The Newcomer

by Mary Kay Andrews

Because it was a clean and light read and her books always have a good story line.
Tammy W Smith, Library Assistant III, Vanceboro-Craven Pamlico Public Library

The Night Hawks
by Elly Griffiths
The reason is that it is a great story that continues the series about Dr. Ruth Galloway and the mysteries that she encounters along with her love triangle. 
Melanie Germon, Library Assistant,
Vanceboro Public Library

The Sweetness of Water
by Nathan Harris
Although an Oprah Book of the Month Club pick, ( I usually hate all her choices-too depressing and I prefer to pick my own books not have a celebrity choose them for me) I loved this book.  It's by a first-time author and I look forward to reading all his future endeavors. I found it to be especially relevant to the time we're living in now. It's historical fiction that takes place during our country's Civil War,  brought to life with real heart and soul.
Deb Fox , Library Assistant, Havelock Library


Lifeboat 12
by Susan Hood
It's a juvenile historical fiction novel based on the true story of a 13-year-old boy named Ken, and takes place during the 1940 Nazi Blitz of London. Ken is one of the "lucky" children chosen to be evacuated by the ship the SS City of Benares to Canada to escape the Nazis. The book is written in verse and is from the 13-year old's point of view and covers all emotions, from joy to fear and everything in between. The problems he indures kept me on the edge of my seat and I didn't want to put it down!
Jewel Smith, Children's Services/Library Assistant, Cove City-Craven County Library

Broken (in the best possible way)
by Jenny Lawson
Ms. Lawson is a talented writer.  She is gifted in that she can balance both the dark and the humorous about life and still feel like she is being authentic and honest in her telling.  She struggles with anxiety and depression but emerges triumphant in the retelling of her real-world events. 
Millie Sparks, New Bern--Craven County Public Library Branch Manager


Once & Future, Vol. 1: The King is Undead
by Kieron Gillen

I absolutely love Arthurian legends and this one isn't your typical one at all. And that makes it even better! The creative team in Kieron Gillen (writer), Dan Mora (illustrator), and Tamra Bonvillain (colorist) are insanely talented and they really make this book so much fun. I would recommend this graphic novel to anyone who likes a classic mythological tale turned on its head. You won't be disappointed. You'll be wanting more just like I was. Lucky for you, we have volume 2 and volume 3 is on hoopla.
Caleb Dansby, Library Assistant II, Circulation Department, New Bern-Craven County Public Library


Soul of an Octopus
by Sy Montgomery
Sy Montgomery's Soul of an Octopus is an eloquent memoir of her experience with octopuses at the New England Aquarium. Although the Giant Pacific Octopus is"alien" in appearance with expressive eyes and numerous tentacles, the author discoversthat each octopus is an individual, with a unique personality and human-like traits. She becomes emotionally attached to each octopus and mourns deeply when the animal's short-lived life is over.  Ultimately, Sy understands that the octopus (as well as other animals) have souls like us and share in the mystery of life.
Wendy L. Rosen, Reference Librarian, New Bern-Craven County Public Library

Escape From Falaise
by John Flanagan (Book 5 of The Ranger's Apprentice: The Royal Ranger Series)...action, adventure, humor, keep you on the edge of your seat suspense.
Victor T. Jones, Jr. ,Special Collections Librarian, Kellenberger Room, New Bern-Craven County Public Library


Great Circle
by Maggie Shipstead
So good I read it twice! This is a dual storyline of an early female aviator who is daring a world around flight and a modern-day female actor who has been cast to portray her in a biopic. Exploring what is means to explore, be creative, and to connect to a greater purpose are themes that resonate so beautifully with the glorious writing. As the risky flight and consuming method acting role start to build in intensity for the characters, you are swept up in the epic tale, as you anticipate their lost endings.
Amy Tattersall, Reference Assistant, New Bern-Craven County Public Library


