GREAT READS HANDPICKED BY GREAT SOUTHERN BOOKSELLERS...

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  • The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente; Annie Wu (Illustrator)

     The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente; Annie Wu (Illustrator) Told in vignettes from the perspectives of women who loved a superhero (and lost their lives because of it), The Refrigerator Monologues, written by Catherynne M. Valente and illustrated by Annie Wu, brings to light the sexism and injustice often portrayed in comic book culture. Many of the stories are clear homages to popular characters, finally giving them a voice previously stifled by their abruptly ended story lines. The voices were all so unique and stunning, you can barely tell they're written by the same author.

    The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente; Annie Wu (Illustrator) ($19.99*, recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

    Revisit a classic! A hilarious comedy tinged with a bit of tragic melancholy, this Pulitzer Prize winner is defined by its protagonist, the ever deluded Ignatius J. Reilly, whose complaints about his malfunctioning pyloric valve never cease to amuse. Ignatius may dominate the novel, but he would be nothing without New Orleans, his home and the novel’s playground. Though loosely structured, Ignatius’ ridiculous narrative adventures in the Crescent City never bore. A picaresque if there ever was one.

    A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (Grove Press, $16.00), recommended by Peter at Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

    I haven't had this much fun reading a book in a long time! In A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, Count Alexander Rostov, one of the great characters in modern fiction, reads like he leaped off the pages of a Tolstoy novel and landed in 1922, where he is placed under house arrest in Moscow's grand Metropol Hotel. The Count is elegant, sophisticated, erudite without being stuffy, wickedly funny, and in love with life. Towles takes you through 32 years of Russian history with a wonderful cast of characters, and a delightfully suspenseful plot. After 480 pages you will still mourn when you reach the end. Even better than his delightful debut, Rules of Civility.

    A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Viking $27), recommended by Sarah at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

    In this companion novel to Atkinson's bestseller Life After Life she tells the story of Ursula's brother Teddy, the favorite of his mother, his sisters - and, I have to believe, most readers.

    Teddy's story is no less moving than Ursula's, skipping backward and forward in time from his dotage to his childhood and times in-between. The heart of the story is WWII and Teddy's years as an RAF pilot, making forays deep into German territory, an experience that will color the rest of his long life.

    A wonderful novel that totally immerses you in a different world and at the same time makes you question many things about your own world.

    A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown and Company) Recommended by Sarah at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl

    A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob ProehlFrom the publisher: "Valerie Torrey took her son, Alex, and fled Los Angeles six years ago--leaving both her role on a cult sci-fi TV show and her costar husband after a tragedy blew their small family apart. Now Val must reunite nine-year-old Alex with his estranged father, so they set out on a road trip from New York, Val making appearances at comic book conventions along the way.

    As they travel west, encountering superheroes, monsters, time travelers, and robots, Val and Alex are drawn into the orbit of the comic-con regulars. For Alex, this world is a magical place where fiction becomes reality, but as they get closer to their destination, he begins to realize that the story his mother is telling him about their journey might have a very different ending than he imagined.

    A knowing and affectionate portrait of the pleasures and perils of fandom, A Hundred Thousand Worlds is also a tribute to the fierce and complicated love between a mother and son--and to the way the stories we create come to shape us.”

    A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl ($16.00. Penguin Books), recommended by Writer’s Block Bookstore, Winter Park, FL.

  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

    In this utterly delightful debut by Swedish author Backman we meet a grumpy, opinionated curmudgeon who thinks he has nothing left to live for after the loss of his wife and his job.

    His attempts to end his misery are continually thwarted by the annoying new neighbors who drag him begrudgingly back to his life and into theirs. This bittersweet tale might well make you cry, will definitely make you laugh, and may even make you want to drive a Saab for the rest of your life.

    A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman ($26, Atria Books), recommended by Tony at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh NC.

  • A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

    Irving is one of my favorite authors, and this is, what I consider, his masterpiece. A fascinating tale of one of the most unique characters I have ever read. The ultimate story of faith, redemption, love and friendship. It is funny, heart-breaking, and unforgettable.

    A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (HarperTorch, $7.99), recommended by Margaret at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

    Written in 1912 the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction.  This was a book club pick and I wasn't sure if I'd like it; but I did, so much that I plan to read the entire series.

    Let the adventures begin, as Captain John Carter finds himself transported to the alien landscape of Mars--where the low gravity increases his speed and strength exponentially. Taken prisoner by Martian warriors, he impresses them with his remarkable fighting skills, and quickly rises to a high-ranking chieftain.

    But the heroic Carter's powers thrust him right in the middle of a deadly war raging across the planet--and a dangerous romance with a divine princess.

    A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Fall River) Recommended by Cynthia at Book Swap of Carrollwood Tampa FL

  • A School for Unusual Girls

    Georgiana is a disgrace to her family. 

    She does not act properly in social settings. Her physical appearance is unbecoming to those around her. And her aptitude for science and experimentation has caused more than a little ruckus among her family and neighbors.

    When one of Georgiana’s more bold experiments leads to a near fatal fire, her family decided to be rid of her in the only way available to them. They send her to the Stranje House, a school for unruly girls. When they first arrive to the school, Georgiana is horrified by the sights that she witnesses…young ladies strapped to medieval racks or suffering inside an iron maiden. Yet, her family is more than happy to leave her with the head mistress Miss Stranje.

    However, the school might not be all that it seems. Soon Georgiana will find secret passageways, long-forgotten smuggler’s coves, unusual curriculum, and unexpected allies. Georgiana will discover her real purpose at this school is to create an invisible ink that will save many lives across Europe.

    Yet, if she fails, the cost many be more than she could ever imagine.

