GREAT READS HANDPICKED BY GREAT SOUTHERN BOOKSELLERS...

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  • The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Dubose Heyward; Marjorie Flack

    Erica at Lemuria Books encourages readers to redeiscover DuBose Heyward's (author of Porgy, the inspiration of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess) iconic children's book The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes. First published in 1939, and filled with Marjorie Flack's charming illustrations, this Easter classic is worth visiting all year long. "I’ve recently gone back and reread it and I was shocked by its deeper meaning, and how wonderfully it is crafted for both children and parents," writes Erica. Read more on Lemuria's blog.

    The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by DuBose Heyward and Marjorie Flack ($7.99, Houghton Mifflin), recommended by Erica, Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS.

  • The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy

    In an age when the once romantic American Southwest is beginning to fall victim to the same capitalization as the rest of the country, young and starry-eyed Billy Boyd embarks on a quest of Greek proportions across the unclaimed landscape.

    The Crossing is the second book in McCarthy's Border Trilogy stands on its own beautifully, but rises to an entirely more transcendent level
    when read with the other two books (All the Pretty Horses and Cities of the Plain).

    With his beautiful imagery, deeply sympathetic characters, and haunting social commentary, Cormac McCarthy shines as one of the greatest writers of all time.

    But this book is not for the faint of heart—it will literally change your life.

    The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy (Vintage) Recommended by Kate at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

    Part rap style poetry, part love story to a father and to basketball; good young adult fiction about 12-year-old twin boys.

    The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (HMH Books for Young Readers $16.99), reader recommendation by Martha at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

    Seventeen year old Gwen's father has disappeared. She refuses to accept that he just abandoned her while on a diplomatic assignment. She uses a "certain set of skills" gained by her father's resources to track him to the underbelly of Europe. Think Taken, except the bad-ass daughter has to save her father. Full of action and excitement.

    The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom ($18.99, Feiwel & Friends), recommended by Mary, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff

    I can’t account for the historical accuracy of the story, but The Danish Girl is based on the true story of a young transgender woman (Lili) in the 1920s/30s.

    Born a male, Einar struggles with the secret of wanting to be a woman. His wife Greta encourages his transition and Einar becomes Lili. Lili was the first person to undergo sex reassignment surgery in the 1930s. 

    It’s a beautifully written story about love, trust and self-discovery.
     
    The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff (Penguin) Recommended by Christina at Blue Ridge Books Waynesville, NC

  • The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

    Fairfold is special.

    Humans and fae live side by side in this magical town, but not always peacefully. Hazel and Ben have lived in Fairfold their whole lives. Jack, though fae, has lived among the human population just as long.

    And longer than any of them, the horned boy sleeping in the coffin in the woods, a boy who fueled Hazel and Ben's childhood and adolescent fantasies. When he wakes, it could ignite a war between humans and fae that has been long coming.

    With wonderful world building, Holly Black delivers and dark, fantastical story that will keep readers enthralled from the first page to the last.

    The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) Recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • The Doll's Alphabet by Camilla Grudova

    The Doll's Alphabet by Camilla GrudovaAt once illuminating and completely unsettling, The Doll's Alphabet is an incredible collection featuring stories that almost feel as if they exist in a shared world in the not-too-distant future. These are stories about obsessions and perceptions, imbalances of privilege, the absorbing and painful nature of motherhood, and spooky mundanities like tinned meats, costumes, and sewing machines. Full of memorable moments, fascinating vivid details, and grotesque facts of the body, The Doll's Alphabet is an intelligent exploration of identity, femininity, and attraction.

    The Doll's Alphabet by Camilla Grudova ($15.95*, Coffee House Press), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • The Dry by Jane Harper

    An atmospheric debut mystery that takes place under the blistering Australian sun. A federal agent returns to his hometown to find a decades old crime influencing his investigation of a horrific new one. Tightly paced and hard to put down.

    The Dry by Jane Harper ($25.99, Flatiron Books), recommended by Bonnie, Litchfield Books, Pawleys Island, SC.

  • The Enchanted Files #1: Cursed by Bruce Coville

    Reprint of the first Enchanted Files!

    Meet ANGUS and ALEX! Angus is a brownie—a MAGICAL creature that secretly loves to do chores for humans. Alex is an ORDINARY kid. Angus has a TEMPER problem. Alex has the world’s MESSIEST room.

    For better or worse (and things are going to get a whole lot worse!), the two are about to be thrown together by a centuries-old curse.

    Can they work together to find a way to break it? Featuring diary entries, newspaper clippings, police transcripts, grumpy cats, annoying older brothers, terrible poetry, daring rescues, ancient magic, the occasional fit of temper, and more, Bruce Coville brings fantasy, adventure, and humor together in this one-of-a-kind tale of family and friendship.

    The Enchanted Files #1: Cursed by Bruce Coville (Yearling Books) Recommended by Bookstore1Sarasota Sarasota FL

  • The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

    The End We Start From by Megan HunterThe great flood has come to London. Through short, poetic paragraphs we see flashes of the chaotic conditions and the different shades of insanity it breeds, but the world-building of the apocalyptic flood and its aftermath is not the point. Instead it is the narrator's relationship with her newly born son - the primal centrality of motherhood and the demands it makes on survival - even as the fallout from the disaster surrounds them. This is a book you will read in a sitting but will stay on your mind for days afterward.

    The End We Start From by Megan Hunter ($22.00*, Grove Press), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

    The Essex Serpent by Sarah PerryAlready a beloved book in the UK, The Essex Serpent is as gorgeous and complex as its cover. The narrative subtly blends together a rich cast of characters and manages to feel familiar even as it travels down unexpected paths.

    The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry ($26.99, Custom House), recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • The Exile: Book One of the Fae by C.T. Adams

    Start of a fun urban fantasy series about Brianna Hai, the half-human daughter of the King of the Fae.

    Like Hamilton's Meredith Gentry, Brianna is not sure she can survive deadly Fae politics and is living in the human world, running an occult shop. When her father's enemies attack, however, Brianna can no longer ignore her heritage.

