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Book Reviews

Here are some of our recent favorites; newest recommendations are listed at the top.

My Ex-Life
Stephen McCauley

Just in time for summer reading pleasure comes this sparkling novel of family and ex-family and the bonds that last. When his boyfriend leaves him, David least expects to stay with his ex-wife under a roof he starts to repair. Nor does he expect his relationship with Julie and her teenage daughter Mandy to be so easy. But this is the magic of McCauley's novel - witty, nuanced and with spot-on dialogue - that you will want to move in as well. This is McCauley's best novel so far - and that is saying a lot! --Yvette

The Overstory
Richard Powers
paperback fiction

Interlinking stories of people whose lives have been affected and shaped by trees.  Each story is engaging in a different way, and though at first the number of strands may be a bit overwhelming, they come together and form a powerful and intensely meaningful whole--a breathtaking view into the natural world.  --Georgiana

The Optimistic Decade
Heather Abel

Can one leave behind the pressures of society, the maddening news and the forces of change to establish authentic, optimistic retreat in nature? A charismatic camp founder, the original ranchers of the land, a college age girl raised on activism, and a dedicated  teenage boy, all come together in the summer of 1990 in a scenic Colorade Rockies location. Here they try to make sense of their surroundings, their dreams and their visions for the future. With flashbacks to the Reagan years, and ideas relevant to their own times, this is an intelligent, astute and compelling debut. --Yvette

Kate Quinn

This is a remarkable and heartwrenching work! Be prepared to stay up late repeating "just one more chapter!" Based on real characters and events--reading the author's notes is as awesome as reading the novel! --Sandi

Mr. Flood's Last Resort
Jess Kidd

Move over Ove, there's a new cranky old man in town. And what a feat of imagination Cathal Flood is! Swathed in cardigans, he lives on a vast estate populated by cats and a pet fox, where rooms of curiosities are barricaded by walls of ancient magazines. Into this situation comes Maud, a young caretaker with secrets of her own and saints literally watching over her. Magic and joyous with the perfect balance between dark humor and heartfelt sorrow.            --Yvette

How to Find Love in a Bookshop
Veronica Henry

A simply wonderful story of loss and love and finding your passion. I love the role that books play in the characters' lives. This book stole my heart! --Sandi

Aminatta Forna

An American wildlife biologist, a Ghanaian psychiatrist and an English fox literally collide on Waterloo Bridge. What follows, as the lives of the characters weave together and a search for a missing child intensifies, is a unique picture of modern London and a profound meditation on trauma and the meaning of happiness. Vivid and fascinating novel. --Yvette

Code Girls
Liza Mundy

This book reveals a hidden army of female cryptographers whose work played a crucial role in ending World War II. Unmarried, bright young teachers and women who had excelled in math and languages and liked to do crossword puzzles were recruited by the US Army and Navy from small towns, especially from the "Seven Sisters" posh east coast colleges. Ten thousand women moved to Washington, DC, to Arlington Hall to begin their training in the meticulous work of code breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history. Now, through dazzling research and interviews with the surviving code girls, Mundy brings to life this riviting and vital story of American courage, service and scientific accomplishment. --Nance

The Philosopher's Flight
Tom Miller

The Philsopher's Flight introduces us to an imaginatively vivid world, where magic (philosophy) is used for protection, transport, warfare, and more.  Set in Boston during World War I, the book follows Robert Weekes as he enrolls at Radcliffe to pursue his dreams of joining an elite medical resuce and evac unit, despite philosophy typically being a woman's pursuit.  As Robert struggles to overcome the prejudice against a man on his chosen path, his more accomplished classmates strive to promote philosophy as a valued and noble practice, more than just woman's tricks.  The book is fast-paced, gripping, and draws parallels to the social dynamics of today.  I strongly recommend this book--AND, it's the first of a trilogy! --Sam Miner

Peculiar Ground
Lucy Hughes-Hallett

If you love the dense, detailed, historical and multigenerational novels of A.S. Byatt, this is for you. Set in the landscaped grounds and grand house of an English estate, first in 1663 and then in 1961, this novel explores historical change through family drama and social detail. Absorbing and interesting! --Yvette

Love and Ruin
Paula McClain
Paperback fiction

The author of Paris Wife introduces us to Martha Gellhorn, another of Hemingway's wives.  Unlike Hadley (his first wife), who just gets left behind, Martha was a determined, high-spiritied journalist who was Hemingway's match professionally and personally, with her own passionate presence on the world's stage.  Paul McLain brings her story richly to life. --Nance

Need To Know
Karen Cleveland
Paperback fiction

This is one of the few books I could NOT put down...gripping from beginning to end!    Here are the words various major authors use to describe it, and I can't put it any better:  "Terrific"--John Grisham; "Superb"--Lee Child; "Heart-poundingly suspenseful"--JP Delaney; "Relentless gripping"--Chris Pavone; "Breathtaking"--Louise Penny.    Great read!  --Nance

Nesbo, Jo
Paperback fiction

Nesbo's latest!!   It's not a Harry Hole mystery, but its plot and characters are as complex and riveting as the Hole series.  Using Shakespeare's work as the bleak plot framework is ingenious, as it showcases the criminal characters and the greed and evil of men. --Nance

(Hope you weren't looking for something cheery!)


Long Ships
Frans Bengtsson

Viking adventure on the open seas! Fierce battles, blood feuds, romance, epic heroes! This is the novel I dreamed of as a boy. Red Orm's exploits are told in the form of the Icelandic Sagas, with very few adjectives, and the effect is straightforward and spellbinding. Frans Bengtsson's novel is a BLAST! --Eric Johnson from KOMO news.

The Power
Naomi Alderman

Inventive, complex, original, distrubing and a total page-turner! Imagine a world where women have the power--literally. With a touch they can inflict pain. How will they use this force? Will the world be a better place? Is this society another case of absolute power corrupting absolutely? To say too much would spoil this one-of-a-kind novel. Read it and find out!  --Yvette

Radium Girls
Kate Moore

This is the fascinating, tragic, and inspiring story of the young women who painted the luminous dials on time pieces and aviation equipment in the early 20th century. Their work was necessary, precise, and deadly; and to their employers, the women were basically an expendable and renewable resource. The bravery of the afflicted women is astonishing. One of the most interesting books I've read.         --Debbie

The Newcomers
Helen Thorpe

The subtitle spells it out: "Finding Refuge, Friendship and Hope in America." This is a true account of a classroom in South High School in Denver and the students in the beginner-level English class. While their personal stories of how and why they came to the USA are heartbreaking, the overall message is one of HOPE, tolerance and understanding. Give this inspiring story to a favorite teacher.  --Yvette

The Ruin
Dervla McTiernan

Welcome to a new mytery series!  This police procedural takes place primarily in contemporary Galway, Ireland, and is a welcome addition to the shelves of those of us who like Tana French and Benjamin Black.  --Debbie

Rainbow Rowell

Seeing this beautiful new edition (finally in paperback!) makes me a fangirl all over again! If you love teen romance, Harry Potter, fanfiction and snow, this is for you. The characters are so believable you want to befriend them. Funny and tender in equal measure, this is a treat.  --Yvette

Paris in the Present Tense
Mark Helprin
Paperback fiction

Mark Helprin's writing is full of passion and certainty; and it's impossible to resist being swept up and carried away into the worlds he creates--in this case, to Paris, and the life of 74-year-old musician Jules LuCour.  Jules has lived a fantastic life, and the book is the story of his past and how it's led him to his present, and a rumination on music, love, ageing, and--true to Helprin--thousands of other things.  The cover calls it a powerful and rapturous novel, and that is perfect. --Georgiana

Jessica Bruder
Nonfiction paperback

Between the Great Depression and age discrimination, older adults take to RV's as they travel the country picking up temporary jobs to supplement social security checks.  Fascinating, heart-breaking, and hopeful. --Kathryn

My Absolute Darling
Gabriel Tallent
Paperback fiction

Totally blown away by the power of this book--the story of Turtle, a 14-year-old girl growing up isolated after her mother's death, with her brilliant but tortured survivalist father on the northern California coast.  The sense of place, the story, and the writing are all extraordinary, and set this title apart from any others I've read in a while.  It's dark, but brilliant and beautiful too. --Georgiana

Robin Sloan
Paperback fiction

If you enjoyed what Robin Sloan revealed about books and booksellers in Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, just wait to see what he can do with bread! Lois receives a sourdough culture that is out of this world. Her forays into the cutting-edge foodie scene of San Francisco are balanced by the sage advice of the Lois club in this funny, freewheeling and fulfilling novel.          --Yvette

Savage Country
Robert Olmstead
Paperback fiction

A literary western about a fiercely independent young widow trying to save her farm and the people it employs by joining forces with her solitary brother-in-law on a dangerous and soul-searing buffalo hunt in 1873. Brilliant writing; great story. --Georgiana

Uncommon Type
Tom Hanks
Short Stories

Tom Hanks (yes, that one) collects old typewriters that serve as the inspiration for these 17 short stories. Photos of the typewriters at the beginning of each story set the scene for these quirky, very human stories. --Kathryn

South Pole Station
Ashley Shelby
Paperback fiction

This is a funny novel about big, serious themes - scientific research, climate change, suicide;  a warm hearted novel about the coldest place on earth, and a sympathetic novel about the misfits and loners thrown togther at the bottom of the world. Plus: Apsley Cherry-Garrard! Captain Scott! Birdie! Polar geeks rejoice. --Yvette

Scribe of Siena
Melodie Winawer
Paperback fiction

Part medieval mystery, part love story (spanning hundreds of years), part time travel thriller. And I'm always a sucker for stories of the Plague. I love the writing and the sense of wonder I experienced throught this character.  --Sandi

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Gail Honeyman
Paperback fiction

The author presents a warm, humorous look at loneliness, social awkwardness, and marching to a different drummer that will captivate readers from beginning to end. This is a charming story that is both heart-wrenching and amusing.            --Nance

