The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

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The Golden Swift by Lev Grossman

A middle grade fantasy novel with magical trains, a magical submarine, an apartment in the sky, a missing uncle, talking animals, endangered species and rewilding? Yes, please! This series is proof that kids can learn about current day issues in novels. Not that any of us in the industry need convincing of this, but this series does it effortlessly. Brilliant! Can’t wait for more!

The Golden Swift by Lev Grossman, (List Price: $35, Little Brown and Company, 9780316283540, May 2022)

Reviewed by Jill Naylor, Novel in Memphis, Tennessee

The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani

Adriana Trigiani’s The Good Left Undone transports you through both time and place, moving effortlessly through four generations of the Cabrelli family and from country to country during one of Europe’s most trying times. It not only impresses the importance of family and the love we share with those we choose, but the importance of the stories and heirlooms that are passed down from one generation to the next.

The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani, (List Price: $28, Dutton, 9780593183328, April 2022)

Reviewed by Doloris Vest, Book No Further in Roanoke, Virginia

Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed

Ahmed masterfully weaves together so many difficult topics that it’s hard to say what this book is about in any concise way. It’s painful, it’s beautiful, it’s haunting. It shines a light on horrific topics with sensitivity and grace and does so through the lens of two characters that are some of the most realistic I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Safiya didn’t really know Jawad, and she still felt the pain of his loss deeply. Upon finishing this book, I too feel his loss as if I knew him. I cannot remember ever reading a book so impactful, so relevant, and so emotionally gripping. If I had my way, everyone would read this book

Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed, (List Price: $18.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316282642, May 2022)

Reviewed by tee arnold, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

Paradais by Fernanda Melchor

A feral parable on the violence of racism, misandry, and class from a preeminent, new voice of contemporary Mexican literature. Melchor’s style in Paradais is writhing and slippery, capturing not only a portrait of desperation but the ugliness of the toxic thread that runs through the underside of our collective psyche.

Paradais by Fernanda Melchor, (List Price: $19.95, New Directions, 9780811231329, April 2022)

Reviewed by Luis Correa from Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power

In this Greek-inspired fantasy, the adult debut of Wilder Girls author Rory Power, families rule with the power of saints or gods, and siblings find themselves on opposing sides of a brewing war. The world building was very unique and interesting to me, and I would recommend for fans of court politics in their fantasy.

In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power, (List Price: $27, Del Rey, 9780593354971, May 2022)

Reviewed by Megan Bell from Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia

The National Menagerie of Art by Thaïs Vanderheyden

Art museums are wonderful places of discovery and this collection of 20 famous pieces is a great way to bring all the world’s great art museums into one spot. This little gem is the perfect introduction to art for novices of a tender age.

The National Menagerie of Art by Thaïs Vanderheyden, (List Price: $12.95, Prestel Junior, 9783791375090, April 2022)

Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Wired for Love by Stephanie Cacioppo

Wired For Love is part neuroscience and part memoir… but it is ultimately a love story between the world’s foremost authority on the brain’s response to love/loss and the world’s foremost authority on loneliness. Cacioppo includes a lot of scientific information and hard data pulled from years of her research, but she also guides the reader through her own personal story of falling in love and eventually her grief surrounding her husband’s death. She has a way of getting the reader to thoughtfully reevaluate the “common beliefs” surrounding incredibly complex (but purely human) emotions. This book is fantastic.

Wired for Love by Stephanie Cacioppo, (List Price: $28.99, Flatiron Bookss, 9781250790606, April 2022)

Reviewed by Stuart McCommon from Novel in Memphis, Tennessee

The Prince of Nowhere by Rochelle Hassan

I finished this book in three days, and it did NOT feel like it took me that amount of time. It felt like time stood still as I read through the whole book, which I guess in kind of ironic, considering the book’s themes.I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were well written and captivating. The world was both mysterious and filled to the brim with lore. And the themes hit hard and were still realistic; I truly believed in every characters motivation and cause.I would happily read a sequel or prequel to this book, or even something entirely unrelated, if it was from this author. The way the world was described and the author’s writing style was both unique and perfectly fitting for this book. A wonderful read, and I would gladly spend my time reading this book again!

The Prince of Nowhere by Rochelle Hassan, (List Price: $16.99, HarperCollins, 9780063054608, May 2022)

Reviewed by Mandolin Moore, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Love, Hate & Clickbait by Liz Bowery

After their boss makes a homophobic gaffe and a compromising photo of them goes viral, cutthroat political consultant Thom Morgan and down-on-his-luck data analyst Clay Parker pretend to be in a relationship to salvage this presidential campaign that’s barely gotten off the ground. This fun and heartfelt romcom is great for political wonks who want a fast-paced romp and political cynics who have seen the messy underbelly of campaigns. Thom and Clay’s “will they, won’t they” kept me guessing until the wedding bells rang.

Love, Hate & Clickbait by Liz Bowery, (List Price: $15.99, MIRA, 9780778311898,  April2022)

Reviewed by Karen Fletcher, Wordsworth Books in Little Rock, Arkansas

Pit Lullabies by Jessica Traynor

Utterly phenomenal. These lullabies are a sordid whirlwind of passion and fury, palpable through every little syllable. Pit Lullabies is brimming with lyrics to keep you up at night, delivered by an oracular voice sure to propel this collection straight into a classic.

Pit Lullabies by Jessica Traynor, (List Price: $16.95, Bloodaxe Books, 9781780376066,  June 2022)

Reviewed by Phoenix Tefel, Foggy Pine Books in Boone, North Carolina

The Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

A delightful read about the unbreakable resolve women must have in order to overcome adversity and thrive!

This novel is a follow-up  to The Jane Austen Society but can be read as a stand alone. The story follows three women who all end up working at Bloomsbury Bookstore in London. All three have faced failure and adversity, but find comfort and strength at Bloomsbury Books. As the story unfolds, readers find how each woman ended up at the store, and how each one begins to change after the store manger suffers a heart attack and is rendered homebound for a few weeks. During his convalescence, the women work together to have one of the most successful events and more sales than the store has ever seen.

Once the manager returns, however, things go back to the same mundane events and the store suffers a sharp decline in sales. Meanwhile, one of the women has found a rare, first edition book that she’s been searching for since her days at University. This discovery allows the women the leverage they need to improve their lives and allow them to bring the store to its full potential.

The Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner, (List Price: $27.99, St. Martin’s Press, 9781250276698,  May 2022)

Reviewed by Sharon Davis, Book Bound Bookstore in Blairsville, Georgia

Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese

My absolute favorite thing about this book is that it pulls no punches towards its antagonist, a thinly-veiled caricature of the star of a certain Bo Burnham song, and it is oh so satisfying to see him get the kind of comeuppance we can only dream about on this side of the page. Besides that, this middle-grade adventure through Chicagoland has an endearing set of characters who all learn something about the world being a little bigger and more complicated than they think it is, but not so big and complicated that they can’t handle. I also loved how much fun all the locations throughout the Chicago area were!

Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese, (List Price: $17.99, Scholastic Press, 9781338743241,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Akil Guruparan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott

Alex and Molly have grown up in two very different worlds, but they have one big thing in common: neither has any friends. But they’re both starting at the same college and both are determined to change, though for very different reasons. Alex’s girlfriend says Alex is afraid to let anyone in and won’t confess her true feelings. Molly has always been a big ball of anxiety, but has had a four year crush on a girl from her high school who just so happens to be going to the same college. Molly and Alex dislike each other, but they need the other to reach their goals. Overall, this was a very fun, sweet story that simultaneously deals with some heavy issues. I loved it!

She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott, (List Price: $18.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534493797,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

Unmasked by Paul Holes

I don’t read a lot of “true crime,” and I honestly struggled with this one until I realized that it had completely captured my attention and I was unable to put it down. Paul Holes has lived a life unimaginable to most of us; facing the depths of depravity and the lengths of evil that exist in this world over the course of his lifetime. Clearly it has affected him…he paints himself as a rather unlikable character, single-mindedly focused on his work at the expense of his relationships, his marriage and his family. Imagine obsessing over one single thing (in his case capturing the Golden State Killer) every day of your life for over two decades. It is no wonder his personal life suffered as a result, but so deep was his obsession with this particular cold case, even his professional life was negatively impacted. I almost wonder if he isn’t affected by Autism or some other syndrome that drove his compulsion to pursue this predator for most of his career. This is a fascinating read not just in the steps it takes to catch a killer, but in how it can affect the lives of so many different people in so many different ways. It is disturbing, but compelling and even if it isn’t something you would normally pick up, it was an amazing read.

Unmasked by Paul Holes, (List Price: $28.99, Celadon Books, 9781250622792,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Brent Bunnell from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang

Bold and breathtaking, Four Treasures of the Sky redefines the American Western novel. Jenny Tinghui Zhang’s debut spans from China to Idaho, following the journey of Daiyu, a young Chinese girl kidnapped from her home and sent overseas to America. In Daiyu, Zhang has given us one of the most memorable narrators I’ve ever come across–even as Daiyu endures the racism and brutality of the American West, she speaks with resilience and grace. Daiyu’s story might be set in the nineteenth century, but it resonates so strongly with today’s world. This is the kind of historical fiction that prompts us to reevaluate what we know of this country’s history and leaves us better for having done so. I can’t wait to see what Jenny Tinghui Zhang does next.

Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang, (List Price: $27.99, Flatiron Books, 9781250811783,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Lindsay Lynch from Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

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