'Tis the season for spooky and thrilling reads, and Hidden Pictures checks off both of those must haves - especially for October reading. Mallory, a recovering addict fresh out of rehab, secures a job through her sponsor as a nanny for a family who have just moved into a wealthy New Jersey suburb. Right from the start, Mallory hits it off with 5-year-old Teddy and fits in with the Maxwell family, so much so that she is invited to stay in the family's guest house in the backyard. Teddy is sweet and shy with a passion for drawing. He and Mallory spend their days taking walks through the forest, baking, and drawing. But they’re not alone in their adventures.Teddy has an imaginary friend who joins in with them and at times, to Mallory's dismay, seems to have too much say into their activities. One day after a session of drawing, Mallory notices something different about Teddy’s usual sketches of balloons, stick figures and animals. They seem to have taken a sinister turn. Especially the one of a man dragging a woman’s body through the woods. As Teddy’s drawings continue and become more and more detailed Mallory's concern grows, and she begins to worry that the images may in fact be a real murder.
Part horror story, part thriller with a chilling touch of the paranormal, Hidden Pictures is the perfect fit for this Halloween season. AND to take it above and beyond on the creepy scale, Teddy’s drawings are shown throughout the book. This is the touch making this book the one that will have you reading late into the night with a night light ...or two... left on just to be safe.
If you have come into the store and we’ve talked I’ve most likely asked you if you’ve read The Silent Patient (if you haven’t you very very much need to). It’s hands down my all time favorite thriller and has had me on the hunt for other books that have that same jaw-dropping, mind-blowing ending. Daisy Darker does just that!
The Darker family has some DARK secrets; secrets that they would all prefer stay that way, but as we all know, there is no keeping anything secret forever. After many years of estrangement, the entire Darker clan is gathering to celebrate the family matricharch’s 80th birthday. Nana’s home is located on a small tidal island. Once the tide comes in, it is cut off from the outside world for eight hours. Eight entire hours that ensure that every Darker is trapped together under one roof with no way of escape. When the clock strikes midnight on October 31st, Nana is found dead. An hour later, another family member meets their demise. With no way of escape and no phone service or wifi, the Darkers must unearth each of the secrets they’ve been harboring to try to figure out who among them is killing them off one by one before it’s too late. Reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, Daisy Darker will keep you guessing until the very end with a conclusion that you won’t see coming.
OH MY GODS IS IT GOOD!
A true work of art. The Marriage Portrait is Maggie O’Farrell’s Masterpiece. Words can only begin to express how absolutely perfect this novel is. Each word, each sentence, each page is masterfully crafted to bring to life a character and a story that will leave readers madly enchanted. As she did in Hamnet, O'Farrell has fired up her time machine, taking us to Florence during the Italian Renaissance, to tell the tale of Lucrezia di Cosimo de' Medici. Lucrezia’s fire, passion and spirit burn through each and every page, compelling readers to root for her from the first sentence to the last.
We follow Lucrezia’s life from her birth as the 5th child to the Duke and Duchess of Florence; a child whose imagination and very being cannot be contained. As a young girl of 13, she finds herself betrothed to the Duke of Ferrara, who was the fiancé of her eldest sister, who has recently passed away. Lucrezia marries him at age 14, only to die suddenly a year later under mysterious circumstances. If you read one book this year, this is that book! If you don’t have time to read, this book is worth making the time for. If you need something to transport you to a different time and place, this is that book. If you need to read something life changing, this is the book to change your life!!
(September 6th can't get here soon enough.)
From the very first chapter, I knew that I was going to absolutely adore and struggle to put down this one. Readers follow the lives of six female descendants of Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to set foot in America in 1834. We experience the struggles and heartbreak that each of these women went through during drastically different times in history. Through Dorthy, Faye, Zoe, Lai King, Greta, and Afong herself we learn that trauma, like many things in life, is passed down from generation to generation. Dorothy and her young daughter, Annabell,are the most recent descendants of Afong living in the year 2045. In hopes of sparing her daughter from the deep depression that has plagued her her entire life, Dorothy seeks out an experimental treatment called Epigenetics in which patients experience events from their decedent’s past and the tramas that they experienced that have then been passed down/inherited through DNA. As Dorthy experiences more and more memories from her descendants' pasts, she also discovers that a deeply-rooted love is woven throughout all of their lives as well. Dorthy holds not only the key to her and her daughter's futures, but possibly the key to the women’s lives of the past as well. A haunting story that will stick with you, ingrained in your DNA, and be passed through the ages from one reader to the next.
