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.

Monday, July 26, 2021

RA for All on Vacation

I will return to regular posts on Tuesday 8/3.

And believe it or not that is when Halloween prep begins in earnest. Plus I have a busy month of training programs, and all of the usual RA for All shenanigans valuable educational and useful content.

While I am gone, stay out of trouble and use the tags in the right gutter to peruse the archives.

Oh and since the book will be coming out in August, a shameless plug reminder:

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.

Friday, July 23, 2021

RA Survey Results Available and a Webinar to Dive Deeper

A few months ago, I posted about a new national survey on RA Practice here. It was sponsored by Library Journal, NoveList, RUSA CODES, LibraryReads and ARRT. Click here for that post.

Click here to read the article

Well today the results document went live on the LJ site. Click here to access it immediately. There is A LOT of data, charts, narratives, and quotes. It is very comprehensive and absolutely fascinating. 

Please look at it. There is much to digest but it is an excellent overview of boots on the ground, average RA Service as it is happening all over the country. 

But again, there is a lot to digest, even for me, even as someone who has seen portions of the report before it went live. So read it today, go back to it in a week or so, but also, sign up for the NoveList webinar which I have linked here and below. It is on August 18th and it is FREE. The assembled parties will break down some of the data and discuss things in more detail.

I am signed up and will be there. Hope you can join us too. But in the meantime, click here for the report.

Click here to register


Libraries are always evolving to meet the changing world and needs around them; however, helping readers is a constant, essential service. Does your library offer a readers’ advisory (RA) service? Have your RA efforts changed over the last year during COVID? Do you ever wonder how your RA service compares to that of libraries across the US?  

In this session, we’ll explore the findings of the State of Readers' Advisory 2021 survey, conducted by Library Journal and sponsored by RUSA CODES, ARRT, LibraryReads, and NoveList. Join Danielle Borasky (NoveList), Amy Dittmeier (Blue Island Public Library), Michelle Morris (Fort Worth Public Library), Carolina Saldivar (Denver Public Library), Barry Trott (Williamsburg Regional Library), and Jessica Trotter (Capital Area District Libraries), as they share insights, trends, and inspiration from the survey.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021
2-3 pm ET


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Booklist Spotlight on Book Discussion Books [with Extra Info From Me] and A Reminder on How to Use Each Spotlight Issue As a Resource

This month Booklist is shining a spotlight on Graphic Novels and Book Discussion Books. I already posted the FREE GN supplement on the blog here

Below I have the Booklist Reader announcement with links to articles and lists for this issue, including the list of the Top 10 Book Group Books from the last 12 months.

To this excellent issue of the magazine, I wanted to add my specific slide for how to identify the best book discussion books and well as the link to the most recent version of my Recharge Your Book Club presentation. Please note, it is about a year old at this point, but it will be getting a refresh in a month as I have a presentation for the TN State Library scheduled

Click here to see the entire presentation
[Update coming late August]

Finally, please don't forget that EVERY issue of Booklist has at least 1 "spotlight" and they repeat annually. This means each issue is an EXCELLENT and updated resource for the format, age level, of genres being featured. Every spotlight is never more than 12 months out of date!

Your best entry to using the magazine as a resource is through The Booklist Reader and it's categorizations and keywords organized into posts with easy backlist access. The Booklist Online portal is best for the most current issue.

You can use this tag, "The Latest Booklist," on The Booklist Reader to pull them up in reverse chronological order at anytime, or you can use the search box to pull up the format, age level, genre, or more that you are interested in at the moment. 

Booklist [again, with search access through the The Booklist Reader] is one of your absolute best RA resources. [Full Stop!]

Below is the text with links from the report on this specific issue which you can also access here:

The Latest Booklist: Spotlight on Book Discussions and Graphic Novels

Our July issue, with an annual spotlight on book discussions, is now live. In it, you’ll find a dynamic top 10 filled with fiction and nonfiction titles to get you and your virtual book club started. Heather Booth collects a list of social-justice focused audiobooksthat offer a jumping-off point for spirited and reflective conversations. The Adult Books editors chime in with an extensive list of nonfiction and fiction titles that address complex current events and will likely animate any book discussion. Booklist reviewer and feature contributor Reinhardt Suarez got a chance to talk with Morgan Matson, author of the recently released Take Me Home Tonight, about the impact of summer reads on younger readers in the current era. Donna Seaman curates a list of read-alikes inspired by the intricate art-crime thriller, The Last Mona Lisa, by Jonathan Santlofer.

