GREAT READS HANDPICKED BY GREAT SOUTHERN BOOKSELLERS...

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  • The Passengers by John Marrs

    The Passengers by John MarrsYikes, y'all. This is a gripping suspenseful tale of what happens when autonomous cars go wrong. Eight people are in transit to various places when their routes get canceled and a strange voice announces that they have a little less than three hours to live. There is a jury of their peers set to choose who lives and who dies (and in what order) and this is just as grisly as you'd expect. As we get to know each passenger, we learn that each has dark secrets and the jury is left to learn their secrets and decide who merits saving. Don't read this if you have somewhere to be. You won't want to put it down!

    The Passengers by John Marrs ($26.00*, Berkley), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • Jade War by Fonda Lee

    Jade War by Fonda LeeJade War does absolutely everything you want from a sequel: expanding the world, raising the stakes, and further developing characters I loved from Jade City. Set largely in the fictional East-Asian inspired island of Kekon, Fonda Lee’s novel is an epic fantasy crime drama following the struggles of the Kaul family, leaders of the No Peak Clan, as they fight to maintain control of the island and it’s magical jade trade that grants users enhanced abilities.

    Just like the first book, Jade War reads like a glorious mash-up of The Godfather and classic Hong Kong crime films; full of intense action, betrayal, and an expansive cast of memorable characters. Kekon and the capital city of Janloon feel vibrantly gritty and it’s a credit to Lee’s writing and worldbuilding that the cast never feels overstuffed and I never got bogged down in the details of trying to remember who is with what clan or the mechanics of the jade "magic." A suspenseful, barn-burner of a novel and I cannot wait to see how Lee brings this to a thundering conclusion in Book Three.

    Jade War by Fonda Lee ($26.00*, Orbit), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

  • Salvation Day by Kali Wallace

    Salvation Day by Kali Wallace This fun and exciting scifi thriller is a page-turner and the perfect weekend read! What happened to the crew of the spaceship House of Wisdom? No one really knows. All of its crew members died within a 24-hour period. The government states that a lethal virus was intentionally released by a crew member. The ship is under quarantine as it’s not safe to go onboard. But someone is going to try. A small group from one of Earth’s desert cults is planning to board, clear and cleanup the ship and take it for themselves. They have even planned to kidnap the one survivor of the virus, Jas Bhattacharya, the son of the ship’s engineer, who can insure their entrance to the ship. But the government was wrong about what killed the crew.

    And the small group boarding the ship is about to find out that what killed the crew is still there on the ship, waiting for another chance.

    Salvation Day by Kali Wallace ($26.00*, Berkley), recommended by The Little Bookshop, Midlothian, VA.

  • The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe

    The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine HoweWitchcraft meets academia in this mystical novel from Katherine Howe. When Connie Goodwin's life takes an unexpected turn, so does her research into witchcraft in colonial America. As she uncovers secret after secret, Connie learns that her past may impact her future much more than expected. Highly recommended for fans of the All Souls trilogy and anything that mixes magic, research and history!

    The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe ($28.00*, Henry Holt and Co.), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

  • Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain

    Vintage 1954 by Antoine LaurainFor those who have not yet caught on to the magic that is Antoine Laurain, Vintage 1954 is a lovely introduction. His trademark uniqueness is on full display here as he weaves a tale of wine, time-travel, UFOs, and international cooperation that becomes remarkably believable the more you read. Through many celebrity cameos and subtle descriptive flourishes, the world of Paris in 1954 leaps off the page. Grab a good glass of wine and a comfy chair and immerse yourself in the quirky creativity that is Antoine Laurain.

    Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain ($14.95*, Gallic Books), recommended by Square Books, Oxford, MS.

  • FKA USA by Reed King

    FKA USA by Reed KingI finished this book weeks ago and am still processing the ride. I think I've finally got it. Imagine The Wizard of Oz through a filter of Anthony Burgess and Hunter S. Thompson. It's an ultraviolent road trip with characters you can empathize with fully. The future is gross and polluted: environmentally, morally, and every other way imaginable. The journey of our hero and his band of merry misfits is classic and heartwarming. This fully realized future is a marvelous adventure. I loved every footnote and sidetrack. This is a big-hearted book for the reader with a strong stomach and a passion for stories of the underdog.

