emilyhartley

Emily Hartley still can’t believe she works at Penguin and moonlights at the best little bookshop in New York City. Thanks to these two gigs, her life mostly consists of books, food, and books, supplemented by other “activities” like volleyball, running, baking, and city exploration. She likes to think she is large and contains multitudes. Though recently deemed “an honorary New Yorker” by someone whose opinion matters a lot to her, she is still a Midwesterner at heart.

 

 

christmas

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

You’ve probably seen the movie, maybe even the play, but have you read the story? I hadn’t since middle school, and then a few Christmases ago, I decided to re-read it, aloud, with a few friends. And thus a new tradition was born. Beyond the story’s heartwarming ending and perfect holiday-season message, Dickens’ wit and ability to turn a sentence is absolutely unmatched. I’d suggest grabbing some hot cocoa,  a warm blanket, and a copy of Penguin’s festive new Christmas Classics edition and starting your own tradition this year.

 

 

 

emerson

The Portable Emerson, by Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are lots of quotes to live your life by, but for some reason, this one from Emerson’s “The American Scholar” has stuck with me: “Time shall teach him, that the scholar loses no hour which the man lives.” This is what I love about Emerson—the idea that knowledge and experience go hand in hand, that interacting with the world is one of the best ways to learn. For me, it means never turning down a chance to try something new and looking for positive points to take away from every situation. I’ve applied Emerson to deal with everything from my high school basketball team to teaching English abroad. Basically, THE PORTABLE EMERSON is the only self-help book I’ll admit to reading, with writing that’s just as inspirational as its message.

 

oncetherewasawar

Once There Was a War, by John Steinbeck

Few people think of John Steinbeck as a war correspondent, due mostly to the fact that Once There Was a War—his collected WWII dispatches—wasn’t published until 15 years after he wrote the stories. Had this not been the case, I’m convinced you couldn’t mention Ernie Pyle’s work without bringing up Steinbeck’s, as well. The accounts in Once There Was a War are wonderfully diverse, from eerie, layered descriptions of  landing on the English shore to tongue-and-cheek stories about drunken war correspondents and soldiers’ superstitions. Together, they capture the unreality of war, the inability to describe anything but one’s own experience, and the uncertainty of calling anything the “truth.” I can say it no better than Steinbeck does in his beautifully reflective Introduction to the collection, written in 1958:

“For what they are worth, or for what they may recapture, here they are, period pieces, fairy tales, half-meaningless memories of a time and of attitudes which have gone forever from the world, a sad and jocular recording of a little part of a war I saw and do not believe, unreal with trumped-up pageantry.”

letters

Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke

I read this book twice in one evening, and still I don’t know how Rainer Maria Rilke manages to say so much about life, love, and creativity in such a brief set of writings. Rilke’s prose is every bit as lovely as his poetry, sweeping you up in its perfect pacing and making you wonder if, in the age of emails and text messages, there will ever be another set of letters written so beautifully. I was astonished by Rilke’s progressive stance on sexuality, and by the time I was done reading, I felt like one big mass of humanity, neither man nor woman, just human, full of a Whitman-esque appreciation for the interconnectedness of the world. That’s not bad for a couple of hours’ reading.

 

 

middlemarch

Middlemarch, by George Eliot

Honestly, MIDDLEMARCH has it all: politics, love, deception, redemption. I love the way the novel weaves between its comedy-of-manners romance and England’s political and social climate. It somehow feels expansive and intelligent, cozy and indulgent, all at the same time. The characters that fill this world are so complex. They are flawed, morally unsteady, and quite unreliable; or, to look at it another way, they are us, and that’s what makes them so relatable. No other book has drawn me in to Victorian England quite like this one. Here’s a proposition: you tell me you don’t like Victorian literature, and I’ll give you MIDDLEMARCH. Case closed.

 

 

Find more books on the Penguin Classics page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


wesley

Wesley Salazar is a Marketing & Publicity Assistant at Blue Rider Press. She lives in Brooklyn with the worst cat and many shelves of books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

citizens

Citizens of the Green Room, by Mark Leibovich

When Mark Leibovich’s book THIS TOWN was first published in 2013, it ruffled feathers across the nation for calling out major players in Washington, D.C. and beyond. It became the book on politics for both the politically savvy and the politically naive, because it was insightful, fresh and incredibly entertaining. Leibovich’s newest book is CITIZENS OF THE GREEN ROOM, a fantastic collection of profiles of today’s most compelling figures in politics, media and popular culture. The collection highlights the timelessness of Leibovich’s reporting and how even when things change, they also stay the same.

