Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders
By:
Julianna Baggott
December 22, 2015
Reviewed by: Nancy

Harriet Wolf’s life begins in a highly unusual way: since she appears sickly, her father sends her to a home for feeble-minded children and informs her mother that the baby is dead. Yet Harriet turns out to be a genius, and, against all odds, she becomes an acclaimed novelist. Her six books are literary successes as well as beloved classics. But there should be a seventh book to complete the series. What happened to it? Harriet dies without producing it, and rumors abound. But Harriet’s secret, like the rest of her unconventional life, is not what anyone expects.

Water Knife
By:
Paolo Bacigalupi
November 23, 2015
Reviewed by: Nancy

Water has become by far the most precious commodity in the American southwest. Everyone is fighting over water--states, local governments, citizens. We’re talking militias and gangs here, as well as courtroom battles. In this dangerous world, Angel Velasquez is a “water knife,” a ruthless enforcer of water rights. Lucy Monroe is a prize-winning journalist determined to report on the grim reality no matter the risk. Maria Villarosa is an orphaned teenager desperately looking for escape to a better place. Each has a role to play in this gritty, apocalyptic thriller.

Oh! You Pretty Things
By:
Shanna Mahin
November 4, 2015
Reviewed by: Nancy

When you work among Hollywood stars, you are held to a certain standard of youth and hipness. This is true even if you are a down-on-her-luck barista like Jess Dunne. Her boss may think she’s not cool enough for a barista anymore, but things start to look up when Jess begins working as a personal assistant for one celebrity and then another. The work is both exhausting and exhilarating as a line starts to blur: is Jess an employee or a friend? Shanna Mahin’s debut novel provides an authentic-feeling adventure behind the scenes of Hollywood.

The Walls Around Us
By:
Ren Suma
October 2, 2015
Reviewed by: Nancy

In the mood for a great ghost story? Picture two places, marked by untimely deaths. One, a space outside a dance studio where teenage ballerinas used to hang out, and two of them were murdered. The other, a juvenile detention center where all of the girls mysteriously died en masse. These two places may seem very different, but are they really? Violet belongs to one world, and Amber to the other. Together, they tell a marvelously spine-tingling tale.

The Wonder Garden
By:
Lauren Acampora
August 31, 2015
Reviewed by: Nancy

What an odd bunch of characters resides in Old Cranbury! Such strange secrets lurk behind bland and normal facades. One resident harbors a powerful desire to touch a brain. Another leaves his job in advertising to become a healer. Yet another finds herself paralyzed with indecision at a traffic intersection. One life touches another in this remarkable collection of short stories.

How to Start a Fire
By:
Lisa Lutz
August 1, 2015
Reviewed by: Nancy

At a college party one night, roommates Anna and Kate discover a passed-out Georgianna alone outside and decide to rescue her in a shopping cart. From this inauspicious beginning develops an enduring friendship among the three women. The tale of these quirky, spirited characters unfolds sporadically and quite unchronologically across decades. Two things will keep you turning the pages: figuring out what happened in the past, and wondering what comes next.

Borderline
By:
Liza Marklund
July 13, 2015
Reviewed by: Nancy

Swedish journalist Annika Bengtzon is settling back into her Stockholm office after a sojourn as a Washington, DC correspondent. But just as her current investigation is getting started, she learns that her husband Thomas has gone missing from his international conference in Kenya. Suddenly, her life is consumed with negotiations with kidnappers, ransom arrangements, and a hasty flight to Kenya--all while her newspaper expects her to provide exclusive coverage of her own unfolding ordeal!

The Forgers
By:
Bradford Morrow
June 6, 2015
Reviewed by: Nancy

In the world of rare books and manuscripts, narrator Will has something in common with Adam Diehl: they are both forgers, able to produce an authentic-looking inscription by Arthur Conan Doyle or Henry James and thereby make a profit of hundreds of thousands of dollars on a book. Will has been caught and has paid the penalty of financial restitution and community service. Adam's secret business, however, is uncovered only after he is found bludgeoned and, bizarrely, missing his hands.

Descent
By:
Tim Johnston
May 12, 2015
Reviewed by: Nancy

Caitlin, a champion runner about to enter college on an athletic scholarship, disappears one day on a run in the mountains. Her family is completely shattered by the loss, splintering apart as each member is driven by grief, guilt, and memories. Descent is a tense page-turner, yet it is also beautifully written, capturing the complexity of the characters and evoking a strong sense of a lonely place.

The Weight of Blood
By:
Laura McHugh
March 31, 2015
Reviewed by: Nancy

Henbane!--even the name suggests toxicity. In a small town in the Ozarks, the devil has plenty of namesakes among the landmarks, and the rough terrain hides untold secrets. Outsiders are never welcome, and Lucy feels the resentment even though she was born here. In fact, it was her mother who was the outsider, who disappeared mysteriously when Lucy was an infant and who still inspires tales of witchcraft sixteen years later. Now the butchered body of Lucy’s friend Cheri has turned up, and Lucy tries to investigate that death as well as her mother’s disappearance.