GREAT READS HANDPICKED BY GREAT SOUTHERN BOOKSELLERS...

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.

Gertie is a fifth-grade force to be reckoned with! Kate Beasley packs so much into this lovely story - there is heart, gravity, and humor all wrapped up with Jillian Tamaki's amazing illustrations. Like Raymie Nightingale or Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, Beasley somehow addresses complicated family issues and real-world problems through the lens of a quirky and authentic child. I loved meeting Gertie and her classmates and I can't wait to put this book into the hands of kids, teachers, and parents. Kate Beasley is sure to have a long and illustrious career ahead of her, starting with this stunning debut novel!

Gertie's Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley ($16.99, Farrar, Straus and Giroux), recommended by Johanna at Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

If stories are magic, then Kelly Barnhill must be ever so powerful, because this story is the best kind of magic.

Witches and monsters and dragons, sorrow and hope and love, especially love, all wound together in a fairy tale so perfect I want to read it again and again and again. This is definitely on my list of favorites.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin) Recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

Orange World and Other Stories by Karen RussellKaren Russell's latest collection of short stories are as bizarre, haunted and exquisitely crafted as I hoped they would be. The collection begins with "The Prospectors," wherein two young women attempt to attend an elegant affair and end up dancing with a group of dead boys. In the titular story, a new mother nurses a devil every night and all the while Russell is dissecting the postpartum experience with grace and humor. And in what is possibly my favorite of the collection, "The Gondoliers," about a girl with the qualities of a bat who navigates a dangerous, drowned new world, Russell proves that no one can write south Florida quite like her.

Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell ($25.95*, Knopf), recommended by Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL.

Caleb loves Four Roads Cross by Max Gladstone: Gladstone's Craft Sequence is the most finely-crafted Urban Fantasy I've seen in years. When money is your soul and corporations are gods and all-powerful skeleton men, who looks our for the little guys? (Magical necromancer lawyers.)

Four Roads Cross by Max Gladstone (Tor Books, $27.99), recommended by Caleb at Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.