The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Science Fiction

Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell

Tennal is a neuromodified ‘reader’ who can read emotions and minds. He’s also a spoiled, rich playboy who’s now been conscripted into the military, forced to sync with neuromodified architect Surit who can control others. But when Surit finds out that Tennal is not there of his own free will, he refuses to execute the illegal sync, and the two determine to fake it until Tennal can manage an escape. Through action-packed missions involving possible traitors, political intrigue, and family secrets uncovered by them both, Tennal and Surit forge a bond that brings them closer to each other than either has been to anyone else — but can it transcend Surit’s principles and Tennal’s desire for freedom? I loved watching both Tennal and Surit’s character growth within Maxwell’s wonderful world building, and the slow burn romance was amazing.

Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell (List Price: $27.99, Tor Books, 9781250758866, November 2022)

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

Leech by Hiron Ennes

The narrator of this scalpel-sharp and intoxicatingly gross debut is a parasite who is about to meet its match in the battle for control over the human heart, mind, and body. Fans of gothic lit, haunted mansions in ill repair, and biological or medical horror, eat your optic nerve—I mean, your heart—out! I generally don’t consider myself a fan of the above actually, but the incredibly unique narrator, the excellent and atmospheric world-building, and the both chillingly creepy and chillingly cold setting really hooked me. Highly recommended for fans of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic and T. Kingfisher’s What Moves the Dead!

Leech by Hiron Ennes, (List Price: $27.99, Tordotcom, 9781250811189, September 2022)

Reviewed by Megan Bell, Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia

Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty

Mallory is a self-aware mystery magnet, seemingly causing murders that only she can solve to happen spontaneously around her, to the point that she now feels responsible for the murders. To stymie her mysterious power, she escapes to the space station Eternity to be one of three humans among throngs of aliens. This works for months until a shuttle of humans is scheduled to arrive from Earth and the cycle of murders and mysteries starts anew around Mallory. The world-building is impeccable, with multiple alien species bringing their own biology, culture, and politics into the narrative. Lafferty also manages an intricate, compelling mystery by weaving together multiple viewpoints with a web of connections and "coincidences," yet still wrapping up the mystery without dangling loose ends. I look forward to more tales of Mallory’s exploits in this intriguing world Lafferty built.

Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty, (List Price: $17, Ace, 9780593098110, October 2022)

Reviewed by Kelly McLeod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Afro Samurai Vol.1 by Takashi Okazaki

This was epic. I absolutely can’t wait to get more into this series. Gave me Black Swordsman Arc vibes from Berserk. I hope to see Afro develop more and maybe gain something to care for instead of being purely based on revenge. The setting in the end also gave me Fountainhead Palace vibes from Sekiro.

Afro Samurai Vol.1 by Takashi Okazaki, (List Price: $19.99, Titan Manga, 9781787739000, November 2022)

Reviewed by Ethan Davis, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Spotlight on: The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I love genre fiction, and I love horror. Poor horror gets treated like the cousin we don’t talk about. He doesn’t get invited to dinner. On the one hand, I joke that the industry that gave us Crabs: The Human Sacrifice—please look up the 1988 cover of that book—can’t be taken very seriously after going there. And the horror boom of the ’80s produced plenty of dreck. But between possessed children and sewer mutants, there’s sometimes a space to touch on something special and no less poignant than a realistic drama. It’s the space of shadows on the wall that we stared at before we went to sleep when we were children and the frightful darkness around a campfire.” –Silvia Moreno-Garciay, Interview, Pen America

 

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

What booksellers are saying about The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

  • Carlota loves her life in Yaxaktun, nestled in the jungles of Yucatan. She is a devoted daughter, even though her God-complex having mad scientist father is raising animal-human hybrids to work the lands of the Hacienda. Unfortunately, Carlota soon finds out that she is on borrowed time and borrowed land. Carlota must wrestle with being a good daughter and doing what she knows is right. Also, the author did her research! Moreno-Garcia weaves the history of the Caste War of Yucatan as well Yucatec Mayan language and myths into a beautiful story. ―Kate Smith from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, NC
    Buy from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

  • I don’t even know what to compare this book to, it’s just so incredibly unique and wonderful. Yes, it is a reimagining of a classic, but it’s by a WoC about a WoC, where the villain is now white men impeding in Native spaces, and the horror that always follows, inflicted upon the native people and the land. Silvia’s words are sweeping and yet calculated, crafting a dreamy affair where so-called monsters are more human than the actual humans are. Readers who were obsessed with Gods of Jade and Shadow will devour this book!
      ―Caitlyn Vanorder from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

  • Drawing inspiration from the famous HG Wells novel, Moreno-Garcia has penned a novel that defies genre, mixing elements of historical fiction and sci-fi with a dash of romance. The heroine’s character development from obedient daughter to independent badass was particularly enrapturing, as was the role of the hybrids. I early await Moreno-Garcia’s next project.  ―Chelsea Stringfield from Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee
    Buy from Parnassus Books

About Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of the novels Velvet Was the Night, Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow, and a bunch of other books. She has also edited several anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award–winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu’s Daughters). She has been nominated for the Locus Award for her work as an editor and has won the British Fantasy Award and the Locus Award for her work as a novelist.

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A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers

A July 2022 Read This Next! Title

A Psalm for the Wild-Built was a perfect book. So much so that I put off reading A Prayer for the Crown-Shy because I couldn’t imagine a world where it could live up to the flawless beauty and meaning the first novella held for me. But once again, Becky Chambers has crafted a book that is just as philosophically resonant and wonderfully generous as its predecessor. Dex and Mosscap have become two of my favorite characters in all literature and I will love them till my dying day. No matter who you are, A Prayer for the Crown-Shy will speak to you in some way and remind you that the world is indeed full of wonder and that you are okay.