    The Exile:  Book One of the Fae by C. T. Adams (Tor) Recommended by Jill at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • The Eyes Have It by Julie Allan

    Elizabeth “Lizzie” Long has recently been informed by her husband that he is moving on, and she also learned the news about her beloved Uncle’s passing. Lizzie packs up her dogs and moves back home to McClellanville, South Carolina, to soak up the healing vibes of the low country. With the help of her Aunt, and old friends, Lizzie realizes all that she has been missing in life and what she truly wants for her future. As Lizzie makes peace with her present, will she allow her past pain to control her chance at happiness? Julie Allan delivers a quaint, low country romance story that provides a delightful set-up to a series. Fans of wholesome, second chance romances, will appreciate this debut novel. The beautiful South Carolina coastline sets the scene for this book. Readers will chuckle at Lizzie’s predicaments and they will be anxious to find out how her life plays out in the end.

    The Eyes Have It by Julie Allan ($12.99, Bublish, Inc.), recommended by Nicole, My Sisters Books, Pawleys Island, SC.

  • The Fifth Avenue Artists Society by Joy Callaway

    A realistic look at life in 1890s New York. 

    Callaway's prose will awaken all your senses to everyday life in the growing city. She tells the story of Virginia, a writer in a family full of creativity. Virginia finds that you can never forget your first love and that finding love elsewhere can also be problematic.

    The society of artists that Ginny discovers helps her find a new focus on her life. Through several tragedies, she finds purpose in her writing even while losing those who are closest to her.

    The Fifth Avenue Artists Society by Joy Callaway (Harper) Recommended by Linda at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield

    If you are looking for a somewhat irreverent novel, don't mind some raunchy humor and language, but love a good story despite all this, you will love this novel.

    A cast of misfits comes together to form a wacky softball team and in the process learns about forgiveness and starting over. The novel centers around Jake, a 12-year-old whose love of vintage clothing and romance novels irritates his mom's live-in boyfriend. A neighbor befriends Jake and provides the things he needs to be himself. Jake soon becomes an asset that The Flood Girls, the softball team, can't afford to lose.

    The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield (Gallery Books ) Recommended by Linda H. at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • The Force by Don Winslow

    The Force by Don Winslow

    A truly explosive novel, boldly written, raw at time, of epic proportion. A wild roller-coaster ride, highs and lows, ups and downs, dizzying at times. You will love this character, you’ll pull for him to succeed. You’ll laugh with him, and you’ll cry with him. And hope the book never ends...

    The Force by Don Winslow ($27.99, William Morrow), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal

    In a near future where items are mass produced and duplicated endlessly, Katya is a traveling salesman of sorts - an expert who locates and deals in "authenticities and captures" (vintage items that carry a hefty price tag). Katya's clients are typically of the wealthy and influential sort, and Katya fancies herself a generally in-the-know person. But when she ventures into a remote area where her A.I. drops off the grid, Katya encounters a hunter in the woods that brings into question her understanding of the world. The level of world building in this short book is staggering! A ton of fun to read and will leave you pondering for days after.

    The Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal ($9.99, TOR), recommended by Lane, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC. 

  • The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman by Sena Jeter Naslund

    The Fountain of St. James CourtThis is a fascinating tale of two women artists — writer Kathryn Callaghan in this century and painter Elizabeth Vigée-Le Brun who lived during the French Revolution. Vigée-Le Brun was a real-life portraitist who included Marie Antoinette among her subjects. Callaghan is 70 and brings the wisdom of her age to the story. Naslund offers a very perceptive look at two women as they progress through their art and their lives. A great read!

    The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman by Sena Jeter Naslund Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL.

  • The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

    Ellie doesn't like how things have changed in her eleven years of life, the most recent change being that her best friend doesn't seem to be her best friend any more. Then her scientist grandfather shows up under very strange circumstances and shows Ellie a glimpse into the world of science -- Salk, Oppenheimer, Galileo, Newton -- and Ellie has to decide what changes she wants to make and which might not be worth the risk.

    A great introduction to science for interested kids, and Ellie will make it even more appealing for girls.

    The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm (Dell Yearling) Recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

    Few of us know what to do when someone has lost a loved one, and when it's a child who has lost a sibling or parent or grandparent, the task is exponentially more difficult. I was searching for a book for a child whose mother had died and discovered the exquisite gem, The Fox and the Star, with arts and crafts style drawings by award-winning illustrator, Coralie Bickford-Smith. It is the story of Fox, who is guided through life by his Star until one day Star disappears. First he hides and grieves, and then he decides to go and find his Star. In the face of grief, we are all haunted stragglers, but this book will bring solace and hope to the child in all of us.

    The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith (Penguin, $20), recommended by Mamie at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Gentleman by Forrest Leo

    The Gentleman by Forrest LeoSo our main character accidentally sells his wife to the Devil. Like ya do. Originally, he believed he hated his newlywed. But now that she is gone, he is bereft beyond all reckoning and assembles a band of misfits as incompetent as himself to journey to the Underworld to get her back. A refreshing romp at once familiar and strange. Readers will love the bumbling main character and his histrionics.

    Recommended for readers of Christopher Moore's historical novels and lovers of Monty Python.

    The Gentleman by Forrest Leo ($16.00*, Penguin Books), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

    The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi LeeAn adventurous, charming, fast-paced, and utterly lovable. High drama, high romance, history, intrigue, humor - it is EVERYTHING! No 500-page book has ever been this light-hearted and easy to read. It is a gem of a book constructed with care by Mackenzi Lee - an historian and an artist. It's pure fun with fantastic, hilarious characters that seem to breathe on the page. It took only a few pages for me to be fully invested in Monty, Percy, and Felicity and the intricacies of their lives. This book made me yearn for a Grand Tour of my own--although I could maybe do without the theft, highwaymen, and terrifying pursuit of alchemical cures...

    The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee ($18.99, Katherine Tegen Books), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

    Echo lives with the Avicen, a magical people with feathers for hair.

    They are more her people than the human family she ran away from as a child. Sent on a quest to find the Firebird, a mythical object said to posses the power to end an ancient war, Echo meets the Dragon Prince, leader of the Drakharin, mortal enemies to the Avicen.

    With her ragtag group of Avicen and Drakharin, Echo follows the trail to the Firebird, intent on doing what she can to earn her place. But first she has to figure out where it is she belongs.

    Awesome world-building and character development make this a great choice for fans of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

    I can't wait for the sequel!

    The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey (Delacorte Press) Recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • The Girl From Venice by Martin Cruz Smith

    A beautifully written, complex story of war, love, intrigue and shifting loyalties in occupied Italy towards the end of WW II. This novel pairs very nicely with All The Light We Cannot See, again showing the complexities of everyday life-- not the least of which include being young and passionate about life -- while living in occupied territory.

