Cataract City
Craig Davidson
October 17, 2014
Reviewed by: Robin

I found this title via The National Reading Group Month/Great Group Reads Committee list. Great list and if you are looking for ideas for books to read or for you group, check it out.  This book has flat out fantastic writing and the characters leap off the page. When I would look up from the book, had to shake my head to realize I was in Ohio and not in upstate NY or Canada with Dunk or Owe.  It is definitely going on my best of 2014 list.

Tenth of December
George Saunders
October 14, 2014
Reviewed by: Chrissie

This book earned much praise when it came out in 2013-all well deserved. George Saunders is a short story writer, and he shows his mastery of the form in this book. The stories are tinged with sadness and often have a sci-fi touch. If you haven't picked up a collection of short stories in a while, I'd urge you to start with this one. 

The Girl With All the Gifts
M. R. Carey
October 9, 2014
Reviewed by: Kristin

Every day, Melanie wakes up and goes to class.  This sounds normal enough until you learn about the weekly chemical showers and grub feedings.  Wait, what is really going on here?  Think Emma Donoghue’s Room set after the zombie apocalypse…or Justin Cronin’s The Passage with zombies instead of vampires.  If either of these sounds good, you will be hooked.  Fast-paced but thought provoking.  Excellent on audio!

A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip
Kevin Brockmeier
October 7, 2014
Reviewed by: Laura

Your heart will break and be warmed in equal parts throughout Kevin Brockmeier’s memoir of 7th grade circa 1985. This is a great read-alike for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and the TV series Freaks and Geeks, or anyone looking to relive their junior high experience via Brockmeier’s vivid descriptions of his own.

The Distance
Helen Giltrow
October 3, 2014
Reviewed by: Nancy

Simply accept this in advance: when you read The Distance, it will absorb your every waking and sleeping hour until you are finished with the book--and probably longer. 


Charlotte Alton is a London socialite. Her alter ego, Karla, specializes in information--both getting it and making it disappear--for clients who are able to pay. Lately, Karla has been yielding more of the business to a partner, allowing Charlotte to lead a quiet, unremarkable life. But now, Karla has a job she can’t turn down, involving a former client she wants badly to protect. 

Sure Signs of Crazy
Karen Harrington
October 1, 2014
Reviewed by: Desi

Sarah Nelson is an 11 year-old living in Garland, Texas with her dad. Like most 11 year-olds, she wants to fit in and be accepted. Unfortunately she is plagued by the notoriety surrounding her mother and the instability that causes in her housing situation.  This story looks at the difficulties experienced by one family as they struggle to deal with mental health and drug dependency issues.  

Red Joan
Jennie Rooney
September 25, 2014
Reviewed by: Nancy

Joan is 85 years old when she is charged with espionage. A British citizen, she once passed top secret documents about atomic bomb research to the KGB during the war. To outsiders, even to her son, she is a traitor. Soon this elderly woman will be sent to prison for her crimes. A thought-provoking and insightful character study. 

Jo Baker
September 24, 2014
Reviewed by: Kristin

A unique retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from the point of view of the servants.  Seasoned readers of Jane Austen fan fiction may not appreciate this book, but it adds dimension to a much loved story, forcing the reader to consider the lives of the servants and marginalizing the trials and tribulations of the Bennetts in the process. The style feels "old-timey" and Sarah, the lead, occasionally evokes Hardy's Tess in her innocence and powerlessness over the world around her. While some readers will bemoan the discovery of flaws in their beloved Elizabeth, Longbourn shows us Elizabeth through the eyes of someone whose life is both simpler and much harder.

While Beauty Slept
Elizabeth Blackwell
September 23, 2014
Reviewed by: Tonia

This enchanting retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story follows the life of Elise, from her poor farming family to the riches of castle life, in this debut historical fiction by Elizabeth Blackwell.

Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
September 22, 2014
Reviewed by: Robin

This book has won every major SF award this year and for good reason.  An intriguing take on gender, time and what it means to be human.