Ghost In The Shelves: Categories

You can have the best, most soul-searing books in the world, you can have works of profound literature and deep scholarship and they won’t do anyone any good if you can’t find them. We here at the Haunted Book Shop are greatly in favor of finding things. We’re just crazy about it, truth be told. Finding new books, finding old books–my favorite memory of my job at the store so far is finding a book a woman read thirty years ago but she couldn’t remember the title, and then finding it on the shelves (Run With the Horsemen, by Ferrol Sams, if you wanted to know what book.)

The thing that really helps with the finding of books are our categories. Say you’re a history reader–well, what sort of history are you after? You’ve got local history, then state, then national, military, and world history. Looking for a kid’s book? Well, how old is the child, because we break up children’s books by age. We sought to make sure people could find a few shelves of what they wanted, rather than a wall of books and a cheerful “It’s in here somewhere.”

I like to think it helps exploratory browsing. Everyone who reads has things they prefer to read but sometimes the cosmic rays align and you’re interested in a new author or a new subject. You could want to give Stephen King a try, or maybe you’ve always heard Agatha Christie’s name mentioned but never read her. Maybe you’re in to buy a copy of Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for a summer reading list and Tolstoy catches your eye. Or you love time travel stories, but looking through a huge section of science fiction to find these is daunting–here we have a small shelf set aside for those. For whatever reason, if you want to try something new, we’ve made it easy to find.

If you browse our second floor, you’ll notice the place is an ode to genre fiction. There’s timelines and charts about how the English-language genres formed and what books were instrumental in that process. Genre and writing and how people handle and express those ideas and concepts are always changing, and even in our own lifetimes we can see shifts. The stuff that comes up over centuries is downright amazing! Many moons ago, I was reading a school textbook in class (I’d do the required reading and then some, go figure). The bit was a reprint of a letter Benjamin Franklin wrote to a friend, and he was discussing how he’d read a story which reproduced the speech of the characters in its entirety, and he marveled at how immersive quotations and, essentially, quotation marks was. Can you imagine how much someone to whom dialogue is mind-blowing would feel about the narrative devices that get used today? And the books are still around so we can trace them.

To this end, we break every section down into sub-sections, several of which are common across most of the store, like a local authors shelf, or a classics shelf. In some genre sections certain authors will have their own shelf, either for their enduring popularity or because they’ve just written that many books (as you might expect, Stephen King has quite a lot of space in our horror section. It’s good to be the King.)

Typically, in most of our genre sections, you’ll find the following sub-sections:  classics, local authors, new releases, staff recommendations, author recommendation, and anthologies. But this can’t cover all possibilities, so each genre has some that are specific to them.

So, for the sake of example, here’s a breakdown of our science fiction sub-genres and examples of what each contains, and why we gave it that space:

Classic Science Fiction: Several works of Jules Verne, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (which also has space in horror, but some books fall into more than one genre), H.G. Wells, and Frank Herbert’s Dune.

New Releases: A spot to showcase the new releases of the past few months

Isaac Asimov and Rad Bradbury, both noted authors of classic science fiction, share a shelf. If the shelf was large enough I’d put Arthur C. Clarke’s books in there with them and they could be the ABCs of Science Fiction.

Philip K. Dick, a prolific author with a staggering number of adaptations of his books, also gets his own shelf.

Space is our ‘main’ science fiction category. Space is big. Really big. Mind-bogglingly, unbelievably big.

Retro Science Fiction features science fiction pulp novels from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Get your fix of rockets and ray guns here!

Military Science Fiction is also an extensive subgenre, with authors like John Ringo and David Weber having decades of writing behind them, and there’s people who want those.

LGBTQ Science Fiction, written by LGBTQ authors. Their unique life experiences means some very different answers to the questions science fiction asks.

Alternate History SF what if aliens made contact in the 1930s? What if Congress had gone through with a plan to release a breeding population of hippos into the Mississippi River (yes, it’s a real thing they considered)?

Near-Future SF is set in a recognizable present (at least when it was written) with one or two things happening to change things up. Like the Jurassic Park novel.

Post-Apocalyptic SF if we mess up with the world and crash civilization, how do we go on?

Time Travel is, of course, one of the classic “what-ifs” of human speculation.

Humorous Science Fiction because sometimes we need a laugh

Anomaly is when it’s a normal world with one single strange thing there that doesn’t belong.