    Danger lurks in every corner, often from Georgiana herself. Will she be able to find the perfect mixture for the invisible ink, or will her failure create a disaster that will lead to the fall of Europe. Only time will tell. A thrilling tale that will keep you on your toes, and leave you yearning for more!

    Fans of The Jane Austen Mysteries, The Agency series, and Wrapped will love A School for Unusual Girls!

    A School for Unusual Girls...A Stranje House Novel by Kathleen BaldwinGretchen (Tor Books) Recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • A Shadow All of Light by Fred Chappell

    When manager Sarah asked me if I wanted to read Fred Chappell's A Shadow All of Light, I asked her, "Fred Chappell the poet?" She said yes, but explained that this time he had written a fantasy novel.

    Chappell has created a 17th century-ish, Italian-ish world where a country boy named Falco recounts his apprenticeship to the master shadow thief Maestro Astolfo, and there are many reasons why a person would want to steal, sell, buy, or otherwise deal in shadows.

    The novel is excellent, and I particularly liked its episodic nature--the story is advanced through a series of stand alone vignettes. From now on I'll ask, -Fred Chappell the fantasy writer?-, when I hear his name... and I'll keep a closer eye on my shadow.

    A Shadow All of Light by Fred Chappell (Tor Books) Recommended by Bill at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin

    A mesmerizing story of a man's life before, during, and after WWI. Filled with beauty and horror in equal measure, it is a tale that will haunt you. Helprin's prose is poetic, and his power to leave you awestruck is fully demonstrated in this beautiful novel.

    A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin (Harvest Books, $16.99), recommended by Margaret at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • A Song to Take the World Apart by Zan Romanoff

    A Song to Take the World Apart is immersive, engaging, and full of teenage emotion. Romanoff explores ancient folklore and the way our pasts impact our futures, all through Lorelai's imperfect teenage mind and body. This novel is about the beauty of magic and uncertainty in one girl's family and the daily struggles and singular experiences everyone faces as they come of age.

    A Song to Take the World Apart by Zan Romanoff (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17.99), recommended by Johanna at Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter

    Salter writes sex sans sentimentality and his breakthrough novel will make you blush and book a flight to France. Following an affair between a Yale dropout and young French woman, Sport avoids the sappy story trap through sparse, seductive prose.

    Buy this book and read it when no one is watching. Literature has rarely been this lusty.

    A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Recommended by Everett at Square Books Oxford MS

  • A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor

    A man is called home to Memphis from New York by his two middle-aged sisters to deal with their elderly father who is about to re-marry. Did you know there was so much Nashville and middle-Tennessee history in this wonderful novel?

    A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor (Vintage Books USA, $14.95), recommended by Kathy Schultenover at Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

    A Torch Against the Night immediately picks up with Laia and Elias' escape at the end of An Ember in the Ashes. Determined to break Laia's brother out of prison, Laia and Elias begin a breakneck journey across Serra, closely followed by Elias' former best friend, Helene, who has orders to kill them. Detailing the perspectives of Elias, Laia, and Helene, Tahir does an incredible job weaving all three stories together. A Torch Against the Night is exhilarating, thrilling, and heartbreaking, with plenty of unexpected twists and turns.

    A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (Razorbill, $19.99), recommended by Sami at Square Books, Oxford, MS.

  • A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott

    I have read Kate Alcott's previous books, so I had high expectations for this novel.

    I believe this is my favorite of all the books. The view of Old Hollywood portrayed through the making of the film Gone With The Wind is captivating. Adding in the rise of the Nazi party and war in Europe gives a rare glimpse into two very separate places and how one impacts the other.

    Kate's female characters never disappoint and Julie is no exception. When you reflect on how truly unusual her path was for a Smith educated heiress she becomes even more engaging. Historical fiction fans, movie fans and readers who want to disappear into a book must read this book.

    A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott (Doubleday) Recommended by Jackie at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

    My childhood favorite - read uncountable times.  What young girl doesn't identify with Meg?  After several years, L'Engle wrote several sequels, but Time is a standalone gem.

    A Wrinkle in Time ($6.99, Square Fish), recommended by Rosemary at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

    In Scott Westerfeld's new book Afterworlds the readers are treated to two stories in one!

    Afterworlds is set up with alternating chapters where the reader is first introduced to Darcy Patel, a writer, who has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel aptly titled - Afterworlds. Next the reader is immersed in the world of her novel and gets to follow her character Lizzie along on a suspenseful and thrilling ride.

    If you are looking for a fantastic new read then this book is a must!

    Afterworlds By Scott Westerfeld ($19.99, Simon Pulse), recommended by Erin at Foxtale Bookshoppe, Woodstock GA.

  • All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

    All Grown Up by Jami AttenbergIn the hands of an average author, a novel like All Grown Up, could be summarized in its first chapter. But Jami Attenberg is no average author. In this story about a 39-year-old single, childfree woman who defies convention, she utilizes each chapter to flesh out our characters from one-dimensional stereotypes into fully realized characters, emphasizing depth and richness that makes them feel so real. Perfect testament to the idea that one cannot truly know everything about anybody in one chapter.

    All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg ($25.00*, Houghton Mifflin), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

    This book isn’t brand new, but I feel it didn’t get enough attention this summer. I love reading mysteries in the fall, and Walker kept me guessing. I’m VERY CHOOSY with my thrillers, and this is a smart one.

    All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker (St. Martin’s Press, $26.99), recommended by Sissy at Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

    All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

    This spectacular (and spectacularly weird) debut imagines 2016 as an alternate universe full of technological advances--including time travel--that we can only dream of in our 2016. But thanks to Tom making a series of small-to-catastrophic mistakes, we’ve all gotten stuck in the wrong universe. As delightful a novel as I’ve read in ages.

