The Reading List

Established in 2007 by the CODES section of RUSA, The Reading List seeks to highlight outstanding genre fiction that merit special attention by general adult readers and the librarians who work with them.

The Council, which consists of twelve librarians who are experts in readers’ advisory and collection development, selects one book from each of eight different categories. The eight genres currently included in the council’s considerations are adrenaline titles (suspense, thrillers, and action adventure), fantasy, historical fiction, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction, and women’s fiction. However, the Council is constructed in such a way to be adaptable to new genres and changes in contemporary reading interest.

The Council announces the eight winning titles at the RUSA Book and Media Awards Reception at ALA Midwinter Meeting in January each year. A short list of honor titles (up to four per genre) is also announced. All selected titles are published on the RUSA Web site following the event.

Members interested in serving on The Reading List Council should read about serving on the Council.

Authors or publishers interested in having their book considered for The Reading List should review the selection criteria and the submission guidelines. For further information, please visit the committee roster page (login required) or the staff contact page.

The Lists

“Fierce Kingdom” by Gin Phillips. Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Joan and her four-year-old son, Lincoln, are enjoying an afternoon outing at the zoo when the unthinkable happens–a mass shooting. Trapped and in tremendous danger, Joan must rely on her bravery and survival instincts to make it out alive. This terrifyingly plausible thriller unfolds in real time.

Read alikes
“Lockdown” by Laurie R. King.
“The Quality of Silence” by Rosamund Lupton.
“This Is Where it Ends” by Marieke Nijkamp.

Short List
“The Marsh King’s Daughter: A Novel” by Karen Dionne. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“She Rides Shotgun: A Novel” by Jordan Harper. Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“Lola: A Novel” by Melissa Scrivner Love. Crown, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House.
“The Force: A Novel” by Don Winslow. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

“Down Among the Sticks and Bones” by Seanan McGuire. A Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates.

Twin sisters Jack and Jill discover a portal that leads them to the Moors, a dark and unsettling world that reveals their true selves. But will their conflicting desires tear them apart?

Read alikes
“The Book of Lost Things” by John Connolly
“The Magicians” by Lev Grossman
“Birthright” by Joshua Williamson (graphic novels)

Short List
“Winter Tide” by Ruthanna Emrys. A Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates.
“Passing Strange” by Ellen Klages. A Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates.
“The Witches of New York: A Novel” by Ami McKay. Harper Perennial.
“A Gathering of Ravens: A Novel” by Scott Oden. Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.

The Half-Drowned King: A Novel” by Linnea Hartsuyker. Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Betrayed and left for dead, Viking raider Rangvald seeks revenge and his inheritance, while his sister Svanhild’s path to freedom lies with Rangvald’s mortal enemy. This epic tale of uneasy alliances, set in 9th century Scandinavia, offers action, intrigue and historical detail.

Read alikes
“The Sagas of Icelanders” by Robert Kellogg
“Saxon Tales” (series) by Bernard Cornwell
“Vikings” (TV series)

Short List
“The Confessions of Young Nero: A Novel” by Margaret George. Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee. Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group.
“Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York” by Francis Spufford. Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
“Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions: A Kopp Sisters Novel” by Amy Stewart. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

“Kill Creek” by Scott Thomas. Inkshares.

An homage to horror and the authors who write it, “Kill Creek” features four prominent authors who are lured into spending the night in a famous haunted house as a publicity stunt. The aftermath is both unexpected and terrifying.

Read alikes
“Hex” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
“The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson
“The Family Plot” by Cherie Priest

Short List
“Little Heaven” by Nick Cutter. Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
“In the Valley of the Sun: A Novel” by Andy Davidson. Skyhorse Publishing.
“A God in the Shed” by J-F Dubeau. Inkshares.
“Ararat: A Novel” by Christopher Golden. St. Martin’s Press.

“The Dime” by Kathleen Kent. Mulholland Books, Little, Brown & Co, a division of Hachette Book Group.

Dallas detective Betty Rhyzyk comes from a family of cops. She’s nearly six feet tall, has flaming red hair, a New Yorker’s sharp tongue, and a girlfriend. When her investigation into a Mexican drug lord goes sideways, she must salvage the operation while dealing with a highly disturbed stalker.

Read alikes
Mallory Novels (series) by Carol O’Connell.
“Cop Town” by Karin Slaughter.
“Revolver” by Duane Swierczynski.

Short List
“The Dry: A Novel” by Jane Harper. Flatiron Books.
“Magpie Murders: A Novel” by Anthony Horowitz. Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel” by Matthew Sullivan. Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
“Casualty of War: A Bess Crawford Mystery” by Charles Todd. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

“An Extraordinary Union: A Novel of the Civil War” by Alyssa Cole. Kensington Books.

Elle Burns, a free black woman, voluntarily leaves the North to work in the Confederacy as a slave and a spy. When she uncovers a possible plot she also encounters Malcolm, a white Union spy. Their intense attraction places their lives in danger in this tale of forbidden love.

Read alikes
“The Spymaster’s Lady” by Joanna Bourne.
“Indigo” by Beverly Jenkins.
“His at Night” by Sherry Thomas.

Short List
“The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1” by G.L. Carriger. Gail Carriger LLC.
“Wild at Whiskey Creek: A Hellcat Canyon Novel” by Julie Anne Long. Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“Hate to Want You” by Alisha Rai. Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“The Lawrence Browne Affair” by Cat Sebastian. Avon Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Collapsing Empire” by John Scalzi. Tor, a Tom Doherty Associates Book.

In the Interdependency, each planet relies on its far-flung neighbors for survival. Now a galactic change is transforming the universal order, a new empress has been crowned, a rival is plotting a revolution, and a foul-mouthed captain is caught in the middle.

Read alikes

Foundation series by Isaac Asimov
“The Cold Between” by Elizabeth Bonesteel
“The Wrong Stars” by Tim Pratt

Short List
The Power” by Naomi Alderman. Little, Brown & Co, a division of Hachette Book Group.

“A Closed and Common Orbit” by Becky Chambers. Harper Voyager, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

“Paradox Bound” by Peter Clines. Crown, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House.

“An Oath of Dogs” by Wendy N. Wagner. Angry Robot, an imprint of Watkins Media, Ltd.

The Almost Sisters” by Joshilyn Jackson. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Geeky Leia is pregnant after an encounter with a sexy, anonymous Batman. Pondering when to tell her Southern family she is expecting a biracial child, her life is upended by the implosion of her half-sister’s marriage, her grandmother’s dementia, and a skeleton in the attic in this humorous tale.

Read alikes

“June” by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
“Six of One” by Rita Mae Brown
“Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” by Fannie Flagg

Short List
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman. Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“The Woman Next Door: A Novel” by Yewande Omotoso. Picador.
“Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel” by Kathleen Rooney. St. Martin’s Press.
“The Garden of Small Beginnings: A Novel” by Abbi Waxman. Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

“Orphan X” by Gregg Hurwitz. Minotaur, an imprint of Macmillan.

Evan Smoak was trained from childhood to be a lethal, efficient assassin, and provided with the skills and equipment to survive a variety of difficult missions. He was the best at what he did–until he used his skills to escape from the program. Now someone from his past has tracked him down, and Evan must figure out who is after him and what they want before it’s too late.

Short List
“Daisy in Chains” by Sharon Bolton. Minotaur, an imprint of Macmillan.
“Livia Lone” by Barry Eisler. Thomas & Mercer, an imprint of Amazon.
“The One Man” by Andrew Gross. Minotaur, an imprint of Macmillan.
“Security” by Gina Wohlsdorf. Algonquin Books, a division of Workman Publishing.

“Stiletto: A Novel” by Daniel O’Malley. Little, Brown, a division of Hachette Book Group.

Magical agents prop up the English government, while their bio-engineered foes prosper in Europe’s Low Countries. A fragile truce may revert to war unless two unlikely young women can put aside their initial enmity and find the source of a series of bizarre attacks. Secret organizations, messy splatter, and British humor hallmark this imaginative novel.

