The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!
Ali Hazelwood has quickly worked her way to being a favorite Romance author, for myself and many other readers. Mixing STEM, Feminism and romance is her recipe for her superb romances. Love on the Brain follows Bee, a strong willed and smart scientist as she embarks on a project partnered with NASA that just might turn her career around. An awful break-up changed the course of her career choices previously, but she is back stronger then ever about to show her stuff! However, her college nemesis Levi ends up being her partner for this project. You don’t have to be a science lover to appreciate Bee’s resilience in a male dominated career and to enjoy her nerdy, flirty, and powerful love story unfold.
Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood, (List Price: $17.00, Berkley, 9780593336847, August 2022)
Reviewed by Lillian Kay, Novel in Memphis, Tennessee
Okay, here is the non-fiction picture book I’ve been craving… I mean, it’s Pizza! A Slice of History! I can’t imagine any kid turning this one down for it’s subject matter alone, but topped with the vibrant illustrations of award-winning favorite, Greg Pizzoli? A real treat.
Pizza! by Greg Pizzoli, (List Price: $18.99, Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780425291078, August 2022)
Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books and Books in Coral Gables, Florida
Mandanna’s novel is reminiscent of timeless stories like Mary Poppins, Nanny McPhee, and Practical Magic. It’s heartfelt, hilarious, vulnerable and cozy. The characters in Nowhere House are sure to make you smile and believe in magic again. It made my nostalgic, witchy cottagecore heart so happy.
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna, (List Price: $16.00, Berkley, 9780593439357, August 2022)
Reviewed by Miriam Meeks, Lemuria Books in Jackson, Mississippi
David Hayward, @NakedPastor, has brought his wit, his artistic skill, and his frankness into Flip It Like This! This book is for anyone who has ever questioned their faith, been undermined by their experiences, or turned away because of who they are. Within these simple pages holds the passion and love of an artist that is screaming out: I See you and I love you.
Flip It Like This! by David Hayward, (List Price: $19.99, Broadleaf Books, 9781506484723, July 2022)
Reviewed by Gretchen Shuler, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina
I so enjoyed reading this book. The story centers around Margie Slinas/Margo Salton and jumps from present to past to see how Margie evolved into a first rate barbecue chef named Margot. She decides to open a barbecue restaurant and names it Salt. Margot shares the building with a bakery named Sugar. She begins a relationship with one of the owners, Jerome. As their relationship progresses and Margot starts to fall in love with Jerome, she know it’s time to tell him about her past as Marjorie Salinas. While some of the parts of the book were a bit rough, it was a great story filled with love and redemption.
Sugar and Salt by Susan Wiggs, (List Price: $27.99, William Morrow, 9780062914224, July 2022)
Reviewed by Pam Crawford, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia
Something weird is happening in Silk Hills and it’s not just the local obsession with Mothman. However, the unique, hallucination inducing moths that are native to this region of Appalachia are central to the story & the eccentric researcher who studies them assists our main character, Beth, who has been hired to find a missing man. Absolutely nothing goes to plan though and there’s more hiding in these hills than Beth was counting on. Fans of The X-Files will really enjoy this graphic novel & I really appreciated the Appalachian setting. I’d love to see more from these authors & artists!
Silk Hills by Ryan Ferrier, (List Price: $24.99, Oni Press, 9781637150382, June 2022)
Reviewed by Max Ruthless, Foggy Pine Books in Boone, North Carolina
Whimsical and sweet, The Mouse Who Carried a House on His Back is about acts of kindness and generosity. Beautifully illustrated, and written like a classic fable, this one will make a lovely read-aloud and gift. We should all be so lucky to come across the mouse with boots on his feet, a hat on his head, and a house on his back when we’re in need.
The Mouse Who Carried a House on His Back by Jonathan Stutzman, (List Price: 18.99, Candlewick, 9781536216790, August 2022)
Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida
A modern retelling of Lord of the Flies, set in a trash fire of a hipster festival? YES PLEASE. Rafi is a true-crime podcaster on the trail of a hot story who finagles tickets to the exclusive Fly Fest. The headliner is an adored indie musician who may have had something to do with the mysterious disappearance of his first girlfriend and Rafi is determined to get to the bottom of the case. Arriving on the island, hordes of spoiled influencers realize they’ve been set up – there is no food, no shelter, and (gasp!) no wifi! Can they all get out safely? Can Rafi uncover River Stone’s secrets? Can they survive without the constant reassurance of IG likes? Moldavsky has crafted an ingenious update on a classic mini-society gone wrong and I loved every second of it.
Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky, (List Price: 18.99, Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9781250230126, August 2022)
Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia
Rooster Fighter is a mad little manga about a rooster who kills demons. This inherently silly premise is played straight and hilariously so–the art and the fights are often epic and without gags: The gag is the premise itself. It’s a wonderful manga for people who don’t take things too seriously. Or keep chickens.
Rooster Fighter, Vol. 1 by Shu Sakuratani, (List Price: $12.99, VIZ Media LLC, 9781974729845, August 2022)
Reviewed by Alex Mcleod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama
Take a Mary Poppins-esque teacher who definitely knows more than she’s letting on, her inherited collection of seemingly magical New Yorker covers that are supposed to inspire creative writing projects, and a pair of best friends whose friendship is changing as they start middle school and you’ve got J.R. Silver Writes Her World. I loved all the little nods in here to “From the Mixed-Up Files” and the Met.
J.R. Silver Writes Her World by Melissa Dassori, (List Price: 6.99, Christy Ottaviano Books, 9780316331456, July 2022)
Reviewed by Melissa Taylor, E. Shaver, Bookseller in Savannah, Georgia
We all know about Lizzie Bennet and Darcy — but what about Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, and her sordid history with Wickham? If you’re a Pride and Prejudice fan, you’ll recognize several characters in this contemporary spin, but Georgiana Darcy gets the main character treatment. She has to deal with what Wickham did last year that almost got her expelled from prestigious boarding school Pemberley, a brother who’s both more and less absent than he should be, and everyone in school hating her for various reasons. Her one saving grace is her band friend Avery, who is the only one who doesn’t treat her as an outcast and so might be able to help her with her mission to get her life back on track. A fun take on Pride and Prejudice that is familiar enough to be enticing but new enough to keep your attention.
Accomplished by Amanda Quain, (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250817815, July 2022)
Reviewed by Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina
An idyllic cottage for the couple in number 9 turns out to be anything but idyllic when two bodies are uncovered in the garden during some remodeling. Rose, the original owner of the cottage is now in her late seventies and living in a care home with dementia. Her granddaughter Saffie, who is expecting her first child, and Saffie’s husband Tom were thrilled when given the cottage by Saffie’s mother Lorna. Little did any of them know that their remodeling would uncover and bring to light many unanswered questions from the past. Why didn’t Lorna know her mother owned this cottage? Why did Rose never talk about Lorna’s father other than to say he died before he was born? Who was Rose’s mysterious boarder and what happened to her? Why did Lorna always seem to be running away from something? Who is the man who claims to be a PI and says that Rose has evidence his client wants and will use force if necessary to obtain it? And of course – who were the people buried in the garden and what happened to them? Told from several points of view and several time frames Douglas is an expert at slowly feeding you information while at the same time leaving you with many new questions. All of the information finally comes together in a twisty ending you won’t see coming.
The Couple at Number 9 by Claire Douglas, (List Price: $16.99, Harper Paperbacks, 9780063138148, August 2022)
Reviewed by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina
“I thought we were going to grow old together, take care of each other.” The author Elizabeth Crane has been married for fifteen years and one day her husband tells her he isn’t happy. We ride with her on this winding story to see every turn in their lives and how it ended with this terrible pain. Truth is in every word of this memoir. Who doesn’t plan and hope for a happy ending when beginning a marriage? Elizabeth Crane reveals the honest painful truth that can be at the end of a relationship. Never has an ending of a marriage been told with more honest and heartbreaking TRUTH. She gets a new tattoo with just the word love. and writes “I still believe in it. sometimes like Santa. but I do.” Everyone who either hopes for a marriage or been in love and lost or longs for a partner could feel much of the truth in this too painfully unforgettable wise tale.
This Story Will Change by Elizabeth Crane, (List Price: 26, Counterpoint, 9781640094789, August 2022)
Reviewed by Nancy Pierce, Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, Georgia
I became a fan of Mark Pryor after reading The Bookseller (and subsequent books) and meeting his protagonist, Hugo Marston. So, what a surprise to be introduced to a new protagonist, Inspector Henri Lefort. Occupied Paris in 1940 was a Nazi nightmare, but even worse, the murder of an SS officer could not be tolerated by "the enemy." The storyline bends and twists while the Inspector has been given 5 days to solve the murder…"or else." The Inspector, with his dry sense of humor, along with the characters (including Pablo Picasso) introduced as the story unfolds, help to create an intriguing mystery. Truly enjoyed the book!
Die Around Sundown by Mark Pryor, (List Price: 27.99, Minotaur Books, 9781250824820, August 2022)
Reviewed by Karen Solar, Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida
I love dark academia. My love for it started with Harry Potter as a child and has only grown since then. I was delighted to dive into a school of witches and warlocks that’s brimming diversity opposed to the same old tired tropes. When her friend Noreen goes missing in the cursed forest, Abigail will stop at nothing to unwrap the truth and save her mentee. The art is beautiful. This is going to be the perfect recommendation for Halloween and beyond!
Over My Dead Body by Sweeney Boo, (List Price: 17.9, HarperAlley, 9780063056305, August 2022)
Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia