save the world and maybe the universe. I did not expect to find myself emotionally attached to PROJECT HAIL MARY, and yet here we are. 

Listen to Ryan's interview with Andy Weir

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The House in the Cerulean Sea By TJ Klune Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250217318
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - December 29th, 2020

March 2021 pick, 1 of 7

UpLit Alert! THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA is one of the most charming, wholesome, adorable fantasies I’ve ever read. Linus Baker is a quiet man with a monotonous life. He’s a case worker for magical orphans, and one day is assigned a Very Special Case. This Very Special Case takes him to a peculiar home by the sea where he is introduced to an unorthodox orphanage housing such colorful characters as a garden gnome whose bark is worse than her bite, a gelatinous blob who would like to be a bellhop when he grows up, and the antichrist who is perhaps not as bad as his reputation says, among others. The gentleman at the head of this quirky orphanage is Arthur Parnassus, who will do whatever it takes to keep his wards safe. What follows is a delightful tale of found family. This book is a warm cozy hug for your soul. 

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Plain Bad Heroines: A Novel By Emily M. Danforth, Sara Lautman (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Emily M. Danforth, Sara Lautman (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062942869
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - October 5th, 2021

Ryan's March 2021 pick, 2 of 7

I adored this book. It is dark, spooky, at times a bit funny, and utterly compelling. This is literary horror at it’s finest. On the one hand you have modern-day young actresses on the set of a film within a film. On the other, the historical women with a devilish book inspiring the events of the future meta-film. This book is very creepy, very gay, and very beautiful. Beware the yellow jackets.

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Hench: A Novel By Natalie Zina Walschots Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062978585
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - November 9th, 2021

Ryan's March 2021 pick, 3 of 7

Superheroes are...flawed. They leave disaster in the wake of their heroism. Anna is a henchwoman who gets caught in the line of superhero fire and begins to calculate the cost of a superhero. Using a lot of math, spreadsheets, and intense calculations, Anna applies value to various aspects of life and comes up with staggering figures that show the true cost of superheroes. Anna is hired by a supervillain and starts down her own villainous path as she methodically takes down hero after hero, not just physically, but in the eyes of the public as well. This book is thrilling, cathartic, and dastardly. Burnt out on Superheroes? Give HENCH a shot.

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Mexican Gothic By Silvia Moreno-Garcia Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525620808
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Del Rey - June 15th, 2021

Ryan's March 2021 pick, 4 of 7

If you like haunted houses, family dramas, and scary stories, pick up this book immediately. Silvia Moreno-Garcia weaves a dark, creepy tale that fills you with dread and unease and horror as you turn the pages and delve into the secrets of High Place Manor in the Mexican countryside in the 1950s.

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The Bright Lands By John Fram Cover Image
Likely available, but must be ordered by email/phone
ISBN: 9781335836625
Published: Hanover Square Press - July 7th, 2020

Ryan's March 2021 pick, 5 of 7

If Stephen King wrote a football book, it would be THE BRIGHT LANDS. This novel is dark, creepy, gruesome, vile, unnerving. Take the most uncomfortable scenes from IT and add a town that’s obsessed with the high school football team, and you have something like THE BRIGHT LANDS. In the town of Bentley, Texas, the high school football players get away with everything. Everything. People are going missing - have been going missing for decades - and finally, someone has taken notice and is starting to investigate. What they uncover is beyond anything they could have imagined and is horrifying in several ways. Fans of Stephen King, this one is for you.

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The Echo Wife By Sarah Gailey Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250174673
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - May 24th, 2022

Ryan's March 2021 pick, 6 of 7

This is a book about clones. This is a book about science. This is a book about abuse. This is a book about women. This is a book about rage. This is a book about autonomy. This is a book about heartbreak. Sarah Gailey pours their heart and rage and passion into this spectacular novel. I devoured this book and I think you will too.

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Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations #1) By B. B. Alston Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062975171
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - January 4th, 2022

Ryan's March 2021 pick, 7 of 7

For the middle-grade reader who wants Harry Potter but with more spies, people of color, and secret quests, AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS is the perfect pick. Amari’s brother is missing, and she’s determined to find him. One night, he appears to her in a magical dreamlike vision and sets her on a top-secret mission to a magical school where she discovers that there’s more to his disappearance - and herself - than she ever could have imagined. Filled with magical creatures (they’ve been among us all along!), a shady conspiracy, and supernatural investigations, this book is fast-paced and exciting and will leave you begging for more, more, more from this world! (Luckily it’s just the very beginning of a series)!

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Honey Girl By Morgan Rogers Cover Image
ISBN: 9780778311027
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Park Row - February 23rd, 2021

Ryan's February 2021 pick

    This will be the most beautiful love story you read this year.
Usually, a spontaneous wedding to a stranger after a night of celebratory drinking in Vegas is an event tinged with embarrassment and regret. Especially when one of the participants of said marriage is gone the next morning. But Grace Porter doesn’t regret marrying the beautiful girl who tasted like champagne bubbles and made her laugh and dance all night long. Soon, Grace Porter, with her brand new PhD in Astronomy, whose life is not going according to plan, who is being shut out of her dream career because her dark skin and femininity don’t fit “the culture” of the scientific realm of Astronomy, whose Colonel father demands nothing less than perfection, is having a mental break down and flees her life in Portland to hide away in New York City with her new wife, Yuki Yamamoto, a storyteller who at times seems more myth than reality. 

This story curves and twirls and spirals along a golden, sparkly path of whirlwind romance and great expectations and finding one’s true self, and making mistakes and accepting imperfection and learning to change plans and go with the flow. 

Honey Girl is beautiful and lovely and you will laugh and you will cry and you will read passages aloud because they are as delicious as the first sticky sweet bite of a ripe orange straight from the tree. This book will transport you into the stars where you will dance among the constellations and marvel at the raw beauty of it all.
As Grace Porter fell in love with Yuki Yamamoto, I fell in love with Honey Girl. 

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Disney's Land: Walt Disney and the Invention of the Amusement Park That Changed the World By Richard Snow Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501190810
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - December 1st, 2020

Ryan's January 2021 pick, 3 of 3

As an official "Mousejunkie" and frequent traveler to Walt Disney World, I consider myself an expert on all things Disney, so you can imagine my delight when I devoured this book (en route to a Disney Trip last January to run the Dopey Challenge with my husband) and discovered anecdotes about Walt and the creation of Disneyland that I had never heard! This book had me laughing out loud in the airport and quietly weeping on the plane as it chronicled the ups and downs of Walt's dream. This book is an absolute must-read for the Disney fan in your life.

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Everybody Has a Podcast (Except You): A How-to Guide from the First Family of Podcasting By Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, Griffin McElroy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062974808
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - January 26th, 2021

Ryan's January 2021 pick, 2 of 3

When you pick up something by The McElroy Brothers, you know you're going to be giggling, chuckling, guffawing as you read, and you may also find moments of tenderness and sweetness. This book has all of that PLUS their incredibly valuable wisdom as professional podcasters! The information in this book is extensive and the advice is sound. Each brother's voice comes through clearly, making even the most mundane podcasting advice sound fascinating and hilarious. Get this for the podcaster in your life or the MBMBaM fan or the person who talks nonstop and constantly says they should have their own podcast.

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The Great Gatsby: A Graphic Novel Adaptation By F. Scott Fitzgerald, K. Woodman-Maynard (Illustrator) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781536216769
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick - January 5th, 2021

Ryan's January 2021 pick, 1 of 3

The Great Gatsby is officially in the public domain, which means we’re about to see a lot of new adaptations, but if you love Gatsby as much as I do, you’ll want to start with this one! This Graphic Novel Adaptation by K. Woodman-Maynard breathes new life into the classic. The illustrations are lovely with a soft and warm color palate that is aesthetically pleasing to look at while still capturing the roaring-twenties-jazz-age tale of obsession and wealth and class. I love this adaptation, and I hope you will too!

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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue By V. E. Schwab Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765387578
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - April 11th, 2023

Ryan's November 2020 pick

Addie LaRue made a deal with a creature in the woods after dark. Now, Addie LaRue is forgotten. By everyone. As soon as she leaves their line of sight, it’s as if she never existed in the first place. Addie LaRue is immortal. For centuries she has lived this way. Flitting in and out of lives, always forgotten. Living an invisible life. Then one day, Addie LaRue is remembered by someone. Someone who is special in his own way. Someone who is as captivated by Addie LaRue as she is curious about him.  

This book is gorgeous, haunting, and (despite Addie’s curse) deeply memorable. Devour this masterpiece, but do so slowly. Savor every word, let them melt on your tongue and warm your soul. Let this story envelop you. Let it sink into your brain and stay there long after you’ve turned the last page. 

Read this book over and over again. Break the spine and wear out the pages. Share this book with friends and loved ones and strangers. Spread this story far and wide and above all else, remember Addie LaRue.

