Close Window

Book Reviews

Here are some of our recent favorites; newest recommendations are listed at the top.

Map Of Enough
Molly Caro May

The story of a young couple's year on family land in Montana, building a yurt.  Wonderful feeling for the land and its wildlife, and a compelling story of the couple's adventures in yurt building, living on the land, and how the year changes them.--Georgiana

Word Exchange
Alena Graedon
Paperback fiction

In the not-so-distant future, the printed word is in peril.  Technology is ubiquitous.  Words are literally disappearing and language has become a virus.  Only a brave few can, and care enough to, fight for humanity.  This is a fabulous book for word lovers - and you may want to back away from your cell phone.--Debbie

Eleanor Catton
Paperback fiction

This is a wonderful, sprawling novel full of colorful characters in the challenging circumstances of the 1860s gold rush in New Zealand.  The writing is sumptuous and the book is almost impossible to put down.  Settle in for the best read in a long time! --Debbie

Andy Weir
Science Fiction

In this gripping story of one man's struggle for survival on Mars, the author uses his nerd's knowledge of space to great effect, creating a story that is futuristic and science-technical, yet understandable and entirely plausible, as if it all could actually happen in the near future. --Aaron Miller

Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Gabrielle Zevin
Paperback fiction

This is a charming book!  A curmudgeonly bookseller has his life irrevocably and dramatically changed by a persisent publisher's rep, a baby and a missing Poe folio (not necessarily in that order).  The twists and turns of the story are perfect - I was sorry have the book end.  --Debbie

Kate Mosse
Paperback fiction

Again Kate Mosse sets up a story of daring and courage with two narrative threads.  The travels of a 4th century monk interweave with the main storyline; the women and men of the French Resistance fighting the Nazi occupation of WWII.  Romance, treachery, history, wonderful characters and a tribute to the mostly anonymous women of the French Resistance.  -- Kate

While Beauty Slept
Elizabeth Blackwell
Paperback fiction

A unique version of a classic fairy tale.  No fairy godmother here!  I LOVED the ending!  Well written - reads like historical fiction. --Sandi

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Paperback fiction

Dreams, love, life, immigration and race; what a combination!  Starting with the childhood of Ifemelu and Obinze in Nigeria; the story of their lives develops over the next several years while spanning three continents.  A wonderful tale, evocatively written with fascinating characters.  --Kate

Nicola Griffith
Paperback fiction

This is such an unusual  and wonderful book.  Totally evocative of a long ago time and place.  Prepare to let yourself go and be transported to a long ago world with very different sensibilities than ours.  A fabulous heroine to boot! --Cam

Going Somewhere
Brian Benson

If you loved Wild, here you go!  Cheryl Strayed's recommendation caught my eye, and it's entirely apt.  Rachel and Brian share a dream of bicycling across the U.S., and this is the story of their ride.  It's exciting and brutally honest, and weirdly compelling - don't ask me why but I love books like this!  --Georgiana

My Education
Susan Choi
Paperback fiction

A smart, fast, witty and absorbing novel - the story of a college student's fascination with one of her professors, and how she tangles her life with that of his family; and the sense she finally makes of her experience, years past her college days --Georgiana

Yohanlossee Riding Camp for Girls
Anton DiSclafani
Paperback fiction

I don't know what drew me to this book, but once I started reading it held a strange power over me.  Set in the south in 1930, it's narrated by a 15-year old Thea, who is both perplexed by adult mores and wise beyond her years.  The story of Thea's time at the riding camp and the slow unwinding of the tale of what brought her there, is spellbinding.  --Georgiana

Jo Baker
Paperback fiction

A complete, wonderful novel in its own right, Longbourn also smartly segues with its source and inspiration--Austen's Pride and Prejudice.  Not an arch story about "what happens after Elizabeth and Darcy marry," but a glimpse of a familiar tale through the eyes and lives of the servants involved. --Cam