Cyberpunk features a world with near-total integration of technology into society, with corporations often taking the place of governments.

Trans-humanism focuses on science fiction featuring people human technology to, essentially, move beyond being human.

Some of these categories are small, with ten books in there or less, but we felt they were distinct enough, interesting enough, to warrant their own little space and isolation. Every now and then, we get someone who gets their interest piqued by Anomaly or Alternate History and they find something new to read.

TIP: If you’re wondering where a specific book might be you can always ask the staff, or you can also look it up on our website–most of the books will have their location as the first line in their description. So, for instance, if you’re wondering where we shelved Heinlein’s The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, you could pull out your phone, navigate to our website and search for the title and see where it is!

Summer Reading Recommendations: Middle Grade

If your 8-12 year old is chafing at staying home over the summer, we recommend traveling the world through folklores and fairytales. Colombian, Panamanian, Dutch, Appalachian, Malaysian, and Irish-inspired, these tales show the truth behind the stories that helps the characters, and the readers, discover and learn about themselves, their families, and the universality of friendships. Here are my summer middle grade suggestions: 

June

Curse of the Night Witch by Alex Aster (6/9) In this fast-paced adventure filled with mythology, mayhem, and peril, Tor must travel to a witch to save himself from a curse.

On Emblem Island all are born knowing their fate. Their lifelines show the course of their life and an emblem dictates how they will spend it.

Twelve-year-old Tor Luna was born with a leadership emblem, just like his mother. But he hates his mark and is determined to choose a different path for himself. So, on the annual New Year’s Eve celebration, where Emblemites throw their wishes into a bonfire in the hopes of having them granted, Tor wishes for a different power.

The next morning Tor wakes up to discover a mark symbolizing a curse is imprinted on his arm and his hand’s lifeline is cut short. There is only one way to break the curse—and it requires a trip to the notorious Night Witch.

With only his village’s terrifying, ancient stories as a guide, and his two friends Engle and Melda by his side, Tor must travel across unpredictable Emblem Island, filled with wicked creatures he only knows through myths, in a race against his dwindling lifeline.

Why I liked it: Emblem Island is such a cool setting with a unique origin story. Tor and his friends realize that all the scary childhood stories in the Book of Cuentos are actually a roadmap to the witch. That’s my favorite part–the truth of humanity that hides in every fairytale emerges fully formed in this novel. Some terrifying like the faceless vanor to the peaceful descendants of the Giantess of Nar, sent by the wish-gods to protect humans. What makes this novel stand out is that the tales are inspired by the Latin American stories the author’s Colombian abuela would tell her as a child.

Be careful what you wish for–the twists on this echoed throughout the book and it was interesting how it affected the plot. The ending was great. Everything felt resolved but it definitely leaves you anticipating the sequel.

July

The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas (7/21) In this magical middle-grade debut novel, a Cuban American boy must use his secret ability to communicate with animals to save the inhabitants of his town when they are threatened by a tule vieja, a witch that transforms into animals.

All twelve-year-old Nestor Lopez wants is to live in one place for more than a few months and have dinner with his dad, an Army sergeant deployed in Afghanistan. When he and his mother move to a new town to live with his grandmother, Nestor plans to lay low, and he certainly has no intention of letting anyone find out his deepest secret—that he can talk to animals. But when the animals in town start disappearing, and Nestor’s grandmother is spotted in the woods where they were last seen, suspicion mounts against her. Nestor learns that they are being taken by a tule vieja, a witch who bites animals to gain their power, and his extraordinary ability is put front and center as he tries to catch the real culprit and clear his grandmother’s name.

Why I liked it: Um, what kid hasn’t wished they could talk to animals?! Add a raven that drops “white lightning” on your bullies and tons of animal Quiz Bowl fun facts and you get a sense of Nestor’s new life in New Haven, the town where his dad grew up. It’s a fun read with a lot of heart as Nestor copes with a dad overseas, risking his life for our country, as well as moving constantly and navigating the minefield that is middle school friendships. Don’t read this hungry because between Nestor’s appetite and his abuela’s Cuban cooking, food is described so deliciously you can almost taste the cinnamon and sugar on a piping hot churro.

The Unadoptables by Hana Tooke (7/21) Neil Gaiman meets Hans Christian Andersen in this delicious fairy tale full of mysterious spirits, daring escapes, and a beautiful message about the power of found families.

