The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Action & Adventure

Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell

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)

Reviewed by Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty

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)

Reviewed by Kelly McLeod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Prince of Song & Sea by Linsey Miller

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)

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

Spotlight on: Wildoak by C. C. Harrington

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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

 

Wildoak by C. C. Harrington

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

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A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows

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)

Reviewed by Kelly McLeod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Spotlight on: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

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Gabrielle Zevin

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

 

 

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

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.

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Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

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 Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers

A July 2022 Read This Next! Title

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

A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow

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)

Reviewed by Amber Brown, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods by Catherynne M. Valente

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)

Reviewed by Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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

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

Spotlight on: Knight Owl by Christopher Denise

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Christopher Denise

"The illustrations for Knight Owl posed an interesting challenge. Most of the book takes place at night. How could I make the illustrations using a color pallet varied enough so that each scene could have the right feeling and not feel too dark? I took that challenge as an opportunity to dive deep into my fascination with Japanese woodblock prints, specifically the work of Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) one of the greatest artists of the shin-hanga style. Yoshida’s work, along with a few nods to Rembrandt and Vermeer, defined the palette for the entire project. The range of blue tones in Yoshida’s work is amazing! "–Christopher Denise (via School Library Journal Blog)

 

Joan is Okay

What booksellers are saying about Knight Owl

  • An absolutely delightful picture book bursting with wonderfully playful illustrations. As a kid, I loved knights, dragons, and adventure (still do!) and I would have cherished this wonderful book from Denise and spent hours looking at each page. Celebrating perseverance, cleverness, and friendship; Knight Owl is sure to delight readers! ― Caleb Masters from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • A night Knight owl who proves he can be brave by outwitting a dragon with pizza. And in doing so shows that even the smallest of creatures can be cunning. ―Judith Lafitte from Octavia Books LLC in New Orleans, LA
    Buy from Octavia Books

  • A sweet picture book about a wise owl, perseverance, and finding common ground with others.   ―Rae Ann Parker from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN
    Buy from Parnassus Books

  • Knight Owl is full of goodness. Who knew dragons and owls made for a good story? And pizza, the great peace maker? Perfect for fans of Gruffalo and Dragons Love Tacos. ―Jilleen Moore from Square Books in Oxford, MS
    Buy from Square Books

About Christopher Denise

Christopher Denise spent much of his childhood in Shannon, Ireland, exploring castles and dreaming of great adventures. He is the illustrator of many critically acclaimed books for young readers, including Anika Aldamuy Denise’s Bunny in the Middle, Alison McGhee’s Firefly Hollow, Rosemary Wells’s Following Grandfather, and Anne Marie Pace’s Groundhug Day, as well as several in Brian Jacques’s award-winning Redwall series. His books have appeared on the Indie Next List and the New York Times bestseller list and in the Society of Illustrators’ Annual Exhibition. Knight Owl marks his author-illustrator debut. Christopher’s current adventures include exploring coastal Rhode Island, where he lives with his family.

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Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. Mandel

Good grief I loved this book. The Glass Hotel makes more sense now, but I already loved it anyway. Nobody does time “travel” like Emily St. John Mandel. She manages not to lose us in the weaving of the timelines and characters. Despite being set in both the past and the future, the themes are so timely. A pandemic, wealth inequity, the idea of home, the role of art in society, family dynamics–it’s all there, plus there are colonies on the moon and maybe we’re all living in a simulation. It might seem like a stretch, but I think her only peer in speculative fiction is Margaret Atwood herself..

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. Mandel, (List Price: $25.00, Knopf, 9780593321447,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Angela Schroeder, Sunrise Books in High Point, North Carolina

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

This book was exactly what it needed to be. It’s fun, it takes familiar ideas about kaiju and puts a fresh spin on them, and adds in entertaining characters who care about what they do. It’s so very much an antidote and relief from things taking themselves too seriously, but landed the narrative beats when it needed them. Here, Scalzi show the artistry of solid craftsmanship, and I want more.

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi, (List Price: $26.99, Tor Books, 9780765389121,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Alex Mcleod from The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, AL

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