Frozen in Time
Mitchell Zuckoff

It sounds so unreal you think it must be fiction; but NO, it's true.  Greenland, 1942; first a US cargo plane crashes, followed by those of the rescue contingents.  Zuckoff's writing is compelling as he chronicles the events and the expedition 70 years later to find wreckage; you can feel the bitter cold and the roller coaster emotions of those who perished, the survivors AND the current day expedition.  Everyone in my family LOVED it. --Kate

Leaving Everything Most Loved
Jacqueline Winspear
Paperback fiction

I have loved Maisie Dobbs from book #1.  This one, #10, continues the excellence of the series and sets the stage for a new chapter (no pun intended) in Maisie's life.  Winspear is a thoughtful writer, masterfully evoking another culture, time and place. --Cam

Ocean at the End of the Lane
Gaiman, Neil
Paperback fiction

A sweet, poignant and (after all, it's Gaiman) sorta eerie evocation of childhood - a great fantasy which is somehow also very real. --Cindy

Bookman's Tale
Charlie Lovett
Paperback fiction

Whether you're a book lover, a history lover or you love a good intrigue, this book is for you!  Wonderfully written with characters you'll become emotionally attached to.  A seriously great read.  --Sandi

Country Girl
Edna O'Brien

I've always loved Edna O'Brien's writing, so I was naturally drawn to her memoir.  But wow!  I had no idea her life was so fascinating--from her Irish country childhood, through her tumultuous rebellion, to her becomeing a well known writer and her involvement with other literary greats, popstars, and movie stars in sixties London.  And of course, she writes about it all with her usual spareness, dry wit, and grace.  So good! --Georgiana

Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles
Katherine Pancol
Paperback fiction

When Josephine's husband leaves her for Kenya and a crocodile farm start-up, her life in Paris begins to unravel.  She is then persuaded to write a novel for which her sister will take all the literary credit, but she will gain financially!  The background story of the characters and the surprise best-seller the novel becomes, make this an entertaining and fun read. --Kate

Round House
Louise Erdrich
Paperback fiction

Erdrich is a wonderful writer and storyteller.  A Native American family faces the heartbreak of a tragic event that changes their lives and the lives of those in their community.  Erdrich exquisitely weaves a tale of love, honor and duty as defined by the tribe and the law of the land.  Joe, the son, narrates the story through the emotions, needs and humor of a 13-year old.  He and his friends are a real treat to get to know.  --Nance

Vampires in the Lemon Grove
Russell, Karen
Paperback fiction

How could you not want to read a collection of stories with such a title?  But beyond that, Russell's writing is sharp, her stories unusual and poignant.  Like the lemons, often tart, wonderful bites. --Cam

Bolton, Sharon
Paperback fiction

Hold on--you're in for a wild ride!  And forget trying to figure out "who-dunnit;" just read and enjoy.  This author, who used to be known as S. J. Bolton, impresses me more with each book. --Sandi

Cashore, Kristin
Young Adult Fiction

Hands down one of the best young adult novels I have read!  An unusual storyline and fabulous characters.  I'd recommend this for the older young adult reader due to some mature content.  But it is tastefully done and really does add to the depth of the story.  This is the first in a series of three, and I also highly recommend the sequel, Fire. When I wasn't engaged in reading the book, I found myself thinking about it until I could pick it up again! --Sandi

Woman Upstairs
Claire Messud
Paperback fiction

The surprisingly gripping story of an elementary school teacher whose quiet life is exploded by her interest in one of her students, and her subsequent growing attachment to his glamorous family.  Nora falls into imagining herself part of the family, and the novel is a powerful account of this evolution and its consequences.  Masterfully written. --Georgiana

Life after Life
Kate Atkinson
Paperback fiction

If Kate Atkinson hadn't written this book, I doubt I'd have wanted to read it.  What??  The main character dies, again and again, and lives also, many different lives?  Yes, and Atkinson pulls you into this preposterous concept early and completely.  Engaging and compelling. -- Georgiana

Marmee and Louise
Eve La Plante

Did you grow up loving Little Women?  If so, you will be moved and fascinated by this biography of Louise May Alcott and her mother, Abigail.  Abigail was an enormous influence in her daughter's life and work.  Long overlooked, this splendid biography give a more complete picture at last. --Cam

