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The 10 hottest books published monthly, as voted by library staff across Canada.

Loan Stars is a readers’ advisory service that allows library staff across Canada to collaboratively select their favourite forthcoming titles. Using CataList, the online catalogue tool available free to libraries, library staff can request forthcoming adult titles and vote on their favourites. The top 10 picks each month will be marketed to libraries and library users alike.

Want to know more about the books Canadian library staff love? Join our mailing list

Top Picks for March 2018

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  1. Let Me Lie
    by Clare Mackintosh
    Mar 13, 2018
    FICTION / Thrillers / Psychological
    9780451490551 (ePUB), 9780525632986 (TP), 9780525632337 (CD)


    The stunning new novel from Clare Mackintosh, the international bestselling author of I Let You Go and I See You.

    The police say it was suicide.
    Anna says it was murder.
    They're both wrong.

    Last year, Tom and Caroline Johnson chose to end their lives, one seemingly unable to live without the other. Their daughter, Anna, is struggling to come to terms with her parents' deaths, unwilling to accept the verdict of suicide.

    Now with a baby herself, Anna feels her mother's absence keenly and is determined to find out what really happened to her parents. But as she digs up the past, someone is trying to stop her.

    Sometimes it's safer to let things lie....
  2. The Punishment She Deserves
    by Elizabeth George
    Mar 20, 2018
    FICTION / Mystery & Detective / General
    9780698411654 (ePUB), 9780525529811 (CD)


    Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley are forced to confront the past as they try to solve a crime that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of a quiet, historic medieval town in England

    The cozy, bucolic town of Ludlow is stunned when one of its most revered and respected citizens--Ian Druitt, the local deacon--is accused of a serious crime. Then, while in police custody, Ian is found dead. Did he kill himself? Or was he murdered?

    When Barbara Havers is sent to Ludlow to investigate the chain of events that led to Ian's death, all the evidence points to suicide. But Barbara can't shake the feeling that she's missing something. She decides to take a closer look at the seemingly ordinary inhabitants of Ludlow--mainly elderly retirees and college students--and discovers that almost everyone in town has something to hide.

    A masterful work of suspense, The Punishment She Deserves sets Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and Inspector Thomas Lynley against one of their most intricate cases. Fans of the longtime series will love the many characters from Elizabeth George's previous novels who join Lynley and Havers, and readers new to the series will quickly see why she is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed writers of our time. Both a page-turner and a deeply complex story about the lies we tell, the lies we believe, and the redemption we need, this novel will be remembered as one of George's best.
  3. 1979
    by Ray Robertson 'Canada'
    Mar 06, 2018
    FICTION / Literary


    Tom Buzby is thirteen years old and lives in Chatham. Set in the year that real newspaper headlines told of the rise of Reagan and North America’s hard turn to the right, 1979 is a novel of innocence not so much lost as smashed, and experience gained the hard way, the kind that brands memories forever and permanently changes lives.

    Featured Review

    "Tom Buzby, a thirteen year-old living in Chatham, Ontario, narrates this sweetly nostalgic coming-of-age story What makes this story a true gem however, is how Tom’s narrative is interspersed with a glimpse into the very private lives of his neighbours, including the people whose papers he delivers, and those whose paths cross his for other reasons."
    - Alexandra Yarrow, Ottawa Public Library
  4. The Gunners
    by Rebecca Kauffman
    Mar 30, 2018
    FICTION / Literary


    "Perceptive, funny, and endearing . . . Reminiscent ofThe Big Chill andSt. Elmo’s Fire, this remarkable novel is just as satisfying and provides readers with an entire cast of characters who will feel like old friends upon finishing." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    Named 1 of 50 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018 (NYLON)
    Named a Spring 2018 Release Our Bookshelves Can't Wait for (Southern Living)
    Named 1 of 60 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018 (Huffington Post)

    Following her wonderfully received first novel,Another Place You’ve Never Been, called “mesmerizing,” “powerful,” and “gorgeous,” by critics all over the country, Rebecca Kauffman returns with Mikey Callahan, a thirty-year-old who is suffering from the clouded vision of macular degeneration. He struggles to establish human connections—even his emotional life is a blur.

    As the novel begins, he is reconnecting with “The Gunners,” his group of childhood friends, after one of their members has committed suicide. Sally had distanced herself from all of them before ending her life, and she died harboring secrets about the group and its individuals. Mikey especially needs to confront dark secrets about his own past and his father. How much of this darkness accounts for the emotional stupor Mikey is suffering from as he reaches his maturity? And can The Gunners, prompted by Sally’s death, find their way to a new day? The core of this adventure, made by Mikey, Alice, Lynn, Jimmy, and Sam, becomes a search for the core of truth, friendship, and forgiveness.

