Here’s a guide to all the books on Off the Shelf. Click on any book to get more information. You can filter by topics that interest you. Try it, it’s fun!
Cake can evoke thoughts of home, comfort someone at a time of grief or celebrate a birth or new love. It is a maker of memories, a marker of identities, and delicious!
It was the year 878 A.D., and a man claimed sanctuary in a small village home in Wessex. To the surprise of the villager, the man was not a passing vagabond but Alfred, King of the Anglo-Saxons. The village homemaker was happy to hide him from the marauding Danes, provided he keep an eye on the cake she had baking in the oven. Preoccupied with how to re-take his kingdom, Alfred let the cake burn, and the incident passed into folklore forever.
From these seemingly ignoble beginnings, not only was Alfred able to reclaim his spot in history, but the humble villager's cake has become a part of world culture as well. Alysa Levene looks at cakes both ancient and modern, from the fruit cake, to the pound cake, from the ubiquitous birthday cake to the angel food cake, all the way up to competitive baking shows on television and our modern obsession with macaroons and cup cakes.
Along the way, author Alysa Levene shows how cakes are so much more than just a delicious sugar hit, and reflects on how and why cakes became the food to eat in times of celebration. Cake reflects cultural differences, whether it is the changing role of women in the home, the expansion of global trade, even advances in technology. Entertaining and delightfully informative, Cake: A Slice of History promises to be a witty and joyous celebration of our cultural heritage.
Susan E. Rice—National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama and US Ambassador to the United Nations—reveals her powerful story with unflinching candor in this New York Times bestseller.
Mother, wife, scholar, diplomat, and fierce champion of American interests and values, Susan Rice powerfully connects the personal and the professional. Taught early, with tough love, how to compete and excel as an African American woman in settings where people of color are few, Susan now shares the wisdom she learned along the way in this “personal and honest…ode to public service” (NPR).
Laying bare the family struggles that shaped her early life she also examines the ancestral legacies that influenced her. Rice’s elders—immigrants on one side and descendants of slaves on the other—encouraged each generation to rise. And rise they did, in uniform and in the pulpit, as educators, community leaders, and public servants.
Susan too rose rapidly. She served throughout the Clinton administration, becoming one of the nation’s youngest assistant secretaries of state and, later, one of President Obama’s most trusted advisors.
Rice provides an insider’s account of some of the most complex issues confronting the United States over three decades, from “Black Hawk Down” in Somalia to the genocide in Rwanda, and from conflicts in Libya and Syria to the Ebola epidemic, a secret channel to Iran, and the opening to Cuba during the Obama years.
With unmatched insight and characteristic bluntness, she reveals previously untold stories behind recent national security challenges, including confrontations with Russia and China, the war against ISIS, the fallout from Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, the US response to Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the surreal transition to the Trump administration.
Although you might think you know Susan Rice—whose name became synonymous with Benghazi following her Sunday news show appearances after the deadly 2012 terrorist attacks in Libya—now, through these pages, you truly will know her for the first time. “An astute, analytical take on recent American political history,” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) Tough Love makes an urgent appeal to the American public to bridge our dangerous domestic divides in order to preserve our democracy and sustain our global leadership.
Jody never asked to become a vampire. But when she wakes up under an alley Dumpster with a badly burned arm, an aching back, superhuman strength, and a distinctly Nosferatuan thirst, she realizes the decision has been made for her.
Making the transition from the nine-to-five grind to an eternity of nocturnal prowlings is going to take some doing, however, and that's where C. Thomas Flood fits in. A would-be Kerouac from Incontinence, Indiana, Tommy (to his friends) is biding his time night-clerking and frozen-turkey bowling in a San Francisco Safeway. But all that changes when a beautiful undead redhead walks through the door...and proceeds to rock Tommy's life—and afterlife—in ways he never thought possible.
Two engineers hijack a spaceship to join some space pirates—only to discover the pirates are hiding from a malevolent AI. Now they have to outwit the AI if they want to join the pirate crew—and survive long enough to enjoy it.
Adda and Iridian are newly minted engineers, but aren’t able to find any work in a solar system ruined by economic collapse after an interplanetary war. Desperate for employment, they hijack a colony ship and plan to join a famed pirate crew living in luxury at Barbary Station, an abandoned shipbreaking station in deep space.
But when they arrive there, nothing is as expected. The pirates aren’t living in luxury—they’re hiding in a makeshift base welded onto the station’s exterior hull. The artificial intelligence controlling the station’s security system has gone mad, trying to kill all station residents and shooting down any ship that attempts to leave—so there’s no way out.