Speaking From Among the Bones
Alan Bradley
Paperback fiction

I recommend this delightful series to both adults and young adults.  This is the fifth in the Flavia de Luce series (the first is Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie).  Flavia, an eleven-year old aspiring chemist and amateur detective, lives in a run-down mansion with her two sisters and a father whose priority is collecting stamps rather than raising his girls.  There is a lot of mischief between the sisters as Flavia uses her "lab" to solve the mysteries that crop up around her village.  Note that the sixth book is now in hardcover.  This book ends with a new twist that will change the lives of this family.  --Nance

In Falling Snow
Mary-Rose MacColl
Paperback fiction

Two family stories - Iris relives her memories of life as a nurse in France during World War I and how it affected the rest of her life.  Interwoven is the story of Grace - her grandaughter - in 1970s Australia.   A beautifully written debut novel.  --Kate

Mary Sharratt
Paperback fiction

A captivating story of the medicine woman who defied the limitations enforced on her because of her sex.  Though walled up as an anchorite as a young gfirl she became a scholar, a gifted composer of sacred music and a visionary sought by the most notable men of the time including Pope Eugenius III.  Beautifully written and incredibly moving. --Sandi

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Robin Sloan
Paperback fiction

This was so much fun to read!  A mysterious book store, an ancient secret society, possible immortality, a puzzle being decoded by patient elderly readers, and a Google genius!  I liked the book store, the people, the events, and the author's style. --Debbie

Zadie Smith
Paperback fiction

Another brilliantly original novel from Zadie Smith, set in the NW corner of London.  Smith uses different formats to tell different parts of the story; but the novel, which follows the lives of four Londoners from a poor part of this section of London, stays wholly compelling. --Georgiana

Some Kind of Fairy Tale
Graham Joyce
Paperback fiction

Intriguing and wonderfully provocative!  Tara claims to have spent 6 months in the land of the fairies (they hate to be called that!) but returned home to find TWENTY YEARS had elapsed.  Told from the perspective of several characters, this is a fast-paced and marvelous story!  I couldn't put it down! --Sandi

In Sunlight and in Shadow
Mark Helprin
Paberback fiction

A story for the ages -- giant and sparkling and full of everything important.  If you like grand sagas, please read Mark Helprin, who writes some of the most beatiful and moving (and yes, sometimes a little over-the-top) prose I have ever read.  This is his latest, and his most accessible. -- Georgiana

The Casual Vacancy
J.K. Rowling
Paperback fiction

If you're looking for Harry Potter, he's NOT here!  And at first that disappointed me.  However, I soon became completely entangled in the lives of the residents of Pagford.  I came looking for Harry but I found J.K. Rowling, the extraordinary writer, and this extraordinary book! --Sandi

Sweet Tooth
Ian McEwan
Paperback fiction

Just out in paper, and what a great book this is!  Smart, suspenseful, fascinating subject, and the best ending ever! 

It's about Serena Frome, a young woman who falls into a job with the British intelligence services in 1972.  She is a compulsive reader, so she is sent on a mission that brings her into the literary world of a young writer, whom she comes to love.  McEwan's graceful writing and the marvelous twists and turns of the plot make for a great and satifsying story. --Georgiana

In the Shadow of the Banyan
Vaddey Ratner
Paperback fiction

This novel tells the story of the author's experiences as a child in 1975-1979 Cambodia, when the Khmer Rouge seized power.  The writing is gorgeous; the events are harrowing; and this is one of the best books I've ever read. --Debbie

The Bat
Jo Nesbo
Paperback fiction

Finally translated into English,  The Bat is the first in the excellent Harry Hole series.  He's a bit more talkative in this book and shows more personal feelings But rest assured, he's still attempting to solve peculiar crimes with puzzling motives and he's still the policeman we love.  This sets the stage for the subsequent books in the series. --Debbie

Light Between the Oceans
M. L. Stedman
Paperback fiction

This is a fast paced story that you won't want to put down.  It takes place in Australia after WWII.  One night of drunken prejudice against a man and his family results in a series of life changing events in the life of a lighthouse keeper and his wife.  The moral issues portrayed in this story are heart wrenching for those in this small town, as well as for the reader. You may or may not agree with the author's resolution, but it will test your emotional and moral views.  Good discussion book for book clubs. --Nance

