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I read all kinds of fantasy novels and it takes new ideas to capture me like California Bones did.
I have never come up against the idea of Osteomancy being the bringer of magic. Osteomancy is the use of bones in magic. That is a simple explanation, but it means that the magic comes from consuming the bones of magical creatures in a kind of soup.
This book takes place in California, a California that has seceded from the United States. The places that we know as Amusement Parks, Disneyland and others are, real places of magic. There is so much magic in this book that you can almost smell it, like the characters can in the story.
I recommend you read California Bones by Greg Van Eekhout if you want to go on a magic carpet ride.
California Bones by Greg Van Eekhout (Tor Books) Recommended by Molly at The Fountainhead Bookstore Hendersonville NC
In Capital Dames, Cokie Roberts introduces us to the fascinating women from the north and south living in Washington DC. As you read you find the Civil War not only changed Washington DC but also changed the lives of women living in America.
As the city evolved into a sprawling union Army camp many of the southern belles fled to confederate territory while some became nurses and spies. At the same time many other women moved to the capitol to fill positions previously held by men who were now fighting the war.
The details of the lives of these women and their contribution to history before, during, and after the war help you understand just how important they were to America.
Capital Dames by Cokie Roberts (Harper) Recommended by Vickie at Litchfield Books Pawley's Island SC
Much like his previous book, The Outlaws of America: the Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity, Berger focuses herein on the radical edge of the 1960s/70s movement.
His argument, hardly a new one, is what caused the radicalization of the civil rights movement was the attempt to imprison its most impassioned voices. The leadership of what came to be the Black Power movement was schooled for revolution behind the walls of the American supermax prison system.
Perhaps the most influential name of Black Power, George Jackson did not leave prison alive, yet he remains a powerful symbol near half a century after George Jackson was shot down in the prison yard at San Quentin.
Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era by Dan Berger (University of North Carolina Press) Recommended by Glen at A Cappella Books Atlanta GA
From the publisher: Welcome, welcome to Caraval, Stephanie Garber's sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game. Mary from The Country Bookshop says, "A magnificent mix of mystery, romance, and magic. It had my emotions all over the place."
Caraval by Stephanie Garber ($18.99, Flatiron Books), recommended by Mary, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.
It's never too soon for a Christmas romance, and Shalvis is my favorite author for sexy romance and holiday magic. I love the characters of Heartbreaker Bay, and YA author Colbie was a perfect fit for the sexy and nerdy Spence. From their first meet cute to their first...well, you know, I was entranced with their story. Throw in a sassy cat, meddling friends, and crazy family members, and you have a book that's better than any Hallmark Christmas movie ever!
Chasing Christmas Eve: A Heartbreaker Bay Novel by Jill Shalvis ($7.99*, Avon Books), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.
Cheated: The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports by Jay M. Smith, Mary Willingham
It's been in the news for years, but Jay Smith & Mary Willingham's Cheated lays out the UNC academic/sports deception and prime players in all its breathtaking scope.
Follow the timeline and see how the dots are connected. While I'd read about the scandal, Cheated was full of revelations. Even more than for UNC, the authors make clear how this fits into a history of multi-institutional disgrace.
What happens next is urgent for the landscape of collegiate money-making sports and its players.
Cheated: The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports by By Jay M. Smith, Mary Willingham (Potomac Books) Recommended by Rosemary at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC
Zelie is a girl with magic in her blood, in a land where magic has been destroyed and outlawed by the cruel king. When she accidentally rescues the princess and the prince/captain of the guard comes after her, Zelie goes on the run with her brother and the princess, discovering that she has been chosen by the gods to bring magic back to the world. But before she can defeat the king and save her people, Zelie must face her own powers and what this mission might cost her and the people she loves. With rich world building and fantastic mythology, readers of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy will love this book.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi ($18.99*, Henry Hollt & Company), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.
Paula McLain does an exceptional job of capturing Beryl Markham and her singular life, as well as painting a vivid portrait of Kenya and a host of other noteworthy characters, including Karen Blixen, Dennys Finch-Hatton and the two British princes, Harry and David.