    All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai ($26.00, Dutton Books), recommended by Niki, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • All That Is Solid Melts Into Air by Darragh McKeon

    This surprising new Russian novel by an Irish theater director knocked my socks off!

    With a maturity beyond his years, McKeon exposes the Chernobyl disaster through a luminous cast of characters – the teenage farm boy living 10 km from the reactor, the brilliant and conscientious young surgeon recruited to the scene, and the estranged wife and former journalist suppressed into an assembly line factory job – in this rare glimpse at a waning empire behind the Iron Curtain.

    All That Is Solid Melts Into Air By Darragh McKeon ($14.99, Harper Perennial), recommended by Vicki at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh NC.

  • All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

    All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane AndersA perfect blend of science fiction and fantasy. Wizard meets science genius, or versus, or romantically entangled, or childhood friends now at odds with their world views, but are still attracted to each other. Great first book from Charlie Jane Anders, one of my favorite IO9 editors.

    All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders ($15.99, Tor Books), recommended by Adam, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

    Judith Finch was held captive for two years before being returned to her hometown,maimed and mute for fear of what she mightreveal.To the people of Roswell Station,including her own mother, she's been cursed. Theone bright spot in her life is Lucas, the boyshe's loved since she was a girl but who doesn'tgive her a second glance.After Roswell Stationis attacked, Judith has to make a decision --stay silent and let people make their ownconclusions, or reveal all the truth that's inher.Berry's poetic language makes this mysteryand love story a captivating read that you won'twant to put down until you know everything thatJudith has to say.

    All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry($17.99, Viking Juvenile), recommended by Melissa, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage

    In a town of extreme wealth and poverty with little in between, George Clare comes home one afternoon to find his three year old daughter alone and his wife murdered, without a clue by whom. Immediately, of course, George becomes the chief suspect. Set over the course of a generation in a community where local farms are dying out and other unsolved crimes evolve, Brundage creates a community of mystery. Move over, The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.

    All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage (Knopf) Recommended by Richard at Square Books Oxford MS

  • Alleghany Front by Matthew Neill Null

    Alleghany Front by Matthew Neill Null“He is alive, but he cannot go home to face his mother and father, where they mattock small graves from a hillside, and that is a kind of death. He has a sliver of ice. Home is not for him. He lies breathing. He is rushing on.”

    This is a collection for anyone who loves a really kickass short story. Set in a West Virginia spanning the Civil War era all the way through the present day, these stories are surprising and brutal and thoroughly unsentimental. Despite being steeped in history, these stories are both poetic and experimental.

    Alleghany Front by Matthew Neill Null ($15.95, Sarabande Books), recommended by Brian, Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC.

  • Almost Famous Women: Stories by Meghan Mayhew Bergman

    Meghan Mayhew Bergman has done it again. 

    I loved her story collection, Birds of a Lesser Paradise, and am equally impressed with her brilliant new collection, Almost Famous Women.  Bergman takes obscure women from the past and creates a fictional world within the context of their real histories.

    Siamese twins, Lord Byron’s illegitimate daughter, and Oscar Wilde’s niece Dolly are among her chosen subjects. Bergman is a young writer on the rise, and this book, due out in January, will set the new year's bar high for people who love short stories as I do.

    Almost Famous Women: Stories by Megan Mayhew Bergman ($25, Scribner), recommended by Mamie at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • Always Happy Hour: Stories by Mary Miller

    Miller's writing is stripped down and carefully refined, packing a whole vision of the world into as few eye-widening details as possible. The stories in this collection explore the realities of women living between two worlds, with one foot in the future their meant to be striving toward and the other firmly rooted in their usually grim and booze-filled present. Though the stories can verge on the harsh, they always evoke a world that is immediately recognizable and palpably real. A great new collection by a writer who never seems to disappoint.

    Always Happy Hour ($24.95, Liveright Publishing Corporation), recommended by Donovan, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL.

  • American Girls by Alison Umminger

    American Girls by Alison UmmingerWhen fifteen-year-old Anna can’t stand her home life, she steals her stepmother’s credit card and runs away to Los Angeles to stay with her aspiring actress half-sister and ends up getting hired to research the Manson girls, a real group of murderous young women in the 1960s, for an indie film. What Anna ends up finding isn’t quite refuge; instead, it’s a clear look at herself and a realization about the dark heart of American girldom (as well as a little romance).

    American Girls by Alison Umminger ($9.99*, Flatiron Books), recommended by Hills & Hamlets Bookshop, Chattahoochee Hills, GA.

  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman

    American Gods by Neil Gaiman

    American Gods is an entertaining story that hooks readers from the beginning and does not let go of them until the tale is done. It is the 'Twilight of the Gods' as a new order rises to challenge the old. America is the battleground and the future of the world hangs in the balance. The enigmatic Mr. Wednesday seeks to control the flow of events, and he has hired a most unique individual, Shadow, to assist him. For anyone who has ever wondered whatever became of the old gods of myths and legends, the answer is as deceptively simple as it is complicated: They came to America.

    American Gods by Neil Gaiman ($19.99, William Morrow), recommended by Bud, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis

    American Housewife: Stories by Helen EllisSmart, concise, honest, and a bit creepy, this is definitely the most entertaining collection of short stories I have ever read. Each story appears to be about normal, stay-at-home women. They are perfectly polite and rather lovely. But as the story progresses, the strange details and heightened emotions escalate until you suddenly find yourself somewhere you never imagined the story could go. American Housewife is hilarious and satirical.

    It’s more than a little unsettling, and always surprising. And yet beneath the manicured nails, cherry-red lipstick, and unshakable poise, there is a wealth of honest emotion. These women go extreme lengths to protect themselves and the things they value. They choose people to love, and care for them without question. They know exactly who they are and how they want their lives to be. It is rare to find a collection of stories that celebrates strong, feminine characters while embracing the ridiculousness that is being an American woman.
    Read more at Lemuria Books' blog...

