COUPON CODE!

Get $5 off your pre-order of THE READER'S ADVISORY GUIDE TO HORROR THIRD EDITION. Click here and enter RAGH21 at checkout. Works with your ALA Member Discount also.

RA FOR ALL...THE ROAD SHOW!

I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information including RA for All's EDI Statement.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Announcing the 5th Annual HWA Librarians' Day at StokerCon 2021

Today I am announcing the lineup for the 5th Annual StokerCon Librarians Day. This year Librarians' Day is included in the price of attending the full StokerCon. For $75 [which is usually the price for just Librarians' Day] you will have access to all programming from May 20-23. 

But specifically, Librarians' Day is set. The schedule is below. Click here to signup today.

And finally, a thank you to returning sponsors NoveList and LibraryReads.

I really hope to see you there. We have worked in tons of networking time, breaks, and of course, learning. 


5th Annual StokerCon Librarians Day

May 21, 2021

10am - 7pm Eastern


Click here to signup: https://hopin.com/events/stokercon

  • $75 gets you access to the entirety of StokerCon, not just Librarians' Day


All on one stage. 30 minutes between panels to network and chat with the authors or just take a break.


10-11 The Appeal of a Good Scare: Moderated by Becky Spratford  -- Tim Waggoner, Grady Hendrix, V Castro, Jessica Guess, John Fram, Emily Hughes [Nightfire]


11:30-12:30  Thrilling Communities with Chilling Experiences: Konrad Stump, Moderator; John Edward Larson, All Access Con;  Alex Giannini, Westport [CT] Library; Evelyn Gathu, Crystal Falls [MI] District Library; Corey Farrenkopf, Sturigs [MA] Library


1-2 Meet the 2020 Diversity Grant Recipients: Linda Addison, Moderator, Jacqueline Dyre, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Gabino Iglesias, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Tejaswi Priyadarshi, Sumiko Saulson


2:30-3:30: Meet the Press: Omnium Gatherum: Konrad Stump, Moderator. Lee Murray, Lisa Morton, Kate Maruyama, Donna JW Munro, S. Alessandro Martinez


4-5:  Totally Bloodless Horror Promotion: Moderated by Lila Denning: Ally Russell [Nightfire blog and Instagram], Ladies of the Fright, Adam Cesare, Cameron Chaney [Librarian and YouTuber].


5:30-6:30: The Scary Truth About Horror Reviews: Sadie Hartmann, moderator. Emily Vinci [Library Journal], Silvia Moreno-Garcia [Washington Post], Gabino Iglesias [NPR and others] Beth Griffith [Night Worms], Nina James [NIght Worms].


Summer Scares 2021 Author Panels: Adult moderated by Konrad Stump, YA moderated by Becky Spratford, Middle Grade moderated by Julia Smith:


Don’t forget to check out the 4th Annual Librarians’ Day, currently available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgpoctHeIrvwI7dRO25rKoTwOLtuvastm


Librarians Day is sponsored by:

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

RA for All Virtual Roadshow Visits Community Library Network [ID]

As I have mentioned a few times, but most noticeable here:

2020 could be my year of I told you so to all the library ppl who told me 5 years ago that no one wants #ReadAdv training, that libraries were repositioning as a "third space," focusing on our buildings, that we were "more than books," that no one would want or need my training

I could do that, but I am too busy trying to fill all the requests for #ReadAdv training you all need right now.

However, this increase in requests and the renewed focus on every library improve their basic RA service by all staff, to all patrons has also made me improve my own basic RA training. 

Today I am visiting Community Library Network in Idaho for my re-engergized virtual RA for All: Flip the Script and Think Like a Reader program.

I revamped the program in late 2020, but I have also added a few new tweaks to the interactive experience. I love the results I am seeing too.

If you want to energize your staff-- every single person no matter where they fall on your organizational chart-- contact me. This is a program I can give at anytime although currently I am booking June and forward. Pricing Starts at $350 for 1 session but if you want more programs, the price per session decreases.

In the meantime, here are the most up to date slides for today's participants and all of you.



Monday, March 29, 2021

Announcing Actively Anti-Racist Service to Leisure Readers with Robin Bradford

Today's post is the announcement of a new program with it's own page on RA for All. You can access that page at anytime in the right gutter of the blog under the RA for All Logo and with this link.

