Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff

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This novel was hiding on an endcap tucked away across from the crossword puzzles and it had me at: “They needed the perfect assassin.”

Teenage boy assassin? I am so in.

Written in first-person, Boy Nobody follows a boy whose name might be Benjamin and it might not. He might be part of the good guys and he might not.

He might survive to the end of the novel and he might not.

Descriptive enough not to be plain but dialogue-driven and well-researched, Boy Nobody is a fast read that will leave you feeling like you could totally take out six guys if you needed to.

Which is a typical Saturday night for me.

The Farm by Emily McKay

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I’ve been actively trying to branch out with what I’m reading by choosing lesser-known authors or buying a book based only on the cover. With The Farm for example, I made the purchase because we call my dad’s farm “the farm.” Luckily, his farm is not this farm.

I went in blind, not expecting it to be a story about vampires at all. Lily and her sister Mel are living on a campus-turned-compound where I’m pretty sure kids are being turned into food. There’s even a Soylent Green reference. The teens were told that their hormones made them more tasty to Ticks–vicious werewolf-y creatures that were the result of a botched science experiment. All the teens are rounded up and forced to live on these farms, completely cut off from the real world. At eighteen, the kids are taken away and never return and Lily is bound and determined to save her and her sister before their birthday.

Enter the love interest, Carter. The thing I liked about The Farm was that Lily doesn’t immediately fall all over herself for Carter. She knows him from the past but doesn’t trust him and doesn’t let her high school crush get in her way. She’s also extremely intelligent and knows how to make Molotov cocktails, so she’s a girl after my own heart.

The end of the novel will have you in a panic attack but it’s okay because the sequel, The Lair, will be out in November.

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

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I can sum up my impression of Leviathan Wakes in two words: Holy. Shit.

Coming in at 561 pages it was a daunting novel to pick up but I’m so glad I did because this is one of the best science fiction novels I’ve read in the last two years. Bridging the gaps between sci-fi, horror, thriller and space opera (even a little romance) this novel offers something for everyone.

The universe seems to have it out for protagonist Jim Holden. He’s being led into traps only to escape by the skin of his teeth (sometimes literally) and as the moral compass of the novel, he doesn’t always have the ability to make the tough calls. Particularly when his ship’s crew is in danger.

Detective Miller, on the other hand, has a hard time controlling his trigger finger when things get tight. He’s on a mission to find a missing rich girl who wasn’t just swept along in the wake of a revolution, but was actually the one to figure the whole thing out in the first place. Holden and Miller working together creates some of the most darkly hilarious dialogue I’ve read.

The scope of this novel is absolutely massive and clearly well-researched. The outer space mechanics aren’t detailed enough that you lose interest but they do address technicalities that other sci-fi would not. For example, there’s a practical explanation for how humans have adjusted to living on worlds with gravity different to Earth.

Leviathan Wakes reads like a movie with cliff hangers, near misses, and perfect pacing. I’ve already recommended it to two customers, one of whom was looking for a little “light reading” (whoops). But he said anything under 1,000 pages was light. He also said that if it wasn’t as good as I promised he and I were going to have words.

I will expect his full apology within a few days.

Horns by Joe Hill

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It’s hard to find a good horror novel that provides more of a comprehensive story than paragraph long descriptions of gore and cliche-y haunted houses.

Joe Hill’s Horns certainly delivers. At it’s root, Horns is a love story. Honestly. It doesn’t seem that way at first, and it might not at the end, but it is a horrific love story.

Iggy Perrish’s girlfriend was murdered a year ago and even though he didn’t kill her, everyone in town assumes he did. After a night of binge drinking, Iggy awakes to find he’s grown horns, and suddenly has the people around him spilling their darkest secrets and desires. With just a touch he can learn entire life histories and when he talks people into giving in to their desires…it makes him happy. Devilishly so.

Ig decides to use his new found gifts to track down his girlfriend’s murderer and get revenge. And boy does he.

Told in bits and pieces, we see young Ig meet the girl and fall in love, and we see what kind of monster he poked in order to get her. Just when we think we have everything figured out, we’re thrown a plot twist that is both surprising and inevitable. And thank goodness, the devil definitely gets his due.

Daniel Radcliffe will be playing Iggy Perrish in the movie adaptation of Horns. Also, I think I may have freaked out a number of people on the plane with my “vacation reading.” But when the movie comes out, I’ll know I did my part to peak some interest.