From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
The Fifth Petal: A Novel by Brunonia Barry (Crown, $27, 9781101905609). "Brunonia Barry's newest witchy tale, set in Salem, follows the threads of three mysteries that all ended in murder. Callie, who carries the scars of murders past, is joined by detectives Rafferty and Towner from Barry's The Lace Reader in a race to stop yet more killings and collective town wounds. Barry's prose excels at keeping readers chasing threads and second-guessing theories about the crimes depicted. Her research and experience of Salem are evident, and her witches make me want to become one. History and folklore are woven like lace in this mystery as new characters and old favorites attempt to solve puzzles from as far back as the witch trials that made Salem famous." --Jessica Hahl, Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, Mont.
Rise: How a House Built a Family by Cara Brookins (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250095664). "It's been a long time since I've read a book with such a strong female character--and it's not fiction! Cara Brookins has survived three bad marriages. After the abusive third marriage dissolves, Brookins resolves not to be scared anymore and decides with steadfast determination to take charge of her family. She takes her kids on a road trip to a cabin in the Ozarks, where they begin to dream about having a new house that represents their new life. Though it's hard for them not to be scared at every turn, their recovery and growth parallels the structure of their home. As they build, they tear down emotional walls. I kept looking at the photo of that amazing house on the back of the book with wonder that she was able to do this on her own. What an amazingly strong woman! I loved this book." --Marya Johnston, Out West Books, Grand Junction, Colo.
Heat and Light: A Novel by Jennifer Haigh (Ecco, $14.99, 9780061763496). "Haigh has been building a body of work around Bakerton, Pennsylvania, for more than a decade. In this new novel, Haigh once again unleashes the sweep of historical forces as out-of-state companies look to drill for natural gas deposits. There is hope among residents that the future will be brighter, but there is also risk that they will just end up victims of greed and further environmental ruin. This is a big, issue oriented book, but its success is found in the brilliance with which Haigh crafts her characters and makes their lives a vehicle for looking at the moral, political, environmental, and economic questions about fracking. A timely book and perhaps one even worthy of the title 'Great American Novel.' " --Anmiryam Budner, Main Point Books, Bryn Mawr, Pa.
For Ages 4 to 8
Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin (Schwartz & Wade, $17.99, 9780553537895). "A nearly wordless picture book laid out like a graphic novel, Little Fox in the Forest is a beautifully illustrated story of friendship, exploration, and discovering the unexpected. The wordless format allows even the littlest littles to enjoy it on their own and tell the story in their own words. And, oh my gracious, the little animals in their people clothes and their little village in the forest are just too danged adorable for words." --Billie Bloebaum, Third Street Books, McMinnville, Ore.
For Ages 9 to 12
Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson (Walden Pond Press, $16.99, 9780062306715). "Liam and Phoebe must leave the only home they have ever known, but enemy forces turn their final day on Mars into an adventure that may lead to the end of human civilization. Avid and reluctant readers will flock to this ambitious new saga, which will have them turning pages at breakneck speed and gasping with awe. If you like your science fiction to be based on facts, crafted around well-developed characters, and dished out with stunning excitement, get your hands on a copy of Last Day on Mars. Kevin Emerson's new middle-grade series is an action-packed tour de force that might just overload your brain circuits." --Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn.
For Teen Readers
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro (Katherine Tegen, $17.99, 9780062398949). "Dark, devious, and delightful! Teenage angst has never led to such fun as Jamie Watson follows Charlotte Holmes down the rabbit hole once more in this exciting sequel to A Study in Charlotte. Between international travel, art forgery, minions, and the most awkward family gathering imaginable, this book is full of adventure, mystery, and great Sherlockian deductions. Readers also get a peek into the Moriarty family, plus there's romance, false identities, and poison. What more could a Sherlock Holmes fan ask for?" --Kate Towery, The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]