Welcome to our latest edition of Staff Picks!
Every month, we ask all our library staff to submit the best best books they've read over the past month, and then we collect all the titles here for easy access. Just select your favorite genre below to find titles and catalog links. Many titles come in a variety of formats, including audiobooks you can check out on CD or download directly to a digital device.
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Charissa's pick was...Image
The creeping horror of Paul Tremblay meets Tommy Orange’s There There in a dark novel of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.
Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.
Sean's pick was...Image
E.K. Weaver's critically-acclaimed road trip romance comic is collected here in this award-winning, commercially-successful omnibus edition. Less Than Epic tells the story of Amal (just out of the closet and freshly disowned by his parents) and TJ (a mysterious and eccentric vagrant) and their journey across the continental United States.
Beth's pick was...Image
You just boarded a flight to New York.
There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard.
What you don't know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot's family was kidnapped.
For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.
The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.
Enjoy the flight.
Cindy's pick was...Image
One evil supervillain spends most of his time hatching nefarious plots to take over the world—but on his days off, nothing gets between him and the cute pandas he adores! This fresh, charming comedy series answers the age-old question of what a villain does off the clock!
The mysterious and dastardly man known only as the General within the evil organization plotting to take over the world is one of the top targets of Earth’s defensive unit, the Rangers. But on his precious days off, he’s more likely to be at the local zoo staring at his beloved pandas or trying out new ice cream flavors! Will his secret hobbies be jeopardized forever when his natural enemy—a Ranger hero out to save the Earth—catches him in the act?
Wendy's pick was...Image
Ken and Abby Gardner lost their mother when they were small and they have been haunted by her absence ever since. Their father, Adam, a brilliant oceanographer, raised them mostly on his own in his remote home on Cape Cod, where the attachment between Ken and Abby deepened into something complicated—and as adults their relationship is strained. Now, years later, the siblings’ lives are still deeply entwined. Ken is a successful businessman with political ambitions and a picture-perfect family and Abby is a talented visual artist who depends on her brother’s goodwill, in part because he owns the studio where she lives and works.
As the novel opens, Adam is approaching his seventieth birthday, staring down his mortality and fading relevance. He has always managed his bipolar disorder with medication, but he’s determined to make one last scientific breakthrough and so he has secretly stopped taking his pills, which he knows will infuriate his children. Meanwhile, Abby and Ken are both harboring secrets of their own, and there is a new person on the periphery of the family—Steph, who doesn’t make her connection known. As Adam grows more attuned to the frequencies of the deep sea and less so to the people around him, Ken and Abby each plan the elaborate gifts they will present to their father on his birthday, jostling for primacy in this small family unit.
Heather's pick was...Image
In 1792, formerly enslaved Benjamin Honey and his Irish wife, Patience, discovered an island where they could make a life together. More than a century later, the Honeys’ descendants remain there, with an eccentric, diverse band of neighbors: a pair of sisters raising three Penobscot orphans; Theophilus and Candace Larks and their nocturnal brood; the prophetic Zachary Hand To God Proverbs, a Civil War veteran who carves Biblical images in a hollow tree. Then comes the intrusion of “civilization”: eugenics-minded state officials determine to cleanse” the island, and a missionary schoolteacher selects one light-skinned boy to save. The rest will succumb to the authorities’ institutions or cast themselves on the waters in a new Noah’s Ark.
Full of lyricism and power, This Other Eden explores the hopes and dreams and resilience of those seen not to fit a world brutally intolerant of difference.
Michelle's pick was...Image
Hugo Award winning editor, and horror legend, Ellen Datlow presents a terrifying and chilling horror anthology of original short stories exploring the endless terrors of winter solstice traditions across the globe, featuring chillers by Tananarive Due, Stephen Graham Jones, Alma Katsu and many more.
The winter solstice is celebrated as a time of joy around the world—yet the long nights also conjure a darker tradition of ghouls, hauntings, and visitations. This anthology of all-new stories invites you to huddle around the fire and revel in the unholy, the dangerous, the horrific aspects of a time when families and friends come together—for better and for worse.