    The Girl from Venice by Martin Cruz Smith (Simon & Schuster, $27.00), recommended by Jamie at Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

    Rachel's daily train commute takes her past the back yards of a residential street.

    She loves to fantasize about the people who live there. At one house she often sees an attractive young couple on the patio. They seem so happy, so perfect. A few doors down is another house she dreads seeing, yet she cannot avert her eyes. It was her's. Now her ex lives there with his new wife -and child.

    This brilliantly crafted thriller draws you in as it reveals the complex interconnection of these characters' lives. The story is narrated in turns by three characters. Even though they are all females of roughly the same age, Hawkins has created such distinct voices that I always knew who was speaking and totally accepted each of them.

    This is riveting,  intelligent writing. 

    The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead) Recommended by Samantha at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC
     

  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

    If stories are magic, then Kelly Barnhill must be ever so powerful, because this story is the best kind of magic.

    Witches and monsters and dragons, sorrow and hope and love, especially love, all wound together in a fairy tale so perfect I want to read it again and again and again. This is definitely on my list of favorites.

    The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin) Recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • The Girls by Emma Cline

    A young girl comes of age while living in a fictionalized Manson family in a dilapidated house in the woods. From the first few pages you know how the story will end, but the journey is beautifully written and told with a biting and unapologetic style. Great characters, an interesting backdrop, a wild story, an excellent book!

    The Girls by Emma Cline (Random House, $27), recommended by Colin at Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin

    The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin

    Although I'm not a big fan of Hollywood, this story about Mary Pickford and her best friend Frances Marian quickly drew me in and kept me turning the pages. 

    Benjamin knows how to flesh out her characters.  I kept wanting to know more about Mary and Frances. And even Douglas Fairbanks.  Such interesting people. I knew nothing about the events that came crashing down on these silent film stars when the movies went to "talkies." Just never gave it a thought. But how devastating. Such a long fall from grace. 

    How timely this powerful novel is with all the horrific news of the casting couch in this decade. And look how long it's been going on. 

    Written with a loving hand and a knowing mind, Benjamin has once again knocked it out of the park with The Girls in the Picture.

    The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin ($28.00*, Delacorte Press), recommended by Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL.

  • The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh

    The Glass PalaceTo read a novel by the masterful Amitav Ghosh is to be swept along in a sea of facts, linguistic oddities, and almost fantastical characters on a grand scale. Elephants with anthrax! Exiled royalty! The teak forests of Burma, the rubber plantations of Malaysia, WWII, photography, love, trade, nationalism, family. A page-turning epic.

    The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh (Random House). Recommended by Elese at Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • The Golden Age by Joan London

    The Golden Age, by Australian novelist and bookseller Joan London, takes place in a hospital for children recovering from polio in Perth in the 1950’s. That may not sound like a particularly cheerful subject and, in many ways, it isn’t. The novel covers not only the ravages of polio, but also, because it centers around a Jewish immigrant family, it discusses the ravages of war. London’s writing, however, is transcendent. What could be a bleak, mournful tale is instead a beautiful story about finding poetry in the halls of a hospital and hope in the face of despair. This is a book I read all in one sitting because I just didn’t want to stop.

    The Golden Age by Joan London ($17, Europa Editions), recommended by Laura, Reading Rock Books, Dickson, TN.

  • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

    The Great Alone by Kristin HannahIn The Great Alone, Kristen Hannah captures both the breathtaking beauty and brutal harshness of Alaska. The Allbright family escapes to the state to hopefully banish inner demons and get a fresh start. They are totally unprepared for the starkness, danger and isolation of their new home. Daughter Leni comes of age in this environment and comes to fall in love with the Alaskan wilderness. This book is another sure winner for Hannah!

    The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah ($28.99*, St. Martin's Press), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

    If you enjoy a book with unexpected twists and turns, Chris Bohjalian is an author you will want to read.

    His latest book is about the consequences of a good family man's decision to host a bachelor party for his wilder, younger brother. The story keeps us guessing but also leads us to think about important issues.

    The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian (Doubleday) Recommended by Rene at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • The Happiest People in the World by Brock Clarke

    This wicked little satire features a Danish cartoonist who draws a cartoon about the Muslim reaction to the original Danish cartoon depicting the prophet Muhammad.

    What could possibly go wrong? A comedy of errors ensues when after his house is burned down the cartoonist goes into hiding in the most dysfunctional small town imaginable in upstate New York.

    The Happiest People in the World by Brock Clarke (Algonquin) Recommended by Elizabeth at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • The Heart Does Not Grow Back by Fred Venturini

    If you possessed the power of human regeneration, what would you do with it?

    In the case of Dale Sampson, debut novelist Venturini's antihero, you use your "gift" for the ultimate good: reality television. After a horrific incident in high school, Dale realizes he has the ability to spontaneously regenerate his organs and limbs. Following years of depression, he decides -- with the help of his longtime best friend and spurred on by the disastrously romantic idea of saving a high school sweetheart -- to give himself up to the reality show moguls in Hollywood.

    As outlandish as the plot may sound, this novel is thought-provoking and inspirational, with more than a few laughs along the way.

    The Heart Does Not Grow Back by Fred Venturini (Picador) Recommended by Amanda at Inkwood Books Tampa FL

  • The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang

    This short book became an instant classic in Korea when published in 2000.

    It's the story of Sprout, a hen who yearns to escape the farmyard and keep one of her eggs to hatch. Once free of her cage, she must negotiate new animals and threats, including the ever-lurking weasel. I was deeply affected by this plaintive and heartbreaking story, but Sprout's tenacity, courage and hope also lifted me up.

    The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang, Nomoco -Illustrator, Chi-Young Kim -Translator  (Penguin Books) Recommended by Kent at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • The Hidden Light of Northern Fires by Daren Wang

    The Hidden Light of Northern Fires by Daren WangIn The Hidden Light of Northern Fires, a town on the Underground Railroad secedes from the Union after it becomes fractured by the politics of the American Civil War. As a huge geek on the subject, I’m often skeptical of historical fiction relating to it. While Wang’s tale benefits from being based on truth, that is a moot point. His well-developed, very real characters and masterful writing are all that’s needed for an incredible debut. Though a novel of the home front, it is nonetheless a war novel focusing on how conflict brings out the best and worst in people. It is one of the best works of historical fiction on the Civil War that I’ve ever read, and perhaps even that exists.