    A quietly startling, beautiful book,The Gunners engages us with vividly unforgettable characters, and advances Rebecca Kauffman’s place as one of the most important young writers of her generation.

  5. I'll Keep You Safe
    by Peter May
    Mar 06, 2018
    FICTION / Thrillers / Crime


    Friends since childhood, and lovers and business partners as adults, Niamh and Ruairidh are owners of a small Hebridean company, Ranish Tweed, that weaves its own very special version of Harris Tweed. Although it's a small company, their fabrics have become internationally sought-after as a niche brand in the world of fashion and haute couture.

    But the threads of their relationship are beginning to fray. As they prepare for an important showing at the Première Vision fabric fair, held in Paris every year, Niamh accuses Ruairidh of having an affair with Irina, a Russian fashion designer they work with--a fight that ends with Ruairidh storming off and getting into Irina's car. Moments later, Niamh watches in horror as the car containing her life partner explodes in a ball of flame.

    With Niamh a prime suspect in the murder, the Parisian police hound her even after she returns to Harris to bury the pitiful remains of her lover and business partner. Amid the grief and struggles that follow, she begins to suspect that things are not what they seem; and when there is an attempt on her life, she becomes convinced that what looked like a terrorist attack on her lover might be something more personal by far . . .
  6. The Red Word
    by Sarah Henstra 'Canada'
    ECW Press
    Mar 06, 2018
    FICTION / Literary
    9781773051949 (ePUB)


    The battle of the sexes goes to college in this nervy debut adult novel by a powerful new voice

    A smart, dark, and take-no-prisoners look at rape culture and the extremes to which ideology can go, The Red Word is a campus novel like no other. As her sophomore year begins, Karen enters into the back-to-school revelry — particularly at Gamma Beta Chi. When she wakes up one morning on the lawn of Raghurst, a house of radical feminists, she gets a crash course in the state of feminist activism on campus. The frat known as GBC is notorious, she learns, nicknamed “Gang Bang Central” and a prominent contributor to a list of rapists compiled by female students. Despite continuing to party there and dating one of the brothers, Karen is equally seduced by the intellectual stimulation and indomitable spirit of the Raghurst women, who surprise her by wanting her as a housemate and recruiting her into the upper-level class of a charismatic feminist mythology scholar they all adore. As Karen finds herself caught between two increasingly polarized camps, ringleader housemate Dyann believes she has hit on the perfect way to expose and bring down the fraternity as a symbol of rape culture — but the war between the houses will exact a terrible price.

    The Red Word captures beautifully the feverish binarism of campus politics and the headlong rush of youth toward new friends, lovers, and life-altering ideas. With strains of Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Marriage Plot, Alison Lurie’s Truth and Consequences, and Tom Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons, Sarah Henstra’s debut adult novel arrives on the wings of furies.

  7. Heart Berries
    by Terese Marie Mailhot 'Canada'
    Doubleday Canada
    Mar 13, 2018
    BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Native Americans
    9780385691154 (ePUB)


    **Named one of the most anticipated books of 2018 by Entertainment Weekly, ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Huffington Post, B*tch, NYLON, Buzzfeed, Bustle, The Rumpus and Goodreads

    Guileless and refreshingly honest, Terese Mailhot's debut memoir chronicles her struggle to balance the beauty of her Native heritage with the often desperate and chaotic reality of life on the reservation.

    Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman's coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in British Columbia. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar II, Terese Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot's mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father--an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist--who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.

    Mailhot "trusts the reader to understand that memory isn't exact, but melded to imagination, pain and what we can bring ourselves to accept." Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people and to her place in the world.
  8. The Queens of Innis Lear
    by Tessa Gratton
    Tor Books
    Mar 27, 2018
    FICTION / Fantasy / Epic


    Dynasties battle for the crown in Tessa Gratton's debut adult epic fantasy,The Queens of Innis Lear.

    Three Queens. One crown. All out war.

    Gaela. Ruthless Commander.
    I am the rightful heir of Innis Lear. No more will I wait in the shadows and watch my mother’s murderer bleed my island dry.

    The King’s hold on the crown must end—willingly or at the edge of my sword.

    Regan. Master Manipulator.
    To secure my place on the throne, I must produce an heir. Countless times I have fed the island’s forests my blood. Yet, my ambition is cursed.

    No matter what or whom Imust destroy, I will wield the magic of Innis Lear.

    Elia. Star-blessed Priest.
    My sisters hide in the shadows like serpents, waitingto strike our ailing king. I must protect my father, even if it means marrying a stranger.

    We all have to make sacrifices. Love and freedom will be mine.