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The Return By Rachel Harrison Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593098677
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - October 6th, 2020

Ryan's March 2020 pick

In this extraordinarily frightening horror novel, a young woman goes missing for a year and then mysteriously returns with no memory of what happened. Except the person who returns is...not quite right. 

Her group of best friends are determined to welcome her back as if nothing has happened, and take her on a weekend getaway to a remote hotel where every room has a ridiculous theme and the drinks are flowing. 

As they try to glue their core friendship back together, it becomes clear to one of them, and to the reader, that something is terrifyingly amiss. 

Page upon page of increasing dread, spine chilling prose, and the juxtaposition of horrific imagery against an oversaturated upbeat girls weekend at a kitschy location makes for one of the most genuinely scary books I’ve read in years. Very few horror novels actually make me consider leaving the lights on at night once I’ve finished them, but I was jumping at every shadow for a while after setting this book down. 

Not only is THE RETURN utterly unnerving, it’s also exceptionally well-written with maddeningly oblivious characters determined to ignore every sign of doom and terror tapping them on the shoulder. 

I. Loved. This. Book.

Listen to Ryan's interview with Rachel Harrison!

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Pride: A Pride & Prejudice Remix By Ibi Zoboi Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062564054
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - December 17th, 2019

Ryan's February 2020 pick

Pride and Prejudice is a story that has been adapted over and over again, and Pride by Ibi Zoboi is one of those adaptations that should not be missed! Retold with a cast made up entirely of people of color, set in modern Brooklyn, Pride is a fresh take that readers will love whether they are fans or the original or not. The audiobook is read by Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X) and is a gorgeous way to absorb this fantastic book. Pride is a story of race, class, gentrification, family, and love, and I think readers will devour it.

Get the audiobook from Libro.fm, and support Gibson’s Bookstore while you listen!

The Unwilling By Kelly Braffet Cover Image
ISBN: 9780778388241
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mira Books - May 25th, 2021

Ryan's February 2020 pick, 2 of 2

This sweeping fantasy from Kelly Braffet weaves gripping tension, political drama, and deliciously complex characters into a gorgeously magical tapestry that will leave you gasping for air. This book will cure your Game of Thrones hangover. Braffet's writing is exceptional. THE UNWILLING is extremely character driven, and readers will feel as though they've been following these remarkable characters for years instead of just a few chapters.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January By Alix E. Harrow Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316421973
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Redhook - May 12th, 2020

Ryan's January 2020 pick

Doors that lead to other worlds, the ability to imbue power and truth into written words, monsters and villains, a vibrantly fierce and beautifully diverse main character who shines with her entire being, a whole lot of magic, a thrilling adventure, a story of love and loss and abandonment and waiting and searching and never losing hope. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a dazzling debut that is sure to open Doors all over this world and others.
I also highly recommend the audiobook, read by January LaVoy, available through Libro.fm!

Listen to Ryan's interview with Alix E. Harrow!

The Starless Sea: A Novel By Erin Morgenstern Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101971383
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - August 4th, 2020

Ryan's November 2019 pick

The Starless Sea is another exceptional novel from Erin Morgenstern, the author of The Night Circus.
The Starless Sea is a love story to stories, to storytellers and to lovers of stories. It is fairy tale, myth, mystery, adventure, romance, and so much more. It has depth, it has sweetness, it has sorrows, it has fate, it has heartbreak, it has love, it bends time and space, and most of all, it has stories, which are just stories until they are more.
Erin Morgenstern chooses every word with such care and precision, every sentence in this book could be read aloud to gasps of appreciation. Creativity, magic, and love flow through these pages like light through a window, settling delicately on each word, imbuing this story with a warmth and familiarity more commonly reserved for old friends.
The diversity in The Starless Sea spans across multiple categories of humanity, bringing a refreshing amount of reality into this rich fantastical narrative.
Her alternating chapters weave myths and fairytales throughout the main narrative and bring an added layer of mysticism and mystery to the whole. 

The Starless Sea is warm, glittering, golden honey. It's stories written on dust motes floating through a beam of sunlight. It's a forgotten verse to a song you heard years ago floating on a breeze. It's an adventure and a love story and a video game where all of the choices have been made for you by someone who is much better at playing the game.

As a fan of fantasy, of love, of stories, and of Erin Morgenstern, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb Series #1) By Tamsyn Muir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250313188
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tordotcom - July 14th, 2020

Ryan's October 2019 pick, 2 of 2

Lesbian Necromancers in Space. Need I say more?

Probably not, but I will anyway.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus (Harrow) and Gideon the Ninth have been enemies since childhood, but they have to stick together and feign mutual respect as they participate in a creepy, incredibly difficult trial of wits and skill where if they win, Harrow will achieve immortality and save the House of the Ninth.
I kind of want to be Gideon when I grow up. She’s bitingly sarcastic with an incredibly dry sense of humor and she fully embraces the darkness, popping on her aviator sunglasses and pulling her hood over her fiery red hair, all of which accentuates the white skull painted on her face.
This book is awesome. It has a huge cast of characters, all of whom are incredible, a fascinating series of spooky trials, and one of the most fun, dark plots I’ve read in a long time. It makes my little spooky heart happy. I can’t wait for the sequel. 

Frankissstein By Jeanette Winterson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802149398
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - September 22nd, 2020

Ryan's October 2019 pick, 1 of 2

A modern reimagining of Frankenstein told in two timelines. One, in the 1800s as Mary Shelley writes her famous novel. The other in modern day England as transgender Dr. Ry Shelley falls in love with the eccentric and brilliant Victor Stein.
At times steamy and explicit, and other times stifling and proper, this novel is fascinating and unique. It blurs the line between fantasy and reality as novel characters turn up in real life and history repeats itself or timelines converge or universes overlap or some other explanation for the strange occurrences that take place. Whatever the true explanation, this book is a smart read that will have you chuckling and scratching your head and pondering artificial intelligence and bringing the dead back to life.

Akin By Emma Donoghue Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316491969
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - July 7th, 2020

Ryan's September 2019 pick

If you liked A MAN CALLED OVE, you'll love AKIN by Emma Donoghue. Noah is a 79-year-old widower and Michael is his 11-year-old great-nephew. Michael's father has died from an apparent overdose and his mother is serving time in prison for possession, so Noah, his only available kin, is asked to temporarily care for him. This ruffles Noah's plans of traveling to France, but ultimately he decides to take his great-nephew along with him. Together, Noah and Michael explore France, learning about each other and their family history along the way, and Noah, in particular, learns not to judge too harshly or make assumptions about people before having all of the facts.

AKIN is such a sweet book and the characters are darling and delightfully human, with a level of respect and understanding that our culture could use more of. Despite having next to nothing in common with his 11-year-old great-nephew, Noah treats Michael with dignity and compassion, recognizing that the boy is grieving his father and missing his mother and terrified of his future. The subplot of addiction and the justice system is a perfect balance to the main plot.

I loved this book, and anyone looking to escape into something uplifting and sweet will relish in this story of kin.

The Need By Helen Phillips Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982113179
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: S&S/ Marysue Rucci Books - July 7th, 2020

Ryan's July 2019 pick, 1 of 2

I had the pleasure of meeting Helen Phillips at an event and when I picked up her book afterwards, I found myself sucked into a creepy story that felt at once very personal and completely out of this world. A novel of motherhood, paranoia, and home intrusion, THE NEED will have you checking every shadowy corner in your home, but absolutely nothing is as it seems. This book takes twists and turns that will give you whiplash and will have you turning the pages as fast as you can to find out what happens next. This book grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go. Fans of Sarah Pinborough's BEHIND HER EYES will love this book. It's terrifying, thrilling, and goes places you can't possibly predict.

Three Women By Lisa Taddeo Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451642308
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - July 7th, 2020

Ryan's July 2019 pick, 2 of 2

This is a nonfiction book about the sexuality of three different women. One, a young woman who had an affair with her teacher in high school and later presses charges. Another, a woman who separates from her husband when she rekindles a sexual relationship with her high school boyfriend. The third, a woman who experiments with threesomes, voyeurism, and dominance/submission with her husband. This book, while very real, reads like a novel. The writing is captivating. THREE WOMEN is fascinating, sexy, at times hopeful and at other times heartbreaking.

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The Last: A Novel By Hanna Jameson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501198830
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - February 18th, 2020

Ryan's June 2019 pick

When the Apocalypse occurs, American Historian Jon Keller is at a conference in a Swiss hotel. This book is compiled of his journal entries documenting all of the events he witnessed prior to the Apocalypse and everything thereafter, including the discovery of a body and his investigation into the possible homicide. It’s bad enough being stuck in a hotel with a group of strangers with a diminishing food supply and no way to contact family or friends, and no idea if the world outside of your walls even exists anymore, and it’s even worse if you suspect there may be a murderer among you.
This book is at once a cozy mystery and also a vast Apocolyptic event written from the perspective of a potentially unreliable narrator.