    FKA USA by Reed King ($27.99*, Flatiron Books), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

    Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret RogersonIt is a truth universally acknowledged that those of us who love books, are especially enamored with books ABOUT books and this novel is a very special one of those. Action-packed and romantic, Sorcery of Thorns is a tale of ink-tears, girls with swords, boys summoning storms and volume upon volume of living leather bound books, some of whom behave rather badly. It’s a book about majestic, revered libraries equipped with their own small armies of librarians and sword-wielding wardens. It’s a book about demonic energy and sorcery. It’s a book about brave people with vastly varied strengths and skills, all worthy in their own right, fighting the good fight. Darker, larger in scope but just as brilliantly crafted as her first novel, Margaret Rogerson has captured me once again. I love this book!

    Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson ($17.99*, Margaret K. McElderry Books), recommended by Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL.

  • Last Day by Domenica Ruta

    TITLEAuthor Domenica Ruta builds a wonderful and complex narrative around the fictional holiday of Last Day, a superstitious holiday of cleansing celebrated every year on the supposed eve of the apocalypse.

    Last Day follows a collection of misguided characters as they navigate their relationships and the events leading up to the next Last Day celebration. Ruta builds dynamic characters who are always capable of surprising you, no matter how wrong they seem to be about everything.

    Last Day by Domenica Ruta ($27.00*, Spiegal & Grau), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols

    Vessel by LIsa A. NicholsI am not normally a sci-fi fan but I loved The Martian so decided to give Vessel a try, and boy am I glad I did. It was an amazing look at NASA and the space program including protocols and hardships, and the lives and personal struggles of astronauts. Commander Catherine Wells was on a six-year mission to a newly discovered planet that was believed to be able to support life, when things went horribly wrong. Contact was lost and eventually all were assumed dead. Nine years after the mission was launched Catherine returned home–alone and with no memory of what happened. Vessel is a fast paced very readable novel with strong characters that gives a fantastic look at what could be reality and not fiction in a not-so-distant future.

    Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols ($27.00*, Atria/Emily Bestler Books/Alloy Entertainment), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Kingsbane by Claire Legrand

    Kingsbane by Claire LegrandFuryborn was incredible. Kingsbane is even better! The second novel has even more magic, cliffhangers, and romance. So much packed into this book I want to sit with the author and understand how she can possibly make all this come together so eloquently. Already excited for the next one in this trilogy. This is a wild ride.

    Kingsbane by Claire Legrand ($18.99*, Sourcebooks Fire), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

  • Light from Other Stars by Erika Swyler

    Light from Other Stars by Erika SwylerNedda Papas is eleven and space-obsessed in Easter, Florida, when Challenger explodes in the sky overhead, sending shock waves through the small NASA-adjacent town. Nedda’s father, a scientist grieving the death of his infant son, the passing of his daughter’s youth, and the degeneration of his hands, has been conducting fragile and dangerous experiments, sent over the edge and altering the fabric of time in wondrous and tragic ways after Challenger’s demise.

    Years later, Nedda has achieved her dream of spaceflight, hurtling toward a distant planet when a dire malfunction causes her to reckon with her past in order to preserve the possibility for a future. Light from Other Stars is a thrilling journey through space and time and a deeply moving exploration of the bond between parent and child.

    Light from Other Stars by Erika Swyler ($27.00*, Bloomsbury Publishing), recommended by Underground Books, Carrollton, GA.

  • Exhalation by Ted Chiang

    Exhalation by Ted ChiangI almost regret reading this, it was so good. It was so exceptional, it took a solid week for me to be ready to read anything else. I just kept picking it back up and re-reading. I finally had to give it to another bookseller on staff so I could move on.

    Chiang's stories are the reason I read. Each one is a perfectly cut gem. It's as if by the act of reading, you become light and pass through the gems and feel yourself reflected, refracted, split apart and turned into someone new. Each story makes your brain all bendy, even the ones that feel like they have existed for hundred of years. You'll find fantastic tales of time travel, meditations on the true nature of consciousness, even thoughts on parenting. Elegant without seams, I highly recommend this collection to fans new and old.

    Exhalation by Ted Chiang ($25.95*, Knopf), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

    Little Darlings by Melanie GoldingLauren has just given birth to twin baby boys when she's awakened in the night, alone in the hospital, by singing. In the bay next to hers is a disheveled woman with a basket who wants to trade Lauren's babies for her own. Lauren locks herself in the bathroom with her own children and calls the police. But when the police send the hospital staff to Lauren, there's no one there and nothing on CCTV to show that anyone ever was there. It's all attributed to Lauren's fragile mental state.