My Life With Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues
Pamela Paul

"Bob" is an acronym for Book-of-Books, and is the author's list of all the books she's read for the last twenty-eight years.  Just the the titles conjure memories for her of what was going on in her life at the time.  She shares connections and anecdotes that most readers can relate to.  As the cover says, it's a love letter to books.              --Debbie

Mozart's Starling
Lyanda Lynn Haupt
Nonfiction paperback

This is a fascinating book for any bird brain and music lover (like me!), written by a Seattle author. Inspired by the true story of Mozart and his pet starling, the author adopts one of her own. Using this as a starting point, she writes about her charming pet, about the general destructive nature of the species, and about Mozart's life and history. By the way, her bird's favorite composer is...Bach! --Yvette

Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
Theodora Goss
Paperback fiction

What a fun book - and on thread with the recognition of women in history and literature. So many amazing characters come to life, including Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson and even Frankenstein's monster - no offense meant to the monster community. You'll be enchanted! --Sandi

The Essex Serpent
Sarah Perry
Paperback fiction

Steeped in Victorian detail but written in a distinctly fresh voice, this novel will transport you directly to the foggy, salty Essex marsh. There questions of science and faith, medicine and ritual, love and friendship are centered on the mystery of what lies in the water. This is a big novel of ideas, but also a vivid and well plotted story. --Yvette

Small Great Things
Jodi Picoult
Paperback fiction

For those of you looking for a book club selection, this book will inspire a much-needed conversation about race and prejudice in America. The story is told from three viewpoints: Ruth, an African-American nurse; Turk, a white supremacist; and Kennedy, Ruth's white public defender. The dialogue is at times upsetting and frustrating, but it is a compelling and intense story.  --Nance

Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk
Kathleen Rooney
Paperback fiction

New Year's Eve 1984. Lillian decides to walk around her beloved Manhattan after dinner. During her 10 mile journey she recounts her career, marriage, and her single life. At 80, Lillian is gutsy, smart, funny, perceptive and charming. She's a character you would love to have known. Enjoy her journey. --Nance

A House Among the Trees
Julia Glass
Paperback fiction

Julia Glass, a master at creating living, breathing, sometimes frustrating but always believable characters, takes us deep into the world of Mort Lear, famous children's book author. The plot is simple--Mort dies, the past is revealed--but the story is rich and layered and the characters complex. Spend some time in this house among the trees! --Yvette

The Leavers
Lisa Ko

This novel puts a very human face on the story of immigration. Polly came to New York from China, created a family and was deported--but the story doesn't stop there. It is told in sections alternating between Polly's brash, bold, determined, loving and frightened voice and that of her son Deming's (then Daniel's) confused, lonely and troubled one. Ambitious and compelling, it will open your eyes and your heart. --Yvette

Hillbilly Elegy
J.D. Vance
Nonfiction paperback

Just (and finally!) released in paperback--a must-read to help us understand what happened in November 2016.

I was born and raised in Middletown, Ohio--the setting for this account of a culture that was and is still struggling with poverty.  The abusive behavior and closed, conservative attitudes described here was prevalent as I grew up in the 50's and continues today.  It was no surprise to me that Trump had--and has--the support of those who agreed with his behavior and views.  --Nance

My Antonia
Willa Cather
Paperback fiction

A quietly beautiful novel, imbued throughout with deep feeling for the lost American prairie landscape. It's the story of some of the first people to populate and make a living from these prairies--immigrants from the U.S. east coast and from Bulgaria, Hungary, "Bohemia"-- and how they learned to live with the land and with each other. Quietly powerful characters and story--loved it even more the second time around. --Georgiana

Magpie Murders
Anthony Horowitz
Paperback fiction

Agatha Christie fans will recognize the English setting, the intriguing plot, and the character Pund as a Poirot-like sleuth in this mystery within a mystery. Well written, easy to follow plot which alternates between a present day mystery and one from 1955. Just the right amount of twists and turns to keep the reader enthralled. Good read. --Nance

The Thirst
Jo Nesbo
Paperback fiction

Harry Hole is back! Nesbo pulls Harry back from his blissfully peaceful state as a lecturer at the Police College and the husband to his great love, Rakel, to hunt for a serial killer. Oslo's finest are frustrated and getting nowhere on this case. Harry's experience and skills are needed, as the killer's MO is similar to that of one killer who escaped Harry and still haunts his dreams. This novel os one of Nesbo's best, featuring skillfully developed characters, intricate plot and suspenseful twists, all hallmarks of a master storyteller. --Nance

Lilac Girls
Martha Hall Kelly
Paperback fiction

Based on real events and  people, this is the story of the Ravensbruck Rabbits--74 women prisoners in the Ravensbruck concentration camp.  We meet three women:  an American socialite who volunteers to help French citizens obtain asylum in the U.S. as Hitler's armies invade Europe, a German docctor who serves the Reich at Ravensbruck camp, and a young Polish girl who joined the resistance before being captured and sent to Ravensbruck.  Drawing upon a decade of research, the author reconstructs what life was like in Ravensbruck.  More than a war story, this is a tale of how the strength of women's bonds can carry them through the most difficult situations.  A compelling historical read. --Nance

Fredrik Backman
Paperback fiction

yThe bestselling author of A Man Called Ove tells the story of a hockey town paralyzed by scandal.  Jobs are disappearing and Beartown is slowly dying; so for its citizens, hockey is everything.  This is the story of what happens to the town when 15-year-old Maya attends a party at the star hockey player's home.  Things get out of hand, and this affects Beartown forever.   Ove provides rich character development and skilled handling of the tragedy and its effects on an insular town.  Dark at times; but love, sacrifice and the bonds of friendship and family shine through, offering hope and redemption. --Nance

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks
Annie Spence

Spence is a librarian and her book is an exquisitely funny collection of love letters and break-up notes to various books in her life.  Spence's insights into her feelings about the books are witty, thought-provoking, and hilarious.  At the end, she offers wonderful suggestions of "Book Hookups (You and Two Books," "Readin' Nerdy (Books about Librarians," "Blind Date (Good Books with Bad Covers," "For Keeps (Books I'll Never Break up With)," and many others.  This is a book for all book lovers.  Great gift! --Nance

The Female Persuasion
Meg Wolitzer
Hardcover fiction

Meg Wolitzer shines a beacon on what it means to be a woman living today. In her keely observant, multilayered and compelling novel, she brings to life four vivid main characters: Greer, fresh out of college and seeking a mentor; her boyfriend Cory; her best friend Zee; and Faith Frank, a stylish and persuasive leader in the women's movement. As the lives of these characters unfold, Wolitzer explores themes of friendship, "sisterhood", ambition, sexual harassment, feminism and loyalty. While these themes are up-to-the-minute, the novel reads like a timeless classic. -- Yvette

The Dry
Jane Harper
Paperback fiction

The oppressive heat in drought-plagued Australia is as much a character in this book as the people are. A tragic event brings Aaron Falk back to the struggling town he was forced to leave twenty years before. Sometimes small towns contain too many memories and secrets to return to... Really good police procedural! --Debbie

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
Matthew Sullivan
Paperback fiction

A quirky independent bookstore is the setting for this mystery that will have you rooting for Lydia to solve the clues left after one of her favorite customers dies. This is not a cozy but rather a convoluted, intriguing, rather dark foray into secrets and relationships both old and new. It's excellent! --Debbie

Salt to the Sea
Ruta Sepetys
Young adult

Chances are that you've never heard of the Wilhelm Gustloff 1945 maritime disaster. That really happened. This terrific young adult novel follows four young people from vastly different backgrounds as they try to escape from Prussia when the Nazis are invading from the west and the Russians are encroaching from the east. This is emotionally engrossing historical fiction. --Debbie

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep
Joanna Cannon
Paperback fiction

Quietly wonderful story of a neighborhood in England, 1976. Mrs. Creasy has gone missing, and 11-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to spend their summer vacation finding her. The story progresses through their eyes and those of other neighborhood residents. Very charming and wise. As another reviewer said, "reminiscent of Scout Finch with shades of Flavia de Luce."  --Georgiana

Good Morning, Midnight
Lily Brooks-Dalton
Paperback fiction

This is a quiet, often sad, novel that asks the question: what endures when everything else is gone? A lonely astronomer, looking up, stays at the Arctic research facility after everyone else evacuates. A team of astronauts returning from Jupiter looks down and desperately listens for a signal. Something draws these two together. Read this novel for the beautiful language, vivid Arctic scenes and spinetingling revelation at the end.  --Yvette


A Catalog of Birds
Laura Harrington
Paperback fiction

Can you ever recover from the experience of war?  Set in the 1970's, this lyrical novel explores the impact of the Vietnam War on pilot and painter Billy Flynn and his large family.  Told with a playwright's pacing and ear for dialogue, and infused with a keen sense of the natural world, this is a hearbreaking, beautiful novel.   --Yvette

Strong Heart
Charlie Sheldon
Fiction/Young Adult

Ballard resident Charlie Sheldon has worked to protect the beauty and resources of the northwest coast and Olympic Peninsula for many years. His deep affinity for and extensive knowledge of the region shines through in this engaging story of a local man's journey into the Olympic Peninsula wilderness with some friends and his reluctant granddaughter.  Great read for all lovers of nature, adventure, or PNW history--adult or young adult. 