James Treadwell
Paperback fiction

This fascinating book fleshes out the life of Johannes Faust, and brings him and his alchemy to the modern world.  Caution:  magic may be dangerous!  There's a lot of set-up in the beginning but patience pays off! --Sandi

Pigeon Pie Mystery
Julia Stuart
Paperback fiction

Totally fun and entertaining!  An interesting look at life in Victorian England.  By the author of The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise. --Sandi

Absent One
Jussi Adler-Olsen
Paperback fiction

The second in this most awesome mystery series!  Department Q is facing another cold case suddenly heating up.  LOTS of action and a remarkable cast of characters.  Don't miss this one!  --Sandi

Inquiry Into Love and Death
St. James, Simone
Paperback fiction

Another intriguing and suspenseful ghost story by the author of Haunting of Maddy Clare.  A young woman is called upon to identify the body of her estranged uncle and to sort through the belongings he left behind.  Her investigation into the mysterious death not only changes her life but may end it.  Awesome!  --Sandi

BOBCAT and other stories
Rebecca Lee
Paperback fiction

These stories, most of them set in academia, are each told by a different first-person narrator; yet they are strung together and related by the brilliant sensibility of their common narrator--Rebecca Lee.  Her perception and acuity mixed with her precise, masterful use of language make each story seem to contain a novel's worth of life.  I haven't been this dazzled by a writer in a long time. --Georgiana

Beautiful Ruins
Jess Walter
Paperback fiction

New in Paperback!   With emotional depth, humor, and a warm understanding of human frailties, Jess Walter tells the intertwined tales of Pasquale, Dee, and a cast of supporting characters--even the actor Richard Burton makes a cameo!  Set in both Italy's Cinque Terre in the 1960s and modern day Hollywood, the story is absorbing and entertaining, and the characters are real.  Walter humorously skewers the entertainment industry, all while showing us characters working towards redemption...or not.  A great read!  --Amy

The Yard
Alex Grecian
Paperback fiction

Police in 1889 London had a dangeous and under-appreciated job.  Jack the Ripper was never caught, and the citizens had little faith in their law enforcers.  Then a member of the Metropolitan Police Murder Squad was murdered.....   and he wasn't the only one.  The remaining detectives have to scramble to solve it all.  --Debbie

Daniel O'Malley
Paperback fiction

One of the most unusual, quirky, fun books I've read in a long time!  Part sci-fi, part James Bond--with a kick-ass heroine and a C.S. Lewis-eque cast of characters.  I want MORE from Daniel O'Malley!  --Sandi

Yokohama Yankee
Leslie Helm

This is a terrific book!  Leslie Helm invites us to accompany him on his emotional and physical odyssey as he researches his family's connection to Japan - from Great Grandfather Julius' arrival in Yokohama in 1869, to the present.  Plus, Mr. Helm is a local author so there's a Seattle connection too. --Debbie

Cheryl Strayed

Yes, it's about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail; but this book is far more than that, and way more gripping, exciting, and satisfying than you'd imagine.  Cheryl Strayed is a rare person, wise beyond her years and impressively capable of many things as well as dealing with things she CAN'T do; and I could not put this book down.   Just released in paperback!  --Georgiana

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Rachel Joyce
Paperback fiction

Lovely and lyrical, this is a quiet book that will sneak up on you.  Harold Fry is an older man somewhat set in his ways, who makes an impulsive decision that will change his life for the better, though the happy ending takes a while. --Cam

The Orchardist
Amanda Coplin
Paperback fiction

NOW IN PAPERBACK! A quietly beautiful book, set in eastern Washington at the turn of the century.  William Talmadge, a quiet and gentle man, lives alone tending and selling his fruit. One day he notices two feral teenage girls, visibly pregnant, squatting in his orchard.  This is the story of how Talmadge cares for them, and all that happens after (as the bookjacket so wonderfully phrases it) "he opens his heart and lets the world in." --Georgiana