    This book is a blend of the currently popular domestic thriller and supernatural horror. It has just the right amount of creepiness and action and fans of either genre will enjoy it.

    Little Darlings by Melanie Golding ($26.99*, Crooked Lane Books), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

    Wicked Saints by Emily A. DuncanEmily Duncan's Wicked Saints is dark, disquieting, and utterly unputdownable. Her ferocious girls and her doubtful princes and her devious gods are compelling and entirely believable, and her world of magic and blood and holy war will frighten and enchant readers, as any good fairy tale should.

    Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan ($18.99*, Wednesday Books), recommended by One More Page Books, Arlington, VA.

  • Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody, Joanne Rendell

    Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody, Joanne RendellThe top reviews kept saying "Les Mis in space!" and "if you liked The Lunar Chronicles, this is for you." Sometimes the reviews are right. If you like retellings and liked the Lunar Chronicles, you're going to love Sky without Stars!

    I certainly did. The characters are fleshed out in a way you don't get from the original. I found myself falling in love and rooting for Marcellus, Aloutte, and Chatine. They're all wonderfully flawed in their own way and I stayed up way too late reading this. I can't wait for the next part of the story. The book wrapped up some loose ends while opening new ones--the best way to keep you excited for more.

    Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody, Joanne Rendell ($19.99*, Simon Pulse), recommended by Story on the Square, McDonough, GA.

  • Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

    Gingerbread by Helen OyeyemiCalling this a fairytale retelling does not do Gingerbread justice. Oyeyemi twists the story of Hansel and Gretel and the lore surrounding gingerbread in so many ways that you almost feel you have consumed the fabled treat yourself and are reawakening in the world of Druhastrana. The heart of this story is the relationships, between family, friends, and one's idea of self. It's a crazy ride and oh so delicious.

    Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi ($27.00*, Riverhead Books), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

  • The Women's War by Jenna Glass

    The Women's War by Jenna GlassThrough a great sacrifice, the women in this high fantasy epic novel have been given the unprecedented ability to control their own fertility. Suddenly these women who have been treated little better than brood mares now have the power to control their own bodies.  As you can guess, the men don't take it well.

    This is the epic high fantasy feminist story that you didn't know you were looking for...but here it is and it is glorious.

    The Women's War by Jenna Glass ($28.00*, Del Rey / Random House Inc), recommended by Bookmiser, Inc., Roswell, GA.

  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

    The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha ShannonWhat a fantastic new adventure! I love the world that Samantha Shannon has built and think this will have appeal to adult and young adult readers who enjoy epic fantasies!

    The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon ($32.00*, Bloomsbury Publishing), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

  • 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 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

     

  • 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

  • Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

    Shadow of the Fox by Julie KagawaA phenomenal beginning to what should be a fantastic series! I loved all the details of this world. Kagawa sucks you in with her characters. Can’t wait for the second installment!!

    Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa ($19.99*, Harlequin Teen), recommended by The Story Shop, Monroe, GA.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

    Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl"The first thing you must do is stay calm."

    This was the advice offered by The Keeper to Bee, Martha, Cannon, Whitney and Kip when they find themselves in the Neverworld Wake the first time. The Neverworld Wake is 11.2 hours the friends relive over and over a hundred, a thousand, possibly a million times as they search for answers about Jim's death, about the accident that threw them into the Wake, about the people they all thought they knew best in the world.

    This psychological thriller of the most fascinating sort--one in which one's worst nightmare is relived again and again--is an absolute beach bag MUST for fans of Gone Girl, We Were Liars and We Are the Goldens.  

    Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl ($18.99*, Delacorte Press), recommended by The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

     A Spring 2018 Okra Pick

  • The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell

    The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad SellA great middle-grade graphic novel about friendship, family, and imagination, perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier. My 8-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son fight over who gets to read this book every day.

    The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell ($20.99*, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Legendary by Stephanie Garber

    Legendary by Stephanie GarberI wasn't sure it could be done, but Legendary is as good if not better than Caraval. I think the strength of this new novel lies in the expansion of the world and addition of a unique mythology, but there is so much to be said about Tella as the main protagonist as well. This book is full of the same magic, intrigue, gorgeous writing and romance that made Caraval one of my favorite books last year. I can't wait to see what Stephanie will write next.

    Legendary by Stephanie Garber ($18.99*, Flatiron Books), recommended by Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL.