Our July issue also marks the biannual spotlight on graphic novels. We are so excited to present the year’s top 10 best graphic novels. Plus, Ronny Khuri sifts through volumes of dazzlingly illustrated graphic readers to present a core collection sure to entice younger readers into the growing graphic novel genre. 

You can also find the complete magazine online! Booklist’s digital edition of the July 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.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

What I'm Reading: Booklist's July Issue [Part 2 of 2]

Please see yesterday's post of the introduction. I saved the buzzier and better known titles from the July 2021 issue for their own post so that they did not overshadow the excellent options from lesser known writers.

These are both books you should have preordered, but just in case, fix that now. Both will have HUGE appeal to a wide range of readers, both were as close as I get to giving a star without giving one, and you have everything you need to book talk these titles to readers in this post. 

Okay, let's get to it.

Chasing the Boogeyman

By Richard Chizmar

Aug. 2021. 336p. Gallery, $28 (9781982175160)
First published July 2021 (Booklist).

Best-selling horror author, Chizmar, takes creepy to a whole new level with this “True Crime” novel, set in the summer of 1988, in the small town where Chizmar grew up, during the months between his graduation from college and his January wedding, as teenage girls are abducted and murdered. As an aspiring writer, Chizmar begins documenting the reign of terror. Every detail about Chizmar, his life, his inner struggle moving from childhood into manhood, marriage, and a career, all of it is 100% real, but the murders, their details, the newspaper reports, and even the photos, none of it happened. Framed as the reprint of a forgotten publication from 1990, with a 2019 update, the volume is a solid example of True Crime, mixing background detail with action, suspense, and a compelling pace. However, as metafiction, it excels. Its palpable proximity to reality adds an unshakable level of unease. With less narrative restraint this book becomes a caricature of itself; however, Chizmar injects just the right amount of self reflection to forge an undeniable, and ironically honest, emotional connection with the reader. The result is strikingly original, a story that will thrill fans of intimately investigated nonfiction like I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by McNamara, and self aware, psychological suspense like My Sister, the Serial Killer by Braithwaite.

YA: Chasing the Boogeyman has the same fictional True Crime frame as the wildly popular YA novel, Sadie by Summers, but the strong coming- of-age and coming to terms with leaving home for good themes will also appeal to many older teens.

Further Appeal: 
People throw around the word original a lot, but this lives up to it. This novel is literally the biography of Chizmar, hiss life, family, and his founding of Cemetery Dance, and yet is also a fictional crime story at the same time. And, the story is a winner as both "true crime" and a thriller fiction novel. This is not an easy set to pull off.

It is also meta-fiction to the extreme. One of the BEST parts of the book are the photos of the victims and crime scenes. Now remember, these photos were staged, the pictures are of friends from that era who are still alive. Everything here is so creepy because it is so real and yet it also isn't.

It is also an exploration of a coming of age, both as a man and a writer and publisher. The monsters
that defined his own journey from kid to man, shattering his innocence but also propelling him to become the author and publisher he is today, those are manifested as a serial killer. But again, placed into his real biography. And NONE of the horror actually happened. Talk about unsettling. You are on edge every moment of reading this because as you pull back to remind yourself it isn't true you are uncomfortable
with the fact that it feels real. Are you sure? You double check. I found myself doing searches just to be sure.


A well told, mixture of background detail and action, suspense, compellingly paced.

His writing is so engrossing. Everything Chizmar writes draws the reader in easily. Click here for other books of his that I have reviewed. While the stories can all be different, his engaging and intimate narrative voice, whether the POV is first person, third person, or even found footage, is a unifying appeal that cannot be overlooked when helping readers. If they like one Chizmar book, they will like all of them.

My only complaint with the entire book, the only reason it is not a star, I was uncomfortable with the way the female investigative lead was described physically in relation to her looks [dumpy, not attractive, etc...] as much as her brain. Now, that being said, I think Chizmar did this on purpose to show young Chizmar's "green-ness" as a writer. The whole book is supposed to be the first thing he every wrote. It is acknowledged to have issues. But my problem is Chizmar was too good at this and the subtlety of things he inserted probably on purpose, it's too subtle. I realize that really isn't a criticism, but it is why I didn't do a star. 

