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RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SOUTHERN INDIES (PDF)


RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SOUTHERN INDIES...

Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnisAn extraordinary debut novel full of heart and hope. December’s love of birds and search for her real home will stick with readers long after finish the book. Stark-McGinnis paints a beautiful tale of identity and healing, reminding us that the family we’re born into isn’t necessarily the one you need, and that to find yourself sometimes means finding the people who make you feel like you’re finally home.

Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnis ($16.99*, Bloomsbury Children's Books), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

The Mother-in-Law by Sally HepworthFamily relationships are often complicated and misunderstood especially between mother and daughter in laws, but do they usually end in murder? This is the question to be answered in Hepworth's masterfully plotted novel of families and expectations each has of the other. Lucy yearns for a mother figure since her mother died when she was young. Diana seems to be the total opposite of what Lucy hoped for in a mother-in-law. Lucy begins to believe that Diana doesn't even like her at all. When Diana, a prominent and very wealthy member of the community is found dead of an apparent suicide and the police begin to believe foul play we finally see the characters as they really are. Did Diana finally push Lucy too far? Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty.

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth ($27.99*, St. Martin's Press), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

The Raven's Tale by Cat WintersLike Poe's stories, The Raven's Tale is dripping in mood and the macabre. We first meet a 17-year-old Poe as he sits in the Allan pew at Monumental Church, a church that sits on remains of 72 Richmonders who perished in a theater fire in 1811. It's there that Poe spies his muse beginning to form out of the shadows of his imagination, and she's no longer satisfied with mere crumbs of his attention. But the young poet is a week away from leaving for college and his guardian, John Allan is threatening to withdraw financial support if Poe doesn't silence his morbid muse. Absolutely delightful, morbid, and creepy!

The Raven's Tale by Cat Winters ($17.99*, Amulet Books), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

Normal People by Sally RooneyIn Normal People, Sally Rooney has created an exquisite character study in Connell and Marianne's relationship. Like a slow-burning fuse that is destined to detonate, the dynamic between the two manages to be irresistible, infuriating, and all too relatable. Young people will find themselves in these pages, and, believe it or not, feel normal. Great for those who loved Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Modern Lovers.

Normal People by Sally Rooney ($26.00*, Hogarth), recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

The Problem of Democracy by Nancy Isenberg, Andrew BursteinFor most of history, John Adams and his son, John Quincy, have been given a bad rap for being unpopular at their times (both one term presidents) as well as skeptics of democratic government. I used to be one of the haters myself. But as the political situation has progressed (or regressed) over the years and a lot of the problems the Adams's foresaw have come true, we realize maybe the bad rap was a unjustified. This dream team of Isenberg and Burstein dig deep into the political thinking of this father and son who deserve far more credit then they've ever received. Excellent stuff.

The Problem of Democracy by Nancy Isenberg, Andrew Burstein ($35.00*, Viking), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

Miracle Creek by Angie KimWow! What a powerful story and terrific courtroom drama from a debut novelist. Kim’s background as a trial lawyer and a teen aged immigrant from Korea really brought to life the struggles the Yoo family face trying to get to America for the sake of their daughter and makes the courtroom drama so intense that you wish you were there to hear the lawyers’ interrogations in person.

Miracle Creek is a remarkably written story about families and what sacrifices are made and what lies are told to try and protect those near and dear. But, the lies – which seemed harmless by themselves – stack up like dominoes and soon cascade to a tragic end, one that might not have happened if just one small seemingly insignificant act or one small seemingly insignificant lie had not occurred.

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim ($27.00*, Sarah Crichton Books), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

The Line Tender by Kate AllenWell, this was a completely captivating, emotional roller coaster that left this reader with a greater appreciation of sharks by the end. The Line Tender is a coming-of-age, middle grade novel set on the coast of Massachusetts during the 1990's.

Twelve year-old Lucy has always depended on her best friend, Fred, for emotional support and understanding since the death of her marine biologist mom five years ago. However, their feelings are beginning to shift a bit. They both have insatiable curiosity and are working on a local field guide for an extra credit project when a dead, but massive white shark is brought to shore by a local fisherman. This sets the course for an unexpected chain of events that will rock their small community.

This tale is haunting and unforgettable. I loved the pencil sketches throughout.

The Line Tender by Kate Allen ($17.99*, Dutton Books for Young Readers), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.