You are hereBack to top
Maxwell's Staff Picks
Check out my LinkTree for my Goodreads profile, blog, and more for other books & book reviews.
Under the right conditions children disappear... but it isn’t as nefarious as it sounds. Just like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole, doorways appear for these children leading to extraordinary places. They will be gone for a lifetime before they return, and it’s only been a couple of weeks or months for their parents. And now their home world is no longer their home, so they are sent to a boarding school for troubled children under the supervision of Eleanor West. Unbeknownst to the parents, Ms. West was the first wayward child.
Be Sure is the collected first three novellas in the Wayward Children series.
When they were 11 years old, Naomi, Cassidy, and Olivia spent their summers playing in the woods, believing in magic, and playing a game they called the Goddess Game. That summer ended when Naomi was attacked, suffering seventeen stab wounds. Naomi lives and her testimony, alongside her friends, puts a serial killer away... but they lied.
Now, twenty-two year later, questions are raised about the girls, secrets worth killing for are exposed, and Naomi is forced to relieve that fateful summer from so many years ago.
Murtagh by Christopher Paolini is being published this November, over 20 years since the initial publication of his first book, Eragon.
Returning to Alagaësia after the events of The Inheritance Cycle, the latest novel in The World of Eragon follows Murtagh and his dragon Thorn as they investigate whispers of a dark threat growing on the outskirts of Alagaësia, and of a witch who calls herself Bachel.
Although vastly different from The Inheritance Cycle, readers will still find themselves in familiar territory as Murtagh and Thorn travel and visit familiar locations and cities while also exploring new lands and facing new threats. As much as I enjoyed reading this, it really just made me that much more interested in reading whatever comes next for Eragon and Saphira. I'll look forward to the next adventure in Alagaësia and The World of Eragon, whether we are following Eragon and Saphira, or Murtagh and Thorn.
Fourth Wing! What can be said that hasn't already been said about the blockbuster book of the year? I enjoyed this much more than I expected. I told myself that if I got to the end of this and enjoyed it, I would read book two. Once I started Iron Flame I told myself if I enjoyed it I would read book three whenever that comes out... now I'm eagerly awaiting book three.
Josie and Alix are birthday twins. Born on the same day, at the same hospital, but their lives couldn't be any more different. Alix is the host of a successful podcast and is looking for a new subject and a new series. Josie is looking to do a hard reset on her life, and she thinks Alix is the perfect person to tell her story as it unfolds. Little does Alix know what she is getting herself wrapped up in when she accepts. In the end there will be a podcast, there will be bodies, and just when you think you know it all... remember that none of this is true.
This is the first book that I have read by Lisa Jewell and I absolutely tore through this. Every time I put the book down, I wanted to pick it right back up. And I did.
The Centre exceeded my expectations. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover… but Barnes & Noble posted on their Instagram about this release and the cover immediately caught my eye.
I loved this book. I wish I was still reading this book. By no means was it perfect, but I'm still thinking about it and wish that I had just one more chapter to ingest...
This book follows a woman who learns of a highly secretive, invite-only establishment called the Centre that can teach any "learner" a new language in just ten days. And not just the basics, but leaving the learner fluent in any language that they choose.
Secrets are revealed, breaking points are pushed, and I found myself dying to read just one more chapter each time I picked up the book.
Welcome to the Centre. You'll never be the same.
Witch King is Martha Wells’s first new fantasy in over a decade. She is the author of the wildly popular Murderbot Diaries, and delivers a brand new adventure following Kaiisteron, the Witch King, as he wakes up in a tomb without any memory of how he got there, or who was involved in putting him there.
Told in alternating timelines, Martha Wells drops the reader into a rich world and does not hold the reader's hand as they navigate it. There are times you may feel like you’re drowning, as I certainly did, but continue to push through. Continue to swim. The world begins to unveil itself with each chapter, giving the reader small glimpses into the greater story as we alternate between Kaiisteron in the present, bent on finding out who the conspirators were for his entombment, and Kai in the past, a "young" demon fighting against the imperialistic Hierarchs.
