Jason's Staff Recommendations

Welcome to Jason's recommendations! 

Check out what Jason has been reading below! 

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Hench: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062978578
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: William Morrow - September 22nd, 2020

Anna in a hench. She just doesn't have an evil boss to work for, but that soon changes after she uses a special temp agency that places henches with villains. The work she does for her super-villain doesn't involve anything physical (they have special skills people who they called Meat for that) or require driving or proficiency in IT; nope, Anna is particularly skill at boring office work - excel sheets and whatnot are her forte. After a run-in with Supercollider (think Superman), she's sent to the hospital with a messed up leg and a termination notice from her employer. That's when she starts down a path to scrutinize Heroes and what they actually do for the world. Broken down but not out, Anna starts to gather her life together again, and for the first time, people start to take notice of her. Natalie Zina Walschot created a world where all our assumptions are turned on their heads, and the villains are hiding in plain sight with a smile on their faces.

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Tender Is the Flesh Cover Image
By Agustina Bazterrica, Sarah Moses (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781982150921
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - August 4th, 2020

After a virus put animals on the brink of extinction (humanity helped by killing all animals they thought could get them sick, too!), you would think we would become Vegans. Guess again. Cannibalism has become state sanctioned, and Marcos heads up one of the meat processing plants. Agustina Bazterrica takes us brutally by the hand and drags us through the entire process, from the ranchers that raise the ‘cattle’ to the meat processors and tanneries. To say that some of the descriptions are disturbing is putting it mildly. The story really kicks off when Marcos gets a gift from El Gringo, a female FGP. Not understanding what to do with her (as he says, 'he kills head, he doesn't breed them'), he ties her up in the barn and goes off to work. Through Marco's eyes we see and hear all the horrific ways humanity has created 'special meat' for the world to eat, and how that meat is treated, hunted, and used. This book is not for the squeamish - I LOVED IT!

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Survivor Song: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062679161
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - July 7th, 2020

Massachusetts is overrun by hyper form of rabies that moves super-fast - it takes just hours instead of weeks for the virus to move from the wound to the infected's brain. After that it's lights out, but first they will try to bite whatever is near them to spread the virus on. This is the world that Nats lives in right now.  After an infected barged their way into her home, she has been bitten and needs to make it to where there are vaccines. Time is ticking. Did I mention she's also very pregnant? Attempting to survive in the chaotic nightmare, Nats picks up her longtime friend, Rams, who's a doctor and can help get through the crush of people at the hospitals. Rams does everything she can for Nats, but will she be able to help her when she really needs it? Paul Tremblay has delivered another pulse-pounding, jet-fueled story that whips by in a blur and left me out of breath.

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Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984826787
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - June 16th, 2020

A green utopian community, Greenloop, is nestled out in the wilderness not too far from Mt. Rainier. The story unfolds via a journal found in the aftermath of a volcanic explosion. The demise of the community is not linked to the volcanic activity but to an ancient myth that becomes frighteningly real to the residents. The strength of this novel lies with the characters. Max Brook built a complex cast that leaves you reeling when the Sasquatch arrive. As the group is surrounded, they must come to terms with what must be done if they are going to survive. A seat-of-your-pants reading experience - brilliant!

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The Only Good Indians Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982136451
Availability: Backordered
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - July 14th, 2020

One day, four Native Americans  go off hunting where they shouldn't have been. They slaughter a bunch of elk. One was pregnant at the wrong time of year, and Lewis has a hard time of it. He moves off the rez and tries to leave the past behind. He finds out the past is never too far away and that it can hold grudge forever -  even off the rez. The other hunters have similar fates in-store that befall Lewis. They all see the Elk-Head Woman and know what it means. Stephen Graham Jones depicts Native Americans on and off the rez; the hardness, the bleakness and briefness of life there. There's some beauty in there, too. The sweat lodge scene and the meaning behind it was really engaging and great, until the killing started. This book will kick out at you when you least expect it to, and you will love it. 

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Providence Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593085172
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - March 31st, 2020

Max Barry's take on a first encounter with aliens is quite brutal but fantastic. This book is a perfect mix of Aliens meets Enders' Game, with a bit of 2001 thrown in for good measure. Four human crew members travel on the ship Providence Five. Their only job is to make sure the AI runs the ship smoothly as they jump to battles with aliens who are out to murder every last one of us. As things begin to go awry, and the humans are cut off from communication with Earth, the aliens become smarter and the AI becomes bolder; each of the crew becomes isolated by their own beliefs and mission objectives. Everything is battling each other, and in the end there's an awakening and retribution of sorts among the crew and AI. This is one of the most interesting, philosophical science fiction romps that I've read in a long time! 

