Oh, the Horror! (12/28/2021): A Head Full of Ghosts

A Head Full of Ghosts (cover)

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

WINNER OF THE 2015 BRAM STOKER AWARD FOR SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A NOVEL

A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends psychological suspense and supernatural horror, reminiscent of Stephen King’s The Shining, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, and William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist.

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface—and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.


Next Meeting:
December 28th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual

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Library Reads (12/16/2021): The Supreme Macaroni Company

The Supreme Macaroni Company (cover)

The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani

In The Shoemaker’s Wife Adriana Trigiani swept her readers across generations of an Italian family, from the Italian Alps at the turn of the twentieth century to the cobblestone streets of Little Italy. In The Supreme Macaroni Company, she weaves a heartbreaking story that begins on the eve of a wedding in New York’s Greenwich Village, travels to New Orleans, and culminates in Tuscany. Family, work, romance, and the unexpected twists of life and fate all come together in an unforgettable narrative that Adriana Trigiani’s many fans will adore.


Next Meeting:
December 16th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual

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Happily Ever After (12/20/2021): In a Holidaze

In a Holidaze (cover)

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.


Next Meeting:
December 20th @ 7:00 PM at Hybrid at Harnish (in-person or online participation are both available)

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Stranger than Fiction (12/07/2021): Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman’s Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front

Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman's Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front (cover)

Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman’s Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front by Mary Jennings Hegar

“A must-read about an American patriot whose courage and determination will have a lasting impact on the future of our Armed Forces and the nation.”—Senator John McCain

On July 29, 2009, Air National Guard major Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar was shot down while on a Medevac mission on her third tour in Afghanistan. Despite being wounded, she fought the enemy and saved the lives of her crew and their patients. But soon she would face a new battle: to give women who serve on the front lines the credit they deserve…

After being commissioned into the U.S. Air Force, MJ Hegar was selected for pilot training by the Air National Guard, finished at the top of her class, then served three tours in Afghanistan, flying combat search-and-rescue missions, culminating in a harrowing rescue attempt that would earn MJ the Purple Heart as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device.

But it was on American soil that Hegar would embark on her greatest challenge—to eliminate the military’s Ground Combat Exclusion Policy, which kept female armed service members from officially serving in combat roles despite their long-standing record of doing so with honor.

In Shoot Like a Girl, MJ takes the reader on a dramatic journey through her military career: an inspiring, humorous, and thrilling true story of a brave, high-spirited, and unforgettable woman who has spent much of her life ready to sacrifice everything for her country, her fellow man, and her sense of justice.


Next Meeting:
December 7th @ 6:30 PM at Virtual

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Oh, the Horror! (11/23/2021): The Yellow Wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper (cover)

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 1892 short story, The Yellow Wallpaper is a valuable piece of American feminist literature that reveals attitudes toward the psychological health of women in the nineteenth century. Diagnosed with “temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency” by her physician husband, a woman is confined to an upstairs bedroom. Descending into psychosis at the complete lack of stimulation, she starts obsessing over the room’s yellow wallpaper: “It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw – not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things. But there is something else about that paper – the smell! … The only thing I can think of that it is like is the color of the paper! A yellow smell.”


Next Meeting:
November 23rd @ 7:00 PM at Virtual

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Library Reads (11/18/2021): The Tumbling Turner Sisters

The Tumbling Turner Sisters (cover)

The Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay

For fans of Orphan Train and Water for Elephants, a compelling historical novel from “one of the best authors of women’s fiction” (Library Journal). Set against the turbulent backdrop of American Vaudeville, four sisters embark on an unexpected adventure—and a last-ditch effort to save their family.

It’s 1919, and the Turners are barely scraping by. When their father loses his job, their irrepressible mother decides that vaudeville is their best chance to make the rent—and create a more exciting life for herself in the process.

Traveling by train from town to town, teenagers Gert, Winnie, and Kit, and recent widow Nell soon find a new kind of freedom in the company of performers who are as diverse as their acts. There is a seamier side to the business, however, and the young women face dangers and turns of fate they never could have anticipated. Heartwarming and surprising, The Tumbling Turner Sisters is ultimately a story of awakening—to unexpected possibilities, to love and heartbreak, and to the dawn of a new American era.


Next Meeting:
November 18th @ 7:00 PM at Hybrid at Harnish (in-person or online participation are both available)

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Enjoying the Classics (11/17/2021): The Haunted Bookshop

The Haunted Bookshop (cover)

The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley

This classic story of romance and intrigue in a Brooklyn bookstore is one of the most beloved mysteries of all time.

Aubrey Gilbert stops by the Haunted Bookshop hoping to sell his services as an advertising copywriter. He fails to accomplish his goal, but learns that Titania Chapman, the lovely daughter of his most important client, is a store assistant there. Aubrey returns to visit Titania and experiences a series of unusual events: He is attacked on his way home from the store, an obscure book mysteriously disappears and reappears, and two strange characters are seen skulking in a nearby alleyway. Aubrey initially suspects the bookstore’s gregarious owner, Roger Mifflin, of scheming to kidnap Titania, but the plot he eventually uncovers is far more complex and sinister than he could have ever imagined.

A charming ode to the art of bookselling wrapped inside a thrilling suspense story, The Haunted Bookshop is a must-read for bibliophiles and mystery lovers alike.


Next Meeting:
November 17th @ 7:00 PM at Hybrid at Harnish (in-person or online participation are both available)

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The Nail Biters (11/16/2021): Jar of Hearts

Jar of Hearts (cover)

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

“Jar of Hearts grabs you by the throat! The perfect blend of riveting characters, chilling details, and gasping twists in this standout thriller will keep you frantically reading until the explosive end.” – Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Right Behind You

This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it? Find out in Jennifer Hillier’s Jar of Hearts.


Next Meeting:
November 16th @ 6:30 PM at Virtual

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Happily Ever After (11/15/2021): Virgin River

Virgin River (cover)

Virgin River by Robyn Carr

Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against a backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included.

When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad, she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves. But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving—the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing she’s made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning.

But a tiny baby abandoned on a front porch changes her plans…and former marine Jack Sheridan cements them into place.


Next Meeting:
November 15th @ 7:00 PM at Hybrid at Harnish (in-person or online participation are both available)

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Forever Young (11/08/2021): Dread Nation

Dread Nation (cover)

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland’s stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar—a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever.

In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.

But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose.

But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies.

And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

“Abundant action, thoughtful worldbuilding, and a brave, smart, and skillfully drawn cast entertain as Ireland illustrates the ignorance and immorality of racial discrimination and examines the relationship between equality and freedom.” (Publishers Weekly, “An Anti-Racist Children’s and YA Reading List”)


Next Meeting:
November 8th @ 6:30 PM at Virtual

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