GREAT READS HANDPICKED BY GREAT SOUTHERN BOOKSELLERS...

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  • The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox

    The Smiling Man by Joseph KnoxThe Smiling Man is a contemporary thriller that reads like an old-fashioned noir. Joseph Knox did a brilliant job telling two parallel stories and tying them together towards the end. While I began to have an inkling of the connection, Knox kept the details sparse enough and the suspense high enough that I was never sure of what I knew and what I had missed completely. Like any noir hero, Aidan Waits is flawed and often unlikable, but he has a core of decency that you can't help but root for. I did not realize that this was the second in a series until after I completed the book. I think it stands alone nicely and I enjoyed it even without any backstory that I may have missed from Book I.

    The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox ($26.00*, Crown), recommended by The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL.

  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

    A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid KemmererA tale as old as time with a modern, fresh spin! I loved everything from the smart, empowered characters to the spin on the beast and the curse to the supporting cast of characters--the only problem is a cliffhanger that leaves you on the edge of your seat! 

    A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer ($18.99*, Bloomsbury YA), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

  • The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

    The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher GreeneWhen single mom and widow Susannah meets mysterious artist Max W at a party, they quickly connect. Having both overcome turbulent pasts, they find solace together and Max bonds with Susannah's son Freddy. Their idyllic life is threatened when Susannah finds a note on their front door that says I KNOW WHO YOU ARE. The couple worries separately about what the note means and who left it and things start to unravel when Max figures it out - or does he? This is a fast, twisty story about how your past can come back to haunt you and how you never really know your partner as well as you think. 

    The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene ($26.99*, St. Martin’s Press), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

    An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks, Sarah PekkanenWho knows better how to manipulate someone for their own nefarious purpose than a psychiatrist who understands when a person is damaged and vulnerable because of past trauma. That  is the premise of An Anonymous Girl, a terrific psychological thriller with a complex plot that is both sick and twisted. Jessica Farris lies her way into what she thinks is a psychological study on ethics and morality conducted by psychiatrist Dr. Shields because she needs the money. She quickly comes to greatly admire Dr. Shields (because Dr. Shields knows how to manipulate her) and doesn’t realize that she is being used to help Dr. Shields build a case against her cheating husband. You won’t want to miss this one.

    An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen ($27.99*, St. Martin’s Press), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

    The Gilded Wolves by Roshani ChokshiRoshana Chokshi's The Gilded Wolves is a delightful adventure through history as six young people, each with their own demons, chase their dreams, only to find the fate of society in the balance. Besides delving into each character's unique post and how their struggles inform their tenuous hopes for the future, the story also explores the bitterness of letting one's dream, both acknowledged and unacknowledged, go unrealized. Above all, Chokshi's cleverly built scavenger hunt encompassing history, math, science and magic makes it easy to fall in love with each word, as if were again our first time breathing.

    The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi ($18.99*, Wednesday Books), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

     A Winter 2019 Okra Pick

  • The Current by Tim Johnston

    The Current by Tim JohnstonIf you read literary suspense, this is your book.

    If you are looking for a book you can't put down, this is your book.

    If you need a story that will follow you for days, this is your book.

    New wounds open old wounds in this superb tale of unresolved loss and crime.

    Two nineteen year-old college girls are frantically driving away from a terrifying encounter on a dark, icy Iowa road when their car goes into a river. Only one survives, the daughter of a dying sheriff across the state line in Minnesota. This tragedy brings to surface the loss of another young girl ten years prior, found in a river. A case this dying sheriff was never able to solve. Both cases are filled with direct and indirect links. Tim Johnston instills both grief and grace, twists and escalating tension, and the tenacity of those left behind in this deftly written novel.

    The Current by Tim Johnston ($27.95*, Algonquin Books), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

     A Winter 2019 Okra Pick

  • The Night Agent by Matthew Quirk

    The Night Agent by Matthew QuirkThis is literally a stay-up late, can't put it down action thriller. Peter Sutherland is an FBI agent whose career is tainted by the sins of his father, but guided by his own strong sense of right and wrong. When he receives a panic-stricken call from a young woman named Rose on a secret FBI hot line, he has no idea of the challenges he will soon be facing, or how the decisions he must make will test his moral codes. Sutherland is an approachable and honest character, not imbued by the author with superhuman strengths or abilities. The story is intricate and fast-paced, yet still feels legitimate and real. I really liked this book and expect it will be a runaway best seller!

    The Night Agent by Matthew Quirk ($26.99*, William Morrow), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus 

    Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus Two Can Keep a Secret proves that there are still twisty, devious mystery stories to be told. No matter how many times I thought 'they're the killer!', the ending still shocked and wowed me. It'll appeal to the My Favorite Murder fan in us all- I couldn't put it down. Just don't read it at home, alone, at night. Speaking from personal experience, that would be a mistake. The final line still has me shivering.

    Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus  ($19.99*, Delacorte Press), recommended by One More Page Books, Arlington, VA.

  • You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian

    You Know You Want This: "Cat Person" was not a fluke. This is a collection full of interesting, dark stories about the power structures within all kinds of relationships. Some are playful and some will knock your socks off.

    You Know You Want This: "Cat Person" and Other Stories by Kristen Roupenian ($24.99*, Gallery/Scout Press), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • The Au Pair by Emma Rous

    The Au Pair by Emma RousLaura was an au pair for the young son of the Mayes family for a year before Ruth Mayes's twins were born. The day the twins were born Ruth committed suicide by jumping off a cliff and Laura mysteriously went away and never returned to the town.

    Now, 25 years later one of the twins, Seraphine, finds a photograph while looking through her deceased father's possessions. This photograph taken on the day of her and her twin Danny’s birth presents many unanswered questions. Ruth, their mother, looks serene and happy and not like someone who would commit suicide several hours later. And she is only holding one infant. Seraphine has never quite felt like she belonged and she becomes obsessed with finding out who she really is.

    The Au Pair is brilliantly told from two perspectives as Laura and Seraphine both tell their stories. When the narratives come together, they do so with the force of two trains colliding. The lies, deception, and betrayals give an ending that I never expected.

    The Au Pair by Emma Rous ($16.00*, Berkley), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Guilt We Carry by Samuel W. Gailey

    The Guilt We Carry by Samuel W. GaileyGreat for readers of Mary Kubica and Paula Hawkins! Alice O'Farrell lives a quiet, nomadic life after an accident killed her younger brother when she was left in charge. Unable to let go of the guilt she feels, she keeps to herself and works one-off jobs that don't require much from her. Waking up in a bad situation one morning, Alice finds herself in possession of a duffel bag full of cash and hits the road, hoping to outrun her guilt (and maybe a couple of bad guys too). Drama runs high as Alice and a runaway she encounters along the way work to outwit the owners of the duffel bag. You'll be breathless as you get to the fiery conclusion.

    The Guilt We Carry by Samuel W. Gailey ($26.95*, Oceanview Publishing), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King by Jerome Charyn

    The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King by Jerome CharynAn fun, interesting, and unexpected read! Teddy Roosevelt jumps to life in this historical tale.

    The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King by Jerome Charyn ($25.95*, Liveright Publishing Corporation), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

  • The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA by Brenda Woods

    The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA by Brenda WoodsSuch a beautiful book. War heroes, life in the summer-time South, family, and friendship. So well-written and highly recommend to all.

    The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA by Brenda Woods ($16.99*, Nancy Paulsen Books), recommended by The Story Shop, Monroe, GA.

