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Staff Picks

These are some of the titles we love here and love sharing with you! Click on the cover image to purchase online from Bookshop. If you have read anything great lately, let us know and you can submit your own review!

Autumn's Picks

Karen's Picks
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Never Whistle at Night

This anthology of dark fiction explores current issues, intergenerational trauma, and those unknown bumps in the night. These stories will dig into your heart and soul and if you are lucky, they won't let you go. With so many voices collected in the pages, there is a story sure to delight or frighten every reader. 

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Sisters of the Lost Nation

Nick Medina's debut novel raises awareness about a highly important and often overlooked issue: the disappearances and murders of Indigenous women in the U.S. and Canada.

High school senior Anna Horn is one of the few from her reservation to attend school in the nearby town. Being mercilessly bullied by her classmates seems to be her biggest problem until girls start disappearing and Anna suspects their disappearances are related to the hotel at which she works.

Medina perfectly blends the genres of gothic horror and edge-of-your-seat whodunit thriller to craft a story both timeless and urgent. Sisters of the Lost Nation is a reminder of the power of storytelling, the courage of self-discovery, and the importance of preserving the past.

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Last Call

Finally, a true crime book that focuses on the lives of the victims rather than the cunning of the killer.

Perhaps you've heard of the serial killer who preyed on gay men in New York City in the early 90s?

Actually, probably not.

Elon Green sheds light on the forgotten murders taking place in a community already ravaged by AIDS, shame, and hatred. He paints a beautiful portrait of the individual lives lost and captures the whole picture of a vibrant community that has persevered with unnerving strength and relentless passion.

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Hide

Fourteen contestants are tasked with hiding in an abandoned amusement park for one week. The one left hiding at the end wins $50,000. Sounds easy, right?

With ulterior motives, a splash of horror, and heavy social commentary hidden below the surface, this fast-paced supernatural thriller will be stuck in your head long after you turn the last page.

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The Icepick Surgeon

This true-crime thriller mixes with scientific discovery to create a masterfully witty journey through the questionable morals of some of the brightest minds. Kean's well-researched exploration will have you cringing, laughing, and questioning, not only mistakes made in the past, but also the mistakes mankind is bound to make in the future.

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Waiting for the Night Song

After returning to her childhood home, Cadie Kessler must face some dark secrets from her past. Set in a small New Hampshire town, Waiting for the Night Song merges murder, mystery, friendship, and nature into a timeless tale that hits on so many pressing issues of today.

Fans of Where the Crawdads Sing will be enamored with Dalton's first novel and be begging for more!

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Oak Flat

Beautiful illustrations help to tell the story of Oak Flat. A holy place to the Apache, the area is also rich in copper and sought out by the mining conglomerates. Oak Flat follows the stories of two families on opposite sides of the battle.

Redniss does a wonderful job of sewing together seamlessly the voices of multiple generations and opposing views. While the story is current and pressing, she also captures the never-ending struggles of Indigenous people and the constant battle of protecting our land and those caught in the crossfire from companies just looking to turn a profit.

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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

I didn't want this book to end!

In 1714 France, Adeline makes a deal with a dark spirit one night in order to escape her small village and arranged marriage. Like any deal with a devil, things don't go as planned. From that moment on, Adeline is destined to be forgotten. For three hundred years, she lives an invisible life, leaving no mark of her existence. For three hundred years, no one remembers her, until one person does.

Schwab crafts a masterpiece that will make you want to forget it, so that you'll have the joy of reading it again anew!

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Mexican Gothic

The title says it all! This chilling novel, set in 1950s México, is enough to make every gothic heart beat a little bit faster.

Noemí is a young woman living a glamorous life full of cocktail parties and fabulous dresses. When her father sends her to the countryside to check on her cousin who has fallen ill, Noemí's brains and brawn are forced to outshine her beauty. A drafty old mansion, family secrets, odd characters, and a mysterious illness lead Noemí down a haunting path.

Capturing the vibe of classic gothic novels, Moreno-Garcia adds a flair that ensures the gothic novel is alive and well.

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Charles Darwin's Barnacle and David Bowie's Spider: How Scientific Names Celebrate Adventurers, Heroes, and Even a Few Scoundrels

What's in a name? I mean, does a rosa minutifolia smell any sweeter than a rosa stellata? Heard's history of the naming of species through Linnaeus' system certainly doesn't cover all species, but provides a fun and cultural look at what goes into the process. Species bear the names they are given whether they come from celebrities, scientists, lovers, enemies, or even an auction to the highest bidder in the hope to raise money for scientific endeavors."Charles Darwin's Barnacle and David Bowie's Spider" not only delves into the origins of names, some more scandalous than others, but it also points out the importance of this research and what it means for planet Earth and all its inhabitants.

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You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington

Coe's biography of America's first Commander in Chief is concise, comical, and clearly the first of its kind. As she points out, there are very few biographies about Washington written by women and seemingly none in quite some time by women historians. While sticking to the facts that are known and debunking those that have become myth, she offers a brand new perspective of a man most have chosen to remember in a different light.

You Never Forget Your First is a great read for not only history buffs, but for those who might need some clarification on all the things they thought they knew about America's first president.

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Full Throttle

The only thing better than one tale from Joe Hill is 13!

Full Throttle contains stories that pay homage to Hill's influences and prove that he takes what he learns and pushes the boundaries even further. As always, Hill explores the human psyche by putting normal people into not so normal situations. Each story is drastically different from the last but will have the reader engrossed after just a few lines.

If you are new to Joe Hill, this is a great collection to start with since you'll get a good sampling of all this mastermind of horror can do. If you are an avid Joe Hill reader, you may have read a lot of these stories elsewhere, but it's still a phenomenal collection to have on your shelf.

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The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine

Remember the days when surgeons were poor, praised for their strength and speed, and if you had to see one, you'd probably die from infection? No? Well, you can thank Joseph Lister for that.

In Lindsey Fitzharris' biography of the the man who pioneered the use of antiseptics in surgery, she takes us through the horrors of the operating theater in the 19th century and how the merging of science and medicine changed the face of surgery. Fitzharris paints a perfect picture of who Lister was through his achievements and through the words of those who knew him. If you love science, medicine, or just want to read about a man who changed the world with kindness, humility, and humanity, then this is the book for you!

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There There

This may not be a book for everyone, but it's a book everyone should read!

Tommy Orange introduces us to 12 unforgettable characters who are all making their way to a powwow in Oakland, California. Each person has a different reason for attending the event but all of their journeys merge together forming a tragic story, both past and present. The characters struggle with what it means to be Native American in the modern world as well as try to honor and understand what it meant in the past.

Orange gives us a glimpse into a world many of us do not know and others choose to ignore. With moments of humor, tears, and pain, this is a story you won't be able to ignore any longer.v

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The Dante Chamber

Five years after gruesome Dante-inspired killings took place in Boston, a man is now found murdered in London with a stone around his neck that is etched with verse straight out of The Divine Comedy. With more murders popping up all around London, poet Christina Rossetti fears that her brother Gabriel could be the next victim. With the help of Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson, and of course Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Christina rushes to solve the secrets of Dante's verse and find her brother before it is too late.

While not an official sequel to The Dante Club, The Dante Chamber will pull you back into the world of The Divine Comedy as well as both the mansions and underbelly of London. Truly a master of historical fiction, Pearl seamlessly blends fact with fiction and in his usual fashion, will have you guessing until the end.

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Strange Weather

Every New Englander knows that the weather can change on a dime. In Joe Hill’s latest collection of novellas, he proves his residency. Each of his tales spin distinctly different webs, but they all have one thing in common: strange weather. Full of dark and stormy nights, wildfires burning, raining needles and even a trip to the clouds, this collection has something for everyone. You’ll sit down to read one and end up reading them all!

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The Bear and the Nightingale

Reality and myth mingle in this magical tale taking place at the edge of Russian wilderness in the 14th century. The winters are harsh and last forever, but the people of Vasya’s village do not mind. Old traditions keep the land and the people safe. After Vasya’s mother dies, her father travels to Moscow to find a new wife. He returns home with Anna, a devout woman who has no room for the old traditions, and a necklace from a mysterious stranger to be given to Vasya. It doesn’t take long before the people and the land start to suffer and dark creatures emerge from the forest.

Armed with courage and love, Vasya is the only one to take a stand. In order to save the people she loves, she must defy them and step into a frightening tale with a dangerous gift. Arden gives birth to a fierce heroine who not only steps outside of her role in culture, but burns her own path through the frigid winter.

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Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

Ever wonder if diarrhea spoiled a special ops mission? Would you want your wounds cleaned by maggots? Haven't people thought of ways to win wars without killing humans? All these questions and more are answered by the always hilarious Mary Roach.

 

The military is known as being a hard shell to crack, but Roach's inquisitve nature and good cheer must have worked overtime as she delved into the science that keeps soldiers safe, betters the conditions of war, and tries to put our soldiers back together when they finally make it home. Informative, humorous, and hopeful, this book shows the talent and brains behind the scenes and opens a door to the least seen perspective of war.

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A Darker Shade of Magic

Kell is one of the few left who has the ability to travel between Londons. Yes, there are multiple Londons. There is Grey London, which we will recognize as the London we know and it also lacks magic. There is Red London, where Kell is from and magic is everywhere. There is White London, ruled by ruthless twins where everyone is willing to kill for any magic they can find. Finally, there is Black London which had been consumed by magic and sealed off for some time.

 

Kell happens to smuggle items between worlds. Despite his illegal activity, he avoids trouble until he ends up with an item that no one should have. In his attepmt to flee, he ends up running into Grey London's most wanted thief, Lila Bard who lives up to her reputation as she pickpockets Kell.

 

The two are dragged into the power and the danger of magic as Lila gets the adventure she has always longed for but of which she could never even dream.

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The Technologists

Matthew Pearl has a knack for wonderful writing, interesting stories, and historical masterpieces. This novel follows the first graduating class of MIT as they must solve mysteries that keep popping up around Boston. While they are shunned for their use of technology, it seems that the only possible way to explain these disasters is through the use of science. With time and the population of Boston not on their side, the students must hurry to solve the crimes.

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A Discovery of Witches

Do you like vampires, witches, magic, yoga, and wine? Even if you don't you will love this book! Diana Bishop, historian and witch, has turned her back on magic and wants to live a normal life. She does fairly well until one day while researching an alchemical text she unlocks a long lost spell which sets every creature into motion. With the help of Matthew, a vampire geneticist, she must stay alive and unlock the mystery behind something she fought so hard to keep out of her life. Warning: This is the first part of a trilogy so once you are hooked, you are in it for the long haul!

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Black Sheep

Who says you can't go home? Maybe in Vesper Wright's case, she shouldn't go home.

After being fired from her dead-end job, Vesper receives an invitation to her childhood friend's wedding. After leaving her fanatically religious family years ago, she has never looked back, but the wedding seems to beckon her home.

With her usual sardonic dialogue and beautifully sarcastic wit, Rachel Harrison crafts another horror that hits close to home and cuts right to the bone.

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The Last Beekeeper

Julie Carrick Dalton has once again created a novel sure to buzz!

In this post-apocalyptic thriller the world's pollinators have disappeared. At the heart of the story, Sasha Butler, daughter of the last beekeeper returns to her childhood home in search of research her father kept secret. Befriending the squatters who had taken up residence in her home, Sasha gets the family she never knew she needed. Just as she settles in to her new life, Sasha gets a surprise. Rumors start to emerge about bee sightings in the area and Sasha can't believe her eyes when she sees one for herself.

Unlike most apocalyptic thrillers, Dalton crafts a world where the feeling of despair is ravaged by community, family, and hope.

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Night of the Living Rez

Morgan Talty's twelve stories reveal tragedy, perseverance, and what it is like to be Penobscot today. This perfect mixture of humor, tragedy, compassion, and heartache provides the reader a close look at an Indigenous community and even closer look at the universal flaw and savior of mankind: love.

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Fuzz

In true Mary Roach fashion, she takes us on a humorous, colorful, and insightful journey around the world. Answering the question, "what happens when nature breaks the law," Roach finds herself learning about animals who break and enter, jaywalk, and even murder. And of course, she doesn't forget about those murderous trees as well!

Whether you are a fan of nature or not, Fuzz is a book that will teach you a few things, make you laugh, and maybe even help you appreciate nature even more. Unless a bear is breaking into your house.

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The World Gives Way

Myrra is a contract worker who has never known freedom. Just before they die, the couple who own her contract inform her that the world is ending. Burdened with a heavy secret, Myrra takes off with their orphaned daughter in search of finding a way to embrace the end.

This dystopian, sci-fi, social commentary is a remarkable debut by a talented author. Let's hope the world won't end before we see another by Marissa Levien!

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The King of Confidence

Detailing the life and times of perhaps the most forgotten con man, this book takes you for a wild ride during antebellum America. A young lawyer and avowed atheist disappeared from rural New York only to pop up months later in the Midwest, converted to Mormonism and with a mission. James Strang, a man with charisma and a dream garnered a following and collected enemies as only a true confidence man could. Bolstered by the era, he became not only King of Heaven and Earth, but also was a politician, a pirate, a thief, and a husband to his multiple wives.
Miles Harvey does an incredible job turning a fascinating story into a fabulous page-turner.

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Dearly

Words could not do this book of poetry justice.
Just read it!

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Square Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Dorothy Sayers, Jane Harrison, Eileen Power, and Virginia Woolf all lived in Mecklenburgh Square in the early twentieth century at different times. Their paths did not cross, but their lives were intertwined. Wade does a superb job of bringing these women to life and showing how their thoughts, their work, and their achievements paved the way for generations of equally brilliant women to come.

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The Return

Julie goes missing hiking in Acadia National Park and after a while, everyone presumes she's dead. Everyone except for her best friend Elise. When Julie returns two years later, with no recollection of where she has been, it seems as though Elise has been right all along. However, Elise isn't prepared for the changes she sees in her best friend.This supernatural horror brings deep insight to long-lasting friendships and shows the very fine line between love and hate. A page-turning masterpiece, "The Return" will leave you haunted long after you've read the last line. Terrifying and poignant at the same time, Harrison's debut thriller brings a fresh voice to horror and I can't wait to see what else she has to say.

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The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

Erik Larson, as always, brings not only the past to life, but the people. Focusing on the Blitz, Larson pieces together the lives that suffered, endured, and succumbed to the horrific nightly attacks at the hand of the German Luftwaffe. Not only does he focus on Churchill and his administration, but he paints a bigger picture of just how many lives were affected, on both sides.Even if you've read every book on Churchill or World War II, "The Splendid and the Vile" will still reveal something new and something human that you've not yet read. Add this one to your collection!

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Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung

If you thought the classics were dead, think again. Nina MacLaughlin has dusted off the old myths and given them a new flare.

The women of mythology are finally being heard and MacLaughlin is just the woman to give them a voice. Not only will those who love the classics enjoy this wonderful twist on the originals, but those who are not familiar with the tales will be able to appreciate their pertinence to the issues of today.
Wake, Siren is the perfect book for any feminist's library and would make a fantastic gift to one who might be in need of a metamorphosis.

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The Testaments

Margaret Atwood is incapable of writing a bad book and The Testaments only solidifies that statement. This sequel to The Handmaid's Tale is told through three voices about fifteen years after Offred first brings us to Gilead.

The three narrators consist of Aunt Lydia, a young girl coming of age in Gilead, and another girl growing up outside Gilead. While Aunt Lydia's narrative moves the story along, each voice adds new insight into what makes the women of Gilead tick and gets to the heart of human nature and resilience. While still a cautionary tale, very relatable to today, the women of The Testaments are role models more prone to take action than Offred who was still navigating a relatively new nation in The Handmaid's Tale.

Clear your schedule, because once you pick it up, you won't be able to put it down!

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Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, The Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City

London is known for its fog, but in 1952, the city fell under a blanket of smog that killed thousands. Under the cloud of pollution, criminals found the perfect cover for illicit activities. A country that was still reeling from World War II found themselves in a difficult situation.

