Book List, Indie Next

May Indie Next New in Paperback

We’ve been so excited to have the Indie Next New in Paperback display back up at the store and based on how often we’ve had to restock it, it seems you, our wonderful customers, do as well! Today we’re featuring the titles that are new for May in paperback.

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

Getting into Catherine House is the key to success. Spend three years here completely removed from the outside world, separate yourself from your life before Catherine House, and when the three years are over, you’ll be unstoppable. That’s the premise for this evocative and gripping gothic novel. Elisabeth Thomas’ ability to create at once an elusive yet highly practical world makes her a stunning new literary voice. Inspired by secret societies, scientific experimentation, and the mysteriousness of finding ourselves, Catherine House is sure to haunt readers.

Stephanie Skees, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

A gothic-infused debut of literary suspense, set within a secluded, elite university and following a dangerously curious, rebellious undergraduate who uncovers a shocking secret about an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

Trust us, you belong here.

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises a future of sublime power and prestige, and that its graduates can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year’s incoming class is Ines Murillo, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. Even the school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves within the formidable iron gates of Catherine. For Ines, it is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had. But the House’s strange protocols soon make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when tragedy strikes, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda within the secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Combining the haunting sophistication and dusky, atmospheric style of Sarah Waters with the unsettling isolation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Catherine House is a devious, deliciously steamy, and suspenseful page-turner with shocking twists and sharp edges that is sure to leave readers breathless.

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

A great start to a new series! I love Naomi’s writing and greatly enjoyed seeing her write in a different style than she did for Uprooted and Spinning Silver. This new series promises to be a world full of adventure and spectacular characters!

Sarah, TBC Manager

A Deadly Education takes a fresh stab at the magical boarding school setting in this inventive and compelling new novel from Naomi Novik. Galadriel Higgins is a student at Scholomance, a dangerous institution full of things that don’t just go bump in the night, they tend to maim and murder the students. In such a perilous place, it’s important to have friends. Unfortunately, Galadriel is a sarcastic misanthrope with a potent affinity toward mass destruction and death, but she might have to start relying on her non-magical charms to get out of this school alive. With a wink to all your favorite series, A Deadly Education is guaranteed to enthrall!

Heather Herbaugh, Mitzi’s Books, Rapid City, SD

I decided that Orion Lake needed to die after the second time he saved my life.

Everyone loves Orion Lake. Everyone else, that is. Far as I’m concerned, he can keep his flashy combat magic to himself. I’m not joining his pack of adoring fans.

I don’t need help surviving the Scholomance, even if they do. Forget the hordes of monsters and cursed artifacts, I’m probably the most dangerous thing in the place. Just give me a chance and I’ll level mountains and kill untold millions, make myself the dark queen of the world.

At least, that’s what the world expects. Most of the other students in here would be delighted if Orion killed me like one more evil thing that’s crawled out of the drains. Sometimes I think they want me to turn into the evil witch they assume I am. The school certainly does.

But the Scholomance isn’t getting what it wants from me. And neither is Orion Lake. I may not be anyone’s idea of the shining hero, but I’m going to make it out of this place alive, and I’m not going to slaughter thousands to do it, either.

Although I’m giving serious consideration to just one.

With flawless mastery, Naomi Novik creates a school bursting with magic like you’ve never seen before, and a heroine for the ages–a character so sharply realized and so richly nuanced that she will live on in hearts and minds for generations to come.

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

I am staggered by the immersive, fluid, irresistible prose Emezi has perfected in their third novel, The Death of Vivek Oji. This tale follows the captivating, curious Vivek through the aftermath of his mysterious death, while simultaneously examining the people and relationships closest to him. Vivek, his cousin Osita, and a distant third-person narrator lead the reader through a grounded, lively picture of Nigeria, family and friendship bonds stretched to their breaking points, and the passing of this unique, complex young boy. Through addictive, multifaceted characters and a simply beautiful story, Emezi inspects masculinity, otherness, and love. This is one of the most magical, compelling, exciting, thought-provoking, and important books of our time.

Margy Adams, Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, OH

What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?

One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom. 

Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.

