Staff Picks

All of these books are available at Cortland Free Library or through the Finger Lakes Library System. 

Abigail's Pick
The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen 

Silent GirlIn the murky shadows of Boston’s Chinatown lies a severed hand. On the tenement rooftop above is the corpse belonging to that hand, a red-haired woman dressed in black, her head nearly decapitated. Two strands of silver hair—not human—cling to her body. They are homicide cop Jane Rizzoli’s only clues, but they’re enough for her and medical examiner Maura Isles to make the startling discovery: that this violent death had a chilling prequel. Nineteen years earlier, a horrifying murder-suicide in a Chinatown restaurant left five people dead. One woman connected to that massacre is still alive—a mysterious martial arts master who is now the target of someone, or something, deeply and relentlessly evil. Cracking a crime with bone-chilling echoes of an ancient Chinese legend, Rizzoli and Isles must outwit an unseen enemy with centuries of cunning—and a swift, avenging blade.


Aimee's Pick
Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra

only daughter   In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared.  
She'd been enjoying her summer break: working at a fast-food restaurant, crushing on an older boy and shoplifting 
with her best friend.  Mysteriously ominous things began to happen—a presence in her room at night, periods of blackouts,
 a feeling of being watched—though Bec remained oblivious of what was to come.  
Eleven years later she is replaced. 
  A young woman, desperate after being arrested, claims to be the decade-missing Bec. 


Alyssa's Pick
Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Let's Pretend this never happened  When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced
 father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange
 shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.  
Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her
 uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—
 are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the
 only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing,
 yet wonderful moments of our lives.


Georgette's Pick
Thomas Becket: warrior, priest, rebel:  a nine-hundred year old story retold by John Guy

Thomas Becket     Becket’s life story has been often told but never so incisively reexamined and vividly rendered as it is in John Guy’s
 hands.  The son of middle-class Norman parents, Becket rose against all odds to become the second most powerful
 man in England.  As King Henry II’s chancellor, Becket charmed potentates and popes, tamed overmighty barons,
 and even personally led knights into battle.  After his royal patron elevated him to archbishop of Canterbury in 1162,
 however, Becket clashed with the King.  Forced to choose between fealty to the crown and the values of his faith, he
 repeatedly challenged Henry’s authority to bring the church to heel. Drawing on the full panoply of medieval sources,
 Guy sheds new light on the relationship between the two men, separates truth from centuries of mythmaking, and casts
 doubt on the long-held assumption that the headstrong rivals were once close friends. He also provides the fullest  
accounting yet for Becket’s seemingly radical transformation from worldly bureaucrat to devout man of God.

Jacie's Pick
Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

Jewel of seven stars

   A mysterious attack on Margaret Trelawney's father brings young lawyer Malcolm Ross into the Egyptologist's bizarre
and the couple soon find they are battling ancient forces greater than they previously could have imagined. The
Egyptian queen 
Tera has been awoken, and is coming to take what she believes to be hers – whatever the cost to the
Trelawney family.  
Set in London and Cornwall, and written at a time when a fascination with the East pervaded Victorian
England, The Jewel of 
Seven Stars reflected the perceived contrast between the Orient's savagery and  moral degradation,
and its exotic beauty and opulence.



Jaymie's Pick
Two By Two by Nicholas Sparks
Two by Two
     At 32, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising
executive and an expansive home in Charlotte. He is living the dream, and his marriage to the bewitching Vivian is the
center of that. But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear…and no one
is more surprised than Russ  when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down. In a matter
of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter while struggling to adapt to a new and
baffling reality. Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and
rewarding-one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined.


Larry's Pick
The Walking Drum by Louis L'Amour

Walking Drum
     Warrior, lover, and scholar, Kerbouchard is a daring seeker of knowledge and fortune bound on a journey of enormous
challenge, danger, and revenge. Across Europe, over the Russian steppes,  and through the Byzantine wonders of
Constantinople, Kerbouchard is thrust into the treacheries, passions, violence, and dazzling wonders of a magnificent time.




Lois's Pick
Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory
Three sisters three queens      As sisters they share an everlasting bond; as queens they can break each other’s hearts…
When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure.
With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined —with Margaret’s younger sister Mary—to a unique
sisterhood. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland, and France.  
United by family loyalties and
affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. Katherine commands an army against Margaret and kills
her husband James IV of Scotland. But  Margaret’s boy becomes heir to the Tudor throne when Katherine loses her son.

Mary steals the widowed Margaret’s proposed husband, but when Mary is widowed it is her secret marriage for love that is the
envy of the others. As they experience betrayals, dangers, loss, and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their
perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.

Renee's Pick
I Thought It Was Just Me, But It Isn't  by Brene Brown
I thought it was just me

     Researcher and thought leader Dr. BrenE Brown offers a liberating study on the importance of our imperfections–
both to our relationships and to our own sense of self.  The quest for perfection is exhausting and unrelenting.
There is a constant barrage of social expectations that teach us that being imperfect is synonymous with being inadequate.
Everywhere we turn, there are messages that tell us who, what and how we're supposed to be.



Steve's Pick
Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
Juliet naked

     Nick Hornby returns to his roots—music and messy relationships—in this funny and touching novel that thoughtfully and
sympathetically looks at how lives can be wasted but how they are never  beyond redemption. Annie lives in a dull town on
England’s bleak east coast and is in a relationship with Duncan that mirrors the place; Tucker, once a brilliant songwriter and
performer, has gone into seclusion in rural America—or at least that’s what his fans think. Duncan is obsessed with Tucker’s
work to the point of derangement, and when Annie dares to go public on her dislike of his latest album, there are quite
unexpected, life-changing consequences for all three.


Tammy's Pick
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies      Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives
no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved  beachside community, and their daughter
is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how
 is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage
daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).  
Celeste is the kind of beautiful
woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those
rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and
queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is
willing to pay. 
New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond
her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing,
none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all. Big Little Lies
 is a brilliant take
on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

Theresa's Pick
Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson
Traces of Guilt    Evie Blackwell loves her life as an Illinois State Police detective . . . mostly. She's very skilled at investigations and has
steadily moved up through the ranks. She would like to find Mr. Right, but she has a hard time imagining how marriage could
work, considering the demands of her job. 
Gabriel Thane is a lifetime resident of Carin County and now its sheriff, a job he
loves. Gabe is committed to upholding the law and cares deeply for the residents he's sworn to protect. He too would like to
find a lifetime companion, a marriage like his parents have.

When Evie arrives in Carin, Illinois, it's to help launch a new task force dedicated to reexamining unsolved crimes across
the state. Spearheading this trial run, Evie will work with the sheriff's department on a couple of its most troubling missing-
persons cases. As she reexamines old evidence to pull out a few tenuous new leads, she unearths a surprising connection 
possibly to a third cold case. Evie's determined to solve the cases before she leaves Carin County, and Sheriff Thane, along with his family, will be key to those answers.