Actively Anti-Racist Service to Leisure Readers with Robin Bradford [last updated March 29, 2021]

Editors note: This page is the home of all "Actively Anti-Racist Service to Leisure Readers" training programs offered by Becky and Robin, either alone or together. It will be updated regularly with program offerings and pricing, with a notation of that update in the title of the page; however, our scheduled events and links to any handouts are still available on the Recent and Upcoming Presentations Page.

For the last 2 years I have been providing a program entitled, "#OwnVoices for All Readers: Incorporating EDI Values into Readers' Advisory Service." This program focused on explaining why and how even the most well-meaning white librarians did harm and upheld systemic racism in their everyday work. The program focused on coming to terms with this fact [I used examples from my own missteps to guide the way], and gave some tangible action steps library workers could use to do better. This program was 70% hand holding and 30% ways to do better.

Often, I teamed up with my friend and colleague Robin Bradford to give these programs as we could each tackle our speciality [collections development for her and RA service for me], but by Summer 2020 we were both growing tired of lecturing everyone as to WHY they should stop being racist and upholding systemic oppression. We were done with the hand-holding and getting frustrated with how slowly things were progressing in terms of action. What we were both hearing in response to our programs were more excuses and reasons why our action steps were not possible. It was frustrating to say the least.

Our first step toward change was to move away from the traditional "lecture" model and have conversations. We felt like these moderated conversations could help make change seem more possible. Two of those which you can watch below were:

These series of conversations moderated by others did help. It allowed us to be more responsive. And then, the resulting follow-ups we were receiving began to get more nuanced. It appeared people were more willing to stop making excuses, quit the hand wringing, and start acting.

As a result, Robin and I have pivoted again and are offering a new slate of programs, training sessions with a more action oriented description. 

Actively Anti-Racist Service to Leisure Readers
Increasing the collection and circulation of titles written by underrepresented authors is not a trend, rather, providing robust readers’ advisory service that values equity, diversity and inclusion principles is essential to all library service. But moving from being a neutral, well-meaning library where systemic racism is acknowledged to an actively anti-racist organization involves work, some of which is uncomfortable at first. In this program you will begin that work, learning tangible skills to help build enthusiasm for reading and discovering "diverse" books, to deepen RA service through thoughtful inclusion of EDI principles in all interactions with leisure readers, and to be a steward of the anti-racist mindset for your organization. Readers’ Advisory and Collection Development experts Becky Spratford and Robin Bradford will move your team from merely discussing "why" putting EDI concerns at the forefront of all of your work with leisure readers is important to the "how," including an honest look at action steps for all staff. While it may seem uncomfortable at first, Becky and Robin will help you shift your focus allowing your entire organization to craft an actionable plan to incorporate EDI values into your normal RA practices. All you need is a little nudge in the right direction and a commitment to begin the march forward.

This program comes as an open and honest conversation between Robin and I about how to provide actively anti-racist service to leisure readers by using our most commonly received concerns. Including but not limited to:

  • How to identify more diverse titles to add to our collections.

  • How to display, booktalk, and organize titles in an anti-racist way.

  • How to promote diverse titles always and not just in their "months."
  • How to deal with actively racist request for “NO” black, gay, etc books
  • Complaints from patrons that you highlight too much diversity.

  • Issues about “censorship” re: not promoting popular problematic titles.

  • Cancel culture and “classics.”

  • American Dirt was our top circulating Book of 2020. What do we do now?

However, we are also encouraging libraries to submit questions that they want to discuss, no matter how uncomfortable, in this environment. These programs run 90 mins. You can also have us do a more foundational training, taped or live, although we suggest those happen as a precursor to the conversations. Often, just Becky can be available to provide the foundational lecture. It is an excellent idea in terms of making sure your entire staff has a level foundation upon which you begin this hard work, together.