In all the years that Elinora Gassbeek has been matron of the Little Tulip Orphanage, not once have the Rules for Baby Abandonment been broken. Until the autumn of 1880, when five babies are left in outrageous circumstances; one in a tin toolbox, one in a coal bucket, one in a picnic hamper, one in a wheat sack, and finally, one in a coffin-shaped basket.

Those babies were Lotta, Egg, Fenna, Sem, and Milou. And although their cruel matron might think they’re “unadoptable,” they know their individuality is what makes them special—and so determined to stay together.

When a most sinister gentleman appears and threatens to tear them apart, the gang make a daring escape across the frozen canals of Amsterdam. But is their real home—and their real family—already closer than they realize?

Why I liked it: Set in late 19th century Holland, The Unadoptables has the classic feel of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy-tale with the creepy magic and sinister mystery of a Neil Gaiman story. So of course I loved it.

It’s really Milou’s story the most but the way all five orphans pool their strengths and come together is heartwarming. Lotta, the mathematician and scientific one who wears a waistcoat and has six fingers on each hand; Sem, the sewist and costume designer; Egg, the artist and cartographer; and Fenna, the mute animal whisperer. They’re on the run from the mysterious stranger Rotman who wants to adopt them and so follow coordinates that might belong to Milou’s family–the Poppenmakers.

With Eyebrows of Curiosity, Milou’s Book of Theories, tingling ears that sense danger, Puppet Papa that thwarts nosy adults, an evil orphanage matron cut from the same cloth as Umbridge and Trunchbull, and a spooky abandoned theater, this book twists and turns in ways that make it un-put-downable.

August

Cattywampus by Ash Van Otterloo (8/4) The magical story of a hex that goes haywire, and the power of friendship to set things right!

In the town of Howler’s Hollow, conjuring magic is strictly off-limits. Only nothing makes Delpha McGill’s skin crawl more than rules. So when she finds her family’s secret book of hexes, she’s itching to use it to banish her mama’s money troubles. She just has to keep it quieter than a church mouse — not exactly Delpha’s specialty.

Trouble is, Katybird Hearn is hankering to get her hands on the spell book, too. The daughter of a rival witching family, Katy has reasons of her own for wanting to learn forbidden magic, and she’s not going to let an age-old feud or Delpha’s contrary ways stop her. But their quarrel accidentally unleashes a hex so heinous it resurrects a graveyard full of angry Hearn and McGill ancestors bent on total destruction. If Delpha and Katy want to reverse the spell in time to save everyone in the Hollow from rampaging zombies, they’ll need to mend fences and work together.

Fans of A Snicker of Magic and The Witch Boy will love this funny, folksy, fresh debut from Ash Van Otterloo that proves sometimes it takes two witches to make the strongest magic happen.

Why I liked it: First off, the title. It’s one of my favorite words so it immediately captured my attention. I adored this magical and folksy middle grade with fabulous voice that had me chuckling at the unique similes. Delpha and Katybird have wonderful character arcs that felt real. I also learned a lot about androgen insensitivity. It was presented in a way that I wasn’t hit over the head with facts but wove in nicely with the magic plotline. Katybird’s pet racoon, Podge, and Delpha’s resurrected outhouse/mode of transportation she calls Puppet makes for a truly cattywampus, and heart-warming, cast of characters.

The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf (8/4) A Malaysian folk tale comes to life in this emotionally layered, chilling middle grade debut, perfect for fans of The Book of Boy and The Jumbies.

I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother’s legacy. I am yours to command.

Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink and the two quickly become inseparable. But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are lost to the darkness.

Perfect for fans of Holly Black’s Doll Bones and Tahereh Mafi’s Furthermore series, this ghostly middle grade debut explores jealousy, love, and the extraordinary power of friendship.

Why I liked it: What kid hasn’t wished a swarm of mosquitos on the group of kids that make fun off their too-short pants or holey shoes? Suraya actually, when Pink feels the need to protect her from schoolhouse taunts. What starts off innocent enough turns scary as Suraya quickly sees how dangerous a pelesit can be and how dark jealousy can twist. When Pink goes too far, Suraya goes to her mother for help and help arrives in the form of the pawang, eager to add a pelesit to his command. So Suraya, her Star Wars-loving bestie Jing, and Pink start off on a journey to discover how her grandmother actually created Pink and it’s an ending I did not see coming, it was so absolutely perfect.