    The Hidden Light of Northern Fires by Daren Wang ($26.99*, Thomas Dunne Books), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

    A Summer 2017 Okra Pick | A September IndieNext Pick

  • The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close

    Tyler loves The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close: This is the story of Beth, a woman who moves to DC when her husband Matt gets a job campaigning for Obama during the 2008 election. For Beth, the city never feels like home until she and Matt become friends with Ash and her husband Jimmy, who also works in the administration. The rest of the novel is a sometimes comedy, always careful study of these four people, and how their friendships, relationships, and professional lives entangle and constrict. The backdrop of the Obama administration and Texas politics are fascinating, and Close's dry humor and sharp observations make The Hopefuls an "open it and realize four hours have gone by" novel.

    The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close (Knopf Publishing Group, $26.95), recommended by Tyler at Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

    The Immortalists by Chloe BenjaminFrom Lemuria Books blog:
    "The year is 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side and the Gold siblings have heard rumors of a mystical psychic living in their area. This rumored gypsy-lady claims to be able to tell anyone the exact date that they will die. The siblings, all under the age of thirteen, decide to visit the woman together and then–one at a time–learn the exact date of their death. Such is the setup for Chloe Benjamin’s new novel, The Immortalists [...]Each story holds your attention, even though you know the outcome. It’s almost impossible to not become emotionally invested in each sibling. Benjamin has written a rich and thought provoking novel on the nature of believing. How does learning when you will die, even if it could be untrue, determine how you live your life in the present? Is our time of death predetermined, or can we play a part in changing our destiny? This fascinating read leaves you dreaming for long afterward."

    The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin ($26.00*, G.P. Putnam's Sons), recommended by Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS.

  • The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky

    Think of The Immortals as like American Gods with considerably less work. Reimagining the Greek gods in modern day New York City, this will appeal to fans of Percy Jackson who are now all grown up as well as those who liked The Magicians. Action packed and a great escape read.

    The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky ($15.99, Orbit), recommended by Kelly at Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • The Innocents by Ace Atkins

    I wasn't much of a mystery reader until I read Ace Atkins!

    Quinn Colson is a such a great character-- equal parts John Wayne, Elvis, and Clint Eastwood-- but it's the supporting cast that really brings his books to life.

    Gritty and violent, but also charming, the Quinn Colson books are must-reads for fans of the genre.

    The Innocents by Ace Atkins (G.P. Putnam's Sons) Recommended by Colin at Flyleaf Books Chapel Hill NC

  • The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

    A beautiful novel of a special relationship between a Jewish woman and Japanese man that continues for years.

    Allende's brilliant prose brings the novel to life and expertly describes a relationship that is at times scandalous and forbidden but always enduring.

    The surprises at the end help make it a novel well-worth reading.

    The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende (Atria Books) Recommended by Linda at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash

    The Last Ballad by Wiley CashIn Wiley Cash's new novel, The Last Ballad, it is 1929 and the labor movement is trying to organize in North Carolina. Somehow Ella May finds the courage and resolve to fight to make things better for her children and the people who share her life of poverty and powerlessness. Cash captures the sounds and draws the pictures so beautifully that these people and their stories become real. It is heartbreaking to read what will push men and women to risk their lives for a common good but it is inspiring and gives us hope.

    The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash ($26.99*, William Morrow), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

     A Fall 2017 Okra Pick

  • The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood

    The Last BanquetIn the pre-dawn of the French Revolution, Jean-Marie d’Aumont strives to wrest an ounce of immortality from every experience, taste, and sensation this world has to offer. From his rescue as a child at the foot of a dung heap to his appointment as Lord Master of the Menagerie, d’Aumont’s life is "built almost entirely on a foundation of events colliding." Grimwood takes us on a tour through French history, from the death of the Sun King to the Revolution, but at its heart The Last Banquet is a beautiful--and, at times, macabre--meditation on the inexorable march of history and man’s struggle to leave an indelible mark before his own time is spent.

    The Last Banquet: A Novel, by Jonathan Grimwood ($26.95, Europa Editions), recommended by Amanda, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL.

  • The Last Flight of Poxl West by Daniel Torday

    This utterly compelling, often heartbreaking story of war and lost love is told through a fascinating dual viewpoint.

    We see Poxl West through the eyes of his fifteen-year-old nephew, Eli Goldstein, in 1986, and through Poxl's own memoir of World War II. Eli is in thrall to the romantic war hero that comes alive in his uncle's pages, but soon finds that the complexities of one person's life may hold more than one truth. Torday has crafted a remarkable tale that shines a light on nothing less than storytelling itself.

    The Last Flight of Poxl West by Daniel Torday (St. Martin's Press) Recommended by Tony at Quail Ridge BooksRaleigh NC

  • The Last Magazine by Michael Hastings

    Michael Hastings, the kick-ass young journalist of the McCrystal affair and the first to write about Bowe Bergdahl in Rolling Stone in 2012, died last year in a car wreck.

    In his file was the manuscript for this novel, edited by his widow, Elise Jordan. Loosely based on Hastings’ experiences in the magazine world, it is a biting commentary full of guts, sex, and arrogant or off-kilter characters.

    A great read, realistically animating the intense and crazy world of political journalism.

    The Last Magazine by Michael Hastings (Plume) Recommended by Lisa at Square Books Oxford 

  • The Last Wolf & Herman by Laszlo Krasznahorkai, (John Batki & George Szirtes, translators)

    The Last Wolf is one fabulous sentence that runs for 70 pages. Afterwards, you can turn the book over and read the novella Herman. This book is beautiful, difficult, and absolutely worth it.

    The Last Wolf & Herman by Laszlo Krasznahorkai, John Batki (Translator), George Szirtes (Translator) (New Directions Publishing Corporation, $15.95), recommended by Nathan at Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

    The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio IturbeFrom a young reader at Page 158 Books: "It is one of the best books I have read for some time. This book spoke to me in so many different ways: my emotions, my knowledge of history, my passion for books, and my heart."

    The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe, Lilit Thwaites (Translator), ($19.99*, Henroy Holt & Company), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

  • The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

    The Light We Lost by Jill SantopoloIf you loved Me Before You, you will devour this well crafted story with a clever twist.

