After graduating from Northern Michigan University with my degree in History it feels wonderful to fall back into the fiction world. Don't get me wrong, I love my non-fiction but it feels great to not be constantly checking footnotes, if only for a while. I've always been an avid reader and spend most of my daydreaming time at Hogwarts, walking along the shores of Prince Edward Island, or adventuring around the Yebba Dim Day. 

I love fiction and non-fiction but unfortunately if you need a recommendation for a gardening book, I'm probably the last one to ask. Just ask my anything-but-green thumb and my poor dead ficus plant, Gilbert.  

I look forward to sharing and learning about books with the wonderful McLean & Eakin community and PLEASE, if I recommend Abarat by Clive Barker, trust that it is wonderful, even if the cover art looks a bit scary. 

Natural Histories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609805517
Availability: Special Order
Published: Seven Stories Press - June 10th, 2014

This book is chocolate. This book is your favorite red wine. In this
short story collection Nettel manages to seduce you with five stories of
human struggle mirrored in the natural world. In the first story you're
hooked as one couples subtle feuding is mirrored in the struggles of
their fish. Nettel traps you with subtle similarities to each natural
element and deep human emotion. Perfect for those in need of a decadent
literary treat.

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Henna House Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476740270
Availability: Special Order
Published: Scribner Book Company - August 12th, 2014

Henna House is a rich, beautiful account of young Adela Damari, a
Yemenite Jew growing up in the 1920s and 1930s. Her story begins at five
when, in the wake of her father's worsening illness and to avoid being
confiscated under the Orphans Decree, her parents must quickly find her a
husband. Adela is plagued by misfortune with potential husbands and
chooses to instead find solitude in the delicate and mesmerizing henna
that her Aunt Rahel and cousin Hani bring into her life.
This book is packed with beauty, heartbreak, love, harsh reality
and wonder that carries you away to Yemen to experience something new
and wonderful.

While Beauty Slept Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399166235
Availability: Special Order
Published: Amy Einhorn Books - February 20th, 2014

To anyone, like myself, who drooled over Gail Carson Levine's fairy
tale brilliance, this is your book. While beauty slept is a wonderfully
written version of Sleeping Beauty for adults. Written from the
perspective of a poor farm girl turned Queen's attendant, Elise, you
learn the "truth" of the tale of sleeping beauty as she recounts the
story to her granddaughter. Following in her mother's footsteps, Elise
leaves her grim life behind and seeks out a job at the castle. Thanks to
her mothers experience and training, Elise finds herself as the Queen's
chambermaid. In this position she is privy to all the royal secrets and
the shame of the still childless Queen and uses her charms to quickly
rise through the ranks to Queen's attendant. Elise must make many
decisions regarding her position at the castle, manipulative members of
court, the truly wicked Aunt Millicent, friendship and love. With a far
more realistic and believable series of events than the original fairy
tale, this is a tale you can truly get invested in.

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The Kept Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062236739
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - January 7th, 2014

Wow. There really are no words for The Kept that could really do it
justice. It is the most disturbing yet beautiful book I have ever read.
Set in the winter of 1897, midwife Elspeth Howell returns home from
months away at work to find her husband and four children murdered in
their small country home. By some shred of luck, Caleb, her
twelve-year-old son survives and the two must endure the most
devastating experience of their lives so far and venture out into the
world to find their family's murderers. Over the course of the story you
learn that Elspeth may not be everything you think she is and Caleb
learns more about himself than he would ever bargain for. This is a
story of obsession, retribution, redemption, loss and love. Despite all
of its rough and disturbing exterior, this book is beautifully written
and definitely worth the time.

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The Snow Child Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316175661
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Reagan Arthur Books - November 6th, 2012

The snow child is beautiful. Set in a wild Alaska in the 1920s, this is
the story of Jack and Mable and the magic that Alaska offers them. The
weight of never having had children weighs heavily on them both, driving
them away from the pitying and prying eyes of their friends and family
and consequently deeper into despair into the lonely wilderness. In a
rare moment of playfulness they decide to build a snow man, or rather a
snow girl which helps to bring the distant couple back to one another
and helps to set the stage for something a little more mystical.  The
next day after discovering their destroyed snow girl the couple notice a
stranger in their forest, a young girl and her pet fox. Filled with such a pure and wild magical realism, this book is nothing but sweetness and wonder. Eowyn Ivey has created something beautiful in this story and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