The Falling Woman by Richard Farrell

Imagine finding out that you have terminal cancer and are faced with the decision of whether or not to seek treatment. The next thing you know, you are the only survivor of a plane crash and no one knows who you are or how you survived. Well-written and plausible, The Falling Woman is a story about a woman who decides to take control of the rest of her life in an unconventional way for the benefit of herself and her family.

Lauren Zimmerman, The Writer’s Block Bookstore, Winter Park, FL

First, it’s just a barely believable rumor: one person may have survived the midair explosion of a passenger jet on a cross-country course from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. But soon she becomes a national media sensation when “the Falling Woman,” as the press dubs her, is said to have been taken to a Wichita hospital—and then to have disappeared without a trace.

As a dedicated National Transportation Safety Bureau agent joins the search for clues, he becomes drawn into the woman’s moving and personal fight to keep secret the story of her survival, even from her own family, and possibly at risk to his own career. 

The Falling Woman is a novel that asks compelling and controversial questions about the value of life and what should be sacrificed in the name of love.

Fresh Water for Flowers by Valerie Perrin

Valérie Perrin’s Fresh Water for Flowers is gorgeous. Reading it was almost like being baptized by Violette’s presence as a cemetery keeper, in its comfort, stability, and floral surroundings. Perrin takes us into the pool of Violette’s melancholic past, from first loves to devastating losses. It truly gripped each and every one of my emotions, from fear and sorrow to elation and sentimentality. Whatever I can write as a review, this book is still so much more. I’m so thankful to have read it and can’t wait to share it with readers.

Cat Chapman, The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL

A #1 best-seller in France and in Italy, where it was dubbed Italy’s favorite “lockdown novel,” Fresh Water for Flowers is an intimately told story about a woman who defiantly believes in happiness, despite it all.

Violette Toussaint is the caretaker at a cemetery in a small town in Bourgogne. Her life is lived to the predictable rhythms of the often funny, always moving confidences that casual mourners, regular visitors, and sundry colleagues share with her. Violette’s routine is disrupted one day by the arrival of Julien Sole–local police chief–who has come to scatter the ashes of his recently deceased mother on the gravesite of a complete stranger. It soon becomes clear that Julien’s inexplicable gesture is intertwined with Violette’s own complicated past.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

In the late 1930s, the Works Progress Administration developed a number of projects intended to provide employment opportunities for unemployed artists, writers, and craftsmen. One of those projects was the Pack Horse Library Initiative, in which mounted horsewomen picked their way along snowy hillsides and through muddy creeks with a simple goal: to deliver reading material to Kentucky’s isolated mountain communities. In The Giver of Stars, Moyes has brought to life the amazing, funny, adventurous stories of a few of these trailblazing women. Historical fiction lovers will devour this story of a little-known piece of U.S. history.

Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

From the author of The Last Letter from Your Lover, soon to be a major motion picture on Netflix, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond in Depression-era America

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve, hoping to escape her stifling life in England.  But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky. 

What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity, and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic–a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

I loved Hamnet in very much the same way I loved Lincoln in the Bardo. This novel explores the way the dead haunt the living—especially how the death of a child haunts their parents—and does it in the context of a fascinating historical figure and time. But we know so much about the Lincolns, and so little about the Shakespeares. Maggie O’Farrell’s ability to construct a palpably real emotional life for all the members of the Shakespeare family—but especially for Shakespeare’s wife—is just magical. This is a powerful and haunting novel.

Nina Barrett, Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, IL

England, 1580: The Black Death creeps across the land, an ever-present threat, infecting the healthy, the sick, the old and the young alike. The end of days is near, but life always goes on. A young Latin tutor—penniless and bullied by a violent father—falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman. Agnes is a wild creature who walks her family’s land with a falcon on her glove and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer, understanding plants and potions better than she does people. Once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon, she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose career on the London stage is just taking off when his beloved young son succumbs to sudden fever.

Hieroglyphics by Jill McCorkle

Jill McCorkle’s latest novel, Hieroglyphics, tackles early loss and how its memory persists in the minds of those who experience it. McCorkle weaves the stories of four unassuming characters and their individual traumas into a braided cord of empathy, revelation, and survival. Her storytelling skill is in high gear in this quiet yet deeply insightful drama that will remain in the reader’s mind long after the final page.

