Divine December Staff Picks
Dive into these delectable and divine staff picks all of December.
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For those of you yearning for a Norwegian thriller, this will fit the bill. With all the expected darkness and twisting psychological mystery of the best Scandinavian novels, The Corpse Flower does not disappoint. When a journalist receives cryptic letters from a wanted murder suspect who was seen on CCTV footage covered in the victim’s blood, dark secrets begin to unravel. The journalist, Heloise Kalden, soon discovers her connection with the murder suspect, Anna Keil. The personal, political, and emotional fallout will rock the community.
I would recommend this novel for fans of Henning Mankel, Stieg Larson, Jo Nesbo, and Camilla Lackberg.
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Fans of Liane Moriarity will love this book. This book is a deep, dark exploration of neighbors turning on each other. In the very near future, sinkholes and extreme heat are just part of everyday life and when a sinkhole appears on Maple street, it is the beginning of unleashing murder, secrets, lies, conspiracy. An examination of American families wrapped up in an engaging thriller. This book will have you thinking about it long after you finish it.
I would highly recommend this book to fans of Gillian Flynn, Celeste Ng, and Lianne Moriarity. A book that turns suburbia on its head!
For fans of Dexter and Gone Girl, or basically, fans of delving into the minds of psychopaths will love this audacious book. When a professor secretly gives scholarships to identified psychopaths so he can study them, what can go wrong? When murders start happening, which student is the killer? This fast-paced thriller really puts the reader in a homicidal psychopath frame of mind. Fast-paced twisted fun!
I would recommend this book for fans of Criminal Minds, Silence of the Lambs. This book is told from the perspective of a psychopath so fans of getting into that headspace.
Every mountainous town seems to have that notorious highway where hitchhikers go missing. Cold Creek Highway and all the missing hitchhikers are just the beginning of this intriguing mystery. After her sister goes missing, Beth drops out of university and moves to Cold Creek to solve the disappearance. With the help of an intriguing local survivalist girl, she uncovers more secrets and danger than she was prepared for. Richly immersive, this book from award-winning best-selling author, Chevy Stevens, will keep you flipping those pages.
This book would be great for those readers who love a good mystery and the environment, in this case, dense, dangerous woods that plays an equally important role in the development of the story as the characters.
Previously, I have described Moriarty novels as suburbia on crack, and that same fast-paced thriller set in what seems like quiet, serene suburbia, is back again. In this novel, Joy Delaney, the lovely matriarch of 4 grown children, discovers her “perfect” husband is missing. Delving into marriage, sibling rivalry, family secrets, and the ever-present facade of suburbia, this book keeps you guessing and thinking until well after the climactic ending.
I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Liane Moriarty’s other work. She always tackles family, friends, and suburbia in a unique, and in an often dark way. Not quite Tim Burton but this is equally engaging.
A fun collection of familiar Norse tales written in a new, refreshing way! You will find yourself laughing out loud as you’re taken on an adventure back in time to when gods, giants, and magic were commonplace. Follow Loki and Thor while they work together to fix any problems that the god of mischief may have caused by little pranks or full-on abduction. The short stories set the stage for Ragnarok, the inevitable end of the world, and every character has their own journey there. This book is a great introduction to Norse mythology and just an overall pleasant read.
I highly recommend picking up this work if you have ever been interested in Greek mythology or mythology of any kind and wish to expand your horizons.
The first book of George R. R. Martin’s award-winning series sets you up in a fantasy world chock-full of politics, murder, and monsters. Follow multiple characters ranging from an exiled princess being forced to marry a warlord, to the head of a noble family struggling with the corruption in the court of the king who also happens to be his closest friend. The plot’s attention to detail and the very human portrayal of the characters kept me glued to every page.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys intense character development and dark medieval themes or anyone who watched the series and needs more details.
I’ve never had as much fun reading a book as I did reading Crescent City. The setting is unique and different, combining a modern city with high fantasy elements such as magic, demons, and a brutal hierarchy with angels at the top. The story takes place during a looming human rebellion against the Vanir, magic-wielding individuals with longer life spans. Bryce Quinlan, a half-human, half-fae resident of the city would rather stay out of the conflict, but when her best friend is brutally murdered, she will do anything to find answers.
If you are someone who enjoys murder mysteries, enemies to lovers, and extreme fantasy world-building, this is the book for you!