Three Words That Describe This Book: metafiction, unshakably unsettlingly, strikingly original

Readalikes: I gave you three above. Any true crime where the author involves themselves and their life story into the investigation will work. But there is also that second layer here, the unsettling nature of how real it feels juxtaposed with the knowledge that it is fake. It's the dread from the realism that is not real which is extremely appealing here. Gillian Flynn and Sarah Pinborough capture this appeal well. If I had to pick one by each I would do with this review of Dark Places [fake True Crime frame] by Flynn and Cross Her Heart by Pinborough. 

But again, all of this should prove to you how WIDE the appeal of this novel is. 

by Caitlin Starling
Oct. 2021. 352p. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (9781250272584)
First published July 2021 (Booklist).

Opening with a very creepy Rebecca vibe and set in a fictional world reminiscent of post WWII Europe, Starling introduces the very practical Jane as she proposes a business arrangement marriage to the local doctor, Augustine Lawrence, a brilliant and kind man, but an outsider who keeps to himself. Dr. Lawrence’s only rule for their marriage is that Jane sleeps at the office, his home in town, while he must return to the crumbling family manor home on the outskirts of town each evening. After a storm forces Jane to break this agreement on the very first night, what began as an uneasy story steadily builds to unrelenting tension, further enhanced by Jane’s intense first person narration. The reader is compelled to follow Jane as she discovers the truth at the manor home, unravels her husband’s lies, and battles horrors, be they real or imagined, but they will also thoroughly enjoy falling in this immersive and unsettling journey. A perfect choice for readers who enjoy how today’s writers are playing with the well trod Gothic trope to create something wholly new, utterly terrifying, and supremely satisfying such as Mexican Gothic by Moreno-Garcia or Now You’re One of Us by Nonami.

Further Appeal: First things first, shaking off that ominous title is impossible and I loved it. From that unsettling start, it all builds. And I am happy to report, the book resolves very well. Don't underestimate the skill here. To stick the landing on a book that has the protagonist's death in the tile, that is hard.

The world building here is excellent. It is not only the details of the magic, ghosts, and medical science, but it is also the unsettling almost recognizable setting. It is almost alternative history, but not quite. And the terror builds steadily and relentlessly without sacrificing the interesting world building.

Jane is a great heroine. Her backstory and details are assembled and revealed well and her motivations and growth are interesting to watch unfold.

Like Chizmar, Starling is also an author whose books are very different but her writing draws you in: Space Body Horror, Vampire novella, and now a twist on Gothic Horror. I have read and reviewed all of these and really enjoyed each. [She has more, but this is what I have read.]

Three Words That Describe This Book: intense tension, haunted house, trust no one

Readalikes: The Upstairs House by Fine, The Little Stranger by Waters and anything by Shirley Jackson. Crimson Peak [film] is in the publisher comps. I am not familiar enough with the movie to add that to my official review, but I am adding it here for those who do like it.

This feminist retelling of the Gothic novel, a modernization which gives much more agency to the women, is a huge trend right now. That's how you hand-sell this title-- Did you like Mexican Gothic? Shirley Jackson? Then read this. 

Just get it into people's hands ASAP.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

What I'm Reading: Booklist's July Issue [Part 1 of 2]

I have read and reviewed a lot of books for Booklist since April and many of them are seeing the light of day in the July issue, five to be exact [and there are still four in the publishing queue for the next couple of issues].

I will be breaking them up into 2 batches, posting today and tomorrow. Today, 3 titles: 2 Horror and 1 Western, all of which are not getting the huge promotional push that tomorrow's two titles are, but they are excellent reads for a wide audience. 

Below, as usual, you can find my draft review and extra information about appeal, readalikes, and of course, my three words.

I will begin with the Western.

Sept. 2021. 380p. Inkshares, paper, $18.99  (9781942645948)
First published July 2021 (Booklist).

In this entertaining and thought provoking debut, readers meet Eldon Quint, a Farmer, living on the frontier with his two young sons, as he is being pursued by a gang of armed men, in a blinding blizzard. Eldon is confused until he stumbles upon his identical twin brother Clayton, aka, the outlaw Jack Foss. The shootout moves to Eldon’s home and leaves one of his son’s dead. Told from the alternating viewpoints of Eldon and Clayton, as Eldon makes his way to Springfield, MO to bury his child, dodging those who mistake him for his brother, as Clayton desperately follows, trying to keep the family safe, this is a modern take on the classic Western with a satisfying dash of psychological suspense, flashbacks to provide context, and plenty of wild west action. It is about survival, permeated with violence and revenge, but it is also a tale of redemption strikingly anchored by familial love, its awesome power propelling everything that happens and also surprisingly balancing the scales of the twin’s character by its conclusion. A clear winner for fans of Westerns driven by flawed, but sympathetic characters on a family focused quest such as News of the World by Jiles or True Grit by Portis.

Further Appeal: I cannot overly stress the pull of familial love anchoring this story and propelling everything that happens. Add to that, a touching author's note [at the end of the book] reinforcing this.

The twins and the mixed up identity issues add tension and suspense. One is a farmer and one is an outlaw but both are a mix of good and bad in the traditional sense. And because it is from both povs everything is kept on edge and unsteady. But there is also the tension from this idea that the story is weighing the "good" and "bad" of each man. If it were a scale, at the outset, the farmer brother is perceived as "lighter," while the outlaw brother, "heavier," and yet over the course of the novel they balance out. I enjoyed that aspect.

“Loving wrath” from the title is the perfect descriptor. Also the novel has an excellent ending, one that underscores the main themes of the book, is touching, and believable. Not all debuts stick the landing. This one does.

Over all, a solid Western especially considering it is a debut. Character centered and yet compelling because of flashbacks and complex characters and their relationships [twin brothers and a fugitive black woman]. Also features: family secrets, violence, revenge, regret.

I will note however, I was not thrilled with the portrayal of Native Americans. It is the villain who treats the "Natives" the worst, and clearly this is on purpose to darken his character further, but still, I didn't love using Native Americans to make the villain appear worse.

Three Words That Describe This Book: evocative setting, flawed characters, compelling

More Readalikes: The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent is another a good option. Also check out this post where I have a list of "Not Your Father's Western." All of those titles work.

Now the two Horror titles...

by Noah Broyles

Sept. 2021. 300p. Inkshares, paper, $18.99  (9781947848870)
First published July 2021 (Booklist).

Opening with an ominous note, from the editor of a True Crime magazine, warning that what we are about to read is the last article by Bradley Ellison, sent moments before his death, a fantastic tale that cannot be verified, this epic novel then goes on to lay bare the isolated town of Three Summers, TN, a town with a haunted history of murder and monsters, a place with meancing ties to the earth itself. The multiple mysteries unravel like a jigsaw puzzle built without a guide. There are multiple storylines, featuring similar characters, told in eerily overlapping time frames; layering that intensifies disorientation and ratchets up the unease, keeping the pace methodical enough to enhance the atmosphere, while the snippets of Bradley’s article, slowly unveiled as prefaces to each chapter, encourage the reader to fit the pieces into place, albeit with fear about the picture that will ultimately be revealed. Terrifyingly realistic, yet clearly supernatural, fueled by generations of secrets, this promising debut is reminiscent of modern Southern Gothics as varied as The Boatman’s Daughter by Davidson, Sing, Unbury Sing by Ward, and Swamplandia! By Russell. 

Further Appeal: This is a 500 page book that is set up as the slow unveiling of a horrible haunted story. This was very hard to boil down into 175 words and NOT give the mystery part away. I tried to focus on how it feels to read the book. 

It’s a very solid debut. The emotion was rendered very well, but the story got a bit long for my taste. I think it was trying a little too hard to be “mysterious” at times, and as result got a a little too intricate. But also, it is a first novel. As a debut it shows a lot of promise.

The opening is perfect-- a fictional true crime book about a multi-generational true crime. And then the town! It is literally about the earth, it is controlled by the earth. The Hebrew word for dirt, Adamah, is used everywhere. The frame is well built. In fact, it is the setting and the mystery of the supernatural force controlling them and the earth that drives the story. Frame is everything here-- sets up atmosphere, emotion, plot, etc... And that frame helps keep the pacing moving even when things are confused and frightening.

Methodically paced on purpose, to drag out the mystery, but it moves forward constantly. Unease, confusion, terrifyingly realistic. You might not get off the highway at a small town exit ever again. And that alone makes it a great read.

