In this month’s roundup of the best-reviewed BookLife titles, we highlight a history of haunted hotels, a Regency romance, a guide to worrying less, and a children’s book about family, memory, and interconnectedness.
★ Haunted by History by Craig Owens
Synopsis: Using photos, Owens documents eight prominent hotels in California and the origins of their ghost stories.
PW’s Takeaway: This book blends solid research, fascinating insights, and haunting photography.
Comparable Title: Colin Dickey’s Ghostland
Sample Line: “[He claimed] that the ghost of an angry teenage male haunted the Charlie Chaplin Suite, that the Palm Court had unexplained cold spots, and that the Alexandria’s basement... was haunted by the ghosts of ‘Larry and Gus, both Mafioso and very communicative.’ ”
★ The Demon Duke by Margaret Locke
Synopsis: Duke Damon Blackbourne, who has a misunderstood neurological disorder, takes the helm of his family estate and falls for Lady Grace Mattersley.
PW’s Takeaway: This tale of hope and courage will appeal to Regency readers.
Comparable Title: Anne Gracie’s The Perfect Stranger
Sample Line: “It was a welcomed state, the lack of feeling. It had dulled the pain of his back, which bore witness to the intense lashings his father had laid upon him, a desperate attempt to exorcise the demons Damon knew only too well.”
If You Look Up to the Sky by Angela Dalton
Synopsis: A young narrator recalls her grandmother’s advice to seek perspective in the sky.
PW’s Takeaway: Dalton emphasizes that there’s comfort to be found in memories and in the great expanse of the universe.
Comparable Title: Maya Soetoro-Ng’s Ladder to the Moon
50 Ways to Worry Less Now by Gigi Langer
Synopsis: Langer speaks from experience in her valuable manual on curbing anxiety.
PW’s Takeaway: Langer’s frank and empathetic tone will comfort readers, as will the practical steps she teaches.
Comparable Title: David A. Carbonell’s The Worry Trick
Cubicles by Walter Ostlie
Synopsis: Wally finds his job boring until he discovers a plot to take over the company.
PW’s Takeaway: Ostlie has successfully adapted his Cubicles comic strip with visually appealing, pastel-laden panels, action sequences, and eclectic aliens.
Comparable Title: Chip Zdarsky and Kagan McLeod’s Kaptara