The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Romance

Acts of Service by Lillian Fishman

I feel so strongly about this book, I truly think this is the best book I have read this year. A piece of art. The author managed to capture so perfectly the thoughts of sexuality, gender norms, and expressionism in a woman in her 20s. I admired her pushing the boundaries to talk about topics that are considered taboo, such as polyamory, infidelity, and manipulation. The writing was so beautiful, the characters were all so addictive, yet so horrible, and I just couldn’t put it down. Majority of the text is thoughts that the main character has, rather than action, so if you don’t like that, this is not the book for you. I feel like I could recommend this to any girl my age that is vocal about sex, feminism, and love. Truly a book I think everyone should read. I never like to re-read books, but this is a book I can definitely see myself re-reading. I am dying for a sequel, or at the very least, another novel by Lillian Fishman.

Acts of Service by Lillian Fishman, (List Price: $27, Hogarth, 9780593243763, May 2022)

Reviewed by Yarah Elshaer, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean

Tokyo Dreaming is a breathtaking story that is so vividly written you will feel like you are walking next to Izumi as she navigates imperial life. Izumi has overcome so many challenges since discovering that her father is the Crown Prince Makotonomiya Toshihito of Japan. The transition from normal small town girl to Imperial princess has been difficult. Now Izumi’s mom has joined her in Japan, and they are living the happy family life that Izumi always dreamed of with her father. When Izumi’s father proposes to her mom, everyone is thrilled for the life that is to come. Everyone, except the Imperial council who has their doubts about the match. Izumi decides she will do whatever it takes to make sure her mom and dad have their happily ever after. But what will it cost her? Her future happiest, her friends, or even the true love of her life. Tokyo Dreaming continues the story that began with Tokyo Ever After. Perfect for fans of Sarah Kuhn’s I love you so Mochi, Katherine McGee’s American Royal, or Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries.

Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean, (List Price: $18.99, Flatiron Books, 9781250766632, May 2022)

Reviewed by Gretchen Shuler, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection

Y’all, oh my GOD. Akwaeke Emezi has done it again and I love it so much. It is hot and messy and hot-messy and addicting. I thrive on drama and this novel delivers! Forget love triangles, this is a love star, five different points criss-crossing into something bright and beautiful and a little bit hard to look at. As fun and exciting as it is, it also touches on trauma and recovery, self-growth, and love. Utterly heart-wrenching and belly-laughter-inducing.

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi, (List Price: $27, Atria Books, 9781982188702, May 2022)

Reviewed by Laney Sheehan from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection

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.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry, (List Price: $17, Berkley, 9780593334836, May 2022)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell from Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

Love, Hate & Clickbait by Liz Bowery

After their boss makes a homophobic gaffe and a compromising photo of them goes viral, cutthroat political consultant Thom Morgan and down-on-his-luck data analyst Clay Parker pretend to be in a relationship to salvage this presidential campaign that’s barely gotten off the ground. This fun and heartfelt romcom is great for political wonks who want a fast-paced romp and political cynics who have seen the messy underbelly of campaigns. Thom and Clay’s “will they, won’t they” kept me guessing until the wedding bells rang.

Love, Hate & Clickbait by Liz Bowery, (List Price: $15.99, MIRA, 9780778311898,  April2022)

Reviewed by Karen Fletcher, Wordsworth Books in Little Rock, Arkansas

She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott

Alex and Molly have grown up in two very different worlds, but they have one big thing in common: neither has any friends. But they’re both starting at the same college and both are determined to change, though for very different reasons. Alex’s girlfriend says Alex is afraid to let anyone in and won’t confess her true feelings. Molly has always been a big ball of anxiety, but has had a four year crush on a girl from her high school who just so happens to be going to the same college. Molly and Alex dislike each other, but they need the other to reach their goals. Overall, this was a very fun, sweet story that simultaneously deals with some heavy issues. I loved it!

She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott, (List Price: $18.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534493797,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

Dreamy, dark, and mysterious. Danger, desire, and enigmatic. Filled with characters you want to know more of and places you want to be. Hotel Magnifique is oh so delicious!

Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor, (List Price: $18.99, Razorbill, 9780593404515,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Susan Williams, M Judson Booksellers and Storytellers in Greenville, South Carolina

The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa

An April Read This Next! Book

I loved this follow up to Mia Sosa’s wedding-themed contemporary romance series. An overheard conversation just before a couple’s wedding makes Solange unable to hold her peace. Instead, she blurts out to the bride not to go through with it just as the couple is saying their “I do’s”. This leads to a chain of events that neither she, nor the stuffy groom Dean, could have thought possible. For one thing, Solange spells danger to Dean. She is unpredictable, feisty, and doesn’t have her life mapped out every single step of the way like he does…and that terrifies him. But, she could prove to be just what he needs to shake things up and finally find love.

