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Staff Picks


Throne of Glass
by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is an enthralling fantasy novel that will keep readers glued to its pages until the very end. Set in a world where magic exists, this book takes readers on an epic journey of courage, deceit, and self-discovery.

The narrative revolves around the life of Celaena Sardothien, a renowned assassin with a mysterious past. Summoned by the Crown Prince, she is thrust into a competition to become the King’s Champion. The victor will serve the king for four years and then be granted freedom. As Celaena delves deeper into the competition’s secrets, she finds herself caught in a perilous web of power struggles, forbidden romance, and her own self-discovery.

Maas’s writing style is a gateway to a world brimming with vibrant imagery, meticulous descriptions, and intricately developed characters. She skillfully interweaves a complex plot, peppered with unexpected twists and turns that keep readers on the edge of their seats. The story’s pacing is impeccable, offering a balance between heart-pounding action and moments of profound introspection.

One of the significant strengths of Throne of Glass lies in its characters. Celaena, the protagonist, is a strong, independent, and multifaceted character that readers will find themselves rooting for. Her growth throughout the book is beautifully portrayed as she battles physical and emotional challenges. The supporting characters are equally memorable, each with motivations and secrets that add depth and intrigue to the story.

One of the book’s standout features is the world-building. Sarah J. Maas has masterfully crafted a world where magic, politics, and ancient legends intertwine. Her descriptions of the kingdom of Adarlan, the enigmatic Wyrdmarks, and the fantastical creatures are so vivid that they bring the world to life, making it feel tangible and real.

The only minor drawback of Throne of Glass is that the dialogue can sometimes feel a bit forced, particularly in romantic scenes. However, this is separate from the overall enjoyment of the story. Throne of Glass is an exceptional start to what promises to be an incredible fantasy series. Sarah J. Maas has created a captivating world filled with memorable characters and an intriguing plot. This book will hold readers captive from beginning to end and leave them hungry for more. Fans of fantasy, strong female protagonists, and epic adventures will not be disappointed.

~ Jess

The Butcher of the Forest
by Premee Mohamed

The Butcher of the Forest by Premee Mohamed is like nothing I’ve read before.

The writing is so beautiful. Mohamed’s prose is so fluid and well-written that it pushes the story forward constantly, ensuring that there is not a single dull moment. It does lean towards the flowery, which I think helped atmospherically build the forest setting. Every single page is filled with elements of cryptid fairytales and this uncanny kind of horror that puts your senses on constant alert. This novella is the complete opposite of cozy fantasy, and I loved every unsettling moment of it.

This is the perfect read for fall or winter. The atmosphere of the forest and all of the disturbing creatures lean towards the spooky. It has everything you need for a seasonal read: an enchanted forest where kids go in and never come out, magic, high stakes, a 24-hour deadline, and creepy (gross) mythical creatures. Despite this being such a short story, the world felt fully imagined and fleshed out. I could envision every section, place, and creature in this forest. The protagonist, Veris, is incredible. She is 40-something, damaged, and jaded, but holistically good despite her reluctance in her mission. I think the author excelled in giving us a character who you truly want to win.

I wish I could say more about the plot, but trust me, you’ll want to experience it for yourself. All I can say is that this book left me hungry for more from Mohamed. If there is ever another book in this world, I will be first in line.

~ Danielle

by Jessica S. Taylor

A standalone gothic fantasy, Hollowed will pull you into the reimagined world of Sleepy Hollow and thrust you into a mysterious town filled with deadly magic, cunning betrayals, and secrets you never saw coming.  Katrina Van Tassel is looked down upon and abused by her powerful mother for being weak and not living up to the family name.  Katrina is selected to be the annual sacrifice to the mythical Horseman so that he will continue to protect Sleepy Hollow from the outside world.  What should be the end for Katrina is just the beginning of deadly consequences, coming into your own power, and a romance with the deadly and handsome Horseman.

~ Lisa

If You Tell: A true story of murder, family secrets, and the unbreakable bond of sisterhood
by Greg Olsen

For years, Shelly Knotek inflicted the most horrific physical and psychological abuse and torture on her daughters – as well as anyone unfortunate enough to get entangled in her family’s web – without detection from the outside world. Even extended family members were unaware of the horrors Shelly’s daughters faced on a daily basis. Despite their mother’s escalating abuse over the years, Shelly’s daughters are stronger than she bargained for. Following the deaths of two individuals staying at the Knotek family home, the girls band together and risk everything to put an end to their mother’s reign of terror.  Despite the fact that the atrocities committed by Shelly Knotek were hard to read about, this book was heartbreakingly captivating. If You Tell is a true testament to the powerful bonds of sisterhood and the sheer determination to survive at all costs.

~ Melissa

None Of This is True
by Lisa Jewell

When podcaster Alix Summers serendipitously meets housewife Josie Fair, the only things they have in common are the same age and birthday.  Alix is beautiful, successful, lives on the posh side of town, and is married with 2 young children.  Josie is plain, unassuming, married to a man nearly twice her age, and living in a rundown area.  She and her husband have 2 adult daughters, one who ran away when she was 16 and the other who lives with them as a recluse.  When Josie reveals that she is making great changes in her life, she talks Alix into doing a podcast about it.  As the interviews take place, Josie slowly reveals shocking details about her childhood, marriage, and daughters while slowly insinuating herself into Alix’s life and home.  Alix begins to doubt Josie’s sanity and the ability to distinguish fact from fiction, leading to a tragic conclusion.  This dark, twisty psychological thriller will have you on the edge of your seat until the very last page and will leave you guessing long after that.

~ Mary