Book Buzz

Spotlight on: The Year of the Horses by Courtney Maum

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Courtney Maum

It’s no longer the time for women to be selfless. Whether you’re a woman who has children, or has aging parents to care for, whatever your situation is, we need to put ourselves first. It’s more than self care….We deserve to let people know, and show them what it looks like when we are cracking. To me, it was like an act of sisterhood, this memoir. The best thing I could possibly hope for is that this encourages people—women, men, people of all genders—to start admitting to people around them, “I’m not okay. Actually, I could use some help. I could use some support.” ”Courtney Maum, interview, Electric Lit

 

 

The Year of the Horses

What booksellers are saying about The Year of the Horses

  • A lovely memoir touching on mental health, motherhood, marriage, and more, all contextualized through Courtney Maum’s lifelong love of horses. I so appreciated Maum’s candor. She is aware of the privileges she’s enjoyed throughout her life, but she is honest about the struggles she and her family have faced. ―Kate Storhoff from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • If there’s an empty space in your heart where joy is not present. Go out and find that thing- that thing for just you that makes your heart sing. For Courtney Maum, it was horses. This story of family, fortitude and fur will be at the top of all the book club lists for 2022.   ―Angie Tally from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC
    Buy from The Country Bookshop

  • Add Courtney Maum to the talented voices speaking to the power of the natural world to heal trauma. In the vein of Silvia Vasquez-Lavedo’s In the Shadow of the Mountain, this moving memoir details the darkness of depression and a slow struggle not only to face fears but also to find and embrace joy. Evocative, funny, deeply moving, every chapter a lesson worth learning.   ―Jan Blodgett from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • Maum finds herself at 37 disinterested in life, sleepless, and lost. She is loved by her husband, blessed with a healthy child, but still feels adrift. She knows she is depressed, but feels unable to justify it given her success and good fortune. Having not been near a horse in decades, she feels compelled to renew that connection. I rode and trained in my younger years and I have also felt the deep desire to be with horses again. The author explores her emotions with the animals and the people who love them and finds her way back to herself. You do not need to be a horse lover to love this book. Anyone who has felt lost can get something from it. This book is just flawless.   ―Kelly Justice from Fountain Books in Richmond, VA
    Buy from Fountain Bookstore

About Courtney Maum

Courtney Maum is the author of the novels Costalegre; Touch; and I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You; and a guide for writers, Before and After the Book Deal. Her writing and essays have been widely published in such outlets as The New York Times; O, the Oprah Magazine; Interview Magazine; and Modern Loss. She lives in Litchfield County, Connecticut, where she founded the learning collaborative The Cabins.

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Spotlight on: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

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Shelby Van Pelt

So it was really interesting to write these kind of trapped storylines, whether it’s the octopus or Tova in the town or some of the other characters who are really just trapped by their own misconceptions of themselves, during a time when, you know, we spent a lot of time just looking out the front window, thinking, wow, where do we go from here?”Shelby Van Pelt, interview, NPR

 

 

Remarkably Bright Creatures

What booksellers are saying about Remarkably Bright Creatures

  • A heartwarming story about loneliness and grief, community and connection, and a family mystery that must be solved – and soon. With charming but imperfect characters and a very satisfying warm hug of an ending, this novel hits all the right notes. ―Serena Wyckoff from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, FL
    Buy from Copperfish Books

  • This narrative has so much heart, and such a gentle voice. I loved the multiple narratives, weaving their ways towards each other like drawing heart strings together to heal a great hurt. A wonderful, thoughtful novel.   ―Aimee Keeble from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • You’ll fall in love with all the creatures who live in Sowell Bay. Easy to read yet rich with themes of loss & grief, this charming book offers hope for all those feeling trapped & lonely in their lives.   ―Maggie Robe from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC
    Buy from Flyleaf Books

  • A lovely story filled with characters who will warm your heart. Tova is a little bit of Frederik Backman’s Britt Marie and Ove rolled into one unforgettable lady. And Marcellus! Where do I begin…who knew an octopus could be so deviously charming?!?   ―Anderson McKean from Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL
    Buy from Page & Palette

About Shelby Van Pelt

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Shelby Van Pelt lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her family. This is her first novel.