Two main things you need to agree to before contracting with us however: 

  1. "Not-Racist" is a point of view but "Anti-Racist" requires action
  2. Those who are agreeing to become "Actively Anti-Racist" by contracting with us must be willing to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

Currently we have signed contracts to work with the entire staff of Eugene [OR] Public Library and Darien [CT] Library to provide a series of discussions and webinars. And that "series" wording is important. There are many options to fit your library. The minimum pricing is $300 per person, per appearance. So $600 to have both of us, however, if you want to break up your staff into two groups for the conversations or provide separate background webinars on CD and RA, pricing begins at $250 per appearance.

We are keeping the pricing of these programs as low as possible so that more libraries can afford them, we are also reaching out to state library conferences to provide these training programs which will make it even more affordable to individual libraries. Please note however, while I am available more often solo, due to Robin's full time library job we are limiting our partnered appearances to one library per month. This training program is a process and we are often visiting virtually and live at least 2x per library [minimum]. Also, all inquires go through me. I will be handling all of the paperwork, scheduling, and contracts. Please note however, we are operating as separate contractors, not starting a new company. All paperwork including invoices will note that.

All contracts made with Becky and Robin will also include Becky's EDI Mission statement. Signature of a contract for services with Becky and Robin confirms your acceptance of this statement as well as the terms of our agreement.

If you are interested, reach out to me and we can begin the conversation. Every client has specific needs and we have a more fully fleshed out series of questions and issues for you to discuss as you plan to work with us.

As of March 29, 2021 we have August, September, November, and December for 2021 available for this partnered program. 2022 is wide open.

I hope I have made this as clear as possible, but just in case you missed it, we are not playing around here. There is no more tiptoeing around these issues. 400 years of systemic oppression needs dismantling. It will be a long and hard process with heavy lifting required. This is not dainty work, but we are here to help you push up your sleeves and to help us be a part of the solution.


Monday, March 22, 2021

RA for All is on "Spring Break"

Yes "Spring Break" is in quotes for a reason. We are taking a few days off as a family. 

There will be no posts all week, although I am working on Friday as I have a RAILS Board meeting, but otherwise, I will be doing a lot of reading including this, this, and this

Stay out of trouble. I don't want to have to log in and post.

Back 3/29 with the official announcement of my new actively anti-racist training venture and my partner.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Easy Best List Access for All Ages via Booklist

Today, I am sending my readers over to the Booklist Reader blog because the latest issue of Booklist has super easy access to every ALA 2021 best list, for all ages and formats, all in one post. You can click here or use the links from that post that I have reprinted below. 

There is nothing better I could do to help you today then send you over to Booklist. Have a great weekend.

The Latest Booklist: ALA’s 2021 Best Lists

The newest issue of Booklist, featuring ALA’s 2021 best lists, is now live! In it, you’ll find the best adult books from the Notable Books Council; the most notable children’s booksfrom the Association for Library Service to Children; the best adult genre fiction from the Reading List Council; the Listen List, which showcases outstanding audio narration; this year’s list of amazing audiobooks for young adults; and the CODES List of the year’s most recommended cookbooks from the Reference and User Services Association. You’ll also see the Rainbow List of LGBTQ+ books for youth, as well as significant, authentic LGBTQ+ content from the 2021 Over the Rainbow committee. Then there’s a list of recommended feminist books, fiction and nonfiction, for young readers from Rise: A Feminist Book Project; the best fiction for young adults from the Young Adult Library Services Association; the Top 10 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers; the Top 10 Great Graphic Novels for Teensand the Alex Awards list for good measure. 

Speaking of awards, Books for Youth associate editor Ronny Khuri sits down with Daniel Nayeri, author of this year’s Printz-winning novel, Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story). And we’ve made room for the Odyssey Award and Honors titles, too.

The March 15 issue also includes our annual Spotlight on Picture Books. This special section features a top-10 list of the year’s outstanding collage picture books and a read-alikes inspired by the delightful picture book Laxmi’s Mooch by Shelly Anand and illustrated by Nabi H. Ali. Also in this packed issue, the latest Carte Blanche features an interview with Grant Farley author of the starred reviewed debut Bones of a Saint. Wrapping things up is the annual Spring Travel Guide from Adult Books associate editor Annie Bostrom and some video suggestions from Media editor Heather Booth.