This spine-tingling twist on Mary Shelly’s iconic Frankenstein asks the question, "What really is a monster? and, "Do we all indeed have a monster inside?" Alternating between 1970s events to 2019 events, we follow Lizzy, or as she was known as a child, Violet, on the hunt for her very own monster…her sister Iris.
Lizzy/Violet, grew up loving all things monsters while living with her renowned psychiatrist grandmother and younger brother on the grounds of a highly-acclaimed treatment center. One day her grandmother returns home from the clinic with a young girl who does not speak and has no memory of her past. Her name is Iris, and according to Gran she is to be Violet's and her brother's new sister. Vi and her brother are instantly drawn to Iris and her mysterious past, and as Iris begins to warm up to her new siblings, her past raises questions that will set the course for all of their futures. From this moment forward, Vi and her family's lives will never be the same.
In 2019, we find Lizzy as an acclaimed “Monster Hunter," and famous for her podcast featuring different monster lore from various towns around the country. As she begins to catch wind of local girls going missing at the hands of what people believe to be the fabled monster of their towns, Lizzy begins to piece together that it is indeed a single monster that is taking these girls, and one that she knows all too well; her sister.
This haunting read is packed full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end, and bring you to question whether monsters are born or created.
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, especially ones with a strong feminist voice and even more so when they include... DRAGONS! Kelly Barnhill has pulled a Quentin Tarantino (think Inglorious Basterds) and re-written history. One fateful day in 1955, almost 700,000 women in the United States transformed into dragons and took to the skies. The government has been trying to wipe "The Mass Dragoning of 1955" from history ever since.
Alex Green was only a child when The Mass Dragoning occured. Alex lost her aunt that day who sprouted wings, a tail and scales, but her mother, her aunt's sister, did not transform. Be this by choice or some kind of science, the cause for dragoning in some women vs. others is unknown. From that moment on, to speak of "the event," her aunt’s existence, or even dragons in general, is considered highly inappropriate. Alex must navigate in a world where her gender is thought of as inferior to her male counterparts, where even the thought of dragons is forbidden, and where she is told to look down and avoid looking up into the skies above.
This book had me going to my laptop and googling Mass Dragoning of 1955, even though it was just an event in the book, …or was it? Keep your eyes on the skies ladies and gentlemen. Who knows what you just might see flying above?
Kaikeyi is a book that I have been counting down the DAYS to read ever since Alex Ness told me about it last year. I’m over the moon excited to say that it was BEYOND worth the wait!
Focusing on the myth of the Ramayana, Vaishnavi Patel tells this historic tale from Kaikeyi’s point of view. As one of the myth's central villains, and stepmother to the God Rama, this age-old myth is cast in an entirely new light. Kaikeyi is the first born in her family, but because she is not born a man, her twin brother is set to inherit their father's kingdom. When their father banishes their mother from the kingdom, Kaikeyi discovers a gift she never knew she possessed. She can enter into a mental state she calls "the binding plane," where she is able to see the bonds that connect her with all those in her life and in turn, influence the choices/feelings of those she is bonded with. It’s this discovery and this power that sets into motion the epic tale that is the Ramayana! If you don’t know much about Kaikeyi and her role in the Ramayana or about the Ramayana itself, never fear! Vaishnavi Patel does a magnificent job in this retelling, and I would even highly recommend not reading about Kaikeyi and her role before starting this book.
For fans of Circe, Song of Achilles, Ariadne and The Witch’s Heart, it’s another fantastic myth retelling that should live on everyone's bookshelves.
If there is anything that I am a huge sucker for, it's anything mythology based, a beautiful cover, and ketchup… (I just can't say no!) Now that I’m craving ketchup, let's talk about this not-to-be-missed book! I couldn’t put it down, and once I finished it, I instantly wanted to read it all over again. Inspired by a Chinese legend, the Moon Goddess's daughter, Xingyin, sets out on an impossible quest to free her mother from the imprisonment by the Celestial Emperor - she defied him by drinking the elixir of life. Xingyin, whose mother has kept a secret from both the celestial and mortal realm, is forced to flee her home on the moon when a threat arises that could reveal her to all. Thrust into the celestial realm alone, Xingyin takes it upon herself to free her mother of her enchantment no matter the costs. Through luck, she finds herself the companion to Prince Liwei, the son of the very man who has imprisoned her mother on the moon. Years pass as Xingyin learns beside Liwei how to control her magic and fight, excelling especially in archery. In her years training alongside Prince Liwei, a strong bond of friendship is forged between the two, along with a budding romance.
Page-turning non-stop action and twists and turns that just keep coming and coming, will have you reading this book from cover to cover in one sitting! Book one of a dulogugy The Daughter of the Moon Goddess shines brighter than the moon itself and is one that cannot be missed.
I just love a good witch book, and A Lullaby for Witches is the perfect way to kick off 2022: in pure glorious witch fashion! Augusta Podos lands the job of her dreams at Harlowe House, the historic home of a wealthy New England family, located for generations in a small town in Massachusetts. Her first project? Curate a collection from the house’s historical artifacts. When she stumbles upon a vague reference to a woman named Margaret Harlowe from 150 years ago, who seems to have been erased from the family's history, she begins to dig deeper into Margaret's past. What she uncovers may be more dark and sinister than she could have ever imagined. This is a book that will keep you reading from start to finish!
Molly is a maid at an upscale hotel. Molly takes her job very seriously and strives for nothing but perfection day in and day out. Molly has no idea that her life is about to be completely turned upside down.
When cleaning her usual suite for a well-known and long-time hotel guest, she discovers him dead in his room. Being the first one to discover his body Molly is inevitably tied into the investigation of the murder and may just know more than she claims. This book is great for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and A Man Called Ove.
A murder-mystery-who-done-it, infused with humor and charm.
Calling all fans of Circe, Song of Achilles and Ariadne! With our "Summer of the Myth" window display in full force, it had me hankering to get my hands on a new Greek mythology retelling. Rejoice! I found Daughters of Sparta, and it's the perfect read for that void in your life.
This is the tale of Clytemnestra and Helen, Sparta’s eldest and youngest daughters, as they mature from young girls to women. We follow the choices they make/that are made for them that eventually lead to one of the most epic and lengthy battles in all of history: the siege of Troy. If you’re not familiar with this specific Greek Myth you’re in for a real page-turner. It’s a fast paced read that is absolutely perfect for the end of summer! It will leave you with new knowledge, as well as a craving for even more mythological re-tellings. (See window link referenced above.) I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more and more of these types of books as they are just toooooooo good to be true: history, fiction, suspense, and a bit of romance. Who could ask for more?!
Alright so I’m not going to lie, when I picked up this book I was skeptical of the adventure we were about to embark on together. In my overwhelming excitement to read Anthony Doerr’s much anticipated next novel (after personally waiting for seven agonizing years since All the Light We Cannot See), I was a little put off and confused at the description.. "This sounds nothing like All The Light We Cannot See," I thought to myself. 1400s Constantinople, 2020 Idaho, and a spaceship in the future…. What on Earth or should I say, this galaxy, was I getting myself into? It may sound like all these things can't possibly go together and make sense, but the wordsmith-magician and master-storyteller, Anthony Doerr makes it work. AND THEN SOME!
He connects all three drastically different settings and characters through the power of story, proving that the written word truly transcends time and space by connecting us all: past, future, and present. (Think Canticle for Leibowitz.) This is a book not to be missed, and I have to say it has been my favorite read so far in 2021. With a cast of unforgettable characters and just a hands down beautifully and creatively crafted story, it's one of those books that will stay with you and leave you wanting to read it again and again.
I love and I mean LOVE me a good Western. I try to re-read Lonesome Dove at least once every couple of years (it’s hands down my all time favorite western novel). When I heard a new western was coming out AND was on the Indie Bestseller list, I just had to read it. And man oh man I'm glad that I did! It’s a tale packed full of revenge, payback, vengeance, retribution and even some magic! Set Post-Civil War, Ming Tsu was abandoned by his Chinese parents, adopted, and raised to be a killer. When his wife is taken away from him, and Ming is cast off and forced into a work camp for the rail line, he begins to plot his revenge. Ming marshals a list of all those who have wronged him, and sets out to find and kill each and everyone of them in order to get his wife back. He is joined on his journey by the Prophet, an elderly blind Chinese man who has the power of sight. As the Prophet and Ming set out on their journey, they encounter an unlikely group of traveling companions in a band of circus entertainers who are much more than they seem and are also traveling west. Each page is dripping with revenge at its finest, a perfect read for the summer that will have you wanting to join Ming on his quest for vengeance and ride off into the sunset.
The first daughter is for the Throne. The second daughter is for the Wolf. Those two lines say it all when beginning to describe this wonderful, dark, fantasy novel. Redarys (Red) has the misfortune in life of being born the second daughter. Her twin sister Nevarah (Neve) born first is destined to be queen, while Red is destined to be sacrificed to the Wilderwood and the nightmarish Wolf who dwells there. On her 20th birthday the time has come, and the mark has appeared on Red’s arm signaling that the sacrifice must be made. Her sacrifice is not in vain, for it brings with it hope to the kingdom that the long lost 5 kings who have been trapped by the Wilderwood will finally be released. Without spoiling anything, all is NOT what it seems, and Red quickly learns this upon entering the infamous Wilderwood. The legends and myths that have surrounded her her whole life are a lie: the wolf is not some dark, twisted creature waiting to feast upon her, but a man, and the wood is not as villainous as it seems. With a set of wonderfully developed characters, Whitten takes readers on a dark adventure of good vs evil, darkness vs light, and righteousness vs corruption, all the while managing to twist some romance in there as well. A great read for this summer, and one that will have you counting down the seconds ’til the second book is released.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Martha Hall Kelly’s million-copy bestseller Lilac Girls introduced readers to Caroline Ferriday.
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When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive national bestselling debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.
"The Bestselling Hardcover Novel of the Year."--Publishers Weekly
I LOVE to cook. If my 17-year-old self would have seen me typing these words, she would have thought we were just plain out of my mind. Cooking was never my thing growing up. While my family always sat down at the dinner table each night to eat a home cooked meal, (usually prepared by my dad...sorry mom) the process of cooking was never something that interested me - too much time spent chopping, boiling, juicing and cleaning afterwards when I could be reading!
Having a house/kitchen of my own sparked my interest, and now I can't go a night without cooking something up for dinner. It's become my version of meditation at the end of each day. My go-to cookbook is the Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor by Gina Homolka. At least 2-3 meals per week in our house are pulled from this cookbook OR one of her cookbooks. All the recipes are relatively easy to make, and even better, they are at a lower number of calories which, I kid you not, you can't even tell the difference! They're that out of this world! I've never been a calorie counter, and at this point in life don't think, I ever will get in the habit, but knowing that the recipes that I'm cooking and eating are on the healthier side leaves not only my mind feeling good but my body as well.
Some of my favorite recipes to cook from this book are: Chicken Marsala on the Lighter Side (my boyfriend now refuses to have any other kind of chicken marsala than this specific one, it's constantly in our weekly meal rotation), Make-Ahead Western Omelette Muffins, Coconut Chicken Salad with Warm Honey Mustard Vinaigrette, Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken and Broccoli, So-Addicted Chicken Enchiladas, and My House Salad Filled With Love. You really can't go wrong with any recipe in this book. They're all incredible and will leave your taste buds rejoicing with glee!
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I will always and forever be a fan of historical fiction. I try to devour as much as I can... on top of all the other great genres! From the very first page of Yellow Wife, I was completely enthralled, and I found that I could not stop thinking about it - which to me has always been a sign of a great read!
The book takes place in Virginia in the 1850s. Pheby Delores Brown is living on a plantation with her mother and has been promised her whole life that when she reaches the age of 18 she will be granted her freedom and no longer be a slave. When unforeseen events occur, the promise of Pheby’s freedom is broken, and she is sold as a slave to the owner and jailer of the infamous jail, "The Devil's Half-Acre," a real-life version of hell on earth. Pheby is forced to become the jailer's mistress and raise a family with him while all hopes of her freedom slip from her grasp.
This is a book that will stick with you after it's finished. Every page was a stark reminder of where our country once was, and it is hard to believe that these events truly happened and that people were treated in this horrific manner. It’s a haunting tale that touches on so many emotions from resentment and fright to hate and love. It truly is not a book to be missed.