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Spotlight on: The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel

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Kristin Harmel

Even while writing for People magazine, I gravitated toward the weightier “Heroes Among Us” stories, which were the stories of everyday people doing incredible things.”Kristin Harmel, interview, Fort Myers News Press

 

 

The Forest of Vanishing Stars

What booksellers are saying about The Forest of Vanishing Stars

  • Kristin’s new novel is magical! The isolated, survivalist upbringing of the main character, Yona, provides a rich and intriguing springboard for this story to evolve, an extraordinary story of Jews surviving Nazi terror deep in the forest. Awesome storytelling, terrific writing – our readers will love it! ―Cathy Graham from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, FL
    Buy from Copperfish Books

  • Another mesmerizing story from Kristin Harmel. Yona is stolen by an old woman at birth from a german couple in the Berlin and raised in the forest. Her kidnapper prepares her for her destiny, which is to help escape jews survive the perils of the forest while evading the Nazi soldiers. Yona’s struggle to come to terms with God’s will and her own origins threads through the book. Loved it and cannot wait for wait KH brings us next!   ―Laura Taylor from Oxford Exchange in Tampa, FL
    Buy from Oxford Exchange

  • I love the character of Yona whose knowledge of the forest was essential. Courage, determination and resilience enabled many to hide from the Germans until the end of the war. This is historical fiction at its best and survivors and descendants have contributed to the significant research that went into the making of this book. A powerful story that I couldn’t put down.   ―Stephanie Crowe from Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL
    Buy from Page & Palette

About Kristin Harmel

Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels including The Forest of Vanishing Stars, The Book of Lost Names, The Room on Rue Amélie, and The Sweetness of Forgetting. She is published in thirty languages and is the cofounder and cohost of the popular web series, Friends and Fiction. She lives in Orlando, Florida.

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Spotlight on: Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott

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Mary Laura Philpott

"My hope was to do what many other books have done for me, which is to tell one person’s story in a way that makes other people look at their own lives differently or perhaps understand something about themselves better. "–Mary Laura Philpott, interview in Hippocampus

 

 

Bomb Shelter

What booksellers are saying about Bomb Shelter

  • Mary Laura does what no one else can – muse about mortality and make you laugh. Reading her essays is like sitting down on the porch with her and having a glass of wine. Her worries are OUR worries, only we rarely discuss them aloud (and none of us are as funny as Mary Laura). ―Sissy Gardner from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN
    Buy from Parnassus Books

  • A memoir in essays, BOMB SHELTER tackles some pretty monumental moments in Philpott’s life, starting with a medical emergency for her son to taking care of her family during the pandemic. Although the specifics will be different by readers, most of us have faced pivotal moments in our lives, and we certainly share those same questions – from “how did I get here?” to “should I have known?” Philpott’s candor in writing is refreshing; just as in I MISS YOU WHEN I BLINK, I found myself laughing and crying at the commonality of how we approach life, aging, and the world.   ―Beth Seufer Buss from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • Mary Laura Philpott’s Bomb Shelter reads like a long coffee date with a dear friend. This memoir covers a lot of the emotional nuances of parenting and Philpott is a kindred spirit. Give this book to any parent who needs a virtual hug and assurance that they are indeed doing a good job.   ―Rachel Watkins from Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA
    Buy from Avid Bookshop

About Mary Laura Philpott

Mary Laura Philpott, author of the national bestseller I Miss You When I Blink, writes essays that examine the overlap of the absurd and the profound in everyday life. Her writing has been featured frequently by The New York Times and appears in such outlets as The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Real Simple, and more. A former bookseller, she also hosted an interview program on Nashville Public Television for several years. Mary Laura lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

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Spotlight on: Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow

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Tara M.Stringfellow

"With poetry, your entire message, the duende of the poem, the catharsis of the readers all needs to fit in the space of a few lines. I spent years—years—trying to master this and will spend many, many more.

With prose, I felt the freedom of the entire page, of entire chapters to speak my truth. I was no longer confined to the space of a stanza. I found it incredibly liberating and refreshing. But also incredibly daunting. "–Tara M. Stringfellow, interview in Book Pipeline

 

 

Memphis

What booksellers are saying about Memphis

  • Tara M. Stringfellow’s Memphis raises the bar for family sagas. Based on her own family’s history, this debut novel explores multiple generations within a Southern Black family. The city itself becomes an identity within this powerful story; Stringfellow traces not only the impact of each generation’s choices and traditions but also the impact of the iconic city’s history on the family. I love nothing more as a reader than a powerful family saga, and MEMPHIS has stayed with me long after finishing it–undoubtedly this will be at the top of my Best of 2022 list! ―Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • Memphis opens with a beautiful poem dedicating the book to Gianna Floyd, saying, “I wrote you a Black fairy tale.” Centering Black joy above all, Stringfellow’s life-affirming debut follows three generations of unforgettable women in a gifted but tested family in the author’s and my hometown. Readers will cry, laugh, and sing along to this book, which focuses on the Black female experience that has always given Memphis its soul. I hope we’ll be reading Stringfellow for a long, long time.   ―Katie Williamson, Square Books in Oxford, MC
    Buy from Square Books

  • A gorgeous take on Memphis over the years. A celebration of Douglass. An ode to black womanhood, to community, to identity, sisterhood, strength. The writing is savory and entrancing, and the characters are true, my highest praise for fictional people. A fantastic debut   ―Becca Sloan, Novel. in Memphis, TN
    Buy from Novel

About Tara M. Stringfellow

Poet, former attorney, Northwestern University MFA graduate, and semifinalist for the Fulbright Fellowship, Tara M. Stringfellow has written for Collective Unrest, Minerva Rising, Jet Fuel Review, Women Arts Quarterly Journal, and Apogee Journal, among other publications. After having lived in Okinawa, Ghana, Chicago, Cuba, Spain, Italy, and Washington, D.C., she moved back home to Memphis, where she sits on her porch swing every evening with her hound, Huckleberry, listening to records and chatting with neighbors.

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Spotlight on: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

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Bonnie Garmus

"With Elizabeth Zott, I wanted to create a character who speaks for anyone who’s been held back, disbelieved, maligned, or underestimated. But I also wanted to create a character who refuses to put up with it. Elizabeth Zott has a disregard for societal limits. She reects religion, stereotpes, racism, sexism, elitism, and food that comes in cans. "–Bonnie Garmus

 

 

Yerba Buena

What booksellers are saying about Lessons in Chemistry

  • Lessons In Chemistry is the kind of book that makes me love reading. While there were moments of sorrow and frustration, the story left me with an overall feeling of joy. I didn’t want it to end – now I’m suffering with a book hangover wondering what to read next after such a fun and refreshing story. ― Melissa Summers from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • What an absolutely charming book! Elizabeth Zott is not your typical woman living in the 1960s. She is a chemist determined to prove that she is as good as any man in her field, which is not so easy to do with so many of the preconceived ideas of what a woman should and should not do at this time. I love her hilarious and straight to the point comebacks to many of the men who try to tell her she can not do something because it isn’t seemly for a woman to do. You will be infuriated by how she is treated and be thankful that women are not still treated that way (most of the time). You will love her delightful child Mad, and Six-thirty who is the best dog anyone could ever own, and you may also learn a little chemistry along the way. ―Nancy McFarlane from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC
    Buy from Fiction Addiction

  • This debut was a delight from start to finish. Elizabeth Zott was born just a decade too soon to forge the career in science she was destined for, so when she stumbled into a job as the host of a 1960s TV cooking show, she could not help but bring chemistry into her recipes. This book is filled with fabulous characters and is alternately touching and laugh out loud funny.   ―Karen Hayes from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN
    Buy from Parnassus Books

  • I want to introduce Elizabeth Zott to everyone I know. Unapologetic, smart and full of zest. Chemist, Elizabeth Zott, breaks boundaries and inspires other women to do the same in this heartbreaking yet uplifting story   ―Lillian Kay from Novel in Memphis, TN
    Buy from Novel

About Bonnie Garmus

Bonnie Garmus is a copywriter and creative director who has worked widely in the fields of technology, medicine, and education. She’s an open-water swimmer, a rower, and mother to two pretty amazing daughters. Born in California and most recently from Seattle, she currently lives in London with her husband and her dog, 99.