Adda and Iridian have one chance to earn a place on the pirate crew: destroy the artificial intelligence. The last engineer who went up against the AI met an untimely end, and the pirates are taking bets on how the newcomers will die. But Adda and Iridian plan to beat the odds.
There’s a glorious future in piracy…if only they can survive long enough.
*NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, STARRING RACHEL WEISZ AND RACHEL MCADAMS
*AUTHOR OF ONE OF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S FAVORITE READS OF 2017
When a young photographer living in New York learns that her estranged father, a well-respected rabbi, has died, she can no longer run away from the truth, and soon sets out for the Orthodox Jewish community in London where she grew up.
Back for the first time in years, Ronit can feel the disapproving eyes of the community. Especially those of her beloved cousin, Dovid, her father’s favorite student and now an admired rabbi himself, and Esti, who was once her only ally in youthful rebelliousness. Now Esti is married to Dovid, and Ronit is shocked by how different they both seem, and how much greater the gulf between them is.
But when old flames reignite and the shocking truth about Ronit and Esti’s relationship is revealed, the past and present converge in this award-winning and critically acclaimed novel about the universality of love and faith, and the strength and sacrifice it takes to fight for what you believe in—even when it means disobedience.
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, AND LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER!
“So many questions...Until the very last page! Needless to say, I could not put this book down!” —Reese Witherspoon
“Once again the author of The Woman in Cabin 10 delivers mega-chills.” —People
“Missing Big Little Lies? Dig into this psychological thriller about whether you can really trust your nearest and dearest.” —Cosmopolitan
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes a chilling new novel of friendship, secrets, and the dangerous games teenaged girls play.
On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten, along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister.
The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isa—receive the text they had always hoped would never come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”
The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second-rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty. But their little game had consequences, and as the four converge in present-day Salten, they realize their shared past was not as safely buried as they had once hoped.
Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill to keep you wrong-footed, The Lying Game is told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, lending itself to becoming another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.
Love, secrets, and sorbets abound in The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop—a perfect summer read that will delight fans of food and romance.
Anna and her husband Matteo are ready to embark a delicious Italian adventure. After a year and a half running their ice cream shop on Brighton beach and raising their baby Isabella, Matteo is starting to miss Italy. A shared passion for ices means it’s easy to settle on a new business idea— they’ll open a shop in Sorrento’s cobbled square, a short walk from the sparkling blue sea. For a while, life is sweet; but then Matteo’s overbearing family get involved…
Anna’s younger sister Imogen feels like things are finally coming together—she’s living with her boyfriend Finn in a beach house in Brighton, and her photography is taking off. Then her career stalls, and the lure of Capri—and a man from her past—prove difficult to resist.
Full of mouth-watering flavors, warm sunshine, and escapist adventure, The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop will delight readers who enjoy Carole Matthews and Jenny Colgan.
A New York Times bestseller
A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping debut novel filled with romance, mystery, and adventure.
Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.
But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything Lina knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.
People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.
Kirkus Reviews called Love & Gelato “a sure bet for fans of romance fiction,” while VOYA said readers “will find it difficult to put this book down.” Readers are about to discover a new place, a new romance, and a new talent.
A heartwarming, poignant, and charming debut novel for fans of Nick Hornby and The Rosie Project, about a father and son overcoming their grief in surprisingly inventive ways.
Danny’s life is falling apart. He’s become a single father to eleven-year-old Will—who hasn’t spoken since the death of his mother in a car crash a year earlier—and Danny has just been fired from his construction job. To make matters worse, he’s behind on the rent and his nasty landlord is threatening to break his legs if he doesn’t pay soon. Danny needs money, and fast.
After observing local street performers in a nearby park, Danny spends his last few dollars on a tattered panda costume, impulsively deciding to become a dancing bear. While performing one day, Danny spots his son in the park, and chases off the older boys who are taunting him. Will opens up for the first time since his mother’s death, unaware that the man in the panda costume is his father. Afraid of disclosing his true identity, Danny comforts his son. But will Danny lose Will’s trust once he reveals who he is? And will he be able to dance his way out of debt, or be beaten up before he has a chance?
Filled with a colorful cast of characters, Bear Necessity is a refreshingly unpretentious and ultimately uplifting story of a father and son reconnecting in the most unlikely of circumstances.
The start of World War II looms over three friends who struggle to remain loyal as one of them is threatened with internment by the British government, from the author of the “sweeping, stirring” (Kristin Harmel, internationally bestselling author of The Room on Rue Amélie) The Light Over London.
In August of 1939, as Britain watches the headlines in fear of another devastating war with Germany, three childhood friends must choose between friendship or country. Erstwhile socialite Nora is determined to find her place in the Home Office’s Air Raid Precautions Department, matchmaker Hazel tries to mask two closely guarded secrets with irrepressible optimism, and German expat Marie worries that she and her family might face imprisonment in an internment camp if war is declared. When Germany invades Poland and tensions on the home front rise, Marie is labeled an enemy alien, and the three friends find themselves fighting together to keep her free at any cost.
Featuring Julia Kelly’s signature “intricate, tender, and convincing” (Publishers Weekly) prose, The Whispers of War is a moving and unforgettable tale of the power of friendship and womanhood in the midst of conflict.
The bestselling author of The Simple Wild and Keep Her Safe and “master of steamy romance” (Kirkus Reviews) delivers a sizzling novel about an ambitious and high-powered executive who reconnects with her first love: the boy who broke her heart.
Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.
On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.
Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group, and coincidentally the first love of her life.
The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counselors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.
Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is still alive and strong, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.
A stunning debut novel about a teenage girl and her mother as they grapple with first love, family secrets, and tragedy.
Maddy is sixteen. Smart, funny, and profound, she has loyal friends, a mother with whom she’s unusually close, a father she’s never met, devoted grandparents, and a crush on a boy named Jack. Maddy also has cancer. Living in the shadow of uncertainty, she is forced to grow up fast.
All the Water in the World is the story of a family doing its best when faced with the worst. Told in the alternating voices of Maddy and her mother, Eve, the narrative moves between the family’s lake house in Pennsylvania; their home in Washington, DC; and London, where Maddy’s father, Antonio, lives. Hungry for experience, Maddy seeks out her first romantic relationship, finds solace in music and art, and tracks down Antonio. She continually tests the depths and limits of her closeness with her mother, while Eve has to come to terms with the daughter she only partly knows, in a world she can’t control.
With unforgettable voices that range from tender to funny, despairing to defiant, this novel illuminates the transformative power of love, humor, and hope.
For fans of Paula Hawkins and Ruth Ware, this gripping thriller from the bestselling author of The Lost Swimmer is a “taut and tightly wound page-turner” (Marie Claire) set in the icy reaches of Antarctica.
When environmental scientist Laura Alvarado is sent to a remote Antarctic island to report on an abandoned whaling station, she begins to uncover more than she could ever imagine.
Reminders of the bloody, violent past are everywhere, and Laura is disturbed by evidence of recent human interference. Rules have been broken, and the protected wildlife is behaving strangely.
On a diving expedition, Laura emerges into an ice cave where she is shocked to see an anguished figure, crying for help. But in this freezing, lonely landscape there are ghosts everywhere, and Laura wonders if her own eyes can be trusted. Has she been in the ice too long?
Back at base, Laura’s questions about the whaling station go unanswered, blocked by scientists unused to outsiders. And Laura just can’t shake what happened in the cave.
Piecing together a past and present of cruelty and betrayal that spans the globe—from Norway to Nantucket, Europe and Antarctica—Laura will stop at nothing to uncover the truth. As she comes face to face with the dark side of human nature, she also discovers a newfound hope in love and the meaning of family. If only Laura can find her way…out of the ice.
In this riveting novel from international bestselling author Daniel Kalla, a Vancouver doctor and a detective face the deadly consequences of the opioid crisis as they track down the supplier of fentanyl that landed a group of teens in the ER with critical overdoses.
“Michael Crichton ought to be looking over his shoulder.” The Chronicle Herald
Deliberately or not, they must’ve been poisoned…And if it happened to them…
There will be others.
Dr. Julie Rees, a toxicologist and ER doctor, is stunned when her emergency room is flooded with teenagers from the same party, all on the verge of death. Julie knows the world of opioids inside and out, and she recognizes that there’s nothing typical about these cases. She suspects the teens took—or were given—fentanyl. But why did they succumb so quickly?
Detective Anson Chen is determined to find out. He and Julie race to track down the supplier of the deadly drugs. But the trail of suspects leads everywhere, from unscrupulous street dealers to ruthless gang leaders who hide behind legitimate business fronts and the walls of their mansions.