Linda Kass, Gramercy Books, Bexley, OH

After many years in Boston, Lil and Frank have retired to North Carolina. The two of them married young, having bonded over how they both—suddenly, tragically—lost a parent when they were children. Now, Lil has become deter­mined to leave a history for their own kids. She sifts through letters and notes and diary entries, uncovering old stories—and perhaps revealing more secrets than Frank wants their children to know.

Meanwhile, Frank has become obsessed with the house he lived in as a boy on the outskirts of town, where a young single mother, Shelley, is now raising her son. For Shelley, Frank’s repeated visits begin to trigger memories of her own family, memories that she’d hoped to keep buried. Because, after all, not all parents are ones you wish to remember.

Empathetic and profound, this novel from master storyteller Jill McCorkle deconstructs and reconstructs what it means to be a father or a mother, and to be a child trying to know your parents—a child learning to make sense of the hieroglyphics of history and memory. 

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar

A masterful blend of memoir and fiction, this is an unforgettable journey through the lives of a Muslim family finding their place in a post-9/11 America. A searing navigation of the loves we try to reconcile — familial, religious, societal — and the definition of home. Written with wisdom, wit, and unsparing honesty, this an important book that you will continue to contemplate for a very long time. Both intimate and epic, this is a must-read.

Pam Stirling, East Bay Booksellers, Oakland, CA

A deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams, Homeland Elegies blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of longing and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made. Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque novel, at its heart it is the story of a father, a son, and the country they both call home.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ayad Akhtar forges a new narrative voice to capture a country in which debt has ruined countless lives and the gods of finance rule, where immigrants live in fear, and where the nation’s unhealed wounds wreak havoc around the world. Akhtar attempts to make sense of it all through the lens of a story about one family, from a heartland town in America to palatial suites in Central Europe to guerrilla lookouts in the mountains of Afghanistan, and spares no one—least of all himself—in the process.

I’d Give Anything by Marisa de los Santos

A beautifully written story of identity lost and found, friendship, the love of a mother for her child, and what happens when decades-old secrets are brought to light. Ginny is married with a teenage daughter when her husband’s scandal threatens to bring her world crashing down around her. Strong female relationships take the lead as Ginny strives to protect her daughter and reckons with her past. Highly recommend.

Jessica Nock, Main Street Books (NC), Davidson, NC

From the New York Times bestselling author of Love Walked In and Belong to Me comes a profound and heart-rending story about a horrific tragedy that marks one woman and her hometown and about the explosive secrets that come to light twenty years later.

Ginny Beale is eighteen, irreverent, funny, and brave, with a brother she adores and a circle of friends for whom she would do anything. Because of one terrible night, she loses them all—and her adventurous spirit—seemingly forever. While the town cheers on the high school football team, someone sets a fire in the school’s auditorium. Ginny’s best friend Gray Marsden’s father, a fire fighter, dies in the blaze.

While many in the town believe a notoriously troubled local teen set the fire, Ginny makes a shattering discovery that casts blame on the person she trusts most in the world. Ginny tells no one, but the secret isolates her, looming between her and her friends and ruining their friendship.

Over the next two decades, Ginny puts aside her wanderlust and her dreams. She marries a quiet man after college, and they move back to her hometown, where she raises their daughter, Avery, and cares for her tyrannical, ailing mother, Adela. She distances herself from the past and from nearly everyone she knew. But when Ginny’s husband, Harris, becomes embroiled in a scandal, her carefully controlled life crumbles, and, just when Ginny believes she is regaining her bearings, the secret she’s kept for twenty years emerges and threatens to destroy her hopes for the future.

With the help of fifteen-year-old Avery and of friends both old and new, Ginny must summon the courage to confront old lies and hard truths and to free herself and the people she loves from the mistakes and regrets that have burdened them for so long.

The Last Flight by Julie Clark

When two women from different backgrounds, each with good reason for wanting to escape her current life, meet by chance at JFK, they decide to switch plane tickets and identities. When one of the flights crashes, the action really begins. This is a unique thriller that draws you into both lives and will have you turning the pages until the unexpected but perfect ending. I loved it!

Terry Gilman, Creating Conversations, Redondo Beach, CA

Two women. Two flights. One last chance to disappear.

Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns bright and he’s not above using his staff to track Claire’s every move.

What he doesn’t know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish. A plan that takes her to the airport, poised to run from it all. But a chance meeting in the airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision.

The two women switch tickets, with Claire taking Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They believe the swap will give each of them the head start they need to begin again somewhere far away. But when the flight to Puerto Rico crashes, Claire realizes it’s no longer a head start but a new life. Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva’s identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.

For fans of Lisa Jewell and Liv Constantine, The Last Flight is the story of two women–both alone, both scared–and one agonizing decision that will change the trajectory of both of their lives.

Monogamy by Sue Miller

Bookstore owner Graham is a friend to all and larger than life in every way. His first wife, Frieda, and current wife, Annie, both know and love him for it. But after Graham’s unexpected death, secrets emerge that bring everything Annie thought she knew into question. Daughter Sarah and stepson Lucas help her through her grief, but anger is harder to leave behind. Fans of The Most Fun We Ever Had will love this beautifully written, honest look at the deep but fragile bond of love.

Beth Mynhier, Lake Forest Book Store, Lake Forest, IL

A brilliantly insightful novel, engrossing and haunting, about marriage, love, family, happiness and sorrow, from New York Times bestselling author Sue Miller.

Graham and Annie have been married for nearly thirty years. Their seemingly effortless devotion has long been the envy of their circle of friends and acquaintances. By all appearances, they are a golden couple.

Graham is a bookseller, a big, gregarious man with large appetites—curious, eager to please, a lover of life, and the convivial host of frequent, lively parties at his and Annie’s comfortable house in Cambridge. Annie, more reserved and introspective, is a photographer. She is about to have her first gallery show after a six-year lull and is worried that the best years of her career may be behind her. They have two adult children; Lucas, Graham’s son with his first wife, Frieda, works in New York. Annie and Graham’s daughter, Sarah, lives in San Francisco. Though Frieda is an integral part of this far-flung, loving family, Annie feels confident in the knowledge that she is Graham’s last and greatest love.

When Graham suddenly dies—this man whose enormous presence has seemed to dominate their lives together—Annie is lost. What is the point of going on, she wonders, without him? 

Then, while she is still mourning Graham intensely, she discovers a ruinous secret, one that will spiral her into darkness and force her to question whether she ever truly knew the man who loved her.

One by One by Ruth Ware

So when I said before that I didn’t really read the mystery genre that may have been a slight misrepresentation. I have a deep love of Agatha Christie and One By One is a book that certainly follows in the Christie tradition. Set in a Ski Chalet One by One is the story of a company retreat gone terribly wrong. What was supposed to be a collection of trust falls and leadership building turns into something much darker when an avalanche hits and people begin to disappear one by one. When you’re snowed in and you can’t trust anyone, what will you do to climb the corporate ladder to safety?

Drew, TBC Owner

Erin and Danny are the in-house help that run a French chalet rental, and they enjoy it. But when ten people come for the week from the tech company Snoop, they get a little more than they signed up for. I’ve said it many times: Ruth Ware just gets better and better. I’ve loved all her books, but each one is better than the last. One by One is no exception.

Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Roswell, GA

Getting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world. Especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a full-service chef and housekeeper, a cozy fire to keep you warm, and others to keep you company. Unless that company happens to be eight coworkers…each with something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide.

When the cofounder of Snoop, a trendy London-based tech start-up, organizes a weeklong trip for the team in the French Alps, it starts out as a corporate retreat like any other: PowerPoint presentations and strategy sessions broken up by mandatory bonding on the slopes. But as soon as one shareholder upends the agenda by pushing a lucrative but contentious buyout offer, tensions simmer and loyalties are tested. The storm brewing inside the chalet is no match for the one outside, however, and a devastating avalanche leaves the group cut off from all access to the outside world. Even worse, one Snooper hadn’t made it back from the slopes when the avalanche hit.

As each hour passes without any sign of rescue, panic mounts, the chalet grows colder, and the group dwindles further…one by one.