Simple writing, good story, very satisfying ending.  --Georgiana

Jonasson, Ragnar

Are you looking for another Nordic/Scandinavian mystery series??   Here you go:  a thoughtful police procedural set in snowy (very snowy) northern Iceland.  This is not as graphic and gory as some others of its ilk, which is kind of a refreshing change!  You will love it! --Debbie

LIttle Fires Everywhere
Celeste Ng
Hardcover fiction

"More than meets the eye" are words to remember in this excellently written novel about what happens when the (seemingly) picture perfect Richardson family meets free-wheeling single mom Mia and her daughter Pearl. Everyone (and every situation) has more layers than you think. I really liked this! --Debbie

History of Wolves
Emily Fridlund
Paperback fiction

As mysterious as a snowy forest, and as beautiful as thin ice, this book pulls you forward into the lives of the characters and never lets you go. It is primarily a coming of age story. Linda seems to find her purpose taking care of little Paul from across the lake, but things are not exactly as they seem and her actions have far reaching consequences. I can't wait to see what this author does next. Finalist for the 2017 Man Booker Prize.  --Yvette

Perfect Little World
Kevin Wilson
Paperback fiction

Happy families are not all alike. The one in this book is really a research project. The premise pulls readers in right from the start; the complex and believable characters drive the original plot forward and Wilson's compassion is evident throughout. For readers looking for smart and quirky fiction.  --Yvette

Swing Time
Zadie Smith
Paperback fiction

A multilayered novel that begins in a London housing project and follows the lives of the narrator and her childhood friend Tracy on their disparate journeys to adulthood - Tracy becomes a professional dancer, and the narrator a close assistant to a celebrety with a charity program in Africa. Filled with illuminating details and bright perception. Engaging and intelligent.  --Georgiana

Michael Chabon
Paperback fiction

Although the scope of this novel is vast - ranging from the invasion of Germany, to retirement living in Florida, with a lot of details about the golden age of the space program inbetween - this is also Chabon's most personal and intimate book. Read it as if you are listening to a fascinating grandparent tell an epic life story.  --Yvette

To the Bright Edge of the World
Eowyn Ivey
Paperback Fiction

Eowyn Ivey (whose previous book "The Snow Child" is also wonderful) writes a love letter to Alaska in this visually beautiful, richly constructed, historically accurate and magically real novel. Like the state itself, this book is filled with adventure and romance. Every character is fully realized; every section wonderfully told. It is 1885 and Colonel Forrester explores the vast untamed area of the Wolverine River, while his wife waits, but not idly, in Vancouver, WA. This is an amazing book.  --Yvette



News of the World
Paulette Jiles
Paperback Fiction

Captain Kidd travels through Texas, giving readings from mostly current newspapers to an audience. It is 1870 and Texas is unsettled and wild. At a stop, he is offered a large sum of money to return a young girl, previoulsy held captive by the Kiowa, to her relatives. The girl is reluctant to leave her new family, but the two set out into danger and adventure. This is a western for people who don't usually like Westerns.  --Yvette

The Excellent Lombards
Jane Hamilton
Paperback Fiction

The Lombards have run their family orchard for generations, and this is Frankie's beloved world.

This is the story of her coming of age on the farm, her fierce love for her family and their way of life, and what happens when it is threatened. Wonderfully strong and appealingly quirky characters, and great writing.  --Georgiana

Louise Erdrich
Paperback Fiction

Louise Erdrich at her best!  The story of two families linked by friendship and then tragedy.  Terrific plot, but equally important is the way Erdrich tells it, and the deep background history of LaRose's Ojibwe ancestors woven throughout. Fantastic depth of character and sense of place.  I was totally drawn into this world. Wow!  --Georgiana


Monterey Bay
Lindsay Hatton
Paperback Fiction

For fans of Cannery Row and anyone who's been fascinated by the life of Ed Ricketts, the marine biologist, around whom life in the 1940s Monterey revolved.  Hatton imagines an avid, brilliant, young woman inserting herself into this world; and how this affects the town, Steinbeck, Ricketts, and the famous Monterey Aquarium.  --Georgiana

The Bear and the Nightingale
Katherine Arden
Paperback Fiction

This is the story of Vasya, the fiercely independent daughter of a large old Russian family living in a village at the edge of the wilderness in medieval Russia, as she grows from a child to young adulthood. Rich in history and myth; filled with the wonders of nature, as well as Moscow court life; echantingly told. I loved this book! (Read it to cool down.....journey to deep mid-winter.)  --Georgiana


Kristin Hannah
Paperback Fiction

The author has written a remarkable novel that portrays the heroic acts of French women during WWII.  Two sisters, one in Paris and one in the French country side are thrown into situations that require extreme sacrifice.  The author's character development against a very realistic background of a war-torn country captivates the reader from beginning to end.  I recommend reading the Author's Note at the end of the book to learn the historical basis for this novel.  This is one of my favorite books.  --Nance

The Alice Network
Kate Quinn
Paperback Fiction

Quinn is a great storyteller.  She weaves the real and the fictional into one heartwarming, funny, novel that follows the journey of two women-one a young, unwed, pregnant girl and the other an older, prickly, drunken woman.  The story moves back and forth between WWI and WWII as each woman searches for an individual that has played a significant role in their respective lives,  This is a great historical fiction, spy fiction and thrilling drama laced with love and revenge.  A good summer read.  --Nance

Modern Lovers
Emma Straub
Paperback Fiction

From the author of "The Vacationers" comes this smart and highly entertaining novel exploring the question: can you ever return to the effortlessly cool days of college when you were in a rock band and life was easy. Now all near 50 years old, the band members have houses, kids, jobs. Secrets are unraveled; wisdom is gained. Set in gentrafied Brooklyn, this novel has believable characters, delicious details about food, vivid descriptions of music and insightful scenes of love and friendship. Perfect summer read!   --Yvette

The Nix
Nathan Hill
Paperback Fiction

Is there anything Nathan Hill can't write, and write well? In this amazing debut, he covers (among many other themes) the 1968 Chicago riots, an immersive computer game involving elves and orcs, current campus politics, violin concertos, a Norwegian ghost story, and, at the heart of the novel, a complex mother-son relationship. Each character is well detailed and memorable; each section vivid and compelling. Make room on your shelf for this blazing new talent!  --Yvette

Curtis Sittenfeld
Paperback Fiction

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is perfect and needs no updating. However, this modern retelling of "Pride and Prejudice" is both insightful and brilliantly funny. Sittenfeld is a nuanced writer on social class and the ways in which people perceive each other. The younger sisters are CrossFit fiends, Jane is a yoga instructor, Liz is a journalist and Darcy (still tall, dark and handsome) a neurosurgeon with a taste for Cincinnati's best chili mac. Gobble this one up like a basket of fresh strawberries - it is a treat!   --Yvette

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos
Dominic Smith
Paperback Fiction

An Australian art student, living in New York in the 1950's. A wealthy art collector with an interest in 17th century Dutch paintings. The first woman to be admitted as a master painter to the guild in 1631. And a piece of forgery that binds these strands together, along with themes of loss, deception and betrayal. But it is the beauty of the painting itself, the love of the craft, and the enchantment of art that comes out on every page and gives the book its burnished glow. Both moving and surprising, gorgeously detailed and skillfully plotted, this is, like the painting it describes, a masterpiece.  --Yvette

The Nest
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Paperback Fiction

Putting the "fun" back into "dysfunctional" is this family story about the Plumbs, and their joint trust fund, a.k.a. the Nest. After the eldest sibling crashes his car under embarrassing circumstances, his brothers and sisters must confront the notion that the sum of money might now be less than they had expected. Will any amount of money solve their problems? Will simmering resentments be healed? This is a big, compelling and surprisingly warm hearted novel, and an entertaining debut.  --Yvette

The Atomic Weight of Love
Elizabeth Church
Paperback Fiction

With an observant, thoughtful main character, and the understated prose style of the author, this is a quiet and sometimes sad, but also deeply absorbing book. Starting in the 1940's and set primarily in Los Alamos, NM, this novel follows a long marriage. Meridian is an ornithologist and one of the many pleasures of this book is following her on hikes as she observes her crows.  -Yvette

Everyone Brave is Forgiven
Chris Cleave
Paperback Fiction

The story of the way the onset of WWII affects and entangles the lives of three brilliantly drawn, strong sympathetic young Londoners. Loosely based on Chris Cleave's grandparents' lives and every bit as well written and absorbing as Little Bee.  --Georgiana

Lab Girl
Hope Jahren

Brilliant interweaving of insights into the world of botany and scientific method with Jahren's remarkable life story. 

She is a person like no other, driven by intense curiosity and obsessed with the desire to "manufacture information out of whole cloth;" and she is joined early on in this endeavor by a life-long lab partner.  She tells her story with hilarity and genius; and I was left marvelling at the vast number of ways there are to make sense of the world.  --Georgiana

Just One Damned Thing After Another
Jodi Taylor
Paperback Fiction

History? - check

Time Travel? - check

Romance? - check

Action? - check, check

Fun? - check, check check!

One of the most original and enjoyable books I've read. I've already ordered the next one in the series.  --Sandi




Before the Wind
Jim Lynch
Paperback Fiction

Local writer Lynch, author of The Highest Tide, returns with the story of a sailing-obsessed Seattle family of boat-builders, narrated by son Josh. Lots of local interest, and a great story alternating between Josh's childhood with his eccentric family and his current life working at an Olympia boatyard and hanging out with other live-aboards at his marina. Great story and writing, and--rarest of qualities--pretty hilarious.  --Georgiana

The Smell of Other People's Houses
Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Young adult fiction

I was one of the north-of-the-river living, Lobben-boot wearing, white girls mentioned in this book, growing up in Fairbanks, Alaska in the 1970's. I wish this book had been around to reflect some part of my own experience. With modern, believable Alaskan-Native characters, the author's first hand knowledge of the location, gorgoeus prose and four unique stories that intertwine, this book far outshines the usual YA fare.  --Yvette



The Summer Before the War
Helen Simonson
Paperback Fiction

Summer 1914. You know the book will end with the outbreak of war, but at first the only tension is whether the new female Latin teacher will be accepted in the all boy's school. Set in Rye, England, and replete with period detail, lovely scenery and plenty of small town gossip, this compulsively readable novel is more than a tea cozy as it deal with themes of a woman's role, duty and identity in a changing time.

--Yvette, Georgiana and Nance all loved this book!

