Awards: top pick
Top Picks are 5-star books that exceed expectations and push boundaries. Reviewers can nominate any 5-star book they reviewed as a Top Pick, but the editorial staff has the final say on assigning this award.More about awards
Michael Nabavian and Phil Wall
Self-help from a virtuoso of self-delusion
Review by Lynne Hinkey
Hilarious in its complete embrace of faith-over-substance approach to success and wealth, Gary’s Guide to Life will have readers cringing and laughing at this witty sendup of the Self-Help aisle. If you’re a fan of Dr. Phil types and take your self-help gurus seriously, you might not appreciate this rollicking satire. For everyone else, you’ll want to step in and give Gary a good shake for being so very blind to what’s blatantly obvious to the reader, but you’ll also root for him to succeed at being successful because he is so endearingly naive.
Love, guilt, paternity, murder - probably not in that order.
Review by Kim Kash
Stanke’s wildly thrilling period piece captures not just the groovy vibe of post-Franco Spain in 1977, but also the feel, the look, the smell, of Mallorca just as tourism was starting to really make inroads into the formerly pristine island. His unusual and ambitious jumps in point of view wouldn’t have worked in the hands of a less skilled author, but here you’re in good hands. David and Aurora’s whirlwind courtship is over almost before it began, and then, upon her return to him three months later (surprise! With a child in tow) the breathless chase through the pine forests and over the mountains unwinds skillfully. David and his young charge flee for their lives from hit men, and then murderous cops. Then Stanke rewinds and adds another perspective, layering on a new level of understanding for the reader. And again he backs up and goes over the same ground again but in the head of yet another character. By the end, when the whole heart-squeezing narrative has unfolded, the reader knows everything and is satisfied. It’s not an entirely happy ending, you know that going in—but it’s a just one, and a thrill right to the last scene. I wholeheartedly recommend Falling in Death and Love, for anyone who enjoys and appreciates intricate plotting, who has an affinity for Spain, or who needs a reason to stay up late. Once you start this novel, you won’t want to stop.
A. C. Burch
Unlikely heroes risk all
Review by Yvonne Lieblein
A Book of Revelations delivers the voyeuristic aspects of social media sans FOMO (fear of missing out) thanks to Burch’s stellar ability to place a reader inside the characters he’s created. His short stories have an epic feel because of his exquisite use of language and penchant for deftly wielding details. (Prepare to be compelled to reread details like “her right blinking flashing as she turned left” multiple times.) Lately, there’s been no shortage of research on the benefits of reading floating around in the “soundbite-osphere,” everything from reduced stress levels and higher happiness quotients to better sleep and elevated empathy. (This inc.com feature rounds up nine of them.) As for the latter, being immersed in the worlds masterfully created by Burch may result in an almost immediate boost in understanding. The eavesdropping sensation they induce is mesmerizing, and the stream of unexpected revelations are, too. LINK FOR ARTICLE ABOVEL http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/9-ways-reading-fiction-can-make-you-happier-and-more-creative.html
A brilliant reimagining of the legend of Tecumseh.
Review by A post with the ID $staff does not exist.
THE LAST GREAT AMERICAN MAGIC is a worthy read and holds broad appeal for any who enjoy historical or literary fiction, romance and even fantasy. It is a beautifully written, quality novel and worthy of the title TOP PICK.
Can you stop a killer before he starts?
Review by Chantelle Atkins
A page turning psychological thriller that had me on the edge of my seat. An interesting and debatable subject matter; would you kill a killer before they killed? Something similar to the moral question about whether or not you would go back in time and kill Hitler as a baby. Also a brilliant and convincing portrayal of small town life.
Cowboy Noir For The Cartel Era
Review by Anita Lock
The first book in the Ed Earl Burch series, The Last Second Chance isn’t for everyone. Audiences who get a thrill out of Quentin Tarentino’s flicks will no doubt find Nesbitt’s plot captivating from beginning to end.