Death Comes To Pemberley
P.D. James

Whether you are a fan of Jane Austen or just love a great mystery, you MUST read this book!  Intelligent, fast-paced and witty--I hated for it to end.  Fans of Pride & Prejudice will LOVE this!  I believe the marvelous Ms. Austen herself would be delighted with this book and glad of her part in its writing. --Sandi

Chris Pavone
Paperback fiction

Loved Gone Girl?  Here is another outstanding multi-layered, double crossing novel that keeps you on tenterhooks all the way through to the very end.  Ex-CIA agent Kate Moore, her husband and sons relocate to Luxembourg, starting a new life as expats; however, a secret she has been hiding for years appears to be threatening her new life and she finds they are enmeshed in a tale of lies, secrets and betrayals.  Great debut novel. -- Kate

Passing Bells, Circles of Time and Future Arrived
Philip Rock
Paperback fiction

For lovers of Downton Abbey!!  The Passing Bells trilogy was first published in the 1970s and recently reissued.  The life and times of the Greville family, their ancestral home - Abingdon Pryory, their friends and associates.  As with Downton Abbey, the trilogy takes place before, during and after WWI.  Great storytelling, historical accuracy:- three great reads. --Kate

The Haunting of Maddy Clare
Simone St. James
Paperback fiction

A wonderfully spooky ghost story that kept me turning pages when i should have been sleeping!  A professional ghost hunter and his male assistant hire another assistant--a female--to investigate a violent haunting.  While the ghost indeed creates mayhem, the characters are each haunted by events in their pasts. --Sandi

The Snow Child
Eowyn Ivey
Paperback fiction

The magical story of a couple homesteading in Alaska in the 1920's.  They are inexperienced and growing apart, yet they slowly learn to survive in a landscape that's harsh and brutal, yet filled also with wonder and beauty.  As they become accustomed to this new world, their lives are enriched by the mysterious appearance of a little girl who becomes a part of their family, as she comes and goes between their house and the wilderness and grows to young womanhood.  This is a haunting story, sad but filled with joy. --Georgiana

Shades of Milk and Honey
Mary Kowal

A delightful combination of Jane Austen and magic!  The art of "glamour" is a much-desired talent, along the lines of musical ability and landscape painting.  But gamour can be used with malicious intent, adding a new wrinkle to literature about Regency England! --Sandi

Lauren Groff

Wonderful book!  It's the absorbing story of Bit, born to a couple who are members of a commune in upstate New York in the 60's.  It's strong both as a clear-eyed view of the joys and pitfalls of the utopian dreams of communal living, and as a look at the way Bit's youth in the free and verdant country of his childhood informs his adult life in the far different world of the city. --Georgiana

Flight of Gemma Hardy
Margot Livesey

Really great stand-alone story that just gets better if you're a fan of Jane Eyre.  Deft characterizations and a heroine you really root for.  --Cam

Warsaw Anagrams
Richard Zimler

Although the subject matter of this book is heartbreaking and at times unfathomable in its reality, you will meet two characters -- Erik and Izzy -- who will remain with you long after you have finished this book.  These two intelligent, humorous, loveable men will touch your emotions and win your heart.  Not an easy read, but a must read.  --Nance

Keeper of Lost Causes
Jussi Adler-Olsen

ATTENTION STIEG LARSSON FANS!!  This is your new favorite book!  An action-packed, heart pounding mystery!  I found myself shouting at the characters and holding my breath.  We have GOT to get the other books in the series translated STAT! --Sandi

Duty to the Dead
Charles Todd

For everyone who loves Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Finch, Elly Griffiths and other wonderful mystery writers!!  An action-packed whodunnit.  The main character is a young nurse serving in WWI who gets entangled in a family tragedy.  A MUST READ! --Sandi

Cat's Table
Michael Ondaatje

A captivating story--told in Ondaatje's clear and magical prose--of an 11 year old boy's journey across the Indian Ocean to England.  He, often teamed up wtih 2 other boys, makes the ship his playground and his world to observe and conquer; and this is the account of all the (often mysterious) people and situations he encounters, and how these live on in his memory as he grows older.  Beautiful. --Georgiana

