Hot Off Our Review Press!

Check out what we (MG staff and friends) have recently read and enjoyed, and other recommended reads. 




Check out the older not-so-hot-off-the-press reviews from each staff member.



From our November 2017 Newsletter:

The Tethered Mage Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316466875
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - October 24th, 2017

Melissa Caruson’s The Tethered Mage is a historical fantasy, set in an alternative 17th-century Venice where the doge uses the powers of his magical subjects to rule a Mediterranean empire. The novel is also a charming romance, as heroine Princess Amalia fights tradition to realize her love for the commoner soldier Marcello. Above all, the novel is an intelligent and sophisticated exploration of the political dimension of magic, how the power intrinsic to magic draws people inexorably into relationships based on domination and terror, and subsumes magical individuals into the state’s calculus of advantage and control. At once exciting, romantic, and sophisticated, The Tethered Mage is a fresh take on historical fantasy. Highly recommended! – David

The City of Brass Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062678102
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Voyager - November 14th, 2017

Nahri uses her quick wits and small magics to eke out a living in 18th Century Cairo; when her actions in soothing a possessed young woman have unexpected results, Nahri releases both the djinn, Dara, and a number of ghouls, neither of which she is prepared to encounter. Nahri, Dara, and their companions embark on adventures that will lead them beyond Daevabad, the titular city, from Qart Sahar to Tukharistan, engaging with extraordinary and magical beings associated with the four elements, and discovering the significance of Nahri’s mysterious heritage. Lush and rich with the power of storytelling, The City of Brass is a tale to savor over several pots of cardamom tea. –Maryelizabeth

It Devours!: A Welcome to Night Vale Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062476050
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - October 17th, 2017

The newest novel from the world of Night Vale is a delicious study of the intersection between science and religion. It’s a book about belief, relationships, interlopers, a mysterious desert otherworld, and a Smiling God. It follows a scientist, Nilanjana Sikdar, who is on a mission to discover the origin of mysterious sinkholes appearing around her town. Are they the result of a government conspiracy? Divine retribution from the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God? Do they have something to do with the House that Doesn’t Exist? Can Nilanjana figure it out before all of Night Vale is consumed? Whether you’re a fan of the podcast or not, this book is a treat! I couldn’t put it down! Joyfully, it devours! – Gary

Autonomous Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765392077
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - September 19th, 2017

Autonomous takes a keen look at an all too possible future, examining ideas of intellectual and personal freedom, gender identity, whether corporate morality is an oxymoron, and more – all while presenting an entertaining race-against-the-clock scenario with characters the reader will care about (even though some of the point-of-view characters have conflicting agendas). My favorite new pirate, Captain Judith “Jack” Chen, makes a living crafting street versions of pharmaceuticals – she discovers the latest drug, marketed as a performance enhancer, has an unintended side effect of being super-effective to the detriment of the user, and anyone in their manic work path. The parent company isn’t admitting any wrong-doing, and indeed has suggested Jack’s faux version is at fault. Jack endeavors to create an effective counteragent before she’s captured by the zealous agents of the International Property Coalition. This is a delicious balance of story and thought-provoking ideas. – Maryelizabeth

The Tiger's Daughter Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765392534
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - October 3rd, 2017

This quasi-epistolary work recounts the relationship between O-Shizuka (the Phoenix Empress, Daughter of Heaven, the Light of Hokaro, Celestial Flame, and swordswoman extraordinaire) and Barsalyya Shefali Alshar (Qorin horsewoman and leader). The two were born a month apart, mystically connected from their birth, both through omens and through the belief of their mothers, and yet vastly different in their upbringings and passions. Both their peoples engage in battle against invading demons in the Asian-inspired landscape. K. is a passionate tabletop fantasy gamer, and that influence comes through in the best way as Shizuka and Shefali face trials and tribulations together and separately. Compelling characters – I can’t wait to return to this world for more adventures.– Maryelizabeth

The Scarred Woman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525954958
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton Books - September 19th, 2017

The Scarred Woman features the cantankerous Carl Morck’s unusual and likable cold-case team, Department Q. In this book Copenhagen’s Department Q is tasked with investigating the murder of an elderly woman that is suspiciously similar to a cold case from a decade ago. Concurrently, a hit-and-run murderer of young women on welfare is on the loose, and Department Q’s smart and erratic Rose has a breakdown and disappears. The plot lines come together as Carl and his team investigate these cases and frantically search for Rose, before it is too late to save her. This book touches on a number of themes, including welfare system abuse, prostitution, physical disability, psychological abuse, and mental illness, but it is also laced with dark humor, kindness and love. For fans of Nordic noir, cranky detectives, dark humor, and social satire. – Kim

Bitch Planet Volume 1: Extraordinary Machine Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632153661
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - October 20th, 2015

So painfully misogynist that it wraps around to being the best feminist graphic novel ever. Bitch Planet is the story of a prison facility that is the only structure on an otherwise uninhabitable planet, and is populated entirely by “insubordinate” women. In this story, women who disagree with the oppressive patriarchy are sent to the “Bitch Planet” until they can be brainwashed and rereleased into society. When you are sick of politics and the state of our world, read Bitch Planet. It is the balm for patriarchal wounds of the soul. 10/10. – Sam

The Scarecrow Princess Cover Image
ISBN: 9781941302422
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Lion Forge - October 31st, 2017

Morrigan Moore, the personification of teen ennui, unwillingly accompanies her writer mother and elder brother on their move to a small town to immerse themselves in the local legend of the rapacious King of Crows, and the Scarecrow Prince who opposes him. Morrigan begins to form relationships with a local teen and the town’s elderly eccentric, but she has drawn the attention of the local murder of crows and the presence behind them. Vibrant art and engaging characters add to the satisfying storyline, suitable for tweens and up. – Maryelizabeth

Nameless Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534300934
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - February 14th, 2017

Super violent and foul, this cosmic horror story is as sick and twisted as it gets. Polynesian, Mayan, and Lovecraftian mythos inspire this bloody mess through a fractured storyline. It is condensed madness, a blood-soaked nightmare, a triumph of grotesquerie. If you like dark stories in graphic form, or horror told from unusual angles, this is the book for you. – Sam

Trees Volume 1 Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632152701
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - February 24th, 2015

Trees is a sophisticated title. It has three or more concurrent character-driven story lines told in a time where alien technology is here on Earth, and it is destroying society. Our beloved characters are learning and enduring in a world at the brink of war and utter annihilation, a fire being fueled by the misunderstood forces of gigantic alien pillars called Trees. The Trees are simply the backdrop, however, and it is the characters in this book that really shine. It is a story of human lows and highs, of love and hate, of compassion and fear. I’ll certainly be keeping up with this storyline! – Sam

Paper Girls, Volume 1 Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632156747
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - April 5th, 2016

Paper Girls is a nostalgic, 80’s themed, sci-fi urban thriller, with a great cast of interesting female protagonists, and time travel! Imagine if a gender swapped Stranger Things came upon a time machine, or perhaps if Stand By Me crashed into Back to the Future. A little scary, a little funny, and a lot of totally awesome. Great for fans of Stephen King’s It, Saga, or any 80s era sci-fi! – Sam

Otherworld Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101939321
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Press - October 31st, 2017

Otherworld, set in the near future, asks the important question of what real-world sacrifices people would be willing to make when offered the chance to immerse themselves in a virtual reality that engages all their senses. The mysterious Company that constructed Otherworld promises players a chance to live their “best lives,” with “No laws. No limits. No judgements.” But what are the consequences of (virtually) living without limits, whether engaging in survival tactics, or indulging one’s secret desires? What may be one participant’s utopia may be another’s nightmare. Teens Simon and Kat, once the closest of friends in real life, now are only able to connect in Otherworld. When Simon is desperately seeking Kat, he discovers much more than they bargained for. – Maryelizabeth

Staff Pick Logo
The Last Namsara Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062567987
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Teen - October 3rd, 2017