    American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis ($24.00*, Doubleday Books), recommended by Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS.

  • American War by Omar El Akkad

    American War by Omar El AkkadThis debut novel by a Canadian journalist who has reported on war from Afghanistan to the Black Lives Matter movement imagines a Second Civil War in the US in the years 2074-2093 and its aftermath. Not surprisingly, the states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia ("the MAG") secede over oil issues from a Union that has quite literally, mostly due to climate change, deteriorated into a smaller country whose capital is Columbus, Ohio. Mexico has reclaimed its old territories, a president has been assassinated, the Mississippi River is now the Mississippi Sea... Well-drawn southerners struggle to keep body and soul together and to undermine the northern aggressors One woman in particular, Sarat, emerges as a hero but....no spoilers! Compelling and scary.

    American War by Omar El Akkad ($26.95, Knopf Publishing Group), recommended by Lisa, Square Books, Oxford, MS.

  • Among the Living by Jonathan Rabb

    A FALL 2016 OKRA PICK

    What is unusual and so appealing about Jonathan Rabb’s Among the Living is that the novel takes two issues that separately we’ve heard so much about—the European Jewish experience and the Jim Crow era south—and blends them together in a way that demonstrates a fresh perspective. I found it powerful and engaging.

    Among the Living by Jonathan Rabb (Other Press, $25.95), recommended by Stephanie at Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL.

    Read the first chapter!

  • Among Thieves

    James Beck wasn’t a criminal when he was sentenced to prison on a falsified charge of killing a policeman, but he was very, very smart and he did what he had to in order to survive.

    Eight years later when his conviction was overturned he left prison with a group of ex-cons who would do anything for him. They were family, so when a distant cousin of one of the ex-cons needed help James Beck stepped in. Little did he know they would soon be fighting a Russian arms dealer, Bosnian war criminals and the NYPD.

    Among Thieves is an amazingly intelligent, fast paced, well written story about how to get even, steal 116 million dollars and not end up back in jail.

    Among Thieves by John Clarkson (Minotaur) Recommended by Nancy at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

    On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.

    Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren--a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.

    An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose--to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.

    Ancillary Justice By Ann Leckie (Orbit) Recommended by Steve at Fountain Bookstore Richmond VA
     

  • And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer (A Novella) by Fredrik Backman

    Fredrik Backman’s latest book is small yet carries a lot of weight. The story of a grandson and son dealing with a grandfather’s dementia. Every word cuts right to the heart. Sincerely moving and endearing. A book all should read!

    And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer (A Novella) by Fredrik Backman ($18, Atria Books), recommended by Melanie, Litchfield Books, Pawleys Island, SC.

  • Another Brooklyn by Jaqueline Woodson

    Do not be fooled by the length of this book. It is short but powerful.

    It brought me right into the world of a young African-American girl and her friends in language that is both compact and lyrical. Publishers Weekly gave Another Brooklyn a well-deserved star review and said: Woodson…combines grit and beauty in a series of stunning vignettes, painting a vivid mural of what it was like to grow up African-American in Brooklyn during the 1970s…Woodson draws on all the senses to trace the milestones in a woman’s life and how her early experiences shaped her identity.

    It is a book that will stay with me for a long time.

    Another Brooklyn by Jaqueline Woodson (Amistad Press) Recommended by Rene at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson

    We usually think of 'all men are created equal' when considering the start of our country. Ashes, which completes Anderson's Seeds of America trilogy set during the Revolutionary War, reminds us jarringly that this was not the case. Through the trilogy, we experience the hardships, hypocrisies, and always-cherished bonds of friendship from the perspective of Isabel, an escaped slave. Anderson always writes compelling, complicated characters for whom we care deeply. Ashes brings deep satisfaction to the trilogy. Ages 9+.

    Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy $16.99), recommended by Rosemary at Quail Ridge Books. Raleigh, NC.

  • Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

    In the 1970s, Joan is a professional ballerina. Her company features the Russian breakout star, Arslan Ruskov. Joan is the reason he is in the United States--she even drove the get-away car. Despite the fact that she loves Arslan, he is engaged to another woman and Joan knows she will never be a soloist, so she decides to leave the ballet world. Joan marries her high school boyfriend and they live a nice life, but when their son begins to study dance, Joan is forced back into the lifestyle. Will her secrets be exposed or will her son be able to follow his dreams?

    Astonish Me is written with a style similar to a performance. It is divided into different acts and the narration sets the scene as the events unfold. Several different topics are broached in this book, ranging from parenting styles to marriages to work ethics. This is a book that you will want to read with someone else, as the ending will leave you desperate to discuss with a friend who understands.

    Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead, recommended by Nicole at My Sisters Books, Pawleys Island, SC.

  • Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen

    This is one of those books that sounds utterly ridiculous when you try to describe it: talking elephants in space! But the author creates such wonderful characters and builds such a unique, dynamic universe, that I totally fell under the spell of Barsk. This beautifully written adventure is full of heart and wonder as well as complex concepts of morality, science and spirituality. Talking elephants in space: yes!

    Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen ($16.99, Tor ), recommended by Tony at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • Bathing the Lion by Jonathan Carroll

    Reading Jonathan Carroll can seem like waking from a particularly strange dream. Random details that seemed so vital at the time can prove challenging to explain afterwards.

    While cloaked in the guise of a fairly straightforward science fiction tale of alien "mechanics" battling chaos, Bathing the Lion is also a meditation on life and death, on memory and illusion, and yes, on dreams. It is a small window on the genius of Jonathan Carroll.

    Bathing the Lion by Jonathan Carroll (St. Martin's Press) Recommended by Tony at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

    When Alice is sent from her desk job at a New York publishing house to the Bel Air mansion of M.M. Banning, a reclusive one-hit wonder in the literary world, she relishes the idea of doing something new and helping Mimi write her next great novel.