Sidenote: Did you know that before Glenn Beck became a polarizing, Mormon TV and radio host, he was a “married, divorced, ponytailed and seemingly at a dead end” alcoholic? Or that Jeb Bush really likes e-mail? These are just two things I learned from CITIZENS OF THE GREEN ROOM. I’ve read it multiple times and I still find myself returning to the profiles…and, of course, laughing out loud.

perfect kill

The Perfect Kill, by Robert B. Baer

First thing’s first: Robert B. Baer is one of the most accomplished agents to ever work for the CIA. Remember that movie Syriana starring George Clooney? Yup, that movie was inspired by his career. So if you’re at all curious about the role of political assassination in history, you might as well learn about it from a man who spent two dangerous decades pursuing one of the world’s deadliest assassins. THE PERFECT KILL is a captivating blend of memoir, analysis of the contemporary Middle East, and exploration of the concept of political murder, which ultimately asks, “What is the definition of assassination?

 

 

womenWomen in Clothes, edited by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton

Why do we wear the clothes that we wear? Editors Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton sought to explore the daily ritual of getting dressed, and it turned out to be no small task. They surveyed and collected contributions from over six hundred women of diverse backgrounds (including movers and shakers like Cindy Sherman, Kim Gordon and Lena Dunham) for this beautifully made book. On the inside, the book is super visual – it’s filled with photos, interviews, personal testimonies and illustrations – and would make the perfect gift for the holidays. WOMEN IN CLOTHES presents a sort of cultural history of women’s relationships to their clothes. And it reminds us that the process of selecting clothes reflects things about our lives, whether we realize it or not.

theknife

The Knife, by Ross Ritchell

This final pick isn’t quite a history or current events book, but it is deeply steeped in today’s international landscape. THE KNIFE is a debut novel from a former soldier in the United States Special Operations Command direct-action team, Ross Ritchell. It’s a riveting read that pulls you deep, through the adrenaline rushes of battle, the horseplay of the soldiers’ downtime, and the loneliness in between. THE KNIFE is touching, bittersweet, and beautifully written; it’s one of the most intense and authentic novels I’ve read about the day-to-day life of a soldier in the Middle East. If you liked Klay’s Redeployment, you should give THE KNIFE a try.  I am a huge fan and can’t wait for other people to pick it up.

 

 

Find more books on the Current Events & History page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


Sarah guan

Sarah Guan is an editorial assistant at Ace/Roc. She’s a huge nerd and loves all things holiday-related, except for shopping mall Christmas music. She tweets at @sarah_guan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

lefthand

The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin

Le Guin is one of my all-time favorite authors in any genre, and THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS is, in my opinion, one of her best books. It’s the story of an intrepid ambassador from Earth who must navigate the complex politics and culture of the ice planet Gethen with the help of the inscrutable Gethenian Estraven, whom he finds almost too alien to trust.  Le Guin manages to pack an intellectual challenge and a heart-wrenching tale of love and loss into one short volume—a true sign of a master at work. This book is a science fiction classic for good reason—if you haven’t read it, you’re missing out!

 

 

fleshandspirit

Flesh and Spirit, by Carol Berg

For fans of traditional high fantasy, one of my favorite series is New Carol Berg’s Lighthouse Duet (of which FLESH AND SPIRIT is the first book). It’s got everything we love about the genre—princes, conspiracies, murky religions and secret societies—and protagonist who’s a troubled, delightfully morally ambiguous cartographer. Who steals a book. (Since he seems to be the only person who can read it, it’s not really stealing, is it?)

In case you’re worried about series attrition, there are only two books in this duology. But if you race through them (you will!) and are hankering for more… DUST AND LIGHT, book one of the next series in this universe, was just released this summer.

 

salamandastron

Salamandastron, by Brian Jacques

It’s December, so you’re probably wracking your brains for gift ideas for the children in your life. In my experience, a Brian Jacques book never goes amiss for any kid who loves animals, adventure, and rooting for the good guys. SALAMANDASTRON was my go-to Redwall novel when I was in grade school; reading about Mara, the daughter of the noble Badger Lord, and the brave young squirrel Samkin, always reassured me that the world was fair and that good would triumph over evil.

