Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Malloy

Dr. Sam Statler, a newlywed psychologist, is missing. He and his wife, Annie, recently moved from NYC to his small upstate New York hometown. The move serves two purposes-a fresh start for the couple and to be close to Sam’s ailing mother. Sam’s private practice is located in a charming old building with the perfect landlord. He spends his days listening to the problems of his mostly female clientele and his free time celebrating the small milestones in his marriage. This quiet life suits Sam, which is why Annie can’t believe he would have willingly disappeared. However, the search for her husband reveals that Sam may not be everything she believed him to be.

To be honest, it’s best to go into this book knowing as little as possible about it. Know that it is a strange and twisty story; a first rate psychological thriller. Sam has a reputation in his hometown. His sessions are being listened in on. And who is that French woman? Is Sam really missing or did he disappear? Readers will have questions and the author is stingy with the answers until the stunning truth is revealed. I listened to the audiobook version and at first I struggled with the narrator, but by the end I could not believe how perfect the narration was.

Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Malloy comes out October 13th. Add it to your TBR list and place a hold today

~Megan

What to Read During Hispanic Heritage Month

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Morena-Garcia, a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror, follows the experiences of a courageous socialite in 1950s Mexico who is drawn into the treacherous secrets of an isolated mansion. It is also the subject of the December 17th meeting of our horror book discussion group, Novel Scares. Register now to join us, via Zoom.

Reconnect@RRPL – One Sweet Read

One of my favorite reads this summer was Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies by Vicky Zimmerman.

cecily

When you look its adorable frosting-filled cover, you just know this book is going to be a sweet read and it is, but there is also a good bit of depth in here to balance out the sugar!

In this novel we meet Kate. She is a 39-year-old advertising agent for a local grocery store. She is in love with her boyfriend Nick. The two are all set to move in (and Kate thinks, eventually marry) when Nick gets cold feet and asks for a break, and Kate finds herself hurt and, worse, moving back home with her mom.

To get her mind off her troubles, Kate volunteers to give food demonstrations at a retirement home. There, she meets Cecily, a 97-year-old who is always complaining, and won’t even taste what Kate has cooked. Kate loves a challenge and forces herself into clever and cantankerous Cecily’s world but isn’t always happy to hear her advice about Kate’s boring job or her thoughts about waiting around for a man. When Cecily gives Kate a cookbook from the 1950s, it becomes more like a self-help manual for Kate, and cooking her way through the recipes gives Kate the confidence to demand better things.

This is a perfect summer read about good food and good friendships, that also requires a box of Kleenex close at hand. As you root for Kate to get her life together, it is Cecily who is the real star here, with her jaw-dropping insults, fascinating life story, and brusque but well-meaning advice- and, bonus, her character is based on the author’s own grandmother.

I just loved seeing these two women become unlikely friends. Check this one out if you are looking for that perfect heartwarming and totally delicious read. -Carol

Let’s Talk about Ohio

I don’t think there’s been anything really easy about this year so far and so I like to take a small win (or a rare 2020 big win!) whenever I can find one! I just finished reading Barnstorming Ohio To Understand America  by David Giffels and it’s definitely in my win column for this week!

Ohio. We are full of variety and contradictions. We are the 7th most populous state but 34th in total are; the top of the State gets incredibly cold with lots of snow and the lower half can be 10 to 20 degrees warmer with almost no snow; our economy is based on agriculture, industry, and innovative ideas; and there’s an incredible range of natural landscapes to explore. Ohioans have plenty to be proud about and issues we need to solve, but we are also an almost perfect cross-section of the U.S.A.

In Barnstorming Ohio, Mr. Giffels provides the current and historical context that helped me to understand exactly what it means to be seen as bellwether State for the Country. Having thoughtful conversations with the people who live in the “Five Ohios” (representing diverse voting communities) and offering great insights for what could be a larger, nation-wide conversation, this book was engaging, eye-opening, and easy-to-read. As we head into the 2020 General Election, you might also find this book worth checking out, and then we can chat!

(Small tangent -Did you know tomato juice is the official beverage of Ohio? Can we vote on that?)

—Stacey

What We’re Reading Now….

The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman

I’ve been reading The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman, which is the fourth book in the ‘Invisible Library’ series. In this series Librarian Irene Winters steals books from alternate worlds for her interdimensional Library, which helps balance the universe between order and chaos. Expect faeries, dragons, and a fun mash-up of fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction! Shannon

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

I am currently reading The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis. The story takes places in 1913 and in 1993. In 1913 Laura Lyons, her husband, and two children, Pearl and Henry, are living at the New York Public Library. An apartment was provided for the superintendent of the library and his family at that time. The main library was a research facility and no items were allowed to be checked out. Occasionally a rare item would disappear, perhaps stolen. There is a mystery behind why the family left the library, what happened to the superintendent, and what happened to the missing items. In 1993, Pearl’s daughter and Laura Lyons granddaughter, Sadie Donovan works as the curator of a special collection at the New York Public Library main branch. A valuable rare item is missing and library employees are suspected of taking it. At this point Laura and her co-workers are searching to track down the item.  This is where I am in the novel, and I look forward to finishing it.  Emma

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

As the book opens, we meet 13-year-old Giovanna.  Giovanna’s pretty face is changing, turning ugly, at least so her father thinks.  “Giovanna looks more like her Aunt Vittoria every day” says her father, a woman she hardly knows but whom her mother and father clearly despise.  Giovanna insists on meeting her Aunt Vittoria, described as mean and manipulative.  Once Giovanna’s father concedes to the meeting, Aunt Vittoria warns Giovanna it is her father who is cruel and manipulative.  As the story progresses, we watch how Giovanna grows from being a child, full of naivete, to a rebellious adolescent, to a maturing young adult, breaking free of her parents’ protective space, and creating her own new world.  This is a wonderful coming-of-age novel told in Ferrante’s signature eloquent yet authentic voice. Mary

Count Crowley Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter by David Dastmalchian

This past week I had some time off and decided I wanted to reconnect with some of the things I loved as a kid. This graphic novel was a perfect answer with its focus on two of my early loves, the supernatural and TV horror hosts. This graphic novel is a combination of the movie The Monster Squad with a good dose of the horror hosts we grew up with (Elvira, Ghoulardi, Mystery Science Theater 3000). The art style harkens back to the 1980s aesthetic of its setting. A great read for Universal monster films or anyone looking for a read to help get them in an October mood. Greg

The Stone Sky by N.K Jemisin

I’m finishing book #3 of The Broken Earth trilogy, The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin. It is a fantasy series with a slow burn mystery as we are allowed to piece together whether this post-apocalyptic world could have resulted from a world very similar to ours. The ironically named Stillness is a land where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are commonplace. Through this one super continent two females, a mother and daughter, Essun and Nassun, have separate but always linked adventures. They are two of the most powerful of a race of Orogenes who can control tectonic movement as well as newly discovered strands of magic energy. Other humans fear them, but also need their powers to survive. Things seem to be heading toward an explosive confrontation between mother and daughter. And what of the enigmatic Stone Eaters? Can our heroines trust their intentions? Will they restore or destroy the Earth? Byron

Beheld by TaraShea Nesbit

Set a decade after the Mayflower landed at Plymouth, this work of historical fiction explores the imagined back story to that colony’s first recorded official murder. Told in the voices of several colonists, Puritans and their once-indentured servants, this novel sheds light on what was likely a tension-riddled colony with members being afforded different status based on their faiths while others felt marginalized and poorly treated. With characters who come to life, this book makes for a quick and fascinating read that helps reshape some thoughts on our country’s founding. Carol

Florida Man by Tom Cooper

In the late 1960s, Reed Crowe watched a small plane go down off the coast of Emerald Island, Florida, assumed no one survived, and snagged a marijuana bundle bobbing near the wreckage. Almost twenty years later, Reed can still be impulsive but now owns a kitschy roadside attraction and hotel, both only slightly worse for wear. A few uncomfortable coincidences and a few near misses, it seems there was a survivor and they want to make Crowe pay. Can Reed stay alive long enough to figure out what’s going on *and* find a way to fix things? Quirky settings, some dirty deals and graphic violence, perfectly imperfect characters who are (for the most part) doing the best they can, and an intricately plotted storyline, will keep on surprising you with clever, connected details each time you turn the page. PS: Quentin Tarantino fans -this one’s for you! Stacey

Heaven and Earth by Paolo Giordano

 In Heaven and Earth by Paolo Giordano, a group of young men being raised in the farm complex next to her family’s summer retreat accept Teresa into their group, and so begins an intense and emotionally damaging story. Giordano weaves the narrative backwards and forwards in time,  as Teresa forms a deep bond with one of the young men, Bern, and they grow up and in and out of each other’s lives, try to start a farm/commune, and dark secrets leading to tragedy come to the fore. A coming of age novel that is beautifully written, emotionally driven, with fascinating characters.  Dori

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight

Lizzie Kitsakis has taken a grueling job as a corporate lawyer in an elite New York law firm- not out of ambition, but in attempt to keep her marriage and financial life afloat as her heavy-drinking husband drifts from one job to another and as Lizzie struggles to accept that he isn’t just “a guy who likes to have a good time” as she’s always thought of him, but an alcoholic. She is surprised by a collect call from Rikers from an old law-school-friend- recently-turned-software mogul, Zach. His wife Amanda has been found dead at the bottom of their staircase, and Zach is a primary suspect. He swears he didn’t do it and begs Lizzie for help. Against her better judgment she allows herself to be drawn in- not only to this case, but to the idyllic world of the suburban elite with its private schools, neighborhood parties, cheating spouses, blackmail of dark secrets, and maybe even murder? As she learns more and more about the people involved in this case, she wonders whether anyone, including herself, truly has a good marriage? Sara

Read Before You Watch

Do you like to read the book before you watch the film or television adaptation? Or are you someone who doesn’t mind seeing the screen version and then reading the book? Or, perhaps you are one of those people who only does one or the other. I must admit, there have been times that I chose not to read a book because the movie was not that interesting to me (looking at you Divergent series).

We’ve got some great television and film adaptations to look forward to, and below are a few of my top picks for books you should read before their adaptations hit your screen.

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

A brand new HBO series just launched based on this awesome book by Matt Ruff. I really enjoyed the book, a smart mash-up of historical fiction, Lovecraftian horror, and sci-fi fantasy elements. Readers follow a series of of inter-connected stories about an extended African American family in the 1950s, mostly taking place in Chicago, and their dangerous encounters with the supernatural (sorcerers, inter-dimensional portals, a haunted house) and the terrible, rampant racism they constantly faced during the Jim Crow era.

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock

The film adaptation of this book is slated to hit Netflix September 16th so you have plenty of time to pick up this book (which is what I plan to do as I haven’t read it yet!). Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s, including a husband and wife team of serials killers and a disturbed war veteran. The book, Pollock’s first novel, was described as “violence-soaked” from it’s first pages by The New York Times Book Review, so be prepared for a dark and disturbing read.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This newly published horror thriller has already been put into development by Hulu according to recent news. The drama series will be based on Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s bestselling novel, and produced by Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos’ Milojo Productions and ABC Signature. Set in 1950s Mexico, Mexican Gothic follows glamorous and young socialite Noemí from her home in Mexico City to the dismal grounds of High Place, a gloomy English manor styled estate in the Mexican countryside. She is there to check in on her newlywed cousin after receiving a frantic letter begging for someone to save her. What will she discover about this odd family and strange house?

Are there any big or small screen adaptations that you are really excited about this year? Share in the comments!


The Nothing Man by Catherine Howard Ryan

Eve Black was twelve years old when her family-mother, father, and little sister-were murdered in their home. It was only chance that spared Eve. She spent the rest of her childhood with her grandmother never speaking of the events that destroyed their lives. As an adult, Eve became determined to find the serial killer known as the Nothing Man. A college assignment turned into her true-crime memoir, the first step on her journey. Now, she’s on a book tour that takes her back to the scene of the crime and seemingly everyone is reading about her trauma, everyone including the Nothing Man himself. With every page he reads his rage and panic grows. His only loose end has come back to haunt him.

This book ticks all my boxes!

  • A book within a book
  • A true crime “memoir”
  • Pursuit of justice
  • Surprise twists
  • A potentially unreliable narrator
  • An Irish setting and Irish audiobook narrators

The story of the Nothing Man is told from two perspectives. Readers experience Eve’s memoir along side Jim Doyle, the sixty-something store security guard who killed the Black family nearly two decades ago. The memoir portion reads as an homage to Michelle McNamara and her quest for the Golden State Killer, while Jim’s unraveling ratchets up the tension. This is a must read for fans of true crime and psychological thrillers.

Thanks to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for an advanced audio copy of this book.

~Megan

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!

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!