  • The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

    The Water Cure by Sophie MackintoshHaunting. Mackintosh manages a new take on the unreliable narrator: at times the sisters don't know what to believe about their world and I so related to the spot-on depictions of sisterly devotion, even as the extremity of their lives what shocking and brutal.  Masterful and perfect for anyone who loved Red Clocks by Leni Zumas. 

    The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh ($25.95*, Doubleday), recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • The Wicked King by Holly Black

    The Wicked King by Holly BlackIf like me, you devoured The Cruel Prince, it's impossible to begin this new installment without a fair amount of trepidation--and Holly Black does not disappoint. In this novel, the faerie world expands significantly and Jude's brilliant scheming must face the test of time and several new players. Jude remains an impressively fierce heroine, but she may have met her match...I really don't know how I'll survive the wait for book three!

    The Wicked King by Holly Black ($19.99*, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), recommended by Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL.

  • The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

    The Winter of the Witch by Katherine ArdenI read this madly in 24 hours and couldn’t put it down. The Winter of the Witch sees Vasya Petrovna come fully into her power in every dimension. Each volume in the Winternight Trilogy has been even more enthralling than the first, and this is a richly satisfying conclusion on so many levels, narratively, historically, romantically, and emotionally! It makes me want to start The Bear and the Nightingale all over again!

    The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden ($28.00*, Del Rey), recommended by Underground Books, Carrollton, GA.

  • Snakes on a Train by Kathryn Dennis

    Snakes on a Train by Kathryn DennisHow do snakes travel long distances? By train of course! Up and down hills, through dark tunnels and all the way home, the snakes ride the trains. This absolutely adorable rhyming story will have young readers assssssking to read it again and again.

    Snakes on a Train by Kathryn Dennis ($17.99*, Feiwel & Friends), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • The Gown by Jennifer Robson

    The Gown by Jennifer RobsonIn 1947, British Princess Elizabeth stood before her groom and the world a vision in an exquisitely embroidered wedding gown from the design house of Norman Hartnell. Seven decades later, a young Canadian journalist inherits a handful of intricate embroidery samples from her beloved Nan which sets her off in search of her grandmother's mysterious past.

    Author Jennifer Robson deftly leads the reader back and forth through time in the desolation of post-war London through the eyes of a working girl and a French Holocaust survivor.

    There were many hands involved in the creation of the royal wedding gown. Those hands belonged to people with lives and stories to tell--Robson honors these in her unforgettable novel, The Gown.

    The Gown by Jennifer Robson ($16.99*, William Morrow Paperbacks), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • The Adults by Caroline Hulse

    The Adults by Caroline HulseExes Matt and Claire are spending the Christmas holiday with their daughter and their new partners--what could go wrong? This opens with the reveal of an injury caused by an unknown assailant to one of the adult partners, and the story emerges chapter by chapter.

    Friendly exes and not-so-friendly new partners struggle to keep the peace for young Scarlett, who complicates things with her imaginary bunny friend Posey. Emotions run high as the BAC raises in the adults and the Mexican standoff at the end is hilarious even during its tense moments.

    This is an honest look at how to keep parental relationships good while blending new partners into the mix, and it will make you feel great about your own dysfunctional family.

    The Adults by Caroline Hulse ($26.00*, Random House), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

    The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia QuinnPoppy Bridgerton is just finishing her second season and she has successfully avoided marriage. While she's relaxing by the sea at her friend's estate, her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers a hidden pirate's cave, full of booty. Before she can get away, the pirates find her and she's smuggled on board where she meets their dashing captain, Andrew James. Nautical romance ahoy!

    Julia Quinn hasn't written a bad book--all are excellent and this one is no exception.

    The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn ($26.99*, Avon Books), recommended by Bookmiser, Roswell, GA.

  • The Disasters by M.K. England

    The Disasters by M.K. EnglandImmensely original and unbelievably fun! The Disasters is a heart stopping space opera, where teen galactic outcasts are the stars.  Full of diversity, humor, and amazing worldbuilding, the action starts in the first chapter and only increases as Nax and his fellow space misfits run, hide and fight to uncover a vast conspiracy. One of the best debuts I've read of 2018! 

    The Disasters by M.K. England ($17.99*, HarperTeen), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • Love, Z by Jessie Sima

    Love, Z by Jessie SimaThis book is so adorable and sweet! It will make adults and kids laugh and get teary-eyed: the perfect picture-book combo. 

    Love, Z by Jessie Sima ($17.99*, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • I'll Love You Till the Cows Come Home by Kathryn Cristaldi, Kristyna Litten (Illustrator)

    I'll Love You Till the Cows Come Home by Kathryn Cristaldi, Kristyna Litten (Illustrator)Oh my goodness, this is the sweetest thing I have read in quite a while. It just makes me want to gather my three-year-old to sit in my lap and read, "I will love you til the cows come home, from a trip to mars through skies unknown, in a rocket ship made of glass and stone... I will love you til the cows come home."

    I'll Love You Till the Cows Come Home by Kathryn Cristaldi, Kristyna Litten (Illustrator) ($17.99*, HarperCollins), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants by Mathias Énard

    Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants by Mathias EnardAn elegantly written piece of historical fiction that depicts Michelangelo as a conflicted, unsure genius. At times mysterious and poetic, Énard has a knack for storytelling, turning this short character study into a piece of political intrigue.

    Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants by Mathias Énard ($19.95*, New Directions Publishing Corporation), recommended by Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC.

  • Unclay by T.F. Powys

    Unclay by T.F. PowysSay Jonathan Strange, Mr. Norrell, and Lolita had a ménage à trois in a quaint English village inhabited by the likes of Jack the Ripper and Little Dorrit. Wonderful, readable, oddly moving and also...odd. First published in 1931--or wait, maybe that was 1731? Or maybe 2431? One of them. 

    Unclay by T.F. Powys ($16.95*, New Directions Publishing Corporation), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

    The Museum of Modern Love by Heather RoseIt's pretty rare for a book to make me cry anymore, but I found my eyes welling up with tears of heartbreak and joy and the end of The Museum of Modern Love. This book is a fictionalized account of the life of the performance artist Marina Abromovic, a study of her most famous work and the effect it had on the individuals who witnessed it. Rose captures the complexity of Abromovic's work and the woman herself.

    The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose ($15.95*, Algonquin Books), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

    This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea PitcherFive teens are invited to a locked-room, murder mystery night and the one who solves the mystery will will a $50,000 scholarship. But when they arrive and find out who their competition is for this scholarship, they realize that they have an actual death (murder?) in common.  They quickly realize that the scholarship was a ruse and they're really there to figure out/confess to what happened a year about when another boy died.

    This is a fast paced thriller, very much in the vein of I Know What You Did Last Summer,very much Clue meets Pretty Little Liars.

    This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher ($17.99*, Margaret K. McElderry Books), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • Hearts of the Missing by Carol Potenza

    Hearts of the Missing by Carol PotenzaAfter being forced to move and give up law school Nicky Matthews is finally doing something she really loves. She is a police sergeant with the Pueblo, New Mexico police force and she is the liaison with the Fire-Skye Indian reservation. Nicky has made many friends on the res and she is respected by the residents, but she is not liked at all by her boss who can’t wait to catch her doing something wrong. When a suicide seems to be linked to other missing Fire-Skye people, Nicky defies her boss and investigates. Ancient beliefs and culture, greed, revenge, and modern day genetics all mix together in this beautifully written police procedural.   