Short List
“Borderline” by Mishell Baker. Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
“Children of Earth and Sky” by Guy Gavriel Kay. New American Library, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“Ghost Talkers” by Mary Robinette Kowal. Tor, a Tom Doherty Associates book.
“A Green and Ancient Light” by Frederic S. Durbin. Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

“The Last Days of Night: A Novel” by Graham Moore. Random House, a division of Penguin Random House.

In 1888 an inexperienced yet capable lawyer finds himself defending George Westinghouse in a patent lawsuit against Thomas Edison. The competitive Westinghouse and arrogant Edison each fight for control of electrical current, and to sway the genius Nikola Tesla to their side. Rich historical and technical details illuminate this swiftly paced novel.

Short List
“Homegoing: A Novel” by Yaa Gyasi. Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House.
“News of the World: A Novel” by Paulette Jiles. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“The Risen: A Novel of Spartacus” by David Anthony Durham. Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House.
“To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel” by Eowyn Ivey. Little, Brown, a division of Hachette Book Group.

“Hex” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. Tor, a Tom Doherty Associates book.
Though she can appear during your intimate moments, her mouth and eyes stitched closed, townsfolk have an uneasy alliance with the witch. But when a group of tech savvy teenagers grow tired of being bound to the witch and the town, they discover her awful vengeance is limitless in this epic horror that turns the terror dial to 11 and keeps right on going.

Short List
“The Family Plot” by Cherie Priest. Tor, a Tom Doherty Associates book.
“The Fireman: A Novel” by Joe Hill. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“My Best Friend’s Exorcism: A Novel” by Grady Hendrix. Quirk Books.
“Suicide Motor Club” by Christopher Buehlman. Berkley, an imprint of Random House.

“Darktown” by Thomas Mullen. 37Ink/Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

In 1948 Atlanta, two of the city’s first African American cops try to unravel the murder of a young black woman, all while battling racist police, an ambivalent black community and a society built on their oppression. A powerful historical police procedural that holds an unflinching mirror to modern truths.

Short List
“Angels Burning” by Tawni O’Dell. Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
“IQ” by Joe Ide. Mulholland Books, an imprint of Little, Brown.
“Revolver” by Duane Swierczynski. Mulholland Books, an imprint of Little, Brown.
“Splinter the Silence: A Tony Hill and Carol Jordan Novel” by Val McDermid. Atlantic Monthly Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic.

“Forbidden” by Beverly Jenkins. Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Eddy, a forthright African-American woman, suffers one more hard knock when she finds herself stranded in Nevada and beholden to Rhine, a successful businessman passing as white. Eddy has always dreamed of California, but finds herself pulled in by the welcoming community and drawn to Rhine, despite the danger he poses.

Short List
“Hold Me” by Courtney Milan. Courtney Milan.
“Out of Nowhere” by Roan Parrish. Dreamspinner Press.
“A Promise of Fire” by Amanda Bouchet. Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks.
“The Soldier’s Scoundrel” by Cat Sebastian. Avon Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

“Arkwright” by Allen Steele. Tor, a Tom Doherty Associates book.

With the Arkwright Foundation, golden age science fiction author Nathan Arkwright secures his, and his family’s, legacy. Inheriting his dream to construct and launch the starship Galactic, Arkwright’s descendants face a project bigger than themselves: building a hopeful future in a world reluctant to let go of past prejudices.

Short List
“Behind the Throne” by K.B. Wagers. Orbit, an imprint of Hachette Book Group.
“Crosstalk” by Connie Willis. Del Rey, an imprint of Random House.
“The Medusa Chronicles” by Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds. Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
“Time and Time Again” by Ben Elton. Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.

“I Almost Forgot about You” by Terry McMillan. Crown, a division of Penguin Random House.

As she approaches her fiftieth birthday, Dr. Georgia Young’s life is smooth sailing on the surface. When she learns about an old flame’s death, a desire for more than the status quo is sparked within her. With the support and encouragement of her family and friends, she revisits her past lovers and seeks out her future.

Short List
“The Assistants” by Camille Perri. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living” by Louise Miller. Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“The Mothers” by Brit Bennett. Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“The Opposite of Everyone” by Joshilyn Jackson. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

“Pretty Girls: A Novel” by Karin Slaughter. William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins.

Three sisters are driven apart in the aftermath of one’s disappearance. When a violent crime occurs new fears arise and relationships shift again. Long term effects of family grief are exploited by the compulsions of a psychopath. Brutal and disturbing, this is ultimately a story of love and empowerment.

“Jack Caffery” series by Mo Hayder. Atlantic Monthly.
“The Hand that Feeds You” by A.J. Rich. Scribner.
“Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn. Crown/Shaye Areheart.

Short List
“The Cartel” by Don Winslow. Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House.
“Descent: A Novel” by Tim Johnston. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.
“The Killing Lessons” by Saul Black. St. Martin’s Press, a division of Macmillan Publishers.
“Palace of Treason: a Novel” by Jason Matthews. Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

“Uprooted” by Naomi Novik. Del Rey, an imprint of Ballantine Books.

In this enchanted old-world fable, villagers threatened by a blighted magical wood allow the resident wizard to take one daughter into servitude for ten years. When he chooses klutzy Agnieszka, she faces an unexpected future and confronts the dangers of a wider political world and the roots of magical corruption.

“The Golem and the Jinni” by Helene Wecker. Harper.
“Tearling”  trilogy by Erika Johansen. Harper.
“Wild Girl” by Kate Forsyth. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne.

Short List
“The Aeronaut’s Windlass: The Cinder Spires” by Jim Butcher. Roc, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“A Darker Shade of Magic” by V. E. Schwab. Tor Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers.
“The Fifth Season: The Broken Earth: Book One” by N. K. Jemisin. Orbit, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company.
“Sorcerer to the Crown” by Zen Cho. Ace Books, an imprint of The Berkley Publishing Group.

“Crooked Heart: A Novel” by Lissa Evans. Harper.

Raised by his eccentric ex-suffragette godmother to be a free-thinker, young Noel is thrown into chaos when the London Blitz forces him into the home of a scam artist loyal only to her layabout son. Thrust together, the two oddballs are forced to find a way through the wartime landscape.

“All Clear” (#1) and “Blackout” (#2) by Connie Willis. Spectra Books.
“Night Watch by Sarah Waters. Riverhead.
“Paper Moon” (movie, Paramount, 1973).

Short List
“Jam on the Vine: a Novel” by LaShonda Katrice Barnett. Grove Press.
“The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah. St. Martin’s Press.
“Paradise Sky” by Joe R. Lansdale. Mulholland Books, a division of Little, Brown and Company.
“The Truth According to Us: a Novel” by Annie Barrows. The Dial Press.
“Girl Waits with Gun” by Amy Stewart. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

“The Fifth House of the Heart: A Novel” by Ben Tripp. Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster.

Flamboyant antiques dealer Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang made his fortune by accidentally killing a vampire with a horde of treasure. To protect the only person he loves, his niece, he’s forced to return to old Europe to assemble an eccentric team of vampire hunters in this gory, witty caper.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (TV, Mutant Enemy Productions, 1997-2003)
“Parasol Protectorate” (#1) series by  Gail Carriger. Orbit.
“Stoker’s Manuscript” by Royce Prouty. G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Short List
“A Head Full of Ghosts” by Paul Tremblay. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins.
“Little Girls” by Ronald Malfi. Kensington Publishing Corp.
“The Silence” by Tim Lebbon. Titan Books.
“When We Were Animals: a Novel” by Joshua Gaylord. Mulholland Books, a division of Little, Brown and Company.

“The Long and Faraway Gone” by Lou Berney. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins.