A Swim in a Pond in the Rain : in Which Four Russians Give a Master class on Writing, Reading, and Life
by George Saunders
Great book about writing and got me to actually read Russian short story masters. Saunders would be my dream writing professor who I would naturally have a crush on as I pursue my dream of becoming a published poet! hiya!
Amy Tattersall, Reference Assistant, New Bern-Craven County Public Library

Three Little Cajun Pigs
by Mark Artell, illustrated by Jim Harris
My favorite book that I read in 2021 was "Three Little Cajun Pigs," by Mark Artell, illustrated by Jim Harris.  This is a take on the original Three Little Pigs story with a Cajun spin.  Instead of a big, bad wolf, the bad guy is Claud, a big bad gator. Not only is this a rhyming story, it is also done in the Cajun style dialect.  I read this during our Summer Reading Program and not only did the kids enjoy it, the parents in attendance laughed at my attempt doing it "Cajun style."  This played into our theme of Animals for SRP so our entire lesson that day was gator/swamp related.  I first saw this book while doing an Internet search for books that were not the everyday books we are used to reading.  I was really struck by how the author (who is Cajun himself) had t​his flowing quality to his voice that was so entertaining. Mine was NOT as good as his but ... I had fun trying it.  This is a book that would make a good read for any story time.
Brenda C. Lewis,
Vanceboro Public Library

The Luminous Dead 
by Caitlin Starling 
This was my favorite book I read in 2021. It was a sci-fi, psychological AND body horror- what more can you ask for? Space caves! Treasure! Uncertainty! DECEPTION! I read it all in one sitting and it kept me on the edge of my seat. Loved it. You should totally read it. Pamlico Library has it- swing on by and check it out today- then we can talk about it! 
Caitlin Kuhn, Pamlico Library Branch Manager

Beach Music
by Pat Conroy
Reading Pat Conroy is like watching Michaelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel.
Eric Simpkins, Pamlico Library Staff

Never Saw Me Coming
by Vera Kurian
Interesting and surprising novel that includes insights to sociopathic behavior, and several devious plot twists. For people who like suspense, character insight, and a story that gets in your head and can't be put down. 
Rebecca Lucas, Havelock-Craven County Library Branch Manager

The Startup Wife
by Tahmima Anam
This book takes an old issue and places it in a modern setting. How do couples thrive when both are committed to their careers? What if one is more successful than the other, or made more successful by the other? Other topics in the novel include the search for connection, meaning, and spirituality in the age of social media, and the sudden accumulation of wealth. 
Rebecca Lucas, Havelock-Craven County Library Branch Manager

The Hidden Life of Trees : What They Feel, How They Communicate : Discoveries From a Secret World
by Peter Wohlleben
Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group.
Peggi Carman, Craven-Pamlico Regional Library Webmaster

Nimona
by Noelle Stevenson
The best book I read this year would have to be Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. It's a graphic novel that takes a look at the line between hero and villain, between monster and man. An excellent read and a lot of fun.
Willow Redd, Library Assistant, Pamlico County Library

All Systems Red
by Martha Wells
Really, really enjoyed the Murderbot series by Martha Wells, All Systems Red is the first one.  
Also devoured all of Riley Sager this year, my fav is probably Home Before Dark
Lydia Davis, IT Coordinator, Craven-Pamlico Regional Library
The Last House on Needless Street
by Catriona Ward
In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the edge of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three. A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time. A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory. And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible. An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.
Travis Green, Library Assistant I, New Bern-Craven County Public Library

Willodeen
by Katherine Applegate
This book is a singular middle-grade fantasy novel about a girl who risks everything to help her handmade bear when he comes to life. It's a simple but beautiful story about humans' relationship with the natural world. Message to readers:"It takes empathy to cherish all living things, no matter how small or ugly." FYI: I recommend all titles by this author! 
Pam Jenkins, Youth Services Supervisor, New Bern-Craven County Public Library