Readers Circle Recommendations


The Snail's Readers Circle, our team of volunteer reviewers, is working for you — reading, reviewing, and telling you all about their favorites. Think of these as our "staff picks," books specially selected by all kinds of readers. Click on each title to read the full review. We'll be glad to deliver these highly rated books to you! 

Click HERE to find even more recent favorites from the Readers Circle!

Staff Pick Badge
The Curse of Pietro Houdini: A Novel By Derek B. Miller Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781668020883
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - January 16th, 2024

Told from the perspective of a teenager trying to reunite with family after tragedy in Rome, this novel gathers up an unlikely coterie trying to protect priceless art — and really just survive — in World War 2–ravaged and German-occupied Italy. What I loved about this novel is the plasticity of names, labels, nationalities. All can change and shift; characters become whoever they need to be to make it through the atrocity of war. For fans of All the Light We Cannot See and Kate Atkinson's Transcription and Life After Life. — Elizabeth Hardin, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
Interesting Facts about Space: A Novel By Emily Austin Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781668014233
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Atria Books - January 30th, 2024

Is someone stalking Enid, or does she just listen to too many true crime podcasts? Why can’t she stop watching her teenage self’s cringy YouTube channel? Where does her phobia of bald men come from? Interesting Facts about Space is full of humor, likable characters, and mystery. And I was rooting for (pretty much) everyone in this book. So many of the characters are trying so hard to just get through every day; I want them to succeed. — Elizabeth Hardin, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
The Warm Hands of Ghosts: A Novel By Katherine Arden Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780593128251
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Del Rey - February 13th, 2024

The Warm Hands of Ghosts is a melancholic, eerie look at World War I and its effects, and is centered on a combat nurse, Laura, who is searching for her missing brother. Told in back-and-forth chapters alternating between his point of view and hers, this novel is slow-paced in its uncertainty and grief. Laura's brother, Freddie, is haunted by a mysterious fiddler-player: A spirit? A demon? And the late Spiritualist movement plays a large role in taking this largely historical fiction book and placing it firmly within the fantasy genre. I adored this book; it was somehow sad, hopeful, and extremely kind in its execution, despite its grim subject matter. — Whitney Sheppard, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
Medea: A Novel By Eilish Quin Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781668020760
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Atria Books - February 13th, 2024

Even Greek heroes needed a little (a lot of) feminine help from time to time. This is the story of the evil witch Medea and what happened to make her one of the most despised characters in Greek mythology. It's a good sign when a book makes you want to put it down because the story is almost too intense to finish and yet you find yourself picking it back up almost immediately to find out if Medea will succeed in her dangerous and dark tasks. Eilish Quin shows us that people aren't always as they appear and there is always more to someone's story. I loved this book because it shows a strong feminine character who loves deeply despite how much it terrifies her. Riveting. Heartbreaking. Intense. — Candice Kirk, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
Piglet: A Novel By Lottie Hazell Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250289841
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - February 27th, 2024

Food is everything in this witty novel. Everything in Piglet’s life — from her childhood nickname, to social class, to her painful perfectionism — is measured by food. And whenever food shows up — and it does often — Lottie Hazell breaks out the luxurious prose. Egg yolks are slick, yellow-orange orbs; parsley is cool like morning grass; good olive oil swirls into a hot pan. But we need this comfort; Piglet’s anxious race to craft and preserve the perfect life had me on edge (in the best way). Especially for people who like food memoirs. — Elizabeth Hardin, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
Shark Heart: A Love Story By Emily Habeck Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781668006498
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: S&S/ Marysue Rucci Books - August 8th, 2023

Metaphors abound as Emily Habeck uniquely explores our human desire to hold on to the people we love, even when we know that may be impossible. Shark Heart is a tragic yet hopeful story set in a world where it’s known that humans can develop diseases that transform them into animals over time. Lewis is one such human, and he receives his diagnosis just after marrying the love of his life. Shark Heart explores the ripple effect of his, and others', diagnoses and transformations through a multigenerational story of motherhood, marriage, love, and grief. —Jess Depew, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
Expiration Dates: A Novel By Rebecca Serle Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982166823
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Atria Books - March 19th, 2024

Expiration Dates explores how finding love is not a one-size-fits-all script. Love is, at its core, loving yourself first and spreading that love to someone else. This book will remind you to let go of preconceived ideas, trust yourself, and not let fear of the unknown drive your decisions. You're going to like this novel for its romance, emotional devastation, and tender moments. — Nicole, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
The Tainted Cup By Robert Jackson Bennett Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781984820709
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Del Rey - February 6th, 2024