  • Furyborn by Claire Legrand

    Furyborn by Claire LegrandFuryborn is exactly the kind of ambitious, well-written YA high fantasy that I've been looking for. It's a novel that is female focused and driven, with girls who are strong, powerful, pissed off, damaged, unabashedly sexual and in control. The writing is so beautiful I found myself re-reading sentences simply for the pleasure of it. It's a story that is complex, compelling and carefully crafted. Claire Legrand is a jewel, I can't wait for the next installment.

    Furyborn by Claire Legrand ($18.99*, Sourcebooks Fire), recommended by Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL.

  • The Pisces by Melissa Broder

    The Pisces by Melissa BroderA mix of weird, wacky, and whoa-did-that-just-happen? Lucy goes through a bad break up and ends up dog sitting for her sister in an LA beach house. Forced to attend a love addiction group therapy, Lucy's life is a constant see-saw of emotion. Jumping back into modern dating, she ends up in Tinder hookup hell, at a loss for what she wants and who she is. A nighttime stroll on the beach brings a new man into her life. But Theo is not the cool surfer bro she mistakes him for, and soon the "plenty of fish in the ocean" idiom has a lot deeper meaning for our love-struck Lucy. 

    The Pisces by Melissa Broder ($25.00*, Hogarth Press), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

    Dread Nation by Justina IrelandThe War Between the Sates is put on hold as the dead begin to rise. Jane has been taken from the relative safety of her mother’s plantation home to start training as an Attendant at Miss Prescott’s School of Combat in Baltimore. The Native American and Negro Re-education Act holds that the minority youth be trained in weaponry and manners to serve as the protectors of the upper class white families across the eastern states. Jane is a smart, sassy and strong heroine that you will continue to root for as she faces true horrors of humanity far worse than the walking dead shamblers. This is an important coming of age story and conversation about slavery and the years that followed.

    Dread Nation by Justina Ireland ($17.99*, Balzer & Bray/Harperteen), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

     A Spring 2018 Okra Pick

  • Space Opera by Cathrynne M. Valente

    Space Opera by Cathrynne M. ValenteI hadn't finished reading the first sentence of Space Opera before I knew I would love it, and it only got better from there. Hitchhiker's Guide meets Eurovision seemed like an impossible order, but Valente more than delivered.

    Valente is a true wordsmith, making paragraph-long sentences seem effortless, and bringing forth images I'd never considered and won't soon forget. I found myself sending entire pages to my friends, and I can't stop telling people about it. Sometimes silly and often strange, Space Opera was fascinating and wonderful the entire way through

    Space Opera by Cathrynne M. Valente ($19.99*, Saga Press), recommended by Quail Ridge Books , Raleigh, NC.

  • Guardian Angels and Other Monsters by Daniel H. Wilson

    Guardian Angels and Other Monsters by Daniel H. WilsonFrom the author or Robopocalypse and A Clockwork Dynasty, a collection of futuristic short stories that would feel at home as episodes of Black Mirror on Netflix. A great balance of stories, there wasn't a single one I didn't like. Full of melancholy, dread, thrilling action, quiet loveliness, emotion, and of course, lots of robots, there's something here for every kind of science fiction fan. Highly recommended!

    Guardian Angels and Other Monsters by Daniel H. Wilson ($16.00*, Viking), recommended by Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA.

  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

    Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi Zelie is a girl with magic in her blood, in a land where magic has been destroyed and outlawed by the cruel king. When she accidentally rescues the princess and the prince/captain of the guard comes after her, Zelie goes on the run with her brother and the princess, discovering that she has been chosen by the gods to bring magic back to the world. But before she can defeat the king and save her people, Zelie must face her own powers and what this mission might cost her and the people she loves. With rich world building and fantastic mythology, readers of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy will love this book.

    Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi ($18.99*, Henry Hollt & Company), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Sea Beast Takes a Lover by Michael Andreasen

    The Sea Beast Takes a Lover Michael AndreasenMasterfully combining otherworldly magic and mystery with ordinary awkwardness and unease, Andreasen tells us stories of fathers and sons, husbands and wives, sea beasts and lovers as if they were our own fantastic lives.

    The Sea Beast Takes a Lover by Michael Andreasen ($25.00*, Dutton Books), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

    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.

