Happy Friday Night Worms! One thing you may not know about me is that I am a HUGE coffee nerd. I’ve worked as a competition barista for a few small-but-well-known roasterie and coffee houses. I’ve been a coffee master at Starbucks and a consultant for a few mom-and-pop coffee shops. You could say that I know a thing or two about the jumpy bean juice. So I decided to give you folks a few book recs based on what coffee you prefer! You can thank my husband for that idea, he’s a smarty. If you prefer a coffee drink that you don’t see here and want a rec for it, just tweet me @pageandparlor with a photo of your coffee!
If your favorite drink is a latte (plain or flavored) you should read Ill Will by Dan Choan.
This book isn’t new, but it’s memorable. It is a dark and snowy mystery/horror that will keep you in suspense until the last page. I read this book a few years ago and I have consistently recommended it since.
Synopsis: A psychologist in suburban Cleveland, Dustin is drifting through his forties when he hears the news: His adopted brother, Rusty, is being released from prison. Thirty years ago, Rusty received a life sentence for the massacre of Dustin’s parents, aunt, and uncle. The trial came to epitomize the 1980s hysteria over Satanic cults; despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury believed the outlandish accusations Dustin and his cousin made against Rusty. Now, after DNA analysis has overturned the conviction, Dustin braces for a reckoning.
Meanwhile, one of Dustin’s patients has been plying him with stories of the drowning deaths of a string of drunk college boys. At first, Dustin dismisses his patient's suggestions that a serial killer is at work as paranoid thinking, but as the two embark on an amateur investigation, Dustin starts to believe that there’s more to the deaths than coincidence. Soon, he becomes obsessed, crossing all professional boundaries - and putting his own family in harm’s way. From one of today’s most renowned practitioners of literary suspense, Ill Will is an intimate thriller about the failures of memory and the perils of self-deception. In Dan Chaon’s nimble, chilling prose, the past looms over the present, turning each into a haunted place.
If your drink of choice is plain black coffee you should read The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (well, you should read anything by Shirley Jackson). Just like your morning go-to drink, Jackson’s works are classic. The Lottery is a classic and it is pint sized so you can fit it in to your, likely hectic, schedule.
Synopsis: The story describes a fictional small town in the contemporary United States, which observes an annual rite known as "the lottery", in which a member of the community is selected by chance. The shocking consequences of "winning" the lottery are revealed only at the end.
If you drink iced coffee, no matter the weather, you should read For Better or Cursed by Kate Williams. Technically I should be telling you to read both books in the The Babysitters Coven series (the next one comes out later this year and my preorder is already in). This book is YA but it feels almost nostalgic to me. It is equal parts The Curious Adventures of Sabrina and Buffy… but mostly Buffy. The first book in this series and this one both feel like a really fresh take on what Buffy did years ago. This book is a refreshing change of pace from what I normally read and it will be just as refreshing for you. Just like your iced coffee in the middle of winter.
Synopsis: Esme Pearl's life used to be all about bumming rides and babysitting. Sure, it wasn't glamorous, but it was predictable. All that changed when Cassandra Heaven came to town, and they discovered their complicated, and connected, legacy: Esme and Cassandra are Sitters, supernaturally-gifted teens armed with an ever-changing grimoire of Sitter witchcraft to help them protect the innocent and keep evil demons at bay. You know, the typical teenage stuff.
But just as Esme is starting to adjust to--and maybe even like--her new normal, life lobs another glitter bomb her way. The Synod--the Sitterhood's governing circle--has called a Summit, a once-in-a-generation gathering that promises training, education, and whole lot of ice-breakers.Esme should be excited--a Summit might mean she can finally get the answers she desperately wants--but she can't shake a building sense of panic. Especially since Cassandra's not acting like herself; Esme's dad is MIA; Pig is out of dog food; Janis is scared to be alone; and there's a guy who seems too good to be true, again. Worst of all, it soon becomes clear, there's no one watching the kids. It's obvious the Summit is a haute mess, but will it be a deadly one, too?
If you don’t like coffee and you prefer a nice hot tea, you should read White is For Witching by Helen Oyeyemi. This book is unique and is great for a really unique audience. It’s prose is beyond what you are expecting. It’s the type of horror that leaves you scratching your head while you're hiding under the duvet. You’re not exactly sure which thing you should be scared of but you definitely feel uneasy. It is one that has made its own filing cabinet in my brain and won’t budge. It is just there for me to think about every now and then and remember lovingly.
Synopsis: In a vast, mysterious house on the cliffs near Dover, the Silver family is reeling from the hole punched into its heart. Lily is gone and her twins, Miranda and Eliot, and her husband, the gentle Luc, mourn her absence with unspoken intensity. All is not well with the house, either, which creaks and grumbles and malignly confuses visitors in its mazy rooms, forcing winter apples in the garden when the branches should be bare. Generations of women inhabit its walls. And Miranda, with her new appetite for chalk and her keen sense for spirits, is more attuned to them than she is to her brother and father. She is leaving them slowly -
Slipping away from them -
And when one dark night she vanishes entirely, the survivors are left to tell her story.
"Miri I conjure you "
This is a spine-tingling tale that has Gothic roots but an utterly modern sensibility. Told by a quartet of crystalline voices, it is electrifying in its expression of myth and memory, loss and magic, fear and love.
If you drink super sweet frappuccinos, you should read The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison. The Butterfly Garden is a book worthy of binge reading. It has the true crime feel that a lot of frappuccino lovers look for in a book. I would love to take a frappuccino to the movies to see a film adaptation of this book because the visuals in it are out of this world. Definitely as scary as it is beautiful in your mind’s eye.
Synopsis: Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.
In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.
When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.
As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…
I hope your weekend is filled with lots of your favorite coffee and some really good books. Have a great weekend, worms!