    The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo ($25.00*, G.P. Putnam’s Sons), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

    The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’NeillTwo orphans with artistic souls survive poverty in Montreal during the Great Depression. Separated as teenagers, they spiral into a dark underworld but are eventually reunited to revisit a shared childhood dream. I was enchanted by this novel from the moment I started it. O’Neill’s writing is whimsical and haunting — the most cinematic reading experience I’ve had in a long while.

    The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill ($27.00*, Riverhead Books), recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • The Lost Girls by Heather Young

    Heather Young’s debut novel, is the story of three generations of women and mainly set in a desolate part of Minnesota. In 1935, a six-year-old girl disappears without any explanation, and she's never heard of or seen again. The novel explores the effects Emily's disappearance has on her siblings and succeeding generations of women in the family. It's haunting and beautifully written.

    The Lost Girls by Heather Young (William Morrow $25.99), recommended by Mari Lu, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead: Stories by Chanelle Benz

    The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead: Stories by Chanelle BenzChanelle Benz is a shapeshifter, a time traveller, an heir to Flannery O'Connor, a sculptor of language, and a writer to watch. Her debut collection of short stories is wildly imaginative and varied, with contemporary stories, a western, "Adela," a purported found tale from 1829 with scholarly footnotes, and another told by a bookseller and former monk in the sixteenth century. All, like "The Mourners," from which the title comes, are dark but still manage to zap the reader with little electrical jolts of surprise. There are no happy endings and none are truly innocent, but the stories are a sign that the future of American literature is bright.

    The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead: Stories by Chanelle Benz ($24.99, Ecco Press), recommended by Lyn, Square Books, Oxford, MS.

  • The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

    The Marriage Lie by Kimberly BelleCould it happen to you? The divergence between what Iris thinks she knows about her partner of more than seven years and what she learns about him through digging into his past, after an unforeseen event, tugs emotionally and rationally. Throughout the story, Iris finds many reasons to question every decision she is faced with. Hold on, this one has plenty of twists right up to the last page.

    The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle ($15.99, Mira Books), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

  • The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris

    A hearty thank you to the Booker Prize committee for bringing this remarkable novel by an unknown author and independent Scottish publisher into the literary limelight!

    Harris opens with a wedding between a terrified bride and groom, practically strangers, and immediately captivates her audience with this restrictive orthodox Jewish community and characters that leap off the page with a vitality that will squeeze your heart while making you laugh out loud.

    The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris ($16.99, Grove Press), recommended by Vicki at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC 

  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

    The Martian Chronicles by Ray BradburyEveryone’s read Fahrenheit 451, but really everyone should read The Martian Chronicles. It is quite frankly one of the most apt and lovely examples of science fiction acting as an observation of timeless issues within the human condition. There are three sections (past, present, and future) to this collection, which you can read as a progressive novel or as short stories, and Bradbury’s tone changes throughout so you get to experience all of the different languaging that he is famous for.

    The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury ($7.99, Spectra), recommended by Hills & Hamlets Bookshop, Chattahoochee Hills, GA .

  • The Mathematician's Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer

    After a famous mathematician’s death, her colleagues and rivals from all over the world gather along with the family to sit shiva and honor her memory.

    Certain that the late Rachela Karnokovitch has solved the Navier-Stokes problem and taken the solution to her grave, the group looks for clues under floorboards, interrogates her pet parrot, and searches the house.

    Readers, whether they have an appreciation of mathematics or not, will appreciate the love, family, and beauty of this novel.

    The Mathematician's Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer ($16, Penguin), recommended by Lyn at Square Books Oxford MI.
     

  • The Midnight Cool by Lydia Peelle

    Nashvillian Lydia Peelle won the Whiting Award for her story collection, Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing. Now we have her first novel, set in Tennessee during WWI and following the story of two charming Irishmen, a rebellious heiress, and a tempestuous black mare named the Midnight Cool. Peelle is an excellent storyteller. You will be turning pages long into the night.

    The Midnight Cool by Lydia Peelle ($26.99, Harper), recommended by Karen, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

    The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati RoyRecently I sat in an Adirondack chair in the North Carolina mountains, and was transported to a graveyard in India through Arundhati Roy's haunting new novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness . Each of the main characters―Anjum, a transgender woman; Tilottama, a woman involved with many men but in love with only one; and Musa, the man with whom she is obsessed―were complex and fascinating people. It has been many years since the publication of Roy's last novel, The God of Small Things. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness will sustain us while we wait for more of her engaging characters and beautiful writing.

    The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy ($28.95, Knopf), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Moon and the Other by John Kessel

    In his new novel, The Moon and the Other, set in the near future on the moon, John Kessel again demonstrates his visionary and compassionate eye. Through a lens of gender roles as they play out in the political clash of a matriarchy--The Society of Cousins--and a patriarchy--Persepolis--and in the lives of several of their citizens, Kessel explores human desire, expectation, emotion and alienation. Pointedly, too, he gives keen insights into how technology and coercion, in one form or another, affect our existence.

    The Moon and the Other ($27.99. Saga), recommended by Ken, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny

    Wow, just wow!

    I had not read the Inspector Gamache mysteries before. I was able to jump into the world of Three Pines with no confusion. And once I entered Gamache's world, I could not leave.

    Beast weaves multiple incidents of evil (which may or may not be related) - into a web that happily caught me. Now on to read the earlier books!

    The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny (Minotaur) Recommended by Rosemary at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • The North Water by Ian McGuire

    Dark, brutal, and atmospheric, The North Water is the story of an ill-fated whaling ship, peopled with men of dark conscience or no conscience. Reminiscent of The Revenant in its stark story of survival and revenge against all odds, this book is chock full of men being men, doing manly things and occasionally murdering each other. A rip roaring tale of viscera and ice.

    The North Water by Ian McGuire (Henry Holt & Company, $27), recommended by Steve at Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC.

  • The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

    The Nowhere Girls by Amy ReedI loved this book!! So important. Please read it and share it with girl and boy teens and the people who care about them. I wish we had heard more from Amber. Maybe in a future book? There aren't many books out there about teens trying to change the culture of their schools and their communities through peaceful activism. The Nowhere Girls tells it like it is. Some of it is clumsy. Sometimes it doesn't work or takes a while to get off the ground. But it is always worth trying. I really did love this book.