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The Vanishing Cover Image
ISBN: 9781401341947
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hyperion Books - January 21st, 2014

What a fun read! A little mystery, a few ghosts,
overlapping lives and memories, there is so much happening in this book
it should never leave you bored. Julia Bishop is going through a rough
patch... to put it lightly. About three months prior to the beginning of
our story her late husband is outed as being the "mid-western Bernie
Madoff" and after ruining the lives of everyone around them he takes his
own life leaving Julia to pick up the pieces. Deep in her well of
depression she is surprised when a strange man arrives at her door
offering her a job and a new life. With nothing left to lose she is
taken away to a remote mansion in northern Minnesota and starts anew as
the companion to the famous horror authoress, Amaris Sinclair, one of
Julia's literary heroes. Upon arrival at her new haven in the
woods, aptly named Havenwood, Julia finds herself overrun with deja vu
and creepy coincidences. Is this all just a side effect from coming off
her medication or is there something more sinister at work at the
mansion? With a cast of characters you are dying to love but
not sure if you're supposed to, this is a light yet enthralling mystery
that blends the old with the new seamlessly and wonderfully.

Sunflowers Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061765278
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - October 13th, 2009

This is a book about love, passion, art and madness. Set in the
last few years of his life, this is a book about Vincent Van Gogh and a
woman who loved him. Told from the perspective of Rachel, a prostitute
in Arles, France who imagined something better from her life, Sunflowers
tells the story of the two lovers fighting against obsession and
oncoming madness. Rachel struggles to keep her love and the hope it has
given her afloat as the eccentric artist becomes more engrossed and
depressed with his art and lack of success. Beautifully
written and well researched, Sheramy Bundrick does a great job in
writing one of my favorite novels. This book would be great for fans of
historical fiction similar to The Paris Wife and Call Me Zelda.

Staff Pick Logo
Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062244987
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - November 5th, 2013

Two Old Women is based on an Athabascan Indian Legend from the upper
Yukon River Valley in Alaska. This is the legend of two old women who
were abandoned by their tribe in the middle of a desolate winter to die
in the cold Alaskan wilderness. The tribe felt the women were slowing
The People down in their journey to a new camp. Left to their own
devices this is the story of how two women, betrayed by their family and
friends  and left in the wilderness to die, decide to live instead.
Aged 80 and 75 years old, Ch'idzigyaak and Sa' realize that they may
still have the power to survive and do. This legend is a parable for not
only respecting the wisdom of your elders but also for elders to
respect the young and themselves. Sa' says it perfectly, "Yes, in their
own way they have condemned us to die! They think that we are too old
and useless. They forget that we, too, have earned the right to live! So
I say if we are going to die, my friend, let us die trying, not
sitting." It's quick and worth it, read it.

Staff Pick Logo
The Night Guest Cover Image
ISBN: 9780865477735
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 1st, 2013

Ruth is seventy-five years old and managing pretty well
in her ocean side Australian home, that is until one night when she
wakes from sleep completely convinced there is a tiger in her house. She
can smell it's musky jungle smell and hear it sniffing outside her
door. Her cats stand alert and when the sniffing comes closer to her
bedroom they escape. Ruth is thrilled. What could be more exciting than
being eaten by a tiger?

The next day, she is caught off guard by a visitor, a woman who
claims to be a government carer, there to look after her and her home.
To everyone in Ruth's life, this woman, Frida, appears to be a godsend
but as Ruth gets to know her she starts to wonder what Frida's motives

Frustratingly written with an unreliable narrator, the Night Guest
is wonderful. The buildup in suspense and the frustrating lack of
certainty are welcome, not to mention Fiona McFarlane's beautiful
writing style.

If you are looking for a beautifully rendered thrill, a touching
look into aging, or perhaps a sweet brief moment of romance, you should
read this.