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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A Novel (The Carls #1) By Hank Green Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524743468
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - July 30th, 2019

Ryan's October 2018 pick

An exciting sci-fi thriller adventure about the dangers of viral fame featuring a diverse set of strong characters, this book truly is an absolutely remarkable thing.

Listen to Ryan's interview with Hank Green

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins By Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, Carey Pietsch (Illustrator), Carey Pietsch Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250153708
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - July 17th, 2018

Ryan's July 2018 pick
Fans of the hysterical Dungeons & Dragons Podcast hosted by The McElroy Brothers (of “My Brother, My Brother, and Me” fame) with their dad Clint, will delight in this deliriously charming and witty graphic novelization of the first part of the Balance Arc from “The Adventure Zone”.
Follow Taako, Magnus, and Merle as well as their omniscient and sarcastic Dungeon Master, Griffin, through all manner of adventures and hijinks.   
Even if you know nothing about Dungeons & Dragons or The McElroys, you will love this incredible graphic novel.
Paired with Pietsch's gorgeous illustrations The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins is a fantastic tale of heart, humor, and truly magnificent storytelling.
Here There Be Gerblins is unique, it's funny, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I am already foaming at the mouth for the next one.

“The story of four idiots who played DnD so hard that they made themselves cry.” – Justin McElroy, summing up the entire “Balance” campaign

Listen to Ryan's interview with Clint McElroy!

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The Girl Before By Rena Olsen Cover Image
Likely available, but must be ordered by email/phone
ISBN: 9781101982358
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - August 9th, 2016

Ryan's November 2017 pick

The Girl Before, by Rena Olsen

When a woman is taken from her home, from her husband and daughters, she thinks her life is over. Then she slowly begins to realize that perhaps her life wasn't quite as perfect as she'd thought it was, and her situation begs the question: can we be convinced that what we're doing is right, even if it's very VERY wrong? 

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The Circle By Dave Eggers Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345807298
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 22nd, 2014

Ryan's October 2017 pick

The Circle, by Dave Eggers

Utopia or dystopia? You decide. Feed meets 1984 in this eerily familiar world where social media rules supreme and there is no longer a semblance of anonymity or quiet solitude. But it's totally your choice. Probably. 

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Heartless By Marissa Meyer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250148186
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Square Fish - May 1st, 2018

Ryan's September 2017 pick

Heartless, by Marissa Meyer
The author of the incredible Lunar Chronicles takes us to Wonderland long before Alice falls down the rabbit hole. We all know the wildly ruthless Queen of Hearts, but before she was ordering the decapitation of everyone in sight, she was a teenage girl named Catherine. Heartless does for the Queen of Hearts what Wicked did for the Wicked Witch of the West. Not all villains were born evil.

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Final Girls: A Novel By Riley Sager Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101985380
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton - January 23rd, 2018

Ryan's August 2017 pick

So, you're the lone survivor of a horrific massacre. Congratulations! What do you do now?
Final Girls is riveting and intense. Fans of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train will devour this psychological thriller. Oh, and keep some snacks nearby. The main character likes to bake.

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Words in Deep Blue By Cath Crowley Cover Image
Likely available, but must be ordered by email/phone
ISBN: 9781101937679
Published: Ember - May 29th, 2018

Ryan's July pick

Words in Deep Blue, by Cath Crowley

This book is bittersweet and beautiful. It is first love and best friends. It's letters and loss and books. So many books. It is heart-achingly lovely. This is a book for bibliophiles and everyone who knows the healing power of a good book.

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Behind Her Eyes: A Suspenseful Psychological Thriller By Sarah Pinborough Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250111197
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - January 30th, 2018

Ryan's February 2017 pick

Behind Her Eyes, by Sarah Pinborough

A psychological thriller with a twist.

And then another twist.

And then more twists.

The writing is great, the characters are insane, and the story is one that you will never forget. And don’t even get me started on the ending. You’ll never, ever, ever see it coming. Even when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you’ll be wrong.

This book keeps you on your toes until the final page.

Hamilton: The Revolution By Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter Cover Image
ISBN: 9781455539741
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - April 12th, 2016

Ryan's December 2016 pick, 1 of 3

Behind the scenes of the most popular show on Broadway.

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The Love That Split the World By Emily Henry Cover Image
Likely available, but must be ordered by email/phone
ISBN: 9781595148513
Published: Razorbill - January 10th, 2017

Ryan's February 2016 pick

The Love That Split the World, by Emily Henry

Sometimes you need a luscious, delicious, heart-aching romance about young love that traverses the constraints of time and space and possibilities.
Fans of The Time Traveler's Wife will fall in love with The Love That Split The World. Curl up on a cold February day under a warm blanket with a cup of hot chocolate and this book and prepare to read the whole thing in one sitting. You will adore these characters and their innocent true love that is so strong and pure, time itself cannot contain it.

I'm Thinking of Ending Things: A Novel By Iain Reid Cover Image
Likely available, but must be ordered by email/phone
ISBN: 9781982155841
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - August 25th, 2020

Ryan's December 2016 pick, 3 of 3

This horror novel is unsettling and has an underlying feeling of dread throughout. If you liked House of Leaves and The Room, this one is for you.

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Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded By Hannah Hart Cover Image
Likely available, but must be ordered by email/phone
ISBN: 9780062457523
Published: Dey Street Books - August 15th, 2017

Ryan's November 2016 pick

When I found out that Hannah was writing a memoir, and that it was full of things she'd never talked about before, I expected saucy tales of her lesbian sexcapades or wild drunken nights or her favorite or least favorite MDK guests, that sort of thing.

What I did not expect was a heartwrenching tale of poverty and suffering and survival perpetrated by her mother's mental illness and the abandonment of family members who simply couldn't deal with it all.

I did not expect stories of adversity and pain, self-harm and self-hatred, homophobia and ultimately, acceptance and love.

This is not a book of puns (well, not entirely) and raucous tales (okay, there are some).

This is a book of strength and love and self-worth.

Hannah Hart has fought, and is still fighting in many ways, incredibly hard for everything she has.

When I found out Hannah was writing a memoir, I did not expect to be so completely humbled and inspired. But there you have it.

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In a Dark, Dark Wood By Ruth Ware Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501112331
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - April 19th, 2016

Ryan's August 2016 pick, 1 of 2

In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware

If you enjoy books along the lines of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, then you’ll also enjoy In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. Set during the most awkward bachelorette party ever, there’s a murder most foul and someone at the party is the murderer. Probably. This thriller is well-paced, full of frustratingly capable murder suspects, and sprinkles of hilarity throughout.

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The Paper Magician By Charlie N. Holmberg Cover Image
ISBN: 9781477823835
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: 47north - September 1st, 2014

Ryan's August 2016 pick, 2 of 2

The Paper Magician, by Charlie N. Holmberg

Ceony Twill is kind of a brat. She’s smart, she’s fierce, and she’s full of herself. She thinks she’s too good to be a paper magician, and she throws a fit when she’s assigned an apprenticeship in that field instead of something more worthy of her skills like metal or glass or plastic or even rubber. Alas, paper magicians are rare, and her skills are needed, so off she goes, grumbling all the way. As it turns out, paper magic is beautiful and fascinating and useful, and Ceony has a knack for it. Plus, her instructor is gorgeous, so that doesn’t hurt.

This is the first in a trilogy of light fantasy with a very cool system of magic and plenty of romance. And don’t worry; Ceony gets better.

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Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend By Alan Cumyn Cover Image
Likely available, but must be ordered by email/phone
ISBN: 9781481439817
Published: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books - March 21st, 2017

Ryan April 2016 pick

Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend, by Alan Cumyn

Yes, this book is as weird as the title suggests. Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend is a fever dream of hormones, hysteria, and high school, with the added bonus of one spellbindingly hot Pterodactyl. Perfect for fans of Christopher Moore (A Dirty JobBloodsucking FiendsYou SuckBite MeSecondhand Souls, etc) this book will make you feel high as a kite while reading it, and probably for several hours afterwards. I recommend waiting at least two hours after reading before operating heavy machinery. This book is hilarious, sexy, and completely weird. I loved it.

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A Little Life By Hanya Yanagihara Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804172707
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - January 26th, 2016

Ryan's March 2016 pick
A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara

It's hard to describe A Little Life without using the words tragic, heartbreaking, and beautiful, because it is all of those things and more. It follows the lives of four men, best friends from college, through the ups and downs of their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Told in a non-linear format, we discover backstories the way one would recall memories - out of order, and often sparking other trains of thought. One character in particular has a dark, traumatic history involving severe abuse that has shaped his adulthood, and one which he despises talking or even thinking about. These characters will break your heart, and you will close the book feeling as though they are your friends. They will stay with you long after the final page has turned.