    The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed ($17.99*, Simon Pulse), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • The One-Eyed Man by Ron Currie

    The novel could be the black comedy I've been waiting for all my life! While employing unique strategies to cope with the recent death of his wife, K. becomes quite literal-minded and loses his bull filter. Through a series of absurd events he becomes the host of a reality TV show in which he confronts people with the truth, with disastrous and hilarious results. Currie walks a tightrope of comedy over a gaping chasm of heartbreak. This is a perfect satire of modern American culture.

    The One-Eyed Man by Ron Currie ($26, Viking), recommended by Tony, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson

    Okay, y’all. This is the most addictive, unflinching, smart book I’ve read so far this year.

    And, believe me, I could go on with the adjectives. Instead, I’ll let Joshilyn herself tell you what kind of books she writes: Weirdo Fiction with a Shot of Southern Gothic Influence for Smart People Who Can Catch the Nuances but Who Like Narrative Drive, and Who Have a Sense of Humor but Who Are Willing to Go Down to Dark Places.

    The Opposite of Everyone’s Paula Vauss joins Arlene Fleet, Ro Grandee, and Shandi Pierce in Joshilyn’s pantheon of incredible female protagonists. Do yourself a favor. Get to know all of them. Start with Paula.

    The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson (William Morrow & Company) Recommended by Cindy at Malaprops Bookstore Asheville NC

  • The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

    This is great historical fiction about the first wife of Albert Einstein, Mitza Maric, who was a brilliant physicist in her own right. Her relationship with Albert and their marriage reveal the difficulty for women during the early 20th century to have a career. Her own contributions to the field of developing science helped promote Albert’s career but as his career began to rise, she was diminished and her scientific endeavors stifled. Benedict reveals Mitza’s struggles and disappointments with sensitivity and insight. A must read about a fascinating woman.

    The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict ($25.99, Sourcebooks Landmark(, recommended by Stephanie, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL.

  • The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

    The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani A huge best-seller in France, The Perfect Nanny packs a punch that its brief length belies. It addresses issues both topical and enduring through the lens of the relationship of a young professional Parisian couple and the caregiver they hire for their two young children when the mother has a chance to return to work.

    The shock of the novel's chilling first sentence, "The baby is dead," is elegantly balanced by the complex issues Slimani addresses: our expectations of mothers' responsibilities, our connection to the people we employ, our view of immigrants, and the ways in which how see ourselves differs from the realities of who we really are.

    This is a striking, powerful novel that, rightly, leaves us with more questions than answers. It's a book that doesn't let go easily, and as a reader, I was the better for that.

    The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani ($16.00*, Penguin Books), recommended by Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, Asheville, NC.

  • The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

    The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

    Unputdownable! Full of secrets and revenge and temptation, this is a book that has layers of dark, murky mystery. Literally everyone's a suspect, even main character Leah Stevens, who's keeping plenty of secrets or her own. I came for the twisty thriller, but stayed for the small town intrigue, the heated romance, and the haunted pasts. Watch out for papercuts, because this is a page turner!

    The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda ($25.00, Simon & Schuster), recommended by Kelly, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • The Photographer's Wife by Suzanne Joinson

    A sweeping novel about a young girl who lives with her father in Jerusalem prior to World War II She is eleven and has an absurd amount of freedom, and with that comes the potential for disaster. We follow Prue through her marriage and birth of her child. The focus of the book is the incredible way tragedies in childhood can impact your entire life. Parts of the novel are hard to read, but the brutality that exists in the world is brought to life by the author's words.

    A strong historical aspect but the main story is that of Prue's life. For any fan of wartime historical fiction.

    The Photographer's Wife By Suzanne Joinson (Bloomsbury USA) Recommended by Jackie at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • The Pink Hat by Andrew Joyner

    The Pink Hat by Andrew JoynerThe story of a hat that is just a hat until it becomes a symbol of unity across the world.

    The Pink Hat by Andrew Joyner ($17.99*, Schwartz & Wade Books), recommended by Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA.

  • The Pleasure Was Mine by Tommy Hays

    There are passages in this novel that make me cry every time I read them, but not because of the great

    sadness (of losing a loved one to Alzheimers) but because of its beautiful depiction of marital and familial love.

    The Pleasure Was Mine by Tommy Hays (St. Martins Griffin) Recommended by Frank at A Cappella Books Atlanta GA

  • The Possibility of an Island by Michel Houellebecq

    A legitimate masterpiece, mixing antiseptic, dystopian sci-fi with reflections on aging, love and lonlieness.

    Hoeullebecq's genius is on full display, switching between philosophical musings and caustic misanthropy while somehow retaining a lowkey humanity. A singular bit of fiction.

    The Possibility of an Island by Michel Houellebecq, Gavin Bowd ($16, Vintage Books USA), recommended by Justin, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC.

  • The Power by Naomi Alderman

    The Power by Naomi AldermanMy mind is all kinds of messed up from this book, a very disturbing, thrilling, and thought-provoking meditation on power, gender, religion, and history, plus super morally ambiguous and compelling characters. This one is for all Margaret Atwood fans and anyone who loves a speculative or science fiction story that pushes their buttons and makes them think!

    The Power by Naomi Alderman ($26.00*, Little, Brown and Company), recommended by Hills & Hamlet Bookshop, Chattahoochee Hills, GA.

  • The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

    It was first published in 1989, but this historical novel set in South Africa is as relevant today as then.

    A five-year-old English boy is sent to a boarding school and the cruelty against him and the blacks who serve them there is almost unimaginable. The boy learns he must be independent (the power of one), learn to think, and with help from the local librarian, a musician/scientist, a teacher, and others along the way, easily rises to first in his class.

    The underlying theme of apartheid's injustices and the dramatic events of a boy's growing up make this a powerful story.

    The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay ($16.00, Ballantine Books), recommended by Nancy, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh NC.

  • The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain and Philip Stead

    The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain and Philip SteadWhy is The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine my favorite fiction book this year? In publishing, it is not too rare for a well-known author’s work to be found and published posthumously. However, in the case of this book, Phil and Erin Stead managed to take sixteen pages of notes from a bedtime story that Mark Twain told his daughters, and turn it into a true literary masterpiece over a century later. Phil holds a conversation with the ghost of Mark Twain (which is hilarious) and Erin’s illustrations are airy and lovely, as always. They truly breathe life into the story. So what’s the right age for this book? I’d say somewhere from 6 to 96. There are a handful of times where I walk out of the store, a book under my arm, and race home to read it. Not only did I do that, but I felt somehow as if I was reading a lost masterpiece of children’s literature. There’s only one time I’ve had that experience, and it was with The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine.

