Staff Picks

Not sure what to read next, or just looking for something new? Our staff loves to read and put together a list of their favorites below. The list is regularly updated so check back often. Not interested in the options below? Check out our suggested adult reading list, or ask for a list of personalized recommendations from one of our librarians.
Staff Picks and Reviews at Arapahoe Libraries
Title Author Description Staff Review
William Norwich Called upon to inventory the estate of a wealthy woman, Emilia Brown, a frugal and unnoticed woman in small-town Rhode Island, discovers an exquisitely tailored Oscar de la Renta dress in the woman's collection and changes her life to be able to purchase the dress.

"This exquisite gem of a book delights with its imagery. The determined and purposeful Mrs. Brown is a character to be admired and though her journey is small, it is transformative. No spoilers, but make sure to have tissues handy." ~Wendy T.

Megan Miranda When Kelsey's agoraphobic mother disappears after years of claiming the kidnappers she escaped from were coming back for her, Kelsey quickly discovers that her mother isn't who she thought she was -- and she's not the abductor's only target.

"I was hooked from the start.  The story is fast paced and intriguing.  Kelsey is both ordinary and extraordinary due to her mother's fears.  I couldn't put it down and I just enjoyed the whole experience of reading it." ~Cindy P.

Judd Winick; with color by Guy Major When a mysterious boy falls from the sky, friends D.J. and Gina must discover the secrets of his identity and help him save the world.

"Great book for a reluctant reader.... This is the first in a series introducing Hilo who is imbued with various super powers and his Earthling friends D.J. and Gina. Great graphics!" ~Cynthia K.

Rebecca Stott In her debut, "Ghostwalk," Stott unfolded an extraordinary and true mystery, involving Isaac Newton and set in 17th-century Cambridge. "The Coral Thief" offers another intriguing mystery, centering on pre-Darwinian theories of evolution, and set in 1815 France.

"I'm in paris - at least on audio! Take an innocent man, combine it with an experienced thief with a past, add a dash of Napoleonic history and you've got an engrossing story." ~Cynthia K.

Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt Anderson Cooper's intensely busy career as a journalist for CNN and CBS' 60 Minutes affords him little time to spend with his ninety-one year old mother. After she briefly fell ill, he and Gloria began a conversation through e-mail unlike any they had ever had before, a correspondence of surprising honesty and depth in which they discussed their lives, the things that matter to them, and what they still want to learn about each other.

"The audiobook is really a treat.  Both Anderson Cooper and his mother Gloria Vanderbilt narrate their part of the email conversations that they had after her 91st birthday. " ~Cindy P.

John Dvorak Ranging from Yellowstone in Wyoming to Mount Pelee in the Caribbean, this reveals the incredible journey of a man on a mission to understand the awesome power of volcanic eruptions.

"This is a fascinating account of the life of Thomas Jaggar, a scientist devoted to volcanology. Jaggar's work is still the foundation of many of today's predicitive models. He traveled all over the world and got up close to many active volcanos. For many years he headed the observatory in Hawaii. A fun fact is that he is also credited as the first person to build and operate amphibious vehicles. The miliary adapted his vehichle in the second world war and if you have ever taken a Duck vehicle tour as a tourist in a number of cities, you have Thomas Jaggar to thank for the experience." ~ Cindy P.

W. Bruce Cameron This short story introduces former college football star turned repo man Ruddy McCann--and tells how Ruddy met his best friend Jake, a lazy but lovable basset hound, during a repo gone wrong.

"This short story introduces Ruddy the Repo Man, a character who also appears in novels by W. Bruce Cameron. Ruddy is a former football star who is down on his luck; the only job he can get is repossing cars.  This story tells how he meets up with Jake the basset hound, who becomes his new best buddy. Delightful humor, great characters. (downloadable ebook)" ~Alice K.

Liane Moriarty Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle, beautiful thirty-three-year-old triplets, seem to attract attention everywhere they go. Whenever they're together, laughter, drama, and mayhem seem to follow. But apart, each is very much her own woman, dealing with her own share of ups and downs. Lyn has organized her life into one big checklist, juggling the many balls of work, marriage, and motherhood with expert precision, but is she as together as her datebook would have her seem? Cat has just learned a startling secret about her marriage -- can she bring another life into her very precarious world? And can free-spirited Gemma, who bolts every time a relationship hits the six-month mark, ever hope to find lasting love?

"Liane Moriarty is one of my favorite authors. It always surprises me that suburban Australia sounds so much like suburban America. The self-help books, exercise fanaticism (or guilt over being a slacker), trying to balance kids and work--these all sound like typical concerns of American women. The book features the lives of three 34-year-old women who are triplets. I especially enjoyed the discussions of pregnancy and raising children--and whether one wants to be a mother or not. Great humor, too!" ~Alice K.

Deborah Install A broken man and his damaged robot build an unlikely friendship-with some assembly required. Ben's really great at failing at things-his job, taking the garbage out, and being a husband. But when he discovers a battered robot named Tang in his garden, he decides to get out of his couch-ridden comfort zone. Without a crucial bit of machinery, Tang will stop working, and Ben can't let that happen, especially since he's already alienated everyone else he cares about.