 

 

 

whofears

Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor

If you want hard-hitting, cerebral magical realism set somewhere that isn’t your usual North American or British metropolis, Nnedi Okorafor is the author for you. She’s part Octavia Butler, part Chinua Achebe, and entirely original in her take on post-apocalyptic African fiction that manages to be simultaneously gritty and lyrical. In WHO FEARS DEATH, Okorafor weaves a tale of Onyesonwu, a child of rape shunned by both her parents’ tribes, who develops powerful and unique magic that attracts the attention of someone mysterious and powerful—someone who wants her dead. It’s a moving book about identity, tradition, spirituality, and true love in the bleakest of circumstances.

 

bloodsong

Blood Song, by Anthony Ryan

If you just can’t wait another minute for George R. R. Martin’s next book, Anthony Ryan’s new Raven’s Shadow series might just hit the spot. The first book, BLOOD SONG, introduces Vaelin Al Sorna, the estranged son of the Battle Lord of the newly-Unified Realm. His father abandons him to be raised by the warrior monks of the Faith, and Vaelin never forgets that he was stripped of his birthright, even as he becomes the deadliest swordsman the Realm has ever seen. Vaelin’s destiny draws him into secrets and conspiracies that threaten the very foundations of the kingdom, and mark him for a future greater than any he had hoped to inherit from the Battle Lord. It’s a gripping medieval tale of dark magic and Byzantine intrigue—and best of all, book two, TOWER LORD, is already available.

 

Find more books on the Science Fiction / Fantasy page

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


photo of J Wade

Jessica Wade is a senior editor, acquiring science fiction and fantasy for Ace & Roc books, and some mystery too. But she’s become an avid romance reader since working at Penguin Random House and she’s delighted to share her can’t-miss-books on Berkley/NAL’s romance list!

 

 

 

 

onlyenchanting

Only Enchanting, by Mary Balogh

When I first started reading historicals, and kept asking people who their favorite regency author was, a name that came up over and over was Mary Balogh. Her writing is emotional, lovely, and clever, and I’ve adored every book of hers I’ve read. The newest is Only Enchanting. I’m reading it right now and it’s SO GOOD. It’s got tension and angst and wonderfully nuanced characters. People told me she was the best, and they were so right!

 

 

 

 

rogue

Rogue Spy, by Joanna Bourne

Joanna Bourne’s historicals are unusual, thrilling masterworks, set among English and French spies in roughly the time of the French revolution. Bourne’s deft dialogue, unforgettable characters, swift pacing, and rich historical detail are irresistible. Her books are mostly interlinked, and focus on secondary characters you’ve met in previous novels, so it’s a ton of fun to get to know ‘old’ characters in new ways. Her most recent book is Rogue Spy, and it’s totally wonderful. I also particularly enjoyed The Forbidden Rose and The Black Hawk.

 

 

 

justthesexiest

Just the Sexiest Man Alive, by Julie James

If you haven’t read Julie James, get thee to a bookery, and I mean NOW.  These books are The. Most. Fun. Romances. EVAR. Our whole office is essentially a big Julie James fan club. Julie writes contemporaries, and most focus on lawyers and FBI agents. Her dialogue is SOLID GOLD.  The heroines are all feisty, fun, interesting modern women, and the heroes aren’t bad either. I have introduced so many friends who have never read romance to Julie James, and to a one, the response I have gotten is basically a version of “OH MY GOD WHERE HAVE THESE BOOKS BEEN ALL MY LIFE.” Right here, kids, and by right here I mean wherever books are sold. I’ll say start with Just the Sexiest Man Alive, about a lawyer who has a famous actor, with a famous ego, assigned to shadow her. High jinks ensue. But really, every one of her books is wonderful.

 

ondublin

On Dublin Street, by Samantha Young

Samantha Young writes seriously intense contemporaries. I loved ON DUBLIN STREET, which tells the story of American, early-twenty something Joss, hiding from her past in Scotland. The hero is pretty alpha, and their romance sizzles off the page… it’s ultra emotional, angsty, and engaging, and I stayed up til 2 am to finish it in one sitting.

 

 

 

 

afterhours

After Hours, by Cara McKenna

Cara McKenna writes superhot, gritty contemporaries. When I heard in a meeting that the hero of After Hours was an orderly at a psychiatric hospital, I knew this book was something really different… and I wondered how it would work. But oh my goodness, it does. She writes fluid, searing prose, and has perfected the unusual hero (and heroine). At the very top of my TBR pile are her Hard Time (which centers around a prison library) and Lay it Down (about a motorcycle gang).