From the eerie Austrian Schnabelperchten to the skeletal Welsh Mari Lwyd, by way of ravenous golems, uncanny neighbors, and unwelcome visitors, Christmas and Other Horrors captures the heart and horror of the festive season.
Because the weather outside is frightful, but the fire inside is hungry...
Stefan's pick was...Image
Set on the French Riviera in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic romance of the young actress Rosemary Hoyt and the stylish American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant young psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth goads him into a lifestyle not his own, and whose growing strength highlights Dick's harrowing demise. A profound study of the romantic concept of character, Tender Is the Night is lyrical, expansive, and hauntingly evocative.
Charissa's pick was...Image
When young adventurer Laios and his company are attacked and soundly thrashed by a dragon deep in a dungeon, the party loses all its money and provisions...and a member! They're eager to go back and save her, but there is just one problem: If they set out with no food or coin to speak of, they're sure to starve on the way! But Laios comes up with a brilliant idea: "Let's eat the monsters!" Slimes, basilisks, and even dragons...none are safe from the appetites of these dungeon-crawling gourmands!
Wendy's pick was...Image
There’s a cottage on a cliff. Gabe and Pippa’s dream home in a sleepy coastal town. But their perfect house hides something sinister. The tall cliffs have become a popular spot for people to end their lives. Night after night Gabe comes to their rescue, literally talking them off the ledge. Until he doesn’t.
When Pippa discovers Gabe knew the victim, the questions spiral...Did the victim jump? Was she pushed?
And would Gabe, the love of Pippa’s life, her soulmate...lie? As the perfect facade of their marriage begins to crack, the deepest and darkest secrets begin to unravel.
Laurel and Lynda's pick was...Image
As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in—both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. When her family is struck by tragedy, Daunis puts her dreams on hold to care for her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother’s hockey team.
After Daunis witnesses a shocking murder that thrusts her into a criminal investigation, she agrees to go undercover. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home. How far will she go to protect her community if it means tearing apart the only world she’s ever known?
Sofia's pick was...Image
Lila Macapagal's godmothers April, Mae, and June—AKA the Calendar Crew—are celebrating the opening of their latest joint business venture, a new laundromat, to much fanfare (and controversy). However, what should’ve been a joyous occasion quickly turns into a tragedy when they discover the building has been vandalized—and the body of Ninang April’s niece, recently arrived from the Philippines, next to a chilling message painted on the floor. The question is, was the message aimed at the victim or Lila's gossipy godmothers, who have not-so-squeaky-clean reputations?
With Ninang April falling apart from grief and little progress from the Shady Palms Police Department in this slippery case, it’s up to Lila and her network to find justice for the young woman.
The Calendar Crew have stuck their noses into everybody’s business for years, but now the tables are turned as Lila must pry into the Calendar Crew’s lives to figure out who has a vendetta against the (extremely opinionated yet loving) aunties and stop them before they strike again.
Fiona's pick was...Image
First there was the mystery of the film star and the diamond... then came the “suicide” that was murder... the mystery of the absurdly cheap flat...a suspicious death in a locked gun room... a million dollar bond robbery... the curse of a pharaoh’s tomb... a jewel robbery by the sea... the abduction of a prime minister... the disappearance of a banker... a phone call from a dying man... and, finally, the mystery of the missing will.
What links these fascinating cases? Only the brilliant deductive powers of Hercule Poirot!
The short stories are: 1. The Adventure of 'The Western Star', 2. The Tragedy of Marsdon Manor, 3. The Adventure of the Cheap Flat, 4. The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge, 5. The Million Dollar Bond Robbery, 6. The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb, 7. The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan, 8. The Kidnapped Prime Minister, 9. The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim, 10. The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman, and 11. The Case of the Missing Will.