Starling House is a gothic, suspense novel that takes place in Eden, Kentucky. Opal is an orphan, a high school drop out, caretaker to her younger brother Jasper, resident of the motel Garden of Eden, and (depending on who you ask) a no-good delinquent. Opal knows that Eden doesn't hold a future for her or Jasper, so she pushes Jasper to do his best in school, works to save money, all so that she can get Jasper out of Eden and give him the chance he deserves. But there's a house in Eden, home to the reclusive Starling family, and Opal can't get the house out of her head or her dreams.
As she stands outside the iron gates of Starling House, she realizes that the only Starling left is standing in the yard, watching her. Opal knows she should stay away from the Starling House, but an offer to work in the house as the housekeeper, making more money than she could ever make at the local Tractor Supply Co., is an offer she can't pass up.
This book is for all of those readers who, as kids, wished they would find a golden ticket in their chocolate bar, or dreamed their Hogwarts welcome letter would be arriving by owl - any day now! This is my new "feel good" recommendation.
Jack Masterson, author of the wildly popular children's book series, Clock Island, lives on his secluded island and hasn't been heard from in years. That is until his website is updated announcing a contest for the sole copy of his new book, accompanied by a riddle. Little blue envelopes arrive in the mail for the contestants, and they head to the real Clock Island to spend a week competing against each other to win the last Clock Island book.
Following the likes of The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, this is one of those novels that paints a picture of a beautiful world, even amidst all of the pain and trauma that can accompany it.
Genevieve Gornichec is an Ohio author, and her debut novel, The Witch's Heart, was a personal favorite. Gornichec's second novel is also set during the Viking Age, following a witch named Gunnhild and her two blood-sisters, Oddny and Signy. Separated as children, their paths cross once more when Oddny and Signy's village is attacked, their family killed, and Signy kidnapped. Gunnhild has spent the last twelve years perfecting her craft, and must now set out to rescue her kin.
And so follows a tale of witches and witchcraft, sons of kings vying for power, and destines foretold.
"We didn't call the police right away." Those are the opening words of this harrowing novel about a father who goes missing after taking his son to the park, and their son returns home without him. Their son, Eugene, is diagnosed with autism and angelman syndrome - a disorder that renders Eugene non-verbal, and so the location of their missing father remains a mystery.
At its heart this is a novel about disability, wrapped up a in a suspenseful thriller. This is a novel full of twists and turns, big reveals and head scratching mysteries.
Mickey7 is a wild ride. Mickey7 is a clone, specifically the 7th iteration of Mickey whose job is to be an "expendable." He is the fall guy. The guy you send on the dangerous mission outside of the space station which will inevitably lead to his death, resulting in Mickey8. Except Mickey7 didn't actually die, and now there are two Mickey's on board a ship already stretching their food and resources for the available crew.
Black Crouch's Dark Matter meets Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game in this sci-fi novel currently being filmed by the director of "Parasite" (2019) and set to star Robert Pattinson. The film will be titled "Mickey17."
An introverted robot who calls itself "Murderbot," frequently suffering from existential crises, and openly admits to failing its namesake? Yeah, count me in. I love Murderbot.
You don't need to be a lethal AI machine to resonate with this introverted robot.
I took a small break after reading the first four and have since picked them back up. I just finished reading an early copy of book seven, System Collapse, and I am already dying to read more... and this one isn't even out yet!
If you took a dive into Murderbot and loved it but stopped after the first four novellas (like I did) then you should absolutely jump into book six, Fugitive Telemetry. This novella comes after the events of the first four, and is actually before the events of book number five.
Fugitive Telemetry is a standalone Murderbot adventure. It's a murder mystery, and Murderbot is the detective. All of those hours of streaming media will sure help in this investigation...