    Hearts of the Missing by Carol Potenza ($26.99*, Minotaur Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfiled

    Once Upon a River by Diane SetterfiledI loved The Thirteenth Tale, so I was excited to see that Diane Setterfield has a new novel for us. I enjoyed the atmospheric writing, the depth and range of the characters, and the beautiful setting. The river is a major player in the story, and Setterfield describes it with great affection and respect. This book isn't exactly fantasy but it isn't exactly straight realism, either. The mixture worked for me. I also liked the pacing, much like a river...sometimes turbulent, sometimes peaceful, always moving forward. This will be a great book for lovers of historical fiction willing to try something different.

    Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfiled ($28.00*, Atria/Emily Bestler Books), recommended by Sunrise Books, High Point, NC.

  • Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky

    Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah SeleckyThis book is so much fun! Artist Lilian Quick's world begins to change when a long lost cousin visits her town on a speaking tour. Her cousin, now known only as Eleven, is the face of a very successful health, spiritual and lifestyle online community with high priced and lucrative courses in real life. Lilian becomes engaged with the community and readers fall in love with her! A beach read for the winter time, this is a fun book. 

    Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky ($27.00*, Bloomsbury Publishing), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • The Winters by Lisa Gabriele

    The Winters by Lisa GabrieleRaised in the Caymans, the nameless female character is working off a big debt alone and lonely for a boating company when she meets Max Winter, a state senator who has recently been widowed.  A short month after they meet, he proposes and pays off her debt, taking her back to his island estate in New York where she has to contend with her future step daughter, Dani. Dani is difficult, to say the least.

    I'm a big fan of the gothic novel, so a modern retelling of du Maurier's Rebecca is RIGHT up my alley.  I very much enjoyed this story and it kept me turning pages long after I should have gone to sleep!

    The Winters by Lisa Gabriele ($26.00*, Viking), recommended by Bookmiser, Roswell, GA.

  • One Day in December by Josie Silver

    One Day in December by Josie SilverI love a good love story, and this one checks all the boxes: love triangle, star-crossed lovers, tests of friendship, and heartbreak all mixed in.

    Laurie and Jack lock eyes through a bus window one cold day in December, and she is instantly in love. She and her BFF Sarah search for the gorgeous Bus Boy with no success. Laurie has just about come to terms with the idea that it was just not meant to be when Sarah introduces Laurie to her new boyfriend, with whom she is madly in love. You guessed it, it's Bus Boy. Neither Jack nor Laurie fesses up, and the three end up finding comfort and a friendship that lasts years. Laurie marries another man and everyone moves on with life, but it's impossible for her to escape that years-old daydream.

    You'll root for every character in this book and wait with bated breath to see who ends up happy and who ends up together. A great read for fans of Emily Griffith or Sophie Kinsella. 

    One Day in December by Josie Silver ($16.00*, Broadway Books), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • Melmoth by Sarah Perry

    Melmoth by Sarah PerryWith its echoes of Mary Shelley and menacing creature in Frankenstein, Melmoth reads deliciously like an 18th-century Gothic novel. Mysterious pages describe a legendary shrouded figure--Melmoth the Wanderer--who watches those who have sins and secrets to hide.

    Propulsive, eerie, heartrending, and hopeful, Sarah Perry's worthy successor to The Essex Serpent bring a chill of recognition to each of us who has acted badly and peered over our shoulder to see if someone was watching.

    Melmoth by Sarah Perry ($27.99*, Custom House), recommended by Malaprop's Books and Cafe, Asheville, NC.

     

  • Grenade by Alan Gratz

    Grenade by Alan GratzThe harsh reality of war is presented here with an abundance of raw details. Told in contrasting view points this book opens up the horrors of both sides of a war and the real casualties witnessed on the front. Ray left home against his father's wishes to join in the fight. He was sent to fight the Japanese army. He was told how horrible the opposition was and needed not only to survive but protect his fellow Marines.

    Hideki is Ray's enemy living with his family on Okinawa. He is thrown into the fray after being taken out of school. Americans are his enemy and he must protect his family and country from these evil people. When Ray's and Hideki's worlds collide, their lives change forever.

    Fans of Alan Gratz will be gratzified to know his next book is historical fiction at its finest.

    Grenade by Alan Gratz ($17.99*, Scholastic Press), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, Wake Forest.

  • The Witch Elm by Tana French

    The Witch Elm by Tana FrenchReading Tana French means disappearing into another life for a while. Her stories aren't meant to be slick or flashy, but deliberate, intricate studies of characters and their motivations. The Witch Elm is no different, as it follows the unraveling of Toby starting the night he surprises two burglars in his apartment. As you learn the secrets and weaknesses of Toby and his family, you begin to realize that while finding out what happened is enjoyable and surprising, finding out the how and the why is even better.

    The Witch Elm by Tana French ($28.00*, Viking), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera 

    What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera When Arthur goes to New York for the summer, he expects it to be a lot like the Broadway plays he adores. But it's not. Ben, on the other hand, is much more pragmatic, in that native New Yorker way. When they meet, Arthur falls head over heels almost immediately, and his enthusiasm may rub off a bit on Ben...but things don't exactly work out in real life the way they do on stage. With alternating chapters from Arthur's and Ben's points of view, this is another wonderful read from Albertalli and Silvera, and fans of both authors won't be disappointed (and fans of musical theater will love it even more).

    What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera  ($18.99*, HarperTeen), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

    The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch AlbomA sweet read, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, is Mitch Albom's most recent book to give us a second glance into his heart-touching version of the afterlife. The first glance was in his book The Five People You Meet in Heaven. We met Annie briefly in that first book, as Eddie (the maintenance man) died saving her life. This second book picks up Annie's life many years later as it's now her turn to meet five people in heaven.  Annie thinks her life has consisted of making one mistake after another. It's up to her five people in Heaven to let her know that her life mattered and she was good.

    Mitch Albom's books bring such peaceful feelings while reading.  I found myself being more appreciative, caring, and loving towards others. I am now reading or re-reading his other books just so I can maintain those feelings for a bit longer.

    The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (23.99*, Harper), recommended by Bookmiser, Roswell, GA.

  • Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller

    Bitter Orange by Claire FullerA tense, psychological novel that fully immerses you in the mind of our narrator Franny. I couldn't get enough of the slowly revealed, atmospheric story or the constant feeling of bated breath. 

    Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller ($25.95*, Tin House Books), recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • Wrecked by Joe Ide

    Wrecked by Joe IdeJoe Ide is back with the third installment of the IQ series, and this may be Isaiah's diciest situation yet! Isaiah has a crush on Grace, and when she asks him to help her find her mom, who's been missing for ten years, he sees it as a way to her heart. But he finds himself getting crossed up with members of a security firm who are all ex-military and spent time at Abu Ghraib, and they have something to hide. All our favorite characters are back, and Ide's combination of comedy and action packed, Hood detective vibes make for a great time (well, for us, maybe not for him)!

    Wrecked by Joe Ide ($27.00*, Mulholland Books), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

    Bridge of Clay by Markus ZusakA sweeping epic family story that will continue to echo long past the final page, Bridge of Clay will most certainly be the MOST talked about book of the Fall on both the kids and adult lists. No one, once introduced to the achingly sweet, tragic, rough and tumble Dunbar Boys could ever forget them even for a moment. Bridge of Clay is an absolute must-read for those long rainy or snowy autumn weekends.

    Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak ($26.00*, Knopf Books for Young Readers), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • The Fallen Architect by Charles Belfoure

    TITLEBelfoure has woven another wonderful tale involving an architect, Douglas Layton. And England during the early 20th century is always a fascinating landscape. Douglas is very good at his profession but a horrible accident involving the collapse of a theater that he designed destroys his career and puts him in jail. Upon release he struggles to clear his name. Belfloure introduces a varied cast of characters that are sure to delight. I was captivated by all of the unique personalities that were found in the vaudeville theater of the time and totally supported the efforts of Douglas as he gets involved in solving the mystery of the theater collapse. I look forward to the next architectural tale by this marvelous storyteller. Great story!

    The Fallen Architect by Charles Belfoure ($25.99*, Sourcebooks Landmark), recommended by Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL.

  • The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

    The Dream Daughter by Diane ChamberlainA MUST READ! I stayed up until 2 a.m. 2 nights in a row to finish this. Great characters, very absorbing and unique plot. A woman's quest to give her daughter the world.

    The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain ($27.99*, St. Martin’s Press), recommended by Sunrise Books, High Point, NC.

     A Fall 2018 Okra Pick

  • Lorraine by Ketch Secor, Higgins Bond (Illustrator)

    Lorraine by Ketch Secor, Higgins Bond (Illustrator)This lyrical tale written by Ketch Secor along with the photo-realistic illustrations of Higgins Bond not only entertains young readers, but also encourages them to find their inner strength.

    When a mischievous crow hides all the shiny things in her life (including her pennywhistle), Lorraine is forced to find her inner voice and create music to chase her worries away.

    Higgins Bond's illustrations are the perfect accompaniment for the lyrical tale that is sure to become a favored family read aloud.

    Lorraine by Ketch Secor, Higgins Bond (Illustrator) ($17.99*, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky), recommended by The Reading Rock, Dickson, TN.

     A Fall 2018 Okra Pick

  • The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

    The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi LeeFelicity wants to be a doctor. Unfortunately it's the 1700s and that kind of thing is JUST not done. Living in Scotland, working at a bakery, she can't get anyone to hear her petition to study. She travels to London to see if she can make any headway there and is met with similar disappointment. However, the opportunity to present herself to a doctor that she idolizes presents itself and she travels to Germany to do just that. What happens next is an adventure that Felicity didn't know she was looking for.

    The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee ($18.99*, Katherine Tegen Books / Harpercollins Children’s Books), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • Virgil Wander by Leif Enger

    Virgil Wander by Leif EngerI absolutely fell in love with Virgil and his community. This is such a delightful book that feels comforting with out any saccharine sweetness and with just the right amount of dry wit.

    Virgil Wander by Leif Enger ($27.00*, Grove Press), recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd

    Grim Lovelies by Megan ShepherdMegan Shepherd has done it again with Grim Lovelies: a book so perfectly formed one can't imagine that it hasn't been around forever. It's simply a classic. Anouk was enchanted from animal to human by a Witch who holds her captive as a household slave. She and the other "Beasties" will do anything to preserve their humanity. She wishes to be like the "Pretties" (humans) with their fast cars and high fashion she can see from the small window in her Parisian townhouse/prison. But there is SO much more!! Anouk and her other Beastie friends discover that they have more power than they have been led to believe if they can only beat the clock and keep the spell safe forever. This is not a sufficient description for this book. Great diversity of characters! There are also Goblins!!!! Really cool Goblins!!!

    Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd (PRICE*, PUBLISHER), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • Hansel & Gretel by Bethan Woollvin

    Hansel & Gretel by Bethan WoollvinLooove this book! After a week like this one, Hansel & Gretel is the cathartic retelling of a classic fairytale I needed. Stylistically rendered in a limited palette, this picture book explores crossed boundaries and women's anger. Illustrator Bethan Woollvin, doesn't tell the story of a bad witch, but a caring and generous witch. A witch whose actions are made understandable by the history of unappreciated labor and abuse left out of other recountings. Reading this book I couldn't help but think that Bethan has slyly done a service to the next generation of Hansels, Gretels, and witches.

    Hansel & Gretel by Bethan Woollvin ($16.95*, Peachtree Publishers), recommended by Firestorm Books & Coffee, Asheville, NC.

  • November Road by Lou Berney

    November Road by Lou Berney Don't make the mistake of considering this a work of historical fiction (it is, set against and intertwined with the assassination of JFK). Don't consider it a suspense novel (it is, with Frank Guidry on the run for his life from a ruthless assassin and an organized crime boss with contacts everywhere, who are pursuing Frank for what he might know or have done in relation to the killing of JFK), and by no means consider it a love story (although, implausibly it becomes one when Frank falls for a young woman traveling with her two small children, and on the run for reasons of her own). This book is most simply a story, and one that is exceptionally well told. Lou Berney has crafted a very compelling tale with very human and relatable characters, each with their own flaws, secrets, dreams and desires. There are ups and downs, twists and turns, but mostly it's the story that grabs hold of you and keeps you turning the pages to the very end. This book was a joy to read.

    November Road by Lou Berney ($26.99*, William Morrow), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

     A Fall 2018 Okra Pick

  • Scribe by Alyson Hagy

    Scribe by Alyson HagyIn a future Appalachia ruined by civil war and contagion, a woman ekes our her living by writing letters for the migrants who pass by her homestead. This haunting fable about the redeeming power of story, of owning one’s story, and of taking the time to tell another’s story with bold-faced honesty and empathy will get under your skin. This is not a pleasant tale, but an important one in the time of "fake news" and "would" and "wouldn’t."

    Scribe by Alyson Hagy ($16.00*, Graywolf Press), recommended by Underground Books, Carrollton, GA.

     A Fall 2018 Okra Pick

  • A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

    A Spark of Light by Jodi PicoultWhen this ARC came in, I squealed out loud and claimed it for my own before I'd even finished opening the package. Taking place during an active shooter situation in a women's clinic, each chapter is told from a different character's point of view. Every viewpoint is represented so no matter where you stand on women's health care issues, you'll find a connection. Hugh McElroy is the police negotiator that's trying to talk the shooter out of the building and his fear is amplified when he discovers his daughter Wren is one of the hostages.

    Picoult never fails to keep me on the edge of my seat and this might be her best book yet. I had a book hangover for days after I finished this and I'm probably going to read it again immediately. There are some detailed descriptions of medical procedures towards the end but they're fitting with the topics and more educational than graphic. I truly can't recommend this book enough. 

    A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult ($28.99*, Ballantine Books), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

    Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamilloThink of Raymie Nightingale and remember the charming ranchero and partner in baton twirling, Louisiana Elefante. Here she is telling the story of her and her grandmother's wild ride from Florida to Georgia as Granny says, to confront the curse. What she ends up confronting is a car out of gas, a granny in need of dental surgery, and hard-hearted Bernice of the Good Night, Sleep Tight motel. In a welcome reprieve from the uncertainty of her plight, Louisiana gives us all we need to know about her new friend Burke Ellis when she observes, "He was the kind of person who, if you asked him for one of something, gave you two instead." A sad story, Louisiana warns us, but she is resourceful and is, in the end, forgiving in a world where she is lucky enough to meet Burke Allen and his loving family and know the rancheros are a state line away.

    Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo ($16.99*, Candlewick), recommended by Square Books, Oxford, MS.

     A Fall 2018 Okra Pick

  • White Dancing Elephants by Chaya Bhuvaneswar

    White Dancing Elephants by Chaya BhuvaneswarBhuvaneswar's short stories beautifully share the lives of sixteen different women. White Dancing Elephants explores issues of immigration, religion, and feminism, but what it does best it let you peer inside each woman's soul. This is a brilliant debut. 