 

 

 

Find more books on the Romance page

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


amanda

Amanda Rodell is an Associate National Account Manager in Penguin Adult sales.  She sells to Brodart and Baker & Taylor, and has been at Penguin for 6 years, devouring all the free books she can get her hands on.

 

 

 

flight

Flight of the Silvers, by Daniel Price

Flight of the Silvers is a fantastic read, both science fiction, and dystopian, with a Superhero element, and wonderful characters you can’t help but love. There are romantic and sister-relationship subplots as well.  This fast-paced story of a chosen few saved from the apocalypse will hold you rapt until the end.

 

 

 

 

 

midnight

Midnight Crossroad, by Charlaine Harris

Once again, Charlaine introduces a small southern town full of uniquely quirky characters and their supernatural problems.  This is the start of a new series with lots of potential and a murder mystery from the get-go.  The second book in the series, Day Shift, comes out in May 2015, and is even more gripping, with cameos from some characters you may recognize from the Sookie Stackhouse books.

 

 

 

 

blackdagger

The Black Dagger Brotherhood series, by JR Ward

These sexy vampire romances may be too steamy to read on the subway, but are perfect for vacation or stay-cation.  There’s action as these warrior vampires fight for the survival of their race against the Lessors, but it’s the push and pull of the relationships that will keep you flipping the pages, thirsty for more.

 

 

 

deadtome

Dead to Me, by Anton Strout

I have the distinct please of working with the author, and love how well his witty and sardonic voice comes through in his books. This is the first in the Simon Canderous series, in which a paranormal investigator uses his powers to solve otherworldly crimes.  Perfect for fans of Jim Butcher, you’re sure to love this romp through the extraordinary underworld of NYC with wise-cracking detectives as your guides.

 

 

 

 

Find more books on the Paranormal page

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


Bart

Jocelyn Kamouh-Edwards is the Social Media Marketing and Convention Planning Assistant for Berkley and NAL. She’s a lover of books, writing, awkward situations, and The Simpsons. See for yourself: @Jocelyn_Kamouh

 

 

 

 

 

althea

Althea & Oliver, by Christina Moracho

The tagline of this book was enough to pull me in:

“Althea can’t stop falling in love. Oliver can’t stop falling asleep.”

After being the best of friends for years, Althea is starting to realize her true feelings for Oliver just as he is stricken with Kleine-Levin syndrome, aka Sleeping Beauty Syndrome, which causes him to become a sleepy zombie for weeks on end. During one of these episodes, something happens that changes their relationship for good.

This isn’t your average YA romance. The characters and the friendship felt so real, it really took me back!

 

lookingforalaska

Looking for Alaska, by John Green

2014: THE YEAR OF JOHN GREEN. AMIRIGHT?!

I’ve been a fan of John Green’s writing for many MANY years, so the popularity of The Fault in our Stars wasn’t really that big of a surprise to me. However, his book Looking For Alaska has always been one of my all-time favorites (I think I’ve read it 6 times). I recommend it to everyone and, ya know what? I’ll say it: I like it BETTER than TFiOS!! I simply cannot wait for the movie!

OH and it’ll be celebrating 10 years in print (I feel old…) next year with a cool new hardcover edition—including DELETED SCENES.

 

mynameismemory

My Name is Memory, by Ann Brashares

This book has haunted my dreams for so many years now.
Daniel has been in love with the same girl for centuries and spends each lifetime trying to find her again.
Yeah. So. There’s that. This was the first book I read when I started working here 5 years ago and I haven’t stopped talking about it since! The characters were wonderful; the story was incredible and so romantic! It’s a love story that spans time and reason. I can’t say enough good things about this book. I recommend it to anyone who loves epic romances with a little bit of magic and wonder thrown in.

 

 

yearbook

Rookie Yearbook Three, by Tavi Gevinson

TAVI! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

Is there anything this woman CAN’T DO?? I am 31yrs old and I worship the Rookie blog. What can I say?

The third edition of the Rookie Yearbook is just as wonderful as the first two! I always look forward to see what fun stuff they’ve done with the layouts, what kind of cool stickers they’ve added this year, and which of my favorite Rookie pieces were included. This is an AWESOME gift for any girl in your life, there truly is something for everyone in here: even my husband likes it!

christmas

A Christmas-tastic Carol, by Max Brallier

OH. MY. GLOB.