"One of the most charming books I've read in years. The novel is so many things--poignant, funny, insightful. Could not put it down. Don't let the idea of a robot get in the way; it's not science fiction. Everything in the setting is absolutely normal except that the world has robots and androids that perform useful tasks. Tang, the robot, reminded me of R2D2 as a small child." ~Alice K.

Kevin Kwan Crazy rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

"A fun, fascinating book that tells how three uber-rich Chinese families living in Singapore do and don't accept various candidates for marriage. The humor is great, and the heartache is touching, which is hard to do. It was fascinating to see how the old money disdains the new money, and how important family history is. Highly recommend." ~Alice K.

Jacqueline Winspear It's early 1938, and Maisie Dobbs is back in England. On a fine yet chilly morning, as she walks towards Fitzroy Square--a place of many memories--she is intercepted by Brian Huntley and Robert MacFarlane of the Secret Service. The German government has agreed to release a British subject from prison, but only if he is handed over to a family member.

"I love this series. It is such a fantastic combiation of a strong lead character, great historical background, satisfying puzzzles and excellent writing. This particular book " ~Cindy P.

Fredrik Backman Elsa is seven years old; her grandmother is seventy-seven years old. She is Elsa's best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother's stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal. When Elsa's grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, the letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones... but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

"Is Granny just a crazy old woman or is there more to her numerous fairy tales that she shares with her beloved almost-eight-year-old granddaughter, Elsa? The reader enters Elsa's life at a particularly trying time....her mom is expecting another baby, her dad is not a very important presence in her life, Elsa is being picked on in school and Granny is dying of cancer. How all this gets put together into a story of putting-all-the-pieces together makes for a great story....with some great writing ("Death's greatest power is not that it can make people die, but that it can make people want to stop living.")" ~Cynthia K.

Jason Boog A program for parents and professionals on how to raise kids who love to read, featuring interviews with childhood development experts, advice from librarians, tips from authors and children's book publishers, and reading recommendations for kids from birth up to age five.

"This is a great book to recommend to all new parents.....instilling the love of reading! Jason cites picture books for different age ranges and how to enliven and engage with your child during the different developmental stages. He does delve into apps and warmed my heart by suggesting libraries and libraries as great resources." ~Cynthia K.

John Elder Robison An extraordinary memoir about the cutting-edge brain therapy that dramatically changed the life and mind of John Elder Robison, the New York Times bestselling author of Look Me in the Eye.

"Listening to Mr. Robison talk about his participation in the brain stimulation research and his exploration of the science behind it is fascinating.  I think that he is especially strong in talking about how his own Asperger's syndrome gave him both gifts and challenges.  He also ponders the ethical questions that arise with treatments like this and there are some very real concerns about how to approach 'fixing' this syndrom." ~Cindy P.

Kate Morton It started with a letter. A letter that had been lost for a long time, waiting out half a century, stifling summer after cooling winter, in a forgotten postal bag in the dim attic of a nondescript house in Bermondsey. Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives one Sunday afternoon with the return address of Millderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother's emotional distance masks an old secret.

"What a lovely story! The last few discs I wanted to just stay in the car and drive and drive just to finish this tale of 3 spinster sisters living in Milderhurst Castle in Kent, England. The burden of the legacy caused by their bestselling author father's book and personal life intertwines with WWII and the Castle becoming a temporary home to a London child. Love and loss and relationships are ingredients in the plot that skillfully pulls you into the Castle and its many secrets. The audio is highly recommended." ~Cynthia K.

Margarita Engle; illustrations by Rafael López Follows a girl in the 1920s as she strives to become a drummer, despite being continually reminded that only boys play the drums, and that there has never been a female drummer in Cuba. Includes note about Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, who inspired the story, and Anacaona, the all-girl dance band she formed with her sisters.

"Gorgeously illustrated, this tells the true story of how one girl followed her passion to play drums and broke the stereotype that it was a boy only activity. On the School Library Journal Best Picture Books 2015 list." ~Cynthia K.

Laurie R. King Mary Russell is used to dark secrets--her own, and those of her famous partner and husband, Sherlock Holmes. Trust is a thing slowly given, but over the course of a decade together, the two have forged an indissoluble bond.

"Making Mrs. Hudson the focus of this book rather than Mary Russell or Sherlock Holmes really brings new perspectives to all the characters. The way that Mrs. Hudson's story is weaved into the present day mystery kept me hooked. Few authors would put their main characters in a supporting position, but it works and makes for a great read." ~Cindy P.

Tina Connolly Jane Eliot wears an iron mask. It's the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain--the ironskin. When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a "delicate situation"--a child born during the Great War--Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.

"A fun fantasy book with elements of steampunk, Beauty and the Beast and Jane Eyre.  This Jane is strong, yet damaged from the war with the fae and I found her to be really interesting.  The author uses some different imagry for the fae and dwarfs and other beings that I have read before." ~Cindy P.

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