Lesia's pick was...Image
Phoebe Winchester’s beloved aunt Eudora has a taste for adventure—and a knack for making magical tea. It’s even rumored that she just might be a witch. So when Eudora passes away and leaves everything to her niece—her Victorian mansion, her bookshop/tea store, The Earl’s Study, and one very chubby orange cat named Bob—Phoebe gets more than she bargained for. And she knows she’s in deep when a dead man is found on the shop’s back step, apparently killed while trying to break in.
Two suspects immediately emerge among the townspeople of Raven Creek, Washington. There’s village busybody Dierdre Miller, who seems desperate to buy Eudora’s house, and handsome PI Rich, one of Phoebe’s childhood friends—but how well does she really know him after all these years apart?
Phoebe knows she should leave it to the professionals, but as she starts to dig into the underbelly of Raven Creek, she begins to uncover the truth about Eudora. What’s more, her aunt might not have been the only witch in the family, as Phoebe soon discovers she has unique and unexpected gifts of her own.
Now, it’s just a matter of putting her newfound power to the test and cast a spell that could catch a killer.
Lesia's pick was...Image
Sixty-year-old Jane Hunter, forced into early retirement from her job as a university librarian, is seeking a new challenge to keep her spirits up and supplement her meager pension. But as she’s about to discover, a retiree’s life can bring new thrills—and new dangers.
Cameron “Cam” Clewe, an eccentric 33-year-old collector, is also seeking something—an archivist to inventory his ever-expanding compendium of rare books and artifacts. Jane’s thrilled to be hired on by Cam and to uncover the secrets of his latest acquisition, a trove of items related to the classic mystery and detective authors. But Jane’s delight is upended when a body is discovered in Cam’s library. The victim, heir to a pharmaceutical fortune, was the last in line of Cam’s failed romances—and now he’s suspect number one.
Cam vows to use his intelligence and deductive skills to clear his name—but with a slight case of agoraphobia, rampant anxiety, and limited social skills, he’ll need some help. It comes down to Jane to exonerate her new boss—but is he truly innocent?
- Science Fiction & Fantasy
Marlin's pick was..Image
A boy has lived his whole life trapped within a vast library, older than empires and larger than cities.
A girl has spent hers in a tiny settlement out on the Dust where nightmares stalk and no one goes.
The world has never even noticed them. That's about to change.
Their stories spiral around each other, across worlds and time. This is a tale of truth and lies and hearts, and the blurring of one into another. A journey on which knowledge erodes certainty, and on which, though the pen may be mightier than the sword, blood will be spilled and cities burned.
Cindy's pick was...Image
The Prince of no value
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.
The noblewoman of no importance
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.
Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.
Lauryn and Charissa's pick was...Image
Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.
But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away...because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them.
With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter—like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.
She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.
Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom's protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.
Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda—because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die
Katelyn's pick was...Image
Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act….different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
Radhika's pick was...Image
The world is no longer safe for the Dragon Rider Murtagh and his dragon, Thorn. An evil king has been toppled, and they are left to face the consequences of the reluctant role they played in his reign of terror. Now they are hated and alone, exiled to the outskirts of society.
Throughout the land, hushed voices whisper of brittle ground and a faint scent of brimstone in the air—and Murtagh senses that something wicked lurks in the shadows of Alagaësia. So begins an epic journey into lands both familiar and untraveled, where Murtagh and Thorn must use every weapon in their arsenal, from brains to brawn, to find and outwit a mysterious witch. A witch who is much more than she seems.
In this gripping novel starring one of the most popular characters from Christopher Paolini’s blockbuster Inheritance Cycle, a Dragon Rider must discover what he stands for in a world that has abandoned him. Murtagh is the perfect book to enter the World of Eragon for the first time . . . or to joyfully return.