Crooked Tree Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780472031528
Availability: Out of Print
Published: University of Michigan Press - May 8th, 2006

So by saying, Crooked Tree is the Scariest thing I've ever read,
it may not mean much because I don't LOVE scary. In fact I usually avoid
it. I read Crooked Tree because both my Grandmother and my Sister
recommended it to me and since you don't know my family, this is
something that my brain cannot even conceive of. What is this bizarre
book that drew such different people with such different tastes to
agreement?Crooked Tree is a fictional spin on the local lore of
the Petoskey area. It takes a look at how, when nature is pushed too
far, it can sometimes fight back. Even if you aren't looking for
something so thrilling, just try it. It is insanely good...just ask my

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The Sweetest Hallelujah Cover Image
ISBN: 9780778315193
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mira Books - July 30th, 2013

Set in Mississippi in 1955, Sweetest Hallelujah follows the lives of three women. When Betty Jewel is diagnosed with terminal cancer she must face up to the reality that there is no one in her life to take her daughter after her death. Feeling desperate, Betty puts an ad in the newspaper asking for someone to care for her daughter, someone to love her. Across town, recently widowed Cassie is looking for a way to recover from her grief and regain herself. When Cassie spots Betty's ad she is immediately drawn to it launching a new relationship that defies the expectations of the community as well as the era in which the story is set. Hussey tells a beautiful story of family and friendship in a setting overrun with racial tensions and segregated realities.

Staff Pick Logo
Margot Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594486432
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 3rd, 2013

In the blistering heat of the Philadelphia summer, Margie Franklin works hard to resist the urge to remove her sweater. Her friends try to convince her to come out to a movie, a drink, something, but she declines. A single woman working in a small Jewish law firm in 1959, few of her peers would suspect that quiet Margie from Poland was not what she seemed. The truth of her past, her secret fears and former identity, her everything was hid just under her sleeve in a small sequence of faded numbers. Jillian Cantor, in her historical fiction Margot, tells the story of Margot Frank and her new life in America after escaping her torment in Nazi Germany. Margot, or Margie's, carefully constructed walls to keep her past out of her present are shattered with the publication and movie adaptation of her younger sister Anne's Diary and Margot is forced to face her fears, her resentments and herself. Margot is a beautiful story and a fun yet humbling read. Honestly, I couldn't put it down.

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Doomed Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385533034
Availability: Special Order
Published: Doubleday Books - October 8th, 2013

SPOILER WARNING!The much anticipated sequel to Damned, Doomed
is just as mouth-wateringly delicious as Damned. Finding herself
trapped with the living until the next Halloween, Maddie Spencer goes
back to her old haunts and learns just how much her telemarketing
exploits in Hell have  altered the natural state of good and evil. Given
her parents bizarrely influential role in society and radiating
confidence, they have developed a new religion based around being rude,
bad language, and bad hygiene, promising that these things would most
assuredly get you into heaven and thus condemning you to hell. Maddy
must stop her parents from condemning the world to Hell and continue her
battle against the Devil. 
you're not don't read it.

Call Me Zelda Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451239921
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New American Library - May 7th, 2013

There are a lot of books out now about Zelda Fitzgerald and THIS is my
favorite. The story is told from the perspective of Zelda's psychiatric
nurse while she undergoes treatment for her mental illness. Anna,
Zelda's nurse, finds peace and purpose in her work but upon Zelda's
admittance to her hospital, Anna's life would change forever. Zelda's
larger than life personality is intoxicating and terrifying as she
teeters on the edge of sanity. Anna and Zelda become fast friends
helping each other cope with their pasts and make the necessary steps
toward their futures. If you are looking for a great story of friendship
or if you loved The Paris Wife, read this!

Choke Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385720922
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - June 11th, 2002

Choke compiles multiple story-lines into one strange web of Palahniuk
literary perfection. Victor works as a historical reenactor by day and
subtle con artist by night. Victor plays on the ego's of others and
allows himself to choke at multiple restaurants a night knowing that at
least one person will be able to save him and develop a bond that would
quite literally pay off in the long run. in his free time he picks up
girls at sex addiction meetings and tries to pry the secrets of his
father out of his former anarchist, now mentally unsound, mother, who is
convinced he is her lawyer and not her son. This is a book that will
have you confused until you realize how awesome it really is.

Invisible Monsters Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393319293
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 17th, 1999

Invisible monsters begins with a former supermodel adjusting to
life as an "invisible monster" after losing the bottom half of her face
in an accident to be left, undescribed. She is swept into the
intoxicating world of the beautiful Brandy Alexander.
To fully describe this book would be a feat of which I am not
capable. Invisible Monsters is the kind of book that keeps you reeling,
the kind of book that makes you wonder why it's 3:00 AM and you are
still reading something you don't understand.