    White Dancing Elephants by Chaya Bhuvaneswar (16.95*, Dzanc Books), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson, Eugene Yelchin, Eugene Yelchin (Illustrator)

    The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson, Eugene Yelchin, Eugene Yelchin (Illustrator)The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge is a most fantastical Elf and Goblin tale. Both historians in their own right, but the Elf is sent unknowingly to spy on and destroy the Goblin Ruler while the Goblin acts as the host. And neither is aware of what is about to happen. M.T Anderson has done it again!!

    The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson, Eugene Yelchin, Eugene Yelchin (Illustrator) ($24.99*, Candlewick), recommended by Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA.

  • Boomer1 by Daniel Torday

    Boomer1 by Daniel TordayBoomer 1 is an intensely written examination of the lives of millennials vs. baby boomers told in three points of view. Mark Brumfield, a millennial, finds himself unemployed, lonely, and with rising debt in NYC. He, like many others, moves back home. From his parent's basement in suburban Baltimore, he begins a series of videos on the Dark Web as Boomer1, ranting against baby boomers who continue to maintain a hold on the job market, as well as  comfortable success. This incites a movement of acts, ultimately violent, on baby boomers and their institutions. Another perspective is that of Cassie Black. Cassie and Mark were band mates and lovers. She would not marry him and they parted ways. Cassie keeps in touch with him, yet she rises to a highly successful career in media and video. She provides a sense of balance and stability in this story. Julia is Mark's mother. The reader is given interesting insight to her youth as a gifted and hip musician in the 1960's music scene. She now lives, ironically, as a reclusive housewife suffering from major hearing loss in a comfortable lifestyle. She is oblivious to Mark's growing involvement in the movement within the confines of her own home. This novel provides so many thought-provoking angles. Torday's writing is driven by his characters. It is wry, humorous, ironic, and, at the same time, empathetic.

    Boomer1 by Daniel Torday ($27.99*, St. Martin's Press), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

    The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz ZafónZafón is one of my favorite authors of all times. I found his first book, Shadow of the Wind, years ago at an airport and was hooked forever. Although the series, Cemetery of Forgotten Books, is connected by its wonderful characters, each book can be read alone. I have been entranced by the adventures of Daniel Sempere and Fermin and many others that I came to care about. The horrors of the Spanish Civil War loom large over Daniel’s family and those he loves. And Alicia Gris, what a story she has to tell.

    In the midst of this violent time in Spanish history the love that the characters have for each other shines bright. And through it all Zafon shares magnificent tales about books, booksellers and authors and life. He also has such imagination and is a masterful weaver of tales you can’t imagine. This is a must read! Love it, love it!!

    The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón ($37.50*, Harper), recommended by Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL.

  • I Know You Know by Gilly MacMillan

    I Know You Know by Gilly MacMillanI Know You Know is framed through a series of true crime podcasts produced by Cody Swift, whose two best friends were murdered 20 years earlier, when they were just 10 years old. Cody is convinced the man who was convicted of their murders was not guilty and hopes that time will uncover facts that weren’t discovered then. Coincidentally, as the podcast starts the bones of a long missing man are discovered near the spot that the boys’ murder took place. Detective Fletcher, one of the two detectives who discovered the murdered boys 20 years earlier is given the new case.

    The story switches back and forth from 20 years ago to present and is told mainly from the view point of Cody, Detective Fletcher, and Jessica Paige, the mother of one of the murdered boys. Cody is vigilant in trying to find the truth, even when being threatened and told to stop. Or, does he have an ulterior motive? Jess, who has a new life with a husband and 16 yo daughter, has not told her daughter about the son she had when only 16. She has vowed to be a real mother to Erica and is riddled with guilt because of how neglectful she was as a very young mother. Or, is she riddled with guilt because she actually had something to do with harming her son? Fletcher has always been overly ambitions and has ignored procedure to accomplish what he thought was justice. But, was he a good guy who just wanted to catch the bad guy or was he corrupt?

    Gilly MacMillan gives us a thrilling saga that spans 20 years, a saga you are immediately pulled into. Switching back and forth from the past to the present lets you really get to know the characters and why they developed as they did. You will go from loving them to hating them and back again until you finally find out their true character and what really happened 20 years ago.

    I Know You Know by Gilly MacMillan ($16.99*, William Morrow Paperbacks), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

    The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes GowarThis book was a pure delight from beginning to end. High class escorts, nouveau riche merchants, madams, backstabbings, broken hearts, mended hearts, parties, an angry mob, pining, memaids. What more could you ask from a historical novel taking place in the late 18th century? The characters are so well-rounded I found myself cringing for them in their embarassment and cheering for them in their triumph. The writing is so atmospheric it feels absolutely authentic. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed reading a book as much I enjoyed reading this one. The only way to describe this book is as an absolute romp. 

    The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar ($28.99*, Harper), recommended by Union Ave Books, Knoxville, TN.

  • The Forbidden Door by Dean Koontz

    The Forbidden Door by Dean KoontzDean Koontz rarely disappoints and such is the case in this fourth installment of the Jane Hawk series. In a conspiracy theorists delight, a secret organization has infiltrated all levels of government and is intent on instilling their radical philosophies to control society. Jane Hawk is standing in their way with the proof that could bring them down, but before she can, Jane first needs to find and save her young son before her enemies do. From the first few pages this book is a headlong rush of action and suspense as Jane marshals all of her wits and resources to find her son before they do. Be prepared to lose some sleep on this one, as once the action starts, it never stops, making this book very difficult to put down. This is a great action thriller and will leave you yearning for the next installment of Jane's quest to bring justice to those who would do us wrong.

    The Forbidden Door by Dean Koontz ($28.00*, Bantam), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila Turnage

    The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila TurnageThe wait is over. Grab this fourth and final book in the Three Times Lucky group (series?) and put it in the hands of every young reader. Desperado Detectives Mo, Dale and Harm race a scheming out-of-towner to locate Blackbeard's buried treasure, but for Mo the real find may be clues to her Upstream Mother. In this novel that celebrates friends, family and home, it is the lovable characters who will live in our hearts for a long time. True treasure.

    The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila Turnage ($16.99*, Kathy Dawson Books), recommended by Quail Ridge Books , Raleigh, NC.

     A Summer 2018 Okra Pick

  • She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore

    She Would Be King by Wayétu MooreWhat a beautifully written debut novel. Part fairytale, part history, this novel follows three magical characters from disparate parts of the world that converge to fight for the creation of Liberia. The prose is luscious, the characters are fully formed, and the setting is fascinating. 

    She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore ($26.00*, Graywolf Press), recommended by union ave books, knoxville, TN.

  • Crudo by Olivia Laing

    Crudo by Olivia LaingWith any luck, Crudo will be one of most talked about books this year. I sure hope so. Crudo asks questions about narrative proximity and perspective, as it emerges from recent events (Brexit, the 2016 presidential election, the solar eclipse) to articulate what we've felt, what we're feeling. Plus, it's a story. It's a fictionalized memoir by Kathy Acker, not written by Kathy Acker. I found comfort in this book, which is brave to trouble waters of form and subjectivity, and to ask about empathy. 

    Crudo by Olivia Laing ($21.00*, W.W. Norton & Company), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • Die Me a River by Denise Swanson

    Die Me a River by Denise SwansonSkye and Wally are back and struggling with being new parents to twins while living out of an RV because of the recent tornado.  Their living situation is cramped and being a mom to twin babies is exhausting for Skye. Things are finally starting to settle down a bit when they meet with their priest about the babies' christening when there's a loud explosion at the nearby bowling alley. Though it was closed at the time, you guessed it: there's a body inside!  This is exactly what Skye needs while on maternity leave and living out of a glorified box.