Sofia's pick was...Image
Sixteen-year-old Thrash doesn’t enchant eyeliner over her lids or clear her acne with magic. She is plus-size, but she doesn’t hate what she sees in the mirror—that’s the realm of her mother, Osmarra, a slim and elegant Glamour witch. When Thrash unexpectedly breaks a mirror with her mind, she discovers she has a knack for magic and will receive one of the three sanctioned Gifts: Glamour, Growth, or Sight. The only problem is that mothers choose the Gifts, and Osmarra is convinced that the Gift of Glamour will fix her daughter’s looks.
When Thrash fails to persuade Osmarra to accept her as she is, a trio of cool witches who call themselves The Lunes offer her an out. Their leader, fiery and charismatic Cresca, recruits Thrash for a road trip to New Salem University, where the girls plan to steal their own Gifts. As Thrash crosses the magical Thirteen States of America, Osmarra hot on her heels, she discovers bewitched diners, haunted tourist traps, and a secret about the Gifts that will change the Thirteen States forever.
Laurel's pick was...Image
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.
The odds are against him. He's been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined -- every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute... and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
Carolyn's pick was...Image
ASSISTANT WANTED: Notorious, high-ranking villain seeks loyal, levelheaded assistant for unspecified office duties, supporting staff for random mayhem, terror, and other Dark Things In General. Discretion a must. Excellent benefits.
With ailing family to support, Evie Sage's employment status isn't just important, it's vital. So when a mishap with Rennedawn’s most infamous Villain results in a job offer—naturally, she says yes. No job is perfect, of course, but even less so when you develop a teeny crush on your terrifying, temperamental, and undeniably hot boss. Don’t find evil so attractive, Evie.
But just when she’s getting used to severed heads suspended from the ceiling and the odd squish of an errant eyeball beneath her heel, Evie suspects this dungeon has a huge rat…and not just the literal kind. Because something rotten is growing in the kingdom of Rennedawn, and someone wants to take the Villain—and his entire nefarious empire—out.
Now Evie must not only resist drooling over her boss but also figure out exactly who is sabotaging his work…and ensure he makes them pay.
After all, a good job is hard to find.
Jordyn's pick was...
The many lives of theoretical physicist Elsie Hannaway have finally caught up with her. By day, she’s an adjunct professor, toiling away at grading labs and teaching thermodynamics in the hopes of landing tenure. By other day, Elsie makes up for her non-existent paycheck by offering her services as a fake girlfriend, tapping into her expertly honed people pleasing skills to embody whichever version of herself the client needs.
Honestly, it’s a pretty sweet gig—until her carefully constructed Elsie-verse comes crashing down. Because Jack Smith, the annoyingly attractive and broody older brother of her favorite client, turns out to be the cold-hearted experimental physicist who ruined her mentor’s career and undermined the reputation of theorists everywhere. And that same Jack who now sits on the hiring committee at MIT, right between Elsie and her dream job.
Elsie is prepared for an all-out war of scholarly sabotage but…those long, penetrating looks? Not having to be anything other than her true self when she’s with him? Will falling into an experimentalist’s orbit finally tempt her to put her most guarded theories on love into practice?
Phillis's pick was...Image
Maxine Chandler and Mya Rivers were once the best of friends, sisters by choice. But distance and a series of misunderstandings came between them. Now, a fifteen-year class reunion cruise to the Caribbean could renew their powerful bond--just when they need it most.
After heartbreak and tragedy, Maxi doesn't expect her shipboard romance with former high school rebel Christopher Chandler to be more than a sizzling distraction, but then he offers her a gift so profound she can't refuse it--even when it leaves her vulnerable to crushing loss. Mya, on the other hand, seems blessed with a perfect marriage, home, and beautiful twins. But Mya's work is taking over her life and another woman might be taking husband. . .
As each couple struggles with the limits of love, loyalty, and trust, Mya and Maxi reclaim a deep and abiding friendship. . .one that will inspire them with courage to face the future, whatever it may bring. . .
Sammi's pick was...Image
Warning: This novel contains excessive humor, a fire-breathing unicorn on a mission of destruction, magic, romance, and bodies. Proceed with caution.