The Tainted Cup is (I hope!) the first in a series of a profoundly unique science fiction take on the Sherlock Holmes mythos; think mystery solving with a dash of Pacific Rim. I'm not sure what I was charmed by the most: the characters or the worldbuilding! The world was so utterly foreign but it made enough cohesive, detailed sense that I thoroughly enjoyed as its horrific murders began to be revealed. Ana, our Sherlock, and Din, our Watson, are charmingly rendered. I was particularly pleased that Ana was as endearing as she was infuriating; so many Sherlocks forget the former in their bid to be the smartest in the room. All in all, I highly recommend this one, truly a unique undertaking. Did I mention there were massive town-destroying monsters coming from the sea, too? — Whitney Sheppard, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
The Hunter: A Novel By Tana French Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9780593493434
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Viking - March 5th, 2024

Following retired cop Cal Hooper as he navigates small-town life in Ireland, The Hunter takes the frayed plot threads from The Searcher and weaves them into a rich, frightening examination of trauma and revenge. This book is perfect for chilly nights, hot tea, and roaring fireplaces, with French's trademark attention to character and place on perfect display. — Whitney, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
Murder Road By Simone St. James Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780593200384
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Berkley - March 5th, 2024

There's little I enjoy more than a Simone St. James thriller — well-told, character-driven mysteries that tow the line between campfire ghost stories and normal-person-solving-crime procedurals. Murder Road tells the story of a newly married couple who pick up an injured hitchhiker who dies on the way to the hospital. Local police are itching to peg the crime on them, but April (the wife) has a bad feeling there's more to meet the eye on the haunted road that keeps racking up a death toll. But how well does she know her husband? How well does she know herself? Murder Road is quickly paced and utterly engaging; I was instantly invested in April's story as her honeymoon was derailed by murder and belligerent local police. The supernatural element was done lightly, and the 1990s setting was pitch-perfect. — Whitney, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
How to Say Babylon: A Memoir By Safiya Sinclair Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781982132330
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: 37 Ink - October 3rd, 2023

How to Say Babylon is a fascinating and heartbreaking look at Safyia Sinclair's childhood in Jamaica as the eldest daughter of a strict Rasta-man. I learned so much about a life experience drastically different than my own. Incredibly gifted in poetry, Sinclair is given several once-in-a-lifetime chances that change the trajectory of her life forever. Her resiliency and bravery pour out of the pages as we watch her blossom into a free version of herself. For readers who like true stories of people overcoming their circumstances. — Kirsten, Snail Readers Circle

Note: rape, verbal/physical/spiritual abuse


Staff Pick Badge
Fruit of the Dead: A Novel By Rachel Lyon Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781668020852
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Scribner - March 5th, 2024

The Fruit of the Dead is a rewritten take on Hades abducting Persephone to the Underworld. In this version, Hades is a pharmaceutical billionaire and Persephone is a floundering camp counselor barely turned 18. Her demanding, unhinged mother drops everything to find her, but this book asks the questions: What is consent? How much personal agency can a vulnerable person have against a powerful figure? I very much enjoyed this dark tale, finishing it in twenty-four hours. — Whitney, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
My Side of the River: A Memoir By Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9781250277954
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: St. Martin's Press - February 13th, 2024

My Side of The River opened my eyes to someone's story who is incredibly different than my own. It ripped my heart open, but I was also left cheering for Elizabeth and her family. The rivers she forded to "make it" were not easy (especially emotionally and mentally), but in her own words she'll tell you it was worth it. For readers who loved Educated or How to Say Babylon. — Kirsten Wilson, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
Say Hello to My Little Friend: A Novel By Jennine Capó Crucet Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781668023327
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 5th, 2024

Ismael (Izzy) Reyes, former Pitbull impersonator, is struggling to create an identity for himself in Miami. Izzy emigrated from Cuba as a child, and interspersed with Izzy’s story is the story of another immigrant—an unwilling one, Lolita, the Miami Seaquarium’s beloved orca, who was kidnapped as a young whale from the much colder waters of the north Pacific. This novel, often funny and sometimes heartbreaking, is soaked in Miami: its climate, its culture, and its people. I was especially fascinated by the hidden gas station tapas restaurant (which exists!) and Crucet’s vibrant descriptions of Cuban-American wedding traditions and venues. — Elizabeth, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
You Could Make This Place Beautiful: A Memoir By Maggie Smith Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781982185855
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Atria/One Signal Publishers - April 11th, 2023

