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

The High Line is a one-and-a-half-mile-long public park on an elevated stretch of obsolete freight railway on the West Side of Manhattan.

Before I had actually visited (and then immediately fallen in love with) the High Line, somebody tried to describe it to me and I just couldn't envision it. If only this book had existed then, I may have understood something of the magic that awaited me.

Documenting in exquisite detail the design, development, and construction of the project, as well as the history of the area, the book is a perfect little window onto a very special place. And like everything that Phaidon does, it is elegant, sumptuous, and stunning.

The High Line by James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio, Renfro (Phaidon Press) Recommended by Tony at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

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

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

Jimm Juree, first-person narrator of this excellent mystery, is a crime reporter out of work. Her mother, with early dementia, sold the family home and business and relocated to southern, rural Thailand. Jimm's grandfather, a retired cop, rarely talks and her younger brother who wants to be a world-class body builder moved with the family; her older brother, a transgendered former beauty queen now computer hacker stayed in the city.

Suddenly, things begin to happen in their new village: A Volkswagon van, complete with two skeletons, is discovered by a well-digger then a visiting Buddist abbott is violently murdered shortly after Jimm meets a nun and a monk who become suspects in the case. As Jimm works the case hoping to break back into news, she finds allies in unexpected places.

The charm of Whim isn't the crime story. It's the characters, the whimsey, and the humor woven subtly through the novel that make it a cut above the rest. Of course, the chapter headings, quotes from President Malaprop, are well worth the read. Don't miss the beginning of this excellent new series!

NOTE: Many readers will remember Cotterill's wonderful series about Dr. Siri, a 70-something Laotian county coroner.
I predict even more fans for Jimm!

Killed at the Whim of a Hat: A Jimm Juree Mystery by Colin Cotterill ($18.99, Minotaur), recommended by Molly, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh NC.