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers, (List Price: 21.99, Tordotcom, 9781250236234, July 2022)

Reviewed by Caleb Masters, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Drunk on All Your Strange New Words by Eddie Robson

This book features a young woman who is a translator for an alien species that has come to Earth but that doesn’t have a spoken language. She translates their thoughts into English so other humans can understand them. She finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and she wants to keep her job and stay out of jail. I found this short novel charming and it’s a real love song to the written word and paper books. For lovers of Douglas Adams and John Scalzi.

Drunk on All Your Strange New Words by Eddie Robson, (List Price: $26.99, Tordotcom, 9781250807342, June 2022)

Reviewed by Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Space Story by Fiona Ostby

This graphic novel combines three different storylines, each designated by one of the primary colors. There is a story of love, a story of loneliness, and a story of longing. Ostby’s unique use of color perfectly mirrors the emotions expressed within each storyline, and the manner in which they are intertwined feels like fitting puzzle pieces together.

Space Story by Fiona Ostby, (List Price: $16.99, West Margin Press, 9781513128757, June 2022)

Reviewed by Grace Quinn, Foggy Pine Books in Boone, North Carolina

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. Mandel

Good grief I loved this book. The Glass Hotel makes more sense now, but I already loved it anyway. Nobody does time “travel” like Emily St. John Mandel. She manages not to lose us in the weaving of the timelines and characters. Despite being set in both the past and the future, the themes are so timely. A pandemic, wealth inequity, the idea of home, the role of art in society, family dynamics–it’s all there, plus there are colonies on the moon and maybe we’re all living in a simulation. It might seem like a stretch, but I think her only peer in speculative fiction is Margaret Atwood herself..

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. Mandel, (List Price: $25.00, Knopf, 9780593321447,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Angela Schroeder, Sunrise Books in High Point, North Carolina

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

This book was exactly what it needed to be. It’s fun, it takes familiar ideas about kaiju and puts a fresh spin on them, and adds in entertaining characters who care about what they do. It’s so very much an antidote and relief from things taking themselves too seriously, but landed the narrative beats when it needed them. Here, Scalzi show the artistry of solid craftsmanship, and I want more.

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi, (List Price: $26.99, Tor Books, 9780765389121,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Alex Mcleod from The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, AL

Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi

Goliath sets us down on a not-so distant future Earth destroyed by disease, climate change, and war. Those left behind to inherit the skeletal remains of society fight each day to survive as they watch their communities waste away. As dark and grim as the world is, though, Tochi Onyebuchi gives us characters fully alive with voices to lend to the fight against racism and gentrification. On every page is a deeply profound honesty and poignant thoughtfulness that cannot and should not be ignored. I am once again blown away by the magic of his words and the power of his stories. Everyone needs to read Goliath.


Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi, (List Price: $16.99, Tordotcom, 9781250782953, January 2022)

Reviewed by Sophie Giroir, Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, Louisiana


The Last She by H. J. Nelson

Arabella is the last girl on earth, well as far as she knows. A terrible virus wiped out many children and women, and no one’s sure why. When her father tells her to run “back to the beginning” she tries to make her way home only to be captured by the infuriating and handsome Kaden. While she might not like him, she’ll have to ally with him to find what her father wanted her to know. I was pleasantly surprised by this novel! While this book was a quick and easy read, I really enjoyed the plot and find myself looking forward to the next one!

The Last She by H. J. Nelson, (List Price: $17.99, Wattpad Books, 9781989365717, December 2021)

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


The Tempered Steel of Antiquity Grey by Shawn Speakman

Antiquity Grey is born into the life of an outcast. “Grey-shamed” by the rulers of her city, and bullied by other members of her community, she is determined to prove her worth. With the help of friends and former enemies, she takes on the greatest threat of all; The Imperium. This was a fast-paced thrill ride through a climate-changed world filled with giant robots and bad guys with swords and laser guns. Myth and tech collide, creating the perfect recipe for a science fantasy adventure.

The Tempered Steel of Antiquity Grey by Shawn Speakman, (List Price: $28, Grim Oak Press, 9781944145699, November 2021)

Reviewed by Sophie Giroir, Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, Louisiana


A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

The robot Mosscap is the first to return from from the wilds to ask the question, “What do humans want?” The tea monk, despite their vocation of helping others by listening to problems while serving tea, feels unqualified to answer – and unmoored in their own life. This novella is an inspiring meditation on purpose and meaning set in an interesting world with a great first-contact frame.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers, (List Price: 20.99, Tordotcom, 9781250236210, 2021-07-13)

Reviewed by Ginger Kautz, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

Dare to Know by James Kennedy

Dare to Know starts with a fascinating sci-fi speculation: what if science could pinpoint the exact date and time of your death? That’s an intriguing proposal; however, this novel isn’t satisfied by simply exploring this question. What could have been a societal sci-fi story turns into something else entirely—a personal and riveting horror story full of terrors like sagging careers and failed relationships, oddly specific Gen X fears (bearded 1970s hippies and Don Henley songs), and universal horrors like death and the end of the world. This novel was frightening and smart and it made me think.

Dare to Know by James Kennedy, (List Price: 22.99, Quirk Books, 9781683692607, September 2021)

Reviewed by Lady Smith, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama

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