The Illegal by Lawrence Hill

The biting commentary on racial politics in The Illegal speaks to our present woes, but the engaging characters of Keita Ali, elite marathoner and refugee; Viola Hill, wheelchair bound reporter; Ivernia Beech, subversive library volunteer; and John Falconer, boy genius make the ride worthwhile. This book was the Canada Reads 2016 winner.(Submitted by Meghan W.)

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The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter

In The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter, we meet Jane Standen, an archivist for a small London museum who is haunted by her past. When she was 15 years old, she lost sight of the 5-year-old girl who she was babysitting for only a few minutes during an adventure in the forest, and the young girl was never seen again. Now, she’s researching the similar disappearance of a woman from a mental asylum 125 years ago as part of her archival work. Hunter weaves past and present in this story of loss. I’d never read anything quite like this book–it was nostalgic and grief-stricken, but hopeful and poetic. It was historical fiction, suspense, and a ghost story all wrapped up in one. A book to be slowly devoured over a cup of tea. (Submitted by Meghan).

Aislinn’s book has been selected for KPU Reads. Meet Aislinn in person at Semiahmoo Library on Thursday, March 10 at 7pm. Call 604-592-6908 to save your spot.

Join Aislinn for a writing workshop, “Creating a Real World: 10 Tips for Writing Great Fiction,” at Write Here, Read Now on Sat, April 12 at City Centre Library from 10:15-11:45am. Call 604-598-7426 to save your spot.

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Dead Mountain: the untold true story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar

In February 1959, nine experience mountaineers trekked into the Russian Ural Mountains on a multi-day wilderness trip during a break from university. They never returned. Their bodies were found miles from their tent in separate groupings. None of them were wearing shoes. Some bodies demonstrated evidence of a blunt force. One’s tongue was missing and one piece of clothing had high levels of radiation. What happened to the group has been a mystery for decades. American writer Donnie Eichar became obsessed with finding out the story. This book is the culmination of his research, interviews, and personal trek to follow in their footsteps. I found it a fascinating, terrifying journey into the unknown and a stark reminder of the dangers that lurk in the wilderness. A chilling tale that woke me from my sleep with a feeling of isolating anxiety-this was the perfect book to curl up with when you are safely indoors on a cold, winter evening. (Submitted by Meghan).

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For personalized book recommendations, email our Book Advisors at bookadvisor@surrey.ca.

What Dark Passages by Bryan Clegg

New Westminster author Bryan Clegg tells the story of four Vancouverites facing darkness in their lives. Orphaned as a child and isolated from his other family members, Alex faces thoughts of suicide and finds no joy in his job at a call centre. Melissa struggles to heal after a vicious sexual attack leaves her with physical and emotional wounds. Richard is a paramedic newly returned to work after a mistake he made resulted in the death of a young girl. Joel is trying to overcome an abusive childhood and drug addiction through the help of his wife and daughter.  Eventually, the stories of these four strangers intertwine in surprising ways. Clegg manages to create a very readable narrative while conveying heavy themes. I really enjoyed reading this book. (Submitted by Meghan).

Meet Bryan at Authors Among Us-The Dark Side: The Craft of Writing about Death, Demons, and Despair at Guildford Library on Wed, Oct 7 from 6:30-8:30pm. Call 604-598-7366 to save your spot.

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Cordelia by Marty Allen

Cordelia is the first novel in a crime series by Richmond-based author Marty Allen. Corporal James Vaanes returns to his hometown of Campbell River on Vancouver Island after two decades spent investigating major crimes in Surrey, BC. When a young Aboriginal woman is murdered, Corporal Vaanes and his team try to track down her killer only to discover a maze of intrigue involving drugs, local politicians, and unsolved crimes from the mainland. (Submitted by MS.)

Meet Marty at Authors Among Us-The Dark Side: The Craft of Writing about Death, Demons, and Despair at Guildford Library on Wed, Oct 7 from 6:30-8:30pm. Call 604-598-7366 to save your spot.

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Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

With her guardians on vacation, Savannah, a young witch, is minding the detective agency on her own. She’s not to take any unnecessary risks, but can’t pass up the opportunity to take the lead on a case of ritualistic murder. As the body count rises, Savannah is put to the test and the case almost proves too much to handle.  The story is an enjoyable blend of urban fantasy and mystery with a touch of romantic tension. Kelley Armstrong does a good job of introducing a new view point into her Women of the Otherworld series. (Submitted by Courtney)

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All the Light We Cannot See — Anthony Doerr

At the outbreak of World War 2, the blind Marie-Laure and her father escape the city to the coastal town of Saint-Malo to seek safety with her Uncle.  Her story is contrasted by Werner the German orphan who is recruited into the German army because of his abilities with radios.  The stories of Marie-Laure and Werner bounce back and forth between the chapters until they finally converge.  What I liked most about this story was the detail into Marie-Laure’s life.  The way her father designed a scale model of their neighborhood so she could memorize routes and landmarks to help her get around on her own. (Submitted by Braden)

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