Library at Mount Char
Scott Hawkins
Paperback Fiction

This is one of the strangest books I've ever read, but it has stayed with me long after turning the final page.  It has aspects of mythology and almost religious allegory, and is quite brutal in parts.  It's also a compelling tale of power, revenge, and the most unusual family you'll meet in quite a while.   --Debbie

Sleeping Giants
Sylvain Neuvel
Paperback Fiction

This pre-apocalyptic story is the first of a planned trilogy.  It's told via interview transcripts and journal entries.  Thousands of years ago, a superior alien culture took apart a giant metal robot and buried the pieces around the globe.  Now those parts are being found and rebuilt and the government is very interested.  Will the robot be used to preserve world and interplanetary peace, or to cause an unimaginable catastrophe?  I really liked this book!  --Debbie

Journey to Munich
Jacqueline Winspear
Paperback Fiction

Another adventure in the Maisie Dobbs series.  This novel continues with Maisie's involvement with the Foreign Office Secret Service branch as she travels to Nazi Germany.  The assigned mission requires her to assume the identity of another woman in order to secure the release of a British prisoner.  This tightly woven novel based on a historical event, challenges Maisie professionally and personally.  Great winter read! --Nance

Secret Chord
Geraldine Brooks
Paperback Fiction

This is a real page turner.  In Brooks' skillful hands, the story of King David comes alive from shepherd to soldier, to traitor, to king, to murderer.  David's complex personality is vividly displayed in relationships and tragedies. He's ambitious, brutal, and terrifying.  The author has done a first-rate job of telling David's story.  --Nance

Britt-Marie was Here
Fredrik Backman
Paperback Fiction

Another gem from the author of "A Man Called Ove."  Britt-Marie has left her old life behind.  Thus begins the hilarious dealings with the unemployment office resulting in her journey to a small town of "misfits."  Her unique, quirky personality keeps the town citizens in a state of confusion and wonder that eventually reveals her warm heart.  You'll enjoy this tale of a woman who finds her life changed by changing the lives of others.  This is a character you will remember long after you have finished the book.  --Nance

Slow Waltz of Turtles
Katherine Pancol
Paperback Fiction

The continuation of the trials and tribulations of Josephine Cortes (from Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles), as she struggles with the success of her historical novel and her move to a new apartment.  Quirky characters abound, both new and old, Paris and London the setting, people turn up dead in the neighbourhood; what more could you ask for?  --Kate

Queen's Accomplice (6th book in Maggie Hope series)
Susan MacNeal

The latest book in the Maggie Hope series finds Maggie back in London working for Special Operations.  During the blackouts of WWII, a serial killer is targeting women who are reporting for duty to be English spies and saboteurs abroad.  M15 recruits Maggie to assist in the investigation that will put her life in danger and require the Queen's intervention.  During the investigation, Maggie is also concerned about a woman operative in Paris who she feels is in danger of being captured.  If you like the Maisie Dobbs series, you will find this series very appealing. --Nance

The Portable Veblen
Elizabeth McKenzie
Paperback Fiction

NOW OUT IN PAPER!!! One of my favorite books of all last year.

From the first page, this book pulls you into it's terrific mixture of humour, joy, angst, befuddlement, and practically every other emotion you can think of.  It's the story of the uncertain steps towards marriage of a young couple--a most unusual young woman and her slightly less unusual fiancee--who grapple with myriad challenges on the way.  Thoughtful, funny, intelligent, playful, and did i mention FUNNY? --Georgiana

Story of a New Name (2nd in Neapolitan series)
Elena Ferrante

Lila and Elena are now in their twenties.  Each has chosen a different life path-Elena to escape the ghetto continues her journey of self-discovery through education, while Lila remains in the ghetto, marries a wealthy merchant, and uses her unhappy marriage to seek revenge on those around her.  Lila feels imprisoned in her marriage, fearing she will lose her identity since she no longer is known by her maiden name.  These two women share a complex and evolving bond that brings them close at times, and drives them apart at others.  Their friendship vacillates between hurtful disregard and love for the other. --Nance



Fates and Furies
Lauren Groff
Paperback fiction


Wow!  I don't even know where to start about how much I loved this book.  Lauren Groff can write, and she is keenly and originally intelligent.  Her story of Lotto and Mathilde--two electric and beautiful young people who fall madly in love at a young age and (mostly) stay there--is jam-packed with plot twists, insight, and breathtakingly different ways of looking at love, art, family, and life.  Entertaining and joltingly thought provoking at once.  --Georgiana

My Brilliant Friend
Elena Ferrante
Paperback Fiction

This is the first in the Neapolitan series that follow the lives of Elena and Nila from childhood to adulthood.  The author immerses you into the culture and people of this Italian ghetto via the livelong friendship of these two women.  I was completely sucked in not only by the story, but the ability of the author to create such memorable characters.  You won't be disappointed in this series.


Little Paris Bookshop
Nina George
Paperback Fiction

How many times has a book seller heard, "I need a recommendation for a book."  If only we had Perdu's ability to match the perfect book to the customer's life needs.  The author has created a magical combination of love, friendship, soul searching and the healing powers of the printed word: all while traveling throught the French countryside on the "Literary Apothecary" barge.  I found this book enchanting.  Don't miss the recipes and literary pharmacy at the end.



The Girl Who Slept with God
Val Brelinski
Paperback Fiction

What happens when your older sister is mysteriously pregnant, your conservative God-fearing family exiles you both to the edge of town and your only friend is the tattooed ice-cream man? Although Grace is the sister of the title, this is really Jory's story; an adolescent in this strange time, figuring out herself and her duty. Set in Idaho in the 1970's it could be described as a cross between "Housekeeping" and "Are You There God? It''s Me, Margaret." This book pulls you in from page one and keeps surprising you to the end. Put on "A Whiter Shade of Pale" and enjoy.


Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins
Paperback Fiction

This is a real page turner.  Rachel's very routine existence changes in a matter of seconds as she observes a shocking event from a train window.  She becomes obsessed with what she saw to the point of conducting her own investigation of the event and the people involved.  In some ways she has put a train wreck in motion.  This is a real thrill ride.--Nance

Man Called Ove
Fredrik Backman
Paperback Fiction

Ove is definitely a curmudgeon who thinks everyone is incompetent and stupid, which leads to his desire to kill himself and join his beloved wife, Sonja.  New neighbors, childen and a cat keep involving Ove with their problems thus interfering with his death plans.  He hates "white shirt" bureaucrats, but has implemented strict rules for the people in this housing complex.  You'll laugh, cry, and love this man who finds his softer side buried deep in his heart.


I'll Give You the Sun
Jandy Nelson
Young Adult/Paperback fiction

New review from one of our Young Adult customer/reviewers:

Within the first chapter I fell for Nelson's poetic writing style and became entirely invested in the Sweetwine twins' lives, both at 13 and 16!  Told in alternating points of view, this is a beautifully written love story with intricacies that give the story its wonderful depth and beauty.  --McKenna Taylor, age 16.

 Absolutely deserving of every award it has received, this young adult novel is vivid and multi-layered, bursting with images, ideas and heartbreak. Twins Jude and Noah tell the story in alternating chapters. Both are artists, but otherwise very different. She jumps off cliffs, has a bad experience with a boy and almost shuts down completely. He falls in love with the boy next door--the one with science on the brain and stars in his eyes. Excellent characters, moving plot, original ideas. --Yvette

Language Arts
Stephanie Kallos
Paperback Fiction

Still stunned by what local author Stephanie Kallos managed to pull off.  The plot loops around from present day Seattle to the Seattle of 1962 and touches on topics such as autism, the Palmer handwriting method, photography, family ties, unspoken secrets and the sometimes devastating power of words.  Excellent!   --Yvette

Circling the Sun
Paula McLain
Paperback Fiction

A wonderfully written novel based on the life of Beryl Markham from her childhood in Africa to her epic solo flight across the Atlantic.  McLain has captured Beryl's strong, resilient nature through all her triumphs and difficulties.  Those who read Beryl's autobiography, West With The Night, will not be disappointed in this fictional retelling of her life.  What a role model she would have been for women today!  --Nance

Nichols, Peter
Paperback Fiction

Wow - a summer read with heart and depth.  Set in Mallorca, it's the story of 2 families and 2 sets of lovers within those; told in reverse, so it goes backward from present day to the 1940s.  The writing is clean and, when necessary, rich with longing.  Great story!  -- Georgiana

Stories of Your Life
Ted Chiang
Paperback Science Fiction

Local author Ted Chiang is one of my FAVORITE Sci-Fi writers and one of the best writers working today (in my opinion).  He writes with a clear, even sometimes plain style about the nature of time, aliens, math and linguistics.   But his stories are never dull and dry.  He makes you feel for his characters and really think about his plots and themes.  Some of his stories have lingered in my mind for years.  If you like thoughtful, intellectual science fiction that is also moving and can be emotinally intense, give this short story compilation a try! -- Kristy

I am Radar
Reif Larsen
Paperback Fiction

This book is SO good but so hard to describe! It has quirky characters, quantum physics, volatile political situations, perilous conditions, subversive puppet performance art, illustrations and more!  It truly was a compelling book to read. --Debbie

Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
Latarina Vivald
Paperback Fiction

This is a charming book about two pen pals, Amy in Iowa and Sara in Sweden, who finally plan to meet in Iowa.  The death of Amy just before Sara arrives leaves Sara in a quandary.  The town welcomes her although they are perplexed as to what to do with Sara until she returns to Sweden.  Sara, an avid reader, but not a people person, opens a bookstore and so begins a rebirth of a dying town and Sara, herself.  From stranger to friend to love, Sara captures the hearts of the people of Broken Wheel.  This heartworming story reminds me of my time in Iowa and all the wonderful friends I have had for over thirty years.  --Nance

Green Road
Anne Enright
Paperback Fiction

Anne Enright is a beautiful writer, and this is my favorite of all her books so far.  It's the story of an Irish family, spanning 30 years, as seen through the eyes of each of its four children and its indomitable matriarch, Rosaleen. Gorgeous writing with a strong sense of place, and fascinating characters involved in absorbing plot lines.  I loved it! --Georgiana

Dead Wake
Eric Larson

True to form, Larson has given us another engrossing account of a historical American event.  Actual stories of those American, British and German men and women who experienced this time give a more human and enthralling perspective to this WWI event.  I found this telling of the sinking of the Lusitania a thrilling adventure.  I would highly recommend this book to high school and college students, as well as, adults who have an interest in history, expecially WWI. --Nance

Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster
Scott Wilbanks
Paperback Fiction