Damned Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307476531
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - October 2nd, 2012

Damned tells the story of Madison Spencer, a thirteen year old girl who
finds herself in hell. Palahniuk's hell is far more disturbed than any
images of hell I could muster, and if you are a sucker for imagery this
guy will do the trick. Maddie winds up in some sort of bizarre John
Hughes inspired group of friends adventuring around hell before finding
herself a job as a telemarketer. Through her position as a telemarketer
she is able to increase numbers of damned souls, ensuring the living
populace the perks of hell most certainly outweigh those behind the
heavenly gates. Damned can be grotesque, perverse and awkward but it is
most certainly a fun and unique read.

Bloomability Cover Image
ISBN: 9780064408233
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - December 4th, 2012

I first read Bloomability when I was about ten and instantly
fell in love. My copy is a tattered wreck from years of re-reading again
and again.
Bloomability is the story of Dinnie Doone, a girl who learns about
opportunity whether she wants to or not. Taken hostage by her aunt and
uncle, or at least that's what she thinks of it as, she is taken to
Switzerland to attend a boarding school and learn about all the things
her path would have never offered her back home. Dinnie goes fishing in
crisp Swiss streams, skiing in the Alps, she learns about life,
friendship, and a little about young love. This is a story about a girl
coming into her own and seeing the world unfold around her.
In my mind this is just as fantastic as Walk Two Moons (Sharon Creech) if not better.

Absolutely Normal Chaos (Walk Two Moons #2) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780064406321
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - April 24th, 2012

Mary Lou Finney has plenty to do without having to do her summer
reading and journaling for school. Aside from hanging out with her
friends or unlocking the mysteries behind boys and boyfriends. Despite
what she expected this is a story of a girl who learns about first love,
vocabulary and a guy named Odysseus and his trip home.
This would be great for a girl whose not too keen on reading or perhaps isn't ready for the Young Adult section.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Rpkg) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780064409667
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - April 24th, 2012

For lovers of Ella Enchanted, PICK ME!!
In a Kingdom far far away a King and Queen have two young
daughters. Princess Meryl is fierce, wild and craves adventure, Princess
Addie is prim and proper and more than happy to stay in the warm castle
where everything is safe and spider free. Despite their differences the
sisters are best friends and would do anything for the other.
When the Gray Death sweeps through the Kingdom and Princess Meryl
is struck with the illness, it is up to quiet, adventure averting Addie
to go out in search of a cure before it's too late. Addie goes up
against Dragons, Gryphons and meets a handsome young Wizard with
stunning white eyelashes.
This is the best sort of fairy tale, fraught with courage, perseverance, magic, love and girls who can kick butt! P.S. did I mention there are no spiders...awesome!

The Transall Saga Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375873232
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - March 8th, 2011

For lovers of Gary Paulsen AND lovers of a bit of sci-fi this is
it. Transall Saga is a thrilling tale of a boy named Mark who goes out
on a solo camping trip in the desert and ends up getting sucked into a
mysterious beam of light. Mark is transported to a strange world with a
new set of rules and is forced to survive. Mark spends years as a
stranger in this world learning about the cultures and creatures that
fill it and attempting to find his place as returning to Earth, as he
knows it, seems impossible.
Transall Saga is a great story and would be great for boys and girls alike.

Sing Down the Moon Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547406329
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - September 13th, 2010

From the author of Island of the Blue Dolphins, this is the
story of Bright Morning growing up in her tribe and her resilience in
the face of the near apocalyptic encroachment of White Settlers in her
region. More than an honest and well written historical fiction, Scott
O'Dell gives us a beautiful story and a beautiful heroine with enough
spirit and beauty to withstand overwhelming change and still find beauty
in the world.
Just read it. Trust me.

