Two months until we kick off our tenth annual book festival! As it gets closer and our excitement and anticipation grows, you may be wondering, “What should I be reading right now?”Luckily, we’ve put together a short reading list of new books from authors who will be coming to the festival this October. If you click on the author and title link below, it will take you to the page on our website with a listing of the author’s events and a bio. There will be so many great presenters this fall! We hope to see you there to help us celebrate ten years of connecting writers and readers. HAPPY READING








Benjamin Percey, The Dark Net

Nickolas Butler, The Hearts of Men

Benjamin Ludwig, Ginny Moon

Emily Bleeker, Working Fire

Laura Vosika, Blue Bells of Scotland

Lesley Kagen, The Mutual Admiration Society

Susan Amond Todd, White Lake

Wisconsin Fiction

D. Griesbach, Pearl Lake

John Galligan, The Blood Knot

Margaret Murphy, Awake Island – An Outdoor Adventure for Everyone

Patricia Skalka, Death In Cold Water

Victoria Houston, Dead Spider


Young Adult

Chelsea Bobulski, The Wood

Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

Liz Czukas, Throwing My Life Away



Corina Rogers, Backwards Dog – In the Beginning

Darcy Miller, Roll

Duachaka Her, Then and Now

Laura Kuehl, You’ll Always Be Enough

Peter and Connie Roop, Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie

Tricia Clasen, The Haunted House Project








Will Schwalbe, Books for Living

Ann Marie Ackermann, Death of an Assassin: The True Story of the German Murderer who Died Defending Robert E. Lee

Sagashus T. Levingston, Infamous Mothers

Elizabeth Rynecki, Chasing Portraits

Douglas Haynes, Every Day We Live Is the Future






Wisconsin Non-Fiction

Louis V. Clark III, How To Be An Indian In The 21st Century

Gavin Schmitt, Shallow Grave

Jack Mitchell, Wisconsin on the Air

James M. Campbell, Braving It

Jean Long Manteufel, Transitions: Stories of How to Help Mom and Dad with their Stuff

Jerald Podair, City of Dream: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles

Jerry Apps, Never Curse the Rain

Jim Feldman, A Storied Wilderness: Rewilding the Apostle Islands?

Mel Miskimen, Sit Stay Heal

Melanie McManus, Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age

Robert A. Birmingham and Amy Rosebrough, Indian Mounds of Wisconsin

Roberta Capasso, Sky Woman Lives in Me

Ron Faiola, Wisconsin Supper Clubs

Sharon Lamers, Junny’s Marie

Steve Krueger, Lighthouses of Lake Winnebago


Abayomi Animashaun, Sailing for Ithaca

Karla Huston, Grief Bone

Melissa Range, Scriptorium Poems


Not sure what to read first? We’ve also compiled a list comparing some of the books above to books you may already know using sources like Goodreads and Novelist. Happy reading!

Fox Cities Book Festival Read-Alike List

The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy

  • Slade House by David Mitchell (David Stephen)
    • Reason: These books share the genre “Horror” and the subject “Misfits (Persons).” Literary fiction, fantasy, and a dose of horror combine here to make a deeply satisfying book. — Jenny Arch
  • Insomnia by Stephen King
    • Reason: These books share the genre “Horror” and the subject “Demons.” This is a yarn so packed with suspense, romance, literary reference, fascinating miscellaneous knowledge, and heart. King throws in a tender romance, sensitive and often funny portrayals of the ravages of age, and the somewhat loopy presence of Rite-Aid drugstores, Cup-A-Soup, and Port-O-Sans smack-dab in the middle of hyper-reality. This commingling of the supernatural and the commonplace is what makes this hefty read so enjoyable. — Ray Olson

The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler

  • The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs by Matthew Dicks
    • Reason: While Hearts of Men is darker than Perfect Comeback, both character-driven tales explore the enduring, intergenerational effects of bullying. Hearts of Men focuses on young men and Perfect Comeback centers on young women; each offers a penetrating look at emotional trauma. — Mike Nilsson
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
    • Reason: The cruelties of youth have consequences well into the future in these psychologically astute novels set in America (Hearts of Men) and England (Sense of an Ending). Both novels feature sympathetically drawn characters and a spare style. — Mike Nilsson

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

  • Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb
    • Reason: Each told from the perspective of an autistic narrator, these moving novels examine what happens when emotional challenges lead to disastrous escape plans. Both narrators are well-developed characters, though their situations differ. — Shauna Griffin
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
    • Reason: Though Ginny Moon has had a much more harrowing upbringing than the protagonist of The Curious Incident, both novels are narrated by teenagers with autism, while the adults around them both help and misunderstand them. — Shauna Griffin

Dead Spider by Victoria Houston

  • The Temperance Brennan mysteries (Bones series) by Kathy Reichs
    • Reason: These series are both Descriptive, and they share the genre “Mysteries” and the subject “Murder investigation.”
  • Dead in the Water by Annelise Ryan
    • Reason: These books share the genre “Mysteries” and the subjects “Wisconsin” and “Small town life.” This is also part of a mystery series set in Wisconsin.

The Mutual Admiration Society by Leslie Kagen

  • The Hollywood Daughter by Kate Alcott
    • Reason: These books are both coming-of-age stories and share the genre “Historical Fiction” and the subject “1950s.”
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    • Reason: These books are both coming-of-age stories and share the genre “Historical Fiction.”

The Blood Knot by John Galligan

  • The Royal Wulff Murders by Keith McCafferty
    • Reason: With equally intriguing casts of characters, these two Montana-set mysteries — in which fly fishing is a major component — will appeal to readers who like vivid outdoor writing and plenty of fishing digressions. — Shauna Griffin
  • Mystery by Peter Straub
    • Reason: These books are Suspenseful and Intricately plotted, and they share the genre “Mysteries” and the subjects “Wisconsin” and “Murder.”

Death in Cold Water by Patricia Skulka

  • Dead Water by Victoria Houston
    • Reason: These books share the genre “Mysteries” and the subjects “Wisconsin” and “Widowers.”
  • Cold Hunter’s Moon by K.C. Greenlief
    • Reason: These books share the genre “Mysteries” and the subjects “Wisconsin” and “Widowers.”

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

  • Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
    • Reason: Beginning the school year as outcasts, the teen girls in these intense and compelling stories must come to terms with what happened to each of them at a party, and eventually confront their attackers. — Beth Gerall
  • Faking Normal by Courtney Stevens
    • Reason: Both compelling, character-driven books portray teen girls trying to keep traumatic events a secret. In Speak, the mystery is: What happened to Melinda over the summer? In Faking Normal, the question is: Who did it? — Autumn Winters

Throwing my Life Away by Liz Czukas

  • The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
    • Reason: Both books’ narrators are teen girls experiencing trouble during summer break, and both have dashes of romance. — Lauren Miles
  • Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
    • Reason: Not only are both books set during summer and include romance, but both of these books also feature teenage girls wanting to make the most of their summer break. Not to mention the parallel between both characters experiencing “dad difficulties,” though not in the same way. — Katelyn Sachs

Roll by Darcy Miller

  • Three Bird Summer by Sara St. Antoine
    • Reason: These books are both character-driven, and they share the genre “Realistic Fiction” and the subjects “Minnesota” and “Friendship.”
  • Judy Moody, Girl Detective by Megan McDonald
    • Reason: These books share the genre “Realistic Fiction” and the subject “Friendship.”

Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie by Peter and Connie Roop

  • Gracie the Lighthouse Cat by Ruth Brown
    • Reason: Both stories based on actual historical events, use descriptive language and illustrative detail to show brave young lighthouse heroines whose courage saves the lives of others, although this is in the background in Gracie which focuses on two cats. — Susie Wilde
  • Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express by Eleanor Coerr
    • Reason: These books share the genres “Easy Readers” and “Historical Fiction.”