With a deadly killer enveloping the city, another deadly killer resided within the walls of 10 Rillington Place in Notting Hill. Dawson sheds some light on a murky time in British history and lifts the cloud on two killers who changed the city forever.

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This Body's Not Big Enough for the Both of Us

Siblings are rough...try sharing a body with one!

A Z Kimrean are private eyes. They share an office in Fisherman's Wharf and a body since birth. These twins have been in battle since the womb seeing as Adrian and Zooey are complete opposites. They've got to find a way to work together though to save a friend, solve a mystery, and bring down the drug cartels of San Carnal.

In true Edgar Cantero style, this book will have you on the edge of your seat, laughing hysterically, and waiting for the next adventure from this dynamic duo.

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Meddling Kids

What happens when the Scooby Gang grows up? Well like most child stars, it won't be pretty. Part Hardy Boys, part Scooby-Doo, with a decent splash of Lovecraft, this hilarious mystery takes a look at what happens to the kid detectives when they are all grown up.The Blyton Summer Detective Club closed their last case in 1977, but there was something that happened that night that changed their lives forever. Now, tomboy Andy has decided it's time to get the crew back together and face the demons that are all too real. She travels to New York to find Kerri, the brains, as she's drinking her ghosts away with Weimaraner Tim, a direct descendent of the original canine member. Together they plot Nate's escape from Arkham asylum in Massachusetts. And Peter who has been dead for years is along for the ride, even if it's just in Nate's head.Together the crew returns to Sleepy Lake to find out what actually happened that haunting night thirteen years ago. Packed with pop culture references, supernatural occurrences, and plenty of kick-ass action, you will love being along for the ride in the Chevy Vega!

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Into the Water

Jules Abbott returns home to care for her niece after receiving news of her sister's death. Her sister, Nel, was always the wild child, but something does not sit right for Jules. Nel and Jules haven't been on talking terms for a while and mystery surrounds her drowning in the river that runs through town. The river is no stranger to death as many women have been found there through the years.

Told from alternating perspectives, this new novel by Hawkins is not only a superb "whodunit," but also has the reader wondering what crimes have been committed in the first place.

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Hag-Seed

What could be better than a story from The Bard? One of The Bard's stories with Margaret Atwood's touch.

At the top of his game, Felix is staging a unique Tempest. When it all falls apart, he end up living in exile. Felix festers in his anger and for twelve years he plans his revenge until the perfect opportunity arrives at a theatre course in a nearby prison.

The story may have been told before, but Atwood adds new surprises and superb writing as always.

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The Fireman

I feel Joe Hill might not appreciate being compared to his father, but I couldn't help but feel as though I was reading a newer, better version of The Stand. The world seems to be going to hell, quite literally. A spore, nicknamed Dragonscale, is spreading across the world which causes people to catch fire. Those who catch it, either learn to live with it or go up in flames. Those who aren't infected, hunt those who are.

A group of Dragonscale survivors find refuge in a summer camp in Portsmouth, NH. At first the survivors worry only about what will happen if the "Cremation Crews" find them. Over time though, the group realizes that the outsiders might not be the only danger to their community.

Full of fiery characters and an incendiary plot, The Fireman is a book that will leave you burning for more.

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The Golem and the Jinni

The year is 1899, and a man named Otto Rotfeld has asked a rabbi to create a woman out of the earth. The

rabbi accepts the challenge and upon completion, Rotfield and his new Golem set sail for New York City.

He awakens her on the ship and before they ever touch land, he dies. The Golem has no master and no clue where she is.

Across the city in a tinsmith's shop, a Jinni is released from a flask. He has been trapped for centuries and held to human form by a wizard that is most certainly dead by now.

These two seem to be on their own until one night their paths cross. The two are so different from each other, but share the bond of being so different from everyone else. Just when they seem to have found something to hold onto, a darker force comes between them.

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The City of Dark Magic

The start of a great series rooted in mystery, alchemy, and history. Sarah Weston is a musicologist who is asked to Prague in order to finish the work her mentor left behind. While there, she discovers not all is as it seems, but nothing can prepare her for the adventure  she is destined to have.

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A Gentleman in Moscow

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal. For this, he is placed under house arrest in Metropol, a grand hotel across from the Kremlin. This witty and erudite man has never worked a day in his life and must now live in an attic room while history unfolds just outside his door. With such limited circumstances, Rostov has the opportunity for emotional discovery like never before.

Beautifully written, A Gentleman in Moscow invites you to meet colorful characters amongst a dreary backdrop who will charm their way into your heart.

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The Art of Hearing Heartbeats

This moving love story takes place over continents and decades and leaves the reader witnessing the incredible power of love. When a New York Lawyer disappears, his family has no clue as to where he went until they find a letter. This letter was written years ago to a Burmese woman they never knew. In order to find answers, they go in search of the woman and discover a love story that conquers all.

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The Art Forger

In 1990, thirteen works of art worth today over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. This real life heist is the inspiration for Shapiro's thrilling mystery. Claire Roth is a struggling artist who makes reproductions of famous works for an online art dealer. In a desperate move, she agrees to forge one of those stolen paintings. Upon receiving the painting, she soon discovers that it is not the original either. Her search for the truth leads her to deep hidden secrets as far back as the late nineteenth century. The twists and turns will have you guessing until the very end.

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And the Mountains Echoed

Hosseini's third novel just might be his best yet!  It is a story of two loving Afghan siblings - brother and sister - who are ripped apart by hardships in their family and how this rupture ripples across continents and through generations.   It is a story of love and of memories lost and found.  The writing in the first one hundred plus pages is among the finest I have ever read, and the title for this book does not disappoint. It is perfect!

Sarah's Picks
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Birds in Fall

A crestfallen group of strangers gathers on a remote island in Nova Scotia to make sense of the wreckage following a plane crash. The disaster took down their loved ones, and the survivors must sift through debris and their own grief in a foreign setting. The story focuses on ornithologist Ann Gathreaux, who lost her husband in the crash. Hosting the bereft strangers are two overwhelmed innkeepers who console the group with thoughtful basics: food, space and time. Eventually, the motley group of mourners manage to scale the walls of their own grief and cultural barriers in order to find kinship. Some even find hope. Birds in Fall is about loss, but it’s also about the shared and often beautiful human experience.

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The Boys in the Boat

In 1936, the Nazi-controlled city of Berlin hosted the summer Olympics. Hitler and his propaganda team had worked for years to construct a venue that stunned both athletes and spectators, and more importantly, beguiled the world. When nine rough-and-tumble American rowers arrived in the polished capital city, they were indeed stunned. These were the sons of loggers and farmers from the impoverished northwest; they had risen from shanty towns, through the ranks of the University of Washington, to this pristine Olympic arena. Crew was a sport formally reserved for Ivy Leaguers and Oxonians, and these nine boys represented the new American spirit: gritty, humble and unified. Though Hitler successfully concealed his ruthlessness behind the grandeur of the games, he could not hide his disappointment when the American rowers (one of whom was Jewish) beat his government-sponsored team of elites. The Boys in the Boat focuses on how a home-grown group transformed a wooden shell into a symbol of athletic and moral triumph. Daniel James Brown offers a hopeful perspective on a notoriously dark era; I cheered not only for the boys in the boat, but also for the defeat that shamed Hitler, if only for a moment.

Bruce's Picks
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Bruno, Chief of Police

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The Cold Dish

I am a huge fan of the late Tony Hillerman and I've been looking for a worthy successor. Well, Craig Johnson has earned the mantle. Cold Dish is the first in the "Longmire" series. The characters are memorable, the plot-line is strong (there are twists and turns you will never expect -- always a delight in a mystery!) Don't watch the A & E series until you've read the books. They are worth the price of admission!

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In The Bleak Midwinter

I just love a "character-driven" mystery, and Spencer-Fleming provides the best of the genre. Start with In the Bleak Midwinter, the first in the series, and I guarantee you'll eagerly be chasing the protagonists from book to book. Along the way there's great local color, believable dialogue, nail-biting action, and even a small dose of religious education. Here is smart, witty, fast-paced writing at its best.

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