In Samantha Shannon’s vivid fantasy world, there is a sharp divide between the dragon-loathing West and the dragon-worshiping East. In the West, Queen Sabran of the House of Berethnet is being pressured to marry and produce a female heir as whispers of a new dragon uprising whirl around her. In the East, a new crop of Dragonriders are being indoctrinated, and Tane - a young peasant girl who has been training for this her whole life - is determined to be one of them. There is an undercurrent subtly tugging on both Sabran and Tane’s decisions, and it involves Ead Duryan, a transplant to Queen Sabran’s court from the mysterious Priory.
I would highly recommend this book to lovers of high fantasy, from Brandon Sanderson to Sarah J Maas. Priory of the Orange Tree has also been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award for writing about the LGBT experience.
This book, second in the series of A Court of Thorns and Roses has become one of my all-time favorite books. The first book was a little vanilla romance that was very surface level and I was a little disappointed, to be honest. HOWEVER, Maas did it ON PURPOSE! This second book blew me away and I was so surprised to see the lame tropes were actually super intelligent and interesting building blocks of an amazing romance and fantasy story. I am in love with this series and you will be too.
I would recommend this book to any 18+ women or men who love fantasy and a hint of spice.
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Set in Raverra, a land inspired by 17th century Venice Italy, two worlds come crashing together with immense repercussions. Lady Amalia Cornaro, the daughter of one of the most influential women in the Raverran Council, would much rather study Artifice and read obscure historical books in her room than enter the treacherous, political world of her mother: a world rife with death sentences and secret contracts. Enter Zaira, a rogue warlock living secretly as a street rat to avoid being forcibly conscripted into the Falcons, Raverra's military force of mage-marked and magical humans. In Raverra, those born with power are strictly controlled, but when Zaira and Amalia are accidentally bound together for life, the balance of control sways in a direction no one could have anticipated.
This book is recommended for anyone who loves adventure, intrigue, and stunningly written characters with complicated relationships. It normalizes LGBT relationships while pulling the reader into the depths of its rich, historically based, high fantasy world. It is one of my absolute favorite series!
We were so privileged to launch Doerr’s novel, All The Light We Cannot See, at Literary Sojourn years ago and that amazing novel went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. So I have been anxiously awaiting the follow-up! This book is nothing like his previous historical fiction, this novel reads more like David Mitchell. For fans of Cloud Atlas, this novel will more than satisfy. Set in 3 time periods, Constantinople 1453, Idaho today, and in a spaceship decades from now. This very literary novel will transport you and enthrall you while following different children and their resilience through parallel time periods. Lots of Greek references, which are very popular right now, will propel the story. There is so much to enjoy in this beautifully written novel.
I would recommend this book to fans of David Mitchell and Haruki Murakami.
This powerful novel, co-authored by a black woman and a white woman, delves into the current conversation about the double standards of policing in this unsettling time of race relations. Riley, a successful black TV reporter, and Jen, a white woman married to a policeman, have been best friends since preschool. Their friendship is tested when Jen’s husband kills an unarmed black teen who is merely walking home. Riley is assigned as the lead reporter on this case and understands the influence her voice and power has on the situation. Yet, everything she reports will affect her best friend. I experienced many “aha” moments within the pages of this book, and better understand that we have a long way to go to make this world equal for all!
I would recommend this book this anyone who likes a good drama, is considering the turmoil our country is going through or is just interested in this beautifully written story.
Eighty-eight-year-old Maud appears as a “sweet old lady” but nothing could be farther from the truth! Her feisty, take-control-of-injustice attitude is hidden behind the guise of a doddering elder, and it’s amazing what she gets away with!
Yet, there is that thing you will come to love about Maud! This is truly an enjoyable story, with a bit of a mystery side-line!
I would recommend this book to any woman that has a little fire in her and loves to see another fiery woman taking control!
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Oprah chose this novel as her February 2022 Book Club selection, and I can see why she did so. Prepare yourself for a tumultuous ride through five generations in the life of the Piper family, beginning in the early 1900s. Delve into the relationships between the four Piper sisters and their unique connections with their father. Their life is messy and twisted, yet somehow they manage to remain a family unit. The book illustrates the effect trauma has on young minds, events that often remain buried within until it seeps out. This novel is definitely one to lose yourself in!
I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good family drama and discovering the hidden parts of people.
Such a thought-provoking read. Written with a 'present tense’ technique, it takes a few pages to become used to the voice of the storytelling, but when you step into it, it is such an artistic rendering of the study of loss. This story is historical fiction of the death of William Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet. It is written across multiple years and throughout multiple timelines. Though Hamnet's death became the inspiration of the famous play Hamlet, this really is Shakespeare's wife, Agnes’ story. She is a smart, hardworking, slightly magical woman whose story is told through an unlikely romance, and the life-and-death that follows.
I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys books that not only serve to propel a story but are descriptive works of art in their own right. If you love vivid and striking writing about reimagined history, this is the book for you!
Just when I was apathetically feeling the despair of the world I live in, I came across this inspirational book written by the advocate of hope! Jane Goodall, a well-known naturalist and champion optimist, and Doug Abrams, co-author of The Book of Joy, share a dialogue concerning the future of our planet. At 90, Goodall admits she has lived through plenty of dark times and shares her wise perspective to explain why she still finds hope in the ultimate goodness of people and the resilience of nature. She defines hope as an innate survival skill that requires engagement and action. The ideas in this book have affected my thinking, especially concerning my role with my children and grandchildren. It’s encouraged me to throw apathy aside and move forward, with just a bit of hope. It certainly can’t hurt!
I recommend this book to anyone who is feeling the despair of a world in the throes of climate change and needs a bit of hope!
Author Chris Hedges is a minister, a former war correspondent, and a Pulitzer prize-winning author, unlikely criteria for teaching a college class in a maximum-security prison on the east coast. Nevertheless, his story, which is actually the story of his students, is revealing and powerful! Under the guidance of Hedges, his class of 28 inmates cooperatively wrote and presented a play, entitled Caged, using their personal stories as content. Hedges encouraged his students to be nothing but honest, and the vulnerability they were able to express made this the class the inmates wished would never end.
This book exposed me to lives outside my own perspective, and I was appalled by the injustice of the American justice system, which often keeps inmates broken and passive.
In my opinion, this is a “must-read” for everyone, regardless of your privilege, religious leanings, and passion for social justice. It’s powerful!
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The life of a ski bum is one that has been oft romanticized, frequently criticized, and generally hunted to near extinction in recent years. Whispers of the golden years of ski bumminess can be often heard in the local dive bar - days when the lift lines were short or nonexistent, the accommodations were terrible but cheap, and the beer flowed freely. The ski bum ethos is still alive and well, but changing with the times as we all must. Heather Hansman takes a deep dive into American skiing culture from the perspective of those true diehards who would do just about anything to get their days in.
I would recommend this book to adventure lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and anyone who wants to understand the true meaning of ski culture.
If you are a fan of true crime and camping, do I have a recommendation for you! The Darkest Places is a culmination of mysteries, crimes, and disasters brought together by the editors of Outside Magazine. I made sure to read this right before going hunting so I would be very aware of my surroundings. I will tell you, it definitely helped me keep an ear out!
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves the outdoors and loves true crime!
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The Eighth Life is a tale of one family’s survival, loss, terror, joy, hopelessness, triumph, and secret hot chocolate recipe. Spanning a century and beginning at the start of the Russian Revolution in Georgia, we meet the matriarch of the family, Stasia, as a young girl dreaming of becoming a glamorous Parisian ballerina. As the communists take over, Stasia is eventually left with only her father’s famous - and possibly cursed - hot chocolate recipe to pass down to her children and her children’s children, all of whom must figure out how to make their own way in their dangerous, beautiful, ever-changing country.
Haratischwili’s writing is hauntingly gorgeous. She has a way of folding time like an accordion and stretching it back out again, reminding you that the past is never as far away as you think.
I would recommend this book to history buffs, people who enjoy a character-driven story, and anyone who loves settling into the couch with a thick book and a cup of (hopefully not-cursed) hot chocolate, ready to immerse themselves in someone else’s world.
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This book blew me away. I love good historical fiction that can transport me back to the “old times” and this one did just that and made me really believe the characters. I am a horror enthusiast and this story had more than just believable historical characters, it had a paranormal vibe that makes you question, what really happened to the Donner party? This foreboding vibe starts from page 2 and slowly grows throughout the story. If you are a fan of historical fiction with a twist, this is the book and the author for you!
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction, horror, or anything that doesn’t quite fit a traditional mold.
A true classic, Musashi follows the titular Sword Saint from his humble beginnings as a footsoldier for a defeated army, to on the run from Tokugawa’s forces and beyond to become a legendary figure that stands the test of time. The book that popularized Miyamoto Musashi (an actual historical figure) in the cultural zeitgeist, this novel brings me right into a fictional comfort zone of sorts, full of action, humor, and even a little bit of romance as well!
This book is perfect for anyone who’s interested in the Feudal Era of Japan, most fans of Shounen-style manga/anime, or for anyone wanting a historical novel that isn’t set in wartime France for once!
