The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Romance

The Rewind by Allison Winn Scotch

Meet Frankie and Ezra. They’re about to ‘Party Like It’s 1999,’ if they can remember what happened during the last 24 hours. Find out what happens when you mix exes at a wedding, throw in a little college shenanigans, and stir up a decade-old hatred. Filled with ’90s nostalgia (including dial-up, pay phones, the start of Google, and, yes, online dating), you won’t put this down simply because you’ll want to know what exactly Frankie and Ezra did that night. If you’re looking for a light romance to bring in 2023, here it is! (Only thing missing: A curated list of songs mentioned in the book.)

The Rewind by Allison Winn Scotch (List Price: $17, Berkley, 9780593546536, November 2022)

Reviewed by Jenny Gilroy, E. Shaver bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

Seoulmates by Susan Lee

Seoulmates is a fun young adult romance sprinkled with k-pop and k-drama references. Susan Lee gave me a glimpse into a Korean American home through this tender love story between two childhood friends who have grown up. A friends to enemies to lovers story, I couldn’t put it down..

Seoulmates by Susan Lee (List Price: $18.99, Inkyard Press, 9781335915788, September 2022)

Reviewed by Rayna Nielsen, Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, Louisiana

Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales

A 2022 December Read This Next! Title

This is one of my top romances of 2022! Gonzales’ YA books are charming and this new adult romcom is a delight. Maya’s cheating ex is about to star on a reality dating show and all of his exes are being called together as contestants – including the other woman that helped break Maya’s heart. Sharing a room with her arch-nemesis can only lead to the best revenge plot of all time, right? This has slow burn, hilarious, sapphic joy on every page. Gonzales does a great job with bi representation and she gets better with every book.

Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250819161, December 2022)

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Spotlight on: Book Lovers by Emily Henry

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I set out secretly thinking of this book as my own homage to You’ve Got Mail, and specifically a bit of a hat tip to Parker Posey’s character. But looking back, I’m really amazed how much more of my love of that movie seeped into the book. The publishing industry, the quaint bookstores, the love for New York, the enemies-to-lovers, and the flirting over email.” ―Emily Henry, Interview, She Reads

 

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

What booksellers are saying about Book Lovers

  • This book was everything I wanted it to be and more. I love the way Emily Henry writes a story. She makes her characters well rounded and adds elements to their story outside of romance. But she writes the romance so well you can’t help but swoon. She makes me laugh, she makes me emotional, and she makes me never want to put her book down.
      ―Emily Bowers from Tombolo Books in St. Petersburg, FL | Buy from Tombolo Books

  • Anything that Emily Henry writes is an automatic buy for me and I know will be popular! Book Lovers was no different. The writing flows, the dialogue is funny, witty, and loaded with emotion. The relationship between the characters is everything you want in a romantic comedy. You’ll find yourself rooting for everyone, including the supporting characters. Absolutely adored Book Lovers!
      ―Emily Lessig from The Violet Fox Bookshop in Virginia Beach, VA | Buy from The Violet Fox

  • Everything I love about the bookstore I own – and the life I get to led – in small town North Carolina is described somewhere in these pages. Most people will laugh out loud while reading. I got teary at the end as I didn’t want to say goodbye to these characters. This book reminded me of Susan Wiggs’ The Lost and Found Bookshop, just sheer delightfulness wrapped between covers consisting of pure love for indie bookstores.
      ―Alissa Redmond from South Main Book Co in Salisbury, NC | Buy from South Main Book Co.

  • Emily Henry has done it again and stolen my heart completely with her two main leads. In this one, a literary agent and a book editor end up stuck together in his tiny hometown, which happens to be the whimsical setting in the bestselling book she agents for– one he gave a scathing rejection to upon their very first meeting. It’s a “we think we’re enemies” but are actually idiots-to-lovers who perfectly fit each other kind of story. Henry is the unquestioned queen of banter, but this is probably her wittiest, most laugh-out-loud funny book to date. I had so much fun reading BOOK LOVERS
      ―Cristina Russell from Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL | Buy from Books and Books

About Emily Henry

Emily Henry is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of People We Meet on Vacation and Beach Read. She studied creative writing at Hope College, and now spends most of her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the part of Kentucky just beneath it. Find her on Instagram @emilyhenrywrites.

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Spotlight on: Better Than Fiction by Alexa Martin

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I know this is so cliché, but honestly, just write. When I sat down to start writing, I had no idea what I was doing. It took me forever. Just actually starting to write and then reaching out and finding a community. I actually found my first writing partner in a mom group. Neither of us had any idea what we were doing. We were just like, ‘You’re so good. You’re so good too.’ That’s all it was — finding support because it can be really lonely. Sitting down and finding one person that you can trust not to just stomp on you is really important.” ―Alexa Martin, Interview, Medium

 

Better Than Fiction by Alexa Martin

What booksellers are saying about Better Than Fiction

  • Drew isn’t a reader. But she did LOVE her grandma. So when Grandma died and left Drew her bookshop, Drew put aside all her dreams and ran the bookshop. Now, she hasn’t had much luck with men, including her human garbage can of a father, so she’s just put dating out of her mind. But then in walks Jasper Williams: popular romance author and sheer perfection of a human being. She doesn’t stand a chance.
      ― Jennifer Jones from Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, GA | Buy from Bookmiser

