The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Humorous

Rooster Fighter, Vol. 1 by Shu Sakuratani

Rooster Fighter is a mad little manga about a rooster who kills demons. This inherently silly premise is played straight and hilariously so–the art and the fights are often epic and without gags: The gag is the premise itself. It’s a wonderful manga for people who don’t take things too seriously. Or keep chickens.

Rooster Fighter, Vol. 1 by Shu Sakuratani, (List Price: $12.99, VIZ Media LLC, 9781974729845, August 2022)

Reviewed by Alex Mcleod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Search by Michelle Huneven

A novel written as a memoir of Dana Potowski (who is also a restaurant critic) chosen as one of eight members of her church’s search committee for a new senior minister. This is a wonderful story of diverse ages and personalities striving to reach a decision that adheres to their mission and is best for all, regardless of their personal opinions – and each of the members has an opinion. I loved this book and stayed up way past my bedtime reading it because I couldn’t put it down.

Search by Michelle Huneven, (List Price: $27, Penguin Press, 9780593300053, April 2022)

Reviewed by Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Let’s Not Do That Again by Grant Ginder

A behind-the-scenes look into politics and what goes into keeping secrets even for a good politician. This book is filled with current event topics and the story of a family discovering themselves. Funny and poignant in parts. This is one to read for pure pleasure.

Let’s Not Do That Again by Grant Ginder, (List Price: $27.99, Henry Holt and Co., 9781250243775,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Suzanne Lucey, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

Let’s Not Do That Again by Grant Ginder

A woman running for the US senate, a son who’s floundering in academia and in his love life, and a daughter who’s off protesting in France and beginning a relationship with a dangerous right-winger–what could possibly go wrong?! It’s safe to say that no one writes family dysfunction quite like Grant Ginder. Hilarious, shocking, and astoundingly entertaining, you’ll read this book in one sitting and be devastated when it’s over.

Let’s Not Do That Again by Grant Ginder, (List Price: $27.99, Henry Holt and Co., 9781250243775,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Jen Minor, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Sway with Me by Syed M. Masood

Arsalan is an old soul…which he gets from living with his great-grandfather Nana, who is over 100 and imparts all of his wisdom and eccentricities to Arsalan. When Arsalan starts contemplating how alone he will be when his Nana dies and all he’s left with is an abusive father he hasn’t seen in years, he decides to approach Beenish, the stepdaughter of a prominent desi matchmaker, for help to arrange a marriage. Beenish’s condition is that Arsalan partner with her for a dance designed to scandalize at her sister’s upcoming wedding. Even though everything about Arsalan and Beenish is at odds, Arsalan finds himself drawn in to Beenish’s world, finding friends and relationships he didn’t know he needed — including with Beenish. Fans of Masood’s first book, More Than Just a Pretty Face, will like this one just as much.

Sway with Me by Syed M. Masood, (List Price: 17.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316492416, November 2021)

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


Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Think Weekend at Bernie’s but filled with hilarious, amazing, and brazen Chinese-Indonesian Aunties. I LOVED this book. Like, deep love. Like help dispose of a body and cover up a murder love. Dial A for Aunties is funny and outrageous and, surprisingly, romantic. If your family drives you crazy, but would also drive with a dead body in their trunk for you, then maybe you should cut them some slack and appreciate them. 😉

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto (List Price: $26, Berkley, 9780593336731, 4/27/2021)

Reviewed by Kate Towery, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte, Ann Xu (Illus.)

My daughter and I loved this graphic novel about a girl who moves to Seattle from Taiwan. Like many immigrant stories, this one had multiple examples of the prejudices immigrant children can experience. Cici made friends, but there were times they thought they needed to speak slowly to her (they didn’t), that her lunch was gross (because it wasn’t “American”), and there were multiple times when people referred to her as Chinese and didn’t bother to remember her correction to “Taiwanese.” Cici’s struggles to both fit in as well as maintain her delight in her culture came through in the pages. My daughter, six, loved the cooking aspects and the story segued into a good discussion about culture and identity.

Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte, Ann Xu (Illus.) (List Price: $12.99, HarperAlley, 9780062973863, 10/27/2020)

Reviewed by Jenny Luper, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal

Priya has moved all the way across the country from New Jersey to Stanford to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. But when she gets Lyme disease from a tick, everything is out on hold while she moves back home to deal with her chronic disease. She’s in pain most of the time, bit ends up finding solace in those with similar conditions online. She discovers one friend in particular, Brigid, lives only about an hour away and when Brigid disappears from the group and stops answering texts, Priya steals the family car to visit her. However, she instead of Brigid, Priya finds an enormous dog/wolf-like animal locked in the basement. She accidentally lets it out, but locks it in the bathroom and calls animal control. But all they find in the bathroom…is Brigid. This was a fun story that also shed a light on how hard it is for people who have a chronic illness, but also the great friendships you can find if you’re open to it.

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal (List Price: $18.99, Quirk Books, 9781683692348, 4/27/2021)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, Georgia

Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe

Henri relies on his charm in all aspects of his life, but that charm doesn’t extend to his classmate Corinne Troy. When she uncovers Henri’s less-than-honorable dog-walking business, she blackmails him into extending some of that charm into helping her social life. Philippe has once again written a cast of characters that readers will love and puts them in realistic dilemmas that will make readers laugh and cringe in solidarity.

Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe (List Price: $18.99, Balzer + Bray, 9780062824141, 9/8/2020)

Reviewed by Chelsea Stringfield, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

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