Gelethel is a paradise, a city within protective ice walls ruled by fourteen angels whose benisons provide everything the citizens need, but no paradise can ever really be free of darkness. No citizen is allowed to leave, war refugees starve outside the walls in Cherubtown, and the angels glut themselves on human sacrifices provided by the pilgrims petitioning for citizenship. Ishtu is the daughter of the pilgrim that brought cinema to Gelethel and the Garbage Queen of Gelethel, and the secret saint of the weakest angel, Alizar. Her life consists of running the only cinema in the city and having secrets chats with her extravagant, vain angel until a pilgrim’s sacrifice proves to be the sign Alizar has been waiting for. This is the story of the meek inheriting the city, of the powerful learning that what is given freely is always stronger than what is taken, and the value of bad uncles. Cooney’s prose is delicious and her writing reminds me in the best ways of Terry Pratchett. Fun, easy to read, and still manages to stab you in the heart. Highly recommended!
The Twice-Drowned Saint by C. S. E. Cooney, (List Price: 15.95, Mythic Delirium Books, 9781732644090, February 2023)
Rio is a young orphan living in the slums of the kingdom of Beltrum. When he is stricken with a high fever, he dreams of a different world where he is called Haruto. When Rio wakes up from his fever, he realizes he is two people in one, both Rio of the slums and Haruto, from the other world. When Rio is forced to rescue a kidnapped princess, his troubles get even worst. When the nobles find the young princess with Rio, they accuse him of kidnapping, but after the princess awakens, she tells of how Rio saved her. As a reward, he is granted acceptance into the Royal Academy of Beltrum. An act that upsets the kingdoms noble people, who feel he does not deserve this prestigious reward. Whether he succeeds or not, is all up to him and his new professor, Celia. Perfect manga for fans of The Irregular at Magic High School, Magic Knight Rayearth, or Snow White with Red Hair.
Seirei Gensouki: Spirit Chronicles (Manga): Volume 1 by Shibamura Yuri, (List Price: $15.99, J-Novel Club, 9781718353442, February 2023)
Alan Gratz brings his ability to make young kids want to read to graphic novels, and it’s great! Merging an exciting story with historically accurate information on WII, any fan of history, Marvel, or ghost stories will love this book.
Captain America: The Ghost Army (Original Graphic Novel) by Alan Gratz, (List Price: $14.99, Graphix, January 2023)
Reviewed by Kelley Barnes, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina
“I think that re-wilding is an extraordinary thing, desirable perhaps, to see nature reclaiming itself. Southern Florida was and would like to be a swamp, you know? And yet we’ve dredged it and drained it and built on top of that. And so much of city management in a place like Miami is trying to keep that boundary between what the landscape wants to do and what the city wants the land to do – bridge it. And so to me, the idea of softening that boundary and trying to be a little harmonious is a good thing.” ―Lily Brooks-Dalton, Interview, Texas Public Radio
What booksellers are saying about The Light Pirate
Wanda is born in the middle of a devastating hurricane that claims two of her family members and frays the edges of a fragile environment. Set in Florida, we see Wanda grow into a young adult while the only place she has ever known as home becomes a victim of climate change. Brooks-Dalton shows us the crumbling of civilization and the strength of one person’s determination to find beauty in the loss. Wanda’s story asks us to see both magic and hope in an uncertain future.
―Mary Jane Michels from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC | Buy from Fiction Addiction
Ethereal and haunting, The Light Pirate tells the story of Wanda, who is born on the day that the hurricane that she was named after rips through Florida, leaving devastation in its wake. A meditation of what’s to become of our landscape and livelihood, and how we survive when everything is stripped away. I can’t wait to recommend The Light Pirate to fans of Emily St John Mandel, Lydia Millet, and Climate Fiction readers.
―Jessica Nock from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC | Buy from Main Street Books
An essential read, especially for those of us making our home in Florida. Tragic but hopeful and completely enthralling. highly recommends.
―Emily Berg from Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL | Buy from Books and Books
In a novel that mirrors the latest news about the urgency of our environment, Lily Brooks-Dalton takes the reader to a terrible end place. Kirby Lowe and his heavily pregnant wife and two sons are about to be hit by another hurricane in their small town in Florida. Wanda is born into this weather crisis, and we watch her whole life as weather patterns and rising sea levels take away the life we all have known. Bioluminescence plays a part as large as Phyllis—the survivalist who finds she was right all along. This novel will leave the reader breathless, turning pages while hoping life and love will survive.
―Nancy Pierce from Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, GA | Buy from Bookmiser
About Lily Brooks-Dalton
Lily Brooks-Dalton’s novel, Good Morning, Midnight (Random House, 2016), has been translated into 17 languages and is the inspiration for the film adaptation, The Midnight Sky. Her memoir, Motorcycles I’ve Loved (Riverhead, 2014), was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
What happens when nature isn’t natural? When in the end, Climate Change is unstoppable? Lily Brooks-Dalton renders a shockingly real depiction of this possibility in the harrowing and beautiful novel, The Light Pirate. Florida’s struggle with the aftermath of violent weather has always been a reality, but in this story, the rapidly changing landscape overwhelms the will and stamina of most human beings. Wanda, who was born during, and named after, a particularly vicious hurricane, frequently navigates a new, storm-carved home as the Florida coast shifts and neighborhoods are swallowed by wind, water, and human dereliction. Wanda adapts as nature does, to a strange new world–one dependent not on human infrastructure–but on that which matters most in the end: humility, kindness and bravery. This story is important. This story could happen. This story is happening. A must-read.
The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton (List Price: $28, Grand Central Publishing, 9781538708279, December 2022)
Reviewed by Laura Simcox, Sunrise Books in High Point, North Carolina
Tennal is a neuromodified ‘reader’ who can read emotions and minds. He’s also a spoiled, rich playboy who’s now been conscripted into the military, forced to sync with neuromodified architect Surit who can control others. But when Surit finds out that Tennal is not there of his own free will, he refuses to execute the illegal sync, and the two determine to fake it until Tennal can manage an escape. Through action-packed missions involving possible traitors, political intrigue, and family secrets uncovered by them both, Tennal and Surit forge a bond that brings them closer to each other than either has been to anyone else — but can it transcend Surit’s principles and Tennal’s desire for freedom? I loved watching both Tennal and Surit’s character growth within Maxwell’s wonderful world building, and the slow burn romance was amazing.
Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell (List Price: $27.99, Tor Books, 9781250758866, November 2022)
Mallory is a self-aware mystery magnet, seemingly causing murders that only she can solve to happen spontaneously around her, to the point that she now feels responsible for the murders. To stymie her mysterious power, she escapes to the space station Eternity to be one of three humans among throngs of aliens. This works for months until a shuttle of humans is scheduled to arrive from Earth and the cycle of murders and mysteries starts anew around Mallory. The world-building is impeccable, with multiple alien species bringing their own biology, culture, and politics into the narrative. Lafferty also manages an intricate, compelling mystery by weaving together multiple viewpoints with a web of connections and "coincidences," yet still wrapping up the mystery without dangling loose ends. I look forward to more tales of Mallory’s exploits in this intriguing world Lafferty built.
Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty, (List Price: $17, Ace, 9780593098110, October 2022)
We all know the story of the little mermaid who fell in love with a prince, made a deal with a sea witch and needs a kiss so she can remain a human. However, what do we know about the handsome prince? What is his part of this story? In the Prince of Song and Sea, Lindsey Miller shows you the life of Prince Eric. His friends, his adventures, and his curse. If you loved Littler Mermaid, you will be delighted to read Prince of Song and Sea with its familiar storyline, recognizable characters, and a deeper dive into a well-loved story.
Prince of Song & Sea by Linsey Miller, (List Price: $17.99, Disney Press, 9781368069113, October 2022)
“I have always felt comforted and reassured by the presence of old trees and love to spend time walking in woodlands or forests whenever I can. It might sound strange, but I really do feel a kind of connection, or perhaps access, to a different way of being when I’m immersed in the natural world.” ―C. C. Harrington, Interview,Indies Introduce
What booksellers are saying about Wildoak
This is the best book about human and animal interaction I’ve read in a long time. Such a sweet and touching story.―Judith Lafitte from Octavia Books in New Orleans, Louisiana Buy from Octavia Books
This is such a sweet story that does feel like a modern classic. Maggie has a hard time speaking for herself but finds her courage when she needs to speak for others who have no voice. This book packs a punch with disability visibility, conservation, and even PTSD.
―Melissa Taylor from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, Georgia Buy from E. Shaver, bookseller
The perfect book for fans of both The War That Saved My Life and Pax, Wildoak is a lovely debut that is sure to become a new classic and a school reading list staple. Challenged by a stutter that makes it difficult to express herself, lonely Maggie befriends and helps to rehabilitate an abandoned and injured snow leopard lost in the English countryside. When the creature is threatened, Maggie finds her voice in a most powerful way. ―DM Capriola from Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia Buy from Little Shop of Stories
A beautifully written and deeply inspiring story of Maggie, a young girl in 1960’s England who is labeled a behavior problem due to her stutter. When she is sent to stay with her grandfather in Cornwall, she discovers an abandoned snow leopard in the woods. While helping him, she finds solace, strength and healing in nature and discovers her voice and the power it has to help others. Wonderful!!! ―Mary Patterson from The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia Buy from The Little Bookshop
A quietly lovely novel about finding your way and using your voice. Wildoak tells the story of Maggie, Rumpus, and the importance of wild spaces and listening with your heart. Maggie finds her strength and becomes herself but the path is not easy. Fortunately, she finds hope and respite curled up with a fluffy snow leopard It’s everything I love about Middle Grade stories! ―Susan Williams from M. Judson, Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina Buy from M. Judson, Booksellers
About C. C. Harrington
Christina Harrison grew up in the UK. She spent her summer holidays in Cornwall where she loved to climb trees and run barefoot along pebbly beaches. She loves the natural world and believes that stories, much like the roots of an ancient forest, are capable of connecting readers and listeners in essential ways. Wildoak is her first book. She graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English Literature and has since worked for a newspaper, taught literacy to children with learning differences and studied printmaking. She now lives in Maryland with her family and a dog who loves to eat manuscripts. You can learn more about her work at ccharrington.com
The closeted son of a nobleman has his life completely up-ended in one day. After being informed of his betrothal to a noblewoman of a neighboring country to cement a trade alliance, Val is forcibly outed by his abusive ex-lover in the worst possible way. Fortunately for him, the neighboring country is much more accepting than his own and the ambassador’s response to this new information is to switch Val’s intended marriage partner to the brother of the previous woman. The story from there unfolds on two plot lines: the very sweet romance between Val and his husband-to-be and the very bloody political intrigue that erupts due to objections to the political alliance their marriage represents. Overall excellent and I highly recommend it.
A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows, (List Price: $27.99, Tor Books, 9781250829139, July 2022)
“Gaming is really another form of storytelling. When I talk about the first generation of people to game their whole lives, I’m talking about the fact that there are people that have experienced gaming as a primary storytelling experience. I think that the book is just as much about a career in the arts over many many decades as it is about particularly games.” –Gabrielle Zevin, interview, Bookweb
What booksellers are saying about Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
This is ultimately an unforgettable tale of lives finding love and connection in this high tech age and the collaboration in building the worlds of video games. ―Nancy Pierce from Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, GA Buy from Bookmiser
Sadie and Sam make video games, but this book is not about the games, it is about their friendship and love and working with your best friend through good times and bad. I loved this book ―Beth Carpenter from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC Buy from The Country Bookshop
Aaaaaahhhh, this book wrecked me! It is a love letter to gaming, friendship, and collaboration. It’s messy, sad, brilliant, and beautiful. It made me laugh, it made me weep, it really made me want to play Donkey Kong in a pizza place. ―Melissa Taylor from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, GA Buy from E. Shaver, bookseller
A sweeping, heart-ache inducing, glorious novel of friendship and creativity. I miss the characters and I miss the games. I will never be over this beautiful novel. ―Cristina Russell from Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL Buy from Books & Books
About Gabrielle Zevin
Gabrielle Zevin is the New York Times and internationally best-selling author of several critically acclaimed novels, including The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, which won the Southern California Independent Booksellers Award and the Japan Booksellers’ Award among other honors, and Young Jane Young, which won the Southern Book Prize. Her novels have been translated into thirty-nine languages. She has also written books for young readers, including the award-winning Elsewhere. She lives in Los Angeles.
Gabrielle Zevin has written a novel about amazing game developers who the reader will come to know over thirty years. When Sam Masur and Sadie Green meet as children, they become fast intimate friends when playing video games, and as young adults they craft the game Ichigo. Besides seeing the artistry and genius built into designing these intricate and captivating games, we live their lives as they grow and experience loneliness and love, pain and comfort, success and devastating pain and loss. This is ultimately an unforgettable tale of lives finding love and connection in this high tech age and the collaboration in building the worlds of video games.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, (List Price: 28, Knopf, 9780593321201, July 2022)
Reviewed by Nancy Pierce, Booksmiser in Marietta, Georgia
A Psalm for the Wild-Built was a perfect book. So much so that I put off reading A Prayer for the Crown-Shy because I couldn’t imagine a world where it could live up to the flawless beauty and meaning the first novella held for me. But once again, Becky Chambers has crafted a book that is just as philosophically resonant and wonderfully generous as its predecessor. Dex and Mosscap have become two of my favorite characters in all literature and I will love them till my dying day. No matter who you are, A Prayer for the Crown-Shy will speak to you in some way and remind you that the world is indeed full of wonder and that you are okay.
A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers, (List Price: 21.99, Tordotcom, 9781250236234, July 2022)
Reviewed by Caleb Masters, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
I was enthralled with the impeccable voice of Zinnia in the follow-up to A Spindle Splintered. Harrow’s incredible knowledge of fairy tales really shines through in this installment, without removing the reader from the narrative. I’m happy to put my hands on anything Harrow writes — she is a new favorite!
A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow (List Price: $18.99, Tordotcom, 9781250766649, June 2022)
Osmo has always dreamed of Somewhere Else, somewhere that he can be himself and fee like he belongs, but his town has rules (very good rules, for very good reasons…probably) that keep everyone where they’re supposed to be and out of the magical woods where the supposedly fearsome Quidnunx live. But then Osmo’s mom kills a Quidnunk, and Osmo has to journey to the land of the dead to make amends. He makes new friends (a rude skadgebat and a lonely pangirlin) and has new experiences, but ultimately his quest is to understand. This book will speak to your feelings and live in your heart like all the best stories do. Fans of Kelly Barnhill will love this, and readers of Valente’s Fairyland books won’t be disappointed.
Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods by Catherynne M. Valente, (List Price: $17.99, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781481476997, April 2022)