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12 Captivating and Compelling Reads

Posted 6 months ago by April S

What should you read next? That's a great question. Sometimes it just depends on your mood doesn't it? That's why we created a series highlighting books with a variety of appeal. Each post includes descriptors that are designed to help you (the reader) quickly decide if a particular book will hold appeal for you. The series mainly includes those "beyond the best sellers" librarians love, because let's be honest - most people already know about the best sellers (or know how to find them online).

So, let's explore the why factor for a minute.

Why did you like that last book you read?

Let's say two people read the same book, but each person liked different things about it.

Why is that?

Maybe you liked the storyline, but your friend loved the dry humor.

Is it possible you both really connected with the characters?

Basically, each person has their reasons for liking certain books or movies. Sometimes it's based on life experiences. Other times it's hard to remember what it was about a book that really spoke to you. Maybe you just know it made you feel a certain way. I'd argue that it is entirely possible to find a lot of good books to read by simply exploring the "why" factor.

Intricately Plotted and Compelling Reads

If you enjoy novels with intricately plotted storylines matched with a compelling writing style, then you should definitely check out the books below. Get ready for an engrossing reading experience. And watch out, you know there's going to be a few twists and turns!

Library Books to Check Out

Lights All Night Long by Lydia Fitzpatrick
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets
If, Then by Kate Hope Day

Lights All Night Long by Lydia Fitzpatrick

Genre: Coming of Age Story
Descriptors: Character-driven, moving and culture shock

With the help of his American host family's daughter, Sadie, who has secrets of her own, Russian exchange student Ilya embarks on a mission to prove his brother Vladimir’s innocence in the murders of three girls back in Russia.

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Genre: Science Fiction Mystery
Descriptors: Suspenseful, stylistically complex and world-building

Taking over for an ambassador who died a suspicious death, Mahit Dzmare investigates the potential murder while navigating the alien culture of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire, which is hiding a technological secret that could impact the universe.

The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets

Genre: Psychological Suspense
Descriptors: Atmospheric, richly detailed and intricately plotted

An endangered wildlife protector on assignment in northern Alberta falls in love with her brilliant mentor before a tragic accident and disturbing inconsistencies trigger her suspicions about his possible role in four murders.

If, Then by Kate Hope Day

Genre: Literary Fiction
Descriptors: Character-driven, thought-provoking and parallel universes

Four neighbors in a quiet Oregon mountain community find their lives upended when they begin to experience disturbing visions of an alternate reality, before a natural disaster reveals an astonishing town secret.

Early riser / Jasper Fforde
The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
The Witch Elm by Tana French
The Huntress by Kate Quinn

Early Riser by Jasper Fforde

Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Descriptors: Darkly humorous, offbeat and stylistically complex

When an outbreak of viral dreams start killing the sleeping masses, Charlie Worthing and the rest of the Winter Consuls must find out who or what is killing the people they have sworn to protect.

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Descriptors: Fast-paced, political intrigue and world-building

Raised on storybook tales of royal adventure, Kihrin discovers his identity as the illegitimate son of a treasonous prince and is rendered a pawn in the royal family's power schemes before embracing his anti-hero destiny.

The Witch Elm by Tana French

Genre: Thrillers and Suspense
Descriptors: Authentic characters, suspenseful and well-crafted dialogue

A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, "The Witch Elm" asks what we become, and what we're capable of, when we no longer know who we are.

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

Genre: Historical Fiction / Thrillers and Suspense
Descriptors: Well-developed characters, suspenseful and descriptive

Stranded behind enemy lines, brave bomber pilot Nina Markova becomes the prey of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress and joins forces with a Nazi hunter and British war correspondent to find her before she finds them.

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
The Night Agent by Matthew Quirk
The Suspect by Fiona Barton
The Rule of Law by John Lescroart

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

Genre: Apocalyptic / Literary Fiction
Descriptors: Authentic characters, dreams and web of connections

A student in an isolated Southern California college town witnesses a strange sleeping illness that subjects patients to life-altering, heightened dreams.

The Night Agent by Matthew Quirk

Genre: Spy Fiction / Thrillers and Suspense
Descriptors: Fast-paced, suspenseful and richly detailed

An idealistic young FBI agent is forced to question everything and trust no one in order to stop a Russian mole in the White House.

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

Genre: Psychological Suspense / Thrillers
Descriptors: Well-developed characters, suspenseful and international intrigue

Pursuing the story of two British teens who disappeared during a Bangkok hostel fire, journalist Kate Waters struggles to remain objective when her estranged son is declared a main suspect.

The Rule of Law by John Lescroart

Genre: Legal Thrillers / Mysteries
Descriptors: Fast-paced and suspenseful

Attorney Dismas Hardy finds himself in the unlikely position of having to defend his faithful longtime assistant, Phyllis, from being charged as an accessory to murder at the same time her brother is released from prison. Dismas Hardy series (book 18).

Photo of girl browsing books in a library. Image by klimkin from Pixabay.
Finding More Book and Movie Recommendations

If the selections featured in this blog post fail to hit the mark, try exploring our book and movie lists on our website or contact us - we're always glad to help.


Featured Image Credit: Image by Raedon from Pixabay.

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