The layering keeps readers disoriented, and yet, the story leads those same readers to the answers. Trust the intricacies of the plot and narrative structure to lead somewhere. This needs saying because again, it is a debut and that is not always the case with first novels.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Menacing, Intricately Plotted, Intensely Disorienting

Readalikes: The three readalikes listed above, together make 1 readalike for this book. It also reminded me of another promising debut that wasn’t perfect plot-wise, but was amazing in terms of capturing a feeling on the page-- Tinfoil Butterfly by Rachel Eve Moulton.

Another readalike path for this book would be cult books, especially those with a supernatural overlay such as The Children of Red Peak by Craig DiLouie.

Slewfoot: A Tale of Bewitchery

By Brom

Sept. 2021. 320p. Tor Nightfire, $29.99  (9781250622006); e-book, $14.99  (9781250621986)
First published July 2021 (Booklist).

Opening with a note that in October of 1666, 112 townsfolk were killed by the Devil, the story then flashes back to March of that fateful year as Abitha is brustling under the harshness of Purtainic rule. When her brother-in-law tries to take their farm to repay his outstanding debts, Abitha convinces her husband and the town elders to defy him, despite the dangerous consequences. While in the woods at the edge of the farm, the Devil is being reborn. As it struggles to remember its past, it finds companionship in Abitha and uses its powers to help her discover her own. An enticing but methodically paced story, enhanced by Brom’s creepy artwork throughout, where every detail of the uneasy atmosphere, world building, and character development matters, this is a tale that will unsettle readers as their emotions vacillate between fear and celebration. With Abitha, her brother-in-law, and the Devil and his minions all having a say, readers are both entertained by the suspense and asked to reckon with the true nature of evil. For all who enjoy historical horror with healthy doses of dark fantasy, witchcraft, and vengeance, in general, and titles like The Year of the Witching by Henderson, specifically.

YA Statement: Abitha is a self determined young woman who refuses to conform if it means compromising her principles. Her drive to make her own way and fight the establishment to do what is right at all costs will attract many teens to this bewitching historical tale.

Further Appeal: Here are a few more appeal notes, but honestly, this one I was able to capture above pretty well.

  • Great ominous opening and the unease is carried throughout, it never leaves, even as world building and character building details are necessary to move the plot forward. And the drawings help too. And of course, October comes around eventually.
  • Contemplates an important but nuanced question- what is evil? It’s not as black and white as we humans like to think.
  • The suspense and dread are palpable here. From the first lines of the plot too. Not just the ominous note
  • Parallels between their corrupt puritanical society and our current world are easy to make. Maybe a little too easy.

Three Words That Describe This Book: methodically pace, world building, unsettling

Readalikes:  For more witch books, try the anthology HEX LIFE edited by Golden and Deering. But also check out my Library Journal star review of another recent historical horror novel that I liked more: Hearts Strange and Dreadful by McGregor. That one is not witch, but it has the same excellent historical world building. I think it is even better because McGregor doesn't rely on what we know about Puritans to create the fear and dread.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Support Niles Library AND Educate Yourself About Your Own Library Board

I am hoping most of my readers have heard about the horrible and troubling situation at Niles-Maine District Library. I have many colleagues and a few friends who work there. But this is a problem that every single person who works in a public library [or school library] should worry about. 

First, and most time sensitive, if you live in the Chicago area and can, please consider joining the rally and march tomorrow evening. See this article: July 20th, gathering at NICO Park at 5pm and walking to the library.

You can also visit the Save Niles Library website and sign the petition.

I have to be at my Library Board Meeting, otherwise I would be there too. 

Now those are the specifics for my immediate area. What about the rest of you? 

Second, Kelly Jensen over at Book Riot wrote this excellent piece about this library. She breaks down the issues, provides all of the background, and tons of links for more information, but she also makes it clear as to why every single person who loves their library [as well as works at one] needs to understand what is going on here. 

Again, click here and please read it.

I have been very aware that rogue boards, can hijack the library to push their political agendas for years. No library is immune. Niles is in the same county as me, Cook County, IL, and on any political map we are very blue. That community is probably more purple, but I know that the majority of the residents do not agree with the 4 Board members and their extremely racist views who have deliberately gotten on the Board and now have a slim majority all because of complacency in the community.

Niles-Maine District Library is an award winning library with a great staff. The community figured it was going fine, the staff didn't concern themselves with the politics of Board elections precisely because everything was going well. Their Director was great. Well now that Director has been forced out. And she is not the only great Director in the Chicago suburbs who has been forced out by a rogue Board in the last few years; she is just the one in the newspapers. 

Earlier this year, I created a training program to deal with this type of situation, something I knew was already an issue and one Trump and Covid magnified. This program, entitled "Peek Behind the Administrative Curtain: Trustee Secrets All Library Staff NEED to Know" argues that every single staff member at the library can be informed and influential in helping to make sue the library does not end up run by extremists or people with another agenda.

For example, you as a staff member need to know the specific things Trustees are allowed to control. Currently at Niles, they are taking over all hiring, which is outside the scope of their powers as defined by the state. They only can hire, fire, and evaluate the Director. That is their ONLY employee. This means there are legal options for the library staff here.

Also, staff are a great resource for identifying and encouraging people to run for the Library Board. Look, I know it is not glamorous and it is A LOT of work to be on the Library Board. And the pay is $0. But your happy and well served patrons are NOT going to run unless you ask them. They are happy with the way things are. It is the unhappy people who have the energy to jump through the hoops to get elected. 

This is also why I encourage library staff to run for their local library boards [as long as they don't live in the town where they work]. My current board has 3 librarians. Me, a Department Head from another area library, and someone who works for the Freedom to Read Foundation. But even stacked with Librarians, we are NOT the majority. Our board is great, but we work hard to be on the same page and keep it that way-- all 7 of us. We work on communication with the Director. We handle differences of opinions openly and in public meetings and give the management team time to come up with their solution options. We don't always have unanimous votes, but we do agree to speak as one voice, as the law says we need to. This is how it should be run. 

Even I am not complacent, even after 21 yr and counting, nor are our staff members. They are encouraged to be involved and share their thoughts with the Board, the management team and the Executive Director. 

[Side note, it does not have to be racists who can cause problems. I once was part of an appointment process for a Trustee vacancy and one person clearly was trying to get on the library board as a stepping stone for a Village Trustee position. His cause? More liquor licenses for our village. We did not feel comfortable choosing him because he had an agenda other than helping run the library. Nor should you. We have had Staff let us know when problematic patrons have applied for openings multiple times.]

I will be giving the above mentioned training program for PCI in August next but if you have a library where things are going down the wrong path, please contact me. I can provide FREE consultations and help. Remember I am a 21 yr Library Trustee, a member of the System Board, and I have 15 years of library worker experience including management. I can help you. I want to help you.

Even if you think your library is fine now, please look at the slides. There are things here everyone can be doing to keep it okay going forward. I know of other libraries near me and a few in neighboring states who are in the thick of this and it is a bad harbinger. 

I also have a version for the Trustees too. You can access that one here.

Get out and march for Niles-Maine District Library tomorrow if you can, read Kelly's article, and sign the petition.

Every single one of you, no matter were you work, has more power than you think.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Murder, They Wrote: A Free Virtual Program Sponsored by ARRT and RAILS

 The next Adult Reading Round Table free, virtual program is coming August 17th. From their website:

Murder, They Wrote

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

2-4 pm 

Via Zoom 

Join us on Zoom to meet four mystery writers who are members of Crime Writers of Color. Their works run the gamut from cozy comfort reads to pulse-pounding thrillers. Participants will leave the session with insight on the genre along with great new titles to recommend to patrons.

Panelists include:

Wanda Morris
Alex Segura
Kellye Garrett
Mia P. Manansala
Cari Dubiel

After the author presentations, librarians will booktalk diverse titles, provide resources for diverse books, and give examples of how to showcase diverse authors in your library.

Register here

This program features authors from the organization, Crime Writers of Color. I had a guest post about this new organization and their desire to reach out to libraries back in March of this year, by Cari Dubiel who is also appearing on this panel. 

Please check out that post and sign up for the program. It is free and open to anyone who wants to attend. I have already signed up!

Also you can watch the recording of the first ARRT program of the year, Socially Distanced Reader’s Advisory and Programs, here.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

LibraryReads: August 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.

And finally, here is LibraryReads' extremely helpful Resources page.

Now let's get to that list.... 


Announcing the August 2021 LibraryReads List! 

Meant to Be: If the Shoe Fits
A Meant to Be Novel
by Julie Murphy

“Low on job prospects, fashion school grad Cindy moves in with her stepmom, a reality show producer. When a spot opens up in the Bachelor-style series, Cindy seizes the chance to get nationwide exposure for her designs. The last thing she expects is to find love. A Cinderella- inspired romance with a plus-sized heroine and a multicultural cast. For fans of Red, White, & Royal Blue, The Hating Game, and Dumplin’.”

