Staff Picks

The Book of YouBrooke
The Book of You
Claire Kendal

Synopsis: His name is Rafe, and he is everywhere Clarissa turns. Since that one regrettable night, his obsession with her has grown, becoming more terrifying with each passing day. And as Rafe has made clear, he will never let her go. Clarissa’s only escape from this harrowing nightmare is inside a courtroom where she is a juror on a trial involving a victim whose experiences eerily parallel her own. There she finds some peace and even makes new friends, including an attractive widower named Robert, whose caring attentions make her feel desired and safe. But as a disturbingly violent crime unfolds in the courtroom, Clarissa realizes that to survive she must expose Rafe herself. Conceiving a plan, she begins collecting the evidence of Rafe’s madness to use against him a record of terror that will force her to relive every excruciating moment she desperately wants to forget. Proof that will reveal the twisted, macabre fairy tale that Rafe has spun around them with an ending more horrifying than her darkest fears.

Brooke Says: The Book of You offers more than just one interesting angle - I counted at least three. With an intriguing point of view narrative shift, a compelling court-room parallel, and a main character driven with strength and determination, this novel will no doubt creep into your dreams and make you think. Not knowing what I had really gotten myself into as I began this psychological thriller, I found myself unable to put it down. If you’re in the mood for a quick read with some resonation, pick up this chilling debut novel.

Brooke's Past Staff Picks 

The Strange Case of the Alchemists DaughterDonna 
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter

Theodora Goss

Synopsis: Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents' death, is curious about the secrets of her father's mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father's former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture and a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes. But her hunt leads her to Hyde's daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein. When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

Donna says: Try this wonderful pastiche if you are looking for a fun time with strong female characters and a smattering of Holmes and Watson. The monstrous women of the Athena Club take center stage in Goss’ unconventional and amusing novel. This is the first book in her planned trilogy featuring monstrous women connected to widely recognized Victorian horror and science fiction, such as H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau, Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Hawthorne’s Rappaccini’s Daughter. I warn you that you will probably be placing these classics on your “To be Read” pile when you are finished; or possibly, you will just dive right into the second book in the series, European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman.

Donna's Past Staff Picks

Cemetery JohnElizabeth
Cemetery John: The Undiscovered Mastermind Behind the Lindbergh Kidnapping
Robert Zorn

Synopsis: Evidence, opinion, and logic have discredited the notion that Bruno Richard Hauptmann acted alone. In this meticulous and authoritative account of the crime, the trial, and the times of the Lindbergh kidnapping, Robert Zorn clears away decades of ungrounded speculation surrounding the case. Inspired by his father's relationship with the actual accomplices he presents the clearest ever picture of a criminal partnership, which would shake every class and culture of American society. Using personal possessions and documents, never-before seen photographs, new forensic evidence, and extensive research, Robert Zorn has written a shocking and captivating account of the crime and the original "Trial of the Century."

Elizabeth Says: Author Robert Zorn takes a new look at one the first crimes of the century. Taken from his father’s memories of meeting accomplices in the crime he hypothesizes the true mastermind of the Lindbergh Kidnapping. Can be used in the category of “Book about a historical event” in the Read More 2018 Challenge.

Elizabeth's Past Staff Picks

Naomi Novik

Synopsis: Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood. The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Megan Says: Uprooted is a vast adventure. You will become blissfully lost in this imaginary world of magic, witches, wizards, kings, queens and ancient empires. It is also a beautiful and charming love story that, for me, is unforgettable. Novik has an enchanting way of breathing life into words that come together to build a magnificent story. The creative ways in which she uses magic to move the story along are both astounding and epic.

Megan's Past Staff Picks

The Book of Hidden ThingsNina
The Book of Hidden Things
Francesco Dimitri

Four old school friends have a pact: to meet up every year in the small town in Puglia they grew up in. Art, the charismatic leader of the group and creator of the pact, insists that the agreement must remain unshakable and enduring. But this year, he never shows up. A visit to his house increases the friends' worry; Art is farming marijuana. In Southern Italy doing that kind of thing can be very dangerous. They can't go to the Carabinieri so must make enquiries of their own. This is how they come across the rumors about Art; bizarre and unbelievable rumors that he miraculously cured the local mafia boss's daughter of terminal leukemia. And among the chaos of his house, they find a document written by Art, The Book of Hidden Things, that promises to reveal dark secrets and wonders beyond anything previously known.

Nina says: There’s much to unpack in this book, a lot of hidden truisms about life, faith, and facing adulthood. You’ll find your thoughts returning to it little by little, savoring it like the overflowing, Italian full course meals woven into the story. Dimitri is known in Italy as a fantasy writer, but this, his English debut, is realistic fiction underpinned by mystery with a light touch of the mystical. Great for fans of magical realism like The Life of Pi, Like Water for Chocolate or The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Nina's Past Staff Picks

The Mere WifeRandall
The Mere Wife
Maria Dahvana Headley

Synopsis: From the perspective of those who live in Herot Hall, the suburb is a paradise. Picket fences divide buildings high and gabled and the community is entirely self-sustaining. Each house has its own fireplace, each fireplace is fitted with a container of lighter fluid, and outside in lawns and on playgrounds wildflowers seed themselves in neat rows. But for those who live surreptitiously along Herot Hall’s periphery, the subdivision is a fortress guarded by an intense network of gates, surveillance cameras, and motion-activated lights. For Willa, the wife of Roger Herot (heir of Herot Hall), life moves at a charmingly slow pace. She flits between mommy groups, playdates, cocktail hour, and dinner parties, always with her son, Dylan, in tow. Meanwhile, in a cave in the mountains just beyond the limits of Herot Hall lives Gren, short for Grendel, as well as his mother, Dana, a former soldier who gave birth as if by chance. Dana didn’t want Gren, didn’t plan Gren, and doesn’t know how she got Gren, but when she returned from war, there he was. When Gren, unaware of the borders erected to keep him at bay, ventures into Herot Hall and runs off with Dylan, Dana’s and Willa’s worlds collide.

Randall says: A modern-day riff on Beowulf, Headley’s twist on this classic explores issues of motherhood, class and privilege with vivid imagery and remarkable prose. Easily one of my favorite books of the year.

Randall's Past Staff Picks

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Wylie Municipal Complex 
300 Country Club Rd., Building 100 Wylie, TX 75098
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After-hours emergency? Contact Police Dispatch, 972-442-8171
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800 Thomas St.
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