    But it turns out, she's mostly wanted to take care of Frank, Mimi's 9-year-old son, a precocious genius who loves old Hollywood movies and dresses better than anyone you've ever met, but who can't seem to bring himself to socialize with other kids.

    As Alice is charmed by Frank, she starts to wonder about the life Mimi has built for the two of them and whether she actually has a place in it, however temporary. Fans of Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project will be drawn to Frank and his social awkwardness that somehow manages to also be endearing.

    Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson (William Morrow) Recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC.

  • Beachhead by Jeffery Hess

    Beachhead is a suspense novel with lots of action, twists and turns.  Hess brings the 1980’s Tampa to life with a descriptive narrative that is well-written and kept me guessing.  With its interesting plot and realistic characters this is a must read for anyone wanting to learn a little bit of Florida history. Beachhead by Jeffery Hess ($16.95, Down & Out Books), recommended by the staff at Bookswap of Carrollwood, Tampa, FL.

  • Beautiful Blue World by Suzanne LaFleur

    In the fictional world of Sofarende there is war, and it is getting closer to home for 12-year-old Mathilde and her best friend Meg. Perfect for 4th or 5th graders who are ready for something more advanced but aren’t ready for YA content yet.

    Beautiful Blue World by Suzanne LaFleur (Wendy Lamb Books, $16.99), recommended by Catherine at Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • Before Morning by Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes

    Before Morning by Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes (HMH Books for Young Readers $17.99). Who hasn’t wished for an overnight snowfall that transforms the next day? A minimal, pitch-perfect text is magnificently illustrated in scratchboard and watercolor. From endpaper to endpaper the entire city and surroundings gradually change shape and color as the snow falls. A little girl and her family revel in the unexpected, but welcome diversion, and there are many charming and amusing details in the art for readers to discover and follow. A quiet, but brilliant gem to share with everyone. Before Morning by Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes (HMH Books for Young Readers $17.99), recommended by Carol at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh NC.

  • Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

    Before We Were Yours by Lisa WingateLisa Wingate is a master storyteller, and I am particularly attached to her historical fiction. Each time I read one of the books, I learn of a part of our southern past that is mostly forgotten, or in the case of the Tennessee Children's Home, swept under the rug. Rill is an amazing child faced with horrors most of us will be unable to imagine. We have Lisa Wingate to bring them to life and paint a picture of horrible corruption and poverty, but also show the amazing determination that can survive anything. The book is an expository and deeply moving family history. Any fan of southern history, especially South Carolina and Tennessee, will enjoy this book.

    Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate ($26.00, Ballantine Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

    A Spring 2017 Okra Pick!

  • Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

    Behind Her Eyes took me totally by surprise. From the beginning I knew it was the story of a very disturbed person, but which one was the sick one? I knew something happened in the past that was driving two of the main characters, and I thought I was discovering the truth about the past - but, boy, was I wrong. A very dark and eerie psychological thriller of love and obsession that you will not be able to put down until you discover the truth.

    Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough ($25.99, Flatiron Books), recommended by Nancy, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

    Sometimes when the going gets tough I like to set aside that serious literary novel that’s collecting dust on my nightstand and hole up with a fun, breezy whodunit that’s just plain brain candy. This funny thriller did the trick for me, so I’m looking forward to tuning into HBO on February 19 for the much buzzed-about six-episode miniseries adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman.

    Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty ($16, Berkley Books), recommended by Katherine, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • Black Wings Has My Angel by Elliot Chaze

    This lost classic of noir is maybe the best work of crime fiction you’ve never heard of. Long hard to find, it ranks right up there with the best of Chandler, Hammett, and other masters. Hopefully, now Chaze (who spent most of his career as a journalist in Hattiesburg, MS) will finally get the recognition that he deserves.

    Black Wings Has My Angel by Elliot Chaze ($12.95, New York Review of Books), recommended by Cody, Square Books, Oxford, MS.

  • Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly; Betsy Peterschmidt

    For all the geeks, outcasts, and kids who walk to the beat of a different drummer, Blackbird Fly holds out a hand of friendship and invites you to join Filippino immigrant Analyn (known as Apple) as she recovers from her best friend's betrayal and subsequent bullying and finds that music can save one's soul, that you don't have to believe others' opinions of you, and that moms can surprise you.

    Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly; Betsy Peterschmidt (Illustrator)(Greenwillow Books) Recommended by Jill at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • Bone #1: Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith

    This hugely-successful comic/graphic novel combines humor, darkness, distinct characters, cartoonish and not-so-cartoonish artwork with a great story to make something that is both appropriate and fun for young adults but engaging and clever enough for adult readers, as well.

    Bone #1: Out from Boneville (Tribute Edition) by Jeff Smith (Graphix), recommended by Frank at Fountain Bookstore Richmond VA.

  • Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

    Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

    Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy led us on a gradual descent into creeping sci-fi horror. His new standalone novel Borne plunges you straight-off into a post-apocalyptic cityscape picked over by scavengers, failed biotech, and a Godzilla-sized flying bear called Mord. The world VanderMeer describes is terrifying and ingeniously conceived, but it's the relationship between a scavenger, Rachel, and the squid-like biotech creature she names Borne that is the book's most remarkable feat. He was born, but I had borne him.

    Borne by Jeff VanderMeer ($26.00, MCD), recommended by Travis, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yak; Lark Pien

    Part historical novel and part fantasy, Boxers & Saints are companion graphic novels re-imagining the Boxer Rebellion. Yang's art style is cartoonishly simple and colorful, in deliberate contrast to the messy, multifaceted events he recounts. Recommended for teen readers and up.

    Boxers & Saints Boxed Set By Gene Luen Yang ($34.99, First Second), recommended by Rachel, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

    In 1953, Boy Novak runs away from her home on the Lower East Side of New York and ends up in a small town in Massachusetts.

    She marries Arturo Whitman, a widower with an adored daughter named Snow, and the three live happily until the birth of Bird, whose dark skin exposes the Whitmans as African-Americans passing for white.

    Oyeyemi is a stunning talent who examines the disparity in how we perceive ourselves and how we allow others to perceive us. Boy, Snow, Bird is a bewitching and beguiling tale with unforgettable characters.

    Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi ($27.95, Riverhead Books), recommended by Amanda, Inkwood Books Tampa, FL.

  • Bream Gives Me Hiccups by Jesse Eisenberg

    Taking its title from a group of stories that begin the book, this collection moves from contemporary L.A. to the dorm rooms of an American college to ancient Pompeii, throwing the reader into a universe of social misfits, re-imagined scenes from history, and ridiculous overreactions.

    Existential food critics. Awkward romances. These and more await in the debut novel by actor Jesse Eisenberg, who manages to create a brilliant snapshot of life in the digital age in this collection of short stories.

    Witty and amusingly gloomy, Eisenberg introduces the reader to an eclectic variety of characters and situations you won’t soon forget, especially the chapter on postmodern dating.

    Bream Gives Me Hiccups by Jesse Eisenberg (Grove Press) Recommended by Andrew at Square Books Oxford MS

     

  • Broken River by J. Robert Lennon

    Broken River by J. Robert LennonFrom the onset, it is clear that Broken River is a novel that will have you dreading what lies on the next page but leave you no choice other than to keep reading. A family of three, seeking a fresh start after the father's infidelity, has just moved from the city to a house in upstate New York that's been left dormant for years after its previous tenants were murdered in an unsolved crime. At the expense of their own familial bonds, each member of the family finds their own way of coping with the change in scenery, and both mother and daughter find themselves drawn to the unsolved crime that took the lives of the home's previous occupants. Meanwhile, other individuals who may be linked to the murders are doing some sleuthing of their own. Lennon's characters are among the most believable and terrifying that I've encountered, and an always tangible and at times bordering-on-the-supernatural sense of foreboding casts its shadow over the character's choices and pushes them towards their inevitable convergence.

    Broken River by J. Robert Lennon ($16.00, Graywolf Press), recommended by Lane, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • Brother, Brother by Clay Carmichael


    Set on an island off the coast of NC, this novel explores the unexpected complications in family lives.

    Brother Grace is 17 when he learns that he has a twin. In his efforts to locate him, Brother finds disturbing family secrets mixed in with local political power. Carmichael, a Carrboro resident, writes movingly of Brother's struggle to understand his real family and thus more about himself. For ages 12 and up.

    Brother, Brother by Clay Carmichael (Roaring Brook Press), recommended by Carol, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh NC.

  • Brutal Silence by Margaret Dardess

    Brutal Silence by Margaret DardessMargaret Dardess skillfully brings to life one of the most terrifying realities of our time while blending it inside a fantastic thriller. The characters were drawn expertly by being relatable, flawed, and and unexpectedly evil. Our main character is a a strong intelligent woman who was kidnapped while on vacation in Mexico and forced in a life of sex trafficking. She is deftly able to escape, returning home to her country club upbringing and job leading a clinic. This experience changes her dramatically and she puts up a valiant fight when she becomes a target.

    The pace of the book made it a highly recommended page turner. I love learning about different topics while being led through a fast-paced mystery and this doesn't disappoint.

    Brutal Silence by Margaret Dardess ($13.95*), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

  • Burmese Days: A Novel by George Orwell

    Orwell draws on his years of experience in India to tell this story of the waning days of British imperialism. A handful of Englishmen living in a settlement in Burma congregate in the European Club, drink whiskey, and argue over an impending order to admit a token Asian. Definitely my favorite work of fiction! Great historical context, wonderful writing and the best ending to any book ever!

    Burmese Days: A Novel by George Orwell ($14.95, Harvest Books), recommended by John, Cavalier House Books, Denham Springs, LA.

  • Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

    Burning Glass will take you to a world that feels like old Russia. It is full of political tension, especially between two brothers, but it’s Sonya’s job to navigate these tense situations and find a way to protect herself and her country.

    Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie ($17.99, Katherine Tegen Books), recommended by Erica, Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS.

  • California Bones

    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

  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber

    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.

  • Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

    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

  • City of Women by David Gillham

    This debut novel is a thriller, a love story, a story of courage and the many unknown heroes who made life and death decisions in the face of the horror that was Berlin in 1943.

    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.

  • Colette's Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault

    Colette's Lost Pet by Isabelle ArsenaultHas 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.

  • Come Rain Or Come Shine by Jan Karon

    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

  • Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

    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.

  • Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt

    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.

  • Damaged by Lisa Scottoline

    Mary DiNunzio is a successful attorney and a partner at the Rosato & DiNunzio firm. Her schedule has gotten complicated, due to her wedding being a few weeks away. However, when an elderly man named Edward comes in for a free consultation, Mary’s world is turned upside down. Edward’s grandson, Patrick, is being sued by a teacher’s aide for assault. Sadly, it is this shy, dyslexic boy who bears the markings of abuse. As Mary becomes more involved in finding out the truth, she becomes the only chance Patrick has at surviving and leading a healthy life. Is Mary going to lose everything she has in order to protect Patrick, or will the evidence prove Mary wrong?

    Lisa Scottoline packs a powerful punch in this novel. Despite it being the fourth in a series, the plot works well as a stand-alone story. Readers, like Mary, will be drawn in right from the moment they meet Patrick and they will be kept guessing as they try to figure out the truth through all the multiple twists and intense secondary storylines. Damaged is a book that weaves its way into readers’ hearts. The author does an excellent job at showing the current struggles children with learning disorders face on a daily basis. Filled with a large family, human emotions, and one dramatic courtroom scene, readers of literature and mysteries will devour this book.

