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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 September 2017

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  1. Once More with Feeling
    by Méira Cook 'Canada'
    House of Anansi Press
    Sep 23, 2017
    FICTION / Literary

    Description

    After twenty years Max Binder is still in love with his fiery wife, Maggie, and is determined to get her the perfect fortieth birthday gift. But Max’s singular desire — to make his wife happy — leads to an unexpected event that changes the course of his family’s life and touches the people who make up their western prairie city.

    Set over the course of a single year, Once More With Feeling tells the story of a community through intersecting moments and interconnected lives. The colourful citizens who make up this city — bisected by railway lines and rivers, connected by boulevards and back alleys — are marked by transformation, upheaval, and loss: the worker at a downtown soup kitchen who recognizes a kindred spirit amongst the homeless; the aging sisters who everywhere see the fleeting ghosts of two missing neighbourhood children; a communal voice of mothers anxious for the future of their children in the discomfiting world they inhabit — this place of memory, amnesia, longing, and belonging.

    Featuring a cast of eclectic characters, Once More With Feeling is about a community, about a family, and about the way time makes fond fools of us all. Award-winning author Méira Cook has crafted a novel that is at once funny, poignant, and yes, full of feeling.

    Featured Review

    "A lighter, quirkier read-alike for people who enjoy the novels of Elizabeth Strout!"
    Alexandra Yarrow, Ottawa Public Library
  2. First Snow, Last Light
    by Wayne Johnston 'Canada'
    Knopf Canada
    Sep 05, 2017
    FICTION / Literary

    Description

    From the author of the critically acclaimed, prizewinning and internationally bestselling The Colony of Unrequited Dreams comes an epic family mystery with a powerful, surprise ending, which features the return of the ever-fascinating Sheilagh Fielding, one of the most memorable characters in fiction.

    Ned Vatcher, only 14, ambles home from school in the chill hush that precedes the first storm of the winter of 1936 to find the house locked, the family car missing, and his parents gone without a trace. From that point on, his life is driven by the need to find out what happened to the Vanished Vatchers. His father, Edgar, born to a poor family of fishermen, had risen to become the right-hand man to the colony's prime minister, then suffered an unexpected fall from grace. Were he and his wife murdered? Was it suicide? Had they run away? If so, why had they left their only child behind?
    Ned soon finds himself enmeshed in another family, that of his missing father and the poverty from which the man somehow escaped. His grandparents, Nan and Reg, his Uncle Cyril and others, are themselves haunted by the inexplicable disappearance of a third Vatcher, a young man who was lost at sea on a calm and sunny day years earlier. Two other people loom large as Ned becomes Newfoundland's first media mogul, building an empire to insulate him from loss: a Jesuit priest named Father Duggan, and Sheilagh Fielding, a boozy giantess who, while wandering the city streets at night, composes satiric columns that scandalize the rich and powerful. In Ned, Fielding sees a surrogate for her two lost children, the secret that dogs her life, while Ned believes the enigmatic Fielding to be his soulmate.
    The novel builds to a spectacular resolution of the mystery of all the Vanished Vatchers. Only Wayne Johnston could create such larger-than-life, mythic characters embroiled in events that leave us contemplating not only their tragedies and triumphs, but the forces that compel us all to act in ways that surprise and sometimes terrify us.
  3. Deer Life
    by Ron Sexsmith 'Canada'
    Dundurn
    Sep 16, 2017
    FICTION / Literary

    Description

    A wicked fairy tale of witchcraft, bullying, revenge, and a mysterious bowler hat. Includes Ron’s own whimsical illustrations.

    Deryn Hedlight was not having a very good day and it was about to get much worse. He’d read stories of witches as a boy, but never believed for a second they were true. That is, until an unfortunate hunting accident turns his world upside down. What seemed like an honest mistake leads to an altogether unexpected transformation. But poor Deryn wasn’t the only wronged character tied up in these gloomy circumstances and sinister forces.