  • Marabel and the Book of Fate by Tracy Barrett

    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

  • The Power by Naomi Alderman

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

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

  • Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

    Thunderhead by Neal ShustermanThunderhead is a rare sequel that is even better than its predecessor. Shusterman has an incredible ability to subvert all expectations, and even when I thought I knew what would happen, a new twist would turn my perception on its head! Rowan and Citra both stayed true to their characters, which is difficult to do in a dystopian world. I loved every minute and will be putting this duology into every hand I can!

    Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman ($18.99*, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • Gnomon by Nick Harkaway

    Gnomon by Nick HarkawayThis extreme mind-bender is going to appeal hugely to those that love David Mitchell's puzzle box structure in Cloud Atlas, the paranoid/philosophical reality shifts of Philip K. Dick, the encyclopedic adventurousness of Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and Baroque Cycle, William Gibson's razor-edged futuristic social dread, and perhaps even more so the epic literary tapestries of Thomas Pynchon, Wallace's Infinite Jest, and DeLillo's Underworld. Harkaway paints a cautionary future, an uncertain present, and a bloody past, all together in one hallucinatory mindscape of incredible storytelling bravura!

    Gnomon by Nick Harkaway ($28.95*, Knopf Publishing Group), recommended by Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, KY.

  • Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingalls

    Mrs. Caliban by Rachel IngallsA reissue, first published in 1983, this is the surprisingly moving story of an unhappy suburban housewife who harbors, and loves, a six-foot-seven frog-faced creature who has just escaped from a research lab.

    None other than John Updike had this to say about the novel: “So deft and austere in its prose, so drolly casual in its fantasy, but opening up into a deep female sadness that makes us stare. An impeccable parable, beautifully written from first paragraph to last."

    Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingalls ($13.95*, New Directions Publishing Corporation), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Afterlives by Thomas Pierce

    The Afterlives by Thomas PierceJim Byrd is not really obsessed with death, mortality, and ghosts, but after a peculiar health scare, he can't avoid them. From cryonics to psychic mediums, he seems haplessly fated to encounter the full range of mortality cures. Central among them--and deservedly central in this book--is a staircase at the back of an old house where supernatural physics seem to be in control. As a mini-prologue to each chapter, Pierce lays out a montage of events in the life of previous residents and their families. At first these vignettes seem to support a little ghost story. But by the end, they resolve brilliantly into a poignant comment on Jim's misadventures, and what at first was a story concentrated on death and the hereafter satisfyingly becomes a novel about the ephemeral fragility of life itself.

    The Afterlives by Thomas Pierce ($27.00*, Riverhead Books), recommended by Turnrow Books, Greenwood, MS.

     A Winter 2018 Okra Pick

  • Everless by Sara Holland

    Everless by Sara HollandFirst in a new series! People pay for everything with their time (days, months, years) which is extracted from their blood and transformed to coins. The royalty lives for centuries while the common folk are taxed and punished with their lifeblood.

    Everless by Sara Holland ($17.99*, Harper Teen), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

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

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

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

  • Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

    Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica TownsendSuch a wonderful book. For a few days after I finished it, I actually missed reading it - where's my daily dose of Morrigan Crow? I hear that the author has a 9 book cycle planned, and my most fervent wish is that by the time it's over, it would be just as famous as Harry potter.

    Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend ($17.99*, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), recommended by Bookmiser, Roswell, GA.

  • The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

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

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

  • Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich

    Future Home of the Living God by Louise ErdrichA young, unmarried pregnant woman. Sound familiar? I started the year reading about one in Kevin Wilson's Perfect Little World. But the main character in Louise Erdrich's new dystopian novel Future Home of the Living God, Cedar Hawk Songwriter, faces completely different obstacles for her and her unborn child. A descendant of Ojibwe Indians and adopted by a liberal white couple, Songwriter's world is one where evolution has stopped and the days are full of uncertainty and strange, threatening people and creatures. As she wrestles with what the future holds, she juggles relationships with the father of her child, her birth family and her adoptive family. Food for thought about what the world might look like in the not-too-distant future.

    Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich ($28.99*, Harper), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

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

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

  • Gertie Milk and the Keeper of Lost Things by Simon Van Booy

    Gertie Milk and the Keeper of Lost Things by Simon Ban VooyStarts off fast and never losses pace! Really funny, action-packed, and educational! Really cool cover-- great representation of the book.

    Gertie Milk and the Keeper of Lost Things by Simon Van Booy ($16.99*, Razorbill), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

  • All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

    All The Crooked Saints by Maggie StiefvaterBizarre, original, and entertaining! As per usual with Stiefvater's books, it was magical and full of complex characters.