Kiki MacAdoo and the Graveyard Ballerinas by Colette Sewall (8/4) When eleven-year-old Kiki MacAdoo and her talented older sister go to Mount Faylinn Dance Conservatory for the summer, they ignore the brochure’s mysterious warning that “ballets come alive” in the nearby forest.

But after her sister disappears, it’s up to Kiki to brave the woods and save her sister from the ghost sylphs that dance young girls to their deaths. As Kiki unlocks the mysteries of Mount Faylinn, the ballet of the ghost sylphs, Giselle, simultaneously unfolds, sending Kiki on the adventure of a lifetime.

Why I liked it: Another book with a fabulous title, ‘graveyard ballerinas’ immediately caught my attention. Kiki and her sister Alison travel to this creepy old mansion in the middle of nowhere for summer dance camp and are immediately told the woods and being out after dark is off-limits. Kiki needs glasses to see clearly, but oddly, sees things that shouldn’t be there when she’s not wearing them. She learns she has ‘ghost eyes’ and is able to see the ghostly realm, something that comes in handy when her broken-hearted sister disappears over the Forbidden Lake into the Wilis Mound graveyard. It’s a great mix of the Giselle ballet, Irish folklore, and the power of sisters.

(All summaries are from the publishers.) 

What books are you or your tween looking forward to reading over the summer? Is your favorite not on this list? Tell us about it!

Want us to pre-order any of these books for you? We’re offering no-contact curbside pickups, porch drop-offs in select neighborhoods, and we’re open by appointment. Book your time slot here. If we don’t have the book that you’re looking for in stock, use our affiliate link with bookshop.org.

Happy summer reading!

Summer Reading Recommendations: Teens

This summer’s YA reads are full of activism in taking a stand with voice and voting. Also are atmospheric settings with equally enticing plots to help you get away from the world when it gets to be too much. Whether you and your teen are looking for Activism or an Atmospheric story (or both!) check out some of my favorite new YA books releasing this summer:

June

A Song Below Water (6/2, ages 13 and up) Legacies meets Nic Stone’s Dear Martin in [Bethany C.] Morrow’s YA fantasy debut: best friends discover their magical identities against today’s challenges facing young black girls. A captivating modern fantasy about black mermaids, friendship, and self-discovery set against the challenges of today’s racism and sexism.

In a society determined to keep her under lock and key, Tavia must hide her siren powers.

Meanwhile, Effie is fighting her own family struggles, pitted against literal demons from her past. Together, these best friends must navigate through the perils of high school’s junior year.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice at the worst possible moment.

Soon, nothing in Portland, Oregon, seems safe. To save themselves from drowning, it’s only Tavia and Effie’s unbreakable sisterhood that proves to be the strongest magic of all.

Why I liked it: Absolutely cover-love at first sight. What summer reading list is complete without a mermaid tale? It’s a very accessible story about finding your voice. I loved how Morrow wove reality with Black Lives Matter into a fantasy with sirens, gargoyles, pixies, and more. To have sirens unable to use their most powerful asset–their voice–because of societies’ fear reminded me of N.K. Jemison’s Broken Earth trilogy. I adored the friendship and sister-love between Tavia and Effie and the mystery of Effie’s self-discovery kept me turning the pages long after bedtime.

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (6/2, ages 13 and up) By debut Rosanne A. Brown. Perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi, Renée Ahdieh, and Sabaa Tahir.

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a heart-pounding course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

Why I liked it: Combine Aladdin and Jasmine (who must kill each other) with the Hunger Games and mix in West African folklore and you have this gorgeous, fast-paced fantasy. The world-building is fabulous, especially as more of the sultana’s family legend is revealed. Malik is my favorite character because Brown does an amazing job combining his anxiety with his magic, as well as making him an adoring brother to his two sisters. I got to know Karina’s character when she showed off her musical talent in playing her late father’s oud. To me, it was when her true personality shined brightest. This story mixes atmosphere and activism as Malik is an Eshran, from the ‘lesser’ territory of Ziran, and faces much prejudice so he hides his background until he learns to speak up for his people.

July

The Voting Booth (7/7, ages 12 and up) From Stonewall Award-winning author Brandy Colbert comes an all-in-one-day love story perfect for fans of The Sun is Also A Star.