Join Annie, in 1995 and Elspeth, in 1895, as they become penpals through time and eventually pedestrians through the door that is a portal.  Quirky characters, adventures back and forth in time, and a story that is a lot of fun to read...that describes Lemoncholy. -- Debbie

Children's Crusade
Ann Packer
Paperback Fiction

This is a rich, engrossing story of family, strongly imbued with a sense of place - a community south of San Francisco, before it became Silicon Valley.  Each family member is distinctive, strong and flawed; and through their eyes, individually, Packer weaves a deep sense of family and home.  Wonderful writing! --Georgiana

Habits of the House (and its sequels)
Fay Weldon
Paperback Fiction

Better then Downton Abbey!  These books are a complete treat - wonderfully entertaining and smart, and set firmly in the historical context of turn-of-the-century England - personally, socially and politically.  Fay Weldon has a sharp wit, and I laughed a lot. --Georgiana

We Die Alone
David Howarth

Ignore the title!  This is not actually a depressing story about death.  It's a fantastically exciting and inspiring adventure story about a Norwegian commando escaping from the Nazis with the help of incredibly brave village folks and Laplanders.  Heartwarming and really interesting for fans of military, survival and adventure stories.  Amazing true story.  --Kristy

Sunlit Night
Rebecca Dinerstein
Paperback Fiction

The charming and quirky story of a tiny community on a small Norwegian island north of the Arctic Circle, and two visitors - one from America and one from Russia - who find themselves, and each other, there one summer.  Beautiful setting, great characters, wonderful writing! --Georgiana

Into the Savage Country
Shannon Burke
Paperback fiction

A young man sets out to make his fortune trapping for furs in the wild American west of the early 19th century.  William Wyeth narrates his own story in a fresh, barefaced voice, full of wonder at the ways of the wild, of men, of nature, of love.  And his story (as Booklist says) "reveals the complex core of a rapidly evolving environmental landscape."  Exciting story and much to learn about this era in the opening American west.  I loved this book!  --Georgiana

Good Omens
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

A goofy little story about the Apocalypse, this book has become a classic in humorous fantasy.  The story begins as the Anti-Christ is reincarnated as a naughty but good-hearted 11 year old and Gaiman and Pratchett throw in plenty of funny characters, sly social commentary, a little romance, and a slobbery dog. Something for everyone! --Kristy

The Past
Tessa Hadley
Hardcover Fiction

A novel about a family vacation is often used as a device to bring out the worst flaws of the characters; here, it is used to bring out the best of Hadley's writing talent.  She brings the family together, introducing them one by one: Harriet, the outdoorsy one; Alice the dramatic one; Fran, the motherly one, Roland, the scholarly brother.  The siblings, along with assorted children, spouses, and a young friend, spend three weeks in the crumbling house that belonged to their granparents, trying to decide what must be done with it.  Readers who enjoy character-driven stories will welcome this novel.  --Yvette

Hyperbole and a Half
Allie Brosh

This darkly hilarious book is by Allie Brosh, who is "internet famous" for her Hyperbole and a Half blog. Allie talks about her dogs, her childhood, and her struggles with depression. She write the most accurate description of depression I've ever read. Yet, this book is still funny!  --Kristy



Song of Hartgrove Hall
Natasha Solomons
Paperback fiction

 A beautiful story of love, history and music. Marvelous characters drive the story, which is told in two parts: post WWII and modern day. The wonderful old house is a character in and of itself. Wonderful! --Sandi



Leaving Before the Rains Come
Alexandra Fuller
Memoir (paperback)

More from Alexandra Fuller about her life in and out of Africa, and with and without her crazily entertaining and fiercely independent-minded family. This is the story of her adult life so far, and it is as well written and compelling as her childhood (as told in Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight). Hilarious and deeply serious all at once. I loved it!  --Georgiana



A God In Ruins
Kate Atkinson
Paperback fiction

Is there any subject on which Kate Atkinson can't write about with grace, wisdom and perfect detail? It feels as if she she can write anything and is in top form here. She continues the story of Teddy (he appeared in Life After Life, but this novel stands alone) as he experiences a future he never expected. From the bombing raids of World War II, back to his childhood and on to the modern day, this is an absorbing, multi-lavered, moving and imaginative book.  --Yvette



Owl Who Liked Sitting on Caesar
Martin Windrow
Paperback non-fiction

Enjoy this absolutely charming true tale of Mumble (a tawny owl) and Martin Windrow as they forge a unique and informative relationship. It's impossible not to fall in love with Mumble! --Debbie

Bradford Morrow
Paperback fiction

Once a forger, always a forger? Enter the dark side of the world of antiquarian books. Who killed rare-book collector Adam, and why? And is the story's narrator next? How reliable a source is the narrator, anyway? I enjoyed learning about rare books, the art of forgery, and the sense of dread. --Debbie

Mr. Churchill's Secretary (Maggie Hope Series)
Susan MacNeal
Paperback Fiction

Another good WWII historical fiction series for Anglophiles.  Maggie Hope is introduced to readers as a typist in Mr. Churchill's Secretary (Book 1).  However, Maggie's intelligence, code breaking skills, and remarkable spirit allow her to engage in more dangerous and interesting activities.  Each book in the series (currently there are five) provides Maggie with more opportunities to help in the war effort and outwit the enemy.  These are quick, fun reads. --Nance

Home Fires
Julie Summers
Paperback non-fiction

I was in awe of the remarkable rural women who were members of the Women's Institutes of Great Britain.  These creative, spirited women were the backbone of the war effort on the home front.  The author has vividly portrayed these women who ran the farms, took care of their families, welcomed evacuees into their homes, harvested crops and did multiple tasks that the British government asked of them.  The PBS series is based on the diaries and research presented in this book.  Yet, another important historical event detailing the role of women in WWII. --Nance

Helen Giltrow
Paperback Fiction

Exciting debut novel set in London where Karla, aka socialite Charlotte Alton specializes in making people "disappear" by erasing all trace of their existence.  On "project" reappears with a new job; is it a trap for Karla or the "disappeared"?  Multi-layered in a unusual setting. --Kate

Lauren Oliver
Paperback Fiction

Ready to kick off the fall with a literary spine-tingler?  Look no further than Rooms.  I thoroughly enjoyed this smart and unusual read. --Cam

Deep Down Dark
Hector Tobar
Social Science

Yes, this seems an obvious choice given all the press the upcoming film is generating, but it's well worth a read on its own. Not just for the stories--which are remarkable, but for how they came to be told.  Highly recommended. -- Cam

Paying Guests
Sarah Waters
Paperback fiction

Just like Little Stranger,  this book sucked me in till the very end.  The relationship that builds between the paying guests and the landlady and her mother will take you through a maze of emotional and surprising events.  The characters are vividly portrayed as they come to grips with their own sexuality and strengths in handling a very serious event.  --Nance


Queen of the Tearling
Erika Johansen
Paperback fiction

I am one of the few fantasy readers on the staff and I pretty much loved this book backwards and forwards. A heroine full of spunk and surprise, a fully realized world...who could ask for more? --Cam

Lucky Us
Amy Bloom
Paperback fiction

Iris, an aspiring film star, and her half-sister and wise-acre sidekick Eva, journey across the country in the 1940's in search of fame and fortune. Told from several points of view, and filled with illuminating experiences, all told in Amy Bloom's sharp brilliant prose. Wonderfully entertaining and moving. --Georgiana

David Nicholls
Paperback fiction

Douglas and Connie's vacation in Europe was supposed to be a time to encourage their son's artistic interests and rekindle their romance. But the day they leave, Connie says she wants a divorce. The trip is booked, so they all go anyway. What follows is a funny and honest story of a relationship and the complications of family. Well written and skillfully plotted, this is a terrific read. --Yvette

Big Little Lies
Liane Moriarty
Paper Fiction

Like The Husband's Secret, this book will keep you mesmerized until the very end.  From page one you know that there has been an accident (or murder), but you have to wait till the end of the book to find out who the victim is and how and why s/he has died.  This small Australian town has a lot going on below the surface from bullying and domestic violence, to problems with children and ex-husbands and second wives.  Each of the three main female characters has her own set of secrets and lies that lead to a riotous ending.  This is definitely a page turner. --Nance

Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel
Paperback fiction

In a post-plague world, a troupe of actors and musicians travel from town to town, bringing Shakespeare to the people.  Beautifully written, moving smoothly back and forth in time, this novel is about the importance of art, culture and kindness in keeping humanity alive, "because survival is insufficient."  Great for discussion.  Fantastic - I didn't want it to end.  --Yvette

Emma Straub
Paperback fiction

A great beach read with just the right balance between quirky characters and dysfunctional humor.  All it takes is a two-week trip from New York to a vacation house in Mallorca.  Old scars, joys and jealousies that have been threatening to bubble over for the Park family inevitably come to the surface.  What better place for family drama than around the pool?  --Libby

Call the Nurse
Mary J. Macleod

This was a charming, delightful read.  Nurse Mary J, and her husband live on a remote island in the Hebrides.  Dealing with the stark, cruel environment and the many medical challenges daily is not for the faint of heart.  The rural community is very small which means that everyone knows everyone else's buisness.  This leads to some juicy gossip as well as life saving situations.  The love and caring of this community is infectious.  The author's stories are at times endearing, humorous, or heartbreaking. --Nance

Painted Horses
Malcolm Brooks
Paperback fiction

A young woman archaeologist is sent, in 1956, to a canyon in Montana for research.  As she falls under the spell of the west, she learns of a dam project that threatens the canyon, and the way of life of the people she's begun to know and love.  A great story, powerfully evocative of the west "when it was still a new world".  (quote from Amy Bloom)  --Georgiana

Living With a Wild God
Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich has a mind like noone else--she is an unusual, brilliant woman who, since childhood, has tried to find out "the truth about everything," as her sub-title declares.  This is the story of that search.  It's fascinating and a little bit mind-bending.  I couldn't put it down. --Georgiana