Catering to the magical is a tough gig on a good day, but Bailey has few other options. Spiking drinks with pixie dust keeps the locals happy and beats cleaning up the world's nastiest magical substances. She could live without serving Police Chief Samuel Quinn most days of the week, especially after destroying his marriage.
But when she's targeted with a cell phone bomb containing gorgon dust capable of transforming her beloved home into a stone tomb, she's tossed head first into a mess with her sexiest enemy. Add in his ex-wife angling for revenge, and Bailey must use every trick up her sleeve to survive.
The last thing she needs is to fall in love with Manhattan's Most Wanted Bachelor.
Saving Manhattan will be tough enough.
Cindy's pick was...Image
Join Southern comedian duo Trae Crowder and Corey Ryan Forrester in this hilarious and irreverent travel guide as they wander about ponderin' the peculiarities beyond their small-town front porches. Trae and Corey will take you from the smallest of small towns to major US metropolises (or is it metropoli? We haven't a fartin' clue!). They'll even cross the pond to sip tea in some of them fancy kings-and-castles places that PBS Viewers Like You can't stop yapping about. From Chickamauga to Cheyenne, New York to New Orleans, Seattle to Scotland—no matter where these two wandering jesters go, there's something to roast, something to toast, and something to learn about what ties us together as humans. Even the most outrageous of us. In this book you'll Perfect for anyone
Kerry's pick was...Image
Social justice work, we often assume, is raised voices and raised fists. It requires leading, advocating, fighting, and organizing wherever it takes place--in the streets, slums, villages, inner cities, halls of political power, and more. But what does social justice work look like for those of us who don't feel comfortable battling in the trenches? Sensitive souls--including those who consider themselves highly emotional, empathic, or introverted--have much to contribute to bringing about a more just and equitable world. Such individuals are wise, thoughtful, and conscientious; they feel more deeply and see things that others don't. We need their contributions. Yet, sustaining justice work can be particularly challenging for the sensitive, and it requires a deep level of self-awareness, intentionality, and care. In Social Justice for the Sensitive Soul, writer Dorcas Cheng-Tozun (Enneagram 4, INFJ, nonprofit/social enterprise professional, and multiple-burnout survivor) offers six possible pathways for sensitive - relational activists whose interactions and conversations build the social capital necessary for change - artists and creators whose work inspires, sheds light, makes connections, and brings issues into the public consciousness - Record archivists who preserve essential information and hold our collective memory and history - inventors, programmers, and engineers who center empathy as they develop society-changing products and technologies - educators, mentors, and elders who build skills and knowledge within movements and shepherd the next generation of changemakers - data-driven individuals who utilize information as a persuasive tool to effect change and propose options for improvement Alongside inspiring, real-life examples of highly sensitive world-changers, Cheng-Tozun expands the possibilities of how to have a positive social impact, affirming the particular gifts and talents that sensitive souls offer to a hurting world.
Heather's pick was...Image
What does it mean to call a place home? Who is allowed to become a member of a community? When can we say that we truly belong?
These are some of the questions of place and belonging that renowned cultural critic bell hooks examines in her new book, Belonging: A Culture of Place. Traversing past and present, Belonging charts a cyclical journey in which hooks moves from place to place, from country to city and back again, only to end where she began--her old Kentucky home.
hooks has written provocatively about race, gender, and class; and in this book she turns her attention to focus on issues of land and land ownership. Reflecting on the fact that 90% of all black people lived in the agrarian South before mass migration to northern cities in the early 1900s, she writes about black farmers, about black folks who have been committed both in the past and in the present to local food production, to being organic, and to finding solace in nature. Naturally, it would be impossible to contemplate these issues without thinking about the politics of race and class. Reflecting on the racism that continues to find expression in the world of real estate, she writes about segregation in housing and economic racialized zoning. In these critical essays, hooks finds surprising connections that link the environment and sustainability to the politics of race and class that reach far beyond Kentucky.