    All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater ($18.99*, Scholastic Press), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

  • The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

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

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

  • Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado

    Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria MachadoIt's difficult to put into just a few sentences everything that Her Body and Other Parties is. Rhythmic and hypnotic, yet unexpected and treacherous. These fearless, smart, reality-warping, and creepy as hell stories will suck you in and not let go until you have to force yourself to come up for air. Highly recommend!

    Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado ($16.00*, Graywolf), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones

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

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

    A Summer 2017 Okra Pick!

  • The Gentleman by Forrest Leo

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

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

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

  • Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

    Reincarnation Blues by Michael PooreA romp through space, time, love and ten thousand lives with lost soul Milo and his girlfriend Suzie (aka Death). Reminiscent of Tom Robbins' Jitterbug Perfume, as well as Christopher Moore's work with a touch of Douglas Adams. Enjoyable and thoughtful.

    Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore ($27.00*, Del Rey Books), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente; Annie Wu (Illustrator)

     The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente; Annie Wu (Illustrator) Told in vignettes from the perspectives of women who loved a superhero (and lost their lives because of it), The Refrigerator Monologues, written by Catherynne M. Valente and illustrated by Annie Wu, brings to light the sexism and injustice often portrayed in comic book culture. Many of the stories are clear homages to popular characters, finally giving them a voice previously stifled by their abruptly ended story lines. The voices were all so unique and stunning, you can barely tell they're written by the same author.

    The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente; Annie Wu (Illustrator) ($19.99*, recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay

    Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay A teenager disappears into the woods one night under mysterious-- and spooky-- circumstances, but his mother believes there's something more sinister going on. Revolving around an old legend and a fantastic set piece-- a giant split rock in the woods known as Devil's Rock-- Paul Tremblay's latest novel does an excellent job building the mystery before it hits you with the true horror of what happened that night. Also recommended: A Head Full of Ghosts, Tremblay's previous scary novel!

    Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay ($14.99*, William Morrow & Company), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris

    My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil FerrisI've picked up a few graphic novels before, but never been hooked. I thought my brain just wasn't wired for the format. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters blew my mind. I'm usually a slow reader, but I could not put this book down, burned through its gorgeous, dark, unruly pages, and was crushed when it was over. Can't wait for part two. The profound emotional sophistication combined with the eccentric pulp horror art creates a unique and deeply satisfying reading experience.

    My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris ($39.99*, Fantagraphics Books), recommended by Hills & Hamlets Bookshop, Chattahoochee Hills, GA .

  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

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

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

  • Dune by Frank Herbert

    Dune by Frank HerbertSet in the distant future amidst a feudal interstellar society in which noble houses, in control of individual planets, owe allegiance to the Padishah Emperor, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides, whose noble family accepts the stewardship of the desert planet Arrakis. As this planet is the only source of the “spice” melange, the most important and valuable substance in the universe, control of Arrakis is a coveted--and dangerous--undertaking. The story explores the multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as the forces of the empire confront each other in a struggle for the control of Arrakis and its “spice.”

    Dune by Frank Herbert ($10.99, Ace Books), recommended by Hills & Hamlets Bookshop, Chattahoochee Hills, GA.

  • York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby, Dave Stevenson (Illustrator)

    York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby, Dave Stevenson (Illustrator) Nothing screams summer like an un-put-downable page-turner of a mystery. This new series from Laura Ruby is full of alternative history, ciphers, and friendship.

    York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby, Dave Stevenson ($17.99, Walden Pond Press), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl

    A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob ProehlFrom the publisher: "Valerie Torrey took her son, Alex, and fled Los Angeles six years ago--leaving both her role on a cult sci-fi TV show and her costar husband after a tragedy blew their small family apart. Now Val must reunite nine-year-old Alex with his estranged father, so they set out on a road trip from New York, Val making appearances at comic book conventions along the way.

    As they travel west, encountering superheroes, monsters, time travelers, and robots, Val and Alex are drawn into the orbit of the comic-con regulars. For Alex, this world is a magical place where fiction becomes reality, but as they get closer to their destination, he begins to realize that the story his mother is telling him about their journey might have a very different ending than he imagined.

    A knowing and affectionate portrait of the pleasures and perils of fandom, A Hundred Thousand Worlds is also a tribute to the fierce and complicated love between a mother and son--and to the way the stories we create come to shape us.”