Maggie Smith shares with readers an intimate reflection as she goes through a personal heartbreak, or rather a thousand tiny heartbreaks over the course of her thirteen-year relationship. Not only centered around love and loss, her memoir looks at the complex issues of modern womanhood and patriarchy. Though I have not personally experienced the pain she details in her memoir, I felt as if I have because of the power of her words. You will find someone you know in her story and it will help you understand their pain a little better. Maggie Smith has the ability to take those human feelings and emotions we all have, but sometimes lack the words to describe, and present them through a beautiful metaphor that can make you feel so seen and understood. Maggie does not stay in the pain, she evolves, changes, makes herself new, and always finds a way to make life beautiful.
—Abby Lindemann, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
None of This Is True: A Novel By Lisa Jewell Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781982179007
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Atria Books - August 8th, 2023

I love a good psychological thriller, but I’m not as keen on unreliable narrators, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean, it lays it all out there in the title: none of this is true. So, although I thought I had it all figured out pretty early on, this book really kept me guessing – and second-guessing myself! The title instilled enough doubt in everything going on that I wasn’t sure which characters to trust, whose side of the story was true, and who was manipulating whom. I was dying to find out what really happened, and at the same time, I felt as if I was watching a horror movie while peeking through my fingers. I think Lisa Jewell does a great job with the dark subject matter to create a suspenseful story that you can’t help but get swept up into. — Mica, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
In the Likely Event By Rebecca Yarros Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781662511554
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Montlake - August 1st, 2023

A spectacular tale that covers the depths of a relationship and the withdrawal from Afghanistan. With realistic and well-developed characters, a storyline that keeps you hooked, and the hope that the next time will be the one that sticks this book is a must-read. Izzy and Nate become real on the page and all I wanted was for them to find happiness. — Jenn, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
The Invisible Hour: A Novel By Alice Hoffman Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781982175375
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Atria Books - August 15th, 2023

What if you could travel back in time to meet and fall in love with your favorite author? Alice Hoffman gives us the answer in a true ode to the power of books to bring light during even the darkest of times. When Mia is trapped and lost while under the power of an oppressive cult, it is the library and a very special book that gives her the strength and knowledge she needs to break free and save herself. The Invisible Hour is a beautiful fairy tale-like story about books, motherhood, chosen/found family, inner strength, and love. I loved it!
—Jess Depew, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
Days at the Morisaki Bookshop: A Novel By Satoshi Yagisawa, Eric Ozawa (Translated by) Cover Image
By Satoshi Yagisawa, Eric Ozawa (Translated by)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780063278677
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Harper Perennial - July 4th, 2023

This is a warm invitation to read more Japanese literature! Looking for a soft place to land after a quarter-life crisis, Takako moves into the room above her uncle's secondhand bookshop in Tokyo's famous bookstore neighborhood. Throughout the next year, she falls in love with literature, meets interesting characters, reconnects with her uncle, and begins to venture out into life again. This brief but lovely book has a wonderful atmospheric calm and beautiful descriptions. The short, episodic chapters are perfect for reading either back-to-back, or a few pages at a time. Like Takako, this book interested me in Japanese literature more widely. — Melanie, Snail Readers Circle


The Book of Charlie: Wisdom from the Remarkable American Life of a 109-Year-Old Man By David Von Drehle Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781476773926
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Simon & Schuster - May 23rd, 2023

Living to be 109 years young, Charlie White was one to live life to its fullest. I was amazed at his tenacity and the abundance of adventure he experienced both personally and professionally. I wish I had known him. Charlie White didn't believe you could be too old for anything, and I hope some of his spirit can live on in me. I can picture him saying, "Life is an adventure -- live it!" Biography readers will enjoy this one. — Kirsten Wilson, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
Rouge: A Novel By Mona Awad Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781982169695
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: S&S/ Marysue Rucci Books - September 12th, 2023

Awad enjoys fever dream hallucinations and otherworldly visuals and exchanges. Those are all here, but what is new and wonderful is the complex, sweet, damaging relationship between Belle and her mother. Mirabelle is in her thirties and obsessed with preserving herself with skincare. Half-Egyptian, she envies the standard beauty of her white mother, who has recently died under strange circumstances. Belle gets embroiled in her mother's secrets while fixing up her mother's old house - and any more will ruin the reveals. You're kept guessing as to what kind of woman Belle's mother was — toxic? abusive? neglectful? Trying her best under unfair circumstances? And the resolution of this grotesque tale shocked me with its tenderness. Make no mistake: this book belongs on the horror shelf. But it has a real, beautiful beating heart inside of it. — Whitney Sheppard, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
Hello Stranger: A Novel By Katherine Center Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9781250283788
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: St. Martin's Press - July 11th, 2023

Katherine Center has written another perfect comfort read, filled with hope and humor and a happy ending. After a sudden medical emergency leaves Sadie unable to recognize the faces of anyone (including herself), her life has quite literally disappeared. Add to that she's just received a rare opportunity in her chosen profession as a portrait artist. Portrait art and face blindness are an obviously unfortunate pairing. Sadie is forced to confront her past and take hold of the present to determine what holds importance in her life. Katherine Center takes us on a journey from deep grief to overwhelming joy and love. Her stories always leave me feeling as if hope and happy endings are available for us all. P.S. I fully believe they actually are! — Jess, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating By Elisabeth Tova Bailey Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781616206420
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Algonquin Books - September 6th, 2016

This isn't necessarily a recent release, but it is a recent discovery! When overcome by a debilitating and mysterious illness, Bailey is bedridden while trying to patiently wait for answers. When a friend brings her a snail - thinking she might enjoy it - Bailey is at first puzzled by the gesture, before slowly becoming captivated by the snail. The details are delightfully charming - the snail eats little square hole punches in loose papers and postcards until Bailey gets it more appropriate food - and the gently-paced, short chapters are perfect for a detailed but not dense read. Part memoir and part biology, Bailey lavishes attention on an object of interest and lifeline to the outside world.
—Melanie Berry, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
The Sunset Years of Agnes Sharp (Miss Sharp Investigates #1) By Leonie Swann, Amy Bojang (Translated by) Cover Image
By Leonie Swann, Amy Bojang (Translated by)
$27.95
ISBN: 9781641294331
Availability: Usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Soho Crime - August 29th, 2023

What do you get when you take 1 house, add a group of feisty senior citizens, throw in a murder weapon, and sprinkle in several mysterious deaths? The setting for Leonie Swann's new novel. I haven't read anything like this before. Agnes Sharp and the residents of Sunset Hall want to do things their way. Live and Die on their terms. When a neighbor is murdered, it seems like the perfect solution to their dead roommate predicament but when more of their community starts winding up dead, the residents of Sunset Hall realize they've got to take matters into their own hands. The writing was great, a little snappy just like Agnes and her house mates. It was a quick read and kept me engaged the entire time. Definitely worth a read if you like books about quick witted, murder solving senior citizens!
—Candice Kirk, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
I Was A Teenage Slasher By Stephen Graham Jones Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9781668022245
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order From The Snail!
Published: S&S/Saga Press - July 16th, 2024

 

Jones is looking at slashers from a slightly different perspective with "I Was a Teenage Slasher", a novel about aimless teen Tolly Driver, and the chaos that ensues when he starts killing his peers against his will. Jones embodies Tolly with a rare quality: he feels real in all the best and worst ways, and one wonders how much of young Stephen Graham Jones is in the character, outcast, grief-stricken and drifting as he is.  As a result, "I Was a Teenage Slasher" hits that sweet spot between comedy and tragedy; Tolly is a desperate, charming, occasionally moronic teenage boy who you root for even as he descends into the monstrosity of violence. It's a train crash in slow motion and ironically the closest thing to a werewolf horror I've read in years. Wonderful, exciting, bittersweet. — Whitney, Snail Readers Circle


Staff Pick Badge
The Five Stages of Courting Dalisay Ramos By Melissa de la Cruz Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781454947677
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order From The Snail!
Published: Union Square & Co. - July 9th, 2024

Evan and Dalisay are from opposite sides of the world and throughout the book you question if they can overcome their differences. Watching Evan try to do the Five Stages of Filipino courtship will have you laughing, swooning, and rooting for them to overcome their differences. As you watch the courtship unfold you learn not only about the blending of two cultures, but about what real love requires - compromise, empathy, and dedication. For progressive lovers of romance who want to learn more about another culture. — Jennifer, Snail Readers Circle