Cold cases cast a twenty-five year shadow of grief and guilt on the lives of two survivors of traumatic teenage crimes. New leads and new cases bring them back to Oklahoma City as past and present intersect in this poignant and compelling story of lives forever changed by random violence.

“Case Histories” by Kate Atkinson. Little, Brown.
“In the Woods” by Tana French. Viking.
“Mystic River” by Dennis Lehane. Morrow.

Short List
“Gun Street Girl: a Detective Sean Duffy Novel” by Adrian McKinty. Seventh Street Books.
“Land of Careful Shadows” by Suzanne Chazin. Kensington Books.
“Last Ragged Breath” by Julia Keller. Minotaur Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers.
“Little Black Lies” by Sharon Bolton. Minotaur Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers.

“Taking the Heat” by Victoria Dahl. HQN, Harlequin Books.

Sassy relationship advice columnist Veronica overcomes her commitment anxiety and gains confidence with the help of mountain-climbing librarian Gabe. Steamy romance evolves into a strong relationship as they scale a mountain of family conflicts and share secrets against a majestic Jackson Hole backdrop.

“Can’t Buy Me Love” by Molly O’Keefe. Bantam.
“Natural Born Charmer” by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Morrow.
“Veiled Desire” (#1) by Alisha Rai. Samhain.

Short List
“A Desperate Fortune” by Susanna Kearsley. Sourcebooks Landmark.
“Ever After: a Nantucket Brides Novel” by Jude Deveraux. Ballantine Books, an imprint of HarperCollins.
“Rumor Has It” by Cheris Hodges. Dafina Books.
“When a Scot Ties the Knot: Castles Ever After” by Tessa Dare. Avon Books, an Imprint of HarperCollins.

“Golden Son” by Pierce Brown. Del Rey, an imprint of HarperCollins.

Insurgent Darrow inveigled his way into high Gold society in 2014’s Red Rising. In this dramatic, high octane follow-up, conflicting loyalties and his own ambitions lure Darrow into an untenable web of deceptions. Bolstered by new alliances, Darrow battles to overthrow corrupt lunar leadership and bring freedom to Mars.

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. Scholastic.
“Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card. Tor.
“Dune” (#1) Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert. Hodder & Stoughton.

Short List
“Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits” by David Wong. Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, a division of Macmillan Publishers.
“Seveneves” by Neal Stephenson. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins.
Slow Bullets” by Alastair Reynolds. Tachyon.
“The Water Knife” by Paolo Bacigalupi. Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House.

“Re Jane” by Patricia Park. Pamela Dorman Books, an imprint of Penguin Books.

Anxious to escape the strict upbringing of her uncle’s Flushing grocery, Korean-American Jane accepts an au pair position in the pretentious household of two Brooklyn academics and their adopted Chinese daughter. Park has created a bright comic story of falling in love, finding strength, and living on one’s own terms.

“The Nanny Diaries” by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. St. Martin’s.
“Brooklyn” by Colm Tóibín. Scribner.
“The Newlyweds” by Nell Freudenberger. Knopf.

Short List
“Days of Awe: a Novel” by Lauren Fox. Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House.
“The Royal We” by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group.
“This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!: a Novel” by Jonathan Evison. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.
“A Touch of Stardust” by Kate Alcott. Doubleday.

“Broken Monsters” by Lauren Beukes (Mulholland Books)

Detroit serves as the economically battered backdrop of this inventive, visceral suspense story about a series of bizarre murders that draws a group of memorable characters into a complex web of violence. Smart, stylish and addictive, this page-turner shows how the American Dream has failed many on a personal level.

“Skin” by Kathe Koja (Delacorte)
“The Whisperer” by Donato Carrisi (Mulholland)
“True Detective” (TV series, HBO, 2014)

Short List
“Mr. Mercedes” by Stephen King (Scribner)
“The Runner” by Patrick Lee (Minotaur)
“The Son” by Jo Nesbo (Knopf)
“Those Who Wish Me Dead” by Michael Koryta (Little, Brown)

“The Goblin Emperor” by Katherine Addison (Tor)

Following the sudden, suspicious deaths of his entire family, exiled half-goblin Maia becomes emperor, a role requiring diplomacy and adherence to strict protocols. Focusing on the intricacies of court life, this elegant novel unfolds at a pace that allows readers to savor the rich tapestry of character, setting and plot.