    There are SO many cozy mysteries out there, but it's rare that I find a series that I really like and want to stick with for 20 books, but this is definitely one of the few. I enjoy this crazy little town and its funny cast of characters. This title is no exception and I look forward to more.

    Die Me a River by Denise Swanson ($7.99*, Sourcebooks Landmark), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma

    A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren SumaCatherine House is a place for girls who need to escape, but the house holds its own dark secrets. When a bruised and brokenhearted Bina arrives at the house, she is seeking both refuge and reconciliation. Years ago her own mother harbored behind these same walls, and Bina desperately wants her mother to chase after her and choose her. Haunted, dark, lovely magical realism!

    A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma ($18.95*, Algonquin Young Readers), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • The Wildlands by Abby Geni

    The Wildlands by Abby GeniEngrossing and so smart and introspective. Somehow, Abby Geni does it all. Her language is gorgeous, and the relationships she builds between the McCloud siblings and how they relate to the world felt so real. I just fell into the story and couldn't put down this tense and heartbreaking novel.

    The Wildlands by Abby Geni ($26.00*, Counterpoint LLC), recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

    The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie HannahWhen you love a classic series, it is hard sometimes to read a contemporary writer who, like Sophie Hannah, is continuing the story in present day. However, I have loved each one she has done and this is my favorite yet. Honestly, while reading this book, I forgot that Agatha Christie didn't write it. The story is exactly what you would expect from Christie and Hannah handles the voice and character of Poirot expertly. A well done addition to the canon.

    The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah ($27.99*, William Morrow), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

  • A Long Line of Cakes by Deborah Wiles

    A Long Line of Cakes by Deborah WilesCake by name and cake by vocation, the Cake family roll into Halleluia, Mississippi, to open a bakery. Dad Leo Meyer Lemon Cake comes from a long line of traveling merchants bringing baked goods like sweet religion to towns across the country, and he feels led to set up shop in the quirky town populated with beloved and familiar residents from other Halleluia-set novels like Ruby Lavender and House Jackson and the mysterious now-departed Mr. Norwood Boyd. Six cake-named children, their industrious father, and mother Arlouin Hummingbird Spice Cake find a town to serve and friends enough to make them plant their floury hands and want to stay forever.

    Role models for readers, Emma Alabama Lane Cake and Ben Lord Baltimore Cake, tell us that we all need a community to serve and nourish and, in turn, to receive nourishment, however imperfect--like coming home.

    A Long Line of Cakes by Deborah Wiles ($17.99*, Scholastic Press), recommended by Square Books, Oxford, MS.

  • Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan

    Trust Me by Hank Phillippi RyanRiveting and spellbinding, this brilliantly written thriller takes us into the hearts of two grieving mothers…one innocent; the other…well! I’ll let you determine that after you read this captivating story. Lots of twists and turns, and a good surprise ending that will keep you turning pages.

    Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan ($25.99*, Forge Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

    Sweet Little Lies by Caz FrearA woman’s body is found strangled in a garden in London. When the victim’s identity is discovered it throws Detective Catrina Kinsella’s life into a nightmare that she couldn’t have imagined.  The victim, as it turned out, was actually someone that Cat had once known. She was someone who had disappeared from Ireland years earlier and was never seen again. While on vacation in Ireland with her family when she was 8, she witnessed her father give the then young girl a ride. Later when the girl disappeared, Cat heard her father lie to the police about ever knowing her. Now, years later the woman’s body is found not far from where her father now lives and works in London. Was it coincidence or something far more sinister?

    Cat is flawed, she’s sassy-mouthed, she’s complex and deep-down, and she’s compassionate. But most of all she believes people should have to pay for their crimes. Sweet Little Lies is a debut mystery that really delivers. It is a dark story with a touch of humor and a wonderfully developed character who I would love to see again. 

    Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear ($26.99*, Harper), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome

    Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-RansomeHistorical fiction at its finest. Langston longs for his beloved mother and his home in Alabama. But his mother has passed away and his father has moved him to Chicago. Langston struggles both being the new boy in class and with his father who is suffering silently. His discovery of the local library and the books of poetry by a man who shares his name opens a world of discovery that forges new friendships, reveals secrets, and helps his family heal.  

    Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome ($16.99*, Holiday House), recommended by McIntyre's Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC.

  • Surviving Adam Meade Shannon Klare

    Surviving Adam Meade Shannon KlarePerfect for fans of Friday Night Lights and romance! Claire is the coach's daughter, and after rough break up with her football playing first love and a move to a new town, Claire has sworn off dating, especially athletes. Enter Adam Meade, who has a lot more going on than the popular jock image he portrays. Sparks fly between Claire and Adam, and despite her best intentions, Claire can't seem to resist the boy she most wanted to avoid.  Cute and sweet, but the MVP award goes to Adam's adorable grandma! 

    Surviving Adam Meade Shannon Klare ($16.99*, Swoon Reads), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

     A Summer 2018 Okra Pick

  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

    Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensA most amazing story, wonderfully and beautifully written about a child abandoned at an early age who learns to survive in the marsh land on the coast of North Carolina. An epic story of her life, of finding love, of betrayal, and of murder. You’ll shed a few tears as you read...some of such sadness, a few of pure joy. I didn’t want this book to end.

    Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens ($26.00*, G.P. Putnam's Sons), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

     A Summer 2018 Okra Pick

  • The Line That Held Us by David Joy

    The Line That Held Us by David JoyWith the Southern grit of Daniel Woodrell and the rich Appalachian cadence of Ron Rash, David Joy is the new voice of Southern noir. In The Line That Held Us, Joy drags the reader by the gut on a dark and twisted journey of violence and vengeance in a story that will not be soon forgotten. 

    The Line That Held Us by David Joy ($27.00*, G.P. Putnam's Sons), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

     A Summer 2018 Okra Pick

  • The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

    The Masterpiece by Fiona DavisLoved this story! Lost myself in two worlds that Davis created.  I became very attached to the characters and hated for the story to end. Along the way Davis teaches us about a lost art school in Grand Central Terminal in New York,and early artists, especially, Clara Darden, a prominent illustrator during the Great Depression.  A fascinating look at history and the struggle to save Grand Central as a national historic monument. And there’s a little mystery which is compelling. Read this in one sitting!

    The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis ($26.00*, Dutton Books), recommended by Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL.

  • The Distance Home by Paula Saunders

    The Distance Home by Paula SaundersThe Distance Home is a novel of oppositions. Set in a South Dakota landscape at once stark and beautiful, Paula Saunders introduces a family full of meanness and cruelty, but also crushing, miraculous love. These characters, this story, these sentences transcend the typical family drama, as Saunders shows us a world where hate and love are made of the same stuff, and where home and family are the best and worst things that will ever happen to you. In this novel, it is possible to be dragged down by the world, but also to be lifted up by it. 

    The Distance Home by Paula Saunders ($27.00*, Random House), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby

    The Other Side of Lost by Jessi KirbyA Wild for a younger audience. A wonderful look at grief, social media, and honesty. And a bonus that it could be an introduction or John Muir and Yosemite, as well. 

    The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby ($17.99*, Harper Teen), recommended by The Story Shop, Monroe, GA.

