The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Romance

The Forever Girl by Jill Shalvis

Cat is getting married and she wants her two foster sisters and foster brother to be there. But they haven’t really kept up with each other, so she devises a plan to get them all back and connecting again. It might work, it might blow up in her face. But it’s sure to be entertaining!

The Forever Girl by Jill Shalvis (List Price: $16.99, William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062897855, 1/12/2021)

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

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Roman and Jewel by Dana L. Davis

Fans of Romeo and Juliet retellings will love this especially with the diverse characters! Jerzie Jhames is competing for a lead role for a hip hop Broadway production of Romeo and Juliet–Roman and Jewel. She falls short of her dreams and becomes the understudy for Jewel, while the lead title goes to celebrity actress singer Cinny. As Jerzie wallows in her disappointment, she meets Zeppelin Reid, the handsome lead actor for Roman. It’s love at first sight, and as they get to know one another, they begin their own Romeo and Juliet story. I love reading teenage black girls stories, especially about their first love!

Roman and Jewel by Dana L. Davis (List Price: $18.99, Inkyard Press, 9781335070623, 1/5/2021)

Reviewed by Deanna Bailey, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

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Love Songs for Skeptics by Christina Pishiris

Zoe has her dream job from when she was a kid. She’s the editor of her favorite music magazine. The only problem is that it’s 2020 and print media is struggling. To save the magazine her plan is to score an interview with the super reclusive Marcie Tyler, who has been off the radar for 10 years. Unfortunately, to do that, she has to give lip service to the latest bit band, which is not on brand for the magazine in the least. And to deal with both, she has to work with the jerk publicist, Nick. But all isn’t bad. Her best friend and crush Simon is back in London and here to stay.

Love Songs for Skeptics by Christina Pishiris (List Price: $16.99, Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781728217604, 1/5/2021)

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

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Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

Talia Hibbert’s Brown sisters books just keep getting better and better! Although I related the most to Dani Brown, I think I loved Eve Brown the most, even though she literally hits someone with her car in the opening of this book. As far as meet-cutes go, it’s not the most opportune! The picturesque bed and breakfast in the Lake District was the perfect setting for this sweet romance.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert (List Price: $15.99, Avon, 9780062941275, 3/9/2021)

Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop by Rebecca Raisin

Rosie has an impressive job as a sous chef at a Michelin starred restaurant and a husband she loves. But it all comes crashing down when her husband dumps her for someone else…on her birthday, no less! Rosie looks at her life and realizes that her job doesn’t actually make her happy. So the morning after a bit too much to drink, Rosie wakes up to discover that she’s bought a travel camper. She then decides to give the nomad life a try as she travels around in her new, mobile tea shop.

Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop by Rebecca Raisin (List Price: $16.99, HQ, 9780008414207, 2/16/2021)

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

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Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

A Winter 2021 Read This Next! Title

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
Avon, March

Talia Hibbert is the queen of cozy, sexy, hate-to-love romance and I want to soak in the Brown sisters’ stories forever. Eve, the youngest sister, finally gets the spotlight as her journey for self-actualization leads her to an adorable B&B, whereupon she immediately hits her love interest with her car. Eve is the definition of chaotic good and her entanglement with the very LAWFUL good Jacob is squee-worthy and hot as hell.

— Sami Thomason-Fyke, Square Books in Oxford, MS

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Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

A Winter 2021 Read This Next! Title

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant
Balzer + Bray, January

I loved HAPPILY EVER AFTERS. It’s one of those wonderful reads that leaves it’s readers nose-wrinkling happy. It’s a wonderful exploration of new and old best friends, family dynamics, and the pressure we put on ourselves and on living up to the expectations of others that can sometimes lead to paralysis. This book is absolutely lovely, and I’d easily pick it up to read it again.

– Brittany Bunzey, Read With Me: A Childrens Book & Art Shop in Raleigh, NC

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The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

Melody is in her junior year of high school and all her dreams have come true. She finally gets to be the stage manager of her high school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. But the theatre is riddled with superstition. Every new play has a new superstition and a counter-curse for that superstition. So, when Melody’s love life causes problems with their current play the stage kids decide that when Melody is in love, that’s when things go wrong. The superstition for the spring musical is going to be that Melody doesn’t fall in love. Melody is on board with the plan. But that’s before their local celebrity, Odile Rose, comes back from filming a TV show and is cast in the musical. Everyone thought Odile was snobby and standoffish, but she’s not that way with Melody…

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley (List Price: $17.99, HarperTeen, 9780062409263, 12/1/2020)
Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Inc. in Roswell, Georgia