Growing Up Psychic: My Story of Not Just Surviving But Thriving--And How Others Like Me Can, Too Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307956743
Availability: Backordered
Published: Harmony - April 3rd, 2012

Having spent many nights in college staying up with my roommates to
watch Paranormal State marathons and re-runs on television, when I
heard Chip Coffey was coming to NMU I knew I had to go. For those of you
who are not familiar with him, Chip Coffey is a Psychic/Medium who
works with paranormal investigators and even had his own show, Psychic
Kids. I wasn't sure what to expect when I went to his Coffey talk but
after walking out I was convinced that this man had something. If you
are not a believer in the paranormal this may not be your cup of tea,
but I doubt you would have read this much if you weren't. In
Growing Up Psychic, Chip weaves through stories of his life and his
experiences with the paranormal. He writes this book, not to entertain
so much as to educate. In writing about his own life and his support
system, growing up as a psychic kid, he hopes to help other psychic kids
and parents of psychic children cope and manage their own abilities. Even
if you are not psychic or linked to a psychic (like myself) it is a
great memoir of Chips life, full of his humor, strength and confidence
as well as a great resource for information on the paranormal realm of
psychic/mediums. I will never forget how much I enjoyed
seeing Chip speak at my university and I feel like through reading his
book I've learned so much more about such an interesting character.

Staff Pick Logo
Mother, Mother Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385347235
Availability: Special Order
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - September 17th, 2013

Does anyone remember the movie, The Good Son (1993) with Macaulay
Culkin and Elijah Wood? If you do, and you loved it, you will love
this. Keywords for Mother, Mother; dysfunctional families, emotional
abuse, recreational drug use, bad therapists, identity theft, terrifying
mothers. This is the story of a family that should be perfect but is
thrown into chaos after the eldest daughter, Rose, runs away from home.
The younger daughter Violet turns to extreme fasting and LSD to solve
her problems and William becomes even more enamored and corrupted by his
mother. This is a story of emotional abuse and torment, not physical
violence or outright terror. This is a great story for someone looking
for a thrill rather than obvious horror. Zailckas writes in a way that
keeps you moving, keeps you yearning for what will happen next.

The Farm Cover Image
ISBN: 9780446550734
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Grand Central Publishing - June 3rd, 2014

The Farm is a spooky, suspicious book set between rural Sweden and London
concerning the spoken and unspoken in familial dramas.
Dad says Mom is crazy and violent.
Mom says Dad is corrupt and plotting against her.
Mom is pledging to disown you if you side with Dad.
Dad is on a plane heading toward you, risking all the trust
you've gained with Mom thus far.
The Farm deals with unreliable narrators and newly unreliable
parents.The protagonist, Daniel, must decide to either believe that his
father is involved in a sex trafficking conspiracy in Sweden or believe
that his mother
is suffering from severe paranoid delusions. Unraveling this secret
takes more than blind faith in any of the stories being told, Daniel
must then go to Sweden, meet his Mother's enemies and seek out the
mystery of her allies and her own tormented past.

Staff Pick Logo
The Arsonist Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307594792
Availability: Special Order
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - June 24th, 2014

The Arsonist is set in a small town in New
Hampshire where for the last sixty odd years the same families have been
coming to stay in their summer homes and have blissful summer parties
and retreats amongst their other summer compatriots.

The story beings (oddly timed around the Bill Clinton/Monica
Lewinsky awkwardness) with one of the protagonist's return from Africa,
Frankie Rowley who has been working in Kenya for the last 15 years as an
aid worker. Frankie's family has been vacationing in Pomeroy, New
Hampshire her whole life in her grandmother's old house and she uses
this time away to consider whether or not to return to her life in

Frankie's parents, Sylvia and Alfie, have recently retired from
their jobs and moved out to the Pomeroy house to spend however long they
might get this time with their daughter back from Africa. Alfie is
beginning to slip but unwilling to discuss it with Sylvia, who sees her
husband fading into what is obvious to her has Alzheimer's and is
struggling to handle it emotionally. Back in Pomeroy with occasional
contact from her teenage local flame, Sylvia begins to acknowledge the
reality that she hasn't really loved Alfie for quite a while and faced
with being his caretaker she begins to feel trapped within the life she
has cultivated for herself.

Behind all of this the peaceful town of Pomeroy is being corrupted
by the mysterious burning of summer homes. Starting with only
uninhabited houses of summer residents who haven't arrived with the
arson is jarring to a community that is so unused to locking doors, most
of the doors don't even have locks. Questions are being posed that
haven't really been taken into account, what is the relationship between
the summer and year round residents? Why are summer homes being
targeted? What isn't being said? Who is the arsonist?

More than anything this book reminds us of the things we don't
think about, be that the children in Africa who need help, how disease
challenges family, how our actions and attitudes have consequences or
even the importance of action over ambivalence.
Not the best beach read but most assuredly worth reading this summer!

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