  • The Reservoir Tapes by Jon McGregor

    The Reservoir Tapes by Jon McGregorImmersive, nuanced, and exquisitely strange, the interconnected stories within The Reservoir Tapes are a feat of genius. Jon McGregor offers us snippets of an array of lives within a small English town, which come to assemble the blast radius of the recent disappearance of a young teenager. The sheer range of voices within is stunning, as is the tone, which manages to be at once thoughtful, ominous, and humdrum. No event passes without being challenged, complicated, and re-considered from angle-upon-angle, perspective-upon-perspective. I both gloried in the small details and tactile prose—a llama that wasn’t even a llama, the bike grease that refuses to be scrubbed from one’s hands—and furiously flipped pages. This brilliant book is haunted by the specter of normality, which creeps back into the lives of townspeople altered by tragedy. 

    The Reservoir Tapes by Jon McGregor ($22.00*, Catapult), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton

    Heart of Thorns by Bree BartonFrom the publisher: Inventive and heart-racing, this fierce feminist teen fantasy from debut author Bree Barton explores a dark kingdom in which only women can possess magic—and every woman is suspected of having it.

    From The Country Bookshop: Heart of Thorns is by far one of the best books I have read in a long time. The writing was perfect, flowing beautifully and ending with a cliffhanger that was impossible to ignore. There was never a dull moment—each page packed with mystery, love, and action. I am eagerly awaiting Book Two.

    Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton ($17.99*, Katherine Tegen Books), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • Paradox by Catherine Coulter

    Paradox by Catherine CoulterThe is the best Savich and Sherlock novel I have read in recent memory. Savich and Sherlock face real perils and react as any person would, not only as FBI agents. With Sheriff Ty Christie as an incredibly strong and intuitive supporting character and another FBI agent the pace is fast and satisfying. Does a serial killer prowl the local area, is a business corrupt, how far will someone stray off the path for greed? All are asked and answered in the pages of this book.  The ending is a surprise and the different yet intersecting plot lines keep you glued to the pages. Even if you have never read Coulter's FBI series you will enjoy this book, and probably return for more.

    Paradox by Catherine Coulter ($27.99*, Gallery Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • America for Beginners by Leah Franqui

    America for Beginners by Leah Franqui This book was a delight. America for Beginners is a story about acceptance as well as the immigrant experience. Franqui delves into cultural prejudice and biases in an accessible and subtle way. This would be a good vacation read!

    America for Beginners by Leah Franqui ($26.99*, William Morrow), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

    Ghosted by Rosie WalshI can't remember the last time I actually said out loud, "Well, I didn't see THAT coming!" while reading a book.

    Sarah meets Eddie while on a short holiday home. After six incredible days together, Sarah knows that she has found "the one." They part knowing that they will be together again in a few short weeks. Unfortunately, a few short weeks come and go and Sarah has yet to hear from Eddie. Sarah's friends tell her that she's been ghosted and needs to move on. Sarah knows that something is terribly wrong and is determined to find out why Eddie vanished.

    Little does she realize that her past has caught up with her in a way that she never thought possible.

    Ghosted by Rosie Walsh ($26.00*, Pamela Dorman Books), recommended by Bookmiser, Roswell, GA.

  • The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise

    The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer WiseA young man reluctantly takes over the family business (a shoe factory in China) and discovers the corruption and exploitation inherent in the system there. In the midst of coming to terms with all of that, Alex meets a seamstress named Ivy and they become close. But Ivy has an ulterior motive and while it aligns with some of Alex's sympathies, he's been manipulated and knows it.

    Beautiful writing and a plot that pulls you in and won't let go! 

    The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise ($26.99*, Hanover Square Press), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

  • The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood

    The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica SpotswoodOne part Little Women, one part Sarah Dessen, with the small-town charm of Gilmore Girls, The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls is everything you want in a contemporary YA novel.

    Sweet, funny, honest, and heartfelt, the story follows four sisters as they navigate a summer that will change all of them in different ways. One sister tries to move on after a breakup, while another works up the nerve to do the breaking. One sister finds the potential for romance with a longtime crush, and another makes a friend who helps her discover what she wants. At the end of it all, the only thing that doesn't change is that the Garrett Girls will do anything to support and protect each other.

    The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood ($10.99*, Sourcebooks Fire), recommended by One More Page Books, Arlington, VA.

  • The Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn Heider, Chi Birmingham

    The Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn Heider, Chi BirminghamThink Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein and you'll be in good company with The Mortification of Fovea Munson. From the first sentence to the last, you'll laugh out loud. How Fovea and her friend, Howe, manage a recording session for three disembodied heads will keep you in stitches and wanting more!

    The Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn Heider, Chi Birmingham ($16.99*, Disney-Hyperion), recommended by Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA.

  • The Wrong Heaven by Amy Bonnaffons

    The Wrong Heaven by Amy BonnaffonsThis debut collection of stories is unbelievably funny and charmingly bizarre.

    Winking at the absurdity and madness of modern womanhood, Bonnaffons's real talent is the crushing humanity she injects into each story. This collection has style, substance, and the perfect mix of whimsy and macabre.

    In short, I can't shut up about how much I loved it. Fans of Aimee Bender, Samantha Hunt, Karen Russell, George Saunders and all those other lovable literary weridos—make room on your literary altar for Amy and rejoice!

    The Wrong Heaven by Amy Bonnaffons ($26.00*, Little, Brown and Company), recommended by Square Books, Oxford, MS.

     A Summer 2018 Okra Pick

  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

    Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik Naomi Novik always delivers rich fantasy, surprising and satisfying. I love that Uprooted explores her mother’s side of the family and Polish folklore traditions, and Spinning Silver draws from her father’s side and Lithuanian Jewish traditions. I loved every second!

    Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik ($28.00*, Del Rey Books), recommended by Underground Books, Carrollton, GA.

  • The Unfortunates by Kim Liggett

    The Unfortunates by Kim LiggettPrivilege can be deadly...

    Because of his parents wealth and power, teenager Grant has gotten away with murder.  Call it afluenza, but Grant's guilt and disgust with himself pushes him to make a drastic plan for self-punishment.  His quest for justice for the people he killed leads him to the Appalachian trail and a devastating cave in.  Now Grant has to help a small group of city kids survive, because it appears that something or someone is down in the caves with them. The Unfortunates also gets a million bonus cool points because it's set here in Richmond, Virginia!

    The Unfortunates by Kim Liggett ($18.99*, Tom Doherty Associates), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe by Jo Hackl

    Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe by Jo HacklThis is a thoughtful, charming middle grade story, full of smarts. The way our heroine Cricket finds both wonder and sympathy for the flawed adults around her is heartwarming.

    Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe by Jo Hackl ($16.99*, Random House Books for Young Readers), recommended by M Judson, Booksellers and Storytellers, Greenville, SC.

     A Summer 2018 Okra Pick

  • Dear Mrs. Bird by A. J. Pearce

    Dear Mrs. Bird by A. J. PearceA poignant and charming WWII story that occurs in England during the Blitz. Emma is trying to serve during wartime but really yearns to be a war journalist! But she has no experience! She does find a job typing for Mrs. Bird who responds to letters from newspaper customers. Mrs.  Bird is particular though and has strict guidelines about what kind of letter she will answer. And of course that causes a dilemma for Emma. Pearce has woven a lovely tale of friendship, love, loss and  all with a sense of humor and grit that only the Brits can have. I thoroughly enjoyed this heart warming journey with Emma and her friends. A great read!

    Dear Mrs. Bird by A. J. Pearce ($26.00*, Scribner Book Company), recommended by Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL.

  • Star Wars: Are You Scared, Darth Vader? by Adam Rex

    Star Wars Are You Scared, Darth Vader? by Adam RexDarth Vader isn't scared of anything. Not werewolves or vampires or ghosts or witches. Absolutely nothing scares him. But what about when everyone leaves...even the reader? This hilarious book will leave you in stitches as you read about just how Darth Vader feels about so-called scary monsters. It's an especially great pick for grownup Star Wars fans to share with the children in their lives.

    Star Wars: Are You Scared, Darth Vader? by Adam Rex ($17.99*, Disney Lucasfilm Press), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan

    The Ruin by Dervla MctiernanAs a new, wet-behind-the-ears guard (or cop to those of us in the US) Cormac Reilly was called out to a domestic disturbance that turned out to be a death.  He finds fifteen year old Maude and her five year old brother Jack in a dilapidated home, malnourished, bruised, and broken while their mother lies dead upstairs.  He takes the pair to the hospital and while Jack is being seen to, Maude disappears, never to return.

    Twenty years later, Jack is in a  happy relationship when he disappears one evening.  The guarda receive an anonymous phone call saying someone saw him jump into the river, killing himself.  His partner, Aisling is in disbelief, but accepting of the fact until Jack's long long sister Maude returns to shake things up.

    This is the first in a new series focusing on Cormac Reilly.  There are SO many twists and turns in this story, making it hard to predict what will happen next.  There are so many elements at play that you'll be reading long into the night just to satisfy your curiosity.

    The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan ($16.00*, Penguin Group USA), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty

    Those Other Women by Nicola MoriartyMarried, single. Children, no children. Work outside the home, stay at home. These are all choices that women everywhere face at one time or another.

    Poppy, Annalise and Frankie work together. Poppy is recently divorced and not handling the split very well. Annalise is contentedly single, trying to be a caring friend while keeping her life of lies straight. Frankie is a wife and mom trying to balance motherhood and work, trying to make a friend or two, and keeping a secret that may destroy her marriage. As a way to restore some of her confidence, Poppy decides to start a private on-line group for child-free-by-choice women.

    What starts out as a way for women who have chosen to remain child-free to encourage and support other like-thinking women soon turns into a war of words and actions with the local private moms' online group. A mole has infiltrated the child-free group and begins leaking malicious private posts to the moms' group. Suddenly lives are spinning out of control, and long held lies and secrets are close to erupting.

    Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty ($26.99*, William Morrow), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

    The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay Wen and her dads are taking a break from everything by visiting a remote cabin for vacation. Wen is studying grasshoppers in their yard when a man comes up and makes friends with her. He warns her that she and her dads are going to have to make a decision.  And that's about all I can tell you without spoiling you.

    This book was SO creepy in a very good way. I'd classify this as horror, but in a very real way.

    The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay ($26.99*, St. Martin's Press), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • The Darkest Time of Night by Jeremy Finley

    The Darkest Time of Night by Jeremy FinleyWhen four-year-old William disappears from the woods behind his house in Nashville, the only witness is his seven-year-old brother who says "the lights took him" and then refuses to speak again. William’s grandmother, Lynn Roseworth, the wife of a senator and potential VP candidate is afraid she knows what those words mean. They are a link to her past--a past she has never talked about with her family, and one she fears will destroy her entire family.

    The Darkest Time of Night is a truly remarkably written story.  It is fast-paced and suspenseful...a thriller that is a combination of science fiction and government cover-up. Once you start, you can’t put this one down. A little bit scary, a whole lot heartrending: a complex plot, and many brave people make this a book that will make you question what might or might not actually exist.  

    The Darkest Time of Night by Jeremy Finley ($26.99*, St. Martin's Press), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

     A Spring 2018 Okra Pick

  • She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) by Ann Hood

    She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) by Ann HoodA great story about the beginnings of pop culture obsession pre-social media. Full of nostalgia and innocence. Every character is faced with the same dilemma of being at the point in their lives where they are trying to figure out where they fit in the society around them. I also loved that the end was a happy one. Great read. 

    She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) by Ann Hood ($16.99*, Penguin Workshop), recommended by Books on Broad, Camden, SC.

  • Boardwalk Summer by Meredeith Jaeger

    Boardwalk Summer by Meredeith JaegerFor Violet Harcourt, 1940's Santa Cruz was no place of dreams.  As long as the recently crowned Miss California lived in the beautiful beach town, she would live in fear. An impulsive journey to Hollywood and a screen test could save her life or it end it.

    In 2007, Santa Cruz is the only place for Marisol Cruz. Her family's home for over 60 years, she grew up hearing the stories of her grandfather's famous boardwalk performances and loving the picturesque beach-side gazebo where her grandparents and others danced the nights away back in the day.

    While selling raffle tickets for the Beach Boardwalk Centennial Celebration, Marisol runs across a picture and article about the tragic death of Violet so many years before. The sadness she sees in Violet's eyes and the accompanying story leads her to explore what may have led to the untimely death of the young woman.  What Marisol finds will release a lifelong secret held by her adored grandfather, and change the lives of the people closest to her.

    Boardwalk Summer by Meredeith Jaeger ($15.99*, William Morrow Paperbacks), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • The Myth of Perpetual Summer by Susan Crandall

    The Myth of Perpetual Summer by Susan CrandallTallulah James has a complicated family. Growing up in small-town Mississippi in the 60s, she and her siblings are ridiculed and ostracized because of their crazy family history. This novel takes you on a roller-coaster ride of emotions as Tallulah tries to deal with her parents volatile personalities and tries to parent her younger siblings through the mess of their day-to-day life. This would make a good book club read with much to discuss: bipolar disorder, racism, and the upheaval of the 1960s.

    The Myth of Perpetual Summer by Susan Crandall ($16.00*, Gallery Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

    The Great Believers by Rebecca MakkaiThe Great Believers is the kind of book you make time for, the kind you cancel plans and turn your phone off for. It's utterly believable, heartbreaking, and beautiful. In Makkai's hands, this generation devastated by AIDS are not victims, but fighters, resisters, and believers. I am thankful for this book. 

    The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai ($27.00*, Viking), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

    A Spring 2018 Read This! Next pick

  • A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

    A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen MirzaI have been ensconced in this book for a week and I don't want it to end. Such a beautiful story weaving a family new to this country and surviving children as the first generation in the USA, the 9/11 attacks while living as Muslims in California and the everyday angst of trying to please parents, siblings, community and finding yourself. So full of love for family and an intricate, in-depth knowledge of the reality of living as Muslims in present day America. I loved and understood each character and could relate to how they saw the world after living inside their heads. Reminiscent of The Kite Runner, this novel will resonate for years to come.

    A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza ($27.00*, SJP for Hogarth), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

  • The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair by Amy Makechnie

    The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair by Amy Makechnie You never know what’s going to come out of Guinevere St. Clair’s mouth, and you never know what’s going to happen when she’s around. This book is both rough and beautiful, hilarious and tragic in the most wonderful of ways. I will be thinking about this story for some time to come.

    The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair by Amy Makechnie ($17.99*, Atheneum Books for Young Readers), recommended by The Story Shop, Monroe, GA.

  • Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin

    Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin Bearskin is not a typical action filled thriller. It is a beautifully written literary adventure set in a pristine area of Appalachian Virginia. The action, while slow at times, builds into something powerful and intense by the end. Rice Moore is trying to get his life back together after a vicious run in with the Sinaloa Mexican cartel. He is a biologist who cares deeply about the environment and the animals in his job as caretaker of a private Virginia nature reserve. Rice must figure out how to deal with bear poachers, a cartel member who tracked him from Arizona and members of a biker gang who beat up and raped the previous reserve caretaker. At the same time Rice must answer to his own moral compass and not do anything to jeopardize the life he has come to love.

    Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin ($26.99*, Ecco Press), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

     A Spring 2018 Okra Pick