I was lucky enough to get this book early from a friend in Young Readers and I’ve cherished it ever since (it will be what I read to my children in front of the tree—when I have them)! Fans of Adventure Time will LOVE this re-telling of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol starring Ice King as Scrooge and the rest of the beloved characters from the Land of Ooo.

Totally algebraic!

 

Find more books on the Young Readers page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


DeSanti photo

Carole DeSanti is Vice President, Editor at Large for Viking and Penguin.  She is the also author of The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R., a novel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

paying

The Paying Guestsby Sarah Waters

Waters takes illicit love between women, passion and criminal intent to a whole new level with this story set in London high and low just after the close of the First World War. Waters leads us step by step from the mundane to the impassioned to the murderous through a  perilous landscape of secrecy and deceit —  a nail-biter to the last page.  This is an incredibly deft, smart novel – and packed with integrity and grit.

 

 

 

 

lotus

The Lotus and the Storm, by Lan Cao

Here is a seriously beautiful book: bursting with life, the smell of the streets of Saigon, cry of street-vendors and the shock and terror of sniper fire on a leafy suburb of tamarind trees.  What we consider known history – the Vietnam War – is revealed in an entirely new light as Mai tells her story,  and Minh, a commanding general for the South, tells his. Lotus turns the dominant version of the war inside out and upside down, conveying a more complicated truth than we have known.  A searing, indelible novel by a brilliant woman – truly a life’s work from the heart, many years in the making.

 

 

atale

 A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki

Booker finalist, winner of the LA Times Book Prize, the Red Tentacle Prize, the Sunburst Award and other recognitions, A Tale has connected with a diverse and impassioned readership from science geeks to Zen priests….but this doesn’t take away from the extraordinarily personal, astounding experience of reading it. This kaleidoscopic and layered novel introduces Nao Yasutani, a 16 year old suicidal teenager in Tokyo;  her 104 year old grandmother Jiko (a Zen nun)  … a tsunami, a barnacled lunchbox washed up on a beach; quantum physics; the Friends of the Pleistocene and the poetry-reading kamikaze pilots of World War II — just for starters. Ozeki’s third novel is intricate, brilliant, and tells us a lot about compassion and meditation, too.

 

cascadeCascade, by Maryanne O’Hara

“What would you give up to become the person you were meant to be?” is one question Cascade asks, among others that have resonated with me since I turned the last page of this gorgeous, thoughtful and surprising page turner.  Cascade touches the heart of the matter for women artists and writers.  O’Hara explores her material by way of the story of Dez Hart, a Paris-trained, Boston painter who marries hastily and disastrously, then finds herself first chained to her husband’s conformity and rigid desires.  When the town they live in is scheduled to submerged under a reservoir – a history based on the story of the Quabbin in Western Massachusetts – Dez chooses to free herself as an artist, a lover, a woman – against terrible odds.

 

madame

Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert, translated by Lydia Davis

Flaubert’s masterpiece of realism (the  novel changed forever the way fiction was written, as Lydia Davis reminds us) is always worth a re-read, and this new translation is the perfect excuse.  Davis provides useful historical context for the novel, as well as details on its creation and publication – Flaubert’s painstaking writing techniques (many drafts, much discarding), the early censorship of the novel; Bovary’s subsequent bestseller-dom and elevation to classic status. The text itself is both faithful to the original and more precise historically, lending further pleasure and nuance to this always-magnificent, harrowing tale of a woman’s passionate desires and her disastrous fall.  (A perfect gift for the bibliophile in your life, especially the Penguin Drop Caps edition!)

trilogy

The All Souls Trilogy, by Deborah Harkness

It begins with A Discovery of Witches, continues with Shadow of Night and its grand finale is The Book of Life.  The Trilogy is now complete and a luscious romp from start to finish, taking up the tale of a spellbound witch and the sexiest 1,500 year old vampire ever to wander into a novel.  Bestselling fun with historical and literary heft, and  along the way we learn a lot about magic, too. (It’s all true, I think.) My favorite of the three volumes is Shadow, a sensuous and sweeping time-travel saga through the England of Shakespeare, Marlowe, and the alchemical laboratory of Mary Sidney.  A little bonus in the boxed set is Diana Bishop’s Commonplace Book, courtesy of the author and our design team at Viking.

