Also published on this date: Monday, March 1 Dedicated Issue: Tor Nightfire

Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 1, 2021

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne


Frenchtown Bookshop Opening in N.J.

The former Book Garden is becoming the Frenchtown Bookshop.

Frenchtown Bookshop, a general-interest independent bookstore, is set to open in Frenchtown, N.J., in April. The store will sell new books for all ages, a variety of gift and non-book items and, through a partnership with Loose Leaf Tea Shop, will offer a selection of tea and coffee.

The bookstore will be located in the storefront that previously housed the beloved indie the Book Garden. The space is undergoing significant renovations, including the addition of a large window at the front of the store and the removal of interior walls to create one large bookstore space. A central staircase will also be removed and repurposed elsewhere in the store.

Owners Barbara de Wilde and Scott Sheldon were loyal customers of the Book Garden. Sheldon was the founder and organizer of an acoustic concert series called the Sanctuary Concerts and will organize the store's events, while de Wilde has a background in publishing, having worked at Knopf, the New York Times and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Co-founder Helen O'Connor, meanwhile, will run the Loose Leaf Tea Shop.

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

International Update: Bookshops 'Essential' in France, British Festival Plans On-site Events for July

Bookshops have been added to the list of French businesses considered essential and will be able to remain open in the event of a lockdown, according to a February 26 government decree. The Connexion reported that "for the next two weekends, lockdowns will be in place in the coastal communes in the Alpes-Maritimes, including Nice and Cannes, and in Dunkirk and its surrounding area. Bookshops there will be permitted to remain open under the new ruling."

During the country's second national lockdown in November and December, bookshops were closed to the public and could operate only through click and collect services, a decision that "was heavily criticized by the literary community in France and a petition was launched demanding they be reopened," the Connexion noted.

Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot welcomed the recent decision, telling AFP: "Bookstores are essential businesses. There has never been any doubt about that."


In a potential sign of a pandemic new-normal in England, organizers of the 2021 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate confirmed they will host on-site events this year in response to the British government's new "roadmap out of lockdown." Scheduled for July 22-25, the festival, which was moved online last year, will feature a range of live author talks, panels and guests, as well as some hybrid events.

''While the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has proven to be extremely dynamic, with rules and regulations changing constantly, the government roadmap suggested a return to normal by this summer," said Sharon Canavar, CEO of Harrogate International Festivals. "We are adapting and evolving our plans to be able to deliver a safe and agile Festival in line with the government regulations at the time, with additional safety measures where necessary, while also ensuring the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival retains the iconic feel that has ensured its place as the most successful crime writing festival in the world. We remain optimistic about the year ahead and like people across the U.K., we are very much looking forward to the return of live events."


In India, the pandemic "has affected the lives of booksellers--and, indeed, of all hawkers--on trains and railway platforms in ways they could not have imagined a year ago," reported in a feature on "how the pandemic shut down business for this bookseller on local trains in Bengal."

Beginning more than two decades ago, Dipankar Kundu had "sourced what he called a few 'serious books' on credit from a kind publisher, and started hawking them on suburban trains.... There was no looking back after that," noted. But when India went into lockdown last year, life "became a stark contrast between what it used to be and what it was now." While the train hawkers are now back at their regular trade, it is a changed world because, among other factors, the number of commuters taking local trains has diminished substantially.

Against a backdrop of "economic havoc," Kundu is still trying to sell his books because "it has become as much of a passion as it is a profession," wrote. "So, apart from hawking books, Kundu now works as a courier for a number of bookshops around Shyamnagar and Naihati.... Still, selling books remains his first priority." --Robert Gray

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

Sourcebooks and E.L. James Create Imprint

E.L. James

Sourcebooks and E.L. James, author of the Fifty Shades trilogy, are creating an as-yet unnamed imprint that will, Sourcebooks said, focus on "entrepreneurial women authors who want to benefit from all that a top publisher has to offer, including powerful retail relationships and deep distribution channels. This new, unconventional approach allows established entrepreneurial authors to take greater control in the creation, development and marketing of their books."

As part of the deal, James's backlist will move to Sourcebooks, effective April 1. James's Fifty Shades trilogy was published by Vintage, part of Penguin Random House, which owns 45% of Sourcebooks. PRH will retain audio rights to James's back and front lists and large print rights to the backlist. Grupo Editorial Penguin Random House will retain Spanish-language rights to James's backlist.

James said, "It feels like I'm coming home--returning to my indie roots, and working with an innovative, dynamic and hugely successful publisher who's always up for new ventures. It's an honour to be part of an imprint dedicated to amplifying creative women's voices."

Sourcebooks publisher and CEO Dominique Raccah said that she and James "share a belief in women taking and keeping control of their own narrative. It's so exciting to be embarking on this journey, disrupting the industry by empowering women authors who have long deserved this opportunity."

Pamela Jaffee, who will head publicity and marketing for the imprint, said that "consumers and influencers" will be involved in creating "a fitting imprint name."