    Deer Life tells the story of a kind-hearted boy from Hinthoven and his mother_s undying love. Mostly though, it’s all about patience, friendship, and heroism where you least expect it.
  4. A Reckoning
    by Linda Spalding 'Canada'
    McClelland & Stewart
    Sep 26, 2017
    FICTION / Literary

    Description

    As the deeply moving and troubling account of a family's breakdown, A Reckoning is the perfect companion to Linda Spalding's bestselling, award-winning novel, The Purchase.

    It opens in the spring of 1855, when John Dickinson is involved in a shameful secret that will require a tragic decision. The family's resources have been wasted by a reckless brother who holds all of them hostage and, adding fuel to John's desperation, the enslaved workers have been visited by a Canadian abolitionist who pushes them to escape. Bry does, and his pursuit of freedom will involve a dangerous quest to find his mother and child in Canada.
    Meanwhile, the Dickinsons become fugitives of another kind, escaping their losses in a wagon en route to the West that will eventually be loaded onto a Missouri river boat for a dark adventure. Forests and rivers prevail in this story, and each person will be tested, especially thirteen-year-old Martin, whose lonely journey with a pet bear is almost mythic.
    Spalding, a Kansas native who lives in Toronto, writes with irresistible force and breathtaking passion. Her language is stunning, her voice unique. A Reckoning confirms her place at the forefront of Canadian literature.
  5. Lost in September
    by Kathleen Winter 'Canada'
    Knopf Canada
    Sep 12, 2017
    FICTION / Literary

    Description

    Long-awaited, thrilling new fiction from Kathleen Winter, whose previous novel Annabel was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller, Governor General's Award, Writers' Trust and Orange prizes, was a Globe and Mail "Best Book" and a New York Times "Notable," and was a #1 bestselling Canada Reads selection.

    From one of Canada's most exciting writers comes a gripping, compassionate and stunning novel that overturns and rewrites history. Enter the world of Jimmy--a tall, red-haired, homeless thirty-something ex-soldier, battered by PTSD--as he camps out on the streets of modern-day Montreal, trying to remember and reclaim his youth. While his past is something of an enigma, even to himself, the young man bears a striking resemblance to General James Wolfe, "Conqueror of Canada" and "Hero of Quebec," who died on the Plains of Abraham in 1759.

    As a young soldier in his twenties, the historical James Wolfe (1727-1759) was granted a short and much longed-for leave to travel to Paris to study poetry, music and dance--three of his passions. But in that very year, 1752, the British Empire abandoned the Julian calendar for the Gregorian, and every citizen of England lost eleven days: September 2 was followed by September 14. These lost eleven days happened to occur during the period that Wolfe had been granted for his leave. Despondent and bitter, he never got the chance to explore his artistic bent, and seven short years later, on the anniversary of this foreshortened leave, he died on the Plains of Abraham.

    Now, James is getting his eleven days back . . . but instead of the salons of 18th century Paris, he's wandering the streets of present-day Montreal and Quebec City, not as "the Hero of Quebec" but as a damaged war veteran wracked with anguish. Much like George Saunders in Lincoln in the Bardo, award-winning author Kathleen Winter takes a brief, intensely personal incident in the life of a famous historical figure, and using her incomparable gifts as a fiction writer, powerfully reimagines him. Here is a wrenching, unforgettable portrait--like none you have ever seen or read--of one of the most well-known figures in Canadian history.
  6. Demi-Gods
    by Eliza Robertson 'Canada'
    Hamish Hamilton
    Sep 05, 2017
    FICTION / Literary

    Description

    A story of love, lust, and the spaces in between, from a "captivating" (New York Times) new voice in fiction.

    It is 1950, and Willa’s mother has a new beau. The arrival of his blue-eyed, sun-kissed sons at Willa’s summer home signals the end of her safe childhood. As her entrancing older sister Joan pairs off with Kenneth, nine-year-old Willa is drawn to his strange and solitary younger brother, Patrick.

    Left to their own devices, Willa is swept up in Patrick’s wicked games. As they grow up, their encounters become increasingly charged with sexuality and degradation. But when Willa finally tries to reverse the trajectory of their relationship, an act of desperation has devastating results.

