Enica/ December 24, 2018/ Walker's Bookshelf

Looking for a good book? Here’s what we recommend.

Becky’s Pick : The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

A debut novel, I am in the middle of this YA page-turner and don’t want to put it down. The story hints at a dark fairy-tale world at the edge of our own world, and a young female protagonist who believes her mother was kidnapped by beings from that world.

Enica’s Pick: I’m Just Happy to Be Here by Janelle Hanchett

The creator of the Renegade Mothering blog, Janelle Hanchett, explores motherhood, addiction, and mental illness in her moving memoir, I’m Just Happy to be Here.

When she was 21, Janelle Hanchett found herself pregnant. Newly married, Hanchett soon began to struggle with depression and substance abuse issues.

Hanchett’s writing is raw and honest—motherhood is not all rainbows and butterflies. Her heartbreaking experiences are cleverly juxtaposed with her witty and wry humor. She writes about her experiences in a genuine and heartfelt manner without being didactic. I’m Just Happy to be Here is simply an account of how Janelle Hanchett recovered and what she had to go through.

I’m Just Happy to be Here is a refreshing and compelling memoir that will resonate with readers from all walks of life.

Meagan’s Pick: Among the Shadows by Bruce Robert Coffin

If you have not read any of Bruce Robert Coffin’s Detective Byron mysteries, I highly recommend starting the series as soon as possible. I recently read the series’ first book Among the Shadows, which follows Detective John Byron as he solves a a string of murders in Portland, Maine. The story is full of suspense, which gets increasingly more intense as the novel progresses. Even more exciting is the detailed setting, which really brings the Portland area to life. I cannot wait to read the second and third installments of this excellent series!

Matthew’s Pick: Above Suspicion by Helen MacInnes

Above Suspicion, Helen MacInnes’s 1941 spy novel, tells the story of Richard Myles, an Oxford professor, and his wife Frances, who have been asked by an old friend to carry out a secret mission during their annual European holiday. Their job is to locate an English agent and find out whether or not he has been compromised by the Nazis. Since Richard and Frances will be posing as harmless tourists, it is believed they will be “above suspicion,” but it is pre-war Europe and nothing, Richard and Frances soon discover, is what it seems. Above Suspicion perfectly captures the mood of the time; the feeling that war in Europe was imminent; and the fear that England would not fight and would settle for appeasement. The novel’s feeling of authenticity is due, in large part, to the diary MacInnes kept during her 1932 Bavarian honeymoon during which she wrote about the Nazi menace and the examples of Nazi violence she and her husband witnessed. While Above Suspicion may begin slowly, Helen MacInnes carefully builds up the novel’s tension by gradually placing Richard and Frances farther and farther from the safety of their home. Above Suspicion is the perfect book for those who enjoy reading stories, not unlike those of Agatha Christie, which lack the gratuitous sex, violence, and emotional hysterics of chronically damaged characters. It is a straightforward spy novel that does a masterful job building up suspense. Helen MacInnes’s Above Suspicion comes highly recommended.

Karen’s Pick: Beyond the Truth by Bruce Robert Coffin

Bruce Robert Coffin’s Beyond the Truth is a gripping police procedural. The dramatic ending is incredibly intense, asking if the price of truth is too high for even D.S. Byron to pay. This fast-paced book addresses important current issues, including the value of friendship and the responsibility to ones community. Descriptions of the local area vividly conjure up images of real streets, local businesses, the high school and a city confronted by a snow storm. It is exciting and sometimes disturbing to recognize places my family frequents regularly, providing new perspectives to the familiar. I was made to ask many ethical questions, feel sympathy with the characters and was on the edge of my seat, adrenaline pumping to the very end.

Kara’s Pick: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, New School Nighmare

For Buffy fans and newbies alike, this first book in a new series finds Buffy attending middle school in Cleveland. The story begins with Buffy unaware of her powers, but she is soon made aware by her new watcher. Buffy also meets two new friends, a werewolf and a witch. Told mostly in comic strip format, this book is an easy and fun read. The next issue will be out in 2019.

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