    The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain and Philip Stead ($24.99*, Doubleday Books for Young Readers), recommended by Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS.

  • The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin

    The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery MartinThis book is perfect for fans of medical dramas, romance, and intrigue. Gray’s Anatomy fans, get ready!

    The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin ($26.00*, Berkley Books), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

  • The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

    A beautiful, violent epic fantasy about a teenaged princess who must survive to take over her mother's throne, reverse years of greedy governance, and wrest her kingdom out from under neighboring Mortmesne's control. Recommended for fans of George R.R. Martin.

    The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (Harper Paperbacks)  Recommended by Jill at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC.

  • 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.

  • The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas

    The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise WolasThis is the kind of book that changes the reader alongside the change of the characters. I felt the coin drop just as the characters did and marveled at the skill displayed on each page by Wolas. This is a feminist novel through and through--one that fits the time we are in now--but this is all subtext. The story and the characters are why I couldn't bear to put this down until I followed it through to the end.

    The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas ($27.99*, Flatiron Books), recommended by Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC.

  • The Risen by Ron Rash

    A 2016 OKRA PICK
    I'd be happy to read Ron Rash's grocery lists. Rash stays centered in western North Carolina in his new novel, The Risen. But he moves from the sweeping forest vista of Serena and the moral issues of WWI (The Cove) to a more intimate setting. Two brothers have taken very different paths. When the events of a long-ago summer literally rise up, their family history and dynamics come bubbling up, too.

    The Risen by Ron Rash (Ecco $25.99), recommended by Rosemary at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

    I loved this delightful book about a genetics researcher (he doesn't realize he has Asperger's syndrome) who decides to find himself the perfect wife. 

    From the candidates that fill out the detailed applications to his best friend who is trying to map the world with his bedroom conquests (using the candidates his friend discards), this book is a wonderful story full of characters that you will adore.

    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (Simon & Schuster), recommended by The Country Bookshop Southern Pines NC.

  • The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

    The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman You don't have to have read Practical Magic to enjoy Hoffman's prequel, although I imagine it would add to the experience. I am not a fan of magical realism or fantasy. But, I decided to read this timely novel this week; Halloween week. And it worked for me. What's more Halloween-like than a story about a family of witches? Well, nothing. Three siblings live in NYC and are visited by their cousin who is also a witch. There's a curse on the Owen's family. Any man who falls in love with them is doomed. And they know this. But they decide to test the waters... So to speak.

    The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman ($27.00*, Simon & Schuster), recommended by Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL.

  • The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones

    The Salt Line by Holly GoddardI was not planning on getting addicted to a novel, but after reading the first scene of The Salt Line I was hopelessly riveted. Let me say that Holly Goddard Jones' take on post-apocalyptic fiction involves an America ravaged by a particularly vicious species of tick, so this book might get you feeling phantom itches. I loved The Salt Line for its combination of suspense, social commentary, and a well-drawn cast of characters that had me constantly questioning my loyalties. Pick up this top-notch literary thriller and pack the bug spray-- not that it will save you.

    The Salt Line by Holly Goddard, ($2600*, GP Putnam's Sons), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

    A Summer 2017 Okra Pick!

  • The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño

    Exuberant grandiosity! A poet's belief that the world will be changed by a literary movement! You'll find people you know so well you can practically touch them despite the fact they live in Mexico City in the 1970s. I've not had more fun reading a book in ages!

    The Savage Dectives by Roberto Bolaño (Farrar Strauss Giroux, $27), recommended by Brian at Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC.

  • The Scribe by Matthew Guinn

    An assured second effort from Guinn, a former Ole Miss professor. Set in Reconstruction Atlanta, a group of prominent businessmen known as “the Ring” has staked much on the city's Cotton Expo, but a rash of brutal murders jeopardizes their plan and the populace. Canby is a disgraced lawman brought back to the city as the lead investigator but quickly realizes how much is stacked against him. The cast of characters, taut plotting, and depiction of the period make for a great read.

    The Scribe by Matthew Guinn ($5.95, W.W. Norton & Comapny), recommended by Cody, Square Books, Oxford, MS.

  • The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

    This is an amazing book, I simply loved everything about it. Any fan of historical fiction, novels about human failings and dialog that is almost poetic should read this book. The depiction of the civil war on a very personal level to one woman is stirring and hard to take in. The book is a series of letters to and from various family members and by then end of the first 30 pages you feel invested in every member involved. In some ways it is a revisit to the time when letters were the form of communication that existed and what a picture they could paint. It is hard to believe this is a debut novel, the writing is wonderful.

    The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers, ($25.95, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill), recommended by Jackie and Melissa, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

     A Winter 2017 Okra Pick

    Meet Susan Rivers at Fiction Addiction 2/16/2017Read Susan Rivers' essay about how she discovered her novel's characters and their story.

  • The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd

    One of Shepherd's gifts as a writer is the ability to transport readers to a very specific time and place and immerse them in its physical and social realities. This is done beautifully in The Secret Horses of Briar Hill, set in a children's hospital in rural England during WWII. Whether the winged horses little Emmaline sees in the mirrors at Briar Hill are real or just her imagination, the hope and solace they provide are very real. A moving and magical story not to be missed.

    The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd, (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, $16.99), recommended by Leslie at Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, Asheville, NC.

  • The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson

    Set in Mississippi at the close of WWII, The Secret of Magic is the story of the tragic treatment of a returning black GI, which draws in noted civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall. But it also a story about the power of books and stories, especially those we encounter as children, to affect lives.

    I loved this book and will be recommending it to fans of The Help and Mudbound.

    The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson (Berkley) Recommended by Jill at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC 

  • The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton

    This fabulous Southern debut novel is set in Kentucky during the 1980s, at the height of the coal mountaintop removal mining; it is a beautifully moving coming-of-age story with a touching grandfather-grandson relationship.

    The Secret Wisdom of the Earth  By Christopher Scotton (Grand Central Publishing) Recommended by Jill and Nancy at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

    A young Spaniard reads a novel from a rare book library only to discover that someone is trying to destroy the author's other works. A gothic adventure for book lovers.

