The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Epic

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

Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye

This #ownvoices novel rips the reader out of their world into the Yoruba-Nigerian world of Sloane. A recently drafted child soldier of the Lucis, who destroyed and still destroy people like her, ones that have powers from the gods, a Scion. Sloane is put through brutal test after brutal test all while trying to find out what happened to her mother who disappeared two years before and survive the bloodbath that is basic training. While this novel isn’t for the weak of heart, it’s perfect for anyone who loved A Song of Wraiths and Shadows and Children of Blood and Bone. The debut novel is nonstop action and punch after punch, perfect for readers who don’t like any slow parts in their reads.

Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye, (List Price: $18.99, HarperTeen, 9780062954046,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman

Families are hard to live with, even more so when it seems like everything you do tears you apart further. The Ivory Key opens with a family torn asunder, tossed to four separate lives, yet they’re still as connected as ever, and they need each other, even though they refuse to admit it. I loved every single second of this book, but mostly, I loved the realistic nature of every relationship. I loved that the true backbone of this story was a family, that even though the plot was something much greater than them, they were the most important thing. Raman has a gift for storytelling, and it shines brightly from within the pages of The Ivory Key.

The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman, (List Price: 18.99, Clarion Books, 9780358468332, January 2022

Reviewed by Caitlyn Vanorder, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

Definitely one of the most lyrical stories I’ve read in a while. The base of Chinese mythology provides a rich world full of color and hidden gems of dragons, demons, and powerful immortals, and the author uses all of them with so much fun and grace. I’m surprised to see this is a debut novel with just how much is here, and with how well developed the protagonist–Xingyin–is. Her journey is handled with care and her growth feels natural and genuine, and I appreciate the fact that she never puts down others to make herself feel better, even when it comes to her romantic interest. I’m absolutely hooked on this story and world, and I’m thrilled to see this is the first book in a duology. I’m definitely keeping my eyes open for the sequel!

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan, (List Price: $27.99, Harper Voyager, 9780063031302, January 2022)

Reviewed by Lia Moore, E. Shaver bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

An exiled princess, a deathly curse, dragons, and magic come together to make Six Crimson Cranes a breathtaking fantasy that had me hooked from the very first chapter. Elizabeth Lim’s world-building is lush and dreamy, the fantasy spin makes this story dark and vivid, and Shiori and her brothers quickly began to feel like old friends to me. If you love fantasy and books that feel like a fairytale, I dare you to pick up Six Crimson Cranes and try to set it down – prepare to be addicted.

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim, (List Price: 18.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593300916, July 2021)

Reviewed by Brad Sells, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

You say you want liberty, but you can never be free alone. None of us are free until all of us are. To be free of Bassa requires power– power in service of us all. Not for you to derive joy from controlling a beast.

In Son of the Storm, Suyi Davies Okungbowa introduces readers to a complex and fascinating new world. One with a complex cast system in which power is isolated in the bloated elite, the truth is hidden even from scholars, and anyone who looks different is exiled to the dangerous fringes of the continent. As a secret power from the time of a mad emperor reemerges and a sunken nation reappears, a young scholar and his intended follow two very different paths to save themselves and their people. I was completely entranced by this story. While he pulls no punches, Okungbowa does not need to lean into the grotesque to make his world compelling. I yelled, I cheered, I felt conflicted about my loyalties, and I absolutely cannot wait to find out what happens next. Content warnings for harm to children and pregnancy in addition to violent fantasy elements.

Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa (List Price: $16.99, Orbit, 9780316428941, 5/11/2021)

Reviewed by Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

The Bright & the Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski

Valeria may have not been trapped by the mystical freeze that stole her family and village away but she never really escaped. She realizes this is true when she’s blackmailed into returning with her best friend she thought she’d lost the year before. In order to earn his freedom and her own, she must go back to the cursed village and hope to survive once more. This story was fantastic! Twisty and terrifying, I tore through it at a ridiculously fast pace. I can’t wait for the next installment!

The Bright & the Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski (List Price: $17.99, Quill Tree Books, 9780062871503, 3/2/2021)

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Scroll to Top