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Mostly Dead Things Cover Image
ISBN: 9781947793835
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - April 21st, 2020

Parts of this book made me squeamish, which is hard to do. Jessa is a taxidermist, just like her father - he taught her everything he knows. She takes care of the dead animals and gives them new ‘life,’ and at the same time, she is struggling to exist in hers. The love of her life, Brynn (she’s had an intense love for her since they were kids) has left her and her brother, who is Brynn’s husband, and their two kids. The family is run down, literally and figuratively, when her father commits suicide and leaves everything to Jessa to keep the family going. Jessa can’t cope with any of the gaping holes in her life without large amounts of alcohol to harden her resolve at dealing with anything in her life. When her mother starts to act out using stuffed animals in art installation, Jessa loses control of everything and spirals even further out. Kristen Arnett uses flashbacks between the chapters expertly, demonstrating how this family got to where it is, and how the family could possibly make it to some sort of safe zone. Perhaps? A real gut-wrenching novel that had me sweating in the middle of winter (Florida sounds awfully hot and humid all the time) and wondering just how many people still want taxidermy done. A great read!

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The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765378385
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - July 3rd, 2018

Picture this: a meteor crashes down to Earth, wiping out the eastern seaboard. Elma York figures out that the world is going to become uninhabitable for humanity. How quickly can we get the space program ramped up to give humanity it's best chance to survive. This book was brilliant... I highly recommend the entire series. 

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A Cosmology of Monsters: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524747671
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - September 17th, 2019

Noah Turner's family has been haunted by a monster since before he was born. It has been around since his grandmother and has been keeping track of his father and his family for quite a while. His father attempts to come to terms with the feeling of being watched and haunted. He's a horror connoisseur, introducing his wife to the best horror has to offer, from movies to books to haunted houses. When things start going really weird with him, he begins building a haunted house at their home. Along the way, the family suffers many setbacks. Noah, though, befriends the monster. This book is the ultimate homage to classic horror like H.P. Lovecraft and his kind. Shaun Hamill brilliantly unravels the story over the course of many encounters, which caused me to doubt what I thought I knew about the story. The end of the story was sucker punch for me as well as for others. Can't wait to see what comes next from this author!

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88 Names: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062854674
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - March 17th, 2020

John Chu is for hire - only in the online gaming world of Call to Wizardry. For people who don't want to waste time leveling up characters and doing mundane tasks to create armor and weapons, there's sherpas like John Chu who will do all the hard work on character creation. They just have to pay for it. It's a nice cheat that gamers are always looking for. Matt Ruff is brilliant in the setup of the MMORPG world. At first, I think he's going to explore the VR world that is coming down the pipeline, but then it opens up as a thriller, spy story, and then it pivots again and again. If it leaves you a bit confused and lonely, then Matt Ruff has made his point.

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Imaginary Friend Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538731338
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - October 1st, 2019

From the opening pages, Stephen Chbosky hooked me like few horror novels do nowadays. This is classic horror, where the author builds the suspense, provides misdirection, and makes the extraordinary seem possible in our world. I had flashes of Stephen King or Victor LaValle.  Christopher and his mom move to a remote town after they fled in the night to get away from the latest belligerent boyfriend. Everything seems to be going okay (though they have little to no money, friends, or really good job opportunities) when Christopher goes missing for six days in the woods. Nobody can find him. They scour everywhere. Then he shows up, saying his friend helped him find the way out. When he tries to describe him, no one recognizes it, and they chalk it up to Christopher's imagination.  However, this is when things get very strange and interesting, with surprises and chills coming at you from all directions. Just watch out for the deer. An amazing novel that was well worth a 20-year wait.

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Bunny: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525559733
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - June 11th, 2019

When I finished this book all I could think of was, WTF just happened!
Such a brilliantly conceived book, so well written-- it's the movies Heathers meets Weird Science. Yeah, it's that, only more.

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Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781947793453
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - October 1st, 2019

There are instances in this book that make you cringe, that make you want to toss the book to the side and scream, and for all that Jeannie Vanasco tells us, I still couldn't put down her story of confronting the person who sexually assaulted her in college. It was person she trusted, a person she counted on as a friend. It wouldn't be the last time. Yet, Jeannie does an amazing and courageous feat of contacting him years later and engaging him in a meaningful dialogue. She examines her own feelings around the assault, and she sees with more clarity as time has given her space. She's not giving him a voice but rather making him own up to what he did and finding out what his motives were. He destroyed more than trust and more than friendship. Jeannie's writing grabbed me as few memoirs ever do, and it brings such strength to her story.

