What We’re Reading Now… March 1, 2017Posted by SaraC in Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review.
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Here are a few books we are enjoying now, and we hope you will enjoy them too!
Don’t Think of an Elephant! 10th Anniversary Edition: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate by George Lakoff is more than just a how-to guide for progressives. Lakoff, one of the founders of the field of cognitive science uses cognitive science and linguistics, to explain how conservatives and progressives frame their values and stances on issues. This is a fascinating look at how our brains work and offers valuable insight on how to effectively communicate with people whose beliefs are different from yours. Megan
Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fantasy story about a man drawn to return to the place he grew up to remember a wild and mysterious turn of events when he was just seven years old. Equal parts magical and terrifying, the memory centers on his neighbor, the intriguing Lettie Hempstock. Speaking of magical, I listened to this on audiobook and it’s read by Neil Gaiman himself and that voice–I could listen to him forever! Lauren
If you are a Seinfeld fan, please do yourself a favor and read the book Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong. This is a FANTASTIC trip down memory lane, and gives backgrounds on the origin of characters and storylines. I was surprised to learn that each year all the writers were let go in hopes that they would consistently get fresh ideas by bringing new ones in (although one writer who had been with the show from the beginning avoided this fate). Don’t feel too badly for them, Seinfeld writers were in great demand and could use the show as a springboard. Casual fans will likely find the book tedious, but for those of us who scheduled our Thursday nights around the show, this is a treasure. Steve
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson takes us through the intertwined lives of two college peers, who hide their crazy well. The story unfolds with past and present narration to help the audience keep up in this fast paced suspense novel. The intricate plot will keep the reader guessing beyond the last page. Beth
I sped through Australian author Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project because it was a hilarious read. The story is introduced by the main character and narrator Don Tillman, a genetics professor in search of love. To find the woman he should spend the rest of his life with, Don creates a questionnaire. The list of questions tries to eliminate someone by asking whether or not they are a smoker, a drinker, their meal preferences, punctual, etc. Don is thrown off guard when he is introduced to Rosie Jarman, a woman who is everything that Don would not find suitable for a life partner. Rosie seeks Don out for assistance in finding her biological father. Through their interactions, Rosie opens Don’s life into a whole new world and a strong friendship forms. This was an exciting, funny, and dramatic story. I listened to the audiobook, which I encourage, read by Australian actor Don O’Grady. Gina
An unforgettable and moving read, Among the Living by Jonathan Rabb is a novel set in post-Second World War Savannah, Georgia where Yitzhak Goldah, a Holocaust survivor, is welcomed into the home of his American relatives, Pearl and Abe Jesler. There, among the city’s thriving Jewish community, Yitzhak becomes “Ike,” and he must find a way to “return to the living” while adapting to a different kind of racism of the American South. When he falls for a local widow, Ike unexpectedly discovers tensions between the traditional and Reform Jews in Savannah. And when a woman from Ike’s past appears, he must choose between a promise once made and the hope for happiness. Carol
In The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti, Samuel Hawley has settled down with his 12-year-old daughter Loo in a small New England fishing village where her mother grew up. Told in alternating chapters, we learn about Samuel’s criminal past and how he’s received 12 bullet wounds, and about Loo, what she learns about her mother and father, and how she grows up amidst her parents’ pasts. Dori
The Secret Place, the 5th book in the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French was a fascinating story of the lives of two cliques of teenage girls at an Irish boarding school. A boy was murdered on the grounds of the girls’ school one year ago, and the murder was never solved. But now a card with the words, “I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM” has appeared on the anonymous “Secret Place” bulletin board where girls share their thoughts, fears and secrets. And it is up to Dublin Murder Squad detective Stephen Moran to sort out who knows what, and whodunit. Sara
Age is Just a Number -of Good (Teen) Books! February 7, 2017Posted by stacey in Book Discussion, Book List, Genre Book Discussion, Young Adult.
Tags: Book List, Genre Book Discussion, Teen Fiction, Young Adult
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I have some sad news -It was decided to stop our monthly staff genre book discussions and I have to confess, I miss them already… At least you’ll have one last list of new (to you?) teen books to read and enjoy! Are you ready to see what everyone had to say about their selection this month? Me too!