Finishing a book like this is equal parts pleasure and pain: pleasure in that reading something as striking and beautiful as this is everything a reader hopes to feel in a book juxtaposed by the pain of something beautiful ending and leaving these characters behind in the pages. There are few books that have brought tears to my eyes (I can still count them on one hand) but Kuang's Babel, or The Necessity of Violence is now numbered among them.
The Art Thief tells the true story of the world's most prolific art thief, Stéphane Breitwieser. In this gripping portrait of obsession, love, and crime, you will read all about Stéphane's heists and how he amassed a collection of art in his mother's attic, worth an estimated two billion dollars. And no, that was not a mistype - an estimated two billion dollars worth of stolen art.
This was a stunning read and elicited several, audible gasps.
Stephen Markley's The Deluge is a near-future cautionary tale following a cast of characters as they address, ignore, and attempt to alter the path that the world is hurtling down. A tour de force of a novel addressing climate change and a looming climate crisis, Markley spins a story through the eyes of his characters of a world on the brink of collapse.
This book is terrifying. It is surreal and it is beautiful. It made me sick, but it made me feel some hope too.
TJ Klune is a master of creating a fantasy world and filling it with characters you can’t help but love. His latest novel, In the Lives of Puppets, is no different. In his previous two novels he has given us a disgruntled or unhappy character and carried them through the narrative until they found their happiness. In this novel he starts us with a character that has it all, and then he takes it all away.
I loved these characters. Their emotion was palpable, whether it was joy, sorrow, or any emotion in between. I have not read such humanity in characters in a long time… and from robots no less!
In light of Amazon's 2022 The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, HarperCollins is publishing a collection of J.R.R. Tolkien's Second Age material in one, comprehensive volume. This edition will feature artwork from the doyen of Tolkien art, Alan Lee. This will be a worthy addition to any Tolkien fan's shelf.
The Silmarillion is J.R.R. Tolkien's seminal work, and he unfortunately did not get to see it published before his death in 1973.
The Silmarillion is expansive, and presents itself as the piece of literature that documents the history of the world in which we find the adventures within The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Those works take place during the Third Age of that world, and The Silmarillion is primarily focused on the First Age. Tolkien spent much of his life writing the tales found within The Silmarillion, many of which now have several published iterations thanks to his son, Christopher.
I have read this book several times with varying degrees of focus, but this particular read has been most enjoyable for me. I have been listening to the recently released audiobook narrated by Andy Serkis alongside this read and it has helped me to slow down and parse through the narrative rather than continuing to push forward through the text and immediately continuing on to the next chapter.
From the author of Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel, this is a wonderful novel about an author, a pandemic, a colony on the moon, and some time travel to tie a bow on it all.
This has been a staff favorite and we have all been so excited for this to release.
It's been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and wandered into the wilderness, exiling themselves from humanity and their creations.
In present day, Dex, a garden monk turned tea monk, finds that they are dissastisified with their life yet again, until a robot stumbles across their path. And when a robot asks the question "What do people need," how do you answer?
Reflective, hopeful, "comfy sci-fi." No matter how you describe these books, they have been a joy and a breath of fresh air to read.
I have yet to read a book here at Paragraphs that I recommend more, and with as much enthusiasm, as this one. Seven fourth year students attend a private art school studying Shakespearean theatre. These seven thespians are closer to each other than their own family and we start the story with the protagonist, Oliver, getting out of prison, and the detective who put him there is waiting for him. All he wants to know is the truth of what happened 10 years prior...
We are led to believe that one of our seven was murdered, and that it was the collective work of the others. If you're looking for a mystery / thriller littered with Shakespearean prose then this is a must read.
This is such a beautiful book, and I waited far too long to read it.
Theo Byrne is a single father and astrobiologist, searching for life throughout the cosmos while single-handedly raising his nine-year-old son, Robin. Robin, who is on the spectrum, begins an experimental neurofeedback treatment to bolster his emotional control, and the novel follows Theo as he watches his son learn to control his emotion and grapple with the death of his mother. The novel paints a beautiful picture of our world interspersed with vignettes of Theo and Robin traveling the cosmos and visiting planets to discover what life may look like there.