As Anson and Julie follow clues through the drug underworld, Julie finds herself haunted by memories of her troubled past—and the lover she lost to addiction. When other overdoses fill the ER—and the morgue—Julie realizes that something even more sinister than the ongoing fentanyl crisis is devastating the streets. And the body count is rapidly rising.
A gripping thriller, The Last High explores the perfect storm of greed, addiction, and crime behind the malignant spread of fentanyl, a deadly drug that is killing people faster than any known epidemic.
“Wow! This is one terrific horror/suspense/disaster novel. Characters you root for and a story that grips from the first page.” —Stephen King, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Institute
“Horror has a new name and it’s Scott Carson. The Chill is an eerie dive into the murky depths of the supernatural. A story that has you looking back over your shoulder on every page.” —Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Night Fire
“A creepy tale of supernatural terror.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
In this terrifying thriller, a supernatural force—set in motion a century ago—threatens to devastate New York City.
Far upstate, in New York’s ancient forests, a drowned village lays beneath the dark, still waters of the Chilewaukee reservoir. Early in the 20th century, the town was destroyed for the greater good: bringing water to the millions living downstate. Or at least that’s what the politicians from Manhattan insisted at the time. The local families, settled there since America’s founding, were forced from their land, but they didn’t move far, and some didn’t move at all…
Now, a century later, the repercussions of human arrogance are finally making themselves known. An inspector assigned to oversee the dam, dangerously neglected for decades, witnesses something inexplicable. It turns out that more than the village was left behind in the waters of the Chill when it was abandoned. The townspeople didn’t evacuate without a fight. A dark prophecy remained, too, and the time has come for it to be fulfilled. Those who remember must ask themselves: who will be next? For sacrifices must be made. And as the dark waters begin to inexorably rise, the demand for a fresh sacrifice emerges from the deep...
The #1 international bestseller and The New York Times Editor’s Choice
“As lush as the novels of Kate Morton and Diane Setterfield, as exciting as The Alienist and Iain Pears’ An Instance of the Fingerpost, this exquisite literary thriller will intrigue book clubs and rivet fans of historical fiction.” —A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
“A lush, evocative Gothic.” —The New York Times Book Review
“This terrifically exciting novel will jolt, thrill, and bewitch readers.” —Booklist, starred review
Obsession is an art.
In this “sharp, scary, gorgeously evocative tale of love, art, and obsession” (Paula Hawkins, bestselling author of The Girl on the Train), a beautiful young woman aspires to be an artist, while a man’s dark obsession may destroy her world forever.
Obsession is an art.
In 1850s London, the Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and, among the crowd watching the dazzling spectacle, two people meet by happenstance. For Iris, an arrestingly attractive aspiring artist, it is a brief and forgettable moment. But for Silas, a curiosity collector enchanted by all things strange and beautiful, the meeting marks a new beginning.
When Iris is asked to model for Pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly, her world begins to expand beyond her wildest dreams—but she has no idea that evil is waiting in the shadows. Silas has only thought of one thing since that chance meeting, and his obsession is darkening by the day.
“A lush, evocative Gothic” (The New York Times Book Review) that is “a perfect blend of froth and substance” (The Washington Post), The Doll Factory will haunt you long after you finish it and is perfect for fans of The Alienist, Drood, and Fingersmith.
A “haunting debut: suspenseful, atmospheric, and completely riveting” (Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls) about a young woman who returns home to care for her ailing mother and begins to dig deeper into her sister’s unsolved murder.
Sixteen years ago, Sylvie’s sister, Persephone, never came home. Out late with the boyfriend she was forbidden to see, Persephone was missing for three days before her body was found—and years later, her murder is still unsolved.
In the present day, Sylvie returns home to care for her estranged mother, Annie, as she undergoes treatment for cancer. Prone to unexplained “Dark Days” even before Persephone’s death, Annie’s once-close bond with Sylvie dissolved in the weeks after their loss, making for an uncomfortable reunion all these years later. Adding to the discomfort, Persephone’s former boyfriend is now a nurse at the cancer center where Annie is being treated. Sylvie has always believed Ben was responsible for the murder—but she carries her own guilt about that night, guilt that traps her in the past while the world goes on around her.
As she navigates the complicated relationship with her mother, Sylvie begins to uncover the secrets that fill their house—and what really happened the night Persephone died.
The Winter Sister is a “bewitching” (Kirkus Reviews) portrayal of the complex bond between sisters, between mothers and daughters alike, and “will captivate you from suspenseful start to surprising finish” (Kathleen Barber, author of Are You Sleeping).