Donna Tartt
Paperback fiction

Anyone in the store could have put this book on the recommended shelf--we all cheered when it came out in paperback.  It's astonishing-- wholly original, intelligent, "Dickensian" in its scope, and full of the power of great literature to pull you into the story, as well as the wisdom that makes being there so satisfying. --Georgiana

Dave Eggers
Paperback fiction

Egger's novel hits too close to a reality that should concern every individual.  Is the premise that far off the mark?  Is this novel 2015's "1984"?  Will the next generation be so easily led to this way of thinking?  Should the rights of the individual be sacrificed to the "community"?  There are many questions and concerns presented in this novel that would be great for book club discussions. --Nance

Children Act
Ian McEwan
Paperback fiction

The story of a family court judge who is drawn into the case of a 17 year old boy who is refusing treatment for his cancer.  McEwan is a consumate storyteller.  This intelligent and sensitive Englishwoman's excruciating decision--set in the context of her deeply-drawn life--is captivating, as well as thought-provoking and very timely. --Georgiana

Orphan Train
Christina Baker Kline
Paperback fiction

In 2011, an angry orphan finds herself sentenced to community service at a rich old lady's house.  Drawn into the old lady's own story of being an orphan in the 1930's, the servant becomes a guest.  Taking the reader between the past and present, Kline beautifully draws out the parallels of these 2 survivors. --Libby

Rosie Project
Graeme Simsion
Paperback fiction

Attempting to approach the search for a wife, Don attempts to scientifically streamline the process.  When "barmaid" Rosie enters the scene, "an entirely innappropriate candidate", logic must be thrown to the wind.  A fast-paced, amusingly endearing love story with a brain. --Libby

Frog Music
Emma Donoghue
Paperback fiction

This is a book bursting with life; it sucks you into the world of 1876 San Francisco, as seen through the eyes of a young French woman.  Blanche has built a life for herself--a very different one than most of us can imagine--and she's content with it, until a chance encounter with another spirited young woman leads her to reconsider.  Filled with fascinating period details; action-packed; and based on a true story. --Georgiana

Lily King
Paperback fiction

This is the fascinating and beautifully told story of three young anthropologists in 1930's New Guinea, dedicated to their research and to each other, in complicated ways.  After I read it, I found out it's loosely based on the life of Margaret Mead; but that's just a bonus--the book is wonderful as the work of fiction it is.  I loved it!  --Georgiana

Map Of Enough
Molly Caro May

The story of a young couple's year on family land in Montana, building a yurt.  Wonderful feeling for the land and its wildlife, and a compelling story of the couple's adventures in yurt building, living on the land, and how the year changes them. --Georgiana

Word Exchange
Alena Graedon
Paperback fiction

In the not-so-distant future, the printed word is in peril.  Technology is ubiquitous.  Words are literally disappearing and language has become a virus.  Only a brave few can, and care enough to, fight for humanity.  This is a fabulous book for word lovers; and you may want to back away from your cell phone. --Debbie

Eleanor Catton
Paperback fiction

This is a wonderful, sprawling novel full of colorful characters in the challenging circumstances of the 1860s gold rush in New Zealand.  The writing is sumptuous and the book is almost impossible to put down.  Settle in for the best read in a long time! --Debbie

Andy Weir
Science Fiction

In this gripping story of one man's struggle for survival on Mars, the author uses his nerd's knowledge of space to great effect, creating a story that is futuristic and science-technical, yet understandable and entirely plausible, as if it all could actually happen in the near future. --Aaron Miller

Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Gabrielle Zevin
Paperback fiction

This is a charming book!  A curmudgeonly bookseller has his life irrevocably and dramatically changed by a persisent publisher's rep, a baby and a missing Poe folio (not necessarily in that order).  The twists and turns of the story are perfect--I was sorry have the book end.  --Debbie

Kate Mosse
Paperback fiction

Again Kate Mosse sets up a story of daring and courage with two narrative threads.  The travels of a 4th century monk interweave with the main storyline; the women and men of the French Resistance fighting the Nazi occupation of WWII.  Romance, treachery, history, wonderful characters and a tribute to the mostly anonymous women of the French Resistance.  -- Kate

While Beauty Slept
Elizabeth Blackwell
Paperback fiction

A unique version of a classic fairy tale.  No fairy godmother here!  I LOVED the ending!  Well written - reads like historical fiction. --Sandi

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Paperback fiction

Dreams, love, life, immigration and race; what a combination!  Starting with the childhood of Ifemelu and Obinze in Nigeria; the story of their lives develops over the next several years while spanning three continents.  A wonderful tale, evocatively written with fascinating characters.  --Kate

Nicola Griffith
Paperback fiction

This is such an unusual  and wonderful book.  Totally evocative of a long ago time and place.  Prepare to let yourself go and be transported to a long ago world with very different sensibilities than ours.  A fabulous heroine to boot! --Cam

Going Somewhere
Brian Benson

If you loved Wild, here you go!  Cheryl Strayed's recommendation caught my eye, and it's entirely apt.  Rachel and Brian share a dream of bicycling across the U.S., and this is the story of their ride.  It's exciting and brutally honest, and weirdly compelling - don't ask me why but I love books like this!  --Georgiana

My Education
Susan Choi
Paperback fiction

A smart, fast, witty and absorbing novel - the story of a college student's fascination with one of her professors, and how she tangles her life with that of his family; and the sense she finally makes of her experience, years past her college days --Georgiana

Yohanlossee Riding Camp for Girls
Anton DiSclafani
Paperback fiction

I don't know what drew me to this book, but once I started reading it held a strange power over me.  Set in the south in 1930, it's narrated by a 15-year old Thea, who is both perplexed by adult mores and wise beyond her years.  The story of Thea's time at the riding camp and the slow unwinding of the tale of what brought her there, is spellbinding.  --Georgiana

Jo Baker
Paperback fiction

A complete, wonderful novel in its own right, Longbourn also smartly segues with its source and inspiration--Austen's Pride and Prejudice.  Not an arch story about "what happens after Elizabeth and Darcy marry," but a glimpse of a familiar tale through the eyes and lives of the servants involved. --Cam

Frozen in Time
Mitchell Zuckoff

It sounds so unreal you think it must be fiction; but NO, it's true.  Greenland, 1942; first a US cargo plane crashes, followed by those of the rescue contingents.  Zuckoff's writing is compelling as he chronicles the events and the expedition 70 years later to find wreckage; you can feel the bitter cold and the roller coaster emotions of those who perished, the survivors AND the current day expedition.  Everyone in my family LOVED it. --Kate

Leaving Everything Most Loved
Jacqueline Winspear
Paperback fiction

I have loved Maisie Dobbs from book #1.  This one, #10, continues the excellence of the series and sets the stage for a new chapter (no pun intended) in Maisie's life.  Winspear is a thoughtful writer, masterfully evoking another culture, time and place. --Cam

Ocean at the End of the Lane
Gaiman, Neil
Paperback fiction

A sweet, poignant and (after all, it's Gaiman) sorta eerie evocation of childhood - a great fantasy which is somehow also very real. --Cindy

Bookman's Tale
Charlie Lovett
Paperback fiction

Whether you're a book lover, a history lover or you love a good intrigue, this book is for you!  Wonderfully written with characters you'll become emotionally attached to.  A seriously great read.  --Sandi

Country Girl
Edna O'Brien

I've always loved Edna O'Brien's writing, so I was naturally drawn to her memoir.  But wow!  I had no idea her life was so fascinating--from her Irish country childhood, through her tumultuous rebellion, to her becomeing a well known writer and her involvement with other literary greats, popstars, and movie stars in sixties London.  And of course, she writes about it all with her usual spareness, dry wit, and grace.  So good! --Georgiana

Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles
Katherine Pancol
Paperback fiction

When Josephine's husband leaves her for Kenya and a crocodile farm start-up, her life in Paris begins to unravel.  She is then persuaded to write a novel for which her sister will take all the literary credit, but she will gain financially!  The background story of the characters and the surprise best-seller the novel becomes, make this an entertaining and fun read. --Kate

Round House
Louise Erdrich
Paperback fiction

Erdrich is a wonderful writer and storyteller.  A Native American family faces the heartbreak of a tragic event that changes their lives and the lives of those in their community.  Erdrich exquisitely weaves a tale of love, honor and duty as defined by the tribe and the law of the land.  Joe, the son, narrates the story through the emotions, needs and humor of a 13-year old.  He and his friends are a real treat to get to know.  --Nance

Vampires in the Lemon Grove
Russell, Karen
Paperback fiction

How could you not want to read a collection of stories with such a title?  But beyond that, Russell's writing is sharp, her stories unusual and poignant.  Like the lemons, often tart, wonderful bites. --Cam

Bolton, Sharon
Paperback fiction

Hold on--you're in for a wild ride!  And forget trying to figure out "who-dunnit;" just read and enjoy.  This author, who used to be known as S. J. Bolton, impresses me more with each book. --Sandi

Cashore, Kristin
Young Adult Fiction

Hands down one of the best young adult novels I have read!  An unusual storyline and fabulous characters.  I'd recommend this for the older young adult reader due to some mature content.  But it is tastefully done and really does add to the depth of the story.  This is the first in a series of three, and I also highly recommend the sequel, Fire. When I wasn't engaged in reading the book, I found myself thinking about it until I could pick it up again! --Sandi

Woman Upstairs
Claire Messud
Paperback fiction

The surprisingly gripping story of an elementary school teacher whose quiet life is exploded by her interest in one of her students, and her subsequent growing attachment to his glamorous family.  Nora falls into imagining herself part of the family, and the novel is a powerful account of this evolution and its consequences.  Masterfully written. --Georgiana

Life after Life
Kate Atkinson
Paperback fiction

If Kate Atkinson hadn't written this book, I doubt I'd have wanted to read it.  What??  The main character dies, again and again, and lives also, many different lives?  Yes, and Atkinson pulls you into this preposterous concept early and completely.  Engaging and compelling. -- Georgiana

Marmee and Louise
Eve La Plante

Did you grow up loving Little Women?  If so, you will be moved and fascinated by this biography of Louise May Alcott and her mother, Abigail.  Abigail was an enormous influence in her daughter's life and work.  Long overlooked, this splendid biography give a more complete picture at last. --Cam

Speaking From Among the Bones
Alan Bradley
Paperback fiction

I recommend this delightful series to both adults and young adults.  This is the fifth in the Flavia de Luce series (the first is Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie).  Flavia, an eleven-year old aspiring chemist and amateur detective, lives in a run-down mansion with her two sisters and a father whose priority is collecting stamps rather than raising his girls.  There is a lot of mischief between the sisters as Flavia uses her "lab" to solve the mysteries that crop up around her village.  Note that the sixth book is now in hardcover.  This book ends with a new twist that will change the lives of this family.  --Nance

In Falling Snow
Mary-Rose MacColl
Paperback fiction

Two family stories - Iris relives her memories of life as a nurse in France during World War I and how it affected the rest of her life.  Interwoven is the story of Grace - her grandaughter - in 1970s Australia.   A beautifully written debut novel.  --Kate

Mary Sharratt
Paperback fiction

A captivating story of the medicine woman who defied the limitations enforced on her because of her sex.  Though walled up as an anchorite as a young gfirl she became a scholar, a gifted composer of sacred music and a visionary sought by the most notable men of the time including Pope Eugenius III.  Beautifully written and incredibly moving. --Sandi

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Robin Sloan
Paperback fiction

This was so much fun to read!  A mysterious book store, an ancient secret society, possible immortality, a puzzle being decoded by patient elderly readers, and a Google genius!  I liked the book store, the people, the events, and the author's style. --Debbie

Zadie Smith
Paperback fiction

Another brilliantly original novel from Zadie Smith, set in the NW corner of London.  Smith uses different formats to tell different parts of the story; but the novel, which follows the lives of four Londoners from a poor part of this section of London, stays wholly compelling. --Georgiana

Some Kind of Fairy Tale
Graham Joyce
Paperback fiction

Intriguing and wonderfully provocative!  Tara claims to have spent 6 months in the land of the fairies (they hate to be called that!) but returned home to find TWENTY YEARS had elapsed.  Told from the perspective of several characters, this is a fast-paced and marvelous story!  I couldn't put it down! --Sandi

In Sunlight and in Shadow
Mark Helprin
Paberback fiction

A story for the ages -- giant and sparkling and full of everything important.  If you like grand sagas, please read Mark Helprin, who writes some of the most beatiful and moving (and yes, sometimes a little over-the-top) prose I have ever read.  This is his latest, and his most accessible. -- Georgiana

The Casual Vacancy
J.K. Rowling
Paperback fiction

If you're looking for Harry Potter, he's NOT here!  And at first that disappointed me.  However, I soon became completely entangled in the lives of the residents of Pagford.  I came looking for Harry but I found J.K. Rowling, the extraordinary writer, and this extraordinary book! --Sandi

Sweet Tooth
Ian McEwan
Paperback fiction

Just out in paper, and what a great book this is!  Smart, suspenseful, fascinating subject, and the best ending ever! 

It's about Serena Frome, a young woman who falls into a job with the British intelligence services in 1972.  She is a compulsive reader, so she is sent on a mission that brings her into the literary world of a young writer, whom she comes to love.  McEwan's graceful writing and the marvelous twists and turns of the plot make for a great and satifsying story. --Georgiana

In the Shadow of the Banyan
Vaddey Ratner
Paperback fiction

This novel tells the story of the author's experiences as a child in 1975-1979 Cambodia, when the Khmer Rouge seized power.  The writing is gorgeous; the events are harrowing; and this is one of the best books I've ever read. --Debbie

The Bat
Jo Nesbo
Paperback fiction

Finally translated into English,  The Bat is the first in the excellent Harry Hole series.  He's a bit more talkative in this book and shows more personal feelings But rest assured, he's still attempting to solve peculiar crimes with puzzling motives and he's still the policeman we love.  This sets the stage for the subsequent books in the series. --Debbie

Light Between the Oceans
M. L. Stedman
Paperback fiction

This is a fast paced story that you won't want to put down.  It takes place in Australia after WWII.  One night of drunken prejudice against a man and his family results in a series of life changing events in the life of a lighthouse keeper and his wife.  The moral issues portrayed in this story are heart wrenching for those in this small town, as well as for the reader. You may or may not agree with the author's resolution, but it will test your emotional and moral views.  Good discussion book for book clubs. --Nance

James Treadwell
Paperback fiction

This fascinating book fleshes out the life of Johannes Faust, and brings him and his alchemy to the modern world.  Caution:  magic may be dangerous!  There's a lot of set-up in the beginning but patience pays off! --Sandi

Pigeon Pie Mystery
Julia Stuart
Paperback fiction

Totally fun and entertaining!  An interesting look at life in Victorian England.  By the author of The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise. --Sandi

Absent One
Jussi Adler-Olsen
Paperback fiction

The second in this most awesome mystery series!  Department Q is facing another cold case suddenly heating up.  LOTS of action and a remarkable cast of characters.  Don't miss this one!  --Sandi

Inquiry Into Love and Death
St. James, Simone
Paperback fiction

Another intriguing and suspenseful ghost story by the author of Haunting of Maddy Clare.  A young woman is called upon to identify the body of her estranged uncle and to sort through the belongings he left behind.  Her investigation into the mysterious death not only changes her life but may end it.  Awesome!  --Sandi

BOBCAT and other stories
Rebecca Lee
Paperback fiction

These stories, most of them set in academia, are each told by a different first-person narrator; yet they are strung together and related by the brilliant sensibility of their common narrator--Rebecca Lee.  Her perception and acuity mixed with her precise, masterful use of language make each story seem to contain a novel's worth of life.  I haven't been this dazzled by a writer in a long time. --Georgiana

Beautiful Ruins
Jess Walter
Paperback fiction

New in Paperback!   With emotional depth, humor, and a warm understanding of human frailties, Jess Walter tells the intertwined tales of Pasquale, Dee, and a cast of supporting characters--even the actor Richard Burton makes a cameo!  Set in both Italy's Cinque Terre in the 1960s and modern day Hollywood, the story is absorbing and entertaining, and the characters are real.  Walter humorously skewers the entertainment industry, all while showing us characters working towards redemption...or not.  A great read!  --Amy

The Yard
Alex Grecian
Paperback fiction

Police in 1889 London had a dangeous and under-appreciated job.  Jack the Ripper was never caught, and the citizens had little faith in their law enforcers.  Then a member of the Metropolitan Police Murder Squad was murdered.....   and he wasn't the only one.  The remaining detectives have to scramble to solve it all.  --Debbie

Daniel O'Malley
Paperback fiction

One of the most unusual, quirky, fun books I've read in a long time!  Part sci-fi, part James Bond--with a kick-ass heroine and a C.S. Lewis-eque cast of characters.  I want MORE from Daniel O'Malley!  --Sandi

Yokohama Yankee
Leslie Helm

This is a terrific book!  Leslie Helm invites us to accompany him on his emotional and physical odyssey as he researches his family's connection to Japan - from Great Grandfather Julius' arrival in Yokohama in 1869, to the present.  Plus, Mr. Helm is a local author so there's a Seattle connection too. --Debbie

Cheryl Strayed

Yes, it's about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail; but this book is far more than that, and way more gripping, exciting, and satisfying than you'd imagine.  Cheryl Strayed is a rare person, wise beyond her years and impressively capable of many things as well as dealing with things she CAN'T do; and I could not put this book down.   Just released in paperback!  --Georgiana

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Rachel Joyce
Paperback fiction

Lovely and lyrical, this is a quiet book that will sneak up on you.  Harold Fry is an older man somewhat set in his ways, who makes an impulsive decision that will change his life for the better, though the happy ending takes a while. --Cam

The Orchardist
Amanda Coplin
Paperback fiction

NOW IN PAPERBACK! A quietly beautiful book, set in eastern Washington at the turn of the century.  William Talmadge, a quiet and gentle man, lives alone tending and selling his fruit. One day he notices two feral teenage girls, visibly pregnant, squatting in his orchard.  This is the story of how Talmadge cares for them, and all that happens after (as the bookjacket so wonderfully phrases it) "he opens his heart and lets the world in." --Georgiana

Death Comes To Pemberley
P.D. James

Whether you are a fan of Jane Austen or just love a great mystery, you MUST read this book!  Intelligent, fast-paced and witty--I hated for it to end.  Fans of Pride & Prejudice will LOVE this!  I believe the marvelous Ms. Austen herself would be delighted with this book and glad of her part in its writing. --Sandi

Chris Pavone
Paperback fiction

Loved Gone Girl?  Here is another outstanding multi-layered, double crossing novel that keeps you on tenterhooks all the way through to the very end.  Ex-CIA agent Kate Moore, her husband and sons relocate to Luxembourg, starting a new life as expats; however, a secret she has been hiding for years appears to be threatening her new life and she finds they are enmeshed in a tale of lies, secrets and betrayals.  Great debut novel. -- Kate

Passing Bells, Circles of Time and Future Arrived
Philip Rock
Paperback fiction

For lovers of Downton Abbey!!  The Passing Bells trilogy was first published in the 1970s and recently reissued.  The life and times of the Greville family, their ancestral home - Abingdon Pryory, their friends and associates.  As with Downton Abbey, the trilogy takes place before, during and after WWI.  Great storytelling, historical accuracy:- three great reads. --Kate

The Haunting of Maddy Clare
Simone St. James
Paperback fiction

A wonderfully spooky ghost story that kept me turning pages when i should have been sleeping!  A professional ghost hunter and his male assistant hire another assistant--a female--to investigate a violent haunting.  While the ghost indeed creates mayhem, the characters are each haunted by events in their pasts. --Sandi

The Snow Child
Eowyn Ivey
Paperback fiction

The magical story of a couple homesteading in Alaska in the 1920's.  They are inexperienced and growing apart, yet they slowly learn to survive in a landscape that's harsh and brutal, yet filled also with wonder and beauty.  As they become accustomed to this new world, their lives are enriched by the mysterious appearance of a little girl who becomes a part of their family, as she comes and goes between their house and the wilderness and grows to young womanhood.  This is a haunting story, sad but filled with joy. --Georgiana