Marva Sheridan was born ready for this day. She’s always been driven to make a difference in the world, and what better way than to vote in her first election?

Duke Crenshaw is so done with this election. He just wants to get voting over with so he can prepare for his band’s first paying gig tonight.
Only problem? Duke can’t vote.
When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted. She hasn’t spent months doorbelling and registering voters just to see someone denied their right.
And that’s how their whirlwind day begins, rushing from precinct to precinct, cutting school, waiting in endless lines, turned away time and again, trying to do one simple thing: vote. They may have started out as strangers, but as Duke and Marva team up to beat a rigged system (and find Marva’s missing cat), it’s clear that there’s more to their connection than a shared mission for democracy.
Romantic and triumphant, The Voting Booth is proof that you can’t sit around waiting for the world to change… but some things are just meant to be.
Why I liked it: This one is different from all the rest on this list because it’s the only one that isn’t a fantasy. I don’t read much YA contemporary but feel with all the poll and voting issues going on, that it’s important for teens today to see someone their own age who is passionate for democracy. The romance is sweet though my favorite part is all the fun facts sprinkled through the text (Angela doesn’t call us book nerds for nothing ;)). For instance, Marva’s IG famous cat is called Eartha Kitty so we learn how Eartha Kitt, in addition to being a 1950s sex symbol, was also a political activist, something that history seems to gloss over.

Ghost Wood Song (7/14, ages 13 and up ) Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures in this lush and eerie debut [by Erica Waters], where the boundary between reality and nightmares is as thin as the veil between the living and the dead.

If I could have a fiddle made of Daddy’s bones, I’d play it. I’d learn all the secrets he kept.

Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also knows the fiddle’s tunes bring nothing but trouble and darkness. When her brother is accused of murder, though, she can’t let the dead keep their secrets. In order to clear his name, she’s going to have to make those ghosts sing.

Family secrets, past heartache, a gorgeously resonant LGBT love triangle, and long-buried memories make this young adult debut more than just a ghost story—it’s haunting and hopeful and proves the importance of human connection and support in facing everything that haunts us in the dark.

Why I liked it: This pick is all about the atmosphere–it’s as lyrical and haunting as the bluegrass ballads Shady Grove plucks out of her fiddle. Creepy with a gorgeous Southern tone. It was un-put-down-able because I couldn’t tell what would happen next. I was like one of the fiddle’s ghosts–I couldn’t’ not be there. Beautiful imagery and setting.

August

Lobizona (8/4, ages 12 and up) Bestselling author Romina Garber weaves together Argentine folklore and what it means to be illegal in a timely, intimate, and emotionally powerful narrative.

Some people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past—a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . . it’s her entire existence.

Why I liked it: Another cover-love that gave me grabby-hands when this copy came into the bookshop. Think Harry Potter meets Argentinian folklore meets the hope/terror of people coming to the U.S. to start a better life. Manu immediately draws the reader into her world. And it’s a tiny one. Like apartment-sized. Because she thinks she’s waiting on papers to become a documented American citizen. The world-building in this book is amazing because it’s familiar yet so new at the same time, especially as Manu discovers more about who she really is. And who her parents are. And that brujas and lobizones and Lunaris aren’t just bedtime stories. It’s another story that beautifully and powerfully combines atmosphere and Latinx activism.

Where Dreams Descend (8/25, ages 14 and up) The startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.

A star showgirl must win a magician’s competition riddled with danger in order to secure her freedom, even as a handsome magician distracts her heart, in this lush, unforgettable debut fantasy.

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Why I liked it: The comparison titles drew me in–The Phantom of the Opera meets Moulin Rouge. It reminded me a lot of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval with the illusions and magic and not knowing who you should trust though the main characters’ motivations are very different. That not knowing really upped the tension because I had no idea if Kallia was making the right decisions. 

It’s said to be full of romantic tension, but that’s not what drives the story. Kallia doesn’t make decisions based on a boy, she works to make herself the best show magician she can be so it’s satisfyingly girl-powered. And her friendships and alliances with Aaros, the pick-pocketer turned loyal best friend/assistant and the ladies of the Conquering Circus really made me like Kallia more as it showed a different side of her and made her feel more dimensional as a character.

The world-building threw me for the first chapter or so, but give it time to reveal itself. Kallia doesn’t know much of anything past the walls of Hellfire House and the Master is that silent, secretive type so it was hard for me to connect to the story at first. But the imagery was lovely so I stuck with it and finally connected a couple chapters in.

The odd bird of a city Glorian has loads of mystery so I’m eager to read the next one to find out why all the townspeople have had their memories erased, and how it relates to the Master of Hellfire House and Demarco’s sister’s disappearance. Lots of cards up in the air, waiting to fall 😉

(All summaries are from the publisher.)

What books are you or your teen looking forward to reading over the summer? Is your favorite not on the list? Tell us about it!

Want us to pre-order any of these books for you? We’re offering no-contact curbside pickups, porch drop-offs in select neighborhoods, and we’re open by appointment. Book your time slot here. If we don’t have the book that you’re looking for in stock, use our affiliate link with bookshop.org.

Happy summer reading!

June LoDa Artwalk: Virtual Chat with Lauren K. Denton This Friday!

We’ll be doing the June artwalk virtually! Join Mobilian Lauren K. Denton online where she’ll be discussing her latest release SUMMER HOUSE!

Date: 6/12/2020
Time: 7:00:00 PM

RSVP here!

About SUMMER HOUSE
Written in Lauren Denton’s signature Southern style, The Summer House tells the story of two women who must face the pain of the past to embrace the future and learn who they truly are.

Sometimes it takes losing everything to find yourself again.

Lily Bishop wakes up one morning to find a good-bye note and divorce papers from her husband on the kitchen counter. Having moved to Alabama for his job only weeks before, Lily is devastated, but a flyer at the grocery store for a hair stylist position in a local retirement community provides a refuge while she contemplates her next steps.

Rose Carrigan built the small retirement village of Safe Harbor years ago—just before her husband ran off with his assistant. Now she runs a tight ship, making sure the residents follow her strict rules. Rose keeps everyone at arm’s length, including her own family. But when Lily shows up asking for a job and a place to live, Rose’s cold exterior begins to thaw.

Lily and Rose form an unlikely friendship, and Lily’s salon soon becomes the place where residents share town gossip, as well as a few secrets. Lily soon finds herself drawn to Rose’s nephew, Rawlins—a single dad and shrimper who’s had some practice at starting over—and one of the residents may be carrying a torch for Rose as well.

Neither Lily nor Rose is where she expected to be, but the summer makes them both wonder if there’s more to life and love than what they’ve experienced so far. The Summer House weaves Lauren K. Denton’s inviting Southern charm around a woman’s journey to find herself.

Reader Meet Writer Presents This Thursday – TJ Klune

Reader Meet Writer, Southern Edition

TJ Klune

Let us deliver authors to your living room. The next author in the Southern Edition series is TJ Klune. TJ Klune will be talking with us about their newest book The Extraordinaries and answering your questions. TJ Klune is one of many authors we’ll be bringing into your living room.

TJ KLUNE is a Lambda Literary Award-winning author (Into This River I Drown) and an ex-claims examiner for an insurance company. His novels include the Green Creek series, The House on the Cerulean Sea and The Exraordinaries. Being queer himself, TJ believes it’s important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories.

Here are the details you need:
Date: 6/11/2020
Time: 3:00:00 PM CST
RSVP here

The Extraordinaries

Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves. Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right? After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life). Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Marissa Meyer’s Renegades in TJ Klune’s YA debut.

To see a list of all upcoming authors booked so far, click here.

Reader Meet Writer Presents This Tuesday – Beverly Bell

Reader Meet Writer, Southern Edition

Beverly Bell

Let us deliver authors to your living room. The next author in the Southern Edition series is Beverly Bell. Beverly Bell will be talking with us about their newest book The Murder of Marion Miley and answering your questions. Beverly Bell is one of many authors we’ll be bringing into your living room.

SPECIAL READER MEET MURDER EVENT!
Author Beverly Bell explains How Not to Get Away with Murder in the 1940s as she traces the path the killers took: how they got in, how they got out and made their escape.

Beverly Bell is an award-winning magazine and crime writer whose work has appeared in Arizona Highways, Indianapolis Monthly, Keeneland Magazine, and Kentucky Monthly. Bell is also a featured consultant in Kentucky Education Television’s recent documentary Forgotten Fame: The Marion Miley Story.