The Haunted House Project by Tricia Clasen

  • The Thing About Jellyfish by Benjamin Ali
    • Reason: These books share the genre “Realistic Fiction” and the subjects “Loss (Psychology)” and “Grief.”
  • Wild Things by Clay Carmichael
    • Reason: These books share the genre “Realistic Fiction” and the subject “Loss (Psychology).”

Braving It by James Campbell

  • Trespassing Across America by Ken Ilgunas
    • Reason: Readers also enjoyed… on Goodreads.
      Told with sincerity, humor, and wit, Trespassing Across America is both a fascinating account of one man’s remarkable journey along the Keystone XL pipeline and a meditation on climate change, the beauty of the natural world, and the extremes to which we can push ourselves both physically and mentally. — Goodreads
  • Chasing Alaska: A Portrait of the Last Frontier Then and Now by C.B. Bernard
    • Reason: Readers also enjoyed… on Goodreads
      Alaska looms as a mythical, savage place, part nature preserve, part theme park, too vast to understand fully. Which is why C.B. Bernard lashed his canoe to his truck and traded the comforts of the Lower 48 for a remote island and a career as a reporter. It turned out that a distant relation had made the same trek northwest a century earlier… Here, in crisp, crystalline prose, is his moving portrait of the Last Frontier, then and now. — Goodreads

Blue Bells of Scotland by Laura Vosika

  • On a Highland Shore by Kathleen Givens
    • Reason: Readers also enjoyed… on Goodreads
      From acclaimed historical novelist Kathleen Givens comes a magnificently conceived, intricately detailed novel that brings to vivid life the tumult, adventure, and passion of thirteenth-century Scotland, when Norse invaders laid claim to the land and its people—and an explosive clash of cultures, politics, and personal pride changed the world forever. — Goodreads
  • Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland by Susan Fraser King
    • Reason: Readers also enjoyed… on Goodreads
      Queen. Saint. In eleventh-century Scotland, a young woman strives to fulfill her destiny despite the risks… Impeccably researched, a dramatic page-turner, Queen Hereafter is an unforgettable story of shifting alliances and the tension between fear and trust as a young woman finds her way in a dangerous world. — Goodreads

Sit Stay Heal by Mel Miskimen

  • Marley and Me by John Grogan
    • Reason: Readers also enjoyed… on Goodreads
      John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same… Through it all, Marley remained steadfast, a model of devotion, even when his family was at its wit’s end. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms. — Goodreads
  • Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard
    • Reason: Readers also enjoyed… on Goodreads
      Finding Gobi is a truly heart-warming story for animal lovers worldwide… As Dion witnessed the incredible determination of this small animal, he felt something change within himself. In the past he had always focused on winning and being the best, but his goal now was simply to make sure that his new friend was safe, nourished and hydrated… Finding Gobi is the ultimate story of hope, of resilience and of friendship, proving once again, that dogs really are ‘man’s best friend.’ — Goodreads

Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail by Melanie McManus

  • A Walk Across Michigan: Hiking the Michigan Shore-to-Shore Riding and Hiking Trail by Will Swartz
    • Reason: Readers also enjoyed… on Goodreads
      Want go on an adventure? This book is for you. It’s an interactive virtual hike across scenic Michigan, with creative and fascinating historical detours. A school teacher/librarian/administrator takes you on a 19-day trek from Lake Huron to Lake Michigan on the Michigan Shore-to-Shore Trail. And you can come along from the comfort of wherever you read. — Goodreads
  • As Far as the Eye Can See: Reflections of an Appalachian Trail Hiker by David Brill
    • Reason: Readers also enjoyed… on Goodreads
      Many an armchair hiker has dreamed of traversing the Appalachian Trail in its entirety. In 1979, David Brill became one of the first of a new generation to complete the Georgia-to-Maine hike. As Far as the Eye Can See chronicles his six-month, 2,100-mile walk, a quest to grow, to breathe, to change, to discover what really mattered to him. This book is for anyone interested in getting beyond the day-to-day slog of the hike to explore the emotional and spiritual dimensions of a long journey on foot. — Goodreads