Covered in burn scars, feared by her people, and known as the bringer of death, the Iskari, Asha’s one purpose in life is to hunt dragons in the hopes of redeeming her corrupted existence. But the hundreds of dragon heads she delivers to her father’s throne room can’t save the kingdom from the unrest brewing in the streets or the cruelties of the past surfacing to demand retribution. From the world-building to the mix of harsh and gentle characters that come together to weave this tale of growth and change, I was a fan. Ciccarelli’s fast-paced writing whisks you into the world and before you know it you are nearing the end, reading slower and slower to postpone it. The Last Namsara shows the power of stories and makes you feel a full range of emotions including hope, the hope that dark futures can be changed and that we can learn and grow into the people we want to be, not the people we are told to be. – Constance

A Line in the Dark Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735227422
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - October 17th, 2017

This murder mystery reminded me a great deal of works by Megan Abbott and Laura Lippman. Told in two discrete sections, first in first person from the point of view of possibly unreliable narrator Jess Wong, then from a broader third person POV, it offers readers a reminder of the sometimes suffocating emotions of teenage girls and the occasionally explosive consequences. Jess is no paragon, especially because she stifles her romantic feelings for her best friend to the detriment of their relationship and more, but she is still a sympathetic and recognizable individual. A strong entry in the teen thriller field. – Maryelizabeth

The Memory Trees Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062366238
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - October 10th, 2017

Sorrow Lovegood’s strongly matriarchal family trees, depicted in the endpapers, are a strongly defining characteristic of herself – but she has been separated from that part of her roots since she was eight years old. Now, at 16, she returns for the summer to her mother and grandmother on their ancestral apple orchard in Vermont. Sorrow left because of the tragic death of her sister, Patience, who died under circumstances Sorrow can’t quite remember. Back with her depressed mother and silent-by-choice grandmother, Sorrow’s memories are stirred, especially when she comes into contact with the Lovegood’s historical adversaries, the Abrams. Wallace’s second novel will please readers of Shallow Graves, while providing a very different reading experience. – Maryelizabeth

The Chaos of Standing Still Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481499187
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Simon Pulse - November 28th, 2017

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of her best friend Lottie’s death, 18-year-old Ryn has even less desire than most travelers to spend one long day and night snowed in at the Denver airport. However, a chance encounter with a stranger with the same cell phone and case is the first in a series of events that draw Ryn out of her protective self-imposed emotional and artistic stasis. Lottie sent Ryn a text message right before her death; to Ryn’s magical thinking process, as long as it remains unread, there’s still a part of Lottie alive in her world. Charming, immediately emotional, and filled with wry observations about life, death, and the universe’s tendency towards chaos, this is a rewarding read. – Maryelizabeth

William Shakespeare's the Force Doth Awaken: Star Wars Part the Seventh Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594749858
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quirk Books - October 3rd, 2017

For fans of Star Wars and/or theater alike, The Force Doth Awaken is a delightful addition to the Shakespeare’s Star Wars saga! Doescher’s dedication and love of theater shines through every scene, from playful references to BB-8’s own iambic verse. I loved this book so much I can hardly wait for the next one. – Gary

Sorcery for Beginners: A Simple Help Guide to a Challenging & Arcane Art Cover Image
By Matt Harry, Juliane Crump (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781942645689
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Inkshares Inc. - October 10th, 2017

Matt Harry’s Sorcery for Beginners is a fun, fast, and furious story of teenagers discovering that magic is actually real. Fleeing from bullies, Owen Macready ducks into a strange bookstore called Codex Arcanum. Its proprietor insists he take a book of magical instruction called Sorcery for Beginners. Just like that, Owen and his pals become soldiers in a secret war against the terrible Euclideans, people who hate magic and wish to drive it from the world. The book impressively gets the life and tenor of contemporary teens perfectly. And the design of the book — the illustrations, the footnotes, the arrangement of paragraphs on the page — is striking and vivid. Reading the book you know at once that the author is brilliant, the book special, and the pleasure of reading it, wonderful. – David

Blackwing Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399587795
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ace Books - October 3rd, 2017

