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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuireAnother one that you won’t necessarily find in the YA section. This quick, superbly-written fantasy is perfect for anyone who’s ever felt like they don’t quite belong.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire ($17.99, Tor), recommended by the Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

Written with surprising clarity and insight, this novel gives a heartbreaking account of life in England before the US joined in World War II.

Mary North comes from an aristocratic family who detests her involvement teaching the children who have no way of escaping the violence in the city. Mary learns about love and trust through her time as a teacher and later as an ambulance driver helping victims of the relentless bombing of the city. Her boyfriend, Tom, and his roommate, Alistair, learn that doing your part in the war effort often becomes the greatest sacrifice.

This novel will stay with you for a long time!

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave (Simon & Schuster) Recommended by Linda at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

Benjamin Alire Sáenz's stories are of the knock-you-over-powerful variety.

These seven stories-- set in the border towns of Juárez and El Paso, with many of them touching on the wave of violence that engulfed Juárez in the '90s-- all have a connection to the Kentucky Club, a venerable Juárez institution.

Winner of the PEN/Faulkner award and a Lambda Literary award, this book deserves a wider audience.

Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Cinco Puntos Press) Recommended by Elese at Flyleaf Books Chapel Hill NC 

Everything She Forgot is a beautifully written story of the love between a father and a daughter. It is a compelling and heartbreaking story of repressed memories, family secrets, and things that could have been. The wonderfully developed characters evolve through the years as this masterfully written story slowly unwinds.  

Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne (William Morrow) Recommended by Nancy at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

Evicted by Matthew DesmondI know I’ve recommended this book before, but it’s just out in paperback, has won the Pulitzer, and is absolutely required reading. Take a look at how other people are living. Let your compassion motivate you to action. Admire Matthew Desmond’s brilliance.

Evicted by Matthew Desmond ($17.00*, Broadway Books), recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

Quail Ridge Books recommends Mohsin Hamid's latest book, Exit West, a beautiful yet unsettling love story of refugees, set in unnamed countries in an unnamed time. Mamie says: "In Exit West, Mohsin Hamid places us in an unnamed country (as he did in How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia), and in doing so makes what happens there a universal metaphor for war-torn countries in the Middle East. Saieed and Nadia are refugees from one such country, navigating not only the landscape but their developing love affair. They have had to leave much behind in their homeland, including Saieed’s beloved father. Reality and the fantastical blend together as they migrate from one place to another. Hamid once again sheds light on the plight of the refugees who inhabit our world. The book is full of discussable material for book clubs."

René says: "Exit West is one of the most devastating but hopeful books I have ever read. It could not be more relevant for our times. Mohsin Hamid brings us right into his characters’ lives and makes us see that we are much more similar than different. It is a book that everyone should read."

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid ($26, Riverhead Books), recommended by Mamie and René, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter by Tom BissellThe best book I've ever read about video games. Bissell takes games seriously as an art form worthy of thoughtful criticism while never idealizing away their flaws. Extra Lives is broken up into memoir-ish chapters focusing on the author's relationship to a single game at a time. "Grand Thefts" is a devastating high point, but they all have unique insights.

Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter by Tom Bissell ($15.95*, Vintage Books), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

Extraordinary Adventures by Daneil WallaceIn Daniel Wallace's new novel, Extraordinary Adventures we meet dutiful, unassuming (and lonely) Edsel Bronfman, who is suddenly galvanized into action when he must find a companion in order to be eligible for an all-expenses-paid trip to the beach. Whether you see a bit of yourself in Edsel, or you know someone like him, you'll be routing for him as remarkable events and characters unfold. A funny, perfect read for the summer!

Extraordinary Adventures by Daniel Wallace ($25.99, St. Martin’s Press), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

A Spring 2017 Okra Pick!

Many people assume that the subtitle of this book suggests something that is clearly false.

After all, if Francis Collins, the head of the Human Genome Project, is an accomplished scientist and avowed Christian, how could religion and science possibly be incompatible?  Well, here's how.

One of the greatest virtues of many religions is faith, which, by definition, is belief in something in the absence of evidence.  Far from being a virtue, faith is considered to be a great sin (irony intended) among scientists.  Science gets us closer to truth.  Religion never has.

As Coyne makes painfully clear, basing one's life in religion has serious consequences for the well-being of children, women, and society at large.  Read this book if you disagree with Coyne, but, even if you're already a member of the choir, read the book anyway.

It never hurts to read an author, especially one as gifted as Coyne, making arguments based on reason and science.

Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible by Jerry A. Coyne (Viking) Recommended by Brian at Malaprops Bookstore Asheville NC

A seven year old child has been kidnapped and Det. Cooper Devereaux, just returned from one of his many suspensions, is given the case.

Though Devereaux doesn’t often play well with others, and isn’t a stickler for the rules he is a great detective and his boss – one of his only supporters – knows if anyone can find this child he can.

I really liked Devereaux even before his back story was slowly revealed. And by the end of the book he was truly a hero – flawed and vulnerable but full of the right stuff. As Devereaux dug farther and farther into things his intuition told him were connected to the kidnapping he discovered many truths about himself and others in his life -- truths about mass murderers, bloodlines, mental illness and obsession.

This twisty, totally unpredictable page turner is the beginning, I hope, of a long line of Det. Cooper Devereaux stories.

False Positive by Andrew Grant (Ballantine Books) Recommended by Nancy M. at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

I expected dark and perhaps brutal – it was after all taking place in a maximum security prison for serious offenders – but I wasn’t expecting the supernatural element.

Normally, that would have immediately turned me off but it was so well done and so almost believable that I continued reading. Besides, by that time I was already hooked by Jess.

Fellside is a powerfully written story about drugs, love and hate, and power and corruption. It is an interesting look at the workings inside a prison and an equally interesting study of the human soul.

Fellside by M.R. Carey (Orbit) Recommended by Nancy M. at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

I never stop recommending Thad Carhart's memoir of the second time he moved to France, The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, which is a primer on the workings of pianos, and a sheer delight to read. Now, Carhart goes back to 1954, when his family of seven moved into a charming old mansion near the Château de Fontainebleau (his father was a NATO official), and immersed themselves in a France still recovering from WWII. His rich experiences as a kid alternate with chapters on the history of the chateau and the assorted French kings who inhabited it. And when he has returned to Fontainebleau as an adult, he gets to share in a restoration of the chateau, and retrace the steps of his childhood in a way we all sometimes wish we could. A perfect book for a summer escape to a very different place and time.

Finding Fontainebleau: An American Boy in France (Viking $27), recommended by Kent at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

Fingersmith by Sarah WatersForget Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. Move over Big Little Lies and The Woman in Cabin 10. Because Fingersmith has one of the best jaw dropping, plot twisting, Oh-My-God-Did-That-Just-Happen moments that I've ever read.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters ($17.99, Riverhead Books), recommended by Katie, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

TITLEI'm presently gobsmacked by and head-over-heels in love with Jamie Quatro's Fire Sermon, a gorgeous, searing first novel that takes on themes of grace, God, desire, truth, and family. Told in an array of tenses and forms that range from poetry to email (and everything in between), Fire Sermon takes great risks stylistically, as well as topically, and leaves nothing stable in its wake. It is unsparing and uncompromising; it is singular; it is innervating and strong; and it is a deeply, wonderfully stirring work of art.

Fire Sermon is a force. With the power of a sacred text, and the intimacy of a confession, Jamie Quatro lays bare marriage, sex, art, parenthood, everything. I am in awe of this book.

Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro ($24.00*, Grove Press), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

 A Winter 2018 Okra Pick

Ian the Goldfish - narrator of this unique novel - is about to take a plunge from his watery prison on the 27th floor balcony of an apartment complex.

The Seville on Roxy houses a cross section of humanity that includes a pregnant lady on bed rest fantasizing about ice cream sandwiches, a home-schooled boy who thinks he’s a time traveler and a shut in with a penchant for quiche and dirty talk.

If you loved Garth Stein's Art of Racing in the Rain you will fall in love with Ian. He's able to move unobtrusively through his neighbor’s apartments telling their stories and ultimately helping them take risks beyond their wildest dreams.

Do not be fooled by the cover (looks a little like a kids' book) or my inability to express how a goldfish can tell a GREAT story. TWO FINS WAY UP!

Fishbowl by Bradley Somer (St. Martin's Press) Recommended by Stefani at Inkwood Books Tampa FL

Geo-caching, clues tattooed on a dead body, complex riddles and clues ultimately leading to the end of the hunt.

A puzzle that only Detective Beatrice Kaspary can solve in order to catch a most unusual serial killer. A complex storyline and a psychological thriller written by a talented new author. 

A must read!

Five by Ursula Archer (Minotaur) Recommended by Nancy at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC