Book Review- The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

I recently finished Stephen Graham Jones’ latest novel, The Only Good Indians, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. The book is amazing, and unlike anything I’ve read. Teetering along a fine line between literary horror (yes, there is some disagreement as to whether that exists but I strongly support the notion that it does), a straight-up revenge story, and multi-faceted narratives of various Native American experiences, it delivers some serious gore alongside real emotional pain. It’s wildly atmospheric and to put it plainly, weird. Weird in the very best way, of course.

The revenge plot centers on four Native American men getting their just deserts after disrespecting the sacredness of an elk herd while hunting on elder tribal lands. The group’s excessive spray of bullets decimates an elk herd that includes a pregnant elk, who struggles with every thing she has to survive for her calf. She succumbs to her wounds and the Blackfeet reservation’s game warden discovers their trespass which results in them being forced to leave all the elk meat behind, except for the cow who fought so hard. The four pals are banned from hunting on the reservation for ten years as further punishment, but their real punishment arrives years later.

Without spoiling too much of the story, because there are indeed some surprising twists and turns, I can say this moment of carelessness and disregard results in very serious repercussions for the four men, their friends and family, and even their pets. In the beginning readers increasingly question what is real and what is being told to us by an unreliable narrator. Eventually, through a very clever shift in perspective, readers see the truth of what is happening and the story really picks up speed as we hurtle towards a conclusion.

The Only Good Indians is a stellar example of how horror can also be literary, as Jones has crafted a deeply felt look at cycles of violence, identity and the price of breaking away from tradition, and perhaps most surprisingly, the power of forgiveness and hope. I can’t promise it will all make sense in a neat, tidy way in the end but it doesn’t really need to honestly. A #ownvoices title that is highly recommended reading for fans of horror, literary fiction, strong character writing, and twisty plots.

Trigger warning: When I say there is gore in this, I am not exaggerating. It does include some brutal ends for specifically dogs. I assure you, the book overall is worth reading and you can breeze past some of the grisly paragraphs if need be.

Check out the ebook here or request the print copy here.

The Only Good Indians is the November selection for Novel Scares book club, my book club devoted to all things horror. Please join us for a lively discussion on Zoom November 12th @ 7 pm! Registration for fall programs begins September 1st and you can register for Novel Scares here. This program is also part of the county wide One Community Reads, taking place now through September, inviting you to read and reflect about race, injustice, history, and a better future.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Imagine Your Story@ RRPL

Have You Heard About RRPL’s Little Library?

 

Our Little Library is located near the front entrance, right next to the bench. I’m sure many of you have heard of “Little Free Libraries” and may have seen one in your own neighborhood.  The philosophy of the “Little Free Library” is simple: take a book, leave a book.  Here at RRPL we encourage our community to simply take a book, no need to contribute books, we’ve got that covered.  This is a small collection of books ranging from adult book selections to books for children. We refresh our selections weekly, along with a bottle of hand sanitizer to keep you safe. If you would like to browse a larger collection, come into our lobby and peruse our ongoing Book Sale.  Donations for your choices are always appreciated and can be left at the Greeters Desk.  I love tending to the books housed in this little gem, and I can’t help but smile when I discover these books have found a new home.  So,  if you find yourself taking a stroll near the library, take a peek inside our Little Library, who knows, maybe you will stumble upon that next great read!

I Read YA! Do You?

Regular readers will remember that I have already shared all of my 5-star YA reads of 2020. It’s now time to start sharing some of my 4-star recommendations.

American Panda by Gloria Chao. Seventeen year old Mei is a pre-med at MIT. Her whole life is already mapped out-become a doctor, marry a parents-approved, successful, Taiwanese guy with an Ivy League degree, and have babies. It’s the least she can do for her parents who have sacrificed everything for her and who have already been betrayed by her older brother. There are a couple of problems with this plan. She is a germaphobe. She loves to dance. Darren is not Taiwanese. This is a funny and heartfelt coming of age story about a young woman stuck between two cultures. It’s also about first love and family secrets and following your passions, all things teens of any ethnicity can relate to. A solid 4-star read.

All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban. What happens when the scholarship dinner you’ve been invited to turns out to be a trap? This debut thriller reads like an Agatha Christie novel. The class valedictorian, the popular girl, the music geek, the stoner, the loner, and the star athlete all think they are being honored with a scholarship. Instead, they are locked in a room with a bomb, a syringe of poison, and a note that tells them to pick a person to die or they all die. The clock is ticking. This is an edge of your seat read that literally takes place over the course of an hour. Will they panic? Escape? Kill someone? This is a wild ride from a new voice in YA thrillers.

