20 Staff Favorites of 2017

A new year may be a few weeks away, but our staff has compiled a list of titles from the past 12 months that really stood out. From historical mysteries, to coming of age fiction, and everything in between, this collection is a highlight of the best of 2017.

Celebrate the winter solstice with a new favorite today!


Beyond the Carousel by Bette Lee Crosby

With the crash of 1929, Laura Wilkes and her family are thrown into turmoil and tragedy. As the depression looms, a murder goes unsolved and the family must reconcile with never finding the killer. Twenty-five years later, Laura’s daughter has fallen in love with a police officer determined to succeed where others have failed and bring a murderer to justice.

From bestselling author Bette Lee Crosby comes a heartwarming family saga that stretches across three generations.

 Infinite Chaos by William Vitka

Detective Jamie Murrow is the only person to have confronted the dark cult The Order and walked away – with a terrifying knowledge that has driven him to the brink of insanity.  Now, he’s stumbled onto a new plot. One that suggests the very architecture of New York is designed to open a gateway between our world and another. And this plot could usher in the destruction of the human race. Detective Jamie Murrow might be insane, but maybe that’s exactly what’s needed to stop the end of our world.

Tinderbox by Rachel Grant

In the volatile tinderbox of the Horn of Africa, Morgan Adler has made the paleo-anthropological find of a lifetime. But the discovery brings her to the attention of a warlord eager to claim both Morgan and the fossils, forcing her to make a desperate dash to the nearby US military base to beg for protection. When Morgan further uncovers the secrets about Djibouti’s most scarce and vital resource, the danger to her life sets off a chain reaction. Under the protection of Master Sergeant Pax Blanchard, Morgan must find a way to keep herself from becoming another set of bones buried deep in the scorching desert sand.

Engaged in Trouble by Jenny B. Jones

When a washed-up pop star inherits a wedding planning business, it’s all bouquets and bliss until a bride turns up dead. Paisley Sutton shot to stardom as a teenage rock sensation, but ten years later that star has fizzled out, just like her bank account. When she unexpectedly inherits her aunt’s wedding planning business, Paisley leaves the glamour of Los Angeles for a charming small town in Arkansas. But when a particular Bridezilla’s found facedown in her cake, all fingers point to Paisley as the prime murder suspect.

Love is in the air this wedding season, but before Paisley can help the ladies of Sugar Creek say, “I do,” she’s got to unveil a killer. Or find herself the next target.

Truly, Madly, Whiskey by Melissa Foster

Eight months is a long damn time to have the hots for a woman who keeps a guy at arm’s length. But Crystal Moon is no ordinary woman. And just when Crystal thinks she has her life under control, in comes Bear Whiskey to push all her buttons. But there are some lines that aren’t meant to be crossed. And the more Bear pushes, the more Crystal fears that secrets she kept buried may come to light.

When there’s no stopping the collision of past and present, the two lovers are catapulted down an emotionally charged road that has them questioning all they thought they knew about themselves.

Trailer Trash by Denise Grover Swank

In this companion to the Rose Gardner Investigations series, bestselling author Denise Grover Swank delivers another gripping mystery. Neely Kate Coulson’s life is a carefully built house of cards–and now her newly discovered half-sister is threatening to collapse it. And, despite being incarcerated in a psych ward, Kate Simmons is determined to expose her sister’s secrets, toppling Neely Kate’s newfound stability. Neely Kate knows she needs help and turns to Rose’s body guard for help.

But when everything she built could coming crashing down, Neely Kate knows she could lose something even more precious – her heart.

The Dead List by Jennifer L. Armentrout

When Ella is mysteriously attacked on her way home from a party, her entire life changes as she finds herself at the center of an attempted murder investigation. And, as the weeks pass, it turns out that Ella isn’t the only one being tormented. With the help of an old flame and her friends and family, Ella tries to attain some sense of normalcy, but she can’t seem to shake the feeling that there’s a dark pattern hidden in this killer’s every move. Suddenly, even those in her innermost circle seem suspicious.

In her seemingly safe West Virginia town, Ella starts to wonder…who can she trust?

Race for the Flash Stone by K. Patrick Donoghue

In this thrilling archaeological mystery, scientist Anlon Cully hunts for evidence of a long-forgotten civilization, a race of ancient mariners with an ability to craft stone tools with astonishing powers. Inexplicably, the advanced culture vanished from the pages of history and their secrets have been left undisturbed for centuries. When Anlon’s uncle, a renowned archaeologist, turns up dead, Anlon must piece together a puzzle and time is not on his side. There are others seeking to solve the same riddles. Heartless fiends who crave the most fearsome of the stones…the Flash Stone. A tool of unimaginable power that, if fallen into the wrong hands, could yield terrifying consequences.


Less Than Treason by Dana Stabenow

Two thousand people go missing in Alaska every year. They vanish in the middle of mountain footraces, on fishing boats in the Bering Sea, or on small planes in the Bush. Now a geologist known for going walkabout with his rock hammer has disappeared from the Suulutaq Mine in the Park. Was it deliberate? An accident? Foul play?

Kate Shugak may be the only person who can find out. But for the fact that Kate, too, is among the missing…

Where Dead Men Meet by Mark Mills

Paris, 1937. Luke Hamilton–a junior air intelligence officer at the British Embassy–finds himself the target of an assassination attempt. A clear case of mistaken identity, or so it first appears. As Luke is hunted across a continent sliding toward war, he comes to learn that the answers may lie deep in a past that predates his abandonment as a baby on the steps of an orphanage twenty-five years ago…

From award winning author, Mark Mills, comes a riveting, stylish thriller set in Europe, on the cusp of World War Two.

Lowcountry Bonfire by Susan M. Boyer

Private Investigators Liz Talbot and Nate Andrews have worked their share of domestic cases. So when Tammy Sue Lyerly hires them to find out what her husband is hiding, they expect to find something looney but ultimately harmless. When the husband turns up dead the morning after Liz and Nate deliver the incriminating photos, Tammy becomes the prime suspect. To keep Tammy Sue out of jail, Liz and Nate must race to uncover small town scandals, long buried secrets, and the victim’s tumultuous past before the case goes up in flames.

The Carnelian Crow by Colleen Gleason

Ever since the debacle of the Chess Queen Enigma, Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker have laid low, trying to settle back into their quiet lives as young ladies of London. But when Mina receives a strange package from a winged, midnight visitor, she is catapulted into a new, dangerous adventure: the search for The Carnelian Crow. Meanwhile, Evaline has learned that her nemesis, the disreputable pickpocket Pix, has strangely disappeared…

When it becomes clear the arch-villainess the Ankh has made her next move, it will take all of Mina Holmes ingenuity and Evaline’s courage and determination to stop the criminal from executing her boldest and most dangerous plan yet!

Fragile Chaos by Amber R. Duell

Theodric, the young God of War, has a talent for inciting conflict and bloodshed. After being stripped of his powers by his older brother, King of Gods, he sets out to instigate a mortal war to prove himself worthy of being restored to power. Sixteen-year-old Cassia, like many in the modern era, believes gods and goddesses to be just a myth. Enemy to her country and an orphan of the war, she has no time for fairy tales. That’s until religious zealots from Theo’s sect offer her up as a sacrifice.

Can Cassia and Theo end the mortal war and return balance to the earth and heavens? Or, will their game of fate lead down a path of destruction, betrayal, and romance neither of them saw coming?

Maiden from the Mist by Tanya Anne Crosby

Sorcha dún Scoti has known her whole life she is different. Now, the future of her clan is in doubt as Una, their beloved seer, is run off. As the youngest dun Scoti, Sorcha inherits Una’s keek stane. With it comes the gift of sight, and the truth about Sorcha’s birth. Betrayed and seeking answers, Sorcha must journey to find Una, the only one who may have the answers Sorcha seeks even if the truth holds perils she cannot forsee.

Perilous Trust by Barbara Freethy

It was one dark night that brought Damon Wolfe and Sophie Parker together. They were two tortured souls, looking for escape, and they weren’t supposed to see each other ever again… Four years later, Sophie’s father, an FBI agent, is killed in a car crash and Sophie is left to wonder who she can trust at the agency. Despite Damon being her father’s protege, Sophie can’t help but be suspicious when he shows up looking for her, knowing he could easily rip apart not just her resolve, but what is left of her heart.

On the run and off the grid, Sophie and Damon have no choice but to work together to uncover the truth. But when everyone in their world is a suspect, proving her father’s innocence might just cost them their hearts…and their lives.

The Color Project by Sierra Abrams

Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing she doesn’t want anyone to know: her name. But that reluctance seems upended when Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organization called The Color Project. Levi is bold and persistent so it’s no wonder why Bee falls for him. Except, while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giving up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. With news of an unexpected illness in the family draining her summer of color, Bee finds refuge in charity work.

Falling for Levi might be easy, but coming to terms with hardship and tragedy and letting go of herself will be the most difficult project Bee must face.

The Devil’s Revolver by V.S. McGrath

Hettie Alabama, only seventeen years old, leads her crew of underdogs with her father’s cursed revolver, magicked to take a year off her life each time she fires it. It’s no way for a ranch girl to grow up, but grow up she does, her scars and determination to rescue her vulnerable younger sister deepening with every year of life she loses.

A sweeping and high-stakes saga that gilds familiar Western adventure with powerful magic and panoramic fantasy, The Devil’s Revolver is the last word and the blackest hat in the Weird West.

The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd

In 1739, sixteen-year-old Eliza Lucas’ family is in danger of losing their South Carolina plantation. With the high value of indigo dye, Eliza believes that it is their salvation. But thwarted at every turn, even by her own family, Eliza is forced to make unlikely allies. In desperation, Eliza strikes a dangerous deal with a slave: learn the intricate, thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye, and in return–against the laws of the day–she will teach the slaves to read.

Based on a true story, The Indigo Girl, is a tale of incredible romance, intrigue, friendship, and sacrifice proving that, above all, we are all thread together in a complicated, yet beautiful human tapestry

Lovely by Autumn J. Bright

They say bad things happen to good people, but that old cliché doesn’t bring much comfort to Lovely Duval. In a time of fading innocence, at a young age, Lovely takes on a life of responsibility after a tragic accident strikes home. But when a nomadic family member returns to small-town Willisburg, South Carolina, the challenges of the home escalate–cutting Lovely’s childhood short and propelling her down a path of self-destruction.

Now a young woman, Lovely has to make a decision. Will she succumb to the demons of her past? Or will she fight for change and allow love to heal her heart?

The Hamilton Cookbook by Laura Kumin

What was it like to eat with Alexander Hamilton, the Revolutionary War hero, husband, lover, and family man? In The Hamilton Cookbook, you’ll discover what he ate, what his favorite foods were, and how his food was served to him. From his humble beginnings in the West Indies to his elegant life in New York City after the American Revolution, discover recipes and tips on ingredients to help recreate the very meals Hamilton may have enjoyed during his extraordinary life.

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