The Paris Hours by Alex George

Alex George has woven a beautiful tapestry of a historical novel in The Paris Hours through four colorful, intertwining threads. Each of the characters will touch your heart with their stories of love, loss, the ravages of war, and their search for answers and a path to pick up the broken pieces of their lives. Lush with descriptions of 1927’s Paris and the appearance of many famous cultural figures of the era, The Paris Hours will transport readers to a time and place they will be reluctant to leave until the last unexpected moment.

Betsy Von Kerens, The Bookworm of Omaha, Omaha, NE

One day in the City of Light. One night in search of lost time.

Paris between the wars teems with artists, writers, and musicians, a glittering crucible of genius. But amidst the dazzling creativity of the city’s most famous citizens, four regular people are each searching for something they’ve lost.

Camille was the maid of Marcel Proust, and she has a secret: when she was asked to burn her employer’s notebooks, she saved one for herself. Now she is desperate to find it before her betrayal is revealed. Souren, an Armenian refugee, performs puppet shows for children that are nothing like the fairy tales they expect. Lovesick artist Guillaume is down on his luck and running from a debt he cannot repay—but when Gertrude Stein walks into his studio, he wonders if this is the day everything could change. And Jean-Paul is a journalist who tells other people’s stories, because his own is too painful to tell. When the quartet’s paths finally cross in an unforgettable climax, each discovers if they will find what they are looking for.

Told over the course of a single day in 1927, Alex George’s The Paris Hours takes four ordinary people whose stories, told together, are as extraordinary as the glorious city they inhabit.

Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazer

Jean Kyoung Frazier’s Pizza Girl breathes honesty into narratives surrounding pregnancy and motherhood, and faces the desperate ambivalence that often accompanies these experiences but is left unspoken. We explore this through characters who cling to one another in an attempt to escape the disappointment and stresses of their own personal lives. Pizza Girl presents us with an important sentiment: You cannot outrun the fact that the people who created you will always be a part of you to some degree or another. But you can work to grasp the ways in which you manifest that into who you are as an individual.

Jack Hawthorn, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS

An audacious and wryly funny coming-of-age story about a pregnant pizza delivery girl who becomes obsessed with one of her customers.

Eighteen years old, pregnant, and working as a pizza delivery girl in suburban Los Angeles, our charmingly dysfunctional heroine is deeply lost and in complete denial. She’s grieving the death of her father, avoiding her supportive mom and loving boyfriend, and flagrantly ignoring her future.

Her world is further upended when she becomes obsessed with Jenny, a stay-at-home mother new to the neighborhood, who comes to depend on weekly deliveries of pickled-covered pizzas for her son’s happiness. As one woman looks toward motherhood and the other toward middle age, the relationship between the two begins to blur in strange, complicated, and ultimately heartbreaking ways.

The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels

This beautiful, elegiac novel tells the story of the last homecoming to rural Ohio for Brian, who is dying of AIDS at the height of the 1980s epidemic. Told with empathy and heart, complemented by a pitch-perfect sense of time and place, The Prettiest Star is a deeply affecting story about what it means to understand each other and where we come from, even when our lives have taken us light years away.

Ashley Warlick, M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers, Greenville, SC

The story of Brian’s return to small-town Ohio is told in a chorus of voices: Brian’s mother Sharon; his fourteen-year-old sister, Jess, as she grapples with her brother’s mysterious return; and the video diaries Brian makes to document his final summer. Written in prose that seeks “to answer without flinching away from ugliness and without demonizing the ignorant” (Salon), The Prettiest Star offers an urgent portrait of a family in the center of a national crisis, in order to tell a unique story about the politics and fragility of the body, and to explore the bounds of family and redemption.

Shakespeare for Squirrels by Christopher Moore

Before reading this book, I was unacquainted with Christopher’s Moore’s work and came in totally underestimating what I was in for. Masterfully written in Shakespearean style, this book tells the absolutely hilarious tale of Pocket, a royal fool, and the shenanigans he gets caught in while shipwrecked in Greece. While it does contain adult humor, this is an absolute gut-buster and a must for fans of the classic Bard.

Christopher, TBC Bookseller

This is a crazy funny new take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream that will have you laughing out loud and getting goofy looks from the other people in the coffee shop. Christopher Moore is always entertaining, and this book is no exception — you will enjoy it from the first sentence to the very last. And, yes, there are squirrels in the story!