James is best known, of course, for the Fifty Shades trilogy, which has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide and firmly established erotica and BDSM in the publishing mainstream. She worked in television and began writing and self-publishing fan fiction before the first Fifty Shades title became an international bestseller in 2011. Since the trilogy, she has published Grey, the Fifty Shades story from the perspective of Christian Grey; Darker, a kind of sequel to Grey; and The Mister, not connected with the trilogy. She was a producer on each of the three Fifty Shades movies, which earned more than $1 billion at the box office.

GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

Obituary Note: Margaret Brown Maron

Margaret Maron

Margaret Brown Maron, the award-winning mystery writer who published 30 books and was one of the founders of Sisters in Crime, died on February 23 due to complications from a stroke. She was 82.

Maron began her writing career in 1968 when she published "The Death of Me," her first short story, in Alfred Hitchhock's Mystery Magazine. At the time she was living in Brooklyn, N.Y., with her husband and only son, and had given herself a writing course from books in the Brooklyn Public Library. In 1972 Maron and her family moved to North Carolina, and Maron would go on to write all her books there.

Born in Greensboro, N.C., Maron featured the state heavily in her writing. Her Judge Deborah Knott series, which began in 1992 with the publication of Bootlegger's Daughter, consisted of 20 books and starred an attorney who is the daughter of a North Carolina bootlegger.

Over the course of her career, Maron served as the third president of Sisters in Crime as well as president of Mystery Writers of America. She was named a Grand Master by the MWA in 2013, and the her books have received Edgar, Agatha, Anthony and Macavity Awards. In 2008 she received the North Carolina Award, which is the state's highest civilian honor. In 2010 she received an honorary doctorate from UNC Greensboro and in 2016 was inducted into the state's Literary Hall of Fame.

"My epitaph should read, 'She knew what she had,' " Maron once said. "I have been supremely lucky with my husband, my family, my friends and my work. Nobody gets it all, but I came pretty damn close."

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Shelf Awareness Delivers Indie Pre-Order E-Blast

Last Wednesday, Shelf Awareness sent our monthly pre-order e-blast to nearly three-quarters of a million of the country's best book readers. The e-blast went to 724,658 customers of 156 participating independent bookstores.

The mailing features eight upcoming titles selected by Shelf Awareness editors and a sponsored title. Customers can buy these books via "pre-order" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on each sending store's website. A key feature is that bookstore partners can easily change title selections to best reflect the tastes of their customers and can customize the mailing with links, images and promotional copy of their own.

The pre-order e-blasts are sent the last Wednesday of each month; the next will go out on Wednesday, March 31. Stores interested in learning more can visit our program registration page or contact our partner program team via e-mail.

For a sample of Wednesday's pre-order e-blast, see this one from Trident Booksellers & Café, Boston, Mass.


Image of the Day: C.J. Box's Poisoned Pen Signing

C.J. Box visited The Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, Ariz., last week to sign more than 700 copies of his new Joe Pickett novel, Dark Sky (Putnam, March 2), for the store's virtual book launch with him this evening.

Harriett's Bookshop Documentary: Sisters of the Soil

Harriett's Bookshop, Philadelphia, Pa., shared a trailer "for our new documentary about sisterhood, ownership, and autonomy in the midst of uprisings and a pandemic. Sisters of the Soil. What y’all think? Be honest! For me it's the cinematography, tho!... Get a glimpse of a day in the life of author, activist, artist Jeannine A. Cook @itsmetheyfollow, shopkeeper of Harriett's Bookshop and the family that loves and supports her expression and mission @theministajazz.

"Thank you @raishadmomar and Aiden for seeing us and sharing this story through your lens! If anything happens to me, Raishad & Aiden hold the keys to my story even beyond this here film. So grateful for our relationship. @Vimeo @Mailchimp are sponsors for the full documentary ready to watch now at"

Personnel Changes at Basic Books and Seal Press

Sharon Kunz has been promoted to publicity manager at Basic Books and Seal Press.

Media and Movies

Bookish Winners at the Golden Globes

Book-to-screen adaptations collected some prestigious hardware at last night's Golden Globe Awards. Winning productions that started as books or have book connections include:

Nomadland, adapted from Jessica Bruder's book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century: Best motion picture drama; Chloé Zhao (director, motion picture drama)

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, based on August Wilson's play: Chadwick Boseman (actor, motion picture drama)

The Mauritanian, based on the memoir Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi: Jodie Foster (supporting actress, motion picture drama)

The Queen's Gambit, adapted from the novel by Walter Tevis: Best limited series or film made for TV; Anya Taylor-Joy (actress, limited series or film made for TV)

I Know This Much Is True, based on Wally Lamb's novel: Mark Ruffalo (actor, limited series or film made for TV) 

Media Heat: Derek DelGaudio on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Danielle Steel, author of The Affair (Delacorte, $28.99, 9781984821409).

Fresh Air: Derek DelGaudio, author of Amoralman: A True Story and Other Lies (Knopf, $27, 9780525658559).