    Damaged by Lisa Scottoline, recommended by Nicole at My Sisters Books, Pawleys Island, SC.

  • Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age by Bohumil Hrabal

    The world is a beautiful place, don't you think? Not because it is, but because I see it that way.

    The title is the first thing I noticed about this book, but it definitely wasn't what kept me reading it--the writing itself took care of that.

    This entire novel is ONE sentence. This is a book meant to be devoured in one sitting--you may not stop to catch your breath. Hrabal is a master and he does something really special here. 

    Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age By Bohumil Hrabal ($14, NYRB Classics) Recommended by O.B. at Scuppernong Books Greensboro NC

  • Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

    Eden, a world where no sunlight reaches the surface, illuminated only by the lantern flowers hanging from the trees above, is home to descendents of the two survivors of a crash-landed ship, generations removed from Earth.

    Beckett masterfully brings this strange and alien world to life as a small group pushes out from their small valley of light. Highly recommended for fans of well-written science-fiction.

    Dark Eden by Chris Beckett ($15, Broadway Books), recommended by Ted, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • Descent by Tim Johnston

    A family vacation in the Rocky Mountains turns tragic when a young girl goes missing.

    Her younger brother is the only one who remembers what happened and is overcome by guilt and denial. The parent’s relationship disintegrates while their young daughter’s whereabouts remain a mystery.

    You will not be able to put this one down.

    Every character is significant to the plot development. There is nothing rushed or gimmicky about this literary thriller. It is a page turner, but only because you want to see how each character is living despite a set of terrible circumstances.

    Easily the best book I’ve read in 5 years. Descent by Tim Johnston (Algonquin) Recommended by Stefani at Inkwood Books Tampa FL

  • Desperation Road by Michael Farris Smith

    There is a tension and stark beauty that pervades all pages of Smith’s novel. It delivers blunt, realistic dialogue and long, beautiful run-on sentences that never manage to trip over themselves. Smith is unquestionably a craftsman of the highest order. He managed to surprise me several times, only to have that surprise seem inevitable in retrospect. This is the first ‘grit lit’ novel I’ve picked up and been enchanted by, so I don’t have any ready comparisons to Ron Rash or Tom Franklin for you, although they seem equally impressed by Smith to go by their blurbs on the cover of the book. I will say that this is sharp Southern fiction at its finest, and I encourage you not to miss it.

    Desperation Road by Michael Farris Smith ($26, Lee Boudreaux Books), recommended by Andrew, Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS.

  • Detective Gordon: The First Case by Ulf Nilsson

    Detective Gordon: The First Case by Ulf Nilsson A team of two opposites (a sleepy, slumpy toad and a quick-witted, high-energy mouse) find common ground in a love of cake and solving mysteries. A Swedish import that is as gentle as it is engrossing. One of my absolute favorite series!

    Detective Gordon: The First Case by Ulf Nilsson ($16.99, Gecko Press), recommended by the Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

    Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

    Let me be clear: I love short story collections. When done well, short stories can hold great literary (and personal) value to me. Most collections have a few stories that aren't on par with the rest and one or two stellar stories. Difficult Women is not like this. Each story feels real, often magical, but always tangible. Some are allegories, some are simply insightful, while others are brimming with emotion--and they are all excellent. Read more at Foggy Pine Books’ blog…

    Difficult Women by Roxane Gay ($25.00, Grove Press), recommended by Mary, Foggy Pine Books, Boone, NC.

  • Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay

    Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay A teenager disappears into the woods one night under mysterious-- and spooky-- circumstances, but his mother believes there's something more sinister going on. Revolving around an old legend and a fantastic set piece-- a giant split rock in the woods known as Devil's Rock-- Paul Tremblay's latest novel does an excellent job building the mystery before it hits you with the true horror of what happened that night. Also recommended: A Head Full of Ghosts, Tremblay's previous scary novel!

    Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay ($14.99*, William Morrow & Company), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • Disclaimer by Renee Knight

    Disclaimer by Renee Knight

    Catherine is a happily married successful TV documentary maker with a 25 year old son. Stephen is a washed up, disgraced teacher who is still grieving the recent death of his wife and that of his son 20 years earlier.

    They have never met each other and neither realizes that the same event in the past will soon have serious repercussions on both of their lives. Catherine thought she was protecting herself and her family when she chose to keep secret the events of 20 years ago. Stephen thinks he is doing what his wife would want and is seeking revenge for what he thinks happened 20 years ago.

    They are both wrong as will be seen in this unique and unusual psychological thriller.

    Disclaimer by Renee Knight (HarperCollins) Recommended by Nancy at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

    Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile MeloyFrom Parnassus Books’ blog: "I’m pretty sure that what Maile has written is a blockbuster, a bestseller, the hot book of summer. Do Not Become Alarmed is too well-written to be written off as a mere thriller, and yet it’s undeniably thrilling. It’s the story of two families, old friends, who decide to take a cruise and wind up losing their children. That’s big, and still the book is bigger than that: it’s a novel about race and class, poverty and privilege, marriage and desire, and the quest to be a perfect parent while still being yourself. It’s a book filled with rage and guilt in which the most casual actions have lasting consequences. Maile knows how to get the reader’s adrenaline pumping, but she also assumes the reader is as smart and complicated and curious as she is.” Keep reading...

    Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy ($27.00, Riverhead Books), recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

    The follow-up to The Shining, King's latest novel marks a return to the style of books such as It and Salem's Lot, a world of unrelenting horror, of things that go bump in the night.