Julie Cameron, Beach Books, Seaside, OR

Shakespeare meets Dashiell Hammett in this wildly entertaining murder mystery from New York Times bestselling author Christopher Moore—an uproarious, hardboiled take on the Bard’s most performed play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring Pocket, the hero of Fool and The Serpent of Venice, along with his sidekick, Drool, and pet monkey, Jeff.

Set adrift by his pirate crew, Pocket of Dog Snogging—last seen in The Serpent of Venice—washes up on the sun-bleached shores of Greece, where he hopes to dazzle the Duke with his comedic brilliance and become his trusted fool.

But the island is in turmoil. Egeus, the Duke’s minister, is furious that his daughter Hermia is determined to marry Demetrius, instead of Lysander, the man he has chosen for her. The Duke decrees that if, by the time of the wedding, Hermia still refuses to marry Lysander, she shall be executed . . . or consigned to a nunnery. Pocket, being Pocket, cannot help but point out that this decree is complete bollocks, and that the Duke is an egregious weasel for having even suggested it. Irritated by the fool’s impudence, the Duke orders his death. With the Duke’s guards in pursuit, Pocket makes a daring escape.

He soon stumbles into the wooded realm of the fairy king Oberon, who, as luck would have it, IS short a fool. His jester Robin Goodfellow—the mischievous sprite better known as Puck—was found dead. Murdered. Oberon makes Pocket an offer he can’t refuse: he will make Pocket his fool and have his death sentence lifted if Pocket finds out who killed Robin Goodfellow. But as anyone who is even vaguely aware of the Bard’s most performed play ever will know, nearly every character has a motive for wanting the mischievous sprite dead.

With too many suspects and too little time, Pocket must work his own kind of magic to find the truth, save his neck, and ensure that all ends well.

A rollicking tale of love, magic, madness, and murder, Shakespeare for Squirrels is a Midsummer Night’s noir—a wicked and brilliantly funny good time conjured by the singular imagination of Christopher Moore.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient is an outstanding thriller centered on a spellbinding mystery with a shocking twist; in other words, you are going to love this book. Alicia was a talented painter and devoted wife until the night she was discovered still as a statue and covered in blood, having apparently killed her husband. The answer as to why has remained locked inside of Alicia, who stops speaking following the murder. Six years later, Theo, a young psychologist, is determined to get the mysterious Alicia to spill all of her secrets. The final surprise will have you rethinking every riveting scene in this brilliant debut.

Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Alex Michaelides’s The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

A really fun romp through the gated communities of the south during the early 90’s, with a vampire thrown in too! I have really enjoyed all of Grady Hendrix’s novels thus far and am happy to say that this one continues the tradition. The vampire was good and spooky and it was super refreshing to not just have him feed on peoples blood but also create suffering in the communities as well. Best moment in the book was when the two women were comparing the best ways to clean up after themselves, I literally cackled.

Drew, TBC Owner

Grady Hendrix somehow makes horror charming. His style of writing — unrelenting humanity in the face of real terror, of both the supernatural and everyday varieties — is in top form here. He’s one of a handful of authors whose new work I devour as soon as I get my hands on it. Hendrix knows how to terrify you, but more importantly, he knows how to make you feel like you can potentially overcome the thing that scares you the most.

Colin Sneed, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

Now in paperback, Steel Magnolias meets Dracula in this ’90s-set horror novel about a women’s book club that must do battle with a mysterious newcomer to their small Southern town, perfect for murderinos and fans of Stephen King.

Bonus features:
   • Reading group guide for book clubs
   • Hand-drawn map of Mt. Pleasant
   • Annotated true-crime reading list by Grady Hendrix
   • And more!

Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt smaller. Her husband is a workaholic, her teenage kids have their own lives, her senile mother-in-law needs constant care, and she’s always a step behind on her endless to-do list. The only thing keeping her sane is her book club, a close-knit group of Charleston women united by their love of true crime. At these meetings they’re as likely to talk about the Manson family as they are about their own families.

One evening after book club, Patricia is viciously attacked by an elderly neighbor, bringing the neighbor’s handsome nephew, James Harris, into her life. James is well traveled and well read, and he makes Patricia feel things she hasn’t felt in years. But when children on the other side of town go missing, their deaths written off by local police, Patricia has reason to believe James Harris is more of a Bundy than a Brad Pitt. The real problem? James is a monster of a different kind—and Patricia has already invited him in. 