If you like your fantasy dark, with gritty, ruined characters fighting hopeless odds, in a world of endless war, with vast landscapes blighted by destruction, and the characters’ inner landscapes blackened to match, why, then, Ed McDonald’s Blackwing is just the novel for you. Captain Ryhalt Galharrow and his band of bounty hunters are caught in a war between staggering, incomprehensible powers: the Deep Kings for the dark side, the Nameless for the light. Forced to mount a desperate defense of their city against the Deep Kings’ innumerable and imaginatively evil hordes, Ryan & Co. fight on, grimly, for each other, for brief remembered love, and if to die, then at least to die fighting. What a book. Not for the faint-hearted. Highly recommended! – David

An Unkindness of Ghosts Cover Image
ISBN: 9781617755880
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Akashic Books - October 3rd, 2017

Solomon’s stellar Afrofuturistic debut (a first for Akashic) is set aboard the HSS Matilda, an interstellar space vessel that carries not only a broad spectrum of humanity, but also some of its most virulent traits, including racism and classism. Self-taught medic Aster Grey administers to those in need on the ship’s lower decks, tends a secret botanical laboratory, and seeks answers to the secrets of her dead mother’s past – when she’s not performing mandatory slave labor for benefit of the ruling white supremacists, experiencing violence at the hand of the ship’s enforcers, or trying to have an intellectual if not emotional understanding of how to interact with those closest to her. The inevitable comparisons to Octavia Butler’s work are deserved, and I look forward to seeing more from Solomon. – Maryelizabeth

Black Bird of the Gallows Cover Image
ISBN: 9781633758148
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Entangled Publishing LLC - September 5th, 2017

Being a teenager and falling in love for the first time is always a rush of ups and downs filled with its own array of complications. When your dream guy happens to be a harbinger of death who turns into a crow that travels around with his murder feeding off of death energy, the level of complications escalates quite quickly, especially when a Beekeeper feeding off of chaos is thrown into the mix with his own dark agenda that could destroy any chance of happiness. Black Bird of the Gallows is a darkly fun read with an interesting mythology that hooked me right away. Its snarky protagonist who learns to embrace and love not only herself but those around her while on the run from natural and unnatural dangers is an engaging read with a beautiful ending that whispers answers as well as new questions into your mind as you read the last page. I am excited for more books in this world and getting to know more about these characters’ stories and mythology. – Constance

Daughter of the Burning City Cover Image
ISBN: 9780373212439
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harlequin Teen - July 25th, 2017

Amanda Foody pulls you into the smoky world of Gomorrah, where undying fires fueled by the souls of the dead light the traveling festival. In this den of assassins, thieves, and entertainers, we find an illusionist with the power to turn her imaginings into flesh and bone. She has constructed herself a family of these illusions and when the impossible happens and one of them is murdered, her world begins to splinter apart as she frantically searches for the villain who is systematically killing off her family. Truths are never simple though and she is tumbled into a world of political intrigue few know of, where the boy she shouldn’t trust seems her only ally. Foody does the remarkable task of weaving an unpredictable tale that readers can try to figure out but won’t until she decides to let you in on the secret. Daughter of the Burning City contains unique characters not frequently seen in its genre thrown into a world of magic, murder, and self-discovery. – Constance

Madness Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062457851
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Teen - September 19th, 2017

Zac Brewer manages the delicate balance between making the point of view of a teenager with suicidal ideation empathetic and accessible without glorifying her emotional crisis in Madness. When Brooke is released from her recovery center after a suicide attempt, she struggles with reestablishing relationships and routines with family, friends, and schoolmates, even her BFF, Duckie. At first, new arrival Derek seems to be Brooke’s soulmate, the only person who understands what she’s feeling – but is their budding romance helpful or harmful, especially as it begins to isolate Brooke from other people she loves? Part Pretty in Pink and more than a little Heathers for teens in the 21st Century, the book also offers resources for any readers identifying with Brooke’s pain. – Maryelizabeth

The Blind: A Chilling Psychological Suspense Cover Image
ISBN: 9780778330875
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Park Row - September 26th, 2017