  • A rom-com that centers around Drew, a woman whose grandmother has just passed and in turn has left her the old bookstore she ran for years. One issue: Drew is not a book lover, and she can’t especially stand romance. And then comes Jasper Williams, the dreamiest romance author, whose mission becomes for Drew to fall in love with reading. It’s fun, steamy, and has a fantastic cast of characters, especially the residential book club The Dirty Birds. I also loved how this portrays grieving, and that adds something so special to this book. Sure to make your heart warm up with just utter joy, this is the cutest!
      ―Grace Sullivan from Fountain Books in Richmond, VA | Buy from Fountain Bookstore

  • An utterly delightful read — how can anyone resist a romance set in an indie bookstore? I loved that Drew Young, new owner of her late grandmother’s beloved Book Nook, is NOT a reader. It was such a fun set-up for Drew’s romance with a romance novelist. It’s catnip for bookstore lovers. I adored that Alexa Martin wrote in so many lovely day trips out of Denver; I felt like an armchair tourist reading this book, and I made a list for the next time I’m in Colorado!!
      ―Kate Storhoff from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC | Buy from Bookmarks

About Alexa Martin

Alexa Martin is a writer and stay at home mom. A Nashville transplant, she’s intent on instilling a deep love and respect for the great Dolly Parton in her four children and husband. The Playbook Series was inspired by the eight years she spent as a NFL wife and her deep love of all things pop culture, sparkles, leggings, and wine. When she’s not repeating herself to her kids, you can find her catching up on whatever Real Housewives franchise is currently airing or filling up her Etsy cart with items she doesn’t need.

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Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton

This adorable YA romance told in short stories from six of the best authors out there is just as good as you hope it will be. Where the previous compilation from these folks took place over the same day in the same city in slightly-related stories, Whiteout is linked together in a more up-front way. A group of friends and partners in Atlanta are working to help a couple reconcile during a city-wide snowstorm that has them trapped in cars, airports, trains, and buildings around town. Inclusive, sweet, and funny, this has it all.

Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton (List Price: $19.99, Quill Tree Books, 9780063088146, November 2022)

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede

I thoroughly enjoyed how Alessa came into her own as a Finestra too powerful for a single Fonte. The question posed in the book and in this [and our] society: what it means to be selfish and selfless. Is a hero the selfish Ghiotte, or the selfless Finestra, and is the balance necessary to be able to give your best? Can’t wait to see how the next book addresses this! Dante (and Alessa & his banter!) is just the best and I’m anxious to see what happens to him in #2

This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250794055, June 2022)

Reviewed by Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

The Do-Over by Lynn Painter

Newsflash: Lynn Painter is The Queen of the YA rom-com! She has grabbed a hold of this reader’s heart and will not let go. The Do-Over brings us Emilie Hornby, an over-achieving people pleasure who is ready for The Perfect Valentines Day. She has her checklist ready to seize her perfectly planned agenda. Things get off to a rocky start when she wrecks her car on the way to school and has to bum a ride with broody Nick Stark, her chemistry partner. Her day goes off the rails when she spots her perfect-on-paper boyfriend kissing another girl. The nerve! The only thing that could make this day worse is to have to re-live it….and the next morning she wakes up to another Valentine’s Day and so it goes. I enjoyed Lynn’s signature witty banter and sweet love story. The Do-Over will be perfect for any YA Rom Com reader and fans of closed-door romances.

The Do-Over by Lynn Painter (List Price: $19.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534478862, November 2022)

Reviewed by Jessica Nock, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade

Super passionate slow burn romance with plenty of heart and humor! Maria is the last person Peter wants to see after she’s just left their hotel room without saying goodbye, post-hookup. Fate has other plans when she appears later that day at his final callback for a popular fantasy series, and they both book the roles. They spend the next six years filming together in a remote (and lonely) location but don’t dare blur the lines of their relationship…until the series ends! These two have AMAZING chemistry as well as great friendship and a deep understanding of one another. Loved!

Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade, (List Price: $16.99, Avon, 9780063215870, November 2022)

Reviewed by Julia Lewis, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The Insomniacs by Marit Weisenberg

The Insomniacs combines the mystery of amnesia with the thrill of a reignited friendship. Ingrid, the main character, works to figure out what she’s missing and how to solve her sudden insomnia in this twisting story. Vance, her best friend from years ago, reconnects. An intriguing read with an unexpected ending. This book explores the uncertainty and depth of relationships along with trauma. In the setting of a high schooler’s life. Overall, a super interesting read!

The Insomniacs by Marit Weisenberg, (List Price: $11.99, Flatiron Books, 9781250257376, October 2022)

Reviewed by Kaylin, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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

Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner

An October 2022 Read This Next! Title

There is something that happens when you take an age old trope (age-gap or best friend’s dad) and make it queer that breathes new life into the story. So many chili peppers for this book. Sheesh.

Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner, (List Price: $16.99, St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250841001, October 2022)

Reviewed by Katie Garaby, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Moon Fuentez is a fascinating character. I liked the exploration of the psychological effects of pitting two children against each other in a family. This is a book about resilience through a lifetime of pain. It’s sex-positive. It’s a really original story. Moon’s humor carries a lot of the story and keeps it from feeling too dark.

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, (List Price: $12.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534448674, August 2022)

Reviewed by Lizzy Nanney, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

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

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

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