Cozy Mysteries of the Magical Variety

In the wake of Halloween, All Saint’s Eve, Samhain, and Dia De Los Muertos, there’s quite a bit of magic lingering in the air. The leaves have turned, the weather is harsher, and the nights are chilling. Many peoples view this time of year as the time to honor their ancestors as the veil between this world and the world of the dead is thinner. We are in the liminal time between seasons as the days grow shorter and winter readies its cold, cold breath here in the PNW. The harvest is complete and we are ready to tuck in for the long, dark nights ahead. Cozy mysteries are a prefect genre to tuck in with: light and fluffy with little violence, no gore, and big hearts centered on community. If this sounds like your cup of tea, here are some very magical cozies to cozy up with this liminal season.

Samhain Secrets by Jennifer David Hesse is the perfect book to read this time of year. It touches on the sabbat of Samhain, a Wiccan celebration that coincides with Halloween, which often includes the honoring of ancestors. New junior partner Keli Milanni is disturbed to hear of her free-spirited aunt’s seeming disappearance, she is intrigued. Then a body is found in the woods and her missing aunt’s secrets come to haunt her in more ways than one. This is the 4th book in the series, but it’s ok to read them out of order.

Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon is a light mystery featuring African-American classical musician Dr. Gethsemane Brown who takes a teaching gig at a school in Dunmullach, Ireland after a major career letdown. With a delightfully creepy old house and a snarky ghost who wants his murder solved, this is a pitch-perfect first-in-the-series that continues with Death in D Minor. Continue reading “Cozy Mysteries of the Magical Variety”

Fall Into Reading: Beyond Halloween

The leaves are crunching beneath our boot heels, the sweaters are coming out of the corners of our closets, and cozying up with a book goes along with this season like a warm fire and fuzzy socks! Fall into the season with these reads celebrating all the various festivities the season has to offer!

The Progress of a Crime: a Fireworks Night Mystery by Julian Symons

After witnessing a murder of a local tavern owner on Guy Fawkes Night (Nov. 5), Hugh Bennet has trouble remembering what took place as he attempts to write the story for the paper. It doesn’t help that the witnesses aren’t very reliable as none can actually recall seeing the stabbing itself. Combining classic sleuthing with a concerned inquiry into troubled society, this 1960 crime classic by the grandmaster Julian Symonds is an excellent commentary of the Autumn of the year, and of the 20th Century. Continue reading “Fall Into Reading: Beyond Halloween”

#BookBingoNW2021: Mystery and Crime under 250 pages

As Summer Book Bingo 2021 comes down to the wire (deadline: Sept. 7), you may be looking to maximize your remaining reading time. To that end, here are a selection of mysteries that clock in under 250 pages, for rapid reading. Feeling more leisurely? Check out our longer list of suggested mystery/crime novels.

Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2021: Mystery and Crime under 250 pages”

Bus Reads is Back!

It wasn’t just quarantine that kept me from my bus rides into work, it was also parental leave. I got a few reads in before my son made his way into our lives. Here are the last few quarantine reads before nesting took over. And as my commute begins again, I look forward to sharing reads with all of you and hope to see you out there! Happy reading!

Outlawed by Anna North

An edge-of-your-seat feminist western. Ada had her life planned out – husband, house, kids…but when no pregnancy comes her life is in danger. So as not to be branded as a witch, Ada joins a convent and then runs away and joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall gang: a group of women like herself running away from the limits that life tried to put on them. Now she must decide if she’s willing to risk it all for the new family she’s created.

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai

Lucy Hull is a young children’s librarian in the small town of Hannibal, Missouri. When her favorite patron, ten- year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home, Lucy finds him hiding out in the library. Having seen how Ian’s mother treats her son – denying him access to books deemed lacking “the breath of God” and the anti-gay classes he’s been forced to take – Lucy becomes kidnapper and kidnapped. Their crazy road trip ahead brings things to light and has us questioning, who’s really running away? Continue reading “Bus Reads is Back!”

A guide to exploring new genres

Each year, groups of librarians from across the country hole up in a room (this year, a virtual room) to discuss and select the best books from the year before. The Notable Books List features literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry; the Listen List is all about outstanding audiobooks; and The Reading List, which I want to tell you about today, highlights outstanding genre fiction in eight genres: Adrenaline (aka thrillers, adventure stories), Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Relationship Fiction, Romance, and Science Fiction.

While each genre has a winner, it also has a four-title shortlist of runners up. Taken together, the five books in each genre represent a range of the types of stories a reader can find in that genre, with the idea that both longtime fans and folks new to the genre can find a title of interest. If you are looking to branch out into new areas of fiction reading, it is a great place to start. Check out the 2021 winners (for books published in 2020) below, with annotations from the ALA Reading List Council, or in our catalog.


The Holdout by Graham Moore
Ten years after Maya Seale convinced her fellow jurors to acquit a man of murder, a true crime documentary reunites the jury amid claims of new Continue reading “A guide to exploring new genres”