Samantha (Sam) James is a mess. She is an alcoholic, a complicit partner in domestic abuse, and completely unstable. She knows this about herself even as she continues to drink, date her boyfriend, and show up at work sleepless and incapable of clear thought … night after night and day after day. Sam has little or no self-worth and believes that this is the only life to which she is entitled. Her working hours are spent trying to save other people as a way to redeem and save herself. She is the top psychologist at Typhlos, a psychiatric institution in Manhattan, and the last stop for hard-to-reach psychiatric patients. She prides herself in her ability to fool all of her co-workers, her boss, her patients, and her best friend, David, while maintaining her status as a superhero on the job. This is a compulsive, engrossing, and outstanding debut.  – Terry

Bluebird, Bluebird Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316363297
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mulholland Books - September 12th, 2017

Attica Locke’s books are rich in atmosphere and slow-drip tension. Her latest title, Bluebird, Bluebird, is no exception and right from the beginning, readers are immersed in a small town of tin-roof joints, sultry blues, and an unmistakable racial divide. Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger who’s grappling with his own personal issues, is called on to investigate a double murder in the rural East Texas town of Lark. It’s no ordinary double murder either: a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman are both found dead in the bayou, days apart from one another. Darren is plunged into a world where family secrets and long-simmering resentment threaten to destroy the tight-lipped community and anyone who dares to seek the truth. This is Attica Locke at the top of her game — a powerful and timely novel about race, justice, and true love. – Sarah

Righteous Cover Image
By Joe Ide
ISBN: 9780316267779
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mulholland Books - October 17th, 2017

Joe Ide’s debut novel, IQ, was one of my favorite books of 2016. The concept was cool and unique: an edgy Sherlock Holmes with a hip hop flavor. Righteous is no different and picks up right where we left off. Isaiah Quintabe or IQ receives a cry for help from his brother’s former girlfriend, Sarita: find her younger sister, Janine. What follows is a sometimes comical high stakes journey to the neon lights of Las Vegas where Isaiah finds himself pitted against a psychotic loan shark and a Chinese triad. Meanwhile, he continues to obsess over the hit and run that killed his older brother, Marcus, eight years ago. The two storylines intertwine together seamlessly, revealing IQ’s intelligence, wit, and buried pain. I love the way Ide guides us down one path only to bring us to a conclusion that is surprising yet so inevitable, we wonder how we missed it. Another standout from Ide and the IQ series. – Sarah

Bonfire Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524759841
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown Archetype - November 7th, 2017

From actress (Jessica Jones), producer, writer, Ritter comes an engaging debut that combines a tortured past with a compelling mystery about a small town that is embroiled in a possible corruption scandal brought about by the company that sustains the community. Going home again is never easy, but it is particularly painful for Abby Williams, who left the small town of Barrens, Indiana 10 years ago to escape her school peers who hated her and pursue a life outside of the rural nightmare of her youth. Part Erin Brockovich, part Mean Girls, Abby Williams is back in Barrens in her role as an environmental lawyer and is only minutes into her return when she begins running into the people who make up her tortured history. Though she is in Barrens to investigate the role of Optimal Plastics in the reported health issues in Barrens, she also begins to uncover the circumstances that lead to the sudden departure of one of her childhood friends over 10 years ago. And then things get complicated. It turns out that this visit is more than just work to Abby; it is really a trip to her past to see if she can free herself from the damage inflicted on her when she lived there. – Terry

The Driver Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101986363
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton Books - August 8th, 2017

Michael Skellig was a military specialist of the “I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you” type. That life is now over. He now runs a limo service with a few other broken ex-military friends. When his latest client, hotshot skateboarder Bismarck Avila, becomes a target for assassination, Michael’s skills kick in and he saves Avila’s life — after which Avila blackmails Michael into being his driver/bodyguard. Meanwhile his lawyer/ex-girlfriend is trying to keep him out of jail, while his latest love interest is a cop that’s investigating the attempted murder. Michael is caught in the middle and trying to stay above water. This book is fast paced and filled with danger, gruesome action and a sense of humor that will keep you turning the pages until the last bullets fly. – Emilio