“The Spirit Ring” by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
“Cold Magic” by Kate Elliott (Orbit)
“The Ruins of Ambrai” by Melanie Rawn (DAW)

Short List
“Half a King” by Joe Abercrombie (Del Rey)
“Hot Lead, Cold Iron” by Ari Marmell (Titan)
“The Paper Magician” by Charlie N. Holmberg (47 North)
“Queen of the Tearling” by Erika Johansen (HarperCollins)

“Bitter Greens” by Kate Forsyth (Thomas Dunne)

Banished from the court of Versailles, spirited Charlotte-Rose de la Force meets a nun who weaves together the strands that form the Rapunzel fairy tale, revealing its surprising origins. A captivating marriage of history and folklore featuring characters true to their time periods, yet timeless in their dreams and desires.

“In the Company of the Courtesan” by Sarah Dunant (Random House)
“The Girls at the Kingfisher Club” by Genevieve Valentine (Atria)
“The Moon and the Sun” by Vonda McIntyre (Pocket)

Short List
“Flight of the Sparrow” by Amy Belding Brown (NAL)
“Hild” by Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
“Wayfaring Stranger” by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster)
“The Wife, the Maid and the Mistress” by Ariel Lawhon (Doubleday)

“The Lesser Dead” by Christopher Buehlman (Penguin)

Beneath the streets of 1970s New York, Joey meets the merry children, a gang of ancient child vampires, and discovers that immortality isn’t all fun and games. Gritty, clever and gonzo, this fresh take on the vampire mythos gets darker and creepier as the pages turn.

“The Light at the End” by John Skipp and Craig Spector (Stealth Press)
“Enter Night” by Michael Rowe (ChiZine)
“Double Dead” by Chuck Wendig (Abaddon)

Short List
“Butcher’s Road” by Lee Thomas (Lethe Press)
“Horrorstor” by Grady Hendrix (Quirk)
“The Supernatural Enhancements” by Edgar Cantero (Doubleday)
“The Troop” by Nick Cutter (Orbit)

“Murder at the Brightwell” by Ashley Weaver (Minotaur)

This classic English mystery follows Amory and her estranged husband, Milo, whose paths cross at a seaside resort, where suspicious deaths implicate Amory’s former fiance, Gil. A vivid mystery that sparkles with personality as Amory and Milo puzzle out the truth behind the murders and negotiate their own complicated relationship.

Tommy and Tuppence Series by Agatha Christie (William Morrow)
“Cocaine Blues: A Phryne Fisher Mystery” by Kerry Greenwood (Poisoned Pen)
“Escapade” by Walter Satterthwait (St. Martin’s Press)

Short List
“Wolf” by Mo Hayder (Atlantic Monthly)
“A Burnable Book” by Bruce Holsinger (William Morrow)
“Talus and the Frozen King” by Graham Edwards (Solaris)
“The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man” by W. Bruce Cameron (Forge)

“A Bollywood Affair” by Sonali Dev (Kensington)

Comic misunderstandings ensue when playboy Bollywood director Samir travels to America to secure an annulment for his brother, married at age four to Mili in a traditional arranged Indian wedding ceremony. Appealing protagonists, a diverse supporting cast and a colorful multicultural backdrop lend this charming story unexpected emotional depth.

