The Southern Bookseller Review 8/23/22

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of August 23, 2022

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The week of August 23, 2022

Why we love Horror and Fantasy.

After "Romance," the most popular genre at SBR is "Young Adult" specifically, Young Adult Fantasy and Horror the two are often intertwined. Booksellers love stories of young people contending against evil fates, curses, and monsters not all of which are supernatural.

YA Suspense, Fantasy, and Horror
New Voices New Rooms
Young Adult Suspense, Fantasy, and Horror Panel

One of the reviews in this issue is from The Haunted Book Shop, for The Weight of Blood, the newest novel from New York Times bestselling author Tiffany D. Jackson. Jackson herself calls the book "a beautiful homage to Stephen King’s Carrie." She also says, at a recent panel, that that she grew up on scary stories on R.L. Stine and Caroline Cooney and eventually Stephen King and that she still writes for younger readers because she is still writing for that "younger Tiffany," that little girl who loved scary stories from the moment she first learned to read.

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

If Anything Happens I Love You by Will McCormack


If Anything Happens I Love You by Will McCormack
Andrews McMeel Publishing / September 2022

More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

This book will feel like the longest and shortest book you have ever read. You feel the words and the images with every page. You will laugh, you will cry, and then you will ugly cry! If Anything Happens I love You addresses grief and school violence through they eyes and innocence of a child. A poignant story that will leave you deeply moved.

Reviewed by Gretchen Shuler, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: The Wild Hunt by Emma Seckel


Emma Seckel

The first part of The Wild Hunt that came to me was the setting; the second was the sluagh. I was living in Scotland at the time and knew I wanted to try to capture the feeling I had there, the landscape and the history and — yes — the weather. I was interested in the way that story, myth and legend shaped communities. I started researching Scottish folklore, and found the myth of the sluagh, creatures that are said to carry the souls of the dead. I started playing with the legend, and the earliest seeds of The Wild Hunt started to grow.” –Emma Seckel, Interview, All Arts

What booksellers are saying about The Wild Hunt

The Wild Hunt by Emma Seckel
  • Spooky, speculative fun…so atmospheric (and full of dread) that I couldn’t pull myself away. Perfect for lovers of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. ―Maggie Robe from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    Buy from Flyleaf Books

  • An excellent mix of fantasy and historical fiction. The Wild Hunt is a book that grabs you from the beginning and still doesn’t let go at the end. On this small island that Leigh has lived ever since she was born, minus the last few years, they are dealing with the ramifications of World War II along with their own Celtic legend that has always been there. Seckel does an amazing job of telling the story of love and loss, and that through compassion things can change. Just a little compassion goes a long way and sometimes what you give you get back tenfold!
      ―Mandy Harris from Angel Wings Bookstore in Stem, North Carolina
    Buy from Angel Wings Bookstore

  • I am always mesmerized by any tale featuring the mythology and lore of Ireland, Scotland and all points in that direction. The slaugh has arrived in Scotland. According to Celtic legend they are bands of crows known to carry the souls of the dead and they inhabit the island of Kate’s birth. Kate returns from city life back to this isolated island and is faced with disturbing events that she must deal with. Mysterious and provocative, I got lost in this story and couldn’t put it down. Tantalizing tale!  ―Stephanie Crowe from Page & Palette in Fairhope, Alabama
    Buy from Page & Palette

About Emma Seckel

Emma Seckel is an award-winning writer and photographer living in Vancouver, Canada.

Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes


Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes
Knopf / August 2022

More Reviews from Righton Books

My favorite Julian Barnes books feature an unremarkable protagonist who attempts to decode the words and actions of a different, more complicated character; the author thereby offers insight into his own process of character creation, from the outside in. Elizabeth Finch is the apotheosis of this type of Barnes book. A former student tries to understand the life of a recently deceased scholar who was his teacher and then friend. Along the way, we are treated to a lengthy essay about Julian the Apostate, which perhaps is offered as a key for us to encode the life of Julian the Author. I thought of Julian, and how the centuries had interpreted and reinterpreted him, like a man walking across a stage pursued by different-coloured spotlights… Well, getting our history wrong is part of being a person.

Reviewed by Anne Peck, Righton Books in St Simons Island, Georgia

At Home on an Unruly Planet by Madeline Ostrander,


At Home on an Unruly Planet by Madeline Ostrander
Henry Holt and Co. / August 2022

More Reviews from Main Street Books

It’s no surprise that so many books are coming out addressing climate change or that distinguishing between them can get muddled. Ostrander offers a fine blend of practical and philosophical by following the current fates of towns and communities already deeply affected by flooding, chemical pollution, and land shifting under their feet. She finds no magical solutions while respectfully documenting the energy and resilience of those fighting to save a sense of home and community in the face of continuing change.

Reviewed by Jan Blodgett, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney


Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
Flatiron Books / August 2022

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

I love Alice Feeney and a locked-room mystery, so this was perfect for me. Daisy Darker’s family gathers at Daisy’s Nana’s secluded beachside home for one final night. Nana isn’t expecting to live much longer and she has things to say to her descendants – things they won’t like. After announcing Nana’s plans for her estate has the expected results, the family reties for the evening, but the night is just beginning. People start turning up dead and questions start to fly. I had to stay up way past my bedtime to finish this one and I have no regrets!

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson


The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson
Katherine Tegen Books / September 2022

More Reviews from The Haunted Book Shop

Tiffany Jackson’s newest novel, The Weight of Blood, is a retelling of the King novel, Carrie. I have not read Carrie, but I have seen the movies, so I had that as a base to go off of when I was reading ‘The Weight of Blood’. I really enjoyed the modern take on how race is still an issue in our communities and schools. I was interested to see how Jackson tied in dumping a bucket of something on Maddy’s head, and I was not disappointed to find out what it was and what it symbolized. The whole scene where Kenny is trying to get the police officers involved and how they react….it was beautifully written and heartbreaking. I also enjoyed the writing style where it would break away from the telling of Maddy’s story and show pieces of interviews from different witnesses of Maddy’s destruction. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I read the entire book in about 3 days. It isn’t necessarily an original story (being that it is a retelling), but the references to race and police brutality are incredible. It is also just a dang good horror! There are grisly parts that make you want to keep turning the pages and you are drawn in to Maddy’s character.

Reviewed by Kait Layton, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Courage Like Kate by Anna Crowley Redding


Courage Like Kate by Anna Crowley Redding
Random House Studio / August 2022

More Reviews from Bookmarks

I really enjoy biographical picture books, especially when I get to learn about individuals in history I never knew about. Courage Like Kate is the tale of Kate Moore, who was raised on Fayerweather Island, by her father, who was the lighthouse keeper. Calling herself his assistant, she learned under his guidance, not only how to maintain the island and the lighthouse, but also how to rescue people from the choppy seas. Kate spent the majority of her life on the island, officially became the lighthouse keeper after her father’s death; her ambition, courage, and dedication are excellent examples for children!

Reviewed by Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

My Pet Feet by Josh Funk, Billy Yong (Illus.)


My Pet Feet by Josh Funk, Billy Yong (Illus.)
 Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / August 2022

More Reviews from Square Books

An August 2022 Read This Next! Title

Giggle. Tee-hee. Josh Funk and Billy Yong have created a new treasure chock-full of wordsmith fun. Scrabblers, grab a pencil, puzzlers, get your puz-mug on, My Pet Feet is a feat of genius, from our pals Funk & Yong. No doubt, inspired by Letterman, a 1970s PBS educational show called The Electric Company, this book follows a child through the day as the world goes topsy-turvy, letter by letter. Very cool. I have missed this game. Illustrations are top notch. Lots of extra linguistic mysteries and visual treats to unravel. Bravo.

Reviewed by Jilleen Moore, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow I'm Glad My Mom Died EBook Lovers
Educated We Don't Eat Our Classmates

[ See the full list ]

Parting Thought

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you. ”
– Mortimer J. Adler

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance /
Editor: Nicki Leone /
Advertising: Linda-Marie Barrett /
The Southern Bookseller Review is a project of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805

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