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The Love That Split the World By Emily Henry Cover Image
Likely available, but must be ordered by email/phone
ISBN: 9781595148513
Published: Razorbill - January 10th, 2017

Ryan's February 2016 pick

The Love That Split the World, by Emily Henry

Sometimes you need a luscious, delicious, heart-aching romance about young love that traverses the constraints of time and space and possibilities.
Fans of The Time Traveler's Wife will fall in love with The Love That Split The World. Curl up on a cold February day under a warm blanket with a cup of hot chocolate and this book and prepare to read the whole thing in one sitting. You will adore these characters and their innocent true love that is so strong and pure, time itself cannot contain it.

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After Alice: A Novel By Gregory Maguire Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060859749
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - July 5th, 2016

Ryan's January 2016 pick
After Alice, by Gregory Maguire

After Alice is Gregory Maguire's fresh new take on Lewis Carroll's fantastical tale. There are seemingly infinite adaptations of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland out there (trust me, I own all of them), but this feels more like a companion than a retelling.
In this story, Alice's childhood friend Ada accidentally follows Alice down the rabbit hole where she encounters many of the same creatures and adventures as Alice, in her friend's wake.
We also get glimpses of the "real world" when the adults realize that Alice (and Ada) have gone missing.
Wonderland is more or less the way we remember it, with some old friends (a bit frazzled having just met the delightfully naive and curious Alice) and some new friends.
After Alice is perfect for fans of the original.
Welcome back to Wonderland.

Carry On (Simon Snow Trilogy #1) By Rainbow Rowell Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250135025
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wednesday Books - May 9th, 2017

Ryan's October 2015 pick

Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell

It's tough being "The Chosen One". It's tougher when your roommate is also your nemesis who might be a vampire and is definitely a girlfriend-stealing git.
Carry On is a fantasy. It's a love story. It's a ghost story. It's enemies turned friends, and more. It's Simon. It's Baz. It's beautiful and heart-wrenching and funny and clever. If you loved Fangirl, if you loved Harry Potter, if you love love, you'll love Carry On.

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A Dirty Job: A Novel By Christopher Moore Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060590284
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - March 27th, 2007

Ryan's September 2015 pick

A Dirty Job, by Christopher Moore

If you haven't yet discovered the dark humor that is Christopher Moore's novels, do so starting with A Dirty Job. Life for Charlie Asher is pretty good, and fairly normal, until people start dropping dead around him and he starts hearing voices that no one else hears. He's been recruited as a merchant of Death. It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.

Once you've finished A Dirty Job, pick up his newest novel, Secondhand Souls - it's the long awaited sequel to A Dirty Job and you won't be disappointed.

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The Martian: A Novel By Andy Weir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553418026
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - October 28th, 2014

Ryan's August 2015 pick

The Martian, by Andy Weir

Astronaut Botanist Mark Watney is on a mission to Mars to collect dirt samples, when there's a terrible storm and subsequent accident, and his crew, thinking him dead, leaves him behind. It's not their fault really: he was impaled, his life readings zeroed out, and if they didn't get off the planet in the next 10 seconds, they'd all die. Except, he isn't dead, and now he's stranded on Mars. Alone. Luckily for him, the crew left behind most of their supplies in their urgent escape. Now Mark has to find a way to make those supplies last until he can be rescued. Oh, there's another catch. Everyone thinks he's dead, so there's no rescue mission. Astronaut Botanist Mark Watney is in a tough spot.

The Martian by Andy Weir is basically MacGyver in space. It's incredible. The story is relayed to us via Mark Watney's logs journaling his survival, so the science is sound, but delivered in laymen's terms. Watney is sarcastic and dry and hilarious, and it's nearly impossible to put this book down once you've started it.

Make sure you read The Martian before the movie (starring Matt Damon as Mark Watney) comes out this October!

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The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel By Gabrielle Zevin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616204518
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - December 2nd, 2014

Ryan's July 2015 pick

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a must-read for all bibliophiles. A.J. is the owner of a small, independent bookstore, whose life changes beyond recognition (for the better) when someone leaves an unusual package for him in his store. "A.J. Fikry" is a story with heart, a story with soul, and a story with book lovers.

A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel By Paul Tremblay Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062363244
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - May 10th, 2016

Ryan's June 2015 pick, 1 of 2

A Head Full of Ghosts, by Paul Tremblay

Picture "The Exorcist" as a reality television show: That's A Head Full of Ghosts. There are dual unreliable narrators, psychotic breaks, demonic possession and so much more! Get this for the horror movie fan in your life!

I loved this book. The writing is clever and it hooks you immediately. The story is creepy and keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole way through.

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Method 15/33 By Shannon Kirk Cover Image
Likely available, but must be ordered by email/phone
ISBN: 9781608091867
Published: Oceanview Publishing - June 14th, 2016

Ryan's June 2015 pick, 2 of 2

Method 15/33, by Shannon Kirk

Fans of Gone GirlGirl on the Train, and Room, this is your next read! A young, pregnant girl is kidnapped on her way to school, but she's not the vulnerable child you may think she is. This book is excellently chilling and creepy, and makes you wonder if you're really rooting for the right characte

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Red Queen By Victoria Aveyard Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062310644
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - June 7th, 2016

Ryan's March 2015 pick, 1 of 2

Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard

I judged this book by it's incredibly cool cover, and luckily for me, it worked out in my favor. Red Queen is an action-packed fantasy that fans of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones will love. There's romance, violence, betrayal, and a quest for power in which no one is safe and you can't trust anyone. This book is electric and magical, and I couldn't put it down.

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The Walls Around Us By Nova Ren Suma Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616205904
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - March 22nd, 2016

Ryan's March 2015 pick, 2 of 2

The Walls Around Us, by Nova Ren Suma

I had the absolute pleasure of reading the manuscript of The Walls Around Us. This book is stunning in its execution, a brilliant, twirling, spinning novel that when completed, made me want to give a standing ovation and throw roses at its feet. The story - told in split narrations, three years apart yet happening simultaneously - is one that grasps the reader tightly and doesn't let go until the very end. Stop what you're doing and read this book right now. You won't regret it.

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Grace's Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown-up By Grace Helbig Cover Image
Likely available, but must be ordered by email/phone
ISBN: 9781476788005
Published: Gallery Books - October 21st, 2014

Ryan's February 2015 pick 

Grace's Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown-up, by Grace Helbig


So here's the thing about Grace Helbig - yes, she's hilarious and charming and wonderful, but she's also smart and has solid advice for people trying to figure out their lives. I picked up this book because I wanted to support Grace, and I read it, knowing there would be some laughs and curious to learn more about her as a human. I was not expecting, however, to learn about myself and find myself nodding as I agreed with her very astute, very sincere advice and life tips. I found myself relating to her, empathizing with her, and even sympathizing at times. Yes, Grace is funny, but she's also human, and a beautiful one at that.

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We Were Liars By E. Lockhart Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385741279
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ember - May 29th, 2018

Ryan's January 2015 pick

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart

I read 100 books in 2014, and none stuck with me quite like We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

I actively avoided reading this book for months simply because people seemed to love it so much. (Wow, I’m such a hipster sometimes). Anyway, I finally picked it up, and the premise sounded so boring and annoying. A bunch of rich kids hang out on their private beach in their family’s mansions on the Cape, and discover secrets. Ugh. It sounded so pretentious and awful. Then I read it. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that the sounds that came out of my mouth when I finished this book were barely human. I made some sort of screeching pterydactyl sounds, then paced the room like a lion, then stared at my fiancé, desperately wanting to scream out the ending, but only able to mouth the words, “OH MY GOD” and "HOLY WHAT" and other colorful phrases. Needless to say, my opinion of this book changed rapidly. Trust me on this: read We Were Liars, and when people ask you about the ending, just lie.

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Winterspell By Claire Legrand Cover Image
Likely available, but must be ordered by email/phone
ISBN: 9781442465985
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - September 30th, 2014

Ryan's December 2014 pick

Winterspell, by Claire Legrand

Winterspell is a dark, sexy, twisted steam-punk version of The Nutcracker. Clara is whisked off to another world with her statue-turned-human prince (hint: he's the Nutcracker in this scenario) to fight off a sometimes-evil-sometimes-sweet seductive queen to save the day and her father and her strange godfather. There's magic and mages, there are fairies and humans, there are battles and destruction and friendships and love and lust and longing.

This is unlike any Nutcracker you've ever read.

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The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet: A Novel (Lizzie Bennet Diaries  ) By Bernie Su, Kate Rorick Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476763163
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery Books - June 24th, 2014

Ryan's October 2014 pick, 2 of 2

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

If you haven't yet discovered the brilliance that is the web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, check out the whole online multi-platform experience here.

" The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modernized adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” told through original episodic video and multiplatform storytelling."

Now read The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, Lizzie's personal diary that takes you behind the scenes of Lizzie's Vlogs and into the lives of the Bennet sisters in a way that would have made Jane Austen proud.