    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón ($17, Penguin Books), recommended by Julia, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

    When Riley MacPherson takes on the task of executor of her father's estate, she finds evidence that causes her to doubt virtually everything she'd believed about her family. What ensues is a fast paced, engrossing story of her determination to learn the truth - no matter what that might be. There are so many twists and turns in this plot, I was up half the night to find out how it would end. I never saw it coming!

    The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain ($27.99, St. Martin's Press), recommended by Samantha, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh NC.

  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

    In the first Strike Mystery, The Cuckoo's Calling, Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) creates an intriguing P.I.,
    Cormoran Strike, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who lost a leg to an IED.

    This second in the series has a universally disliked novelist murdered after writing a libelous book maliciously satirizing many people in the publishing world. Galbraith is a masterful storyteller and this book doesn't disappoint; I read it every spare minute I could get.

    The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith ($28 Mulholland Books), recommended by Trish, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh NC.

  • The Six by Mark Alpert

    For the last 6 years, Adam has been confined to a wheelchair.

    With the help of virtual reality technology that Adam's father has developed, Adam gets to be the hero. Adam's father has also been working of AI technology and after a very dangerous AI escapes into the internet, Adam has a very difficult decision to make.

    Adam only has a little while left to live, but a new technology will allow Adam to have his entire consciousness converted into a computer program. Will Adam go through with the procedure and get to be the hero for real?

    The Six by Mark Alpert (Sourcebooks Inc) Recommended by Jordan at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • The Sparrow/A Thread of Grace by Maria Doria Russell


    Rosemary, at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC, places The Sparrow and A Thread of Grace, both by Maria Doria Russell, in her top ten list of books. About The Sparrow she says, "One of the best books I've ever read! Thought-provoking, fascinating, and thoroughly original, this is “science fiction” even for those who say they won't read it. Mary Doria Russell posits what can happen when very different cultures meet for the first time and, with the best of intentions, collide. Pick up the sequel, Children of God, at the same time. When you finish The Sparrow,  you'll want to leap into the next book.”

    A Thread of Grace is "epic historical fiction at its finest. Set during WWII, Italy has just surrendered. Nazi forces, Allies, Jewish refugees - all are descending on Italy, and it is hell on earth.  Told from different viewpoints, you will be constantly surprised, sometimes stunned, by what happens.  Mary visited for this book and said in researching it, so many survivors said luck was the prime factor of survival. So, with the exception of one character, she had her son flip a coin for each to determine his or her fate.”

    The Sparrow ($17, Ballantine Books) and A Thread of Grace ($17, Ballantine Books), by Mary Doria Rusell, recommended by Rosemary at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante

    The second book of the Neapolitan Novels series is a rich portrait of two girls and their friendship.

    Beginning in the 1960s when the more academically gifted Lila marries instead of continuing her education, we follow Elena through her success. Psychologically acute, this is a great work of modern fiction, and good news, there will be one more book.

    The Story of a New Name By Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions) Recommended by Sandra at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • The Storybook Knight by Helen Docherty, Thomas Docherty

    Fans of The Snatchabook will not be disappointed with this new picture book by the same author and illustrator team. The focus is again on the power of story as Leo, a gentle knight who much prefers reading to swordplay, is sent on a mission to conquer a fearsome dragon. On the way, he encounters other mythical monsters and is able to vanquish every threat by sharing his beloved books. The rhythmic, rhyming text lends itself easily to being shared aloud and the fun illustrations add even more charm to the story.

    The Storybook Knight by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $16.99), recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

    Natasha knows from experience that dreams will get you nowhere, so she keeps herself well-grounded. Even when she's hours away from being deported with her family back to Jamaica. Daniel is a poet at heart, a romantic who believes in fate and destiny, so when he sees a girl standing out from the crowd, he doesn't think twice about ditching his parent-sanctioned college interview to go after her. A series of coincidences have them meeting several times, but is it enough to convince Natasha to believe in the meant-to-be future that Daniel sees? I loved Yoon's gorgeous writing and couldn't help falling in love with the characters myself.

    The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon ($18.99, Delacorte Press), recommended by Melissa, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero

    When A. inherits a large estate after the sudden suicide of his cousin, he is thrust into the middle of a mystery with deadly consequences.

    Ghosts, cultists, and dreams of unspeakable acts are only the beginning for A. as he tries to uncover the secrets of Acton House.

    A mystery in the tradition of Lovecraft, King, Henry James, and Edith Wharton (who lends this book its title), this book will leave you wanting more because once Cantero has you hooked you won't want to put it down.

    The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero ($26.95, Doubleday) Recommended by Andrew at Square Books Oxford MI

  • The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

    A fictionalized account of the real-life friendship between the writer, Truman Capote, and the socialite and fashion icon, Babe Paley.

    Paley and the Swans (Pamela Churchill, Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness) were the very definition of elegance, beauty and sophistication.During the 1950s and 1960s they lived a glamorous life at the pinnacle of New York society.

    This novel is delicious (like champagne in book form!) Gossipy and scandalous, ultimately it is a poignant look at the value of friendship and human connection.

    The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin (Delacorte Press) Recommended by Abbe at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

    The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa SeeLisa See is finally back with a wonderful new novel about the healing powers of tea, on the body, heart, and spirit.

    In The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (Scribner $27), explore a minority culture within China, the Akha people, and learn about the tea they grow. It tells the tale of a woman and her daughter separated after birth, and their mutual yearning to find each other again. They search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their lives.

    The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See ($27.00, Scribner Book Company), recommended by Amber, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Tilted World by Tom Franklin, Beth Ann Fennelly

    I grew up knowing about the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 but this book brings that time to life.

    You can feel the unceasing rain and the mud and the growing fear of the flood coming their way. In this setting we meet a federal agent and a bootlegger brought together by an orphaned baby: a story of seemingly ordinary people who find hope and deliverance where they least expect it--in each other.

    The Tilted World By Tom Franklin, Beth Ann Fennelly (William Morrow & Company), recommended by Rene at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh NC.

  • The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick

    I cannot recall the last time a book captivated me so completely. It felt fresh, smart, clever, and, perhaps best of all, genuine and sweet in the very best sense. The story line is beautifully original and combines so many fascinating concepts and ideas.

    The mix of folklore and science is amazing. Who would have thought that the second law of thermodynamics could be presented in such a fun context! And I'll never look at entropy in quite the same way again.

    The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick (Algonquin) Recommended by Laura at Malaprops Asheville NC.