    Unfolding between the wild freedoms of British Columbia and the glittering beaches of California, Demi-Gods explores a girl’s attempt to forge a path of her own choosing in a world where female independence is suspect. Sensitive, playful, and entirely original, Eliza Robertson is one of the most exciting new voices in contemporary literature.
  7. The Visitors
    by Catherine Burns
    Gallery/Scout Press
    Sep 26, 2017
    FICTION / Thrillers / Psychological
    9781501182884 (TP)

    Description

    “Once you start Catherine Burns's dark, disturbing, and enthralling debut novel, it's hard to stop. The Visitors is bizarrely unsettling, yet compulsively readable.” —Iain Reid, internationally bestselling author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things

    With the smart suspense of Emma Donoghue’s Room and the atmospheric claustrophobia of Grey Gardens, Catherine Burns’s debut novel explores the complex truths we are able to keep hidden from ourselves and the twisted realities that can lurk beneath even the most serene of surfaces.

    Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother John in a crumbling mansion on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to live by John’s rules, even if it means turning a blind eye to the noises she hears coming from behind the cellar door...and turning a blind eye to the women’s laundry in the hamper that isn’t hers. For years, she’s buried the signs of John’s devastating secret into the deep recesses of her mind—until the day John is crippled by a heart attack, and Marion becomes the only one whose shoulders are fit to bear his secret. Forced to go down to the cellar and face what her brother has kept hidden, Marion discovers more about herself than she ever thought possible. As the truth is slowly unraveled, we finally begin to understand: maybe John isn’t the only one with a dark side....
  8. Little Fires Everywhere
    by Celeste Ng
    Penguin Press
    Sep 12, 2017
    FICTION / Literary
    9780525498773 (TP), 9780525498063 (Audio)

    Description

    "Witty, wise and tender. It's a marvel." – Paula Hawkins, New York Times-bestselling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water

    From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives

    "I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting. With brilliance and beauty, Celeste Ng dissects a microcosm of American society just when we need to see it beneath the microscope..." –Jodi Picoult, New York Times-bestselling author of Small Great Things and Leaving Time

    In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

    Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

    When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

    Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.
  9. The Woman Who Couldn't Scream
    by Christina Dodd
    St. Martin's Press
    Sep 05, 2017
    FICTION / Romance / Suspense

    Description

    Merida Falcon is a world-class beauty, a trophy wife who seems to have it all…except she has no voice.

    For nine bitter years, Merida lived to serve her wealthy elderly husband, never leaving his side, always doing his bidding…

    On his death, Merida vanishes…and reappears in Virtue Falls with a new name, a new look, and a plot to take revenge on the man who loved her, betrayed her and walked away, leaving her silent, abused and bound to an old man's obsession.

    But Merida faces challenges. Her school friend Kateri Kwinault is the newly elected sheriff of Virtue Falls. A chance meeting with her former lover intrigues him and brings him on the hunt for her, and meeting him face to face shakes her convictions. Will she have time to discover the truth about the events that occurred nine years ago? For someone in Virtue Falls is stalking women and slashing them…to death.

    Danger closes in. Merida's fears build. There’s no one to turn to…no one she dares to trust. And she has to wonder—who is the killer stalking? Is he trying to silence forever THE WOMAN WHO COULDN'T SCREAM?

  10. Godsgrave
    by Jay Kristoff
    St. Martin's Press
    Sep 05, 2017
    FICTION / Fantasy / Epic
    9781427290243 (Audio)

    Description

    Signed First Edition

    The second thrilling installment of the award-winning Nevernight Chronicle, from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.

    In a land where three suns almost never set, a ruthless assassin continues her quest for vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

    Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church hierarchy think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending the men who destroyed her familia; in fact, she’s told directly that Consul Scaeva is off limits. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia's suspicions about the Red Church’s true motives begin to grow.

    When it’s announced that Scaeva will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end him. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between love and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

    Featured Review

    "You always hope that subsequent ones will be as good as the first book in a miniseries. I'm happy to say this was just as fabulous as Nevernight! The action is fantastic and suitable for lovers of Game of Thrones or movies such as the Gladiator. Mia is tough and smart and a likeable heroine. Lots of twists at the end with this one, and I'm really looking forward to the final title in the series."
    Jennifer Green, Oshawa Public Library

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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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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