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Landline: A Christmas Love Story By Rainbow Rowell Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250828422
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - September 28th, 2021

Ryan's August 2014 pick

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

The author of Attachments, Eleanor & Park, and Fangirl has done it again. Landline is Rainbow Rowell's latest adult novel about a magic phone and a marriage on the brink of collapsing completely. Georgie McCool discovers an old landline phone in her closet that can make phonecalls into the past. She uses this phone to talk to her husband back when he was still her boyfriend, with the hopes of salvaging her marriage or perhaps preventing it from happening in the first place. Landline is laced with heartache and humor. Rowell's characters are teeming with life and love and personality. The writing is rich and expressive, pulling you into the story and tugging at your heartstrings the whole way through. Oh, and keep a sharp eye out for a cameo from a couple of characters from Fangirl.

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Robogenesis (Vintage Contemporaries) By Daniel H. Wilson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345804389
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - March 17th, 2015

Ryan's July 2014 pick

Robogenesis by Daniel H. Wilson
If you liked Robopocalypse, you’ll love the sequel, Robogenesis. This one takes place immediately where the first one left off, just as the New War is ending; except things aren’t exactly as they seemed, and the true war is really just beginning.
Daniel H. Wilson flaunts his robotics degree and makes the impending robot uprising even scarier and more conceivable than ever. Now please excuse me while I lock up all of my electronics and begin fortifying my apartment for the Robot War that is probably in the very near future.

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We Are Called to Rise: A Novel By Laura McBride Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476738970
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 28th, 2015

Ryan's June 2014 pick

We Are Called To Rise, by Laura McBride

A young war veteran, an 8 year old immigrant, a volunteer social worker, and a woman who’s just found out about her husband’s affair. What do these people have in common? Well, they’re all from Las Vegas. And they all have a story to tell. Their stories just happen to intertwine.

This is a wonderful, heart-wrenching story about life, loss, trauma, and love told in four distinct voices.

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Far From You By Tess Sharpe Cover Image
Likely available, but must be ordered by email/phone
ISBN: 9781484715703
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - August 11th, 2015

Ryan's April 2014 pick

Far From You by Tess Sharpe

Sophie Winters, a recovering drug addict, survives a brutal attack only to discover that her best friend, Mina, has been murdered. Using an interesting non-linear tactic, the book switches from past to present in alternating chapters as the reader attempts to solve the mystery alongside Sophie. Not only does Sophie desperately want to solve Mina's murder, she must also prove to her friends, family, and the police that she is still free of her addiction and had nothing to do with Mina's death. This book takes a hard, realistic look at the dangers of addiction in the context of a really good mystery.

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The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic: A Novel By Emily Croy Barker Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143125679
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - July 29th, 2014

Ryan's January 2014 pick

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic, by Emily Croy Barker


Every once in a while, I come across a book that sucks me in from the first page, and won’t let me go until I’ve finished it. Books like The Ocean at the End of the Lane1Q84Eleanor & Park, (read those reviews here) and others. I’m adding another one to that list: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker. This book is like the missing link between Young Adult and Adult Fiction. It’s packed with fantasy and adventure and even a little bit of romance (not too much!) but it’s written for adults, which is refreshing. It’s nice to have another really well-written fantasy novel in the adult section.


Nora, age 29, is having a hard time being newly single and attending a friend's wedding where, surprise, surprise, her ex-boyfriend shows up. She goes for a hike early on the morning of the wedding and walks right through a portal to another world. That’s just the beginning of her whirlwind adventure that takes her through enchantments, dragons, evil queens, a nasty binding ring, and a surly magician who helps her learn some skills to keep her safe.


This book is awesome.

I couldn’t put it down, and now I can’t stop talking about it.

If you like fantasy, but you’re not really in the mood for a Young Adult novel, definitely pick up this book. It’ll satisfy your cravings, but also leave you wanting more. (And yes, I think there will be a sequel).


This is a popular one among our staff. Everyone who reads it falls in love with it and can't stop raving about it. This debut novel from Emily Croy Barker is a must-read.


Here’s a little snippet from the second chapter of the book (page 31). Nora got lost on her hike and wound up in a luscious garden where she met a beautiful woman named Ilissa who fed her, let her bathe, gave her beautiful clothes, and made her incredibly stunning before whisking her out to a party where everything is fascinatingly strange, and Nora seems to be accepting it as well as she can:

The night flowed faster and faster. Nora had a long, earnest conversation with Moscelle about Gaibon and whether he loved Moscelle or Amatol more. “Really, the way it started out, it wasn’t that serious between us,” Moscelle said. “But she’s so possessive, she’s driving him away.” Nora squeezed into a snub-nosed red Ferrari with four or five others and they went racing down narrow roads lined with poplar trees, until they had drunk all the champagne that Vulpin had brought and had to go back to the party. More dancing, then Nora wound up talking to the girl with the boa constrictor, whom she realized after a while must be Moscelle’s rival, Amatol. “I’m Nora,” she said. “Lovely to meet you,” said Amatol. “Charmed,” said the snake lifting its head from the girl’s shoulder and showing its fastidious, forked tongue.
Nora wandered out by the swimming pool with Amatol and a tall, bald black man. he had small, round Lennon glasses, and he was telling them in great detail about a love affair that he’d once had on the planet Jupiter with one of the gaseous women there, whose skin felt like silky smoke, whose kisses were explosions. “What has he been taking?” thought Nora. She looked down into the pool and saw a naked couple was making love at the bottom. They moved rhythmically, wrapped around each other like eels. Nora marveled at how long they could hold their breath.

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The Night Circus: A Novel By Erin Morgenstern Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307744432
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - July 3rd, 2012

Ryan's November 2013 pick

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


If you're a fan of fantasy, romance, and/or adventure, and you haven't read this book yet, you need to. Like, now.

The circus arrives without warning.

The black and white circus is stunning and eerie and only arrives at night. It's called Le Cirque des Rêves (The Circus of Dreams), and has a devout following of rêveurs (dreamers) who manage to find out when and where the circus will pop up next. What the rêveurs don't know is that the night circus is actually the main stage of a fierce competition between Celia and Marco, two magicians who were raised and trained by rival magicians specifically for the purpose of competing against each other. Celia and Marco don't realize exactly how high the stakes are (only one will be left standing - at least, that's the goal for their instructors). Naturally, as is wont to happen, Celia and Marco fall completely head over heels in love with one another, but despite their love, the game must go on.
The Night Circus is deeply beautiful, magical, and spectacular. I've never read anything quite like it. I highly recommend it for anyone craving something fantastical and beautiful.


“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”  

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The Exorcist: A Novel By William Peter Blatty Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062094360
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Paperbacks - October 4th, 2011

Ryan's Halloween 2013 pick

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

By far the scariest book I have ever read was William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist. Sure, I'd seen the film, and yeah, it was scary, but it doesn't even come close to the book. There's just something about Blatty's descriptions of that iconic demonic possession that chills you to the bone.

I do own a copy of The Exorcist, but it scared me so deeply after I read it the first (and only) time, that I hid it somewhere in my apartment, and I actually don't know where it is now. That will make for an interesting (and possibly scream-inducing) discovery someday.

If you're looking for a book to keep you awake this Halloween, checking over your shoulder and peering suspiciously into the shadows, jumping at every sound, then The Exorcist is for you. But don't say I didn't warn you. 

Excerpt Chapter 1:

    The following morning when Chris opened her eyes, she found Regan in bed with her, half awake.
"Well, what in the.... What are you doing here?" Chris chuckled.
"My bed was shaking."
"You nut." Chris kissed her and pulled up her covers. "Go to sleep. It's still early."
What looked like morning was the beginning of endless night.

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Fangirl: A Novel By Rainbow Rowell Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250042613
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Wednesday Books - November 6th, 2018

Ryan's September 2013 pick

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell


Rainbow Rowell is one of my favorite authors, and her newest novel Fangirl is rivaling Eleanor & Park for my affections! 
Fangirl is a cool, modern coming-of-age tale. Cath, cripplingly introverted, is famous. Well, sort of. Everyone in the Simon Snow fandom who has ever delved into the world of "SnowBaz" Fanfiction knows her username. Magicath, as she's known online, writes Fanfiction (stories written by fans about their favorite characters) about Simon Snow and his vampire enemy Basil (Baz), and her stories are so beloved by the fans, that most confess they wish her latest, Carry On, Simon was the real thing.

Of course, no one but her twin sister and her ex boyfriend know that Cath is the one writing the infamous Fanfiction, and now she's a freshman in college struggling to survive the new environment, all but abandoned by her extraverted twin, stuck with a roommate she has nothing in common with (and is a little freaked out by), and she's afraid to eat in the dining hall by herself. Living off of protein bars and Simon Snow, Cath shuts herself in her room and writes furiously, deterined to finish Carry On before the final volume of Simon Snow is released. Also, there's this boy she kinda likes... 
This novel is so awesome. I loved this book. It was refreshing to read about Fanfiction (especially in a way that celebrates it!), introverts in a college setting (those bits felt eerily familiar), and passion (obsession?) over a book series (that's not entirely unlike our own beloved Harry Potter). Please, please check out this book. I think you'll love it. Rainbow, as she's proven before, is able to totally capture the essence of the teenage years. There were several times when I laughed at something Cath did because it brought back vivid memories of myself doing the exact same thing. 