Drew Barrymore Show: Luvvie Ajayi Jones, author of Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual (Penguin Life, $26, 9781984881908).

Good Morning America: Stephen King, author of Later (Hard Case Crime, $14.95, 9781789096491).

Watch What Happens Live: Diane von Furstenberg, author of Own It: The Secret to Life (Phaidon Press, $14.95, 9781838662226).

NPR's All Things Considered: Patricia Engel, author of Infinite Country: A Novel (Avid Reader Press, $25, 9781982159467).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Neil deGrasse Tyson, co-author of Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going (National Geographic, $30, 9781426221774).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Chang-rae Lee, author of My Year Abroad: A Novel (Riverhead, $28, 9781594634574).

Movies: My Salinger Year

IFC Films will release My Salinger Year, adapted from the memoir by Joanna Rakoff, in theaters and VOD on March 5. Directed and written by Philippe Falardeau, the film stars Margaret Qualley, Sigourney Weaver and Douglas Booth.

Set in 1990s New York City, My Salinger Year tells the story of Joanna (Qualley), who, after graduate school, pursues her dream of becoming a writer, landing a job as an assistant to Margaret (Weaver), a literary agent whose clients include J.D. Salinger. Joanna's main task is processing Salinger's voluminous fan mail, but as she reads the letters from around the world, she becomes reluctant to send the agency's impersonal standard letter and impulsively begins personalizing the responses. As she uses the great but reclusive writer's voice, she begins to find her own.

Books & Authors

Awards: Arabic Fiction, Klaus Flugge Longlists

The longlist for the $50,000 2021 International Prize for Arabic Fiction has been announced, and the 16 titles can be seen here. The six-title shortlist will be announced on March 29 and the winner on May 25.


The longlist has been released for the 2021 Klaus Flugge Prize, which is awarded to "the most promising and exciting newcomer to children's picture book illustration." The shortlist will be announced May 19 and a winner named in September. 

Book Review

Review: Accidentally Engaged

Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron (Forever, $15.99 paperback, 368p., 9781538734988, March 2, 2021)

Farah Heron's second novel, Accidentally Engaged, is a fun and warm contemporary romance full of heart and humor. When she meets her new neighbor Nadim, Reena Manji is adrift. She's just been laid off from a numbers-crunching job she hated. Her parents are pushing her to marry the son of a business partner, but Reena's already had 12 failed relationships and doesn't want another foisted upon her. And her once-popular food blog was tanked by her health-obsessed sister, leaving avid baker Reena to pursue her passion only as a hobby.

It turns out that Nadim is actually the man her parents had intended to set her up with, but--after promising never to marry each other--the two soon bond over beer and bread. One night, after a little too much alcohol, they video themselves making late-night comfort food and enter a contest to be on a Toronto cooking show. Despite their chemistry and easy camaraderie, nothing is simple: Nadim and Reena pretend to be engaged for the competition while keeping their relationship secret from their families and developing real feelings for each other in private. And then there are the trust issues and Reena's lack of self-esteem and depression. According to the community gossip chain, Nadim may have secrets. Whether he does or not, Reena doesn't feel capable or worthy of a healthy relationship with him.

"The Reena she let people see enjoyed drinks at the bar, fresh bread at home, and no drama. Who'd want the real Reena--the neurotic mess with maladaptive coping skills? Who couldn't manage to keep a job she hated? With a family who never, ever let her be free. None of the other 12 guys had been interested in sticking around once her true self began to emerge."

Heron keeps the story happy and hopeful, however. Messy as her family may be at the start of the book, Reena's friends are fun and supportive, never letting her negative self-talk win out for long.

Full of food so lovingly described that the scents nearly waft up from the page, Accidentally Engaged is not to be consumed on an empty stomach. Like Reena, Heron (The Chai Factor) is an East African Indian Muslim Canadian woman, and she uses food and the act of cooking together to illustrate the deep sense of home and belonging that Nadim and Reena find with each other. It's a steady theme throughout the book: home is where you make it--with the people you love. --Suzanne Krohn, editor, Love in Panels

Shelf Talker: In Accidentally Engaged, Farah Heron balances the ingredients for a charming romance: a heroine finding her way, a swoonworthy love, a complicated but loving family and a happily ever after.

The Bestsellers Bestsellers in February

The bestselling audiobooks at independent bookstores during February:

1. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Macmillan Audio)
3. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. The Guest List by Lucy Foley (HarperAudio)
5. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (Macmillan Audio)
6. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (Macmillan Audio)
7. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (Simon & Schuster Audio)
9. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (Penguin Random House Audio)
10. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin (Hachette Audio)

1. A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. Caste by Isabel Wilkerson (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. Four Hundred Souls by Ibram X. Kendi (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. Wintering by Katherine May (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. Untamed by Glennon Doyle (Penguin Random House Audio)
6. Mediocre by Ijeoma Oluo (Hachette Audio)
7. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Tantor Media)
8. Becoming by Michelle Obama (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar (Hachette Audio)
10. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey (Penguin Random House Audio)

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