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Spotlight on: Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour

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Nina LaCour

"In Yerba Buena I get to examine adulthood— how the experiences we have when we’re young reverberate through our lives, how we make mistakes and make amends and try to escape the destruction we inherit while also holding onto the good."–Nina LaCour, Author’s letter to bookstores

 

 

Yerba Buena

What booksellers are saying about Yerba Buena

  • Though the plot of Yerba Buena seems to meander at first, with dark, desperate characters with twisted pasts and wildly uncertain futures, you’ll want to stick around until the end. And you will want to linger in the middle among the luxurious imagery throughout this story. Nina LaCour shines while writing descriptions of art and making–from crafting cocktails to arranging beautiful bouquets of flowers–with great care and attention that makes these moments feel close to magical. In spite of the convoluted secrets and choices these characters makes, there is seeking, growth, and love, too, in a bittersweet pull on their paths towards healing. ― Julie Jarema from Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA
    Buy from Avid Bookshop

  • At once full of wonder and excruciatingly real, Nina LaCour’s adult debut is truly a thing to behold. A story of love, food, and the achingly beautiful reality of the human condition, Yerba Buena was, without a doubt, one of the most exquisite books I have ever read. ―Mary Louise Callaghan from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • A bittersweet meditation on the lives of two women whose emotional histories so tragically mirror one another that their connection is both painful and undeniable. Sara and Emilie come from different places and different classes, but both of their formative years are marked by grief and dismissal, by losses that keep them unfinished. They’re also, though, both drawn to the beauty of things: in flowers, in food, in design, in each other. In evocative prose and rich settings, LaCour gives us romance in the truest sense: complicated and intentional, lovers choosing each other as the people they are and the ones they are still becoming.   ―Miranda Sanchez from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, NC
    Buy from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

About Nina LaCour

Nina LaCour is the award-winning and bestselling author of six novels for young adults, including We Are Okay, a Printz Award winner and national bestseller. She lives in San Francisco with her wife and daughter. Yerba Buena is her first novel for adults.

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Spotlight on: Knight Owl by Christopher Denise

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Christopher Denise

"The illustrations for Knight Owl posed an interesting challenge. Most of the book takes place at night. How could I make the illustrations using a color pallet varied enough so that each scene could have the right feeling and not feel too dark? I took that challenge as an opportunity to dive deep into my fascination with Japanese woodblock prints, specifically the work of Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) one of the greatest artists of the shin-hanga style. Yoshida’s work, along with a few nods to Rembrandt and Vermeer, defined the palette for the entire project. The range of blue tones in Yoshida’s work is amazing! "–Christopher Denise (via School Library Journal Blog)

 

Joan is Okay

What booksellers are saying about Knight Owl

  • An absolutely delightful picture book bursting with wonderfully playful illustrations. As a kid, I loved knights, dragons, and adventure (still do!) and I would have cherished this wonderful book from Denise and spent hours looking at each page. Celebrating perseverance, cleverness, and friendship; Knight Owl is sure to delight readers! ― Caleb Masters from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • A night Knight owl who proves he can be brave by outwitting a dragon with pizza. And in doing so shows that even the smallest of creatures can be cunning. ―Judith Lafitte from Octavia Books LLC in New Orleans, LA
    Buy from Octavia Books

  • A sweet picture book about a wise owl, perseverance, and finding common ground with others.   ―Rae Ann Parker from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN
    Buy from Parnassus Books

  • Knight Owl is full of goodness. Who knew dragons and owls made for a good story? And pizza, the great peace maker? Perfect for fans of Gruffalo and Dragons Love Tacos. ―Jilleen Moore from Square Books in Oxford, MS
    Buy from Square Books

About Christopher Denise

Christopher Denise spent much of his childhood in Shannon, Ireland, exploring castles and dreaming of great adventures. He is the illustrator of many critically acclaimed books for young readers, including Anika Aldamuy Denise’s Bunny in the Middle, Alison McGhee’s Firefly Hollow, Rosemary Wells’s Following Grandfather, and Anne Marie Pace’s Groundhug Day, as well as several in Brian Jacques’s award-winning Redwall series. His books have appeared on the Indie Next List and the New York Times bestseller list and in the Society of Illustrators’ Annual Exhibition. Knight Owl marks his author-illustrator debut. Christopher’s current adventures include exploring coastal Rhode Island, where he lives with his family.

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Spotlight on: Joan is Okay by Weike Wang

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Weike Wang

"…sometimes being around writers is kind of strange. I love them, but sometimes there’s just this sense of impracticality with writing. It’s just such an inefficient system. I feel like I’m always straddling the middle place. I have no desire to write this character that’s a repudiation, because that in and of itself is a stereotype. That is defined by white marketing, I think—the dominant race marketing whatever they think “good Asian people” or “cool Asian people” are supposed to be. I don’t want it to be that tidy. I don’t want people to dismiss Joan—I want them to really stay with her and see how she’s managing this difficult year in her life. ” "–Weike Wang (via Electric Lit)

Joan is Okay

What booksellers are saying about Joan is Okay

  • An insightful story about a woman living life on her own less-traditional terms and facing the pushback from society and family as a result. I really enjoyed getting to know Joan and was routing for her throughout the book, which was a compelling and thoughtful read. ― Melissa Summers from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • Joan is the youngest child and only daughter of Chinese immigrants, a brilliant intensive care doctor, a workaholic for whom the hospital is the closest she’s ever had to feeling at home – and one of the most different and memorable characters you’re likely to encounter this year. Joan is Okay is full of subtle wit as she navigates both her relationships with her family following her father’s death, and her identity as a Chinese American. Joan may be okay – but this gentle, nuanced novel is most definitely more than okay. ―Jude Burke-Lewis from Square Books in Oxford, MS
    Buy from Square Books

  • Joan is Okay is so, so good! I loved this contemporary story about family, immigration, and life expectations. As unique as her experience is, it was easy to relate to Joan’s struggle against the pressures to conform that come at her from all sides. Wang’s smart prose sparkles with spare intensity, just like Joan herself. I can’t wait to tell readers about this book!   ―Serena Wyckoff from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, FL
    Buy from Copperfish Books

  • Like many readers I adored Weike Wang’s debut novel Chemistry and have been eagerly awaiting her next book. In Joan is Okay Wang builds on what made Chemistry so successful — not only her exploration of the intersection of race and gender in spaces predominantly inhabited by men (in this case moving from the chemistry lab to the ICU) but also her ability to capture the quiet sadness underlying the lives of her characters. I won’t be able to stop thinking about this clever, poignant novel for weeks to come. ―Kate Storhoff from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

About Weike Wang

Weike Wang was born in Nanjing, China, and grew up in Australia, Canada, and the United States. She is a graduate of Harvard University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry and her doctorate in public health. Her first novel, Chemistry, received the PEN/ Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, the Ploughshares John C. Zacharis First Book Award, and a Whiting Award. She is a “5 Under 35” honoree of the National Book Foundation and her work has appeared in The New Yorker. She currently lives in New York City.

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Spotlight on: She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

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Shelley Parker-Chan

"What I really like about SFF is how it can offer meaningful representation of marginalized identities in a gentler and more cathartic way than realistic contemporary fiction…SFF is really good at is creating types of otherness that don’t exist in the real world. Readers can project aspects of themselves into these characters without having to have the character accurately represent all of our real-life experiences. It helps sidestep that reaction of “oh, that isn’t my experience of my identity.” "–Shelley Parker-Chan (via Locus Magazine)

She Who Became the Sun

What booksellers are saying about She Who Became the Sun

  • What a powerful book and an epic of a debut! The exploration of gender and gender identity wrapped in the epic fantasy package is just *chef’s kiss* This book is so magically queer, and it was extremely powerful to see these amazing genderqueer characters take center stage in such a sweeping and beautiful story. The writing is immersive and lyrical, the characters are compelling, and I was sucked in right from the beginning. It’s brutal, it will wreck you, and you will finish wanting so much more. A must read of the summer!! ― Candice Huber from Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop in New Orleans, LA
    Buy from Tubby & Coo’s

  • This powerful, sweeping debut tracks female monk Zhu Chongba as she refuses to succumb to nothingness in 1345 Mongol-ruled China. The side characters are complex, the world building is immense, and Zhu’s quest to be great is filled with unexpected twists and turns. ―Chelsea Stringfield from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN
    Buy from Parnassus Books

  • She Who Became the Sun is a grim military fantasy about identity, gender, public versus private perception, and most of all ambition: who are you when you force destiny to take notice of you? What horrors will you commit to keep destiny’s attention? Zhu Chongba disguises herself as a man (specifically, a monk) in order to stave off death by starvation during a drought. Along the way, she gets involved with fighting the invading Mongols, using her cleverness rather than military brawn to gain power. —   ―Whitney Sheppard from The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, AL
    Buy from Snail on the Wall
  • I can say without a doubt, right now, this is my number one book of the year. And I’ve read a lot of books already and have many more to read. I’m a history person, I have a bachelors in history, so when this book was pushed to me as the reimagined story of the founder of the Ming dynasty but Sapphic, I, a Sapphic history lover was very intrigued. It takes a little bit to properly slide into the flow of the book and the main character, but once you’re in, you are IN. The dialogue flows so beautifully and snappy, the characters fold around each other as the history we already know unfolds around them. And the betrayals! The hunger for destiny and revenge! I loved every single second of this absolutely golden book, and can’t wait for the next! ―Caitlyn Vanorder from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

About Shelley Parker-Chan

Shelley Parker-Chan is an Australian by way of Malaysia and New Zealand. A 2017 Tiptree Fellow, she is the author of the forthcoming historical fantasy novel She Who Became the Sun. Parker-Chan spent nearly a decade working as a diplomat and international development adviser in Southeast Asia, where she became addicted to epic East Asian historical TV dramas. After a failed search to find English-language book versions of these stories, she decided to write her own. Parker-Chan currently lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she is very grateful to never have to travel by leaky boat ever again.

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Spotlight on: To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

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Hanya Yanagihara

"It was the sense of possibility, of how easily America could have been something else, how easily it could become something else, that I wanted to explore in all three of these books. Because there have been certain moments in America’s creation, certain turning points where the country could have gone another way. "–Hanya Yanagihara (via The Bookseller)

To Paradise

What booksellers are saying about To Paradise

  • A deeply resonant and astoundingly beautiful novel, Yanagihara’s To Paradise is a book to savor and is sure to satisfy readers who loved A Little Life. Told in three distinct parts that all speak to each other in interesting ways, Yanagihara’s powerful prose once again takes center stage and I loved getting "lost" in her beautiful writing. A gorgeously somber and powerful novel that I can’t wait for readers to get there hands on. Bring tissues! ― Caleb Masters from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • To Paradise is complex, thorny in that specific Yanagihara way, heartbreaking, wonderful. Masterful. The author is definitely reaching for Big Ideas, asking Big Questions. Actually, the Biggest Question: what is the meaning of life?…To Paradise is a celebration of and call for full, expansive humanity and human connection. To Paradise is the best thing I’ve read in…a long time. It’s truly, in my estimation, a great work. ―Matt Nixon from A Cappella Books in Atlanta, GA
    Buy from A Cappella Books

  • The brilliant author of A Little Life creates three novels that echo one another: one that creates alternative 19th century New York City; another set during the 20th century AIDS crisis; and a final dystopian novel that takes place about seventy years in the future. This book is massive in size and scope, and deals with issues of politics, race, sexuality, and global pandemics, but is at its most powerful when describing the everyday lives of people who intend to do good, but don’t always succeed.   ―Anne Peck from Righton Books in St Simons Island, GA
    Buy from Righton Books

About Hanya Yanagihara

Hanya Yanagihara is an American novelist, editor, and travel writer. She grew up in Hawaii and currently lives in New York City.

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Spotlight on: Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

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Rachel Lynn Solomon

"I really enjoy writing girls that aren’t nice. I don’t know what it says about me that they’re easy to write! I just think that girls don’t get as much permission or as much forgiveness to be this range of different things."Rachel Lynn Solomon (via Kirkus)

Weather Girl

What booksellers are saying about Weather Girl

  • Weather Girl has become an automatic cozy romance favorite for me, much like The Ex Talk. Ari and Russell are so lovable, and this story is full of all the heart, nuance, swoons and steam I’ve come to expect from Rachel Lynn Solomon.. ― Cristina Russell from Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL
    Buy from Books & Books

  • Is it too early to say that this will be one of the best romances of 2022? Rachel Lynn Solomon blew me away with this thoughtful romance. I loved the frank yet careful way Solomon dealt with so many real-world hurdles to finding love in adulthood: everything from depression to religion (both characters are Jewish) to single parenthood to having sex with a new person for the first time in a long while. Solomon is quickly becoming one of my favorite romance novelists, and I know Weather Girl is a book I’ll return to again and again. ―Kate Storhoff from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • This sweet romance does a great job of highlighting some areas that you don’t see a lot of in romcoms: Judaism, depression, and a larger man with a smaller woman. Each item doesn’t feel heavy-handed or preachy, but is handled so well, making this a great read!   ―Jennifer Jones from Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, GA
    Buy from Bookmiser

About Rachel Lynn Solomon

Rachel Lynn Solomon writes, tap dances, and collects lipstick in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of the YA novels You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, Our Year of Maybe, and the forthcoming Today Tonight Tomorrow (June 2020). Her debut adult romantic comedy, The Ex Talk, was published in spring 2021

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Spotlight on: The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

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Zoraida Córdova

"Every book I write is for myself. My YA is for my teen self, who hungered for magical stories. My middle grade is for the painfully shy kid I once was, one who wanted adventure. My adult romance is for the version of myself that denies being a romantic (though I am). The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is for the person I am now. . I wanted to pose the question, ‘What price would you pay for survival?’” –Zoraida Córdova via Bookpage

 

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The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina

What booksellers are saying about The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina

  • Cordova’s writing echoes the great Gabriel Garcia Marquez in this epic family tale that sweeps across countries and time. I loved the atmospheric quality of the book and the incredible beauty of her writing. ― Jamie Southern from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • If you thought your family tree was complicated, wait till you meet the Montoyas. When their grandmother Orquídea summons them to collect their inheritance, they don’t realize they’re about to dive into a family history of magic, loss, and resilience. ―Abby Rice from Foggy Pine Books in Boone, NC
    Buy from Foggy Pine Books

  • I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. I was so intrigued with Orquidea Devina and the magical force surrounding her that I hardly wanted to put this book down, because I needed to hurriedly piece together all of the interconnected pieces. Blending a bit of mystery and fantasy, Zoraida Cordova does an excellent job developing this story with complex multi-generational characters connected by magical roots that make them stronger together than they ever are apart!   ―Nicole Granville, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, AL
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  • A playfully mesmerizing, meaningful story about family! The matriarch, Orquidea Divina, summons her relatives from far and wide to attend her funeral and to receive their inheritance. But the inheritance is not what everyone expected, nor is the funeral anything ordinary. Over the next several years, secrets are revealed and special gifts are given, and each one must figure out how they want to live their lives individually and as a family. Magical, fun and heart-warming! ―Cathy Graham from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, FL
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  • The cosmic battle between good and evil plays out, not on the grand scale, but within a family where love, longing and belonging have consequences beyond the ordinary. This enchanting tale of magical realism grabs the reader from the first page and doesn’t let go. With unforgettable characters and surprises twisting like stems and roots throughout the story, this book is almost impossible to put down. (OK, I got so involved, I totally forgot my husband and I were going out, until he came to get me.) For fans of Isabel Allende and Erin Morgenstern. ―Lia Lent from Wordsworth Books in Little Rock, AR
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About Zoraida Córdova

Zoraida Córdova is the acclaimed author of more than a dozen novels and short stories, including the Brooklyn Brujas series, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate, and The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina. In addition to writing novels, she serves on the board of We Need Diverse Books, is the coeditor of the bestselling anthology Vampires Never Get Old, and is the cohost of the writing podcast Deadline City. She writes romance novels as Zoey Castile. Zoraida was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and calls New York City home. When she’s not working, she’s roaming the world in search of magical stories. For more information, visit her at ZoraidaCordova.com.

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Spotlight on The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain

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Diane Chamberlain

“When I think about writing a book I think about the situation first and then I try to think of a character who is going to have the most difficult time doing what I want her to do.” –Diane Chamberlain

At a launch event with Friends & Fiction for the paperback release of her last book, Big Lies in a Small Town, Diane Chamberlain was asked about how she created such psychologically complicated characters. She answered that she starts with a situation, something she wants them to do such as paint a mural, or start their life over in a new house, and then she throws obstacles at them:

“it’s not that I set out to create these screwed up characters. As I’m writing I’m just trying to figure out how more difficult for them so that they have to really work harder to succeed.”

Trouble and difficulties is just what Kayla Carter has in The Last House on the Street. She has just lost her husband in an accident building their dream home and now must raise her four year old daughter in the house that cost him his life. But the house is built in a new development that sits on top of some very old and tragic history that is still festering and won’t let itself be buried in the past.


The Last House on the Street

What booksellers are saying about The Last House on the Street

  • To read a Diane Chamberlain novel is to be on a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings. This one lives up to expectations and the story line is a hot topic right now. Dealing with voting rights back during Jim Crow in North Carolina, this book has you see both sides and deftly makes you sway to each side. This is one for everyone who wants a book to take you away with a bit of romance, mystery, and love of the characters. Great book club book! ― Suzanne Lucey from Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, NC
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  • The Last House on the Street begins with Kayla, a recently widowed single mother, in the present day, when strange and eerie things begin happening at her new home. There is also Ellie who becomes a Civil Rights activist in 1965 and falls in love with a fellow worker, bringing danger to them both. I loved how the story bounced between Kayla and Ellie’s perspectives and how Chamberlain weaved the story into one narrative. Overall, great storytelling and a wonderful read! Perfect for readers who like mystery or history. ―Katie from The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, AL
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  • Diane Chamberlain’s newest novel couldn’t be more relevant for our current times. It is hard to believe that we are still fighting the battles for the right to vote that were being fought in 1965. Told from two story lines – one in 1965 North Carolina right before the signing of the Right to Vote act and one in 2010 – the separate stories of Ellie and Kayla and what they have endured merge together when Ellie comes home for the first time in 45 years and Kayla prepares to move into the house at the end of the street. A definite must read for fans of Big Lies in a Small Town.   ―Nancy McFarlane from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC
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  • I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! The dual timelines were a perfect fit for this suspenseful journey. The novel follows the life of Ellie in the summer of 1965 when she becomes part of the SCOPE program to encourage the black community to register to vote. She is a full supporter of the civil rights movement which alienates her from her family. The 2010 timeline follows Kayla, who has just lost her husband in a freak accident while building their dream home. When Kayla and her three-year old daughter move into the house, very frightening and strange things begin to happen. Chamberlain masterfully spins the timelines to keep readers hooked to the very end. ―Sharon Davis from Book Bound Bookstore in Blairsville, GA
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About Diane Chamberlain

DIANE CHAMBERLAIN is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-eight novels published in over fifteen languages. Her books include Big Lies in a Small Town, The Stolen Marriage and The Dream Daughter. She lives in North Carolina with her partner, photographer John Pagliuca, and her sheltie, Cole.

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Spotlight on Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson

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Antoine Wilson

“Recently, while moving several piles of books (31 titles) from the floor to another place on the floor to make space for my office chair, I experienced a moment of clarity,” writes Antoine Wilson in an essay on Lit Hub which ran over the summer, “I felt like I had arrived at the end of a manic episode and was confronting the aftermath.”

Wilson had discovered tsundoku — the Japanese word for the habit of buying books and letting them pile up unread. The “piling up” is key — as every book lover with a teetering TBR stack knows. Tsundoku is a description, a philosophy, a lifestyle. Or, as Wilson regards it, “a get-out-of-jail-free card.”

Right now, booksellers are adding Wilson’s new novel to their own book piles. But Mouth to Mouth does not seem destined to tsundoku-existence in piles of unread books. “A compact tour-de-force,” “you won’t be able to put it down,” “absolutely deserves to be read in one sitting” — the story has been inviting comparisons to Patricia Highsmith at her most unsettling. Picking up the book is easy. Putting it back down may be much much harder. Leaving it unfinished once you start? All but impossible.


Mouth to Mouth

What booksellers are saying about Mouth to Mouth

  • Warning: once starting the first page of this gripping novel, you won’t be able to put it down. Breathlessly, you will want to find answers even while you secretly wish this tale will never end. ― Nancy Pierce from Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, GA
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  • A beach, an art gallery, a ski slope, a first class lounge and a wild ride of an ending combine to make a damn good story that absolutely deserves to be read in one sitting. I absolutely devoured this tale that really puts the novel back in novels. ―Angie Tally from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC
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  • As a Patricia Highsmith superfan, I’m always drawn to a sleek novel about the harrowing secrets and misdeeds of the upper class–I’m pleased to say that Antoine Wilson delivers. His latest, Mouth To Mouth , is a compact tour-de-force featuring an intoxicating antagonist with a level of self-delusion that would make Highsmith proud.   ―Lindsay Lynch from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN
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  • Mouth To Mouth is the kind of book you should read in one sitting. When our narrator meets a former college classmate in an airport, he finds himself listening to the tale of how his classmate came to be a prominent and wealthy art dealer — a tale that soon begins to sound more like a confession. This book is unassumingly clever, with an unsettling ending that will stick with you for a while. ―Kate Storhoff from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
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About Antoine Wilson

Antoine Wilson is the author of the novels Panorama City and The Interloper. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, StoryQuarterly, Best New American Voices, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications, and he is a contributing editor of A Public Space. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and recipient of a Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin, he lives in Los Angeles.

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