Alice Hoffman

Truly remarkable and incredibly powerful imagining of the events at Masada where a community of 900 Jewish men, women and children held out against the advancing Roman army.  Told from the points of view of four very different women.  Highly recommended.  --Cam

The Great Night
Chris Adrian

Just out in paper!  This is a dazzlingly original novel set in San Francisco's Buena Vista Park, the secret home of Titania and Oberon, rulers of the Faerie Kingdom.  Three heart-broken people happen to be wandering the park at dusk on midsummer eve in 2008, and this is the story of how their lives are changed by an upheaval in the Faerie Kingdom that night.  It may sound a little too crazy, but it's brilliant and engaging; and you will be so enmeshed that you don't notice or care HOW crazy...  I loved this book. --Georgiana


The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern

The best book I've read in months.  A fantastic plot, but MUCH more than that.  Erin Morgenstern transmits a state of wonder directly and cleanly, yet suffused with magic.  WOW.  I didn't want it to end; it left me in a state of blissful yet aching emptiness...  --Georgiana

And another:  This is the best book I have read this year, hands down.  The writing style is spare but incredibly evocative.  It sort of lures you along, until all of a sudden you realize you are utterly entranced, certain the Night Circus itself must exist somewhere and you want to go!  Lovely, lovely. --Cam

Elizabeth I
Margaret George

I love this author!  She seamlessly blends historical fact and entertainment.  I have met her and had lunch with her!  She is passionate about presenting her characters as historically accurate as possible, while fleshing them out as real human beings in extraordinary times.  This is an unusual look at Elizabeth I, focusing on the latter half of her reign; her quest to present herself as the perpetual Virgin Queen while defying her own mortality. A MUST for Elizabeth fans.  --Sandi 

Olaf Olafsson

Set in Italy at the beginning of WWII, this is a beautiful novel comprised of the converging stories of Alice, a wealthy young British expat who marries an Italian farmer and moves with him to his crumbling villa in Tuscany; and Kristin, a young art restorer in Rome. Filled with romance, intrigue, history and deep feeling for the country--wholly satisfying and transporting! --Georgiana

Tina Fey

Tina Fey's description of her life and experiences is hilarious.  You can hear her voice coming through; whether it be describing her dates during college, her days doing improv or her Sarah Palin impressions.  A fun read. --Kate

At Home: A Short History of Private Life
Bill Bryson

Bryson in his usual humorous, inquisitive way takes us for a delighful excursion through the history of his English home--room by room.  Each room, its layout, contents, etymology and usage is amazingly defined by what has happened in the rest of the world. An interesting and fun history lesson illlustrating how simple to complex discoveries have influenced our habitats since the 1700s.  Enjoy --Nance

Hare with Amber Eyes
De Waal

This is a fascinating rumination on family, ancestry and the effect of history on both.  De Waal is a beautiful writer with an artist's sensibility--he brings his family's history alive! --Amy

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey
Countess of Carnarvon

For all us Downton Abbey fans!!  An absolutely remarkable book about the real family of Highclere Castle.  This was an eye-opening story of how one woman and her husband saved the lives of countless British servicemen during WWI, made the greatest archeological discover in Egyptian history and secured their beautiful family estate for the present generation.  Fabulous! --Sandi

Hangman's Daughter
Oliver Potzsch

Bavarian life in the 1600s was harsh.  The people were harsh too, and maybe too eager to let the local midwife be named a witch responsible for the deaths of local orphans.  The hangman, charged with torturing the "truth" out of the midwife, doubts her guilt.  He, his daughter and a young physician try to find the real culprit, putting themselves at great risk.  --Debbie

Discovery of Witches
Deborah Harkness

One of my favorite books of the year!!!  History, romance, mystery, action and MAGIC!  The author is an academic historian so her research is impeccable.  Add characters who are flawed and so REAL, a rip-roarin' storyline and you'll be hooked too!!  This is the first in a planned trilogy and I can't WAIT for the next!  --Sandi