I've been a fan of Beryl Markham's since reading her memoir, West With the Night, in the '80s, and have also read whatever I could about her. This is a beautifully written, authentic novel of the acclaimed horse trainer, pioneer aviator, and gifted writer, about whom Hemingway famously wrote -She can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers...it is really a bloody wonderful book.
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (Ballantine) Recommended by Sarah at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC
Gillham's language is stunning and his characters are real, with all their flaws and all their bravery. This is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time.
City of Women By David R. Gillham ($16, Berkley Trade), recommended by Rene, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.
Clementine and Winston Churchill, both from aristocratic families, had the wedding of the year.
Photos in the papers, people lining the route to the church, and reports of a six hour wedding dress alteration session. Because Clementine and Winston exchanged over 1,700 letters, we get a fascinating, up close look at their relationship through the years.
Winston was impulsive, defensive and rash. Clementine was thoughtful, strong and strategic. During World War I, she organized canteens for munition workers. During World War II, she volunteered as a fire watcher, sitting on rooftops and calling in fires during air raids. She and Winston went out in the dark after the bombing stopped and toured the bomb sites with flashlights.
Clementine is an extraordinary love story against the backdrop of tumultuous history. I loved it!
Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill by Sonia Purnell (Viking) Recommended by Helen at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC
Has your wishful thinking or powerful imagination ever turned into a not-so-small fib? That's what happens to Colette as she ventures into her new neighborhood to make friends. Luckily almost everyone loves a good story, and this one uses an inventive color style not often seen in picture books.
Colette's Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault ($17.99*, Random House Books for Young Readers), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.
Wedding bells ring in Jan Karon’s next Mitford installment!
Little Dooley Kavanagh is all grown up and intending to marry the love of his life, Lace Harper. Short on money, they’ve decided to keep their ceremony sweet and uncomplicated.
Elegant, even, in its simplicity. The whole family’s invited. If you’re at all familiar with the people of this quaint town, then you know that at best, this day will be sweet, but it will not be simple. Determined to have the beautiful day they deserve, Dooley and Lace do their best to roll with the punches all the way down the aisle.
A pleasant update on Karon’s lovable and unpredictable characters.
Come Rain Or Come Shine by Jan Karon (G.P. Putnam's Sons) Recommended by MM at Square Books Oxford MS
If you've been in the store recently it's no secret that we've fallen in love with Ann Patchett's new novel, Commonwealth. This story of two families broken and reformed, parts blended and others shattered, feels like the book she was meant to write: complicated, intimate, ambitious, and uncomfortably true. The opening scene of the novel, a christening party at the Keating house, is such a pitch perfect rendition of the suburban '60s it could be used in virtual reality games. When an altered version of the two families moves to the Virginia Commonwealth I felt like Patchett had been secretly hanging out in my own Virginia neighborhood and was in on every conversation, gathering, and childhood excursion, back when we ran free all day, as long as we were home by supper. The story of this heartbreaking and lovable family, covering five decades, is as messy and real and beautifully told as one could wish.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, ($27.99, Harper), recommended by Sarah at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.
Weisman wrote the wildly popular book The World Without Us, making the point that if we humans were to disappear, the world would do exuberantly well without us.
He wrote this book, Countdown, to ask if there's a way that the world could do exuberantly well with us. The book grew on me. After each story, I'd say, just one more...just one more. Now that I've finished the whole book, to my surprise I realize that I'm well-educated and hopeful about something I'd pretty much given up on. What a writer! I highly recommend this book.
Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? by Alan Weisman (Little, Brown and Company), recommended by Sue at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh NC.
Scott McClanahan's minimalist pseudo-memoir is a funny, clever, touching and honest book about growing up in rural West Virgina. A book about being proud of and finding beauty in where you come from, even when there's no glamour in it.
Crapalachia: A Biography of Place by Scott McClanahan ($16, Two Dollar Radio), recommended by Justin, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC.
At one point while reading this book, I yelled out loud: “Don’t do it!” (I can’t tell you when or why — that would spoil it.) A haunting story about a disappearance, it’s also a portrait of a family — and one of my favorite releases of this fall.
Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt (Algonquin Books, $26.95), recommended by Mary Laura at Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.