Shades of Milk and Honey
Mary Kowal

A delightful combination of Jane Austen and magic!  The art of "glamour" is a much-desired talent, along the lines of musical ability and landscape painting.  But gamour can be used with malicious intent, adding a new wrinkle to literature about Regency England! --Sandi

Lauren Groff

Wonderful book!  It's the absorbing story of Bit, born to a couple who are members of a commune in upstate New York in the 60's.  It's strong both as a clear-eyed view of the joys and pitfalls of the utopian dreams of communal living, and as a look at the way Bit's youth in the free and verdant country of his childhood informs his adult life in the far different world of the city. --Georgiana

Flight of Gemma Hardy
Margot Livesey

Really great stand-alone story that just gets better if you're a fan of Jane Eyre.  Deft characterizations and a heroine you really root for.  --Cam

Warsaw Anagrams
Richard Zimler

Although the subject matter of this book is heartbreaking and at times unfathomable in its reality, you will meet two characters -- Erik and Izzy -- who will remain with you long after you have finished this book.  These two intelligent, humorous, loveable men will touch your emotions and win your heart.  Not an easy read, but a must read.  --Nance

Keeper of Lost Causes
Jussi Adler-Olsen

ATTENTION STIEG LARSSON FANS!!  This is your new favorite book!  An action-packed, heart pounding mystery!  I found myself shouting at the characters and holding my breath.  We have GOT to get the other books in the series translated STAT! --Sandi

Duty to the Dead
Charles Todd

For everyone who loves Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Finch, Elly Griffiths and other wonderful mystery writers!!  An action-packed whodunnit.  The main character is a young nurse serving in WWI who gets entangled in a family tragedy.  A MUST READ! --Sandi

Cat's Table
Michael Ondaatje

A captivating story--told in Ondaatje's clear and magical prose--of an 11 year old boy's journey across the Indian Ocean to England.  He, often teamed up wtih 2 other boys, makes the ship his playground and his world to observe and conquer; and this is the account of all the (often mysterious) people and situations he encounters, and how these live on in his memory as he grows older.  Beautiful. --Georgiana

Alice Hoffman

Truly remarkable and incredibly powerful imagining of the events at Masada where a community of 900 Jewish men, women and children held out against the advancing Roman army.  Told from the points of view of four very different women.  Highly recommended.  --Cam

The Great Night
Chris Adrian

Just out in paper!  This is a dazzlingly original novel set in San Francisco's Buena Vista Park, the secret home of Titania and Oberon, rulers of the Faerie Kingdom.  Three heart-broken people happen to be wandering the park at dusk on midsummer eve in 2008, and this is the story of how their lives are changed by an upheaval in the Faerie Kingdom that night.  It may sound a little too crazy, but it's brilliant and engaging; and you will be so enmeshed that you don't notice or care HOW crazy...  I loved this book. --Georgiana


The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern

The best book I've read in months.  A fantastic plot, but MUCH more than that.  Erin Morgenstern transmits a state of wonder directly and cleanly, yet suffused with magic.  WOW.  I didn't want it to end; it left me in a state of blissful yet aching emptiness...  --Georgiana

And another:  This is the best book I have read this year, hands down.  The writing style is spare but incredibly evocative.  It sort of lures you along, until all of a sudden you realize you are utterly entranced, certain the Night Circus itself must exist somewhere and you want to go!  Lovely, lovely. --Cam

Elizabeth I
Margaret George

I love this author!  She seamlessly blends historical fact and entertainment.  I have met her and had lunch with her!  She is passionate about presenting her characters as historically accurate as possible, while fleshing them out as real human beings in extraordinary times.  This is an unusual look at Elizabeth I, focusing on the latter half of her reign; her quest to present herself as the perpetual Virgin Queen while defying her own mortality. A MUST for Elizabeth fans.  --Sandi 

Olaf Olafsson

Set in Italy at the beginning of WWII, this is a beautiful novel comprised of the converging stories of Alice, a wealthy young British expat who marries an Italian farmer and moves with him to his crumbling villa in Tuscany; and Kristin, a young art restorer in Rome. Filled with romance, intrigue, history and deep feeling for the country--wholly satisfying and transporting! --Georgiana

Tina Fey

Tina Fey's description of her life and experiences is hilarious.  You can hear her voice coming through; whether it be describing her dates during college, her days doing improv or her Sarah Palin impressions.  A fun read. --Kate

At Home: A Short History of Private Life
Bill Bryson

Bryson in his usual humorous, inquisitive way takes us for a delighful excursion through the history of his English home--room by room.  Each room, its layout, contents, etymology and usage is amazingly defined by what has happened in the rest of the world. An interesting and fun history lesson illlustrating how simple to complex discoveries have influenced our habitats since the 1700s.  Enjoy --Nance

Hare with Amber Eyes
De Waal

This is a fascinating rumination on family, ancestry and the effect of history on both.  De Waal is a beautiful writer with an artist's sensibility--he brings his family's history alive! --Amy

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey
Countess of Carnarvon

For all us Downton Abbey fans!!  An absolutely remarkable book about the real family of Highclere Castle.  This was an eye-opening story of how one woman and her husband saved the lives of countless British servicemen during WWI, made the greatest archeological discover in Egyptian history and secured their beautiful family estate for the present generation.  Fabulous! --Sandi

Hangman's Daughter
Oliver Potzsch

Bavarian life in the 1600s was harsh.  The people were harsh too, and maybe too eager to let the local midwife be named a witch responsible for the deaths of local orphans.  The hangman, charged with torturing the "truth" out of the midwife, doubts her guilt.  He, his daughter and a young physician try to find the real culprit, putting themselves at great risk.  --Debbie

Discovery of Witches
Deborah Harkness

One of my favorite books of the year!!!  History, romance, mystery, action and MAGIC!  The author is an academic historian so her research is impeccable.  Add characters who are flawed and so REAL, a rip-roarin' storyline and you'll be hooked too!!  This is the first in a planned trilogy and I can't WAIT for the next!  --Sandi

Janus Stone
Elly Griffiths

Sequel to "Crossing Places" - another intriguing archeological thriller from Ms. Griffiths.  Set in the far reaches of England, the main character is a wonderfully brilliant and loveable young woman who finds herself mired in mystery and danger. -- Sandi

Small Death in the Great Glen & Double Death on the Black Isle
A. D. Scott

I LOVED the setting - Scotland!! Beautiful, accurate description of life in a small Highland town with quirky characters, mysterious twists and turns and local dialect!!  Set in the 1950s.  Good debut novel and follow-up from A.D. Scott --Kate

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Laini Taylor
Young Adult Fiction

This is a wonderful story--perhaps for the older, young adult reader--I'd recommend 15 and older.  An unusual story peopled with very unusual characters.  Really well written; the story is mystery, magic, romance and action. It will break your heart, yet leave you hoping ..... --Sandi

September Society
Charles Finch

The second in the Beautiful Blue Death series and a very worthy sequel!  What I love about historical fiction is learning so much while being totally entertained and this is no exception.  Charles Lenox returns to his alma mater - Oxford - to solve the murder of a young student with ties to colonial India. We are treated to a lively history of the university while unravelling the mystery and falling more in love with the characters. --Sandi

Beautiful Blue Death
Charles Finch

While this book has been out for several years, I just read it and REALLY enjoyed it.  Sherlockian in style, with wonderful plot and characters.  Set in Victorian England, it offers a wonderful view into the British upper class, and what happens to those who defy their rules. --Sandi

Maile Meloy
Young Adult Fiction

A wonderful, magical adventure!  Three kids find themselves in a fantastical situation: they must save the world from nuclear war!  Warning: You MUST allow for the possibility! --Sandi

Mr Rosenblum Dreams in English
Natasha Solomons

Anglophiles, Guernsey Society and Major Pettigrew fans--this is your next novel.  Jack is determined to become a proper Englishman, according to a list of observations he has created and follows religiously.  He moves to a rural English village to build the greatest golf course in England.   Pranks, superstitions and misunderstandings ensue in this insightful and humorous and enchanting tale. --Nance

Anthropology of an American Girl
Hilary Thayer Hamann

The first-person narrative of a young woman who is growing up too fast. She's a brilliant narrator of her perceptions and the events of her final year of high school and the first years of her life thereafter, and thus provides a finely wrought portrait of a young american girl inthe early 80's. Her writing is very detailed, which put me off a little at first (ONLY at first), but I soon succumbed to its insightful genius and originality, and was rewarded by the satisfactions of a wonderful story told well --Georgiana

Blood Harvest
S.J. Bolton

Yet another AWESOME book by Ms. Bolton! A creepy mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Don't even try to figure it out--just enjoy the ride! I LOVE this author! --Sandi

Danielle Trussoni

This book is so interesting!  Have angels been among us forever?  What powers does the Lyre of Orpheus have, and why do so many people want to get it?  Can humankind win the day?  Lots to enjoy here! --Debbie

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot

Amazing and troublesome look at medical research and rights of individuals, revealed as Skloot explores Henrietta Lacks' life. Both fascinating and frustrating, it will spark questions about research, consent, and the Lacks' family dilemma. Excellent book group selection for discussion. --Nance

A Visit from the Goon Squad
Jennifer Egan

A series of interlocking stories that all circle back to Bennie, an aging former rocker and current recording industry bigwig, and Sasha, a young woman who works for him. Through the lives of these people and their circles of friends and family, the stories involve you in the world of cutting edge popular music over the past 20 or so years. Egan wrote The Keep, another of my favorite books. She's a superb writer --Georgiana

Shades of Grey
Jasper Fforde

This can be somewhat compared to Brave New World, or 1984, but it has the added attraction of being rich with British wit. After an unspecified "something" happened, life on Earth goes on--but who you are in life depends on the colors you can see. And Eddie starts to realize that's not fair.... I loved this --Debbie

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Helen Simonson

You will LOVE Major Pettigrew and this whole cast of characters! The author does a marvelous job of re-evaluating prejudices and racism in this funny, very touching novel. --Sandi