 

Find more books on the Literary Fiction page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 

 

 


b head photo

Brianna is the Executive Director of Publicity and Marketing for the Tarcher and Perigee imprints. She enjoys books that teach you something just as much as ones that entertain (science, pop psychology, “big think” books, romance, sci/fi-fantasy, food/cocktail books, coloring books—the gamut). She also loves good food, craft cocktails and shih-tzu puppies.

 

 

 

 

 

powerThe Power of Kindness, by Piero Ferrucci

When I was first applying for a job at Tarcher/Penguin six years ago, I picked up THE POWER OF KINDNESS, hoping to get a better sense of the type of book the imprint published. I knew it had been pretty successful for Tarcher, and though it wasn’t the type of book I would normally read (fiction, science or pop psychology), I figured I would give it a try. And I was blown away. Ferrucci packed so much wisdom into the simplest sentences, and he tells compelling stories and vignettes from people’s lives to illustrate his points. I found myself underlining passages and recommending the book to numerous friends. It didn’t surprise me to hear that the book sold nearly 100K copies almost entirely via word-of-mouth. No doubt, the world can use more kindness; people need to be kinder both to themselves and to others. In the new year, Ferrucci’s book is a fantastic place to start.

 

stronger

Stronger, Faster, Smarter, by Ryan Ferguson

I’m not into fitness gurus, but I’ve been working with Ryan Ferguson on this book, and I really like its no-nonsense approach. Ryan himself has an incredible story. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. He struggled for 10 years for his sentence to be overturned—which happened last year. While in prison, he honed his body and mind, knowing that he had to become his strongest, best self in order to survive. In this book, he weaves his lessons from prison together with the exercises and dietary practices that helped get him into peak condition. The book has helped me cut out a lot of the noise (things that I’ve read online about fitness and/or heard on the radio) and just focus on the essentials. That alone has made it one of the most useful books I’ve read so far this year!

 

energies of loveThe Energies of Love, by Donna Eden & David Feinstein

I was as skeptical as any New  Yorker would be when I first heard about ENERGY MEDICINE, Donna Eden’s bestselling book sharing energy medicine techniques. But then I saw Donna in action. Call her what you will – an intuitive, a magician or a healer (I prefer the latter) – but she can energy test a person and know what’s ailing them. And, even better, she can often give them tools that will help fix the problem. She’s also just full of positive energy and joy. With ENERGIES OF LOVE, she and her husband offer couples a new way of understanding each other – as well as energy medicine techniques to help them get on the same page. I recommend it to anyone who has a significant other.

 

whattheforkWhat the Fork Are You Eating?, By Stefanie Sacks

I’ve often wondered what “natural” really means on a food label – and whether this is regulated. And how “cage-free” differs from “organic.” I’m not a health food nut. In fact, I joke that with all the preservatives I’ve consumed over the years, I should be on this Earth for quite a while. However, the complexities of the food industry fascinate me – as does Sacks’ book. She’s a culinary nutritionist as well as a trained chef (and I’m a foodie), so I was drawn both to the book’s recipes (yum!) and simple “better for you” recommendations. I may ignore all of this advice during the holidays, but it’ll be my New Year’s resolution to refer back to it in January.

 

 

myths

The Myth of Happiness, by Sonja Lyubomirsky

Ever wonder why so many relationships fall apart after two years? Or why the things you thought should make you happy (more money, a promotion, etc.) don’t have staying power to keep you happy? Sonja’s book illuminates the way the mind works – and how our mindset (and our often black-and-white vision of happiness) hinders us. It’s a fascinating book, one that will have you contemplating some off-the-wall ideas – such as sky-diving with your partner or taking Tango lessons together – to keep that happy spark alive.

 

 

 

To find Health & Self-Improvement books, click here

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


tomcolgan

Tom Colgan is an Executive Editor at Berkley Books. When he’s not reading for pay, he’s reading for play, and when he’s not doing that he’s sleeping. If your threshold for nonsense is high you can follow him on twitter @tomcolgan14.

 

 

 

 

 

 

lesserdeadThe Lesser Dead, by Christopher Buehlman

I’m probably stretching the definition of suspense to include this one, but I’ve been in love with Chris Buehlman’s writing since reading his first novel, Those Across the River. Like that book, The Lesser Dead, is a story of horror set against a historical backdrop. Since the setting here is 1970’s New York City, it’s the first historical novel set in an era of which I have first hand knowledge. Although, at the time the worst thing I had to deal with was the subway not vampires.