No Longer Human is an introspective look into the general failure of one man to relate to those and the world around him. Set on a bleak background of overall indifference, the few and far-between moments of connection are made all the more important. Detailing the monotony and cruelty of being human, this book will provide a new perspective on one’s own experience.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys examining a character in great detail and enjoys a more difficult read.
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Dune scratched the itch I never knew I had! Set on a planet scarce of water, a young man by the name of Paul is set on a path to bring change to the universe. This enchanted sci-fi adventure is filled with fascinating characters and an expansive universe that blew me away! I love having the visual of such a detailed world from giant sandworms to space espionage! Though it is a big book, Dune kept me thoroughly enthralled!
This book is for the space adventurer looking for their next universe to explore, or the galactic spy who loves all the insight into the happenings of fierce factions. If you enjoy spending some time hanging out in the stars, Dune is the novel for you.
A truly excellent (and brutal) graphic novel from the mind of Keanu Reeves, BRZRKR takes some tried and tested tropes, and puts them in a different light. BRZRKR follows, well, Berserker, on a bloody path through the centuries. Blessed with eternal life (and rage), watch and read as Berserker earns his namesake. It’s simple, violent, and artfully done, what more could you want?
I recommend this to anyone who’s a fan of Keanu (specifically his John Wick series) or as a change of pace for that Marvel (OR DC fan!) in the family. Also good for anyone who likes the similarly named Berserker by the late Kentaro Miura.
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I absolutely adore the movie adaptation of this book, and didn’t believe that I would love the book just as much, but thought I would try anyway. However, I was very wrong! I love it even MORE! Louie the Vampire recounts in great detail the story of his life over the centuries and the adventures and misfortunes that he has encountered along the way. A beautiful examination of mortality and morality, Interview with the Vampire is an enchantingly intimate tale, and the audiobook read by Simon Vance made the experience all the better.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves gothic fiction or period pieces and enjoys deep explorations of many complex characters.
You know it's going to be an interesting read when the main character is dead on the first page! Wallace isn't kind. He takes no joy out of life other than work and doesn't care about anyone but himself. Imagine the surprise and fury when he is met at his sparsely attended funeral by Mei, the reaper who has come to collect him. Brought to a tea house serving as a way station for transitioning souls, Wallace meets the owner Hugo, and transformation slowly occurs. It's never too late to change who you are- to become a different person. Even after you die. This book is an honest, quirky, yet quietly profound observance of grief. It is a partly humorous story that allows for the processing of emotions and life changes, rather than striving to fix them. 'Under The Whispering Door' accentuates the beauty of seemingly everyday moments in a way that reminds the reader how incredibly exceptional they really are, and how important it is to make the most out of the time you've got.
I recommend this book for anyone looking to reaffirm the importance of connection, love, and the simplistic beauty of the world. For anyone looking for a wonderfully written, slightly comical account of what is important, and how to make the most of every moment.
This little gift book is great for a bookshelf or coffee table! A perfect gift for anybody, because everyone deals with feelings of sadness. If you have ever encountered a feeling you couldn’t quite identify, this is for you. It’s a small book that shows the enormity of human connection. You’ll probably stumble across a definition for a feeling you were absolutely sure only you felt. It’s maybe the only time that reminiscing on melancholy will help you feel less alone. And with the lovely gilding on the cover, this little book will bring a touch of shine to any room it enters. If you have ever encountered a feeling you couldn’t quite identify, this is for you.
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When I was a kid my favorite book was an anthology of fairy tales from around the world, and that obsession carried over into my adulthood without much issue. Not only will it look stunning on your bookshelf (which every bookworm loves more than they’ll ever admit) its compendium of tales, fascinating footnotes, and beautiful artwork will delight and inspire. This is one of the first truly epic stories. Arabian Nights is the source of the stories of Sinbad, Aladdin, and Shahrazad. They have enthralled people all throughout time and all over the world. This beautiful new translation of possibly the best-known collection of tales in the world is a must-read for anyone who loves fairy tales or classics the way I do.
This novel follows two people as they live through a thousand lives, always coming together in one way or another, but never seeing their story all the way through to the end. If you love stories about crossing timelines and true love, you have to pick up this book. In the spirit of other classic tales like Princess Bride and Outlander, I truly believe For All Time is destined to become a modern classic. For sci-fi and romance lovers, teens, and adults alike!
The story of a young girl who finds herself sitting at a table that keeps shrinking due to lack of love! What is she to do but rebuild it? The story is especially poignant after a year of near-constant electronic usage. The illustrations are adorable and the story is touching. I can’t recommend it enough! This adorable picture book is the perfect gift for any kid, but especially for one who loves an interactive read-aloud book!
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