    A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl ($16.00. Penguin Books), recommended by Writer’s Block Bookstore, Winter Park, FL.

  • Roar by Cora Cormack

    Roar by Cora CormackI just devoured the young adult fantasy debut Roar by Cora Carmack. Those who loved Truthwitch, The Red Queen, and Graceling will have a favorite new author to obsess over. Even the cliffhanger ending (it is the first book in a YA trilogy after all) could not dim my delight in this discovery.

    Roar by Cora Cormack ($17.99, Tor Teen), recommended by Jill at Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

    Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuireAnother one that you won’t necessarily find in the YA section. This quick, superbly-written fantasy is perfect for anyone who’s ever felt like they don’t quite belong.

    Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire ($17.99, Tor), recommended by the Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.

  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman

    American Gods by Neil Gaiman

    American Gods is an entertaining story that hooks readers from the beginning and does not let go of them until the tale is done. It is the 'Twilight of the Gods' as a new order rises to challenge the old. America is the battleground and the future of the world hangs in the balance. The enigmatic Mr. Wednesday seeks to control the flow of events, and he has hired a most unique individual, Shadow, to assist him. For anyone who has ever wondered whatever became of the old gods of myths and legends, the answer is as deceptively simple as it is complicated: They came to America.

    American Gods by Neil Gaiman ($19.99, William Morrow), recommended by Bud, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

    All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane AndersA perfect blend of science fiction and fantasy. Wizard meets science genius, or versus, or romantically entangled, or childhood friends now at odds with their world views, but are still attracted to each other. Great first book from Charlie Jane Anders, one of my favorite IO9 editors.

    All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders ($15.99, Tor Books), recommended by Adam, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J. R. R. Tolkien by Caroline McAlister, Eliza Wheeler (Illustrator)

    John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J. R. R. Tolkien by Caroline McAlister, Eliza Wheeler (Illustrator)Tolkien loved dragons as a boy, but never found one until he created Smaug. This biography is a perfect introduction to his work. It would be a great family read-aloud, and it includes a bibliography.

    John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J. R. R. Tolkien by Caroline McAlister, Eliza Wheeler (illustrator)($18.99, Roaring Brook Press), recommended by Jackie, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • American War by Omar El Akkad

    American War by Omar El AkkadThis debut novel by a Canadian journalist who has reported on war from Afghanistan to the Black Lives Matter movement imagines a Second Civil War in the US in the years 2074-2093 and its aftermath. Not surprisingly, the states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia ("the MAG") secede over oil issues from a Union that has quite literally, mostly due to climate change, deteriorated into a smaller country whose capital is Columbus, Ohio. Mexico has reclaimed its old territories, a president has been assassinated, the Mississippi River is now the Mississippi Sea... Well-drawn southerners struggle to keep body and soul together and to undermine the northern aggressors One woman in particular, Sarat, emerges as a hero but....no spoilers! Compelling and scary.

    American War by Omar El Akkad ($26.95, Knopf Publishing Group), recommended by Lisa, Square Books, Oxford, MS.

  • The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

    The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

    Do you love great sci-fi? Do you think you might love great sci-fi? Do you love gorgeous, hysterical, thought-provoking writing? BOOM. Here is your next amazing read.

    The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi ($25.99, Tor Books), recommended by Grace, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • Walkaway by Cory Doctorow

    Walkaway by Cory Doctorow

    Cory Doctorow's Walkaway is a return to the deep-thinking, insightful, and yet very amusing science fiction of yore. We follow a group of Walkaways (individuals who have left typical society) as they experience and immerse themselves in a counter-culture that should be easy to maintain in a world of surplus. It isn't, of course--especially with differing opinions on what this counter-culture should do and what they could represent. Prepare to laugh and think with a story that is just on the other side of tomorrow.

    Walkaway by Cory Doctorow ($26.99, Tor Books), recommended by Banshion, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

    Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

    Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy led us on a gradual descent into creeping sci-fi horror. His new standalone novel Borne plunges you straight-off into a post-apocalyptic cityscape picked over by scavengers, failed biotech, and a Godzilla-sized flying bear called Mord. The world VanderMeer describes is terrifying and ingeniously conceived, but it's the relationship between a scavenger, Rachel, and the squid-like biotech creature she names Borne that is the book's most remarkable feat. He was born, but I had borne him.

    Borne by Jeff VanderMeer ($26.00, MCD), recommended by Travis, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

    All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

    This spectacular (and spectacularly weird) debut imagines 2016 as an alternate universe full of technological advances--including time travel--that we can only dream of in our 2016. But thanks to Tom making a series of small-to-catastrophic mistakes, we’ve all gotten stuck in the wrong universe. As delightful a novel as I’ve read in ages.

    All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai ($26.00, Dutton Books), recommended by Niki, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

  • Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

    Universal Harvester/John DarnielleA customer returns a copy of She's All That to a late-90s video store complaining about footage from a bizarre home movie spliced in. The mysterious scene shows hooded figures and vague, quietly horrifying movement.

    Universal Harvester will keep you up an night. It sneaks up on you and scares you when you least expect it. Quick and beautifully written-- highly recommend!

    Universal Harvester by John Darnielle ($25.00, Farrar, Straus and Giroux), recommended by Colin, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

    Lazlo Strange is a war orphan, raised by monks, who became a librarian. Stories are his life, and dreams are his future -- specifically, his dream of the lost city of Weep, which has been unseen and mostly forgotten for 200 years. When a hero of Weep unexpectedly shows up looking for outsiders to bring back to help with the city's unexplained problem, Lazlo jumps at the chance, willing to do whatever it takes to get there and see the mystery for himself. When he gets there, it's nothing like he expected, and each answer he finds raises more questions. This magical, lyrical book is beautiful and heartbreaking, and you won't want to leave the mythical world of Weep and the characters who power its story. Fans of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy will not be disappointed. I am eagerly awaiting more from her about Weep and Lazlo.

    Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor ($18.99, Little, Brown and Company), recommended by Melissa, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

  • The Moon and the Other by John Kessel

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

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

  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber

    From the publisher: Welcome, welcome to Caraval, Stephanie Garber's sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game. Mary from The Country Bookshop says, "A magnificent mix of mystery, romance, and magic. It had my emotions all over the place."

    Caraval by Stephanie Garber ($18.99, Flatiron Books), recommended by Mary, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC.

  • The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

    This is one of my favorite books coming out this year and one of the best young adult fantasies I've read in a long time. Chupeco's world building is done carefully and precisely, revealing the pertinent information a little bit at a time. The characters are almost all female and all are strong, brave, courageous, and intelligent in their own right. The plot is complex but well thought out and the writing is cinematic. If this doesn't get optioned for a movie, I'll be surprised. highly recommend this books for those that love The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld or Daughter of Smoke and Bone. This could also easily be an adult crossover for those that enjoy Game of Thrones, Wheel of Time, or Memoirs of a Geisha.

    The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco ($17.99. Sourcebooks Fire) recommended by Foggy Pine Books, Boone, NC.

  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

    A magical debut novel: part fairy tale and part historical fiction set in medieval Russia.

    The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden ($27, Del Rey Books), recommended by Amy, Litchfield Books, Pawleys Island, SC.

  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

    For a teenager living in the ugly world of 2044, his escape from reality, and then his survival, depends on a worldwide video game. Pop-culture references from the 70s and 80s make this an entertaining read for those of a certain age; the adventure makes it enjoyable for all.

    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline ($16, Broadway), recommended by Bill, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen

    This is one of those books that sounds utterly ridiculous when you try to describe it: talking elephants in space! But the author creates such wonderful characters and builds such a unique, dynamic universe, that I totally fell under the spell of Barsk. This beautifully written adventure is full of heart and wonder as well as complex concepts of morality, science and spirituality. Talking elephants in space: yes!

    Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen ($16.99, Tor ), recommended by Tony at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

    Burning Glass will take you to a world that feels like old Russia. It is full of political tension, especially between two brothers, but it’s Sonya’s job to navigate these tense situations and find a way to protect herself and her country.

    Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie ($17.99, Katherine Tegen Books), recommended by Erica, Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS.

  • The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky

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

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

  • Replica by Lauren Oliver

    Replica tells the dual stories of two girls affected by scientific revolutions in an ambiguous tale that can be read in any order.

    Replica by Lauren Oliver ($19.99, HarperCollins), recommended by Erica, Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS.

  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

    My childhood favorite - read uncountable times.  What young girl doesn't identify with Meg?  After several years, L'Engle wrote several sequels, but Time is a standalone gem.

    A Wrinkle in Time ($6.99, Square Fish), recommended by Rosemary at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal

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

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