You know what's great about Fangirl? The characters develop. they go through realistic journeys. They have good days and bad days, and they feel realI couldn't get enough of this book, and I strongly urge you to pick it up, if only so I'll have someone else to fangirl with other than Rainbow herself.

Excerpt (pgs 50-51):

"You don't owe them anything," Wren would say, crawling onto Cath's bed at three in the morning and pulling Cath's laptop away. "Go to sleep."
"I will. I'm just...I want to finish this scene. I think Baz is finally going to tell Simon he loves him."
"He'll still love him tomorrow."
"It's a big chapter."
"It's always a big chapter."
"It's different this time." Cath had been saying this for the last year. "It's the end."
Wren was right: Cath had written this story, Baz and Simon in love, dozens of times before. She'd written this scene, this line -- "Snow...Simon, I love you"--fifty different ways.
But Carry On was different.
It was the longest fic she'd written so far; it was already longer than any of Gemma T. Leslie's books, and Cath was only two-thirds of the way through.
Carry On was written as if it were the eighth Simon Snow book, as if it were Cath's job to wrap up all the loose ends, to make sure that Simon ascended to Mage, to redeem Baz (something GTL would never do), to make both boys forget about Agatha...To write all the good-bye scenes and graduation scenes and last-minute revelations...And to stage the final battle between Simon and the Insidious Humdrum.
Everyone in fandom was writing eighth-year fics right now. Everyone wanted to take a crack at the big ending before the last Simon Snow book was released in May.
But for thousands of people, Carry On was already it.

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel By Neil Gaiman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063070707
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - May 18th, 2021

Ryan's July 2013 staff pick, 2 of 2

The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s newest novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane  is everything I hoped it would be and more.

After attending a funeral, a middle-aged man returns to his childhood neighborhood where he finds himself reminiscing about times long forgotten, and dark memories bubble to the surface. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide, and our protagonist found the waxy corpse laying on top of his new comic book in the backseat of his dad’s car. This event shook up his life in ways he could never have imagined. “He started this all off, like someone lighting a fuse on a firework. His death lit the touchpaper” (pg. 30).  It is immediately after the discovery of the corpse that he meets Lettie Hempstock, an 11-year-old girl, who is very mature for her age and has mysterious, whimsical ways about her. She leads the protagonist (who, at this point, I realize is completely nameless throughout the novel, allowing us to place ourselves smack into the action instead) to a world where magic and monsters reside.

This novel pulls you under the water and drenches you in myth, magic, innocence, fear, and that Gothic tone that Gaiman does oh-so-well.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane shows us just how malleable our memories are, especially as children, and that adults perhaps aren’t as wise about the world as we think they are.

I read this book in one sitting, and I kind of want to read it all over again. Reading Neil Gaiman books is like hanging out with an old friend, and this was the perfect reunion.

Take a deep breath and jump into The Ocean at the End of the Lane. See you on the other side.

Excerpt (p7-8):

The pond was smaller than I remembered. There was a little wooden shed on the far side, and, by the path, an ancient, heavy, wood-and-metal bench. The peeling wooden slats had been painted green a few years ago. I sat on the bench, and stared at the reflection of the sky in the water, at the scum of duckweed at the edges, and the halfdozen lily pads. Every now and again, I tossed a hazelnut into the middle of the pond, the pond that Lettie Hempstock had called…

It wasn’t the sea, was it?

She would be older than I am now, Lettie Hempstock. She was only a handful of years older than I was back then, for all her funny talk. She was eleven. I was…what was I? It was after the bad birthday party. I knew that. So I would have been seven.

I wondered if we had ever fallen in the water. Had I pushed her into the duck pond, that strange girl who lived in the farm at the very bottom of the lane? I remembered her being in the water. Perhaps she had pushed me in too.

Where did she go? America? No, Australia. That was it. Somewhere a long way away.

And it wasn’t the sea. It was the ocean.

Lettie Hempstock’s ocean.

I remembered that, and, remembering that, I remembered everything.

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Joyland By Stephen King Cover Image
ISBN: 9781781162644
Availability: Backordered
Published: Hard Case Crime - June 4th, 2013

Ryan's June 2013 pick, 1 of 2

Joyland by Stephen King

Equal parts murder mystery, love story, and coming of age tale, Joyland pulls you in right from the start, teasing you with bits of information that you know are important but you also know you won't understand until the end.


Devin Jones, now in his sixties, looks back on the summer of 1973 when he was 21, newly heartbroken, and working at a small carny-esque amusement park in North Carolina called Joyland. It all seems like fun and games and dancing in The Fur (the park's mascot costume) until the a friendly (nutty) psychic tells an accurate fortune in the most cryptic way possible, and the msyterious murder that took place in the Joyland Horror House in 1969 resurfaces.


Four years before Devin came to work at the park, a young woman named Linda Gray was killed in the Horror House - Joyland's only "dark ride". Her throat was slit and her body wasn't found until the next day. Her killer wore an extra shirt to catch the blood spatter, and a pair of work gloves, and he was never found even though the two of them were photographed just before the murder. Now it's rumored that the victim, Linda Gray, haunts the Horror House. Devin digs into the murder to see what he can find, even going so far as to try to see the ghost himself. Meanwhile, the resident Madame Fortuna (crazy, yet lovable psychic) may have had some actual visions that are now coming to fruition in Devin's life. So, he's got to figure out what those mean. Oh, and his girlfriend probably cheated on him, so that's good. Devin's got a lot going on in this novel, but he holds it together and shares his truly spectacular story of his summer of '73 with us.


This is Stephen King without being Stephen King. It's very conversational in tone, with hints and teases of information without giving anything away, and it's a masterfully crafted mystery. Even with the chilling presence of psychics and ghosts and murder, the overall tone is sweet and nostalgic instead of terrifying.


When I picked up Joyland, I was not expecting a story like this one. I mean, it's Stephen King - the King of Horror - so I was waiting for some full on terror in the amusement park, but it turned out to be something completely different. It's definitely unique, and I enjoyed every page. I especially liked that the murder mystery didn't even take the helm of the novel until the very end. The majority of the novel is just about Devin's summer, told by his 60-year old self, all of the tangents and sidebars included, and it's got tones of nostalgia and pride, and I really enjoyed reading it, and then all of a sudden all those little clues and hints that were dropped in throughout the first two thirds of the book start to weave together in a way that only a true master could achieve. You don't even realize you're trying to solve a mystery until the mystery is solved.


Definitely give Joyland a shot. It probably won't be what you're expecting, but you won't be disappointed.


Excerpt: page 144

I walked slowly down the double-S, thinking it would not be beyond Eddie to hear me and shut off the overhead work-lights as a joke. To leave me in here to feel my way past the murder site with only the sound of the wind and that one slapping board to keep me company. And suppose...just suppose...a young girl's hand reached out and took mine, the way Erin had taken my hand that last night on the beach?
The lights stayed on. No bloody shirt and gloves appeared beside the track, glowing spectrally. And when I came to what I felt sure was the right spot, just before the entrance to the Torture Chamber, there was no ghost-girl holding her hands out to me.
Yet something was there. I knew it then and I know it now. The air was colder. Not cold enough to see my breath, but yes, definitely colder. My arms and legs and groain all prickled with gooseflesh, and the hair at the nape of my neck stiffened.
"Let me see you," I whispered, feeling foolish and terrified. Wanting it to happen, hoping it wouldn't.

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The Testing By Joelle Charbonneau Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544336230
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarion Books - January 6th, 2015

Ryan's June 2013 pick, 2 of 2

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Lookout Hunger Games, there's a new player in town, and it's name is The Testing. Joelle Charbonneau's new novel, the first in a trilogy, shares a lot of similarities with the Hunger Games, but is superior in my opinion. The Testing uses intelligence in place of violence, and while there are still deaths, they don't seem to be as unnecessary as a bunch of kids thrown into an arena to kill each other. Instead, the brightest students each year are chosen for The Testing where they go through a series of exams that include written tests on history, math, science, and english, puzzles where incorrect answers are penalized (sort out the poisonous plants...confident? Okay, eat the edible ones.), an exercise in teamwork, and finally being dropped into a different city where they need to use their skills to find their way back to Tosu City--the base of operations for the Testing.Of those who make it back, 20 are selected to go on to University where they can earn a degree and perhaps even go on to be leaders of the cities.

Students are taught that The Testing is a great honor, and they yearn for the chance to be chosen. When Cia is chosen, it's as though she's won the lottery - she'll get a chance to use her intelligence and cunning to pass The Testing and hopefully move on to University! It's her dream come true! At least, until her father drops some heavy info in her lap that The Testing might not be all it's cracked up to be.