    "Amazing. Just Amazing."--Robin McKinley

    Featured Review

    "This is the epic fantasy book that I didn't know I needed. A feminist re-telling of King Lear with shades of Game of Thrones, Gratton manages to rewrite high fantasy in a way that leaves you hungry for more."
    - Jenn Hubbs, Essa Public Library
  9. Girls Burn Brighter
    by Shobha Rao
    Flatiron Books
    Mar 06, 2018
    FICTION / Literary


    “A definite must-read for readers who love authors like Nadia Hashimi and Khaled Hosseini...”—Bustle

    “Rao’s novel should be a treat for Ferrante fans, exploring the bonds of friendship and how female ambition beats against the strictures of poverty and patriarchal societies.”—The Huffington Post

    A searing, electrifying debut novel, for readers of Rupi Kaur, about the extraordinary bond between two girls driven apart by circumstance but relentless in their search for one another.

    Poornima and Savitha have three strikes against them: they are poor, they are ambitious, and they are girls. After her mother’s death, Poornima has very little kindness in her life. She is left to care for her siblings until her father can find her a suitable match. So when Savitha enters their household, Poornima is intrigued by the joyful, independent-minded girl. Suddenly their Indian village doesn't feel quite so claustrophobic, and Poornima begins to imagine a life beyond arranged marriage. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend.

    Her journey takes her into the darkest corners of India's underworld, on a harrowing cross-continental journey, and eventually to an apartment complex in Seattle. Alternating between the girls’ perspectives as they face ruthless obstacles,Girls Burn Brighterintroduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within.

  10. Find You in the Dark
    by Nathan Ripley 'Canada'
    Simon & Schuster
    Mar 06, 2018
    FICTION / Thrillers / Crime
    9781501179075 (ePUB)


    In this chilling debut thriller, in the vein of Dexter and The Talented Mr. Ripley, a family man obsessed with digging up the undiscovered remains of serial killer victims catches the attention of a murderer prowling the streets of Seattle.

    Martin Reese is obsessed with murder.

    For years, he has been illegally buying police files on serial killers and studying them in depth, using them as guides to find missing bodies. He doesn’t take any souvenirs, just photos that he stores in an old laptop, and then he turns in the results to the police anonymously. Martin sees his work as a public service, a righting of wrongs that cops have continuously failed to do.

    Detective Sandra Whittal sees it differently. On a meteoric rise in police ranks due to her case-closing efficiency, Whittal is suspicious of the mysterious caller—the Finder, she names him—leading the police to the bodies. Even if the Finder isn’t the one leaving bodies behind, who’s to say that he won’t start soon?

    On his latest dig, Martin searches for the first kill of Jason Shurn, the early 1990s murderer who may have been responsible for the disappearance of his sister-in-law, whom he never met. But when he arrives at the site, he finds a freshly killed body—a young and recently disappeared Seattle woman—lying among remains that were left there decades ago. Someone else knew where Jason Shurn buried his victims . . . and that someone isn’t happy that Martin has been going around digging up his work.

    When a crooked cop with a tenuous tie to Martin vanishes, Whittal begins to zero in on the Finder. Hunted by a real killer and by Whittal, Martin realizes that in order to escape the killer’s trap, he may have to go deeper into the world of murder than he ever thought.

What is Loan Stars?

Loan Stars is the readers’ advisory service that allows library staff across Canada to collaboratively select their favourite forthcoming titles. Using CataList, the online catalogue tool available free to libraries, library staff can nominate their favourite adult titles, the most popular of which will be marketed to libraries and library users alike. Loan Stars is a joint collaboration between the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC), BookNet Canada, the British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) Readers’ Advisory Committee, the Ontario Library Association (OLA) Readers’ Advisory Committee, library vendors, independent Canadian publishers, multi-national publishers, and more.

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Librarians, as well as other library staff, can vote for titles using CataList, a free tool that provides access to the most up-to-date publisher catalogues. To start voting:
  1. Sign up for your free CataList account by emailing from your library email account. Only titles listed in CataList are eligible for voting.
  2. Log in to CataList to start browsing catalogues. Since the voting period for a particular book will close at least two months prior to its publication date, focus on adult fiction and non-fiction titles that come out in the future. For example, the last day to vote on a title published anytime in October is August 31.
  3. Start reading! There are two ways to get free reader copies:
    1. Sign up for NetGalley, an online resource that allows libraries to access digital galleys.
    2. Send a direct request for a title through CataList. Start by looking for the “READ ME” button next to eligible titles, then select “Request from Publisher” from the drop-down menu. (Please note that not all publishers have enabled this function.)
    For more tips on how to obtain free reader copies, check out the links below:
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  4. To vote, simply look for the “Vote” button next to eligible titles in CataList and click it to nominate your favourites. When casting your vote, you also have the option to create or link to an online review that can be used to promote the title of your choice. This is your chance to promote your favourite books! Each month, a new list of the top picks will be circulated. Be sure to sign up for our mailing list to be immediately notified of the newest, most-loved titles.

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