Category Archives: Staff Recommends

The Witch Hunter Series REVIEW

witch hunterGuest review from Beth, a children’s librarian at the Nora branch.

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
Available in Print & eBook.

Set in an alternative version of England in the 16th Century, Elizabeth Grey is the only female Witch Hunter in the kingdom of Anglia. Witches are not only feared, they are put to death for practicing magic, and it’s the Witch Hunters who bring them to “justice”. However, when Elizabeth is accused of being a witch herself, she finds herself very alone, until an unlikely ally helps her escape. As she recovers from her ordeal, the world around her is no longer the halls of the palace, but the house of someone she considers her enemy. As she regains her strength, she begins to see who the real enemy is, and what she needs to do.

The Healer by Virginia Boecker
Available in eBook.

John Raleigh lost his mother and sister to the Witch Hunters. He also has healing magic, and is determined to carry on their legacy. When a Witch Hunter is brought to him in need of healing, he struggles between his job as a healer and the wounds of the past.

The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker

Available in Print & eBook.

Elizabeth thought she had faced her greatest fear. She thought not only was a curse lifted, but the wizard who created it was also defeated. Not only was she wrong, she is now to be judged by those she thought were her friends. Tasked with completing what she started, she is hampered by a change in one of her friends, and the appearance of those she thought never to see again. Elizabeth races to complete her mission, even as war closes in.

I enjoyed the way this series was fast moving, but took time for some great character development. There are all sorts of great aspects of historical life, including pirates, without bogging down the pace with too much detail. The magic is an important part of the story, without taking over. A great read!

The Killer In Me REVIEW

killer in meAvailable in Print.

This book reminded me of an X-Files episode with Lily Tomlin. Obscure reference, right? But it fit the setting perfectly. ‘The Killer In Me’ revolves around Nina, a teenager with a strange connection to a man she doesn’t think she’s ever met. The premise starts out strange and only gets stranger from there.

Nina believes she is seeing visions of a real serial killer in her sleep. She has been having the visions for years and has finally worked out a plan to gather evidence and stop the killer for good. With the help of her friend Warren, who may or may not believe her, they set off on a cross country road trip to New Mexico. Once they arrive to carry out their mission, the story and the truth only get stranger and stranger. Nina must come face to face with her fears, the truth and the killer.

I liked this story. It was captivating and even though I could start to guess some of the plot points, the author did a great job of keeping me intrigued and providing details that helped develop the story. This is Harrison’s first novel and I’m looking forward to seeing what else she writes in the future.

If you enjoy crime stories and psychological thrillers or at least binge watching old episodes of X Files or Fringe, then this story is a must for you.

Happy reading!
Warren Branch

Wink Poppy Midnight REVIEW

wpmAvailable in Print, eBook, Audiobook & eAudiobook.

This book was whimsical, magical, mysterious and mystifying. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the characters and their intricacies. The bulk of the story revolves around the actions of the three title characters. Wink is a quiet and ethereal girl with much mystery about her. Poppy, at first glance, is your typical high school ‘it’ girl. She’s bossy, mean and she knows it. Midnight is the unassuming ‘boy next door’. But he means more than he knows to Wink and Poppy.

This story is best described as a mystery. A mystery with elements of fairy tales, thrilling danger, heroes, villains and battles. I was enraptured the whole way. Just when I thought I knew what each character’s next move was, they threw in a curve ball.

Each main character has their flaws and weaknesses and even when you think you know who you are supposed to love and hate, they surprise you with their many layers of personality and backstory. No character, no matter how small the part, is left with just one dimension. Each character’s life and personality are explored by the author and their impact on the main characters are evident.

I don’t know how else to summarize this story without spoiling it. But it’s a lovely story that will keep you engaged the whole time. If you enjoy a little mystery and intrigue, this story will not disappoint.

Happy reading!
Warren Branch

Harmony House REVIEW

harmony houseAvailable in Print & eBook.

Jen Noonan’s father thinks a move to Harmony House is the key to salvation, but to everyone who has lived there before, it is a portal to pure horror.

Do you like scary stories? Creepy old houses? Supernatural activity? Then I’ve got the book for you. ‘Harmony House’ is one part Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ and one part ‘The Haunting’ movie and all other movies that make you jump when you see a shadow in your house.

This book is a great read if you want something a little spooky but don’t want to get slogged down with a behemoth novel. It’s a quick read you could finish in one sitting, on a dark and stormy night, when suddenly the power goes out…

Mostly, I enjoyed this book for the same reason I enjoy horror movies. I could sit there yelling at the character, ‘No! Don’t run upstairs! Now you’re trapped, dummy!’ just like I do watching movies. The story was not overly complex, hence why it’s a short read. But it did provide some interesting backstory on the house and all the ‘evil’ that’s tainted it. My only gripe was that one early backstory moment was never fully flushed out. It felt like it was just left in there and then forgotten about for further explanation.

So if you a fan of horror movies and thrilling YA, give this book a read. If you can’t watch horror movies without all the lights on and during the middle of the day, well, then you should probably pass on this one…

Happy Reading!
Warren Branch

Highly Illogical Behavior REVIEW

HIBAvailable in Print, eAudiobook & eBook.

I picked this book up after I saw John Green (Paper Towns, Fault In Their Stars, yeah, that John Green) post about it months ago. He raved about it and once I read the plot, it sounded pretty interesting.

‘HIB’ has three main characters. Lisa is a determined student who wants to attend one of the best psychology programs in the country after high school. Clark, her boyfriend, is a laid back, kind and funny soul that hasn’t quite figured out what the next step will be. Solomon is an agoraphobe with severe anxiety and hasn’t left his house in three years. He’s also Lisa’s ticket out of her hometown in California.

Lisa plans to ‘cure’ Solomon of his anxiety and agoraphobia and then will detail her experience in her college admissions essay. Clark is the only one that knows her secret. From the very start, you stop and think, ‘Oh great, this won’t blow up in her face at all…’. What Lisa doesn’t expect to find is a very functional, funny, smart and rather well adjusted teenager in Solomon.

I loved this story from the start. Whaley writes excellent dialogue that turns into witty, clever banter between the three main characters. His characters all had their own flaws, which that’s the way it should be since none of us are perfect in real life anyhow! Through the story, you experience Sol’s growth as he becomes more confident in himself and learns to control and face his fears. His progress may seem small but for someone with such anxiety, it’s the little steps that count. Not only do you see a change in Sol, but Lisa and Clark grow together as a couple and as young adults. Lisa learns more about herself and her relationship with Clark in her attempts to learn more about Sol.

I don’t want to give too much away but this really was a wonderful story. I don’t usually pick up contemporary books but this one had enough quirkiness to intrigue me. If you are a fan of John Green, David Levithan or Stephen Chbosky, you will enjoy this book.

Happy reading!
Warren Branch
Indianapolis Public Library