You can also find the complete magazine online! Booklist’s digital edition of the March 15 issue is also live. It’s a great way to explore the magazine from your iPhone, iPad, tablet, Samsung Galaxy, or any other internet-connected device. With the digital issue, subscribers will now get print, online, digital, and archival access to the 22 Booklist and four Book Links issues each year! Visit www.booklistonline.com.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Conversation Starter: Make "Flashcards" to Use With All Patrons, In All Situations

Last summer I wrote an article the NoveList database listing "6 Ways Anyone Can RA, Regardless of Job Title." You can do a search in NoveList for "Spratford" and then choose "Lists and Article" to read it.

The point of the piece was to encourage whole library participation in RA Service. One of the 6 suggestions was to "Make Conversation Starter Flashcards."

The most common complaint library workers bring to me in terms of expanding their RA Service is that no one initiates conversations with them about books. But we also don't show them that we want to have these conversations. Often patrons think we are "too busy" for this type of leisure reading conversation. And now, with so much of our work happening online or socially distant it is even harder to get them to engage.

Or at least you all think it is.

The first step is to work together as a team, across the entire library staff, to create a set of notecards or a digital list of Conversation Starters. Leading and provocative questions that can be asked at any service desk, by any staff member, in a print form, or online to to start a conversation about books and reading.

And any conversation you have, at any desk or on any virtual platform, about books and reading is RA Service. Remember, RA is about the conversations we have about our materials that someone would check out for their leisure-- their wants, not their needs. You do not have to  engage in an actual transaction of handing a book to a person that you have worked to match with their preferences for it to count as RA Service. 

These conversation starters can happen anywhere and through any medium, even in our socially distant times. As I mentioned in this post, they are perfect for increasing the interactivity of our curbside service. And of course, they work wonderfully on social media.

Here are some of my favorite conversation starters:

  • Tell me about a book you thought you would love and then when you read it you were surprised you didn't like it.
    • Patrons are shocked when we ask about what they don't like. This shakes them out of complacency and makes them realize we really do want to talk about books with them.
  • What is a book that "surprised" you?
    • Keep it vague what you mean by "surprise." Then listen to not only the book, but the "why."
  • What book are you most excited about?
    • I use this one to start my presentations. I tell people to just type in the first book they thought about. No need to have read it before or even for it to have come out yet.
  • What book do you like to gift to others?
    • I love this one because it is outside the box and yet most readers have an answer quickly.
  • What are your go-to resources for finding book recommendations for yourself (besides the library)?
    • This is a great way for us to find new resources, and if you ask enough patrons, you can post a list of "Our Patrons Favorite Reading Sites," or something like that, on your website.

The curbside post referred to above has a few more, and I also have a tag for "Conversation Starters" here on the blog with more. These are resources or posts that could be turned into conversation starters.

I also love this older list from The Millions about what you "Should" read. It makes for some down to earth conversation starters. 

And all of this can happen face-to-face, socially distant, and online-- all at the same time. Also, any staff member can start these conversations, no matter their job title. Just make sure you have the list of conversation starters easily available to everyone who wants to join in on the fun while supporting our Library's mission and increasing patron satisfaction.

 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Using Awards Lists As A RA Tool: Lambda Literary Award and Nebulas Edition

This is part of my ongoing series on using Awards Lists as a RA tool. Click here for all posts in the series in reverse chronological order. Click here for the first post which outlines the details how to use awards lists as a RA tool.

Today I have two major awards lists to alert you to. First up are the books nominated for the Lambda Literary Award in 24 categories! From their mission statement:

For over 30 years, Lambda Literary has championed LGBTQ books and authors. No other organization in the world serves LGBTQ writers and readers more comprehensively than Lambda Literary. We believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture, and that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published, and read.

Every year this award has more and more titles that every library worker already knows about and that makes me so happy. These are ALL books you can put on any display. Do not save them only for LGBTQ displays. 

Because there are genre categories, much of the work is done for you, but also, the titles in the top fiction categories should be on  as many displays as possible. Take Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart in the Gay Fiction category; It won the Booker Prize. Or Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas in Bisexual Fiction which was a huge Psychological Suspense- Horror genre hybrid hit last year. Or The Seep by Chana Porter in Transgender Fiction which got a star review in Booklist, and which I listened to and loved.

LGTBQ fiction is for everyone and it is NOT a genre. 

But the second award is genre based. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America present the Nebula Awards for speculative fiction in 7 categories. 

The nominees represent a diversity of voices and the types of storylines and tones you can expect in speculative fiction today. 

These two awards are both long standing and well respected. Use them for displays, collection development, and suggestions. And of course, don't forget the backlist. Both awards have easy access to past nominees. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

What I'm Reading: The Goddess of Filth by V. Castro

Today, I am here to proclaim this the year of V. Castro. I am not kidding. Below, I have ny STAR review of her current novella, Goddess of Filth and I just received her upcoming novel, The Queen of the Cicadas for review in Library Journal.

I had read Castro's stories and was impressed, but Goddess of Filth blew me away. I cannot say enough good things about this novella: the writing, the unsettling feeling throughout, the message to young women to explore, not hide, their power, the villain, and the complete reclaiming of the exorcism trope, yanking it off from its Christian pedestal. This is a must purchase.

Below is my draft review with extra appeal content, including my "three words" and readalikes.

Goddess of Filth

by V. Castro

Mar. 2021. 156p. Creature, paper, $16 (9781951971038)
First published March 15, 2021 (Booklist).

Boldly reclaiming the possession trope from Christianity, Castro introduces readers to four friends, proud Chicanas, about to begin their adult lives. Lourdes leads a seance during one of the girls’ final evenings together and Fernanda is possessed by the Goddess of Filth, a powerful Aztec deity who eats sin, steals secrets, and champions female sexuality. This forces them to embrace the Goddess, her knowledge and power, as they take control of their lives despite the limitations race, class, and gender have  placed on them. However, Fernanda’s mother calls in Father Moreno, to oust the demon, but his sin is no match for the Goddess’ ancient powers. Narrated mostly from Lourdes’ point of view, with peeks into Fernanda, the Goddess, and the evil Father Moreno, this is a story that calls on young women to embrace the power of their strength, sexuality, and intelligence, and to not let the world be afraid of it, or them, but it is also an action packed horror novel, filled with terror, violence, and monsters, both real and supernatural, anchored by a pervasive sense of dread that constantly reminds the reader what is really at stake when women are silenced. Displaying exhilarating talent, this compelling and immersive novella will appeal to fans of both Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts and Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties. 

Further Appeal: I took so many notes when reading this 160 page book. I am going to share some of those here because they are all appeal based.

An awesome possession story which reclaims the trope from Christianity and gives it back to indigenous traditions. But at the same time it is also about how the world takes power from young women, especially of color, and how they need to fight to take that power back— at all costs. 

Gives voice to those that history, racism, sexism, and modern society have rendered voiceless. All in a satisfying, fun, and scary horror novella package. 

And it is very sexy but in a way that acknowledges that women are sexual beings and when we are young we are taught to be good girl sand suppress that. It's is so empowering.

And it does all of this while still telling a compelling, exciting, suspenseful, and intensely unsettling horror story. 

Castro’s prose, storytelling style, and characters, will drawn readers in from the very first lines, while Lourdes’ strong and honest narration will hold them glued tot he page for the duration. The excellent narrative voice and compelling plot, are also enhanced by the well built villain. He is sooooo creepy and evil.

A note on the indigenous religious history. Castro makes the discovery of what readers need to know part of the action as the girls need to learn it too. Not only is there just the right amount of detail to ground the story, shedding a light on its importance at the foundation of this continent and its first peoples, but it is also the main driver of the action, the dread, and the horror. The Goddess herself is terrifying in her power, but she is not evil. The horror and the evil come from other's reactions to her power.

This novella was so satisfying in every way. A must read.

Three Words That Describe This Book: reclaiming the possession trope, unsettling, immersive

Readalikes: There are two in the review. I also wanted to include Mayan Blue by the Sisters of Slaughter but I realize not as many libraries own this title. But please, seek it out and buy it for the indigenous culture monsters from a mythology that ruled this continent for centuries before the dominant white western mythology hijacked it.

Also, Cynthia Pelayo’s Children of Chicago. Both stories deal with strong, realistically portrayed, complicated women facing horrors both supernatural and of this world.

