The Game is a Footnote by Vicki Delany
Starring: Gemma Doyle, the British expat owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium in West London, Massachusetts, who sometimes, albeit reluctantly, uses her analytical mind to solve crimes.
What happens: After several odd nighttime occurrences at Scarlet House, a local historical re-enactment museum, Gemma, her friend Jayne, and a few others camp out. When the night ends with a dead body, Gemma investigates.
Series alert: Featuring endearing characters, this is the 8th in a charming series that starts with Elementary, She Read.
A History of Fear by Luke Dumas
Meet... Grayson Hale, a sensitive if neurotic grad student studying in Edinburgh. A childhood fraught with neglect and religious fanaticism have left him ill-prepared for adulthood. His teetering sanity soon dissolves, leading to a brutal crime. Did the devil really make him do it?
Try this next: The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell.
How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix
How it begins: Estranged 30-something siblings Louise and Mark Joyner have a tense reunion in their South Carolina family home following the mysterious deaths of their parents.
What happens next: As the pair squabble over inheritance and prepare to sell the house, their mother's prized puppets and dolls seem to take on a life of their own, forcing traumatic family secrets out into the open.
Read it for: an unforgettable villain in maniacal puppet Pupkin.
Bad Cree by Jessica Johns
What it's about: Shortly after her sister's tragic death, grief-stricken Cree woman Mackenzie is haunted by vivid dreams that take shape in the waking world. She returns to her family in Alberta hoping to put her nightmares to rest, but something has followed her.
Want a taste? "Before I look down, I know it's there. The crow's head I was clutching in my dream is now in bed with me."
For fans of: White Horse by Erika T. Wurth and The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones.
Never Cross a Highlander by Lisa RayneWhat it's about: After three long years in captivity, Black Highland lass Ailsa Connery escapes her enslavers with the aid of "the Shepherd" -- aka Black warrior Kallum MacNeill -- who reluctantly accompanies Ailsa on her journey to reunite with her clan.
Is it for you? Set in the 18th-century Scottish Highlands, this gritty series opener doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of life during this period, including physical abuse, sexual assault, and fatal swordfights.
City Under One Roof by Iris Yamashita
Welcome to... Point Mettier, Alaska, formerly a secret military base and now home to 205 people, all of whom live in the same condo building.
Stranded: Anchorage detective Cara Kennedy is sent to investigate after a local teen discovers a severed hand and foot washed up on shore. When bad weather cuts off her exit, things get violent, and she must work with a local cop to figure out what's going on.
Author buzz: City Under One Roof is the debut novel of Iris Yamashita, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of 2006's Letters from Iwo Jima.
Bloodbath Nation by Paul Auster
What it is: a sobering and well-researched rumination on the history of gun violence in America, from the colonial era to the present.
Featuring: stark black-and-white photographs of sites where mass shootings have occurred; author Paul Auster's candid reflections on his own family's history with gun violence.
Reviewers say: "exceptional in its clarity and arresting in its sense of urgency" (Kirkus Reviews).
I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Sehee; translated by Anton Hur
What it is: a candid and relatable memoir of depression, stigma, and the one thing author Baek Sehee could still summon enthusiasm for in the depths of her mental health struggle -- the titular fried rice cake snack.
Recommended by: K-pop superstar RM of the group BTS.
Reviewers say: "This is a sincere attempt at self-discovery that will resonate with young people who suffer from similar forms of depression and anxiety" (Library Journal).
Weightless: Making Space for my Resilient Body and Soul by Evette Dionne
What it is: National Book Award finalist Evette Dionne's chronicle of how systemic fatphobia has shaped her life as a plus-sized Black woman.
Read it for: an incisive look at the intersection of race, gender, and wellness, featuring personal anecdotes and pop culture musings.
Reviewers say: "A provocatively necessary collection" (Kirkus Reviews) and "an urgent call for change" (Publishers Weekly).
Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood by Jessica Grose
What it's about: how antiquated and unrealistic expectations of American motherhood harm parents and children.
Why you might like it: Featuring extensive research paired with author Jessica Grose's own parenting experiences and those of the mothers she interviewed, this thoughtful and empathetic survey offers insights on how today's mothers can empower themselves and their families.
Waypoints: My Scottish Journey by Sam Heughan
What it is: a memoir and travelogue by Scottish actor Sam Heughan, star of the TV series Outlander, who walked the West Highland Way, pondering his childhood, life as an actor, whiskey, and more.
About the route: At nearly 100 miles, the lovely Scottish path, which is part of the International Appalachian Trail, runs from just past Glasgow to Fort William in the Highlands, passing Ben Nevis along the way.
Read this next: Clanlands by the author and his Outlander costar Graham McTavish, Robert Macfarlane's The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot, or Rory Stewart's The Marches.
The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise by Pico Iyer
What it is: a lyrical, thought-provoking look at the meaning of paradise, which took talented author Pico Iyer to a variety of places and led him to ponder how people can live more peacefully in a divided world.
Locations include: Iran, Sri Lanka, Jerusalem, Japan, Ethiopia, India, North Korea, and Northern Ireland.
Reviewers say: "Immersive and profound" (Publishers Weekly); "With keen observation and beautiful language, Iyer shows us the essential truths of places, people, and ideas" (Kirkus Reviews).
Butts: A Backstory by Heather RadkeWhat it's about: reporter and RadioLab contributing editor Heather Radke gets to the bottom of...well, the bottom in this "winning, cheeky, and illuminating" (Washington Post) cultural history.
Why you might like it: This wide-ranging, well-researched book contains a wealth of information, both lighthearted (Victorian "fart parlors," the many musical tributes to the female posterior) and serious (scientific racism, diet culture).
Did you know...? Humans are the only animal with buttocks, and research suggests that they played a key role in our species' evolution.
Mister Kitty is Lost! by Greg Pizzoli
What it is: a playful, interactive story in which kids help the pigtailed protagonist search for the lost Mister Kitty through counting and color matching.
Art alert: The dimensional, cut-paper illustrations are bold and attention-grabbing, yet still clear enough that young participants can easily count objects and find colors.
Who it's for: preschoolers eager to flex their developing skills (as well as adults who'll appreciate the quirky conclusion).
Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert
Meet: Celine Bangura. Her conspiracy theory TikTok account is thriving, but her former best friend Bradley Graeme left her for the cool kids years ago.
Survival of the fittest: When a scholarship program requires Celine to complete a wilderness survival course, she and Bradley are teamed up. If they can re-establish trust, they just might win it all.
What sets it apart: Author Talia Hibbert's YA debut overflows with sincere emotion and witty banter, just like her popular adult romances.
Sincerely Sicily by Tamika Burgess
Starring: fashion-forward Black Panamanian writer Sicily, who's starting 6th grade at a new school without her old friends.
What happens: Adjusting to the change is tough when Sicily's new classmates view her Afro-Latina heritage with confusion and hostility, and her own abuela gives her a hard time about her braids and dark skin.
Try this next: Sharon Draper's Blended, another smart, relatable, and realistic story about a multiracial girl who refuses to be anyone other than herself.
Just Jerry: How Drawing Shaped My Life by Jerry Pinkney
What it is: an autobiography by award-winning picture book creator Jerry Pinkney.
What's inside: Jerry's memories of growing up in segregated 1950s America, dealing with a learning disability, and finding his first jobs as an artist. Although the illustrations weren't finished when Jerry died in 2021, the included sketches give you a peek into how he made art.
Who it's for: aspiring artists hoping to make it big like Jerry, as well as anyone who loved his picture books.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
Lackawanna County Library System
500 Vine Street
Scranton, Pennsylvania 18509