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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 January 2018

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  1. The Wolves of Winter
    by Tyrell Johnson 'Canada'
    Simon & Schuster
    Jan 02, 2018
    FICTION / Literary
    9781501155758 (EPUB) 9781508235378 (Audio)

    Description

    Station Eleven meets The Hunger Games in this ruthless, captivating story of a young woman’s survival in the frozen wilderness of the Yukon after the rest of the world has collapsed.

    As the old world dies, we all must choose to become predators. Or become prey.

    The old world has been ravaged by war and disease, and as far as Lynn McBride is concerned, her family could be the last one left on earth. For seven years, the McBrides have eked out a meagre existence in the still, white wilderness of the Yukon. But this is not living. This is survival on the brink.

    Into this fragile community walk new threats, including the enigmatic fugitive, Jax, who holds secrets about the past and, possibly, keys to a better future. And then there’s Immunity, the pre-war organization that was supposed to save humankind from the flu. They’re still out there, enforcing order and conducting experiments—but is their work for the good of humankind or is something much more sinister at play? In the face of almost certain extinction, Lynn and her family must learn to hunt as a pack or die alone in the cold.

    Breakout debut novelist Tyrell Johnson weaves a captivating tale of humanity stretched far beyond its breaking point, of family and the bonds of love forged when everything else is lost. Reminiscent of Station Eleven and The Hunger Games, this is a classic and enthralling post-apocalyptic adventure and a celebration of the human spirit.

    Featured Review

    "Compelling and suspenseful, this book is the perfect mid-Winter read."
    Jenn Hubbs, Essa Public Library"Not as magical as Hunger Games or developed as Station Eleven, this title has touches of Jack London, with a slow crawl towards full dystopian. Excited to read the sequel."
    Nancy McPhee, Hamilton Public Library
  2. The Immortalists
    by Chloe Benjamin
    G.P. Putnam's Sons
    Jan 09, 2018
    FICTION / Literary

    Description

    A dazzling family love story reminiscent of Everything I Never Told You from a novelist heralded by Lorrie Moore as a “great new talent.”

    If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?

    It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

    The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

    A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.

    Featured Review

    "Such a great story, and interesting characters. Had me hooked from the very beginning. This is one of my favourites of 2018 already!"
    Alyssa Magilsen, Bruce County Public Library
  3. Need to Know
    by Karen Cleveland
    Doubleday Canada
    Jan 23, 2018
    FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
    9781524797027 (HT) 9780525587828 (PB) 9780525530596 (Audio)

    Description

    A chilling psychological thriller from a CIA insider: in hot pursuit of a Russian spy ring on U.S. soil, a CIA analyst uncovers a deadly secret that will test her loyalty to the agency--and to her family. The Expats meets The Americans meets The Girl Before.

    Vivian and Matt are a seemingly normal suburban couple, experiencing the same struggles as many North American families: juggling work and children, budgeting for a house in a decent school district. They're in love and life is good. Though Vivian can't share much about her CIA assignment with him, Matt has always been supportive, and his job as a software engineer allows him the flexibility needed to raise their four kids. But when she makes a startling discovery researching the CIA's Russian account, everything about her life and her marriage is cast in a new light--forcing her to make impossible and dangerous choices before she loses her job, her family and her life.
  4. The Imam of Tawi-Tawi
    by Ian Hamilton 'Canada'
    Spiderline
    Jan 06, 2018
    FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths

    Description

    Ava has spent two nights luxuriating in a hotel in Yunnan Province with the actress Pang Fai, with whom she has begun a secret relationship. She receives an urgent phone call from Chang Wang, the right hand to the billionaire Tommy Ordonez and one of Uncle’s oldest friends. Years ago, Ava and Uncle helped Tommy recover $50 million in a land swindle.

    Chang asks Ava to fly to Manila to meet with his friend, Senator Miguel Ramirez. Ramirez asks Ava to investigate a college in Tawi-Tawi, an island province in the Philippines, which he suspects is training terrorists. Ava’s investigation leads to a partnership with a CIA agent, and together they attempt to stop an international plot, horrific in size and scope, only to have it turn on them. Ava’s judgement and morals — which Uncle helped her forge — are tested like never before.

  5. The Questionable Behavior of Dahlia Moss
    by Max Wirestone
    Redhook
    Jan 09, 2018
    FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Amateur Sleuth

    Description

    Veronica Mars meets the World of Warcraft in this mystery romp with a hilarious heroine.

    Working for a games development company is my dream job. So, when a slightly sketchy lawyer offered me the opportunity, I had to take it! Who cares that the company has some quirks? No job is perfect. Some questionable, but probably totally normal issues:
    • A mysterious whistle-blower is posting the industry's dirty laundry on Reddit.
    • An unidentified corpse is in the staff room.
    • The game under development is for filthy casuals, and unwisely involves matching talking peppermints.
    • My job, technically speaking, is "Industry Spy."
    It's all just a typical day at the office. Right?

    Dive into Dahlia Moss's brilliant, bonkers mystery and enjoy pure, geeky fun!