Monday, March 15, 2021

LibraryReads: April 2021

It's LibraryReads day and that means four things here on RA for All

  1. I post the list and tag it “Library Reads” so that you can easily pull up every single list with one click.
  2. I can remind you that even though the newest list is always fun to see, it is the older lists where you can find AWESOME, sure bet suggestions for patrons that will be on your shelf to actually hand to them right now. The best thing about LibraryReads is the compound interest it is earning. We now have hundreds and hundreds of titles worth suggesting right at our fingertips through this archive OR the sortable master list allowing you to mix and match however you want.
  3. You have no excuse not to hand sell any LibraryReads titles because there is a book talk right there in the list in the form of the annotation one of your colleagues wrote for you. All you have to say to your patron is, “such and such library worker in blank state thought this was a great read,” and then you read what he or she said.
  4. Every upcoming book now has at least 1 readalike that is available to hand out RIGHT NOW. Book talk the upcoming book, place a hold for it, and then hand out that readalike title for while they wait. If they need more titles before their hold comes in, use the readalike title to identify more readalike titles. And then keep repeating. Seriously, it is that easy to have happy, satisfied readers.
So get out there and suggest a good read to someone today. I don’t care what list or resource you use to find the suggestion, just start suggesting books.

Please remember to click here for everything you need to know about how to participate. Click here to see a database of eligible diverse titles sorted by month.


Now let's get to that list.... 

Announcing the April 2021 LibraryReads List!



The Intimacy Experiment 

by Rosie Danan

Berkley Jove

“Having built the Shameless platform to teach people how to find their own pleasure, Naomi wants to take that sex positivity to a lecture circuit, but no one will hire her. Enter Ethan, a young, handsome rabbi with a struggling synagogue. A seminar series on modern intimacy seems like a good way to build a sense of community and attract a younger congregation. What happens is their own lesson in intimacy, as two people passionate about their work and trying to make the world a better place sizzle with chemistry. Give to fans of The Roommate, The Kiss Quotient, and Meet Cute.”

—Hebah Amin-Headley, Johnson County Public Library, Overland Park, KS NoveList read-alike: How to Fail at Flirting by Denise William


Broken (in the best possible way)

by Jenny Lawson

Henry Holt & Co.

“Lawson is a hot mess of depression and anxiety. She is also funny as hell. In this book she lays herself open. She celebrates all those awkward and difficult parts of herself and invites you to celebrate your own. She will make you laugh until you cry, and then she wraps up the episode with some profound truth that catches you unaware. For readers who like David Sedaris and Ali Wong.”

—Beth Morrill, Canton Public Library, Canton, CT

NoveList read-alike: That's Mental: Painfully Funny Things That Drive Me Crazy About Being Mentally Ill by Amanda Rosenberg


Dial A for Aunties 

by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Berkley

“Meddy’s blind date doesn't end as planned, and she now has a corpse to dispose of. Her mother’s solution: call in the three aunties. What follows is a roller coaster ride of a weekend with the Chan family trying to get rid of the body while working at a high profile wedding. A fast-paced and darkly humorous debut with sweet romantic moments throughout. For fans of My Sister, the Serial Killer and

Get a Life, Chloe Brown.”

—Laura Eckert, Clermont County Public Library, Milford, OH

NoveList read-alike: Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim


Life's Too Short 

by Abby Jimenez

Forever

“Jimenez hits it out of the park again. She combines real-world issues with the get-the-girl, lose-the-girl dynamics of a romance. In this case, Adrian has a good chance of losing Vanessa to ALS. They both have multiple family issues including a hoarding father, an abandoning parent, a sister with addiction issues, and a baby niece that needs attention. Give to fans of Mia Sosa and Josie Silver.”

—Maggie Holmes, Richards Memorial Library, North Attleboro, MA 

NoveList read-alike: Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos


Malice: A Novel 

by Heather Walter

Del Rey

“Alyce is the sole Dark Grace in Briar, a kingdom whose people love their Graces (the magical ladies who give them special elixirs). But Briar has a problem with their princesses: they die at 21 unless they kiss their one true love. Princess Aurora doesn't seem to be interested in any of the princes. This LGBTQ re-telling of Sleeping Beauty is creative and fun, with a perfect ending. For fans of Spinning Silver and Gods of Jade and Shadow.”