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All About Us by Tom Ellen

Tom Ellen has written the perfect Christmas novel! All About Us is the cross between It’s a Wonderful Life and Love, Actually that we didn’t know we needed. Ben’s marriage is on rocky ground this holiday season. When his ex Alice reaches out, he can’t help but wonder if he chose the right girl that December years ago. But when a mysterious man sells him a watch with the hands frozen at one minute to midnight, he finds himself on the fateful day where he chose his current wife and left Alice. For many, this year’s holidays are filled with sadness or uncertainty. This novel captures those emotions and shows the hope that lies under the season. After the year we have had, this is a wonderful book to get into the Christmas spirit!

All About Us by Tom Ellen (List Price: $15.99, HQ, 9780008402679, 10/13/2020)

Reviewed by Karyn Cumming, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

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Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon

A brilliantly nerdy rom-com about being yourself with effervescent joy. David Yoon is the master of teen-talk and I loved these characters like I loved my friends in high school. Sunny Dae, fake rock star and geek extraordinaire, is the kind of teen male protagonist who reads realistically, through every ill-conceived plan and rock star salute. I love him and I love Super Fake Love Song.

Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon (List price: $18.99, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers,9781984812230, November 2020), recommended by Sami Thomason-Fyke, Square Books, Oxford, MS.

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Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

After a whirlwind–and somewhat embarrassing–first encounter, Birdie doesn’t expect to meet Daniel again. Then she shows up for her first night shift at a quirky hotel and realizes that she’s about to become his coworker. Set against the artsy, eclectic backdrop of Seattle, this sweet and sex-positive romance charmed me at every turn.

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett (List Price: $12.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534425156, January, 2021).

Reviewed by Talia Smart, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC.

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How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole

This engaging and poignant story is full of delicious romance and emotional growth, and I adored following Shanti and Sanyu as they learned how to love each other, and how to be the best leaders they could be for their kingdom. Cole does a fantastic job of centering mental health and open communication in this story in an approachable way, and I cannot wait to see what other stories she brings to life in this series!

How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole (List Price: $7.99, Avon, 9780062933966 December, 2020).

Reviewed by Lucy Perkins-Wagel, Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, FL.

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Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

A Fall 2020 Read This Next! Title
Simon Pulse | 9781534425170
November 10, 2020

In this coming-of-age romance perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen, scandal and romance collide when an ambitious teen returns to her hometown only to have her plans interrupted after falling for the town’s “bad boy”—a.k.a. her childhood best friend.

Sometimes to find the good, you have to embrace the bad.

Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.

What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.

Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is…

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Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

A Fall 2020 Read This Next! Title
Berkley | 9781984806130
October 27, 2020

A hacktavist and a cat cafe owner have love written into their future in this new novel in The Bromance Book Club series.

Alexis Carlisle and her cat cafe have shot to fame after she came forward as the vicitm of sexual harrassment at the hands of a celebrity chef. ToeBeans has become a Nashville hotspot for the curious, the furious, and the grateful. Women regularly come in to share their stories with her and thank her for coming forward. So when a young woman becomes a quiet regular at her cafe, Alexis assumes she’s just working up the courage to approach her about her own experience. The last thing Alexis expects is for the woman to blurt out that they’re sisters.

Known around Nashville as the hacker to the stars, Noah Parsons has built impenetrable servers for some of country music’s most famous faces. But after using his old hacking skills to help the Bromance Book Club bring down Royce Preston, he’s itching to get back to using his gifts for the greater good. When Alexis asks him to help investigate a girl’s claims that she and Alexis are sisters, he doesn’t hesitate.

But while investigating together, the greatest secret Alexis and Noah uncover is that they have feelings for each other…

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If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

Laurie has been with her partner for 18 years. He’s been her first and only and she’s still just as much in love with him now. So she’s shocked one evening when he gets home and he tells her that he doesn’t want to have kids and he feels trapped. He wants to break up. Laurie is heartbroken and since they work together, she has to see him all the time. It gets worse when he immediately starts dating someone else. And then his new girlfriend is pregnant. Laurie is destroyed, but when she gets trapped in an elevator with Jaime, the office Lothario. They soon concoct a fake romance. She makes her ex jealous and he shows he’s more serious to his bosses so he can hopefully snag a promotion. This is a fun romance. Laurie and Jaime are hilarious and fun together. This my first read from this author, but I hope to read many more now!

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane (List price: $15.99, William Morrow & Company), recommended by Bookmiser, Roswell, GA.

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