With characteristic insight and honesty, Belonging offers a remarkable vision of a world where all people--wherever they may call home--can live fully and well, where everyone can belong.
Liz's pick was...Image
For most of us, the only thing we know about flies is that they're annoying, and our usual reaction is to try to kill them. In Super Fly, the myth-busting biologist Jonathan Balcombe shows the order Diptera in all of its diversity, illustrating the essential role that flies play in every ecosystem in the world as pollinators, waste-disposers, predators, and food source; and how flies continue to reshape our understanding of evolution. Along the way, he reintroduces us to familiar foes like the fruit fly and mosquito, and gives us the chance to meet their lesser-known cousins like the Petroleum Fly (the only animal in the world that breeds in crude oil) and the Chocolate Midge (the sole pollinator of the Cacao tree). No matter your outlook on our tiny buzzing neighbors, Super Fly will change the way you look at flies forever.
Jonathan Balcombe is the author of four books on animal sentience, including the New York Times bestselling What A Fish Knows, which was nominated for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Award for Science Writing. He has worked for years as a researcher and educator with the Humane society to show us the consciousness of other creatures, and here he takes us to the farthest reaches of the animal kingdom.
Sabrina's pick was...Image
An Abusive Mother
Raised in the suburb of Riverside, California, twenty-year-old college student Jason Bautista endured for years his emotionally disturbed mother's verbal and psychological abuse. She even locked him out of the house, tied him up with electrical cord, and on one occasion, gave him a beating that sent him to the emergency room. His fifteen-year-old half brother Matthew Montejo also was a victim to Jane Bautista's dark mood swings and erratic behavior, but for some reason, Jason received the brunt of the abuse―until he decided he'd had enough…
A Son's Revenge
On the night of January 14, 2003, Jason strangled his mother. To keep authorities from identifying her body, he chopped off her head and hands, an idea he claimed he got from watching an episode of the hit TV series "The Sopranos." Matthew would later testify in court that he sat in another room in the house with the TV volume turned up while Jason murdered their mother. He also testified that he drove around with Jason to find a place to dump Jane's torso.
A Crime that Would Bond Two Brothers
The morning following the murder, Matthew went to school, and Jason returned to his classes at Cal State San Bernardino. When authorities zeroed in on them, Jason lied and said that Jane had run off with a boyfriend she'd met on the Internet. But when police confronted the boys with overwhelming evidence, Jason confessed all. Now the nightmare was only just beginning for him…
Madison's pick was...Image
Embrace your inner goblin! Learn to decorate, dress, craft, forage, and live according to the goblin principles of community, diversity, proud weirdness, and joyful mess.
Do you ever feel strange, gross, chaotic, underappreciated, or like you don’t quite fit in? Great news: you might be a goblin! That means your imperfections and idiosyncrasies are the most awesome things about you, and you can build a more balanced, comfortable, harmonious life by accepting and honoring them—taking inspiration from the frogs, fungus, moss, rocks, and dirt that goblins love.
Can a mushroom give you fashion tips? Can a snail teach you to be a better person? You bet they can—and in this book you’ll also learn to:
Build a moss garden for your lair
Grow and use medicinal plants
Forage for berries (even in the city)
Mend your cozy sweaters
Display your cool rock collection
Anyone can be a goblin, and Goblin Mode includes life advice for celebrating physical and mental diversity, rejecting prejudice, and generally hanging on to a little joy.
Featuring 25 whimsical illustrations by Marian Churchland, Goblin Mode will help you rethink your relationship with your body, your home, your community, and the earth.
Ro's pick was...Image
S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches.
Although readers may be more familiar with the tribal names Apache and Sioux, it was in fact the legendary fighting ability of the Comanches that determined just how and when the American West opened up. Comanche boys became adept bareback riders by age six; full Comanche braves were considered the best horsemen who ever rode. They were so masterful at war and so skillful with their arrows and lances that they stopped the northern drive of colonial Spain from Mexico and halted the French expansion westward from Louisiana. White settlers arriving in Texas from the eastern United States were surprised to find the frontier being rolled backward by Comanches incensed by the invasion of their tribal lands. So effective were the Comanches that they forced the creation of the Texas Rangers and account for the advent of the new weapon specifically designed to fight them: the six-gun.
