Hot Reads for Adults

THE SILENCED by Heather Graham

This is the latest installment in Graham’s psychic FBI series Krewe of Hunters, and it features a political slant involving the death of a beloved politician. Meg, a newbie FBI Academy graduate, receives a mysterious text message from her best friend, Lara, who has been working as a congressman’s media assistant in Washington, D.C. The congressman has been involved in crafting legislation with the politician who died. Lara tells Meg she is disillusioned and is leaving town and politics. When Lara fails to reappear and doesn’t contact Meg again, Meg decides to try to find her. Meanwhile, women are being found murdered, mutilated, and dumped in water – and the women fit Lara’s description. Meg, who has had psychic experiences since childhood, senses Lara contacting her, and fears she is a victim of the serial killer. The FBI has recruited Meg for their Krewe of Hunters special psychic unit. Partnered with Krewe member Matt, they travel a psychic Civil War trail through Richmond, Harpers Ferry and Gettysburg hunting for both the serial killer and for Lara. Graham delivers mystery, romance, and a touch of the paranormal in this solid entry in the series. Reviewed by Kate Tesdell

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UPROOTED by Naomi Novik

Uprooted is an enchanting read in all the best ways. It is an original fairy tale that captures both the wonder and danger of the best of the classic fairy tales. Drawing deeply on her Polish roots, Novik has created Polnya, a kingdom dominated by the Wood, a semi-sentient evil forest which villagers must constantly battle in order to preserve both their lives and homes. The Dragon is the mysterious wizard guardian of the Wood, who keeps mostly to himself except when he emerges to choose one young peasant woman to be his servant (a twist on the old tale of a young maiden sacrificed to appease a dragon). The book’s heroine, Agnieszka, is certain the Dragon will choose her best friend, Kasia, the most beautiful girl in the village. But when the Dragon discovers Agnieszka has magic, he is forced to choose her and train her in sorcery. The plot unfolds as Agnieszka learns not just about sorcery, but about love, politics, bravery, loyalty, danger, fear, friendship, and, eventually, the true nature of the menacing Wood. The story is dense but moves along quickly, and the author draws you deeply into her world and its fascinating characters. Uprooted will . . . → Read More: UPROOTED by Naomi Novik

SAINT ANYTHING by Sarah Dessen

Sydney has always felt invisible. She’s used to her brother, Peyton, being the focus of attention. Now, after a drunk-driving accident that crippled a boy, handsome and charismatic Peyton is serving some serious jail time, and Sydney is on her own while her father retreats to his work and her mother obsesses over making Peyton’s jail time more like a summer camp than lock-up. When Sydney meets the Chatham family after transferring to a new school, she experiences unquestioning acceptance for the first time, finally feeling like someone can see her. Saint Anything is Sarah Dessen’s deepest and most psychologically probing novel yet, telling an engrossing story of a girl discovering friendship, love, and herself. Reviewed by Kimberly White

ICE TWINS: A NOVEL by S.K. Tremayne

The Ice Twins begins in London, but quickly moves to a remote island in Scotland. Reeling from the loss of one of their twin daughters, Sarah and Angus relocate to the island Angus inherited from his grandmother with the hope that a new start will be better for everyone – – including their surviving twin daughter Kirstie. The only problem . . . Kirstie has started claiming she is the dead twin Lydia. As the story progresses and the weather turns colder, things begin to heat up. A particularly rough Scottish storm leaves Sarah and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) isolated on the island alone. But are they really alone? This page turning suspense novel will keep you guessing as to what really happened the day that Lydia (or was it Kirstie?) fell to her death. Reviewed by Jennifer Harden

THE POCKET WIFE: A NOVEL by Susan Crawford

The Pocket Wife slowly draws you into the manic world of Dana Catrell. When her neighbor, Celia, turns up dead, Dana is not sure who is to blame, but she relentlessly works to find out the truth. Wafting in and out of sanity, Dana works tirelessly to put together the pieces of Celia’s death. Along the way, she meets a bevy of interesting people, all who seem a wee bit guilty and elusive about the role they may, or may not, have played in Celia’s murder. This book draws you into Dana’s teetering on the edge of sanity and keeps you cheering for her throughout. But is she a murderer? Reviewed by Jennifer Harden

1920: The Year that Made the Decade Roar

The Roaring Twenties stir up an immediate mental image of flappers, speakeasies, and a life that seemed devoted to putting behind the misery of World War I. Eric Burns, former NBC News correspondent, revisits the events of the first year in that infamous decade – and does so with insight and vivid style. From the terrorist bombing of Wall Street to the rising tide of anti-immigrant feeling, the passage of Prohibition to the strengthening of the organized crime movement, Burns demonstrates that this first year after the armistice was anything but peaceful. The turmoil of social change was felt in the passage of the 19th Amendment, allowing women to vote, and in an upsurge in the hateful activities of the KKK. Robber barons were dealing with strikes, commercial radio broadcasting was born, and Harlem came alive with literature, art and that wonderful music called jazz. Burns will take you on a fascinating and wild ride through 1920. There will be times when you wonder if you’re reading an account of something that happened nearly a century ago or looking at today’s headlines. Reviewed by Kate Tesdell

TWISTED SISTERS by Jen Lancaster

What do you get when you put a New Age healer, a television psychologist, a hairdresser and a mom into a book? You get a seriously funny book! I listened to the audiobook version in my car and I cannot tell you how many times I wanted to just sit in my car to continue the book. This story is about Reagan, a psychologist, daughter and sister who thinks pretty highly of herself and is not afraid to let others know it. She is constantly belittling her two sisters and feels like no one gives her the credit she deserves, especially her family. She finally achieves the fame she so desperately seeks when her show goes to network television but finds it still doesn’t impress her family. When Diva, her New Age healer friends, helps her out with a few guests on the show, Reagan decides that the method they use can help her in her own life. Of course it doesn’t go the way she planned and she learns a thing or two about herself – not good things either. Can it be that she hasn’t given her sisters nearly enough credit and herself way too much? Lancaster has . . . → Read More: TWISTED SISTERS by Jen Lancaster

THE BOOKSELLER by Cynthia Swanson

Kitty owned a Denver bookstore with her best friend, Frieda. It was 1962 and both were unmarried. Their store wasn’t getting as many sales as they used to, because the streetcar lines changed. Kitty started to question her choices. Then one night she had a vivid dream of herself in a new life as Katharyn – her given name. She was a wife and mother, living in a new house in the suburbs. She discovered if one day of her life had gone differently, it would have changed everything. This is a fun book to read. There are a lot of details about 1962-63, such as book titles, popular music and clothing styles. It can be interesting to wonder what could have been, especially if it helps you realize what you might try now.

Reviewed by Fiona Swift

THE OPPOSITE OF SPOILED: RAISING KIDS WHO ARE GROUNDED, GENEROUS, AND SMART ABOUT MONEY by Ron Leiber

With advice for parents of every income bracket, personal finance columnist and father Ron Lieber addresses many familiar parent-child interactions regarding money. Mr. Lieber provides common motivations and reactions, concrete advice, and real-life stories illustrating how what parents teach their children about money also develops important character traits. A wonderful bibliography is included for parents seeking additional resources. Reviewed by Jennie Tuttle

AS YOU WISH: INCONCEIVABLE TALES FROM THE MAKING OF THE PRINCESS BRIDE by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden

In 1987, Cary Elwes was a young, unknown actor about to embark upon his biggest leading role yet. The part was Westley, a swashbuckling Man in Black, in a “romance, adventure, fantasy, drama, comedy, action” film called The Princess Bride and it changed his life. Though the movie had an underwhelming theatrical run, it found an audience on home video and today it’s a beloved, and oft-quoted, classic.

Elwes’s memoir of the making of the film is as warm and wickedly-funny as William Goldman’s screenplay. He happily shares backstage antics (a couple of which sent him to the emergency room) and gushes over his costar, Robin Wright. The closest Elwes comes to dishing dirt is fondly telling a few drinking stories about André the Giant, who played Fezzik. Sidebars written by Rob Reiner, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, and other members of the cast and crew make it clear that everyone involved in production knew they were part of something special.

If viewing The Princess Bride puts a smile on your face, this book will, too.

Reviewed by Lynn Heitkamp