Find hundreds of great books--from the hottest new releases and bestsellers to tried and true classics to rare gems--each hand-picked and hand-curated from Southern indie booksellers' websites, newsletters, emails, facebook and twitter posts and from the moments when they stop us in the street, push a book in our hands and say..."YOU'VE GOT TO READ THIS!"


Look for Her by Emily WinslowA beautiful young girl disappears on her way to school. Years later her body is found but the murderer is never caught. Morris Kaufmann is now a cold case inspector and when DNA is finally recovered from the clothes of the young girl he thinks he is well on his way to making a huge name for himself, as the abduction and murder of Annalise Wood received much notoriety at the time of the abduction and years later when the body was found. He seeks help from his old partner, Chloe, and they soon discover that the one thing they thought they knew – that the body was that of Annalise - is now in question. Look For Her is a terrific psychological thriller with many twists and turns. The sensationalization of the abduction and murder affected many people as did the lies told by those close to Annaliese. It is up to Morris and Chloe to figure out who was buried in Annalise’s clothes and who murdered her, and how two unrelated patients of a local psychiatrist, both of whom were obsessed with Annalise, might be involved in the case.

Look for Her by Emily Winslow ($15.99*, William Morrow & Company), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

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.

Sadness Is a White Bird by Moriel Rothman-ZecherThis devastating, beautifully wrought story reminds us that the mentality of Us vs Them can only end badly for both. Make any effort to get to know Them, and We realize that They are just like Us. They are Us with different clothes, accents, hair, skin. I am also reminded that a love story isn’t any good unless it breaks your heart.

Sadness Is a White Bird by Moriel Rothman-Zecher ($26.00*, Atria Books), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

The Woman in White by Wilkie CollinsAnother classic I'd never read! Although The Woman in White received mixed reviews when it was published in the mid-19th century, it was an immediate hit with the reading public. I can see why. For one thing, Wilkie Collins is a master of the cliffhanger: I lost count of how many there were throughout the book, and each was put to excellent use. For another, he draws wonderful characters, making them beautifully (and horribly) specific, and thus, hard to forget. I admit that I had little patience with Laura Fairlee, the book's angelic ingenue, who seems always on the verge of fainting, but I recognize that she is a contrivance of the age in which the novel was written, and the other characters are all so deliciously wrought that it seems unfair to quibble over Laura's "girly" characteristics.

The Woman in White is not only a mystery but a true thriller, and it was said at the time that Collins had written "something completely new." It's not often that I am moved as I was when reading this novel: in fear, anticipation, sadness, and excitement. Ultimately, Collins is simply a marvelous storyteller. Aspiring writers can learn much about how to engage readers' interests and emotions effectively; readers will find a novel that they can completely and gladly lose themselves in. And isn't that something we all want and need from time to time?

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins ($12.99*, MacMillan Collector's Library), recommended by Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC.

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.

Marabel and the Book of Fate by Tracy BarrettMarabel's twin brother, Marco, is the Chosen One, prophesied by the Book of Fate to save the kingdom of Magikos. For Marabel, that means always being in Marco's shadow. But when an evil queen kidnaps Marco on their very important 13th birthday, Marabel knows that she has to rescue her brother if no one else will. With help from her best friend and a talking unicorn, Marabel treks across kingdoms to find her brother, a journey that teaches her about friendship and fate, good and evil, and that sometimes a different perspective can help you save the day. For fans of humorous fairy tale classics like Ella Enchanted, and for anyone who is tired of waiting around for their day in the sun.

Marabel and the Book of Fate by Tracy Barrett ($16.99*, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.


 A Winter 2018 Okra Pick

Dreaming in Chocolate Susan Bishop CrispellCharming and hopeful. Once again Susan Bishop Crispell combines culinary wonder and a touch of magic for a delightful book perfect for cozy winter reading!

Dreaming in Chocolate by Susan Bishop Crispell ($15.99*, St. Martin's Griffin), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

 A Winter 2018 Okra Pick