Motor Crush, Volume 1 Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534301894
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - June 20th, 2017

Motor Crush is a rapid-fire, high-action cyberpunk racing story set in near future southern California. It has a strong female protagonist bike racer, and her father, a bike mechanic and ex-racer, fighting for dominance in the hyper competitive bike racing league of the future. Illegal drugs for racing are popular in the unlicensed racing scene, and our protagonist has a strong addiction that she manages by racing in the underground races at night. Throw in a love story, some bike gangs with kickass style, and a mysterious backstory, and you are racing along with Motor Crush. – Sam

Tokyo Ghost Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781534300460
Availability: Backordered
Published: Image Comics - July 11th, 2017

Tokyo Ghost is a brutal cyberpunk dystopia high on amphetamines and 114 octane race fuel — high paced action at its finest. If that was all it was, however, it would fall by the wayside as another fun romp. I was surprised to find that Tokyo Ghost has heart, and it gets a lot done in its two volumes. There is a shocking amount of character development for the protagonists, Debbie and Led. Their childhood, their love, and their losses are all on display, and make you care about what happens to their tiny glimmer of hope in the terrible future they inhabit. – Sam

From Our October Newsletter:

An Unkindness of Magicians Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481451192
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Saga Press - September 26th, 2017

In An Unkindness of Magicians, Kat Howard imagines a war among the magical families of New York City, conducted by duels brilliant, gorgeous, and fatal, to decide which of the Houses will rule the rest. Breaking into this circle of genteel violence is Sydney, the novel’s heroine, an outsider of extraordinary magical ability--and rage. For Sydney knows, bitterly and personally, the dreadful secret of the magical aristocrats’ power. Follow Sydney as she pursues her vengeance and fights to free the magical world of corruption, in a tale that is exciting, imaginative, and dark. Magic has its price. Even Sydney must pay it. Highly recommended! – David

The Refrigerator Monologues Cover Image
By Catherynne M. Valente, Annie Wu (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781481459341
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Saga Press - June 6th, 2017

“Let’s have terrible things happen to a significant woman in the protagonist’s life in order to provide the protagonist with motivation” is neither a new trope, nor one exclusive to comics storytelling, but the medium is rife with examples thereof, six of which are brilliantly tweaked just enough to avoid existing in any particular comic universes in this powerful collection. The characters in Valente’s stories are angry, sad, and fully aware of the way in which they previously existed less as characters in their own right, than as plot devices – just one of the topics they discuss in the strange limboland they exist in, where they periodically gather as the Hell Hath Club in the Lethe Café to recount their tales.  – Maryelizabeth

River of Teeth Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765395238
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - May 23rd, 2017

The basis for this story is a plan that our government came up in the early 1900’s to import hippos into the Louisiana rivers and marshlands to be bred for a possible meat source. Nevermind that they are ferocious creatures with very strong jaws, capable of killing a person pretty darned fast. Bad idea rejected. River of Teeth takes place in an alternate 1890’s America where feral hippos have run amok in the bayous. Professional hippo wranglers are hired to clear out a particular bayou where a gambling ship abides.  The leader, Winslow Houndstooth, his faithful hippo Ruby, and his crew are on the job. Yes, we have man-eating hippo mayhem in the old west. The tame hippos are ridden rather like horses and can navigate the waterways so their riders can search for the deadly feral hippos and hopefully herd them away from populated areas. What ensues is a clever and violent caper, where Houndstooth and his crew are trying to make their fortune by taking on a very, very dangerous job. Just go ahead and suspend your disbelief. Your reward is a thoroughly enjoyable caper that comes with a big bite. – Linda

Staff Pick Logo
The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding Cover Image
ISBN: 9781484778173
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Disney-Hyperion - September 5th, 2017

