The latest reviews and recommendations directly from your favorite Southern indie booksellers
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Current favorites of Southern indie booksellers. [FULL LIST]
The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer
Loved this book! Jack Masterson, the famous author of the Clock Island children’s series has finally written another installment after years as a recluse. He announces a contest where the winner will receive the only copy of the new book. Lucy Hart is a down on her luck teachers aide in California. She wants nothing better than to adopt Christopher a bright 7 year old orphan that she has become attached to. But with her financial instability it looks like that may never happen. Unexpectedly Lucy receives an invitation to come to Clock Island and be a participant in Jack’s contest. Could this be the miracle she and Christopher need? A heartwarming book that has an absolutely gorgeous cover.
The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer, (List Price: 28, Ballantine Books, 9780593598832, May 2023)
Reviewed by Kathy Clemmons, Sundog Books in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh
An exhilarating, edge-of-your-seat ride, a tender and triumphantly queer journey, and a groundbreaking masterwork of science fiction about fascism, deradicalization, war and peace…Some Desperate Glory is destined for not only the highest heights of Best Of lists and award nominations (or there is no justice in this reality or any other!), but fierce love from fans and frenzied recommendations from readers like this one.
Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh, (List Price: $28.99, Tordotcom, 9781250834980, April 2023)
Reviewed by Megan Bell, Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia
Lavender House by Lev AC Rosen
From the sales pitch of “Queer Knives Out” I expected this to be a fun mystery sprinkled with social commentary- I wasn’t expecting to be hit so hard with emotions. The mystery itself is fairly straightforward, but Andy’s journey to self-acceptance, helped along by being able to see the Lamontaine family as exactly that- a family- is what makes this book shine. Through well crafted prose Rosen depicts the both the homophobia of the 50’s and San Francisco’s thriving queer communities and their hopes for a better future in ways that are still relatable to modern readers.
Lavender House by Lev AC Rosen, (List Price: $26.99, Forge Books, 9781250834225, January 2023)
Reviewed by Lauren Kohnle, M. Judson Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina
Shakespeare Was a Woman and Other Heresies by Elizabeth Winkler
The myths of Shakespeare are so deeply ingrained that I didn’t realize how many of the things I "know" may not be correct. Winkler makes an excellent case that the Shakespeare we read may not be the Shakespeare of Avon, and she makes it very clear that not every anti-Stratsfordian is a crank. I am not convinced but I am intrigued, and I will keep digging for myself. To me, that makes this book successful–I am hooked and I want to know more.
Shakespeare Was a Woman and Other Heresies by Elizabeth Winkler, (List Price: 29.99, Simon & Schuster, 9781982171261, May 2023)
Reviewed by Tracy Bailey, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida
White House by the Sea by Kate Storey
This book is very well written, and does a great job explaining the Kennedy’s family century-long ties to Hyannis Port. The story does a wonderful job exploring the family’s ties to the beach town along with how Hyannis Port helped shape the Kennedy image. Her insights into other residents are beautifully done and some of my favorite bits of the book.
White House by the Sea by Kate Storey, (List Price: $30, Scribner, 9781982159184, June 2023)
Reviewed by Tracie Harris, The Book House in Mableton, Georgia
Better Living Through Birding by Christian Cooper
Better Living Through Birding is a memoir that is very much about birds… but it’s also about so much more. Cooper was thrust into the media spotlight via a viral video in which he was subject to racial threats in Central Park from a dog walker… and he discusses this incident in detail. However, he also discusses growing up gay & black in NYC in the 70’s & 80’s, how comic books and nature saved his life, and how activism against social injustice runs in the family. From Harvard to writing for Marvel Comics & Star Trek to following elusive birds in the most remote places in the world, this memoir is honest, emotionally stirring, and heartfelt. It made me want to go for a nature walk immediately after I finished it.
Better Living Through Birding by Christian Cooper, (List Price: $28, Random House, 9780593242384, June 2023)
Reviewed by Stuart McCommon, Novel. in Memphis, Tennessee
Starlings by Amanda Linsmeier
After the death of her father, Kit discovers a grandmother she never knew she had. Invited to visit her grandmother in Rosemont, Kit’s father’s hometown, Kit quickly finds herself entangled in a mystery that her family has had a long involvement in. Eerie and engrossing, Starlings is a rosey-tinged gothic where monsters lurk and secrets can’t stay buried.
Starlings by Amanda Linsmeier, (List Price: 18.99, Delacorte Press, 9780593572337, June 2023)
Reviewed by Charlie Williams, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi
Salat in Secret by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
"Daddy’s joy is bigger than him. It’s a wide, gap-toothed smile and a deep rumbling laugh that shakes the dinner table kind of joy."How can a book that begins this way not be wonderful? And it is. Muhammad receives a prayer rug for his 7th birthday and is nervous about what others will think of him observing salat at school. Heartwarming and significant, this is picture book perfection.
Salat in Secret by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, (List Price: $18.99, Random House Studio, 9781984848093, June 2023)
Reviewed by Elese Stutts, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Someone Is Always Watching by Kelley Armstrong
This book was full of twist and turns and had a bit of a science-fiction vibe, which is a refreshing take on a thriller. It reminded me of Catriona Ward’s Sundial and Delilah S. Dawson’s The Violence where you have children being brainwashed in the literal sense where they no longer remember their past and are raised to be completely different people and when those repressed memories eventually start to come through, violence happens.
When I started this audiobook, I was immediately hooked when Gabby flipped out and smashed a faculty member’s head in at school. I also loved that all of the kids were able to grow as characters because they were able to confront their past lives and accept that they are who they were and are now.
I also enjoyed the mystery. I was guessing and guessing who the person was that was sending the threatening emails. I can typically guess correctly, but this book threw me for a loop!
Someone Is Always Watching by Kelley Armstrong, (List Price: 18.99, Tundra Books, 9780735270923, April 2023)
Reviewed by Kait Layton, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama
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This month’s Southern indie bookseller favorites. [FULL LIST]
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