The war with the Comanches lasted four decades, in effect holding up the development of the new American nation. Gwynne’s exhilarating account delivers a sweeping narrative that encompasses Spanish colonialism, the Civil War, the destruction of the buffalo herds, and the arrival of the railroads—a historical feast for anyone interested in how the United States came into being.
Against this backdrop Gwynne presents the compelling drama of Cynthia Ann Parker, a lovely nine-year-old girl with cornflower-blue eyes who was kidnapped by Comanches from the far Texas frontier in 1836. She grew to love her captors and became infamous as the "White Squaw" who refused to return until her tragic capture by Texas Rangers in 1860. More famous still was her son Quanah, a warrior who was never defeated and whose guerrilla wars in the Texas Panhandle made him a legend.
Cameron's pick was...Image
A vivid debut graphic memoir of adolescent resiliency. This debut graphic memoir (the first of two books, with Book Two coming in 2025) is a bittersweet coming of age story that chronicles the author’s teenage experiences with sexual assault, PTSD, and resiliency. Dear Mini is not a cautionary tale; rather, it is a vivid (at turns hilariously and uncomfortably so) depiction of adolescent agency in the face of trauma, tracing Norris’s journey from wayward wild-child to resilient adult who has harnessed her voice after almost a decade of silence. Told in the form of an illustrated letter to an old friend, Dear Mini recounts the author’s experience going abroad to attend a language immersion program in France after her sophomore year of high school. She meets Mini, an Austrian student who shares her predilection for illicit adventure, and the two quickly form a bond that they expect to last well after they go their separate ways. But when Natalie visits Mini ten months after their last face-to-face, something has changed. Their nocturnal exploits veer head-on into disaster. Norris’s spirited and free-flowing page designs and full color cartooning bring her frank voice and personality to life, making Dear Mini one of the most compelling graphic memoir debuts of 2023.
Fiona's pick was...Image
Becca Hart has secretly wanted to act on stage for as long as she could remember—it's all she ever thinks about. Determined to make her dream come true Becca tries out for this year's school play, The Last Sleepover, and gets the starring role! After a few creepy incidents on set and persistent nightmares at home, Becca quickly learns that this is no ordinary school play. Is it stage fright? Or is the play haunted?
Katelyn's pick was...Image
In the middle of a little forest, there lives a Little Tree who loves his life and the splendid leaves that keep him cool in the heat of long summer days. Life is perfect just the way it is.
Autumn arrives, and with it the cool winds that ruffle Little Tree's leaves. One by one the other trees drop their leaves, facing the cold of winter head on. But not Little Tree—he hugs his leaves as tightly as he can. Year after year Little Tree remains unchanged, despite words of encouragement from a squirrel, a fawn, and a fox, his leaves having long since turned brown and withered. As Little Tree sits in the shadow of the other trees, now grown sturdy and tall as though to touch the sun, he remembers when they were all the same size. And he knows he has an important decision to make.
Katelyn's pick was...Image
This rhythmic, joyous picture book from Natalie Daise, the co-star of the hit Nickelodeon show "Gullah Gullah Island," celebrates a special day of father-son cooking, and serves up a love letter to food, family, Gullah Geechee culture, and tradition—and includes the author's own recipe! For fans of Fry Bread, My Papi Has a Motorcycle, and Thank You, Omu!
Papa has something special planned for tonight’s family dinner—and Bobo can’t wait! Excited to learn how to make okra stew like his ancestors, Bobo helps Papa pick veggies from the garden, catch shrimp from the creek, rain down rice in the pot, simmer the stew, and even make a tasty side of cornbread. When the stew begins to bubble and pop, Bobo and his family gather around for a mouthwatering feast.