—Eva Thompson, Metropolitan Library System, Oklahoma City, OK 
NoveList read-alike: One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

And now the rest of the list:

Battle Royal 

by Lucy Parker


“Sylvie and Dominic met during a baking competition when her unicorn cake kicked him in the face. Now they’re both in the running to bake the royal wedding cake. A slow burn, enemies-to-lovers romance with witty banter and fantastic secondary characters. For fans of 99 Percent Mine and The Ex Talk.”

—Laura Eckert, Clermont County Public Library, Milford, OH 
NoveList read-alike: Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall

Dark Roads 

by Chevy Stevens

St. Martin's Press

“Stevens often writes about the outdoors, but this one is really steeped in survival. Vanishing travelers and serial murders along a wilderness highway bring the sister of one victim to town for a memorial. There are the requisite fast-paced thrills, and a small town packed with secrets and fear. For fans of The River and A Gathering of Secrets.”

—Cari Dubiel, Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburg, OH 
NoveList read-alike: Survive the Night by Riley Sager

The Last Chance Library 

by Freya Sampson


“June is stuck. After her mom dies, she continues to live quietly in her mother’s house and work in the library where her mother worked. When the library is threatened, she finds a new purpose, saving it and finding so much more. This one is full of heart, humor, and love of literature. For fans of The Authenticity Project and How To Find Love in a Bookshop.”

—Shari Suarez, Genesee District Library-Johnson Branch, Genesee, MI 
NoveList read-alike: The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

Mrs. March 

by Virginia Feito


“Mrs. March has a lovely apartment, a famous author husband, and a life of luxury. Her husband's new novel features an unlikeable, sordid woman. Mrs. March is horrified when people assume the character is based on her. Her stability fractures, and the reader is caught between paranoia and reality. An excellent character study for fans of Tangerine and The Other Typist.”

—Sandra Heitzman, Forest Park Public Library, Forest Park, IL 
NoveList read-alike: The Wife by Alafair Burke

My Heart is a Chainsaw  [Link to Becky's STAR review]

by Stephen Graham Jones

Gallery/Saga Press

"Jade's convinced her passion for slasher films is not obsession, but preparation. When strange things start occurring in town, she’s sure a massacre is imminent--and she’s ready to play her role to perfection. A highly stylized delight for horror movie buffs and fans of The Final Girl Support Group."

—Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Station, NY
NoveList read-alike: Final Girls by Riley Sager

The Reading List 

by Sara Nisha Adams

William Morrow

"A list of recommended classics helps a widower spark a friendship with a teen librarian dealing with overwhelming family issues. An uplifting tearjerker about libraries and the books that touch our soul. For fans of Ellie and the Harpmaker and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine."

—Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Public Library, Austin, TX
NoveList read-alike: The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton by Eleanor Ray

The Royals Next Door 

by Karina Halle

Berkley Jove

"After a prince and princess move to her British Columbia town, a local teacher falls for their grumpy bodyguard. This charming romantic comedy is unexpectedly moving and features deep and layered characters. Perfect for fans of The Royal We and Royal Holiday."

—Janet Schneider, Peninsula Public Library, Lawrence, NY 
NoveList read-alike: Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev

A Slow Fire Burning

by Paula Hawkins

Riverhead Books

“A brutal crime is committed on a London houseboat, and numerous friends, family, neighbors, and lovers seem to have a motive for the fatal stabbing. As the number of suspects grows, the lies begin to unravel in what promises to be a hit summer read. For fans of Shari Lapena and Mary Kubica.”

—KC Davis, Fairfield Woods Library, Fairfield, CT 
NoveList read-alike: Dark Tide by Elizabeth Haynes

Yours Cheerfully

by AJ Pearce


“Fans of Dear Mrs. Bird will cheer Emmy Lake’s return as a young advice columnist in wartime London. A chance meeting leads to Emmy visiting a munitions factory where she learns about the struggles of the women working there. A wonderful, well-told story for fans of Lissa Evans and Jojo Moyes.”

—Brenda O’Brien, Woodridge Public Library, Woodridge, IL
NoveList read-alike: The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer L. Ryan

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.


A Hell's Belles Novel

by Sarah MacLean


The Heart Principle

by Helen Hoang


Velvet Was the Night

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Del Rey