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Kate’s Top Ten of 2017 December 15, 2017

Posted by kate in Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2017, Uncategorized, Women's Fiction.
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Schoolwork has been taking up most of my time this year but as soon as finals are over I plan to catch up on some reading. Here are the one’s I plan on starting the year with:

life The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman

turtles all the way down Turtles All the Way Down  by John Green

index Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

beartowb Beartown by Fredrik Backman

one of us is lying One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

since we fell Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

camino island Camino Island by John Grisham

heartbreak hotel Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathan Kellerman

swimming lessons Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

breakdown The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

 

 

-Kate

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Ann’s Top Ten 2017 December 14, 2017

Posted by Ann in Book List, Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Suspense, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2017.
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Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. –Vera Nazarian

10. NUMMER ZEHN        THE DRYJane Harper

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9. NUMÉRO NEUF           I LET YOU GOClare Mackintosh

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8. NUMERO OCHO          THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL ANGRY PLANETBecky Chambers

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7. 數字七                              A CLOSED AND COMMON ORBITBecky Chambers

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6. NUMER SZEŚĆ             I FOUND YOU– Lisa Jewell

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5. NUMERO CINQUE      TWO IF BY SEAJacqueline Mitchard

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4. ÀIREAMH CEITHIR     THE LATE SHOWMichael Connelly

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3. NUMBER ਤੀਹ                HUM IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE WORDSBiance Marais

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2. NUMMER TO                THE CHILD FINDERRene Denfeld

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1. INOMBOLO YOKUQALA   THE KIND WORTH KILLING– Peter Swanson

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                                                                                                                                                      ~Ann >^.^<

 

Lauren’s Top Ten of 2017 December 13, 2017

Posted by Lauren in Book List, Thoughtful Ramblings, Top Ten, Uncategorized.
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Last year I read my first ever book by Neil Gaiman (I KNOW.) (American Gods).  So 2017, for me, was sort of The Year of Gaiman and I spent it getting my hands on as much of his work as I could.  I picked out a few of my top Gaiman reads for the year and gave them one spot on my list (the rules are pretty liberal around here).  I did the same for another author I happened to discover this year, Jason Reynolds.  Again, as soon as I read my first book by Reynolds I immediately went after more.  Playing catch-up is SUPER fun when you don’t have to wait around for an author to put out more stuff for you to read.  The rest is, as per me, a little bit of everything.  Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

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1.) Favorites by Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Graveyard BookNeverwhere)

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2.) Favorites by Jason Reynolds (Ghost- Track Series #1When I Was the GreatestAll American Boys)

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3.) A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

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4.) Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

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5.) The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost

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6.) The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney

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7.) Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown

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8.) The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

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9.) The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman (The Magicians Series)

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10.) The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (The Neapolitan Novels)

Top Ten of 2017 (plus a few) if You Were Asking Me -by Stacey December 12, 2017

Posted by stacey in Book List, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2017.
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It’s my favorite time of year! All the sparkly lights and sweet treats and sappy movies? Love ‘em all! …Plus?! It’s time for everyone’s Top Ten books, movies, television, songs and Everything Else! Oh, what’s that? You want to know *my* Top Ten reads of 2018? Well, thanks for asking! Here they are -in alphabetical order- a mix of old, new, true stories, and fiction for all ages:

 

 

Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
I’ve learned –and enjoyed!- something from every book Ms. Brown has written and this book continues that tradition! If you’ve never read any of her previous books, I might suggest starting with Daring Greatly.

 

 

 

 

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Odd, creepy, and thought-provoking! (Do you really need more?) Read it before you see it?

 

 

 

 

Evicted by Matthew Desmond
I read this for Notable Books Council but have re-read it in preparation for Our Community Reads –coming in 2018! This book stands the test of time –and repeated reading!

 

 

As You Wish by Cary Elwes
I listened to Cary Elwes read his own memories of making The Princess Bride (one of the most perfect movies ever made!!). Charming! (But maybe more for die-hard fans of the movie than for the general reader…)

 

 

 

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
This must have been a tough book to write but the effort was well worth it. I won’t waste your time with what I liked –read it and you’ll know on your own why it’s so good.

 

 

 

The Gilded Cage by Vic James
A world that feels familiar but isn’t anytime/anywhere I’d like to live. I’d describe this as fantasy with strong social commentary message?

 

 

Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Not all superheroes are super people but as the two main characters begin to really consider the world they’re growing up in –part of what they’re learning is the world is less black & white (more shades of gray) than they thought.

 

 

 

The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan
For all of my enjoyment of a sappy holiday movie –this book would kind of have the opposite effect. The story isn’t easy to read, but I think it’s one of an overlooked gem.

 

 

 

A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty
The final book in The Colors of Madeline series, this book was well worth the wait! The author kept a few good surprises and the ending was just right (for me)!

 

 

 

The Gene: an intimate history by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Taking a huge, almost incomprehensible topic, and making it engaging with personal connections? I give this an A++++!

 

 

 

Blood at the Root by Patrick Philips
Completely disturbing and completely true, this sordid history of a white-only county in Georgia continues to haunt me.

 

 

 

Grocery by Michael Ruhlman
A mini-history of grocery stores with more than a few entertaining shout-outs to Heinen’s, and the brothers currently running this expanding chain.

 

 

As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti
If you were granted one wish on your 18th birthday, what would you do? In this tiny town in the middle of the Nevada desert, they’re wishes have been granted –but the results aren’t always positive for the wisher…

 

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Thoughtful and timely – oh, please read this one!

 

 

 

 

Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge
Individual snapshots of how gun violence affects not just the individuals involved but the entire community.

 

Now that I’m done, I notice two big things… I read the same title (on different books) twice and there are a lot of serious-type books on my list. If you’re looking for some of the more upbeat titles I read, you can check out a collection development article I wrote for Library Journal this year called Twice-Told Tales. The books are all classic stories with a twist, for example: telling the story from a different character’s point of view or taking a recognizable storyline from the past and putting in a modern setting.

Happy Reading all Season Long!
-Stacey

Age is Just a Number -of Good (Teen) Books! February 7, 2017

Posted by stacey in Book Discussion, Book List, Genre Book Discussion, 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!)

enjoy!
Stacey

Lauren’s Top Ten of 2016 December 16, 2016

Posted by Lauren in Book List, Thoughtful Ramblings, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2016, Uncategorized.
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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

trespasser

The Trespasser by Tana French

amy-schumer

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

felicia-day

You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day

hamilton

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

britt-marie

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

american-gods

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

ready-player-one

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

flavia

Thrice the Brinded Cath Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley

gabby-b

The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith by Gabrielle Bernstein

mccullers

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-furiesmount-charoctopus

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, 2016

Posted by Ann in Book List, Fiction, Mystery, Top Ten.
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menu

MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2016

Tasty Appetizers

Descent by Tim Johnston

Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

Cruel, Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt

Hearty Entrees

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    >’.'<

 

            ~Enjoy! Ann

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Steve’s Spectacular Top Ten December 13, 2016

Posted by Steve in Book List, Top Ten, 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!

Fiction

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Resolution by Robert B. Parker

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Non-fiction

Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans by Gary Krist

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

Steve

Top Ten of 2016 -if you’re asking me… (aka Stacey’s list) December 12, 2016

Posted by stacey in Book List, Thoughtful Ramblings, 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!

existentialist-cafespill-simmer-falter-witherat-the-edge-of-the-orchardthe-alchemist

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!

are-we-smart-enough-to-know-how-smart-animals-arerosalie-lightning

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!)

to-the-bright-edge-of-the-worldwhen-breath-becomes-airheartless

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!

darker-shadea-gatheringm-trainscarlet-women11) and 12) A Darker Shade of Magic *and* A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab
Alternate worlds? Magic? Great characters? Drama and Intrigue? =yep! I’m loving this series!

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!

trouble-is-a-friendnatural-way15) Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
This is one of those rare, laugh-out-loud (repeatedly!) books. Need I say more?

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!)

happy reading!
Stacey

Don’t be a Grinch… read a HOliday Story! December 5, 2016

Posted by stacey in Book Discussion, Book List, Genre Book Discussion, Holiday Books.
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Ho ho ho! We read Holiday Stories! That means the books below could have prominently featured any holiday happening from Halloween to Valentine’s Day -a pretty big window of possibilities, no? Ready to see what everyone selected? Here we go:

Megan: What Light by Jay Asher is sweet holiday story about Sierra, who’s family operates a Christmas tree farm in Oregon. Every year they pack up and head to California to set up their tree lot for the season. Sierra loves this time of year and the chance to see her California best friend even though it means leaving her Oregon life and friends behind. It’s Christmas business as usual on what could be the last year for the lot. That is, until Caleb shows up. Caleb has a bad boy reputation in the small town, but Sierra, despite insisting she isn’t interested in dating, begins to see past that and gest to know the real Caleb. Fans of holiday romances full of hot chocolate, candy canes, and true love won’t want to miss this one.

Dori: Burglar Junior Bender returns in Timothy Hallinan’s holiday offering, Fields Where They Lay. Junior has never been fond of Christmas and this year, things are not looking up. He’s been hired by a threatening member of the Russian mafia to investigate the high burglary rate at the failing, old, Edgerton Mall. Also, his girlfriend has mysteriously up and left him and he needs to figure out what to give his teenager daughter for Christmas. Funny and touching, with a satisfying ending perfect for delivering a dose of Christmas cheer.

Gina: Elin Hilderbrand’s Winter Stroll picks up a year after the first book in the series, Winter Street. The Quinn family and Winter Street Inn are all prepared for Nantucket’s traditional Christmas Stroll. This quick story transitions from each character, following each of their weekend experiences. Patriarch Kelley feels confused with his relationships to his first wife, Margaret Quinn, and second wife, Mitzi. Patrick is in jail and his wife Jennifer is trying to raise their three boys to be respectful and responsible despite the current situation. Kevin and girlfriend Isabelle have a beautiful baby girl named Genevieve. In addition to the Winter Stroll the family will be celebrating Genevieve’s baptism during the weekend. Ava has found the love of her life but an accident causes her to question the relationship, not to mention an ex-boyfriend popping into town. Bart, who was deployed to Afghanistan last year, is still MIA, but at the end of the weekend there may be hope. Each chapter kept me excited for the next and would recommend this for a winter read.

Lauren: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson—originally published in 1972—is a delightful book about the horrible Herdman children who take over and wreak havoc on the church’s annual Christmas story play…to hilarious and somewhat miraculous results.  You’ll find it in the children’s section, but it’s a gem that anyone can enjoy.

Beth: In Melissa Ciccocioppo, Peter Skullkid, Asia Erickson, and Eric G. Salisbury’s Contemporary Krampus, we are shown different artistic interpretations of Krampus.  As one of the many companions of Saint Nicholas, Krampus takes his responsibility of punishing the misbehaved children seriously and this book will scare the pants off of them.

Steve: The Christmas Thief, by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark, is a simple read for anyone looking for a fluffy Christmas work .  Packy Noonan, who has just been released from prison for scamming millions of dollars from people, is reuniting with his old bumbling buddies to reclaim the flask of diamonds that he hid in a giant spruce tree 12 years ago.  Things go awry as the tree is set to be used this year for the Rockefeller Center tree. Private detective Regen Reilly and her friends have stumbled into this mess. There are a few laughs but not much suspense here, although it’s perfectly suitable for a mindless Christmas read.    

Carol: In The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere, 21-year-old Lauren Gamble longs for a place to call home and people to call family—she’s even gone so far as posting a Craiglist ad for both. Social media is letting her down when she stumbles upon and is drawn to the nearby small town of Grandon. There she meets a special boy named Ben and begins to volunteer at Glory’s Place, a center for families in need. Could it be true? Might Lauren get the Christmas wish she dreams of?

Sara: I read A Christmas Grace by Anne Perry.  In this short mystery which is set in 1895, a wealthy young wife and mother, Emily Radley, travels from London to a small, dwindling town on the western coast of Ireland.  Her estranged Aunt Susannah is dying and has asked for family to come be with her.  Susannah married a Catholic man and moved to Ireland many years before, disgracing her English family.  Emily is fearful of this rugged, desolate part of Ireland by the sea and resentful that she must leave her home two weeks before Christmas. Once there, she realizes the town has many secrets, and the residents are consumed by guilt because of the death of young shipwrecked sailor seven years before.  Now the winter storms have caused another tragic wreck, and another young sailor is taken in by the town.  Can Emily solve the mystery of the prior sailor’s murder before history repeats itself?  And by doing so, can she save the town of Connemara and allow Aunt Susannah’s last Christmas to be a peaceful one?  This is a quick and engaging read, laced with interesting insight into 19th century relationships between the English and the Irish peoples.

Emma: Oliver the Cat who Saved Christmas by Sheila Norton is the story of pub cat Oliver who loses his home in a fire. Unfortunately owner George moves to London during reconstruction and cannot take Oliver along. Two families become his foster families. Oliver has a way to discover exactly what each human needs. In doing so, he saves Christmas and makes lots of people happy. This is a treat for all pet lovers.

Stacey: Just when I thought  there can’t possibly be any more ways to explain the man, the myth, the legend of Santa Claus, I stumbled upon The Christmas Chronicles by Tim Slovenia and found I was wrong!  There are clever explanations to cover all your burning questions, from how Klaus came to create toys for children to why the red suit to those flying reindeer -and they completely make sense. But what makes this book really special is the mix of myth, magic, religion, contemporary pop culture, and faith (in yourself and others.) A charming and thoughtful choice for the holiday season.

Next time? We’ll be reading Teen Fiction! (I realize this is pretty self-explanatory but heck, I’ve got a job to do here!) If you want to read along with us, you’ll want to find a novel aimed at the 18 and younger crowd. Get excited -there are some pretty awesome teen books out there!

Happy Holidays!
Stacey