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The Heap: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062957733
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - January 7th, 2020

Los Verticales was more than a tower, it was a huge monument to a self-sustaining society; a form of Utopia. Like all Utopias, it collapsed, quite literally, killing everyone. Well, almost everyone. Bernard starts transmitting over the radio station that he worked for, and the whole world starts listening and calling in. His brother, Oliver, has joined the dig to attempt to unearth him. Oliver phones into Bernard's studio every night, which has been a ratings boost for the station. When the head of marketing attempts to recruit Oliver to sprinkle in some product placement while in conversation with Bernard, Oliver gets a bit indignant. From there the story starts to gather momentum into crazy coincidences and some amazing characters. This is the first book in 2020 to read - you won't be able to put it down.

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Interior Chinatown: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307907196
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - January 28th, 2020

Willis Wu has aspirations to become Kung-Fu Guy on a cop show called Black and White. He's not Kung-Fu Guy yet, but maybe someday, if he can move up the ranks of bit-part Asian roles given to him. Willis wants this so badly that reality has blurred, and his real life shows signs of being scripted as well. I started to question whether Willis really knew what he wanted, or if he was presenting himself a path that would be difficult for him to veer away from. Charles Yu made this book look so easy, smooth, and fun to read, which he's demonstrated in all his past works as well. This book is dripping with pop culture references, stereotypes, and lots of lots of humor. Interior Chinatown delivers several knock out punches at our culture and society.

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Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101871935
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - November 19th, 2019

This book starts off as Zachary and his master attend a traveling show called Nicholas Fox's Exhibition of Medical Curiosities, which sets the stage for everything to come. Women with child are encouraged to leave the tent in case what they see interferes with the development of their unborn. We are in a time when science and medicine are still beholden to myths and folklore. Soon enough, Zachary and his master, who is the town surgeon, are called away to the bed of Mary Toft. She has recently had a miscarriage, so they are quite surprised by the news she is in the midst of labor. No human child comes forth, only parts of rabbits, and more rabbit parts show up every couple of days after. When confronted with the impossible or the horrific, how do you react to it? Would you consider it real? A miracle? Would it even occur to you that it could be a hoax? Dexter Palmer leads us along these paths as Zachary is exposed to all sorts of unfamiliar, mysterious, and dark facets of human life. Eventually, Mary Toft’s condition catches the attention of London, and she is carted off for closer observation. London brings all its own complications and horrors to contend with Mary and her rabbits. A marvelous and unexpected new novel from Dexter Palmer!

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Dark Matter: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101904244
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - May 2nd, 2017

Jason Dessen is a science professor in Chicago with a wife and a child, and he is living what he feels is a good, if not great, life. He gave up a life, in which he might have been one of the greatest living physicists. However, it is a choice he does not regret, as he loves his son that nudged down this path. Others might have regrets about the decision. One night he is kidnapped and drugged--his kidnapper seems familiar (or could that be the drugs?) to him. When he wakes, he finds himself in a lab with people who know him, but the more he finds out, the more he realizes that he is not the Jason they know. This is a fantastic philosophical 'what if' speculative thriller that has crazy unforeseen surprises littered around so that you just might fall into one and be blown away by actions of Jason. 

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Eartheater: A Novel Cover Image
By Dolores Reyes, Julia Sanches (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780062987730
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: HarperVia - November 17th, 2020

The nameless protagonist has an incredible ability to find missing people, whether dead or alive. She eats the earth itself that they've touched, and then she has a vision - a connection - to them. After discovering her own mother died violently, her brother attempts to shield her from eating more dirt and experiencing more tragedies. Then a cop shows up seeking help finding his missing niece. Dolores Reyes’s magical first novel touches on the femicide that plagues our world. The protagonist has had a hard life, haunted by people who want her help and others that shun her. We see the poor side of life and the people that are left behind and forgotten.

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Outlawed Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635575422
Availability: Not Yet Published
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - January 26th, 2021

In an alternate version of 19th century America, where a plague has killed so many and the U.S. has dissolved, Ada has been deemed an outlaw due to the fact that her marriage has been childless for a year. There's a bit of Salem here, as women who are infertile are considered witches and are dealt accordingly. Ada strikes out on her own to solve her problems and save her family from her barren stigma. Joining the Hole in the Wall Gang, made up mostly women in her own situation, she thinks she has only one objective. However, the longer she is with the gang and the more struggles she shares with these outlaws (whether or not they like her or want her there), the more she comes to discover what is most important to her. Anna North has delivered a worthy novel that can be shelved with The Handmaid's Tale and the like. So many issues circulate through this world that I was wondering how Anna North could possibly wrap this up; I had no need to fear as the pulse-pounding ending surprised and shocked. It's a violent world that Ada lives in, so it's a good thing she has a tough constitution.