The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Adult Fiction

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

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

Spotlight on: Shutter by Ramona Emerson

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Ramona Emerson

It was important to me to share a contemporary story of a Navajo woman living today. Being Navajo is a small part; the book is about a woman and her work. That’s what’s different. It’s not about creating a Navajo persona, or about delegating myself to show a certain way of life for a woman. I have a responsibility to Navajo people, and to all people, to tell the truth. I want people to see that Navajos are dynamic and that they do a million different things. I show some of them.” –Ramona Emerson, Interview, Terrain.org

 

Shutter by Ramona Emerson

What booksellers are saying about Shutter

  • Rita Todacheene has seen ghosts since she was a child growing up in the Navajo Nation. Now a forensic photographer, Rita’s life is upended by these spirits seeking justice for their murders, while her friends and coworkers question her sanity. This thrilling mystery left me hoping to see more of Rita Todacheene in future novels. ―Lia Lent from Wordsworth Books in Little Rock, Arkansas
    Buy from Wordsworth Books

  • I really enjoyed this story about an indigenous crime scene photographer who can see ghosts. Dark and atmospheric! I’ll recommend SHUTTER to mystery and psychological suspense readers. Loved the dual timeline of present day and main character’s childhood.
      ―Jessica Nock from Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina
    Buy from Main Street Books

  • What a stunner! I couldn’t put down this story of a young Navajo forensic photographer in Albuquerque, New Mexico who can also communicate with the lost spirits of the dead. A mystery mixed with the myth and mysticism of the Navajo people with was a page turner that almost had me calling in sick to work because I wanted to read this from cover to cover, and almost did much to my boss’s chagrin.  ―Pete Mock from McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro, North Carolina
    Buy from McIntyre’s Books

About Ramona Emerson

Ramona Emerson is a Diné writer and filmmaker originally from Tohatchi, New Mexico. She has a bachelor’s in Media Arts from the University of New Mexico and an MFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. After starting in forensic videography, she embarked upon a career as a photographer, writer, and editor. She is an Emmy nominee, a Sundance Native Lab Fellow, a Time-Warner Storyteller Fellow, a Tribeca All-Access Grantee and a WGBH Producer Fellow. In 2020, Emerson was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Film and Media Industries for the State of New Mexico. She currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she and her husband, the producer Kelly Byars, run their production company Reel Indian Pictures. Shutter is her first novel.

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The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

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

Sugar and Salt by Susan Wiggs

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

Spotlight on: The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I love genre fiction, and I love horror. Poor horror gets treated like the cousin we don’t talk about. He doesn’t get invited to dinner. On the one hand, I joke that the industry that gave us Crabs: The Human Sacrifice—please look up the 1988 cover of that book—can’t be taken very seriously after going there. And the horror boom of the ’80s produced plenty of dreck. But between possessed children and sewer mutants, there’s sometimes a space to touch on something special and no less poignant than a realistic drama. It’s the space of shadows on the wall that we stared at before we went to sleep when we were children and the frightful darkness around a campfire.” –Silvia Moreno-Garciay, Interview, Pen America

 

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

What booksellers are saying about The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

  • Carlota loves her life in Yaxaktun, nestled in the jungles of Yucatan. She is a devoted daughter, even though her God-complex having mad scientist father is raising animal-human hybrids to work the lands of the Hacienda. Unfortunately, Carlota soon finds out that she is on borrowed time and borrowed land. Carlota must wrestle with being a good daughter and doing what she knows is right. Also, the author did her research! Moreno-Garcia weaves the history of the Caste War of Yucatan as well Yucatec Mayan language and myths into a beautiful story. ―Kate Smith from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, NC
    Buy from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

  • I don’t even know what to compare this book to, it’s just so incredibly unique and wonderful. Yes, it is a reimagining of a classic, but it’s by a WoC about a WoC, where the villain is now white men impeding in Native spaces, and the horror that always follows, inflicted upon the native people and the land. Silvia’s words are sweeping and yet calculated, crafting a dreamy affair where so-called monsters are more human than the actual humans are. Readers who were obsessed with Gods of Jade and Shadow will devour this book!
      ―Caitlyn Vanorder from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • Drawing inspiration from the famous HG Wells novel, Moreno-Garcia has penned a novel that defies genre, mixing elements of historical fiction and sci-fi with a dash of romance. The heroine’s character development from obedient daughter to independent badass was particularly enrapturing, as was the role of the hybrids. I early await Moreno-Garcia’s next project.  ―Chelsea Stringfield from Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee
    Buy from Parnassus Books

About Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of the novels Velvet Was the Night, Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow, and a bunch of other books. She has also edited several anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award–winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu’s Daughters). She has been nominated for the Locus Award for her work as an editor and has won the British Fantasy Award and the Locus Award for her work as a novelist.

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The Couple at Number 9 by Claire Douglas

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

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen

An August 2022 Read This Next! Title

A poignant tale of wounded souls and their accompanying ghosts finding each other. Tinged with magic, interlaced with loss and longing, each character’s story unfolds in layers creating an intricate puzzle that teases and delights. A must read for fans of magical realism.!

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen, (List Price: $27.99, St. Martin’s Press, 9781250019868, August 2022)

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

The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid

An August 2022 Read This Next! Title

This book is a tiny surprise of literary magic. A kafkaesque yet simple premise: our main man Anders wakes up no longer white, but a deep brown color. His mind is the same but his body is new, and he’s not the only one whos gone through this change. I knew going in that race would be the main theme in this, but the way it’s handled is so perfect and timely. Along with that are themes of death/grief and family, which I was not expecting but added perfect and honest touches to this almost surreal book. Mohsin Hamid knows how to do fiction that creeps up on you and just takes your breath away completely, and im here for it.

The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid, (List Price: $26.00, Riverhead Books, 9780593538814, August 2022)

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Die Around Sundown by Mark Pryor

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

Stories from The Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana

An August 2022 Read This Next! Title

Sidik Fofana’s first book is a series of connected stories written from the perspectives of the tenants of a residential building in Harlem. The chapters in Stories From the Tenants Downstairs are solely unique as each tenant’s struggles with rising rent cause different outcomes and each person tells their story in different formats and styles. This book shines a light on what millions of Americans are experiencing today: the exhausting, funny, desperate, and hopeful human experience.

Stories from The Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana, (List Price: $26.00, Riverhead Books, 9781982145811, August 2022)

Reviewed by Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

An August 2022 Read This Next! Title

Badass woman in science, CHECK. STEM setting with real life issues, CHECK. Huge, hot, *secretly pining* fellow scientist with off-the-charts chemistry with said badass woman in science, CHECK. We have all the components of another supremely satisfying steamy STEM romance by Ali Hazelwood. I loved Love on the Brain!

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood, (List Price: $17, Berkley, 9780593336847, August 2022)

Reviewed by Megan Bell, Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia

Spotlight on: Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

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Sarah Gailey

I spend a lot of time thinking about what makes something scary. I think that there’s a lot to be said for danger, for the unknown, for hostility to life. Crocodiles are scary because they want to eat you. The dark is scary because it wants to hide things from you. Outer space is scary because it wants nothing from you at all, it is not even aware of you, and yet it can take everything from you with less conscious effort than you and I spend on a heartbeat. But the scariest thing, I think, is not a thing but a place; that place isn’t really a place so much as a relationship. The scariest thing is the space under your bed.” –Sarah Gailey, Letter to readers

 

 

Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

What booksellers are saying about Just Like Home

  • Just Like Home is a splendidly twisted story that left me both delighted and disturbed in equal measure. Sarah Gailey checked all of the boxes with this one, and I couldn’t be happier. ―Kassie Weeks from Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida
    Buy from Oxford Exchange

  • Sarah Gailey leaned all the way into the truism that haunted house stories are a way to talk about how horrifying domesticity can be. How families can be a confusion of unkindness and violence and complicity. How home isn’t always something safe (that last one is something Gailey especially makes haunting amoeba strips from). Gorgeous; dark, and glistening. Like soul chemotherapy.
      ―Kyra Rathmann from Letters Bookshop in Durham, NC
    Buy from Letters Bookshop

  • Home is not always where the heart is! Gailey terrifies and amazes with the tale of Vera, who has been summoned back to her childhood home to watch her mother fade away from cancer. The old house is full of memories of Vera’s serial killer father and has become a shrine to his crimes, visited by gawkers, crime writers, and artists who want to get into the wicked mindset of a killer. Vera swore never to return but she just can’t escape the pull of home – and all that it contains. This is chilling and impossible to put down!  ―Andrea Richardson from Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia
    Buy from Fountain Bookstore

  • Sarah Gailey’s books are wildly imaginative and addictive. Just Like Home is a deeply twisted horror novel about the Crowder family and the symbiotic relationship they have with their house. The horror of the story lies in facts (Vera knows that her father was a serial killer) and in things too disturbing to be real (is there something living under Vera’s bed?) Where reality and the supernatural meet is the brilliance of this novel.  ―Jamie Southern from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, South Carolina
    Buy from Bookmarks

About Sarah Gailey

Hugo Award Winner and Bestselling author Sarah Gailey is an internationally published writer of fiction and nonfiction. Their nonfiction has been published by Mashable and the Boston Globe. Their short fiction credits include Vice and The Atlantic. Their debut novella, River of Teeth, was a 2018 Hugo and Nebula award finalist. Their bestselling adult novel debut, Magic For Liars, was published in 2019. Their most recent novel, The Echo Wife, is available now. You can find links to their work at sarahgailey.com and on social media at @gaileyfrey.

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Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

Sarah Gailey leaned all the way into the truism that haunted house stories are a way to talk about how horrifying domesticity can be. How families can be a confusion of unkindness and violence and complicity. How home isn’t always something safe (that last one is something Gailey especially makes haunting amoeba strips from). This is the kind of book that’s hard to summarize because ultimately very little happens; or a lot happens but it’s all hinted-at and spoilers. Just memories and remembrances looping around and around in both a slow lead-up to the past and a constant questioning. You spend a lot of time basically knowing what’s likely around the corner, but still being lured in by how twisty it gets – until you don’t know who to root for, or if you’re supposed to be rooting for anyone, or if the serial killer is the villain. Gorgeous; dark, and glistening. Like soul chemotherapy.

Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey, (List Price: $26.99, Tor Books, 9781250174727, July 2022)

Reviewed by Kyra Rathmann, Letters Bookshop in Durham, North Carolina

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

Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah

Here’s how you take a great sin–maybe The great sin–and particularize it so that our minds can grasp it. The Germans and the British and the Portuguese and the Dutch (and now, of course, the US and China and ad nauseam)–all of these governments have, at one time or another, wanted to get their hands on Africa–really get in there–all the way in–and do what they want to it. Gurnah and his magical Nobel Prize-winning pen tells us the story of a family battered by the complexities of colonialism and their risings and fallings and re-risings. Deep, satisfying, horrifying, wonderful.

Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah, (List Price: $28, Riverhead Books, 9780593541883, August 2022)

Reviewed by Erica Eisdorfer, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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