The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Thrillers & Suspense

The Getaway by Lamar Giles

What an incredible book! Giles rachets up the tension immediately in this story of paradise gone wrong. The staff and families living at Karloff County’s most famous resort are living happily in harmony until people start to vanish without a trace. As the world outside starts to crumble, young Jay and his friends try to find a way to get themselves and their loved ones to safety – whatever that may mean.

The Getaway by Lamar Giles, (List Price: $19.99, Scholastic Press, 9781338752014, September 2022)

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson

Tiffany Jackson’s newest novel, The Weight of Blood, is a retelling of the King novel, Carrie. I have not read Carrie, but I have seen the movies, so I had that as a base to go off of when I was reading ‘The Weight of Blood’. I really enjoyed the modern take on how race is still an issue in our communities and schools. I was interested to see how Jackson tied in dumping a bucket of something on Maddy’s head, and I was not disappointed to find out what it was and what it symbolized. The whole scene where Kenny is trying to get the police officers involved and how they react….it was beautifully written and heartbreaking. I also enjoyed the writing style where it would break away from the telling of Maddy’s story and show pieces of interviews from different witnesses of Maddy’s destruction. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I read the entire book in about 3 days. It isn’t necessarily an original story (being that it is a retelling), but the references to race and police brutality are incredible. It is also just a dang good horror! There are grisly parts that make you want to keep turning the pages and you are drawn in to Maddy’s character.

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson, (List Price: $18.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780063029149, September 2022)

Reviewed by Kait Layton, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky

A modern retelling of Lord of the Flies, set in a trash fire of a hipster festival? YES PLEASE. Rafi is a true-crime podcaster on the trail of a hot story who finagles tickets to the exclusive Fly Fest. The headliner is an adored indie musician who may have had something to do with the mysterious disappearance of his first girlfriend and Rafi is determined to get to the bottom of the case. Arriving on the island, hordes of spoiled influencers realize they’ve been set up – there is no food, no shelter, and (gasp!) no wifi! Can they all get out safely? Can Rafi uncover River Stone’s secrets? Can they survive without the constant reassurance of IG likes? Moldavsky has crafted an ingenious update on a classic mini-society gone wrong and I loved every second of it.

Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky, (List Price: 18.99, Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9781250230126, August 2022)

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Blood and Moonlight by Erin Beaty

A standalone epic mystical murder mystery fantasy novel. Blood and Moonlight kept me on my toes the entire time, all the way to the bittersweet ending. Catrin, our protagonist, has a very unique gift: a type of sight where she can spot flaws in architecture. Perfect for someone who is tasked with watching over this spired city. This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read and it was fantastic. It can be gruesome at times, so fantasy fans and true crime fans find a perfect blend here, but be a little wary if you’re sensitive to gore.

Blood and Moonlight by Erin Beaty, (List Price: $19.99, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9781250755810, June 2022)

Reviewed by Elizabeth Hall, M. Judson Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina

Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed

Ahmed masterfully weaves together so many difficult topics that it’s hard to say what this book is about in any concise way. It’s painful, it’s beautiful, it’s haunting. It shines a light on horrific topics with sensitivity and grace and does so through the lens of two characters that are some of the most realistic I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Safiya didn’t really know Jawad, and she still felt the pain of his loss deeply. Upon finishing this book, I too feel his loss as if I knew him. I cannot remember ever reading a book so impactful, so relevant, and so emotionally gripping. If I had my way, everyone would read this book

Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed, (List Price: $18.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316282642, May 2022)

Reviewed by tee arnold, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

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

What We Harvest by Ann Fraistat

Wren Warren is one of the four founding families of Hollow’s End that holds one of the mysterious crops that tourists flock to. Everything in her life was perfect until the corruption started seeping into the town. Now they’re all trapped in quarantine trying to fight back the “Blight” with no help from a mysterious government agency. Wren will have to ask her ex Derek for help before it’s too late for her and the farms. This was a delightfully dark and delicious read. Not only do we have a very good doggo named Teddy, we also have real and raw characters that leap off the page into your heart. If you like your horror with a bit of small town gothic, this is for you and it’s perfect for fans of Wilder Girls.

What We Harvest by Ann Fraistat (List Price: $18.99, Delacorte Press, 9780593382165,  March 2022)

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

Every Line of You by Naomi Gibson

Lydia has no choice but to turn to her passion for programming when her whole family becomes either dead or estranged. She fabricates an AI, named after her deceased brother, who makes hacking incredibly easier while comforting her when no one else will. However, Lydia could never predict just how advanced–and sentient–her AI would become. Gibson takes a unique approach with the topic of grief in this science fiction novel. Lydia is given great depth as we explore her realistic, complex feelings and motives. This is an intriguing story about coping with personal loss and finding friendship in the most unlikely of ways.

Every Line of You by Naomi Gibson, (List Price: $18.99, Chicken House, 9781338726589, November 2021)

Reviewed by Flyleaf Books YA Advisory Board, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Seven Dirty Secrets by Natalie D. Richards

This is a great, tight little YA mystery! information is revealed slowly but not too slowly, so you’re drawn into the plot and want the characters to solve the puzzles. The “ticking clock” mechanic is never exactly explained, but it gives the story a sense of urgency that makes it feel more intense than your average scavenger hunt. It touches on sensitive topics (such as domestic violence and parental abuse) but I think the author does a good job of pulling the question of “what would you do for your brother?” all the way through the story. Totally unexpected twist ending, which wasn’t really set up but was entertaining nonetheless!


Seven Dirty Secrets by Natalie D. Richards, (List Price: $10.99, Sourcebooks Fire, 9781728215785, November 2021)

Kate Wilder, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia


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