—Carrie Minthorne, Cedar Mill Library, Portland, OR

NoveList read-alike: Tangleweed and Brine by Deirdre Sullivan

The Music of Bees: A Novel

by Eileen Garvin

Dutton

"Beekeeper Alice is an older widow who is working to save her small town from big corporate greed. She forms an alliance with two young adults who both find unexpected joy in nature. For those who enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine."

—Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI

NoveList read-alike: The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey

The Night Always Comes: A Novel

By Willy Vlautin

Harper

"Lynette is trying to buy the family home from her landlord as housing prices rise around her. At the last moment, her mother says she will not cosign for the loan and Lynette does not qualify on her own. In a last-ditch effort, Lynette sets off on an odyssey of collecting old debts and a miniature crime spree. For readers who like Raymond Chandler, John Banville, and Elmore Leonard."

—Mary Robinson, Vernon Area Public Library, Lincolnshire, IL 

NoveList read-alike: Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell

Second First Impressions: A Novel 

by Sally Thorne

William Morrow Paperbacks

"Ruthie Midona, twenty- something, works in a retirement community and feels like she fits in more with the residents than with her peers. Enter an attractive tattooed man assistant hired by the eccentric 90-year-old Parloni Sisters. This romance is filled with heart and laughter. For readers of Helen Hoang and Jasmine Guillory."

—Melissa Stumpe, Johnson County Public Library, Franklin, IN

NoveList read-alike: Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

To Love and To Loathe: A Novel 

by Martha Waters

Atria Books

"This enemies-to-lovers Regency romance takes Diana, Lady Templeton, and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham, from engaging in a no-strings- attached affair to their happily ever after. For readers who love Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Jennifer Crusie (contemporary, but witty dialogue and hilarious hijinks.)"

—Kathleen Fais, New York Public Library, New York, NY

NoveList read-alike: One Good Earl Deserves A Lover by Sarah MacLean

You Love Me: A You Novel 

by Caroline Kepnes

Random House

"In this, the third installment in the "You" series, Joe Goldberg moves to the cozy island of Bainbridge in the outskirts of Seattle and sets his sights on the town librarian, who becomes his new obsession. For fans of Behind Her Eyes and The Silent Patient."

—Joann Im, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA 

NoveList read-alike: Creep by Jennifer Hillier


The LibraryReads Hall of Fame designation honors authors who have had multiple titles appear on the monthly LibraryReads list since 2013. When their third title places on the list via library staff votes, the author moves into our Hall of Fame.


 

The Drowning Kind

by Jennifer McMahon

Gallery/Scout Press

“The waters of Bradenburg Springs are said to have miraculous curative properties, but rumor has it that the healing always comes with a price. When Jax's sister drowns in a pool filled with the spring’s water, she must discover the truth behind the legends. This is a great, creepy supernatural thriller.”

—Mara Bandy Fass, Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL

Read-alike: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Read-alike: The Good House by Tananarive Due

The Good Sister: A Novel 

by Sally Hepworth

St. Martin's Press

“Rose and Fern have a strong sisterly bond, but their dark secrets may bind them more strongly than they think. How far would you go to project your sister? Dark and compelling, this psychological suspense story has a taut pace and plenty of twists to keep readers guessing.”

—Jen Ohzourk, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, MO

Read-alike: The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle 
Read-alike: The End of Her by Shari Lapena


Mother May I: A Novel 

by Joshilyn Jackson

William Morrow

“Bree is a suburban mom with a lot on her plate. Her life changes when her baby is kidnapped and she has to complete a series of tasks to get her child back. This is the perfect kind of psychological thriller, a scorching page-turner featuring a rocking plot and intense character development.”

—Cari Dubiel, Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburg, OH

Read-alike: And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall
Read-alike: The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

When the Stars Go Dark

by Paula McLain

Ballantine Books

"In 1993, troubled detective Anna returns to her hometown, where a girl has gone missing. As Anna helps search for the girl, both their pasts are revealed. A beautifully written, haunting thriller offering a fascinating look at how missing cases were handled pre-Internet."

—Alissa Williams, Morton Public Library, Morton, IL

Read-alike: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
Read-alike: The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian