Chang-Eppig’s debut novel is a thriller from the first page – reading this book is like watching a pirate battle come to life! The perfect blend of action and historical fiction, Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea is a thriller from the very first page! Rita Chang-Eppig brings Chinese pirate Shek Yeung to life in such vivid detail that you can’t help but feel like you’re fighting alongside this ruthless warrior. The story is so gripping you won’t want it to stop, but you’ll be dying to know how it ends. A must-read for anyone who loves a historical thriller!
Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea by Rita Chang-Eppig, (List Price: 28.99, Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781639730377, June 2023)
Reviewed by Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
This one’s complicated. I picked it up with the expectation that I’d read just enough to confirm my guess that it’d be too cringey to stomach – because it’s about a liberal Black woman and a moderate-to-conservative white man who fall in love. But I quickly found that this book is NOT a romance, at least not in any genre sense. There’s romance in it, and certainly some heady chemistry, but it’s way more nuanced than that. Through the lens of this problematic relationship (which will spike your blood pressure and keep it high, I promise), Rabess interrogates identity–both individual and in-group–in a really brilliant, intensely readable, morally complex way.
The big question here is: can someone’s care for you as an individual outweigh their lack of understanding/care for you as a member of an identity group? How does complicity in systems of power–the main character works in finance–play a role in that determination? It’s extremely tangled, and Rabess doesn’t provide answers. Just really adept storytelling.
Everything’s Fine by Cecilia Rabess, (List Price: 27.99, Simon & Schuster, 9781982187705, June 2023)
Reviewed by Talia Smart, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Before I wrote this book, I knew nothing about my ancestors. And while working on my family tree, I discovered a lot of things, a lot of some strange coincidences that I explain in the book. And I will not spoil it, but these coincidences are, for me, invisible transmissions. You see the things that your ancestors give to you and you don’t know. And this idea of invisible transmission is one of the main theme of my book. And I have read articles on cellular memory – you see, how our cells have a memory of the emotions. It’s a scientific way to explain that our ancestors still live within us and that we still communicate and connect with our ghosts. It seems that in my case and with my Jewish family, they are not totally dead. They were not totally murdered because something still live in me.―Anne Berest, Interview, NPR
What booksellers are saying about The Postcard
This is absolutely the best WWII story I’ve read in a long time! Berest offers a fresh perspective on her family’s tragedy during the German occupation in France. Her personal journey is what makes this book so special. I learned new things and experienced an intimate view of what it felt like to be Jewish. It was overwhelming at times but the story has lingered in my thoughts long after I finished. A must read!
― Stephanie Crowe from Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL | Buy from Page & Palette
Brilliantly written and moving story of the holocaust, family and storytelling. I was truly hooked on Anne’s writing from the first sentence.
―Kelley Barnes from Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, NC | Buy from Page 158 Books
Epic, sweeping story about a family fractured by the horrors of WWII. Gripping from beginning to jaw dropping end! Literary historical fiction at its best. Perfect for fans of All The Light We Cannot See or We Were The Lucky Ones, but I promise you’ve never read anything like The Postcard.
―Jessica Nock from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC | Buy from Main Street Books
This magnificent novel captured me from page one and never let me go. Over the holidays, a family receives an old postcard with four names printed on the back: all of the names belonged to real relatives of the author who were murdered in Auschwitz. The author’s fictionalized search for the origins of the message (a tribute? a threat? a warning?) drives the urgent narrative. I have read a lot of novels and nonfiction about the Holocaust and also a great deal of fiction that features generational trauma and reflections on Jewish identity. I have never read anything that incorporates all of these elements so sensitively. Tina Kover’s translation from the French is invisible in the striking, seamless prose. Devastating. Original. Perfect.
―Kelly Justice from Fountain Books in Richmond, VA | Buy from Fountain Bookstore
About Anne Berest
Anne Berest is the bestselling co-author of How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are (Doubleday, 2014) and the author of a novel based on the life of French writer Françoise Sagan. With her sister Claire, she is also the author of Gabriële, a critically acclaimed biography of her great-grandmother, Gabriële Buffet-Picabia, Marcel Duchamp’s lover and muse. She is the great-granddaughter of the painter Francis Picabia. For her work as a writer and prize-winning showrunner, she has been profiled in publications such as French Vogue and Haaretz newspaper. The recipient of numerous literary awards, The Postcard was a finalist for the Goncourt Prize and has been a long-selling bestseller in France.
Tina Kover‘s translations for Europa Editions include Antoine Compagnon’s A Summer with Montaigne and Négar Djavadi’s Disoriental, winner of the Albertine Prize and the Lambda Literary Award, and a finalist for both the 2020 National Book Award for Translated Literature and the PEN Translation Prize.
A quiet yet fierce meditation on birth and creation. Hall pulls us into her own private darkness- the losses of children and fear of death, the loss of the self, the unknowable countries upon which women set off for once they become mothers. All compared artfully to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; another story of God-power and chaos, love and despair. Freedom and choice.
Reproduction by Louisa Hall, (List Price: 30, Ecco, 9780063283626, June 2023)
Stacey Abrams does it again with another scintillating page-turner. Rogue Justice picks up right where While Justice Sleeps left off, and this time Avery is thrown into a plot involving hacking, cryptocurrency, and energy grids. I definitely learn something every time I read a book by Stacey Abrams!
Rogue Justice by Stacey Abrams, (List Price: 29, Doubleday, 9780385548328, May 2023)
Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Out of necessity, Laura has chosen to live a simpler, yet, courageous life in a secluded, rustic cabin in the woods on the outskirts of an Italian village. Necessity turns into a reorganization of priorities, which I wholly admire, as Laura shares her thoughts with the reader on living with nature, interacting with others, and what it means to survive. Beautiful.
At the Edge of the Woods by Kathryn Bromwich, (List Price: 26, Two Dollar Radio, 9781953387318, June 2023)
Reviewed by Jill Naylor, Novel. in Memphis, Tennessee
A deftly experimental book that seeks to portray a world sans humans, Nature Book borrows from a history of rich, descriptive prose to reconstruct the cycles of days, seasons, and migrations as they continue quiet and unobserved, separate from human society. And yet, human description and literary convention make up the entirety of this story! This beautifully avant garde novel from an organic and unfettered nonbinary perspective is an awe-inducing teleportation into a beautiful cosmos and a rapidly changing climate as captured throughout the history of literature. Great for reading piecemeal or overwhelmingly all at once.
The Nature Book by Tom Comitta, (List Price: $17.95, Coffee House Press, 9781566896634, March 2023)
I’ve had a hard time trying to decide what to say about this book. I don’t want to say anything about the plot because I don’t want to give anything away. This is a post-apocalyptic novel unlike any I have read. David’s writing is beautiful and propulsive though the story is kind of a slow burn. Like most of my favorite books, this one left me both heartbroken and hopeful.
City of Orange by David Yoon, (List Price: 18, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780593422182, May 2023)
I love when queer women make bad choices. Natalie is eighteen, freshly independent, and painfully naive when she starts an all-consuming relationship with Nora, an older woman who is connected to her own life in surprising ways. Fischer perfectly captures that enraptured feeling of first love, especially with someone older and more experienced. There are parts of this book that are also deeply melancholy; bits and pieces that made me exhale and set the book aside for a minute or two. A little bit heart-wrenching, this one will be perfect for Sally Rooney fans and sad gay people alike.
The Adult by Bronwyn Fischer, (List Price: 27, Algonquin Books, 9781643752723, May 2023)
I went from believing I was an undisciplined person to writing every single morning before work for an hour and eventually finishing a manuscript. I had to start telling a different story about myself because it took some level of consistency and commitment to be able to achieve that. It was also incredibly vulnerable. There was no magazine to hide behind that people already loved and trusted. It was just me and my words. ―Tembe Denton-Hurst, Interview, Morning Person
What booksellers are saying about Homebodies
A searing yet quiet novel that succeeds as a commentary on the racism ingrained within media content, as a relationship drama, and as a story of protagonist Mickey’s path to self-discovery and self-respect. Mickey is a completely believable and sympathetic character whose depression and every insecurity Denton-Hurst represented convincingly. And Lex and Mickey’s relationship troubles were handled so maturely and with such detail, I never really knew whose side to take, which is just what I wanted. A very full novel, but one that executes its various intentions very well.
― Sam Edge from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, NC
| Buy from Epilogue Books
Homebodies is a fresh, relatable debut about Mickey, a writer whose glamorous position at a media outlet is taken from her with little warning, prompting her to express her feelings about racism in the industry on Twitter–to little response. In the wake of her “failure”, Mickey struggles to keep up with her life in New York, feeling like a burden to her partner and a disappointment to her community. Seeking a break, Mickey returns home to Maryland to recalibrate and ends up questioning the life she’s created for herself, especially after running into an old flame. Funny, vibrant, and real!
―Julia Lewis from Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA | Buy from Fountain Bookstore
Tremendous! Mickey’s coming-of-age story is equal parts career decisions and relationship choices. She’s a Black woman in the publishing industry, a writer, who is also a queer woman. Mickey’s story will truly speak to those two populations but will be so relatable to many. And she touches on body image things. You’ll nod along, get teary-eyed, and oh … not to be forgotten, prepare to be heavily entertained with the intimate details! She checks all the boxes of a great book. I’m an official fan of Tembe!
―Andrea Jasmin from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC | Buy from Main Street Books
I absolutely loved this book! The attention to detail was immaculate. I loved the raw and touching emotion that Tembe Denton-Hurst portrayed. I was rooting for Mickey the entire time through her ups and downs. Denton-Hurst is a beautiful writer and cannot wait for more!
―Brooke Parrish from Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, NC | Buy from Page 158 Books
This debut novel is AMAZING and I want to put it on everyone’s radar. Tembe Denton-Hurst is a young talent to watch. A smart and incisive examination of being a young Black woman in the workplace, but also a story of returning home, growing apart from childhood friends, and family expectations and first loves. It is so clever and self-aware and I enjoyed every page.
―Kate Storhoff from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC | Buy from Bookmarks
About Tembe Denton-Hurst
Tembe Denton-Hurst is a staff writer at New York magazine’s The Strategist and has written for Nylon magazine, them, and Elle. When she’s not writing, Tembe can be found on her couch in Queens, New York, where she lives with her partner and their two cats, Stella and Dakota.
The Double Life of Benson Yu is a clever novel about art, childhood trauma, and survival. Comic book artist Benson Yu found commercial success with his Iggy Samurai series, but a letter from someone from his past prompts him to start a new project. This project, an autobiographical graphic novel about growing up in 1980s Chinatown, forces him to revisit his pre-teen self (and vice versa). Different versions of characters from his past seem to coexist as Benson writes and rewrites his past to try to deal with traumatic experiences. For fans of complex stories (with a little time travel).
The Double Life of Benson Yu by Kevin Chong, (List Price: 27, Atria Books, 9781668005491, April 2023)
This is a sweet story about a modern neighborhood and how the reality of 2023 settles in across generations and races. While the writing is sometimes bland, the characters are interesting and accessible, and you’ll find yourself a little more invested in a mall closing than you thought possible.
You Are Here by Karin Lin-Greenberg, (List Price: , Counterpoint, 9781640095434, May 2023)
Born con-artist Ezra Green meets Orson Ortman as a teenager, which kicks off a string of schemes and phony businesses. They hit the big time when they dream up NuLife, a process to increase bliss, and target the rich, powerful, and gullible. Ezra’s a scam artist, and would do anything it takes to protect Orson and their business. And even though his morals are undoubtedly questionable, I found myself rooting for him as he slowly loses his vision and remains as desperately in love with Orson as he was when they first met.
Confidence by Rafael Frumkin, (List Price: , Simon & Schuster, 9781982189730, March 2023)
Set in New Mexico, this mystery with a bit of the supernatural caught my attention from the beginning. It is told from three viewpoints: Laura, a librarian whose hobby is finding missing persons through genealogical research; Jean Martinez, the NM detective trying to crack a 30-year-old cold case; and the spirits of the murdered victims. Laura is recovering from breast cancer surgery, and the physical symptoms she struggles with add an unusual element to the story. This book feels like the beginning of a series, and I am eager to read the next book.
The Night Flowers by Sara Herchenroether, (List Price: $26.95, Tin House, 9781953534866, May 2023)
Holly Goldberg Sloan has written the PERFECT beach book. With a little family drama, a handsome stranger who can rewire a crumbling hotel, a recent widow trying to help her three children find their place in the world, resident chickens, a beach ( of course) and a wicked twist that strikes out of the blue, Pieces of Blue begs to be in every beach bag this summer.
Pieces of Blue by Holly Goldberg Sloan, (List Price: 28.99, Flatiron Books, 9781250847300, May 2023)