“Bride and Prejudice” (Miramax Films, 2004, dir. Gurinder Chadha)
“The Newlyweds” by Nell Freudenberger (Vintage)
“The Malhotra Bride” by Sundari Venkatraman (Flaming Sun)

Short List
“My Beautiful Enemy” by Sherry Thomas (Berkley Books)
“It Happened One Wedding” by Julie James (Jove)
“The Raider” by Monica McCarty (Ballantine)
“Three Weeks with Lady X” by Eloisa James (Avon)

“The Martian” by Andy Weir (Crown, 9780804139021)

Stranded on Mars, wisecracking botanist Mark Watney proves that an astronaut has to be smart, resourceful and, perhaps, a little crazy to survive. Strong characterization, well-researched but accessible technical detail, and a deft blend of suspense and humor will please science enthusiasts and fans of survival stories on any planet.

“Gravity” (Warner Brothers, 2013, dir. By Alfonso Cuarón)
“Packing for Mars” by Mary Roach (W.W. Norton)
“Farmer in the Sky” by Robert Heinlein (Baen)

Short List
“Annihilation” by Jeff Vandermeer (FSG Originals)
“Fortune’s Pawn” by Rachel Bach (Orbit)
“Lock In” by John Scalzi (Tor)
“Shovel Ready” by Adam Sternbergh (Crown)

“My Real Children” by Jo Walton (Tor)

Patricia Cowan, an elderly woman suffering from dementia, remembers two different lives, two different careers, two different families and two different worlds. A striking novel of how tragedy turns to joy and heartbreak turns to love with a narrative twist that hooks the reader and never lets go.

“Life After Life” by Kate Atkinson (Reagan Arthur)
“Sliding Doors” (Miramax Films, 1998, dir. Peter Howitt)
“The Time Travelers Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Short List
“After I Do” by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Washington Square Press)
“The House We Grew Up In” by Lisa Jewell (Atria Books)
“How To Build A Girl” by Caitlin Moran (Harper)
“The Story Hour” by Thrity Umrigar (Harper)

“Red Sparrow” by Jason Matthews (Scribner)

This modern spy novel pits two covert operatives against each other in an intricate cat-and-mouse game. As Dominika and Nathaniel ply their tradecraft, they navigate the moral ambiguities of a post-Cold War world where no one is as they seem and betrayal is business as usual.

“Night Soldiers” by Alan Furst
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” by John le Carré
“Skinner” by Charlie Huston

Short List
“The Caretaker” by A.X. Ahmad. (Minotaur Books)
“Ghostman” by Roger Hobbs. (Alfred A. Knopf)
“Lexicon” by Max Barry. (The Penguin Press)
“Lost” by S.J. Bolton. (Minotaur Books)

“Vicious” by V.E.Schwab (Tor Books)

A friendly rivalry turns vicious when college friends Victor and Eli obtain super-human powers and use them for very different purposes. This dark paranormal fantasy, a riveting tale of vengeance and redemption, proves that extraordinary powers don’t necessarily make superheroes.

“Invincible” by Robert Kirkman
“Ex-heroes” by Peter Clines
“Steelheart” by Brandon Sanderson

Short List
“The Necromancer’s House” by Christopher Buehlman (Ace Hardcover)
“A Natural History of Dragons” by Marie Brennan (Tor Books)
“American Elsewhere” by Robert Bennett Jackson (Orbit)
“The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel” by Helene Wecker (Harper)

“The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent” (Little Brown and Company)

Love, morality and greed collide in this Reconstruction Era western. A whore without a heart of gold, Lucinda escapes from a Fort Worth brothel to begin a new life — and a new con. She and her lover are bound to cross paths with Texas Ranger Nate, who is chasing stone-cold killer McGill. Both Nate and Lucinda are unforgettable characters, driven by the need to survive.

“The Sisters Brothers” by Patrick deWitt
“True Grit” by Charles Portis
“3:10 from Yuma” (film, Lionsgate Films, 2007)

Short List
“The Abominable: A Novel” by Dan Simmons. (Little Brown and Company)
“Longbourn” by Jo Baker (Alfred A. Knopf)
“Out of the Black Land” by Kerry Greenwood (Poisoned Pen Press)
“The Thicket” by Joe R. Lansdale (Mulholland Books)

“Last Days” by Adam Nevill (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Deep in debt, documentary filmmaker Kyle Freeman reluctantly accepts the financial backing of an enigmatic self-help guru to make a movie about infamous cult The Temple of the Last Days. Unique, atmospheric and deeply disturbing, Nevill delivers a visceral horror experience that will haunt readers long after they put the book down.

“The Grin of the Dark” by Ramsey Campbell
“House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski
“Paranormal Activity” (film, Paramount Pictures, 2009)

Short List
“Apocalypse Cow” by Michael Logan (St. Martin’s Griffin)
“The Daylight Gate” by Jeanette Winterson (Grove Press)
“Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King (Scribner)
“Red Moon” by Benjamin Percy (Grand Central Publishing)

“Murder as a Fine Art” by David Morrell (Mulholland Books)

London, 1854: The Artist of Death ritualistically recreates the sensational Ratcliffe murders inspired by the writings of the notorious opium addict Thomas De Quincey. In this fast-paced mystery, filled with colorful characters and authentic period detail, Scotland Yard detectives, along with De Quincey and his daughter must find the Artist of Death before he executes another macabre masterpiece.

“The Bedlam Detective” by Stephen Gallagher
“The Maul and the Pear Tree: the Ratcliffe Highway Murders, 1811” by P.D. James and T.A. Critchley
“From Hell” by Alan Moore

Short List
“Alex” by Pierre Lemaitre (The MacLehose Press)
“The Beggar’s Opera” by Peggy Blair (Pintail: The Penguin Press)
“How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel” by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
“Seven for a Secret” by Lyndsay Faye (Amy Einhorn Books)

“Any Duchess Will Do” by Tessa Dare (Avon)

Desperate for grandchildren, the Duchess of Halford strikes a bargain with her only son, Griff: pick a woman–any woman. If she can transform her son’s choice into duchess material, he must marry the girl. Griff picks the least likely candidate in bluestocking barmaid Pauline, only to quickly realize he has no idea who he is dealing with. A humorous and clever historical romance with engaging characters you won’t soon forget.

“This Rake of Mine” by Elizabeth Boyle
“The Lady Most Willing” by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway
“Then Comes Seduction” by Mary Balogh

Short List
“Autumn Bride” by Anne Gracie (Berkley Books)
“The Heiress Effect” by Courtney Milan (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)
“One Good Earl Deserves a Lover: The Second Rule of Scoundrels” by Sarah MacLean (Avon)
“The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion (Simon & Schuster)

“Love Minus Eighty” by Will MacIntosh (Orbit Books)

Cryogenics adds a darkly humorous twist on dating, love and relationships in the 22nd century. This multi-perspective story provides a thought-provoking and poignant social commentary on power dynamics, gender, class and the ethical issues surrounding life after life-after-death.

“Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance” by Lois McMaster Bujold
“The Curiosity: A Novel” by Stephen Kiernan
“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (film, Universal Studios, 2004)

Short List
“Abaddon’s Gate” by James SA Corey (Orbit Books)
“Great North Road” by Peter F. Hamilton (Ballantine Books)
“Tales of Majipoor” by Robert Silverberg (ROC Trade)
“Wool” by Hugh Howey (Simon & Schuster)

“Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes (Pamela Dorman Books)

Unemployed 26-year-old Louisa takes the only job she can find: as a “care assistant” to 35-year-old quadriplegic Will. When Louisa discovers the depth of Will’s unhappiness, she embarks on a mission to convince him that life is worth living and in the process begins to think about her own future. This bittersweet, quirky novel recounts an unlikely friendship while grappling with complex issues in a realistic and sensitive manner.

“The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving: A Novel” by Jonathan Evison
“Talk Before Sleep: A Novel” by Elizabeth Berg
“You’re Not You: A Novel” by Michelle Wildgen

Short List
“The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty (Amy Einhorn Books)
“Necessary Lies” by Diane Chamberlain (St. Martin’s Press)
“Reconstructing Amelia” by Kimberly McCreight (HarperCollins)
“The Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult (Emily Bestler Books)

Font Resize