Janus Stone
Elly Griffiths

Sequel to "Crossing Places" - another intriguing archeological thriller from Ms. Griffiths.  Set in the far reaches of England, the main character is a wonderfully brilliant and loveable young woman who finds herself mired in mystery and danger. -- Sandi

Small Death in the Great Glen & Double Death on the Black Isle
A. D. Scott

I LOVED the setting - Scotland!! Beautiful, accurate description of life in a small Highland town with quirky characters, mysterious twists and turns and local dialect!!  Set in the 1950s.  Good debut novel and follow-up from A.D. Scott --Kate

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Laini Taylor
Young Adult Fiction

This is a wonderful story--perhaps for the older, young adult reader--I'd recommend 15 and older.  An unusual story peopled with very unusual characters.  Really well written; the story is mystery, magic, romance and action. It will break your heart, yet leave you hoping ..... --Sandi

September Society
Charles Finch

The second in the Beautiful Blue Death series and a very worthy sequel!  What I love about historical fiction is learning so much while being totally entertained and this is no exception.  Charles Lenox returns to his alma mater - Oxford - to solve the murder of a young student with ties to colonial India. We are treated to a lively history of the university while unravelling the mystery and falling more in love with the characters. --Sandi

Beautiful Blue Death
Charles Finch

While this book has been out for several years, I just read it and REALLY enjoyed it.  Sherlockian in style, with wonderful plot and characters.  Set in Victorian England, it offers a wonderful view into the British upper class, and what happens to those who defy their rules. --Sandi

Maile Meloy
Young Adult Fiction

A wonderful, magical adventure!  Three kids find themselves in a fantastical situation: they must save the world from nuclear war!  Warning: You MUST allow for the possibility! --Sandi

Mr Rosenblum Dreams in English
Natasha Solomons

Anglophiles, Guernsey Society and Major Pettigrew fans--this is your next novel.  Jack is determined to become a proper Englishman, according to a list of observations he has created and follows religiously.  He moves to a rural English village to build the greatest golf course in England.   Pranks, superstitions and misunderstandings ensue in this insightful and humorous and enchanting tale. --Nance

Anthropology of an American Girl
Hilary Thayer Hamann

The first-person narrative of a young woman who is growing up too fast. She's a brilliant narrator of her perceptions and the events of her final year of high school and the first years of her life thereafter, and thus provides a finely wrought portrait of a young american girl inthe early 80's. Her writing is very detailed, which put me off a little at first (ONLY at first), but I soon succumbed to its insightful genius and originality, and was rewarded by the satisfactions of a wonderful story told well --Georgiana

Blood Harvest
S.J. Bolton

Yet another AWESOME book by Ms. Bolton! A creepy mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Don't even try to figure it out--just enjoy the ride! I LOVE this author! --Sandi

Danielle Trussoni

This book is so interesting!  Have angels been among us forever?  What powers does the Lyre of Orpheus have, and why do so many people want to get it?  Can humankind win the day?  Lots to enjoy here! --Debbie

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot

Amazing and troublesome look at medical research and rights of individuals, revealed as Skloot explores Henrietta Lacks' life. Both fascinating and frustrating, it will spark questions about research, consent, and the Lacks' family dilemma. Excellent book group selection for discussion. --Nance

A Visit from the Goon Squad
Jennifer Egan

A series of interlocking stories that all circle back to Bennie, an aging former rocker and current recording industry bigwig, and Sasha, a young woman who works for him. Through the lives of these people and their circles of friends and family, the stories involve you in the world of cutting edge popular music over the past 20 or so years. Egan wrote The Keep, another of my favorite books. She's a superb writer --Georgiana

Shades of Grey
Jasper Fforde

This can be somewhat compared to Brave New World, or 1984, but it has the added attraction of being rich with British wit. After an unspecified "something" happened, life on Earth goes on--but who you are in life depends on the colors you can see. And Eddie starts to realize that's not fair.... I loved this --Debbie

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Helen Simonson

You will LOVE Major Pettigrew and this whole cast of characters! The author does a marvelous job of re-evaluating prejudices and racism in this funny, very touching novel. --Sandi