I am now on Goodreads as Michellecupboardmaker. If you are on Goodreads, you can ask to be my friend and see exactly what I am reading.
Hi, As the owner of a used bookstore, people often ask me what I am reading. I read a little bit of everything but my current favorite types of books are genre fiction but they are a combination of several genres. I like the term supernatural fiction for my current reading choices but many of the authors actually call it urban fantasy.
The following is a list of several authors that are my current favorites. This list is in no particular order and when applicable I have included links to the author’s webpages. I will include more accolades when I have the time, but I am supposed to be researching the books for the Internet right now. However, thinking about my current favorites and checking when their latest books are arriving is more interesting.
I created this page because I constantly recommend that my customers buy these authors. These books are very rarely traded in at my bookstore and I tell people that they should read them. I will be making this page more informative and attractive as I have the time.
- Kelley Armstrong
- Her Women of Otherworld Series creates an alternate reality that is close to our own. Her world includes: werewolves, vampires, ghosts, necromancers, witches, and half-demons. The characters are strong and fascinating and the plots are well-developed. I enjoy the fact that she alternates narrators in the different books but keeps the reader up to date on the actions of the other characters in the series.
- Patricia Briggs
- The Mercedes Thompson Series. The main character is a werecoyote raised by werewolves but she interacts with many different types of otherworldly beings.
- Jim Butcher
- Harry Dresden. Harry is a wizard who is more of a supernatural private detective. The books have a noir fantasy feel and are set in Chicago of the modern world. However, very few people know that magic, vampires, and shifters are real.
- Jeri Smith-Ready
- Her vampire series focuses on a vampire radio station. This series is very innovative and interesting. She also writes fantasy novels that are also great.
- Maria V. Snyder
- Her books are closer to traditional fantasy than urban fantasy. The world that she creates is fascinating and her protagonist is amazing. Usually, I am a little too lazy to learn about different worlds which are part of the fantasy genre but this world is so fully realized that I want to learn more.
- Anne Bishop
- Her Others series is a fantasy take on Urban Fantasy with vampires and werewolves that are a completely different species than humans. The characters are memorable and well written.
- Ilona Andrews
- The Kate Daniels series revolves around a magic user in post magical apocalypse Atlanta. Throughout the series, the characters evolve and have fabulous adventures.
- Nancy Atherton
- The Aunt Dimity Books
- Victoria Thompson
- These are historical mysteries and the research is wonderful and the author’s sense of place is excellent.
- Janet Evanovich
- Stephanie Plum Series
- Nevada Barr
- Anna Pigeon Series
- Margaret Maron
- Deborah Knott Series
- Toni McGee Causey
- Bobby Faye Series
- Misty Simon
- Tallie Graver series
Some my favorite romance authors live in Central Pennsylvania and they come to the store for book signings which is so much fun. I keep their books in stock all year long. These are in alphabetical order.
MONTHLY BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS
by Michelle & Others
(see the Monthly Newsletter for this month's recommendation!)
Reviews by guests are marked, all other reviews are by Michelle
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
This is a rollicking, exciting fantasy novel with a strong, intelligent female protagonist, Yelena. Her world is authoritarian and rigid with strict laws. Yelena is offered a choice between death and becoming the leader’s poison taster. “Sieges weather, fight together, friends forever” is a quote from the book that encapsulates Yelena’s adventures as she learns to adapt to and change her world. On one level, this is a wonderful fantasy novel, but the deeper themes stay with readers for years.
The Sweet Spot by Heather Heyford
This is a delightful small town romance set in the Willamette Valley, Oregon on a vineyard. Jamie, the heroine, loves the Vineyards at Ribbon Ridge so much that she turns her vacation into a summer job. Hank, the owner of The Vineyards, devotes his life to the family business but longs for missed opportunities. These two strong characters fight their attraction while working together. Join them on their adventure and you will also fall in love with the Vineyards.
Cremains of the Day by Misty Simon
This is the first book in a cozy mystery series set in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. For readers familiar with the West Shore, there’s an extra layer of fun because they can try to figure out how places relate to their real-world counterparts. Tallie Graver lives above her family’s funeral home but she cleans the houses of her former friends to make ends meet. Her life path takes a twist when her ex-husband is assaulted and she finds one of her employers dead. With Misty Simon’s signature wit and fun characters, this mystery shows that an amateur detective can catch the killer and save the day.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
I loved this book because it combined alternate history, zombies with an amazing protagonist. After the battle of Gettysburg, the dead rose and 17 years later, the heroine is a trained zombie fighter. This book is a wonderful fantasy adventure novel with fabulous underlying themes.
The Amish Teacher’s Gift by Rachel J. Good
This is a delightful book about a 19-year-old who has 7 younger siblings and is the main support for her family. She is hired to teach at a school for special needs Amish children. The widowed father of one of her students experiences his own tragedies but he is drawn to her beauty and goodness.
The research in this book was one of its best aspects. There was information about Amish life and culture as well as classroom techniques for children with special needs.
The well written primary and secondary characters pulled me into the story. I highly recommend The Amish Teacher’s Gift for fans of Amish romance and all romance.
The Last Wolf by Maria Vale
The heroine of this paranormal romance is a werewolf who thinks like a wolf, not a human. She is thrown together with a shapeshifter, a being who is the sworn enemy of werewolves. This adventurous story combines love and fantastic world building. It’s wonderful to find a new paranormal book to recommend.
Storm Front by Jim Butcher
This is a fantastic class of the Urban Fantasy genre. It is the first book in the Harry Dresden series. He is a wizard living in Chicago who helps to solve supernatural crimes. The main character is snarky and smart and the rest of the characters are well developed.
The Silver Valley PD series by Geri Krotow
This wonderful series can be read in any order. Silver Valley feels real and like it’s right around the corner because it is based in a fictional version of Central Pennsylvania. The books are romantic suspense with strong, smart heroines and brave, fascinating heroes. If you like your romance with a dash of danger, read the Silver Valley books.
Newsletter did not release in time for October
Outer Banks by Allison B. Hanson
This interesting book combines Science Fiction and Romance genres. After aliens invade and are rebuffed, they leave humans infected. This is the story of the search for the cure by a scientist and the man who helped her to break out of the Outer Banks. It’s a wonderful blend of romance, adventure and science fiction elements.
Navigating the Stars by Maria V. Snyder
This science fiction novel has a wonderful, relatable main character. Lyra’s parents are archaeologists in space. They study the Terracotta Warriors found on a number of planets throughout the galaxy. Lyra travels with them and finds modern mysteries of planets going silent while studying the ancient treasures. This is a great read for all ages.
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
I listened to this book on Libro.fm and enjoyed the history and narration by three different narrators for the three main parts. This true story is about the oil wealth on the Osage land in Oklahoma, the murders to steal it and the coverup by local officials. It is the One Book, One Community choice for 2019 and a fascinating example of the interrelatedness of history.
~Review by Sam~
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
The story of Onye, an outcast among outcasts, who discovers her own great strength and sets out to prevent the killing of her people. This book pulls no punches and covers a range of contemporary issues through the lens of a post-apocalyptic Africa. Rich world-building and complex characters are only the beginning of this thought-provoking read.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
This is a high fantasy based on Beauty and the Beast. The character, plot and world building are fantastic. The first hundred pages introduce the heroine and her journey but when the story starts to fly, the book becomes impossible to stop reading. The next two books in the series are even more compelling.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
This is a fabulous fantasy novel told from the perspective of three main characters with input from several more. The tale is based on Eastern European history and folklore. The various perspectives create a fabulous tale of magic, mystery, and love. It is a standalone fantasy novel and a great introduction to a wonderful author.
~Review by Kristian~
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Willowdean “Dumplin” has always felt comfortable in her body, even if she didn’t fit into her mother’s teen pageant legacy. But once her confidence takes a hit, she decides to enter the Miss Clover City beauty pageant, along with other unlikely candidates, and show the community that she deserves to be up there.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This is a delightful tale for children and adults. A toddler’s family is killed and he wanders into the graveyard. The inhabitants protect and raise the tyke. He learns about the worlds of the living and the dead. This fantastic story tugs at the heartstrings and incites the imagination.
~Review by Sam~
Mogworld by Yahtzee Croshaw
Jim, a student of magic in a fantastical world, tragically dies at a young age. Then Jim is tragically brought back to life by an up and coming necromancer. Thus begins a long, and not perilous enough to Jim’s liking, quest to straighten out a curse of non-death spreading over the land. Told in the author’s signature style of dry humor and twisted tropes, Mogworld is a hilarious romp through a dysfunctional fantasy world.
~Review by Kristian~
Stripped by Zoey Castile
This is the first book in the Happy Endings series. It’s a rom-com story with a friends to lovers plotline with the best inciting situation. Robyn is a teacher and her life is in disarray. The final nail in the coffin is when she accidentally ends up with her neighbor’s laundry, including a particular Star Spangled sequined piece of clothing. She meets her neighbor, Zac, a male dancer with plenty of charm and heart. With the witty dialogue, character chemistry and romance, this was a fun and engaging book.
~Review by Kristian~
The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen
In this world, a caste system reigns. Fie is a Chief-In-Training and has always followed the mantra of protect your own. This is particularly important because she is a part of the lowest caste, the Crows. In this magical world, there is a caste system that’s named after birds. Each caste has an affinity towards a particular gift. The Crows are the mercy killers and morticians because they are the only ones to not get infected by the plague. So when Fie’s family is called to collect royal dead, Fie’s plan is for them to get the payday of a lifetime. Instead, she gets intertwined with smuggling out the crown prince and outrunning the Queen. I really enjoyed the language and characters in the book. Fie is a complex character thrown into a hard situation. The novel speaks about class and prejudice while having a well-made cat and mouse chase. I’ve been recommending it because it was a really solid fantasy.
Three-Fifths by John Vercher
This work of crime fiction is written with such strength and beauty that the book haunts me. While reading the book, I felt like a ghost on the shoulder of the protagonist. This is the tale of a young man who witnesses someone he cares about commits a terrible crime, and the way violence reverberates through lives. I recommend this debut novel for everyone who appreciates fantastic writing and compelling stories.
~Review by Sam~
The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
Gyre descends into the twisting labyrinth of a cave on a distant mining planet, hoping to earn her fortune and escape her poverty. However, her employer is mysterious, dangerously indifferent to Gyre’s autonomy, and worst of all: the only one supporting Gyre from the surface. The descent into the cave is as haunting as Gyre’s descent into near madness while delving into its depth. Psychological horror at its best with a twist of science fiction tech.
~Review by Sam~
You Look Like a Thing and I Love You by Janelle Shane
Janelle Shane offers a fun and thorough look at today’s artificial intelligences with tons of real-world examples and her own research endeavors. Her examples are both hilarious and enlightening, and after reading I have a greater respect for what AI is capable of doing, and a greater understanding of what it is not capable of doing. Not to mention all the laughs I enjoyed along the way. The book is written so even an absolute novice to AI can follow along.
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
This is the first book in the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series. Readers are pulled into the world of a coyote shifter raised by werewolves. Mercy’s character is so strong that she leaps off the page and drags everyone along on her adventures. The other characters are also fabulous and the world creation is amazing.
~Review by Sam~
Stamped by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi
This not history book (as the author informs the reader) is a thorough yet accessible analysis of institutional racism throughout American history. Beginning before the founding of the USA and carrying on until the present day, Jason Reynolds does a masterful job at taking Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning and presenting it so everyone from the youngest teenagers to the most seasoned readers will gain a more profound understanding of the propagation of racism in our country.
~Review by Kristian~
How Long 'til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin
N.K Jemisin’s How Long ‘til Black Future Month is a collection of short stories that span the author’s career from 2004-2017. It’s a mix of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and alternate history. The stories follow thought-provoking narratives, redemption, and horror where you can see the seeds of some of her future novels. If you liked the concepts behind the show Black Mirror or Tales From The Darkside, some of the stories will definitely suck you in!
April & May 2020
Bookstore was closed.
Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep
This is a fantasy novel with great characters and a compelling plot. Everleigh survives the massacre that kills the rest of the royal family, but she has to hide to survive. This is her exciting story of becoming a gladiator and learning to thrive. It is the first in a trilogy.
~Review by Kristian~
A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
If you enjoyed The Hunger Games, this was a great prequel. The most important part of this book is the idea of protagonist, not hero. Through the eyes of eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow you see the making of the Hunger Games. This is a book about how among dismal circumstances, there are those who pick to do good and those who choose to do wrong.