One of Us is Next by Karen McManus. Speaking of thrillers…If you aren’t reading Karen McManus, go do it now. This is the sequel to her hit One of Us is Lying. It’s been a year since the incidents at Bayview High and there is a new game circulating- Truth or Dare and this version is dark and dangerous. This is another strong addition to the YA thriller genre. I am definitely a fan of the author and look forward to more great reads by her.

Deadly Little Secrets by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Here’s another thriller and a sequel. I am a huge fan of Jennifer Lynn Barnes and will read anything she writes. This one picks up where Little White Lies leaves off. If you like southern charm and wicked family secrets and secret societies, you really need to read the Debutantes series. What I love about all of Barnes’ books is that there is plenty of humor to cut through the tension of her rather dark tales.

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black. This one is actually the final book in the Folk of the Air trilogy. You’ll want to start with The Cruel Prince, followed by The Wicked King. I always think I do not enjoy stories about the fae, and yet, any time I decide to read one, I like it, so I guess I am wrong about myself! Holly Black knows her stuff. She is the queen of the fairy tale and she returns to her fairy roots with this brutal and twisty trilogy. It’s full of magic and betrayal and the ending is fantastic. Highly recommend.

~Megan

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

In this weeks picks, there are many varieties, such as romance, horror, mystery, and so much more to choose from! Here are some books that may peak your interest!

Hideaway by Nora Roberts – A family ranch in Big Sur country and a legacy of Hollywood royalty set the stage for Nora Roberts’ emotional new suspense novel.

A Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky- The author presents a captivating new novel about a woman whose unexpected reunion with her estranged family forces her to confront a devastating past.

The Friendship List by Susan Mallery – Two best friends jump-start their lives in a summer that will change them forever. They discover that life is meant to be lived with joy and abandon, in a story filled with humor, heartache and regrettable tattoos.

If It Bleeds by Stephen King – A collection of four novellas includes the title story in which Holly Gibney of the Bill Hodges trilogy and “The Outsider” struggles to face her fears and another possible outsider.

The Falcon Always Wings Twice by Donna Andrews – Volunteering at her grandmother’s craft-center Renaissance Faire, Meg is challenged to prove the innocence of her grandfather when he is wrongly accused of murdering a fairgrounds performer who was suspected of mistreating a rare falcon.

Sucker Punch by Laurell K. Hamilton – When a young wereleopard is scheduled for execution for the brutal murder of his uncle, Anita Blake navigates escalating pressure from the local authorities and family demands for justice in the face of evidence that does not quite add up.

True Story by Kate Reed Petty – Haunted by the roles they played in covering up the sexual assault and attempted suicide of a student 15 years earlier, reclusive ghostwriter Alice and her former schoolmate, Nick, explore memories from different viewpoints that eventually reveal what really happened.

In Case of Emergency by E. G. Scott – Managing a painful career setback with the help of an online support group and a secret boyfriend who goes mysteriously missing, a neuroscientist is declared a person of interest when she is asked to identify the body of a stranger.

The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter – Investigating a brutal murder that eerily resembles another from years earlier, Will Trent reopens the case of a possibly wrongly convicted prisoner before teaming up with medical examiner Sara Linton to hunt down the true killer.

The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne – Living in self-imposed exile in a psychiatric facility where she is tortured by fractured memories of her parents’ murder, Rachel uncovers maternal secrets and an unspeakable act of evil that unveils the true nature of her bond with her sister.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis – A New York Public Library superintendent’s wife reevaluates her priorities upon joining a woman’s suffrage group in 1913, decades before her granddaughter’s efforts to save an exhibit expose tragic family secrets. By the best-selling author of The Chelsea Girls.

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin – In this new thriller from the author of The Escape Room, a podcast host covering a controversial trial in a small town becomes obsessed with a brutal crime that took place there years before.

Brontë’s Mistress by Finola Austin – A meticulously researched debut by the award-winning “Secret Victorianist” blogger follows the scandalous 1843 love affair between a grieving Lydia Robinson of Thorp Green Hall and her son’s erratically unconventional tutor, Branwell Brontë.

The Boys’ Club by Erica Katz – An Ivy League overachiever accepts a job at a prestigious Manhattan law firm where the dynamics of workplace sexism force her to choose between her career and doing what is right. A first novel.

The Palace by Christopher Reich – When a man to whom he owes his life reaches out from prison, international spy Simon Riske recruits a daring investigative reporter and a rogue Mossad agent to thwart an international conspiracy targeting major European cities.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson – The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Warmth of Other Suns identifies the qualifying characteristics of historical caste systems to reveal how a rigid hierarchy of human rankings, enforced by religious views, heritage and stigma, impact everyday American lives.

Live Free or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink by Sean Hannity – The Fox News host and best-selling author of Conservative Victory argues that the leftist radicalism that he believes undermined American democracy in the 1960s must be purposefully fought again during the 2020 election to prevent progressive changes.

True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump by Jeffrey Toobin – The CNN chief legal analyst and best-selling author of American Heiress presents a behind-the-scenes account of the Mueller investigation to explain how in spite of associate convictions and an impeachment, Donald Trump has survived to run for reelection.

A Furious Sky: The Five-hundred-year History of America’s Hurricanes by Eric Jay Dolin – A best-selling author tells the history of America itself through its 500-year battle with the fury of hurricanes.

The Finisher by Peter Lovesey – Tasked with crowd control during the Other Half, Bath’s springtime half marathon, Detective Peter Diamond catches sight of a violent criminal he put away years ago and believes he may be responsible for a runner not crossing the finish line.

~Semanur

Virtual Book Club – Readalikes for Where the Crawdads Sing

Still trying to get a copy of 2018’s smash hit novel Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens? Us too! Don’t know what Crawdads is about? We’ve got you there too: viewed with suspicion in the aftermath of a tragedy, a beautiful hermit who has survived for years in a marsh becomes targeted by unthinkable forces. This book has topped the New York Times Bestseller list for over 30 weeks and was also selected for Reese Witherspoon’s book club.

While you wait, try one of the novels below! They are recommended by our librarians as being similar in feel to Crawdads. Click any book cover for a link to our library catalog, where you can put the book on hold with your library card number and PIN. And we know they’ll probably come in faster than Crawdads! Links to our ebook services have been included where available. 

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Her world upended by the death of a beloved artist uncle who was the only person who understood her, fourteen-year-old June is mailed a teapot by her uncle’s grieving friend, with whom June forges a poignant relationship. 

Overdrive link





My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

Enduring an isolated existence after the death of her mother, 14-year-old Turtle roams the rocky shores and tide pools of the California coast and refutes every outside attempt to engage her before an unexpected friendship with a newcomer helps her realize the vulnerabilities of her life with her charismatic father.

Overdrive link


Let's No One Get Hurt by Jon Pineda

Let’s No One Get Hurt by Jon Pineda

A teenage girl squatting in an abandoned boathouse with her disgraced college professor father in the swamps of the American South begins an unbalanced relationship with the rich, bratty son of a developer who has bought the property. 





A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

Jess Hall, growing up deep in the heart of an unassuming mountain town that believes in protecting its own, is plunged into an adulthood for which he is not prepared when his autistic older brother, Stump, sneaks a look at something he isn’t supposed to, which has catastrophic repercussions. 

Overdrive link



Miller's Valley by Anna Quindlen

Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen

Coming of age in a dwindling 1960s farming community in eastern Pennsylvania, Mimi struggles with profound family secrets and the pain of falling in love with the wrong person against a backdrop of dynamic historical periods.

Overdrive link





All book summaries courtesy of Novelist. Check back next Sunday for our next ‘Readalikes’ installment of the Virtual Book Club!

New and Upcoming Romance Reads

Sometimes, we all just need to read something light, fun, with a happy ending, and maybe a little spice for good measure, especially during times of turmoil and stress. Enter- the romance genre! Whether you want your literary escape to be sexy and scandalous or wholesome and heartwarming (or something in-between!) romance has got your back.

Check out some new and upcoming romance titles that are sure to give you some much deserved reprieve or serve as your next beach read.

What are some of your favorite romance novels or beach reads of the summer? Share in the comments! Happy reading!

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

There are tons of new releases that come to our shelves every week. Here are some books we picked out for you!

Deadlock by Catherine Coulter – Targeted by a vengeful psychopath who would destroy his family, Savich receives three mysterious boxes containing clues leading to an unfamiliar community and a young wife who must confront a decades-old secret.

Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Evolution by Brian Freeman – Going rogue to investigate suspicions that the agency that trained him is responsible for his lover’s murder, Jason Bourne teams up with journalist Abbey Laurent to identify who set him up for the assassination of a congresswoman.

1st Case by James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts – Recruited into the FBI when her unorthodox programming skills get her kicked out of MIT, a computer genius tracks a killer who has been targeted young women through a sophisticated messaging app.

His & Hers by Alice Feeney – Sacrificing everything for her hard-won BBC presenter career, Anna teams up with DCI Jack Harper to investigate a childhood friend’s murder in her sleepy hometown village. By the author of I Know Who You Are.

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey – The former U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Native Guard shares a chillingly personal memoir about the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather.

Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings. Ed by Ellen Datlow – A debut novella by an award-winning writer and fantasy illustrator finds a reserved young woman from a Western Queensland town receiving a mysterious note from a long-missing brother that raises supernatural questions about other family disappearances.

Relentless by R. A. Salvatore – A conclusion to the best-selling trilogy finds Zaknafien and his mercenary friend, Jarlaxle, enduring the most difficult challenges of their lives to secure the fate of Gauntlgym, before unexpected circumstances compel an uncontrollable battle against life itself.

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay – In a U.S. release of a contemporary classic from Bangladesh, a woman marries into a traditional, once-powerful family before encountering the ghost of a vengeful child bride who would hide a dynasty-saving fortune.

The Butterfly Lampshade by Aimee Bender – Unable to explain bizarre phenomena that accompanied the most formative events of her youth, Francie reflects on how the perceptions of childhood can take on near-magical qualities that sometimes carry over into an adult world that fluctuates between realities.

Crossings by Alex Landragin – A debut in three parts designed to be read straight through or in alternating chapters finds a Jewish-German bookbinder in occupied Paris discovering links between poet Charles Baudelaire, a Walter Benjamin-like exile and a seven-generation woman monarch.

Afterland by Lauren Beukes – Fleeing west to find a safe haven in a world vastly transformed by a pandemic that has killed nearly all men, a mother disguises her son as a girl to escape dangerous adversaries, including her own sister.

When She Was Good by Michael Robotham – A sequel to Good Girl, Bad Girl finds criminal psychologist Cyrus Haven uncovering answers about Evie Cormac’s dark past that force the latter to flee and question whether or not her secrets should remain hidden.

Geometry of Holding Hands by Alexander McCall Smith – Investigating local rumors about mysterious occurrences taking place throughout Edinburgh, a skeptical Isabel finds the limits of her good sense and ethics tested by the demands of her family, including her tempestuous niece’s latest romantic entanglement.

Playing Nice by J. P. Delaney – Informed by a stranger that his son was switched at birth with another baby, Pete struggles to adjust to the needs of two families before an investigation unearths disturbing questions about the hospital and the night the exchange occurred.

The End of Her by Shari Lapena – When a woman from her husband’s past shows up and raises questions about the death of his first wife, Stephanie remains loyal to her husband until a newly opened police investigation starts eroding her trust and her marriage.

The Ultimate Betrayal by Kat Martin – When her father is implicated in the theft of millions in chemical weapons from a government depot, an investigative journalist risks her life to prove her father’s innocence and expose the true culprits.

Hell in the Heartland: Murder, Meth, and the Case of Two Missing Girls by Jax Miller – The award-winning author of Freedom’s Child describes how her investigation into the 1999 unsolved disappearance of two teens from rural Oklahoma unearthed shocking links to police corruption, regional meth addiction and an ominous pattern of murders.

To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America into Iraq by Robert Draper – The author of the best-selling Dead Certain examines the flawed decision-making process that went into the invasion of Iraq, citing the role of post-9/11 fear, intelligence failures and leader ideologies in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Deal With the Devil by Kit Rocha – This is the first book in a near-future science fiction series with elements of romance. Orphan Black meets the post-apocalyptic Avengers by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author duo Kit Rocha.

You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success by Al Roker – The Today Show coanchor Al Roker presents an entertaining guide to achieving a life of happiness and success through the power of “yes!”. Packed to the brim with cackle inducing and cringe-worthy behind-the-scenes insights and observations from over four decades in the media, this book reminds us all that long-term success in our personal lives and our careers is just within reach.

~Semanur