There are some shady aspects to the whole affair, and our main character Cia recognizes them quickly, but unlike Katniss, she knows how to play the game without upsetting people. She's not a rebel, she's not a revolutionary, she just knows how to play it so she doesn't die. She'd probably be great at the game of thrones. There is a love interest, but their relationship almost takes a backseat in the story--he's more of a pleasant distraction and motivator for survival than a boyfriend, which I found refreshing.

Reading this book, I definitely recognized the flashes of The Hunger Games but it didn't bother me as much as I thought it might. Instead it felt like this was inspired by those books, but it wasn't copying them. It took a different path, one that I appreciated. I liked how intelligent the competitors were, and how some of them had very different strategies for being one of the winners. Cia is given one piece of advice: Trust no one. She has a rather hard time following that advice, though.

The Testing is a great novel for anyone 12 and up. If you loved The Hunger Games, you will adore this book. Trust me.

Excerpt (pgs 29-30):

Dad leads me over to the oak bench Hamin made Mom for her birthday and takes a seat. I sit next to him and wait for him to speak.

Crickets chirp. Wind rustles the tree branches above us. From somewhere deep in the lengthening shadows come the faint sounds of wolves and other animals prowling in the night.

After what seems like forever, Dad takes my hand and holds it tight. When he speaks, I have to lean close to hear him. "

There are things I've never told you. I had hoped to never tell you. Even now I'm not certain I should."

I sit up straighter. "Is it about The Testing?" Dad has never talked about his Testing or much about his days spent at the University no matter how many questions I've asked. For a moment I feel closer to him, knowing we'll share this experience. Then the moment is shattered.

"You should never have been chosen."

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The School for Good and Evil: Now a Netflix Originals Movie By Soman Chainani, Iacopo Bruno (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Soman Chainani, Iacopo Bruno (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062104908
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - September 4th, 2018

Ryan's May 2013 pick

The School for Good and Evil has a new take on fairy tales gripped me right from the start. The story whirls and twirls, the line separating good from evil flickering. I thought the story was headed in one direction, then it twisted away and took another route entirely. The School for Good and Evil is an exceptional novel for young readers looking for their own Happily Ever Afters. Soman Chainani shows us that maybe fairy tales, and life, aren’t as black and white as they seem. Can Princesses and Witches be friends? That’s for me to know and you to find out. My favorite part about The School for Good and Evil is the way Chainani twists the ideas about beauty. Typically in fairy tales the good guys are all handsome and beautiful, while the villains are ugly. Chainani shows the readers that this does not need to be the case, and that perhaps inner beauty is more powerful than external beauty. This is a fun young adult novel with encouraging notions about beauty and kindness and stereotypes. How refreshing!

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The Chronicles of Narnia Paperback 7-Book Box Set: 7 Books in 1 Box Set By C. S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (Illustrator) Cover Image
By C. S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780064405379
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - July 1st, 1994

Ryan's April 2013 pick

If you stopped by Gibson's at any point during the month of March, you may have seen my Book Madness display. What's Book Madness, you ask? Great question! Book Madness is the Bibliophile's version of March Madness! (Don't know what March Madness is? Well, that's why Google exists!)

Each year http://outofprintclothing.com sets up a bracket, just like March Madness, and fills it with 64 of the top submitted books in the Genre of their choosing. Once it begins, people can go to their website and vote for their favorites until only one book is left!

This year's genre was SciFi/Fantasy, so I created a display with the books listed on the brackets, and even made my own giant bracket that I updated each week.

The final four books were The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, 1984 by George Orwell, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. 1984 won it all, beating Harry Potter by about 4% of the votes.

In celebration of Book Madness, I have kept the display up with the final four as my April Staff Picks, and they are all discounted 20% through the end of this month.

Come on in and check them out. If you haven't read them, now is a great time to pick them up! I also still have the list of the original 64 books so that you can peruse those as well!

Happy Reading!

Staff Pick Badge
Eleanor & Park: Exclusive Special Edition By Rainbow Rowell Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250012579
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - February 26th, 2013

Ryan's March 2013 review

Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell

A very real, very touching, very heart-wrenching story of young love. Eleanor and Park are two misfits who fall deeply in love against some odds (namely Eleanor's abusive stepfather and Park's judgemental friends) and you, dear reader, will fall in love right alongside them. Everything about their relationship is so sweet, so visceral, and so accurate that you can't help but feel what they feel. the chapters alternate between their perspectives allowing you to understand their thoughts and actions and emotions. This is a perfect romance novel, and fans of John Green will adore it. I did.


Holding Eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.

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The Fault in Our Stars By John Green Cover Image
ISBN: 9780142424179
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - April 8th, 2014

Ryan's February 2013 review

The Fault in our Stars - John Green

I've wanted to read The Fault in our Stars for months. Everything about it called to me: the bright turquoise cover, the heartwrenching storyline, and most especially the author. Finally, after months of saying, "I really want to read it, but I just haven't gotten to it yet..." I picked it up and I read the whole thing in one sitting. When I tell you that I couldn't put it down, I want you to understand how serious I am. I refused to stop reading until I finished the very last page and closed the book. (Figuratively, of course, as I was reading it on my Kobo Glo).

This book rocked me to the core. It may be categorized as a Young Adult novel, but trust me when I tell you that this truly is the best Novel (Young Adult or otherwise) I've read in a very long time.

John Green immediately catapulted to one of my favorite authors, and humans, of all time. He writes the teenage perspective perfectly - capturing the essence of adolescence and avoiding the childish sounding angst that most authors associate with teenagers.

John Green also brilliantly forms a relationship between the characters and the readers based in emotions as opposed to physical attraction. As a reader, you feel as though you've known these characters your whole life, which makes the heartbreak that much more real.

The Fault in our Stars is written beautifully and brilliantly. The writing is simple, and there are no extraneous words or ideas. Everything in the novel has a purpose, and works perfectly.

If you haven't yet picked up The Fault in our Stars, please do so. Whether you're a Young Adult or a Full Grown Adult, you will absolutely adore this book. Just don't forget to keep a box of tissues on hand. The main characters do meet in a Cancer Support Group, after all.

Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying. (Cancer is also a side effect of dying. Almost everything is, really.) But my mom believed I required treatment, so she took me to see my Regular Doctor Jim, who agreed that I was veritably swimming in a paralyzing and totally clinical depression, and that therefore my meds should be adjusted and also I should attend a weekly Support Group.
This Support Group featured a rotating cast of characters in various states of tumor-driven unwellness. Why did the cast rotate? A side effect of dying.

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Splintered (Splintered Series #1): Splintered Book One By A. G. Howard Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419709708
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Amulet Paperbacks - February 18th, 2014

Ryan's first January 2013 pick

Splintered - A. G. Howard

Alice in Wonderland fans rejoice! This newest adaptation of our favorite nonsensical story takes a dark turn and a new adventure arises! This time we’re following Alice Liddell’s descendent, Alyssa, as she throws herself back down the rabbit hole in an attempt to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her mother, Alison, from insanity. However, not everything is as it seems.

As an Alice super-fan, I found myself grinning and gasping at the twisted creatures and references to Carroll’s tale. This story is different enough from the original that I didn’t feel as though I were simply reading another adaptation, but an entirely new story that happens to use my favorite book as a guide for the adventure. Naturally, this YA novel also has some teen angst that comes in the form of two beautifully dark male characters, but for once I felt as though the main female holds her own and actually grows in her independence and ability to take care of herself. She even saves her male counterparts a few times. I love the strong female character part almost as much as I love the phenomenal imagery that winds its way in and out of this narrative. A. G. Howard wrote this novel while she was working at a library, and her love of language and literature is clear in the way that she writes. Though this book is geared towards a Young Adult audience, I enjoyed every page, and I know quite a few adults who would devour it as well. Essentially, if you love Alice, then you’ll love Splintered.


I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; it’s the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quick. Some of my victims line the walls in shadow boxes, while others get sorted into mason jars and placed on a bookshelf for later use. Crickets, beetles, spiders…bees and butterflies. I’m not picky. Once they get chatty, they’re fair game.

Staff Pick Badge
Snow White Must Die: A Novel (Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein #1) By Nele Neuhaus, Steven T. Murray (Translated by) Cover Image
By Nele Neuhaus, Steven T. Murray (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781250039774
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - December 24th, 2013

Ryan's second January 2013 pick

Snow White Must Die - Nele Neuhaus

A small German village is plagued by the tragic memories of a double homicide when the man accused of the crimes is released from prison after serving a ten year sentence. When another girl goes missing, the villagers take matters into their own hands. This murder-mystery-crime-thriller kept me guessing right up until the very end. The basic lesson I learned from this novel is to trust no one and suspect everyone.

Snow White Must Die is a Must Read.


“Hello, Snow White,” he said softly. Beads of sweat formed on his brow. The heat was almost unbearable, but that was the way she liked it. Before, she had always been sensitive to cold. His gaze drifted to the photographs that he had put up beside her bed. He wanted to ask her whether he could put up a new one, but he needed to save this request for the proper moment, when she wouldn’t take offense. Cautiously he sat down on the edge of the bed. The mattress sagged a bit under his weight, and for a moment he thought she had moved. But no. She never moved. He reached out his hand and placed it on her cheek. Her skin had taken on a yellowish hue over the years and now felt stiff and leathery. As always she had her eyes closed, and even though her skin was no longer as tender and rosy, her mouth was as beautiful as before, back when she still talked to him and smiled. He sat there for a long while looking at her. His desire to protect her had never felt so strong.
“I have to be going,” he said at last, regretfully. “I have so much to do.”
He got up, took the wilted flowers from the vase, and made sure that the bottle of cola on her nightstand was full.
“Tell me if you need anything, all right?”
Sometimes he missed her laughter, and then he felt sad. Of course he knew that she was dead, yet he still found it simpler to act as if he didn’t know. He had never given up hoping for a smile from her.

Staff Pick Badge
The Hobbit By J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien (Illustrator) Cover Image
By J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780547928227
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - September 18th, 2012

Ryan's 2nd December 2012 pick

The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien

Read The Hobbit before you see the film (December 14th, 2012)! I decided to reread The Hobbit before the film came out, and I'm so thrilled that I did! It was even better this time I read it! I first read this prequel to The Lord of the Rings Trilogy when I was about 10, and picking it up again years later, I found myself laughing at details I missed when I was younger. This book is perfect for children and adults alike. It's a must-read for fans of the Trilogy, and if you're planning on seeing the movie, definitely pick up your copy of the novel first

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The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets By Diana Wagman Cover Image
ISBN: 9781935439646
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ig Publishing - November 6th, 2012

Ryan's November 2012 pick

The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets by Diana Wagman
Complex relationships, young love, tragic misunderstandings, a kidnapping, and a giant iguana! What more could you possibly want?!

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World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War By Max Brooks Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307346612
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - October 16th, 2007

Ryan's September 2012 pick

World War Z - Max Brooks

A compilation of post-war vignettes, Max Brooks’ shockingly realistic novel evaluates the world wide zombie war. World War Z is not just a book about the zombie apocalypse - these stories force the reader to take a cold hard look at humanity and pose questions about what sort of person one would become in the face of such a terrifying enemy. A traitor? A fighter? A coward? A hero? World War Z is set up as a collection of interviews and stories and recollections from the survivors of the zombie war, and these form a well-rounded look at the entire war from the first outbreak to the final battle. Each vignette is a different survivor’s story and is in his or her point of view. World War Z is chilling, fascinating, and helped me prepare my zombie fighting strategy. Max Brooks has created an excellent, fun novel for those who know that zombie preparedness is crucial for the survival of humanity.

Excerpt (Chapter 7):

[“…Tomonaga begins our interview with an apology for any discomfort I might feel about his appearance. The sensei’s lifeless eyes have not functioned since his adolescence.]

…It was then that I heard the moan. I spun, tried to focus my ears. From the height of his mouth, I could tell he was taller than me. I heard one foot dragging across the soft, moist earth and air bubbling from a gaping wound in its chest.
I could hear it reaching out to me, groaning and swiping at empty air. I managed to dodge its clumsy attempt and snatched up my ikupasuy. I centered my attack on the source of the creature’s moan. I struck quickly, and the crack vibrated up through my arms. The creature fell back upon the earth as I released a triumphant shout of “Ten Thousand Years!

Staff Pick Badge
1Q84 (Vintage International) By Haruki Murakami Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307476463
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 22nd, 2013

Ryan's August 2012 pick

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami is a 925 page novel about a woman named Aomame who finds herself in an alternate reality that shares most similarities but some drastic differences from her own 1984, and a man named Tengo who agrees to be a ghostwriter for a novel and soon notices that his reality and the world of that novel are becoming difficult to distinguish. A rather large book, 1Q84 sucks you in from the very first page, grasping your attention firmly by the collar and refusing to let go until the final word has been read and only then does it relinquish you from it’s clutches, but remains close by, smoothing the wrinkles from your shirt, reminding you of its presence and inviting you to pick it up again and again. This novel is fascinating, engrossing, compelling, and brilliant. Murakami’s writing is impeccable and unique. He blends science fiction, romance, adventure, and fantasy in a novel as intricately woven as a spider’s web.

As soon as I finished reading this novel, I gave it to my boyfriend to read and found myself reading it again over his shoulder. This book tastes good in my mouth when I read it. It’s like food for the soul; it flows along smoothly, building tension and anticipation and excitement, and never once snagging it’s plot on a rock or a twig. Murakami carefully guides his readers through the unfamiliar world, cautiously pointing out important details and slowly revealing twists and turns. He takes great care with each and every thread of storyline, weaving and tightening as he goes, until his impressive web sparkles gloriously with dew in the light of two moons.

Excerpt (Chapter One):

“It’s just that you’re about to do something out of the ordinary. And after you do something like that, the everyday look of things might seem to change a little. Things may look different to you than they did before. But don’t let appearances fool you. There’s always only one reality.”

Staff Pick Badge
Robopocalypse: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) By Daniel H. Wilson Cover Image
Likely available, but must be ordered by email/phone
ISBN: 9780307740809
Published: Vintage - April 17th, 2012

Ryan's 2nd August 2012 pick

Robopocalypse - Daniel H. Wilson

This terrifyingly brilliant novel is comprised of a collection of transcribed data harvested by robots during The New War - Robots vs. Humans. The robots, led solely by Archos, the master Artificial Intelligence, rise up against the human race in an apocalyptic war. The transcriptions of the data shed light on the war and the heroes that rose from the ashes. This novel will chill you to the bones, and I defy you to put it down once you’ve started it. Robopocalypse dares to show humanity at it’s best: when our backs are against the walls. The novel sucks the reader into the heart of the war and even deeper into the hearts of those fighting for their lives and the lives of others. Possibly the most harrowing part of this novel is the realization that it could very well become a reality.

Excerpt: (Chapter Five - Super-Toys)

For a second, I’m entranced by the glow. Not a hint of fear is in me. The light plays off my face and, just like a little kid, I assume I’m watching something magical, a special show performed just for me.

Reaching inside the toy box, I pick up the baby doll and turn her back and forth to inspect her. The doll’s pink face is dark, backlit by the light show inside the toy box. Then, I hear two gentle clicks, as her eyes open one at a time, off-kilter.

Baby-Comes-Alive focusesher plastic eyes on my face. Her mouth moves and in the singsong voice of a baby doll, she asks, “Mathilda?”

I’m frozen in place. I can’t look away and I can’t put down the monster that I hold in my hands.

I try to scream, but can only manage a hoarse whisper.

“Tell me something, Mathilda,” it says. “Is your mommy going to be home for your last day of school next week?”

As it speaks, the doll writhes in my sweaty hands. I can feel hints of hard metal moving underneath her padding. I shake my head and let go. The doll drops back into the toy box.

From the glimmering pile of toys, it whispers, “You should tell your mommy to come home, Mathilda. Tell her that you miss her and that you love her. Then we can have a fun party here, at home.”

Finally, I find the strength to speak. “How come you know my name? You aren’t supposed to know my name, Buttercup.”

“I know a lot of things, Mathilda. I have gazed through space telescopes into the heart of the galaxy. I have seen a dawn of four hundred billion suns. It all means nothing without life. You and I are special, Mathilda. We are alive.”

Staff Pick Badge
Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles By Marissa Meyer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250768889
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - February 4th, 2020

Ryan's 3rd August 2012 pick

Cinder -Marissa Meyer

A dark, futuristic spin on the Grimm Cinderella tale, Cinder is a YA novel with a lot of heart, courage, and defiance. Cinder is a cyborg, shunned by those who know of her metal parts, disrespected by her stepmother and stepsister, and left to deal with such normal teenage issues as the plague, a murderous alien queen, and of course, the handsome prince trying to win her affection. Cinder is the first novel in a series by Marissa Meyer (the subsequent sequels to be released beginning in 2013) and mixes the emotions of adolescence with adventure, death, and robots. “Cinder” is a spectacular dark fiction novel for young adults itching to get a new view on the classic fairy tale. There are no glass slippers in this story. Only steel feet.

Excerpt (Chapter 1):

The screw through Cinder’s angle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle. Her knuckles ached from forcing the screwdriver into the joint as she struggled to loosen the screw on gritting twist after another. By the time it was extracted far enough for her to wrench free with her prosthetic steel hand, the hairline threads had been stripped clean.

Tossing the screwdriver onto the table, Cinder gripped her heel and yanked the foot from its socket. A spark singed her fingertips and she jerked away, leaving the foot to dangle from a tangle of red and yellow wires.