Here are the details you need:
Date: 6/9/2020
Time: 2:00:00 PM CST
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The Murder of Marion Miley

Today, the name Marion Miley is largely unrecognizable, but in the fall of 1941, she was an internationally renowned golf champion, winning every leading women’s tournament except the elusive national title. This unassuming twenty-seven-year-old girl was beloved by all she met, including celebrities like jazz crooner Bing Crosby. With ambitions to become a doctor, it seemed Marion Miley was headed for greatness.

But on September 28, six gunshots broke through the early morning stillness of the Lexington Country Club. Marion had been brutally murdered. News of her death spread quickly, headlining major papers such as the New York Times. Support flooded in, spurring police in the hunt for her killers. However, the bombing of Pearl Harbor less than two months later would redirect public attention and sweep Marion’s story to a forgotten corner of time—until now.

The Murder of Marion Miley recounts the ensuing manhunt and trial, exploring the impact of class, family, and opportunity in a world where steely determination is juxtaposed with callous murderous intent. As the narrative voice oscillates between Marion’s father, her best friend, and one of her killers, an ever-present specter of what could have been—not just for Marion, but for all those affected by her tragic death—is conjured. By blending intensive research with the true crime genre, Beverly Bell succeeds in producing a passionate homage to one of the greatest golfers of the early twentieth century.

To see a list of all upcoming authors booked so far, click here.

Reader Meet Writer Presents – Peggy Noe Stevens and Susan Reigler

Reader Meet Writer, Southern Edition

Peggy Noe Stevens and Susan Reigler

Let us deliver authors to your living room. The next author event in the Southern Edition series is Peggy Noe Stevens and Susan Reigler. Peggy Noe Stevens and Susan Reigler will be talking with us about their newest book Which Fork Do I Use With My Bourbon? and answering your questions. Peggy Noe Stevens and Susan Reigler is one of many authors we’ll be bringing into your living room.

Join Peggy and Susan for a bourbon tasting and demonstration. Learn how to make an out-of-this-world Old Fashioned and a marvelous Mint Julep.

Peggy Noe Stevens is founder of the Bourbon Women Association and a master bourbon taster. A lifestyle expert, she is also a professional speaker. As a Bourbon Hall of Fame inductee, she has planned hundreds of events globally over the last thirty years, often working with distilleries and master distillers.

Susan Reigler is a former restaurant critic for the Louisville Courier-Journal and a current correspondent for Bourbon+ and American Whiskey magazines. She has also authored or coauthored six books on bourbon, including Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide and The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book.

Here are the details you need:
Date: 6/4/2020
Time: 4:00:00 PM CST
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Which Fork Do I Use With My Bourbon?

During their travels in bourbon country and beyond to conduct tastings and seminars, entertainment experts Peggy Noe Stevens and Susan Reigler often heard the question, “How do I do this in my home?” This book is their definitive answer. Which Fork Do I Use with My Bourbon? offers a step-by-step guide to hosting a successful bourbon-tasting party—complete with recipes, photos, and tips for beginners and experienced aficionados alike.

From decorations to glassware, this one-stop resource will guide readers from the day they mail invitations to the moment they welcome guests through the door. Alongside their favorite snack, entrée, dessert, and cocktail recipes, Stevens and Reigler offer advice on how to set up a bar, arrange tables, and pair recipes. Once readers are ready, Stevens and Reigler move on to advanced pairings for the bourbon foodie and present two innovative examples of tasting parties—a bourbon cocktail soiree and, of course, the traditional Kentucky Derby party. Inspired by the hosting traditions of five Kentucky distilleries, this book promises to motivate bourbon lovers to start their own bourbon-tasting traditions and to expand the expertise of longtime bourbon enthusiasts.

To see a list of all upcoming authors booked so far, click here.

Reader Meet Writer Presents – Ruby McConnell

Reader Meet Writer, Southern Edition

Ruby McConnell

Let us deliver authors to your living room. The next author in the Southern Edition series is Ruby McConnell. Ruby McConnell will be talking with us about their newest book Ground Truth: A Geological Survey of a Life and answering your questions. Ruby McConnell is one of many authors we’ll be bringing into your living room.

Ruby McConnell’s newest book Ground Truth: A Geological Survey of a Life will be released by Overcup Press in April 2020. McConnell is a registered geologist and outdoor adventurer who writes about nature, art, and culture with a particular emphasis on the intersection of the environment and human experience.

