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The Top 5 Book Finalists (in alphabetical order):


Cryptic Spaces: Book One: Foresight
Cryptic Spaces: Book One: Foresight
By Deen Ferrell

Willoughby sees patterns where others don't. His brilliance in mathematics allows him to uncover puzzles hidden in plain view. When a carved symbol leads him to the barbershop of Antonio Chavez, he finds himself in a world where nothing is as it seems. His friend, Antonio, is far more than a mere barber. Captivated by the famous and beautiful Sydney Senoya, he learns of a musical talent that can reach beyond the living. His new friend, James Arthur, proves to have strange healing powers. Even feisty T.K., their crew liaison on the company yacht, has startling secrets to hide. Determined to uncover the truth behind the supposed seer, Nostradamus, the team finds itself lost across the corridors of time, fighting for their lives. Does Willoughby alone, have the skill to save them?

My One Square Inch of Alaska: A Novel
My One Square Inch of Alaska: A Novel
By Sharon Short

A pair of siblings escapes—along with a Siberian Husky—the strictures of their 1950s industrial Ohio town on the adventure of a lifetime.

Talented high-school senior Donna Lane yearns to leave her Midwestern home in pursuit of a career in design, but she feels obligated to stay and care for her helpless father and her younger brother, Will. In fragile health and obsessed with the television show Sergeant Striker and the Alaskan Wild, Will’s dearest companion is a mute Siberian Husky named Trusty. The arrival of two outsiders inspires Donna to consider her dreams anew. Then Will falls sick, and Donna packs up their yellow convertible—with Will, Trusty, and a road atlas—and sets off for the Alaskan Territory. A portrait of a singular American moment, My One Square Inch of Alaska is a moving tale of exploration and love—human and canine—that dares to believe the impossible.


Pandora's Bottle
Pandora's Bottle
By Joanne Sydney Lessner

What happens when you pin all your hopes on a single event and it all goes terribly wrong? When that event is the uncorking of a fabled bottle of 1787 Chateau Lafite once owned by Thomas Jefferson, the repercussions are emotional, financial, theatrical and, in every way, unexpected. In this tale of hubris and redemption, aspiration and perseverance, Joanne Sydney Lessner provides a provocative glimpse into the world of fine wine, from the whirl of New York City haute cuisine to the historic vineyards of the Hudson Valley. When Sy Hampton purchases this legendary bottle which, through a quirk of preservation, may yet be drinkable he shocks the wine community by choosing to uncork it privately with a female companion, rather than at a special public event. Sy intends the evening to be a quiet reassertion of his virility in the throes of middle age, but for ambitious restaurateur Annette Lecocq, the event offers an irresistible opportunity for much-needed publicity. Their competing agendas are not the only things to collide on the fateful night. Caught in the crossfire are Tripp Macgregor, a waiter on the verge of his long-awaited Broadway debut, and Valentina D Ambrosio, the beautiful but unworldly working girl from Brooklyn Sy hopes to impress.

The Prodigal
The Prodigal
By Michael Hurley

This sweeping allegorical tale begins with the escape of a Gypsy princess and her young lover from her father's camp in 1851, recalling the flight of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The boy steals Prodigal, a sailing ship blessed with unnatural speed, and the lovers escape to sea, leaving the father to grieve for the loss and pine for the return of his child. More than 150 years later on Ocracoke Island we meet Aidan Sharpe, an aging lawyer, as he rises from the sand of a remote beach after a lost weekend. While struggling to rebuild his life in this lonely outpost of the Outer Banks, Aidan is caught up in a two-thousand-year-old mystery that unfolds with the sudden reappearance of Prodigal off the coast, adrift and unmanned. Its discovery will lead Aidan and those close to him into the deep, in a race between time and eternity.

The Unfinished Child
The Unfinished Child
By Theresa Shea

When Marie MacPherson, a mother of two, finds herself unexpectedly pregnant at 39, she feels guilty. Her best friend, Elizabeth, has never been able to conceive, despite years of fertility treatments. Marie's dilemma is further complicated when she becomes convinced something is wrong with her baby. She then enters the world of genetic testing and is entirely unprepared for the decision that lies ahead.

Intertwined throughout the novel is the story of Margaret, who gave birth to a daughter with Down syndrome in 1947, when such infants were defined as "unfinished" children. As the novel shifts back and forth through the decades, the lives of the three women converge, and the story speeds to an unexpected conclusion.

With skill and poise, debut novelist Theresa Shea dramatically explores society's changing views of Down syndrome over the past 60 years. The story offers an unflinching and compassionate history of the treatment of people with Down syndrome and their struggle for basic human rights. Ultimately, The Unfinished Child is an unforgettable and inspiring tale about the mysterious and complex bonds of family, friendship and motherhood.