    Dahlia Moss Mysteries
    The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss
    The Astonishing Mistakes of Dahlia Moss
    The Questionable Behavior of Dahlia Moss

  6. The Grave's a Fine and Private Place
    by Alan Bradley 'Canada'
    Doubleday Canada
    Jan 30, 2018
    FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Cozy
    9780449807699 (Audio)

    Description

    "The world's greatest adolescent British chemist/busybody/sleuth" (The Seattle Times), Flavia de Luce, returns in a twisty new mystery novel from award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Alan Bradley.

    In the wake of an unthinkable family tragedy, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is struggling to fill her empty days. For a needed escape, Dogger, the loyal family servant, suggests a boating trip for Flavia and her two older sisters. As their punt drifts past the church where a notorious vicar had recently dispatched three of his female parishioners by spiking their communion wine with cyanide, Flavia, an expert chemist with a passion for poisons, is ecstatic. Suddenly something grazes against her fingers as she dangles them in the water. She clamps down on the object, imagining herself as Ernest Hemingway battling a marlin, and pulls up what she expects will be a giant fish. But in Flavia's grip is something far better: a human head, attached to a human body. If anything could take Flavia's mind off sorrow, it is solving a murder—although one that may lead the young sleuth to an early grave.
  7. This Fallen Prey
    by Kelley Armstrong 'Canada'
    Doubleday Canada
    Jan 30, 2018
    FICTION / Thrillers / Crime
    9780385690638 (PB)

    Description

    A new spine-tingling thriller from the bestselling master of edge-of-your-seat stories.

    When Casey Duncan first arrived at Rockton, the off-the-grid, isolated community built as a haven for people running from their pasts, she had no idea what to expect. There are no cell phones, no internet, no mail and no way of getting in or out without the town council's approval. She certainly didn't expect to become the town homicide detective. But, the very last thing she expected was for the council to drop a dangerous criminal into their midst without a plan to keep him imprisoned. And she never thought that she'd have to be responsible for him.

    The longer Oliver Brady stays in town, the more people seem to die around him. When evidence begins piling up that someone inside Rockton is working as his accomplice, Casey races to figure out who exactly Brady is and what crimes he's truly responsible for committing.

    With dangerous secrets and heart-stopping twists, This Fallen Prey is Kelley Armstrong's most gripping thriller yet.
  8. This Love Story Will Self-Destruct
    by Leslie Cohen
    Gallery Books
    Jan 23, 2018
    FICTION / Contemporary Women
    9781501168543 (EPUB)

    Description

    This is the classic tale of boy meets girl: Girl…goes home with someone else.

    Meet Eve. She’s a dreamer, a feeler, a careening well of sensitivities who can’t quite keep her feet on the ground, or steer clear of trouble. She’s a laugher, a crier, a quirky and quick-witted bleeding-heart-worrier.

    Meet Ben. He’s an engineer, an expert at leveling floors who likes order, structure, and straight lines. He doesn’t opine, he doesn’t ruminate, he doesn’t simmer until he boils over.

    So naturally, when the two first cross paths, sparks don’t exactly fly. But then they meet again. And again. And then, finally, they find themselves with a deep yet fragile connection that will change the course of their relationship—possibly forever.

    Follow Eve and Ben as they navigate their twenties on a winding journey through first jobs, first dates, and first breakups; through first reunions, first betrayals and, maybe, first love. This is When Harry Met Sally reimagined; a charming tale told from two unapologetically original points of view. With an acerbic edge and heartwarming humor, debut novelist Leslie Cohen takes us on a tour of what life looks like when it doesn’t go according to plan, and explores the complexity, chaos, and comedy in finding a relationship built to last.
  9. Still Me
    by Jojo Moyes
    Pamela Dorman Books
    Jan 30, 2018
    FICTION / Contemporary Women
    9780525589273 (PB) 9780525530152 (Audio)

    Description

    From the sensational #1 New York Times bestselling author Jojo Moyes, a new book featuring her iconic heroine of Me Before You and After You, Louisa Clark

    Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.

    Before she knows what's happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets--not all her own--that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?
  10. In Every Moment We Are Still Alive
    by Tom Malmquist
    Melville House
    Jan 30, 2018
    FICTION / Biographical

    Description

    A prize-winning, bestselling debut of love, loss, and family--based on a true story--that's winning readers around the world.

    When Tom's heavily pregnant girlfriend Karin is rushed to the hospital, doctors are able to save the baby. But they are helpless to save Karin from what turns out to be acute Leukemia. And in a cruel, fleeting moment Tom gains a daughter but loses his soul-mate. In Every Moment We Are Alive is the story of the year that changes everything, as Tom must reconcile the fury and pain of loss with the overwhelming responsibility of raising his daughter, Livia, alone.

    By turns tragic and redemptive, meditative and breathless, achingly poignant and darkly funny, this autobiographical novel has been described as 'hypnotic', 'impossible to resist' and 'one of the most powerful books about grief ever written'.

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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Vote for Loan Stars

How It Works

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 catalist@booknetcanada.ca 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:
    How NetGalley works (bit.ly/1W6pypi)Getting started (bit.ly/1MGopQl)Tips to improve librarian profiles for ARC approvals (bit.ly/2b8qXfA)
  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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