A recipient of numerous honors, including the Literary Arts Oregon Literary Fellowship, McConnell has written extensively about the Pacific Northwest and the environment in scientific and literary journals. She is the author of two previous titles, A Girl’s Guide to the Wild and A Woman’s Guide to the Wild, and lives in Oregon with her husband, Paul.

Here are the details you need:
Date: 6/2/2020
Time: 4:00:00 PM CST
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Ground Truth: A Geological Survey of a Life

Ruby McConnell morphs natural history and memoir to portray the forces and landscapes that have helped shape a region and the people who live in it. Challenging the notions of the region, McConnell explores the Northwest and the decades-long struggle over resources since the cataclysmic eruption of Mt. St. Helens in May 1980.

To see a list of all upcoming authors booked so far, click here.

Local Author Book Review: A TIME TO SERVE

A TIME TO SERVE: NEVER LIE, NEVER SETTLE, NEVER QUIT is the debut novel of local author Jennifer Widemire Smith. The story has great pacing, lots of heart, a thoughtful way of looking at grief, and more importantly, how to be present for friends who are experiencing grief. Smith is very knowledgeable about SEALs though the military details don’t bog the story down for civilian-readers. Rather, the SEAL way of life becomes a lens in which the characters strive to be their best warrior selves.

While the romance between Jefferies and Evie makes the story come alive, just as equally in my opinion, is the book about Jefferies’ comradery and loyalty to his SEAL team brothers. It seems equal parts about brokenness, grief, hope, and about being there for your loved ones.

I’m very intrigued by Evie’s past which is alluded to but we don’t know much about as the story is solely in Jefferies’ point of view. The discrepancy with her stalker, the subject of her new manuscript (yes, she’s a well-known thriller writer and I adore reading books about writers), etc…

And the biggest unknown… That ending. Whoa, boy. It gave me all the feels. I was not ready for my time reading A Time to Serve to end.

A TIME TO SERVE is out now! Pick up your signed copy at our no-contact curb or have it delivered, either porch-side in select neighborhoods or shipped.

Need more books like this by local authors while you’re being socially responsible and staying home?

If you’re looking for military thriller/romance, Angela recommends Cynthia Eden’s Broken (Last Option Search Team) about an ex-SEAL, as well as Katie Reus’ former Marine in Dark Momento.

If military non-fiction is more your thing, be sure to check out E.B. Sledge’s With the Old Breed and Sid Phillips’ You’ll Be Sor-Ree! both of which inspired the HBO miniseries The Pacific.

Reader Meet Writer Presents This Thursday – Lisa Wingate

Reader Meet Writer, Southern Edition

Lisa Wingate

Let us deliver authors to your living room. The next author in the Southern Edition series is Lisa Wingate. Lisa Wingate will be talking with us about their newest book The Book of Lost Friends and answering your questions. Lisa Wingate is one of many authors we’ll be bringing into your living room.

Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the author of numerous novels, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Before We Were Yours, which has sold more than 2.2 million copies. The co-author, with Judy Christie, of the nonfiction book, Before and After, Wingate is a two-time ACFW Carol Award winner, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, and a Southern Book Prize winner. She lives with her husband in North Texas.

Here are the details you need:
Date: 5/28/2020
Time: 6:00:00 PM CST
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The Book of Lost Friends

Louisiana, 1875: In the tumultuous aftermath of Reconstruction, three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest: Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now-destitute plantation; Juneau Jane, her illegitimate free-born Creole half-sister; and Hannie, Lavinia’s former slave. Each carries private wounds and powerful secrets as they head for Texas, following dangerous roads rife with ruthless vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of inheritance and financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from her mother and eight siblings before slavery’s end, the pilgrimage westward reignites an agonizing question: Could her long-lost family still be out there? Beyond the swamps lie the seemingly limitless frontiers of Texas and, improbably, hope.

Louisiana, 1987: For first-year teacher Benedetta Silva, a subsidized job at a poor rural school seems like the ticket to canceling her hefty student debt—until she lands in Augustine, Louisiana. The tiny, out-of-step Mississippi River town seems suspicious of new ideas and new people, and Benny can hardly comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. But amid the gnarled live oaks and rundown plantation homes lies the century-old history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything.

To see a list of all upcoming authors booked so far, click here.