December 14th, 2017
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Ex-NFL star + snarky single mom = a touchdown of a holiday romance

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The vampires are coming... and this time, the lights won't stop them.

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The owner of a delightful Southern cafť tastes the sharp sting of suspicion in this delectable comfort food mystery...

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This holiday season, love is on the menu.

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A Spartan heart can conquer anything, even myths, magic, and monsters.

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Thereís nothing like a firefighting cowboy to keep you toasty warm this Christmas...

December brings fabulous reads!

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Fresh Takes from the Teen Shelves
All the news, updates and gossip for the Young Adult -- books, authors, movies and more!

Books to Bring to Your Black Friday Bunker

Itís November! Cool weather, fall carnivals, and my very favorite holiday: Avoid All The Malls and Stay At Home and Read Friday! Here are some books you may want to bring into your Black Friday Bunker, along with that leftover turkey sandwich.


AFTER EDEN by Helen Douglas (5 November; Bloomsbury) The day Eden met Ryan changed her world forever. Actually, not just her world. Ryan has time traveled from the future to save the world. In a few weeks, Edenís best friend Connor will discover a new planetóone where human life is possible. The discovery will make him famous... And ruin the world as we know it. When Ryan asks Eden for help, she must choose between saving the world and saving her best friendís greatest achievement. And a crush on Ryan complicates things more than she could have imagined. Because Connor is due to make the discovery after the girl he loves breaks his heart. That girl is Eden.

My take: This realistic world and love triangle should appeal to both readers who love dystopian/science fiction stories and readers who donít.


PALACE OF SPIES (Palace of Spies #1) by Sarah Zettel (5 November; Harcourt) Sixteen-year-old Peggy is a well-bred orphan, coerced into posing as a lady in waiting at the palace of King George I. Life is grand, until Peggy starts to suspect that the girl she's impersonating might have been murdered. Unless Peggy can discover the truth, she might be doomed to the same terrible fate. But in a court of shadows and intrigue, anyone could be a spyóperhaps even the handsome young artist with whom Peggy is falling in love . . .

My take: An underused historical setting and a witty, engaging heroine? I canít say it any better than this starred review from Kirkus Reviews: ďA rollicking spy caper in corsets... This witty romp will delight fans of historical fiction as well as mystery lovers.Ē


KETCHUP CLOUDS by Annabel Pitcher (12 November; Little Brown) Zoe has an unconventional pen pal-Mr. Stuart Harris, a Texas Death Row inmate and convicted murderer. But then again, Zoe has an unconventional story to tell. A story about how she fell for two boys, betrayed one of them, and killed the other. Mr. Harris may never respond to Zoe's letters, but at least somebody will know her story-somebody who knows what it's like to kill a person you love.

Zoe (not her real name) reveals the last year in letters, but not until the end does she reveal which boy is which, and her role in the end game. ďBy turns heartbreaking and hilarious... Zoe's voice is witty and introspective as she explores issues relating to family, grief, and love." (Booklist starred review)

My take: I know itís an odd pick, but this has been garnering starred reviews by the handful. I love epistolary novels and this seems to have a Gillian Flynn sort of vibe: unusual and engrossing with rollercoaster emotional punch, something to read when youíre tired of the same old thing.


BROKEN by CJ Lyons (5 November; Sourcebooks Fire) Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, Scarlet has come to terms with the fact that she's going to die. It could be tomorrow, or it could be next year. But the clock is ticking... All Scarlet asks is for a chance to attend high schoolóto be just like everyone else. But Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with each slammed locker and vicious taunt. Is this normal? Really? Yet there's more going on than she knows. And finding out the truth might just kill Scarlet before her heart does...

My take: A little Maureen Johnson mixed with a lot of Kathy Riechs. A thriller with an angsty teen twist from a New York Times Bestselling author of thrillers. Sounds like excellent study break reading.


THE LIVING by Matt de la PeŮa (12 November; Delacorte Press) Shy took the summer job on a luxury cruise liner planning to rake in the tips and help his mom and sister out with the bills. Free food and girls in bikinis are just a plus. But everything changes when the Big One hits California while heís at sea. And the massive earthquake is only the first disaster. Suddenly it's a fight to survive for those left living. What follows is ďAn addictive page-turner and character-driven literary novel with broad appeal for fans of both.Ē (Kirkus, starred review. )

My take: A heart-pounding adventure with tsunamis, killer-sharks, desert-island, eco-slash-contagion catastrophe PLUS deft social commentary from an amazing author? Itís like the SyFy Channel and PBS had an awesome baby.


THE NATURALS by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (5 November) Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Sheís never considered her skill exceptional until the FBI come knocking: they've begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie. Sheís sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own and it soon it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms close. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

Gripping psychological thriller with killer appeal, a to-die-for romance, and the bones of a gritty and compelling new series.

My take: A high concept mystery thriller from an author I always enjoy. An excellent pick for fans of Ally Carterís GALLAGHER GIRLS. The Mentalist meets Pretty Little Liars meets Criminal Minds.

Quick Takes

Speaking of felonies, it would be a killer oversight if I didnít mention these installments in popular series:

DAYLIGHTERS (The Morganville Vampires finale) by Rachel Caine

CHAMPION (Legend finale) by Marie Lu

HORIZON (Soul Seekers #4) by Alyson Noel

THE FIERY HEART (Bloodlines #4) by Richelle Mead

CURTSIES & CONSPIRACIES (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger

I should point out these are the finales of of Rachel Caineís Morganville Vampire series and Marie Luís Legend series. You know how when a TV series ends and you spend the whole weekend in your pajamas eating Hot Pockets and marathoning it on Netflix? If you havenít read these series, you need to do the book version of that. (Though it may take you longer than a weekend.)

While youíre doing that, Iíll be scoping out future releases and enjoying my Thanksgiving Tofurky. Happy Reading!




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