Megan: The Serpent King by Jeff Zenter, is the 2017 William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens. It tells the story of three teens living in a small Tennessee town in the heart of the Bible Belt. Dill is the grandson and son of preachers and their legacy is not a happy one. Grandpa Dill was a snake charmer who became unhinged after the death of his daughter and Dill’s father, also a Dill, is in prison. His mother wants him to leave school and help support the family, but his best friend Lydia wants him to go to college. Lydia is internet famous for her fashion blog and she is eager to leave her small town middle class life and strike out on her own in New York City. The third member of this odd little group is Travis, the gentle giant. He chooses to escape the abuse he suffers at the hand of his father by retreating into a fantasy world. This book is full of the big questions teens ask, friendship, tragedy, and hope. This is a fantastic coming of age story for fans of John Green and A.S. King
Gina: We Are Still Tornadoes is written in epistolary format, by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen. Discover the thoughts of these childhood friends, Cath and Scott after their high school graduation in the letters they write to each other the following year as pen pals. Cath moves out of state to attend college while Scott remains home to assist his father in the family store and starts a band with friends. They correspond throughout the year sharing their experiences, learning, and growing. Their letters bring them close together to realize that they are more than just friends. The addition of the 80’s music references made this book enjoyable.
Steve: The first book of the Ranger’s Apprentice series, The Ruins of Gorlan, by John Flanagan, is an awesome fantasy story that centers on an orphan named Will. On the Choosing Day none of the task masters choose him as an apprentice, that is until a Ranger ultimately requests him. Will is dutifully learning the ways of the Rangers, under the mentorship of the mysterious Halt, when his training is interrupted by news that the evil Morgarath is making maneuvers in an attempt to gain control of the kingdom. And then the real action begins.
Carol: In Jackaby by William Ritter, Abigail Rook comes to America in 1892 looking for adventure, and she is hired as an assistant to R.F. Jackaby, a mysterious detective who can see the paranormal. On Abigail’s first day, they are called to the scene of a murder. Jackaby is convinced that the killer is other-worldly and the game is afoot. This first in a series was published in 2014 and is a smart, funny and clever read—like a Sherlock novel, with a supernatural twist.
Sara: I read the young adult novel, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. It is the first in a trilogy about a 16 year old girl who wakes up in the hospital with no memory of the accident that put her there or how two friends and her boyfriend died in it. Her family moves to a new state, hoping Mara’s memory will come back gradually. Instead she begins hallucinating that she can see her dead friends and has premonitions of things before they happen. She also falls in love with a mysterious boy, Noah, who she feels like she has know for a lifetime. Were they destined to meet by forces beyond her control? And how did her friends die in the accident while she was unharmed? This book is a psychological (and perhaps paranormal) thriller, fast-paced and definitely worth reading.
Lauren: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows is a delightfully ridiculous retelling of the story of Lady Jane Grey and King Edward VI. Their fantasy world centers on the clash between Verities, “normal people”…I guess, and Ethians, who have both a human and animal form and are widely seen as the scourge of the earth. An absolutely hilarious story of magic, adventure, and a little romance.
Dori: In Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina, it’s the summer of 1977, and New York City is haunted by periodic blackouts, arson attacks and most menacingly by serial killer Son of Sam. Nora Lopez is about to graduate from high school and is thinking about her future while dealing with the stress of living with her single mother, a Cuban immigrant, and her younger brother Hector, a drug dealer who abuses his mother. To escape, Nora gets a job at a local deli and starts a relationship with Pablo, a handsome boy who works there too. As the city’s tension swirls around her, Nora must realize some hard truths while finding herself.
Beth: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige is set in a dystopia Oz. When Amy finds herself displaced in Oz after a tornado, she learns that Oz is real, but it is not the Oz she had read about growing up. She’s tasked with saving Oz by taking down the all too powerful ruler, Dorothy.
Stacey: In Kids of Appetite, David Almond has been able to address serious issues with such subtle grace. Vic is struggling to cope with the loss of his father to cancer while watching his mom begin a relationship with someone new. Oh, and also Vic has Moebius Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that paralyzes his facial muscles. Escaping the house with his father’s ashes, Vic stumbles upon a tight-knit group of outsiders (yep, a nod to the S.E. Hinton book!) each with their own troubles. When they find a message hidden in the urn, the clues lead the kids to discover memories of importance to Vic’s parents. Sweet but never sappy, with a message about kindness, compassion, and living with personal integrity, plus a quirky sense of humor; this book becomes something truly special.
Thank you for joining in and reading along with us for the last few years -I hope you’ve discovered an new favorite author (or two) and (like me) found a little love in your heart for a genre you previously felt “bleh!’ about! (I’m looking at *you* horror genre!)
Gina’s 2016 Top 10 Books! December 16, 2016Posted by Gina in Biographies, Book List, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Top Ten, Uncategorized.
Tags: Biographies, Fiction, Nonfiction, Top 10
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I’m still trying to find my reading style. This past year it has been a mix of nonfiction and fiction. I generally enjoy reading books before it is adapted into a movie, that way I can see the differences.
Yes, My Accent Is Real: and Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You by Kunal Nayyar
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo
Me Before You and After You by Jojo Moyes
Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2 by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, and J.K. Rowling
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
On My Own by Diane Rehm
I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! Happy Holidays!
2016 Favorites – Top 12 Edition December 16, 2016Posted by Dori in Book Awards, Book List, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Holiday Books, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thrillers, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2016, Uncategorized.
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2016 was a book lover’s dream – I was like a kid in a candy store. Between reading and listening, I managed to finish a lot of literary fiction, and a few science fiction and suspense titles, but I have some catching up to do into 2017. Here are the books that I relished in 2016, in no particular order:
LaRose by Louise Erdrich
Erdrich is a writer that I never miss and this book sums up what I love so much about her writing: devotion to characters, insightful commentary on American culture, family love and exploration of the mystical.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Deserved winner of the National Book Award, this book is a wildly creative and harrowing look at slavery and its legacy. A must read.
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
Hawley, a screenwriter, deftly takes us through a horrific plane crash, exploring the survivor’s guilt and the investigation into the cause.
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
This small book packs a punch – mother/daughter relationships, poverty, marriage – are all addressed powerfully and in Lucy’s voice – lovely and sad.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
There’s no doubt that this is a weird book – it’s about a young woman whose choice to become a vegetarian impacts her whole family in tragic ways – but it’s also both mesmerizing and beautiful.
Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
Chee’s historical epic about a 19th century American who becomes a famous Parisian courtesan and opera singer envelops and transports you.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
This is my first Patchett novel and I may have to read her earlier books based on this one – who doesn’t love a book about a dysfunctional family that sucks you in and doesn’t let go?
Multiple Choice by Alejandro Zambra
Zambra is a Chilean author and his books often deal with memory and choice within the framework of Chile’s recent authoritarian history. This one’s in the form of a multiple choice test
The Golden Age by Joan London
Maybe my favorite of all, London’s look at how people deal with displacement in their lives takes place during the polio epidemic in Australia after World War II. It’s surprisingly sweet and tender and you’ll fall in love with the characters.
Moonglow by Michael Chabon
History, relationships, life, love, rockets! – all in Chabon’s signature style.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
I haven’t quite finished Smith’s latest about two young brown girls growing up in London and the different paths they take based on family, race, class and culture, but I’m entranced so far.
A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
I always like to dip into some great science fiction and I really enjoyed these first two in a series that take us to fantastic parallel worlds. No. 3 is up next year!
BONUS CHRISTMAS BOOK:
The Fields Where They Lay by Timonthy Hallinan
I chose this book for my Holiday read and I think I’ve found a new mystery series! It’s funny and clever and the mystery unfolded perfectly.
If` I could keep going, I’d throw these in as well: Debuts The Mothers by Brit Bennett and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, The Yid by Paul Goldberg, To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey, A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl, A Great Reckoning by master of mystery Louise Penney, The Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood and The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.
Lauren’s Top Ten of 2016 December 16, 2016Posted by Lauren in Book List, Thoughtful Ramblings, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2016, Uncategorized.
Tags: Book List, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2016
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Each year I worry that I won’t know what to come up with for my top ten list–this worrying lasts all of two seconds because as soon as I start to look back over a year’s worth of nose-in-a-book, I realize I read PLENTY of wonderful stuff! This year my list is a little bit all over the place, just like my reading preferences. Enjoy! ~Lauren
The Trespasser by Tana French
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day
Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Thrice the Brinded Cath Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley
The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith by Gabrielle Bernstein
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
BONUS SECTION: LATE TO THE PARTY
Here are a couple of extra favorites for me this year that I was inspired to read by my coworkers who picked them for their Top Ten lists last year. So if that initial plug wasn’t enough to motivate you, maybe my two-thumbs-up will help!
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff / The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins / The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery
MENU December 15, 2016Posted by Ann in Book List, Fiction, Mystery, Top Ten.
Tags: Book List, Fiction, Mysteries, Top 10 of 2016
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MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2016
Descent by Tim Johnston
Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm
Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon
Cruel, Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt
The Widow by Fiona Barton
Breaking Wild by Diane Les Becquets
Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner
The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore
To Cleanse the Palate
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Dessert (the best for last!)
The Trespasser by Tana French
*With your Christmas Eve Hot Chocolate
Oliver, the Cat Who Saved Christmas by Sheila Norton >’.'<
Sara’s Top Ten of 2016 December 14, 2016Posted by SaraC in Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review.
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Psychological thrillers have been high on my list this past year with a few other genres mixed in, so enjoy!
Home by Harlan Coben –A thrilling return to the Myron Bolitar series.
The Good Goodbye by Carla Buckley–suspenseful thriller filled with family secrets.
Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer–riveting tale of a missing girl.
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple–a funny and poignant look into life, marriage and getting older.
Faithful Place by Tana French–book 3 in the wonderful Dublin Murder Squad series.
Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell–a story of friends and neighbors and their many faces.
A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny–book 12 in the captivating Chief Inspector Gamache series.
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout–a story of mothers and daughters and the bond they share for better or worse.
What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan–a tale of how your whole life can change in a single moment.
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty–a summer barbecue with repercussions that last forever.
Steve’s Spectacular Top Ten December 13, 2016Posted by Steve in Book List, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2016.
Tags: Book List, Top Ten of 2016
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I’ve got a few more fiction titles than in previous years, so take your pick, be it fiction or non-fiction, they are all good. Click the links below to go to the Reading Room for more details. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Resolution by Robert B. Parker
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Train to Crystal City: FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp During World War II by Jan Jarboe Russell
House of Nails: a Memoir of Life on the Edge by Lenny Dykstra
Embattled Rebel by James McPherson
Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault that Changed a Presidency by Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard
Where Divers Dare: The Hunt for the Last U-Boat by Randall Peffer
Megan’s Top Ten (Sixteen) Teen Reads of 2016 December 13, 2016Posted by Megan in Book List, Book Review, Young Adult.
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Every year I agonize over which books will earn a place on my end of the year favorites list. This year I decided to quit fretting and just make multiple lists! First up, my favorite YA reads of 2016. In alphabetical order:
- All American Boys by Jason Reynolds. This ripped from the headlines story of police brutality and race relations is an intense must-read.
2. All In and Bad Blood (The Naturals #3 and 4) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. The Naturals series is Criminal Minds with teens. It’s smart, suspenseful, and dark.
3. Calamity (The Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson. The final showdown between the Epics and the Reckoners is all about redemption. A perfect series finale.
4. Carry on by Rainbow Rowell. Readers were introduced to Simon Snow and Baz in Fangirl. Carry On is the novel version of the fan fiction that Cath writes. Very meta.
5. The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co. #4) by Jonathon Stroud. Full of twists and turns and shocking bombshells, this spooky series keeps getting better and better.
6. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling. It’s always a treat to be able to get new Harry Potter material!
7. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. This is another timely read about a transgender teen looking to make a fresh start in a new town.
8. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray. The sequel to The Diviners is another spooky journey into the supernatural world of 1920’s New York City.
9. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand. Fans of The Princess Bride will love this hilarious, somewhat true(ish) account of Lady Jane Grey. A romantic, historical fiction tale with a touch of the paranormal. This is the first of a planned “famous Janes” series.
10. The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater. Why did the Raven Cycle have to come to an end??
11. The Serpent King by Jeff Zenter. One year in the lives of three teens living in a small Tennessee town. This one is a heart breaker.
12. Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King. It’s always a good year when you get a new A.S. King book.
13. This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab. For fans of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, this is a tale of two teens living in a broken world of violence and monsters. So much to love in this dark urban fantasy.
14. To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party by Skila Brown. This might be my surprise favorite book of the year. Let me tell you: this is a novel in verse about cannibals. Please and thank you!
15. The Tournament at Gorlan (The Ranger’s Apprentice: The Early Years #1) by John Flanagan. I will never tire of Halt and Crowley! This new series takes readers back to when Halt was the apprentice.
16. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma. Black Swan meets Orange is the New Black. This one is weird and I loved it.
Top Ten of 2016 -if you’re asking me… (aka Stacey’s list) December 12, 2016Posted by stacey in Book List, Thoughtful Ramblings, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2016.
Tags: Book List, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2016
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How is it already the second week of December? Where did the year go? Well, at least we have the “Best of” end of year lists to look forward to… And so, we continue our tradition of Top Ten books we found memorable here on Read it or Weep! Not all the books will have been published this year -but they were read this year- and you’ll find a good mix of long/short, genres and formats, and written for different ages.
I chose sixteen titles (for Top Ten + Six = Sixteen) -they are in alphabetical order by author (cause I’m a librarian) and include books I listened to, read (with my peepers,) fiction, nonfiction, for adult or teen audience. Feel free to let me know if you’ve enjoyed some of these as much as I did!
1) At the Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell
Oh, please! Do *not* judge this book by it’s cover! -Or even its title really. Charming, easy to read, and thoughtful, you’ll enjoy reading this more than might expect… So, go ahead! Try it! (Don’t forget =Library books are FREE and we offer no hassle returns all year long!)
2) Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume
This one will haunt you a little. The unnamed narrator and his dog are damaged but endearing in ways that leave you hoping for the best, even as the story takes a darker turn.
3) At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier
Starting in the Black Swamp, around the Toledo area, this story takes place during the time of Johnny Appleseed. John Chapman makes a few appearances but it’s the hardscrabble, dysfunctional Goodenough family you’ll get to know best.
4) The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
There are some books I feel like everyone else has already read and I either 1) then stubbornly refuse to read like a big baby or 2) finally cave in and read to discover “everyone” was right to keep suggesting it to me. -I’m glad I caved in on this one!
5) Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are by Frans de Waal
After reading this book? I’ll say, “no” with absolute confidence. Read it -we’ll talk!
6) Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart
The author wrote and illustrated a nonfiction graphic novel about how he and his wife grieved the unexpected loss of their little girl. It’s beautiful.
7) To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
This book continues to defy my ability to explain all the amazing things going on inside -this is the best I can do: great details about the natural world, historical facts, folklore, and a feeling of mystical truth. (PS -illustrations included!)
8) When Breath Becomes Air by Dr. Paul Kalanithi
At thirty-six Paul Kalanithi was on verge of realizing his dream, to become a neurosurgeon who examined not just the mechanical working of the brain but also its cognitive function as part of our moral being. Diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, his family, his work, and this book are his lasting legacy.
9) Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Ms. Meyer has a gift for retelling fairy tales and making them unique, modern, thoughtful, outstanding, and all the other adjectives I/you can think of! This is her retelling of Alice in Wonderland… and. it’s. great!
10) Approval Junkie by Faith Salie
This collection of essays has humor, honesty, and some pretty good life lessons packed into every page!
13) M Train by Patti Smith
Wow. Even when Patti Smith isn’t writing about “big ideas” she’ll “wow” you.
14) A Study of Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
If Sherlock Holmes was actually a woman? Well, that’s this book… You’ll recognize all the odd Holmesian quirks and secondary characters you’ve come to love -plus- you’ll find a whole new set of oddities to enjoy! This could have gone so wrong but it turned out just right!
16) The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood
A little bit of horror, a little bit of allegory, and a lot to think about. Ten women are abducted and taken to a desolate bunkhouse in the middle of the remote, Australian Outback. With no way to know who’s responsible for their brutal imprisonment, they begin to form a social order to match their dark world.
Now my hard work is done? I get to sit back and enjoy -with you!- as everyone begins to post their selections as the week goes on… (This makes my book nerd heart so happy!)