 

 

 

 

nightofwhite

Night of the White Buffalo, by Margaret Coel

Margaret Coel has written 18 mysteries about Jesuit priest John O’Malley and Arapaho attorney, Vicky Holden set against the backdrop of Wyoming’s Wind River reservation. The writing is so enthralling, the descriptions of the area so evocative and the characters so intriguing that several years ago when my family was planning a trip to the west I confessed to Margaret, “I started thinking about visiting my friends on the Wind River reservation only to realize, I don’t know anyone there.” I guess there is a (small) downside to writing this good.

 

 

 

suspect

Suspect, by Robert Crais

The rules force me to pick one book per author so I’ll go with the latest from Robert Crais, but, really, you should read all of them (even the non-Penguin ones). He’s a master of suspense who never fails to deliver memorable characters and intense action.

What makes SUSPECT stand out from his other titles is that this time around his protagonist isn’t human. Maggie is a German Shepherd who lost her handler to an IED in Iraq and has been sent home with PTSD. Now with the LAPD, she’s labeled as unmanageable until she meets Scott James, an officer who was wounded in an attack that killed his partner. Now both he and Maggie are looking for a second chance, but they may be getting too close some very dangerous men. Dogs don’t have nine lives.

 

devil'sworkshopThe Devil’s Workshop, by Alex Grecian

As a former history major, I’m a big fan of historical thrillers, and, boy, they don’t come any better than Alex Grecian’s Murder Squad books. Set in Victorian-era Britain, these are tales of the early days of Scotland Yard and the fledgling science of criminal investigation. The first book, THE YARD, was great, but you could just feel the author building steam as he moved through the series. In THE DEVIL’S WORKSHOP a group of gentlemen vigilantes stage a prison break in order to get their hands on some particularly heinous criminals. However, things go badly wrong and instead of justice they get terror when they unexpectedly free the greatest evil Britain has ever seen, Jack the Ripper himself.

 

 

bookclubbedBook Clubbed, by Lorna Barrett

I can’t let you go without recommending a couple of good cozy mysteries. First up is BOOK CLUBBED by Lorna Barrett. Stoneham, New Hampshire is heaven for any bibliophile. It’s a booktown, a quaint village that has revitalized its tourism industry by turning empty storefronts over to used bookstores. People come from all over to browse, buy and eat at the various restaurants. Oh how I wish it was real!

It certainly feels like a visit to a familiar place when you are reading one of the charming Booktown mysteries from Lorna Barrett. Over the course of eight books, she’s introduced us to the quirky inhabitants of Stoneham which for all its appeal is murder on its residents. BOOK CLUBBED centers on something I’ve never come across before, murder by bookcase.

 

scorchedScorched Eggs, by Laura Childs

When it comes to cozies, you have to think of Laura Childs. She’s the author of not one, not two, but three bestselling cozy mystery series. Scorched Eggs is the sixth in her Cackleberry Club series. The small Midwestern town of Kindred is the home of the club, a combination café, bookstore, knitting shop and quilting supply store. That’s a lot to pack into one series, but Laura is adept at creating charming characters and placing them in jeopardy while keeping the story rollicking along.

 

 

 

 

Find more books on the Mystery & Suspense page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


judy_murello

Judy Murello is an Executive Art Director in the Berkley Art Department handling all genre but especially the Ace list. She has worked at Penguin for oh such a long time. Before working at Berkley she was at NAL and was involved with the start of ROC.

 

 

 

 

The Raven’s Shadow trilogy by Anthony Ryan Blood Song, Tower Lord, and Queen of Fire (coming in July 2015)

bloodsongtowerlord

Anthony Ryan has created such a thrilling and engrossing epic tale. I just loved it! It’s just as good as the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Great characters encountering great challenges, with some heart-breaking results. And it has a satisfying conclusion. Read them!!

thoseacross

Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman

This is a great book! One of my favorites. Don’t let the quiet set-up fool you. Let it lure you in and experience the strangeness that’s to come. Check out The Lesser Dead by Christopher too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

mooncalled

The Mercy Thompson and the related Alpha and Omega series, by Patricia Briggs

Beginning with Moon Called, this paranormal series just keeps getting better. Read both series, they go so well together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This isn’t out yet, but keep your eye out for…

Alice – Christina Henry (coming in August 2015)

This is a very unusual story that uses the Alice in Wonderland world in a unique way to tell a very different dark tale. Well written and surprising.

 

Find more books on the Science Fiction / Fantasy page

See Staff Picks for all our categories!