Little by little, James will insinuate himself into Patricia’s life and try to take everything she took for granted—including the book club—but she won’t surrender without a fight in this blood-soaked tale of neighborly kindness gone wrong.

Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark

Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark bring the breeziness of their popular podcast My Favorite Murder to print in this collection of life hacks and true confessions. Alternately hilarious and wise, the two play off each other with the abandon of old college buddies. Fans of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck will find much to enjoy here. While the book will leave you in stitches, the advice the pair doles out is solid and bankable. The book should be in every college freshman’s backpack as they leave for school.

Grace Harper, Mac’s Backs, Cleveland Heights, OH

The instant #1 New York Times and USA Today best seller by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the voices behind the hit podcast My Favorite Murder now available in paperback. Includes special bonus material!

Sharing never-before-heard stories ranging from their struggles with depression, eating disorders, and addiction, Karen and Georgia irreverently recount their biggest mistakes and deepest fears, reflecting on the formative life events that shaped them into two of the most followed voices in the nation.

In Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered, Karen and Georgia focus on the importance of self-advocating and valuing personal safety over being ‘nice’ or ‘helpful.’ They delve into their own pasts, true crime stories, and beyond to discuss meaningful cultural and societal issues with fierce empathy and unapologetic frankness.

Take Me Apart by Sara Sligar

In this delicious psychological thriller, we learn what it means to take on the job of archiving a famous person’s memories as found in papers, photos, and diaries. As Kate begins the daunting task, it does not take her long to find an uneasiness creeping into her heart and mind concerning how Miranda Brand died years before. And when she begins to wonder about Miranda’s son, Theo, and his potential involvement in the death, things get very scary, indeed. This is a grand debut that will give you chills and thrills, and a chance to hone your investigative skills. Have fun!

Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

A spellbinding novel of psychological suspense that follows a young archivist’s obsession with her subject’s mysterious death as it threatens to destroy her fragile grasp on sanity.

When the famed photographer Miranda Brand died mysteriously at the height of her career, it sent shock waves through Callinas, California. Decades later, old wounds are reopened when her son Theo hires the ex-journalist Kate Aitken to archive his mother’s work and personal effects.

As Kate sorts through the vast maze of material and contends with the vicious rumors and shocking details of Miranda’s private life, she pieces together a portrait of a vibrant artist buckling under the pressures of ambition, motherhood, and marriage. But Kate has secrets of her own, including a growing attraction to the enigmatic Theo, and when she stumbles across Miranda’s diary, her curiosity spirals into a dangerous obsession.

A seductive, twisting tale of psychological suspense, Take Me Apart draws readers into the lives of two darkly magnetic young women pinned down by secrets and lies. Sara Sligar’s electrifying debut is a chilling, thought-provoking take on art, illness, and power, from a spellbinding new voice in suspense.

Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell

Another delightfully addictive novel from this masterful storyteller. We get in on the ground floor witnessing the formation and rise of a rock band in London just as the British Invasion is taking off. Filled with great characters and lots of fun, inside Mitchellisms fans will love — a character named De Zoet, an album with Cloud Atlas in the title — this is a wonderful book and perfect summer reading.

Cody Morrison , Square Books, Oxford, MS

Utopia Avenue is the strangest British band you’ve never heard of. Emerging from London’s psychedelic scene in 1967, and fronted by folk singer Elf Holloway, blues bassist Dean Moss and guitar virtuoso Jasper de Zoet, Utopia Avenue embarked on a meteoric journey from the seedy clubs of Soho, a TV debut on Top of the Pops, the cusp of chart success, glory in Amsterdam, prison in Rome, and a fateful American sojourn in the Chelsea Hotel, Laurel Canyon, and San Francisco during the autumn of ’68.

David Mitchell’s kaleidoscopic novel tells the unexpurgated story of Utopia Avenue’s turbulent life and times; of fame’s Faustian pact and stardom’s wobbly ladder; of the families we choose and the ones we don’t; of voices in the head, and the truths and lies they whisper; of music, madness, and idealism. Can we really change the world, or does the world change us?

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