    Seamlessly weaving supernatural demons with his character's own internal battles, King transcends the traditional horror narrative and presents a novel concerned with the very real tension between good and evil.

    Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (Scribner) Recommended by Kaitlyn at Square Books Oxford MS.

  • Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia

    Fans of magical realism and international literature will love Cristina Garcia's Dreaming In Cuban.

    Following the lives of three generations of women, her story shows how culture, family, and spirituality shape who we are and the place we choose to call home. Garcia pulls from Santeria, using the religion's relationship with color to create vivid imagery that mirrors the characters' lives. This book is truly entertaining and readers of all ages are sure to find a heroine.

    Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia (Ballantine Books) Recommended by Emily Catherine at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • Dune by Frank Herbert

    Dune by Frank HerbertSet in the distant future amidst a feudal interstellar society in which noble houses, in control of individual planets, owe allegiance to the Padishah Emperor, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides, whose noble family accepts the stewardship of the desert planet Arrakis. As this planet is the only source of the “spice” melange, the most important and valuable substance in the universe, control of Arrakis is a coveted--and dangerous--undertaking. The story explores the multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as the forces of the empire confront each other in a struggle for the control of Arrakis and its “spice.”

    Dune by Frank Herbert ($10.99, Ace Books), recommended by Hills & Hamlets Bookshop, Chattahoochee Hills, GA.

  • Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypoole-White

    This well-written story of a bi-polar woman does not over-exaggerate the disease and makes it realistic and understandable.

    Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypoole-White (Lake Union Publishing, $14.950, recommended by Suzanne at Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, NC.

  • El Paso by Winston Groom

    The bestselling author of Forrest Gump shifts the scene to the American Southwest in this tale of border wars, Pancho Villa, family and revenge.

    El Paso by Winston Groom (Liveright Publishing Corporation, $27.95), recommended by Kathy at Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail HoneymanAs I began Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, a novel by Gail Honeyman, I thought I'd encountered a cute little story about a quirky young woman whose unfiltered observations of, and responses to, people in her world were laugh-out-loud funny. But my illusions faded quickly. I learned that Eleanor's social ineptness, and a physical deformity, led to her isolation and profound loneliness. And behind the physical scar were the emotional scars inflicted by an abusive mother. This is a sober book but it's not depressing. Eleanor copes with her situation with the help of another quirky soul and professional counseling. Honeyman does a masterful job of using wit and first person narrative to create a powerful story of innocence, in spite of pain, and the possibility of recovery.

    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman ($26.00*, Pamela Dorman Books), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral by Mary Doria Russell

    Epitaph: A Novel of the OK Corral by Mary Doria Russell

    For two weeks while reading Epitaph, I lived in 1880s Arizona and came to know the people who lived there.

    Russell is a master at putting her meticulous research into creating a vivid picture of time and place, and brilliantly bringing into life her characters. This book continues with the story started in Doc, focusing here on Wyatt Earp. There is so much more to this man than we have seen in movies. If you are a fan of westerns you will love this book and if you are a fan of books that completely absorb, Epitaph will more than reward.

    Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral by Mary Doria Russell (Ecco Press) Recommended by Rene at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • Escape from the Lizzarks by Doug TenNape

    TenNapel has created a very real Reptiles vs. Amphibians world in which Little Herk, the weakest of the Nnewts, is forced to flee his home when his town is invaded by the scary Lizzarks.

    Confined to water due to his underdeveloped legs, Herk navigates the big wide world with an evil overlord hot on his tail. He must find the strength he possesses within himself, different from all the others -- his life depends on it!

    This is a great start to a new graphic novel series for kids. Fans of Zita the Spacegirl or Amulet and Bones--here's something new for you!

    Escape from the Lizzarks by Doug TenNapel (Graphix) Recommended by Amanda at Inkwood Books Tampa FL 

  • Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

    Nanette has it all--popular friends, a top spot on her school soccer team and the promise of college scholarships to go with it--but as graduation looms, she’s realizing the life ahead is not the life she wants. As for so many of us, it’s the discovery of that one cult classic novel that thrusts her out of her mold and into the joys--and pains--of life outside the bubble. For anyone who’s ever looked around at life and wondered how the hell they got there, this novel is the perfect fun, reflective read.

    Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $17.99), recommended by Shannon at Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC.

  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

    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.

  • Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

    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

  • Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

    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 by Lisa Ballantyne

    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

  • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

    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.

  • Extraordinary Adventures by Daniel Wallace

    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!

  • False Positive by Andrew Grant

    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

  • Fellside by M.R. Carey

    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

  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

    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.

  • Fishbowl by Bradley Somer

    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

  • Five by Ursula Archer

    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

  • Flight Patterns by Karen White

    Flight Patterns by Karen WhiteGeorgia Chambers is one of the top china experts in the United States, but when a client brings her a piece that connects to her past, she is forced to go back home. Reunited with the comforts of salt air, and her grandfather, will Georgia Chambers be able to face the rest of her family? Will there be time to heal past relationships or has too much time passed?

    Karen White is known for her whimsical Tradd Street series, but in several of her latest novels, she broaches tougher topics that trouble modern day families. Infused with the southern coast and the ocean, this book makes for a great beach read, as well as a reading group selection.

    Flight Patterns by Karen White ($15.00, Berkley Books), recommended by My Sisters Books, Pawleys Island, SC.

  • Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss

    Forest Dark by Nicole KraussRemarkable. I remember reading W.G. Sebald for the first time and feeling that I was in the headspace, for a moment, of some type of uber-thinker. What an amazing montage she's created here: of theology and politics and the ancient and the ever-present. And what's more, it gets you right where you live. We've all yearned; we all yearn--right up until the end. That's what she's written: that story. I'd like to congratulate her but I'm a little scared of her--what a mind to have inside one's head.

    Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss ($27.99, Harper), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.