Growing up in his small town, Prosper Redding always knew one thing: that among the illustrious and famous Redding family, he was extraordinarily unexceptional. That is, until he finds out that a 400 year old demon set out to curse his family is actually living inside him. NBD. Now Prosper has to find a way to rid himself of the fiend without hurting himself in the process or caving into the fiend’s incessant demands to strike a deal for his soul. But as he teams up with a young witch and as his relationship with the demon Alastor grows, Prosper begins to realize that things in the demon underworld might be circling out of control.  Between its Autumn setting, ancient family curses, witchy friends, and sarcastic demons, The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding is perfect Halloween reading. I adored this book! – Kelly

Hunted Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062422286
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Teen - March 14th, 2017

It seldom happens that you read the right book at exactly the right time in your life, but when you do it is a magical moment you don’t forget. Hunted is not only well written but an individual amongst retellings that took that final step into becoming a story that stands on its own without any knowledge of the original inspiration needed to fall in love with it. The story and dynamics between the Beauty and the Beast are refreshing and captivating. They both have growth throughout the tale and their story is one that called to my soul as it began to unravel into an ending that speaks perfectly to how many of us have felt at one point or another in our lives. Hunted holds the darker, richer notes found in older fairy tales that weave you into their world and pull at your heartstrings in an aching manor. I was not expecting to fall in love, but whole heartedly did, with these characters as well as the author’s eloquent writing. It’s a beautiful story with a strong female protagonist and the roles of the Hunted and hunter are constantly shifting in an exquisite dance. – Constance

Wonder Woman: Warbringer Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399549731
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - August 29th, 2017

Warbringer ably sits in the sweet spot of the Venn diagram between established fans of the tales of Diana, Amazon Princess of Themyscria, and those who may not have experienced her stories beyond her role in the biggest box office smash of summer 2017. Teenage Diana is struggling to define herself on the mystical island, inhabited by warrior women of all cultures, transported there after their deaths in battle. Diana’s rescue of contemporary teen Alia is a literally earth-shaking violation of the island’s laws – she is advised by the Oracle to let Alia, a descendant of Helen of Troy, first of the haptandra, the Warbringers, die, in order to reduce world-wide strife. Diana defies the Oracle and leaves the island with Alia, determined to try to put an end to the curse of her lineage. This is a great story of female friendships, and difficult choices. – Maryelizabeth

An Enchantment of Ravens Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481497589
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - September 26th, 2017

Margaret Rogerson’s An Enchantment of Ravens is a lovely, remarkable exploration of the heart of magic. Isobel paints the Fair Folk’s portraits, in exchange for useful spells and cantrips. When her portrait of Rook, the Autumn Prince, violates all taboos and discloses his secret human feelings of sorrow, Isobel is seized and taken to Fairie to answer for her crime. The novel artfully balances human qualities against fay ones: mortality and immortality, human craft and fairy magic, peasant life and fairy aristocracy. And though separated by all these aspects, Isobel and Rook are still drawn to each other, in an impossible love. This extraordinary book, on the level of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell or Lud-in-the-Mist, is the author’s debut novel. True magic. – David

Akata Warrior Cover Image
ISBN: 9780670785612
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - October 3rd, 2017

Sunny Nwazue was introduced to fantasy readers in Akata Witch, in which the Nigerian-American 12-year-old with albinism discovered that the differences between her New York City birthplace and the home she shares with her Igbo parents in Nigeria are separated by more than just cultural differences. Sunny is a member of the magic-wielding Leopard People; in addition to attending traditional school and playing soccer, she attends a magical school with other Leopard People students, and lives a life beyond her family’s scope. When Sunny experiences troubling dreams, she is informed that they are portents of a significant ecological disaster – one she and her allies can take action against, if Sunny can get herself out of the difficulties she’s created with her teacher by breaking the rules of her magic. Nnedi’s integration of multiple cultures and magical systems, including both Nigerian magic and creations of her own invention, will delight readers of all ages. – Maryelizabeth

The Trick Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501155826
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Published: Atria Books - September 19th, 2017

Prague, 1934. As the world descends into war around him, a young boy named Mosche finds wonder and magic in a traveling circus act. The Trick follows young Mosche as he leaves his world—and his Jewish identity—behind to join the circus as a stage magician. In alternating chapters we watch Mosche grow into adulthood in world ravaged by hate as modern day 10 year old Max seeks out the now elderly, cantankerous magician in attempt to restore his family. Two boys. Two stories. Two lives converging into one poignant and utterly absorbing story of love and hate, rejection and belonging, defeat and victory. Like a true magician, Bergmann casts a spell, weaving a tale that will make us all believe in the eternal magic of storytelling. – Kelly

Forever and a Death Cover Image
ISBN: 9781785654237
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Published: Hard Case Crime - June 13th, 2017

Although the blurb and cover photo on the book indicates that Forever and a Death was based on a possible James Bond story, it was rewritten by Westlake when the script was not chosen for a Bond film.  Instead, he turned it into a wonderful espionage / chase thriller with bad guy businessman Richard Curtis seeking revenge on Hong Kong, after Chinese rule was restored and he was no longer welcome there. He has hired engineer George Manville to create a method of leveling land on an island using a wave created by explosions. The first use of this technique is on an island to be developed into a resort. It will cause an oscillating wave that will turn the island, basically landfill and coral reefs, into “mud soup”. The results will make it easier and cheaper to develop. Pick up this unexpected treat, Forever and a Death, because Donald Westlake was a great storyteller. You won’t be disappointed if you are looking for a fun, escapist thriller. – Linda

Bannerless Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544947306
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Published: John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books - July 11th, 2017

A civilization of survivors in a future version of the United States’ West Coast – which has been ravaged by extreme weather and other consequences of human behavior – recognize the importance of strict shared behavioral guidelines, including population control, to create a survivable environment. But even in a time of enforced social contracts, there are occasional violations, and a need for law enforcement professionals, called investigators. Her first significant case, investigating the suspicious death of a man in a nearby town, is further complicated when it reunites investigator Enid with a past lover. This cross-genre work will appeal to both SF and mystery readers.  – Maryelizabeth

Gone to Dust Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765391285
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Published: Forge - August 15th, 2017

I admit it. I am a sucker for a smart, sexy, funny, damaged private detective in a small town setting. And that is what I have found in Goldman’s excellent, engrossing debut. Niles Shapiro made a reputation for himself by solving a case that eluded the police several years ago. This, in combination with his long-time friendship with Edina Police detective Anders Ellegaard, brings him into a case involving a local woman who has been murdered in her home under unusual circumstances in the quiet town of Edina, Minnesota. Niles has lived in Edina all his life, knows his way around the frozen terrain, and is in touch with most of the locals. In fact, some of the people from his past become major suspects as he investigates this crime through the freezing and icy Minnesota winter. Goldman is an Emmy Award-winning television writer whose credits include writing for Seinfeld and Ellen. All of this makes for an entertaining and lively read. I can hardly wait for the second book in this sure-to-be-a-hit series. –Terry

Secrets of the Weird Cover Image
ISBN: 9781940658803
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Published: Grey Matter Press - July 11th, 2017

If Clive Barker and William S. Burroughs spawned a love child, you’d discover her secret self in Secrets of the Weird. We meet Trixie, a transgender woman on the streets of Sweetville, desperate to earn enough cash to finish her transition. The city Trixie haunts is a nightmare Pleasure Island, roamed by punks, prostitutes, and neo-Nazis, frosted with a heavy dose of the drug, Sweet Candy. A hive-mind of gaunt mutants, nicknamed Withering Wyldes, whose sexless husks emerge from chemical cocoons, take obsession with body image to morbid extremes. The Angelghoul leads a cannibal cult to “Consumption Enlightement,” holding up a black mirror to mindless consumerism. Identical twin narcissists with an investment empire, turn their appetites on each other like a self-consuming snake. In this funhouse of mirrors, Trixie finds true love, falling for a straight-edge punk who wants to save the world. She hides the flesh she loathes from him, fearing rejection. When a dwarf surgeon offers Trixie her final solution, she’ll have to decide if the knife is her friend or foe.  Stroup’s writing is beautiful; his visons dangerous. “Reassign, realign, redefine.”  – Rob