The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa, (List Price: $15.99, Avon, 9780062909893,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Jamie Southern, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Under the Golden Sun by Jenny Ashcroft

Quite simply one of the most beautiful books I’ve read all year. Historical fiction with well-drawn heroines and interesting love stories aren’t uncommon. What makes this book absolutely sing is the care and attention given to all the relationships in this book. The mother who has lost her child and the child who has lost his family; women forging deep, meaningful friendships that are treated with the same importance as the romantic entanglements; and perhaps even better, everyone grows. In a field cluttered with WWII era novels this book rises about the field with its unusual setting and lovely relationships, but also with the author’s distinct voice and prose.

Under the Golden Sun by Jenny Ashcroft (List Price: $27.99, St. Martin’s Press, 9781250274762,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Traci Harris, The Book House, Mableton, Georgia

The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero

Lovers of history, poetry, and myth will find themselves in awe of R.M. Romero’s young adult debut. The story of Ilana Lopez, a Jewish Latina from Miami sent to stay with her aunt in Prague, is inspired by the author’s very real time spent restoring Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe, and rings true because of this even through its layers of story magic. The Ghosts of Rose Hill is by turns glittering, dark, enchanting and haunting.

The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero, (List Price: $18.99, Peachtree Teen, 9781682633380, May 2022)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake

This is a truly lovely and joyful romance between two women that weaves together conversations of sacrifice, family, and friendship in such a beautiful way. Delilah and Claire are true champions of queer joy, and it was wonderful to read a story where queer women were the only characters. With a focus on second chances in a small town, reckoning with your past, chosen family, and of course, the way falling in love can turn you inside out, folks who enjoy Louise Miller’s novels or Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop will fall in love with Delilah and Claire.

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake, (List Price: $16.00, Berkley, 9780593336403, February 2022)

Reviewed by Gaby Iori from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, North Carolina


Golden Boys by Phil Stamper

Stamper brings his trademark storytelling, full of heart and magic, to his story of 4 boys and one incredible summer. Sal, Gabriel, Heath, and Reese are the best of friends, but they’re all headed their separate ways for the summer. Sal is headed to DC to intern for a senator. Gabriel is headed to Boston to work for a nonprofit and save the trees. Heath is headed to Daytona to work with his aunt and cousin while his parents work out their divorce. And Reese is off to Paris for a summer design school. They’ve always been inseparable, so how will they make it through the summer?


Golden Boys by Phil Stamper, (List Price: $18.99, Bloomsbury YA, 9781547607372, February 2022)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia


Spotlight on: Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

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Rachel Lynn Solomon

"I really enjoy writing girls that aren’t nice. I don’t know what it says about me that they’re easy to write! I just think that girls don’t get as much permission or as much forgiveness to be this range of different things."Rachel Lynn Solomon (via Kirkus)

Weather Girl

What booksellers are saying about Weather Girl

  • Weather Girl has become an automatic cozy romance favorite for me, much like The Ex Talk. Ari and Russell are so lovable, and this story is full of all the heart, nuance, swoons and steam I’ve come to expect from Rachel Lynn Solomon.. ― Cristina Russell from Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL
    Buy from Books & Books

  • Is it too early to say that this will be one of the best romances of 2022? Rachel Lynn Solomon blew me away with this thoughtful romance. I loved the frank yet careful way Solomon dealt with so many real-world hurdles to finding love in adulthood: everything from depression to religion (both characters are Jewish) to single parenthood to having sex with a new person for the first time in a long while. Solomon is quickly becoming one of my favorite romance novelists, and I know Weather Girl is a book I’ll return to again and again. ―Kate Storhoff from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • This sweet romance does a great job of highlighting some areas that you don’t see a lot of in romcoms: Judaism, depression, and a larger man with a smaller woman. Each item doesn’t feel heavy-handed or preachy, but is handled so well, making this a great read!   ―Jennifer Jones from Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, GA
    Buy from Bookmiser

About Rachel Lynn Solomon

Rachel Lynn Solomon writes, tap dances, and collects lipstick in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of the YA novels You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, Our Year of Maybe, and the forthcoming Today Tonight Tomorrow (June 2020). Her debut adult romantic comedy, The Ex Talk, was published in spring 2021

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Never Tell by Stacey Abrams

When Erin, a local professor and criminal psychologist, gets drawn into a serial murder case, she wants nothing more than to run the other way. When the clues start leading to her own past; however, she’s got no choice than to fully immerse herself into the investigation – with the help of the charming local newspaper owner desperate for a story that will save his paper. Never Tell is a must-read for anyone who likes romance, mysteries, or a well-drawn out game of cat and mouse. Stacey Abrams’ While Justice Sleeps was one of my favorite books of 2021, so I’m excited to read through her suspense novels, written under the name Selena Montgomery.

Never Tell by Stacey Abrams, (List Price: $16.99, 9781250805829, January 2022)

Reviewed by Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The Love Con by Seressia Glass

From friends-to-lovers, mutual pining, and fake dating, The Love Con has all the makings of a superb romance. Kenya and Cam’s sizzling chemistry and wonderful communication elevate this romance novel to the next level. Along with Seressia Glass’s spot-on humor and wit, The Love Con is a near-perfect romance novel.

The Love Con by Seressia Glass, (List Price: $16.00, Berkley, 9780593199053, December 2021)

Reviewed by Gennifer Eccles, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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