M. Judson booksellers and storytellers

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi

WOW! Everyone should read this book. No matter what you think you know, you probably don’t know enough. Clear and accessible non-history book with history in it. As a former teacher, I wish more content was available in this well-thought-out and clear package. There isn’t room to get bored or lost for readers. There are built-in moments to breathe, reflect, and even chuckle. a great strategy for tough material. No matter what lens you view America through, this book will have an impact on your focus. It’s not enough to not be racist, be actively anti-racist.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi, (List Price: 18.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316453691, March 2020)

Reviewed by Susan Williams, M. Judson, Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

First Position by Melanie Hamrick

The trope of the lovable anti-hero is beaten out only by that of the detestable anti-hero. Sylvie Carter is inherently unlikable, the hapless victim of every event of the story, including her own poor decisions, the least of which is becoming sexually involved with yet another member of her ballet company, even after the first affair launched her fall from grace. Possibly the most frustrating character since Scarlet O’Hara, her narration is filled with shocking scandal and incredibly loving description of a professional dancer’s lifestyle – and I adored every page.

First Position by Melanie Hamrick, (List Price: 17, Berkley, 9780593638149, June 2023)

Reviewed by Elizabeth Graben, M. Judson Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Oh man, I loved everything about this book. I loved that West Africa makes a long overdue appearance in the predominately white realm of YA Fantasy. I loved the characters as well. Young and powerful (though they may not yet know it) teenagers who are charged with the task of bringing magic back into their world and thus saving their people from genocide at the hands of a terrible tyrant. Most of all, I loved the writing. Adeyemi will have you in the palm of her hand gripped by the fast pace and reading long past bedtime. She will have you absolutely dying to read book 2!

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, (List Price: $21.99, Henry Holt and Co., 9781250170972, March 2018)

Reviewed by Gretchen Fitzgerald, M. Judson, Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

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

The Say So by Julia Franks

A June 2023 Read This Next! Title

This is such a smart novel about the true power of our choices. It made me think about my own mother and daughter, and how the act of motherhood is as fundamental as it is complex. It’s also a sharp picture of transformation in our little corner of the South. What a great book for book club discussion!

The Say So by Julia Franks, (List Price: 28, Hub City Press, 9798885740074, June 2023)

Reviewed by Ashley Warlick, M. Judson Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia by David Graeber

A fun and entertaining non-fiction book. Graeber is focused on the information that can be gained from listening to and believing what the Malagasy people had to say, and he is extremely frustrated that no academics seem willing to do this. If you like good footnotes, academic beef, and an interesting take on the age of piracy from multiple points of view, this is for you.

Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia by David Graeber, (List Price: $27, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374610197, January 2023)

Reviewed by Lauren Kohnle, M. Judson Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

Lasagna Means I Love You by Kate O’Shaughnessy

So much love for Lasagna Means I Love You! A lovely novel about how food tells our stories and what means family. When sad circumstances leave Mo alone in the world, she discovers the path to a new beginning is filled with tears, frustration, laughter, love and a full tummy!

Lasagna Means I Love You by Kate O’Shaughnessy, (List Price: $17.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9781984893871, February 2023)

Reviewed by Susan Williams, M. Judson, booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

Deadly Triangle by Susan Goldenberg

An in-depth look at a true crime story I’d never heard before. Each chapter is a isolated chunk of the narrative- the players histories, the actual crime, the after. While this isolated nature can lead to repeating facts, it makes this book perfect book for people who want to pick up and read a single chapter at a time.

Deadly Triangle by Susan Goldenberg (List Price: $19.99, Dundurn Press, 9781459750302, November 2022)

Reviewed by Lauren Kohnle, M Judson booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson

Now is Not The Time to Panic covers that wry space between childhood and adulthood – how we want to be seen and how others see us. Frankie and Zeke ask the questions about the nature of art both to the maker and the viewer, what does obsession really look like, and how do things spin out of control so smoothly. All against an early 90s world that may as well be a thousand years ago. The questions of consequences, family and what lies in front of us through a 90s era time warp. The writing is amazing. Sentences that stop you in your tracks. I loved everything about the novel!

Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson, (List Price: $27.99, Ecco, 9780062913500, November 2022)

Reviewed by Susan Williams, M. Judson Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

Blood and Moonlight by Erin Beaty

A standalone epic mystical murder mystery fantasy novel. Blood and Moonlight kept me on my toes the entire time, all the way to the bittersweet ending. Catrin, our protagonist, has a very unique gift: a type of sight where she can spot flaws in architecture. Perfect for someone who is tasked with watching over this spired city. This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read and it was fantastic. It can be gruesome at times, so fantasy fans and true crime fans find a perfect blend here, but be a little wary if you’re sensitive to gore.

Blood and Moonlight by Erin Beaty, (List Price: $19.99, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9781250755810, June 2022)

Reviewed by Elizabeth Hall, M. Judson Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

The Kingdoms of Savannah by George Dawes Green

A July 2022 Read This Next! Title

I loved The Kingdoms of Savannah. It read like a dark, gothic Conroy novel, concerned as much with the grit of the city as the moonlight and magnolias. The Musgrove family are some rare birds. I really hope Mr. Green is planning to bring them back for more.

The Kingdoms of Savannah by George Dawes Green, (List Price: $27.99, Celadon Books, 9781250767448, July 2022)

Reviewed by Ashley Warlick from M Judson, Booksellers in Greenville, SC

Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

Dreamy, dark, and mysterious. Danger, desire, and enigmatic. Filled with characters you want to know more of and places you want to be. Hotel Magnifique is oh so delicious!

Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor, (List Price: $18.99, Razorbill, 9780593404515,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Susan Williams, M Judson Booksellers and Storytellers in Greenville, South Carolina

The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

The twists, the turns, the traumas! A family tale of suspense that hooks the reader from page one. Hepworth creates a world of privilege and ease where nothing is what it seems including your own perceptions.

The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth, (List Price: $28.99, St. Martin’s Press, 9781250229618,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Susan Williams, M Judson Booksellers and Storytellers in Greenville, South Carolina

This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke

A beautiful and strange novel full of magic, friendships, and hard truths. The search for voice & freedom, the drive to be heard, a reconciliation with past trauma and a future filled with hope weave a story I couldn’t let go of.The city of Budapest and the Danube are integral characters as Csilla discovers her worth. Along with a student revolutionary leader and a kind hearted angel of death, Csilla transforms the world around her into one filled with color.

This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke, (List Price: $18.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593381243,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Susan Williams, M Judson Booksellers and Storytellers in Greenville, South Carolina

Still Life by Sarah Winman

Sarah Winman’s Still Life is the balm needed to medicate against the last year and a half of the global pandemic. Set in post-WWII London and Florence, Winman creates a lush world full of tangible characters who break your heart in all the best ways. It begins with a chance encounter on a small country road in war-torn Tuscany. There, Ulysses Temper, an idealistic twenty-something English soldier, and Evelyn Skinner, a sextagenarian art historian meet and share an adventurous evening celebrating wine, art, and newfound friendships. The two diverge and set course upon two parallel paths that spiral inward and outward along a trajectory that is never truly separate. During the course of forty years, Winman manages to enliven both post-war London and Florence and captures their resilience and specific beauties with rapturous prose. Within each city, there is suffering, there is collapse, there is pain, there is poverty. But, life goes on, and so do the powerful humans who occupy these spaces. The people are real, you know them and you feel their pain and suffering, joy, and happiness. You root for them and you cry with them. This is a book about chance encounters, magical evenings around Italian tablesides, changing societies, found family, chances taken and missed, grief, forgiveness, and the profoundly sacred space of human connection. Still Life reminds us that, after a year of isolation, we both owe it to ourselves to allow others in from time to time.


Still Life by Sarah Winman, (List Price: $27, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780593330753, November 2021)

Joce Mallin, M. Judson Booksellers and Storytellers in Greenville, South Carolina


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