Also published on this date: Wednesday, January 4, 2022: Maximum Shelf: House of Cotton

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Sourcebooks Fire: The Fate of Magic by Sara Raasch and Beth Revis

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer

Running Press: Enter For a Chance to Win a Moonlit Explorer Pack!

Quill Tree Books: The Firelight Apprentice by Bree Paulsen

Berkley Books: Mask of the Deer Woman by Laurie L. Dove

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner


Octavia's Bookshelf Opening in Pasadena, Calif., Next Month

Octavia's Bookshelf, an independent bookstore that will focus on the work of Black authors, Indigenous authors and other authors of color, is slated to open next month in Pasadena, Calif., LAist reported.

Located at 1361 North Hill Avenue, the bookstore is named for author and Pasadena native Octavia Butler. Store owner Nikki High explained that Butler was "the first Black sci-fi writer that I read, and it was the first time that I saw Black people in the future."

High decided to open a bookstore of her own after her grandmother died in May 2022. This past September she launched a GoFundMe campaign to help her open the bookstore, and in November she signed the lease. So far she has given the space a new coat of paint, installed a sign on the door and put up one wall of bookcases. She is aiming to be open for business in mid-February.

Nikki High

In addition to books, High plans to offer coffee and a curated selection of products "from artisans around the world and in our neighborhood." She hopes to create a space where "readers from all walks of life can enjoy these books" and find community.

"I also like to think that we all have an Octavia in our lives--someone who is before their time, a wordsmith," High told LAist. "And I just thought it was a neat way to honor all of the Octavias in our life."

Zest Books: The Gender Binary Is a Big Lie: Infinite Identities around the World by Lee Wind

Hares & Hatters Bookshop Makes Holiday Debut in Pocatello, Idaho

Hares & Hatters Bookshop made its debut last month as an online store and holiday pop-up, the Idaho State Journal reported.

Owners Nicki Stanton and Jamie Robyn Wood plan to open a bricks-and-mortar store in the Pocatello, Idaho, area later this year, and in the meantime are raising funds and building an audience through a quarterly book box subscription service, pop-up shops and online sales.

Wood and Stanton offered two book boxes in December. The Mad Tea Party Book Box, which cost $45 and focused on women's fiction, featured a book, tea and an assortment of other items. The Curiouser & Curiouser box, which cost $40, contained two children's books, a custom pin and other fun items. They plan to continue selling those boxes while supplies last, and soon will start taking orders for the March boxes, which will focus on independently published authors.

The Mad Tea Party Book Box

Stanton and Wood held their first pop-up appearance at Glean Coffee Roasters during Pocatello's First Friday Art Walk. Stanton noted that they tried to make the pop-up feel "as much like a little bookstore as possible," and Wood said she experienced the joy of handselling for the first time.

The co-owners explained their pop-up appearances will help them scout for a location for the bricks-and-mortar store. They don't have a specific spot in mind yet, but they've already considered downtown Pocatello as well as the Northgate neighborhood. They noted that while there already is a bookstore in Pocatello (which coincidentally also has a name inspired by Alice in Wonderland), they feel that their offerings are different enough that they won't be stepping on any toes.

"We're just trying to hustle to that space as fast as possible," Stanton told the Journal. "And so it'll be books and community and authors and access, and it's gonna be all of the things that we love--and that we think would be great for our community too."

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 07.15.24

Condolences to the Herrmann Family

Becky and Michael Herrmann

We wish to extend our deepest condolences to Michael Herrmann, owner of Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H., and his family for the loss of Becky Herrmann, Michael's wife, who died on December 22 at age 62. All who knew praised her lively, effervescent personality. She was also a lifelong librarian and, in 1997, while serving as director of the Hopkinton (N.H.) Library,  was named New Hampshire Librarian of the Year.

GLOW: Flatiron Books: Private Rites by Julia Armfield

Hurricane Ian Update: More Challenges for Sandman Books in Punta Gorda

For the second time in days, a portion of the Hurricane Ian-damaged roof at Sandman Books, Punta Gorda, Fla., collapsed last Thursday "while crews were packing up what's left of the local shop," WINK News reported. The roof, which had fallen on co-owner Heidi Lange's husband and sent him to the hospital earlier in the week, "was deemed safe after Charlotte County inspected the damages to the roof on December 14." 

Heidi Lange wanted a second opinion after the most recent roof incident, but the verdict Friday afternoon wasn't what she expected. "[The inspector] was completely dismissive and told me that it's fine and that this is normal. And this is just how it is all over Charlotte County," she said.

Lange had said she would not be asking volunteers to go back inside and help pack what was left in the building for their safety, noting in a Facebook post Friday: "Thanks to intrepid reporter Samantha Johns shining a light where it was needed, we now have a safe way to extract the books, so we can donate them to teachers tomorrow! Boxes of books will be distributed in the parking lot tomorrow (12/31/22) for classrooms, teachers, schools, churches and libraries in need." 

After the first incident, Lange had told WINK News that when Hurricane Ian hit, "There was water on the floor throughout. The book arch had actually soaked up a ton of water and saved most of the bookshelves around it because it acted like a giant sponge." 

The biggest concern about the store was the roof. Her landlord sent contractors to make repairs she felt made conditions dangerously worse. In addition, earlier in December, the bookstore owners received a notice to vacate the building by the new year.

"With Sandman Books' story ending, Heidi Lange is optimistically turning the page and ready for the next chapter in her life," WINK News noted. Any plans for a new location for Sandman Books will be announced at a later date.

Europa Editions: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, Translated by Ann Goldstein

Shelf Awareness Delivers Indie Pre-Order E-Blast

This past Wednesday, Shelf Awareness sent our monthly pre-order e-blast to more than 900,000 of the country's best book readers. The e-blast went to 921,062 customers of 213 participating independent bookstores.

The mailing features 11 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, January 25. Stores interested in learning more can visit our program registration page or contact our partner program team via e-mail.

For a sample of the December pre-order e-blast, see this one from Rivendell Books & Baubles, Broken Arrow, Okla.

The titles highlighted in the pre-order e-blast were:

Every Man a King: A King Oliver Novel by Walter Mosley (Mulholland)
The Exceptions: Nancy Hopkins, MIT, and the Fight for Women in Science by Kate Zernike (Scribner)
The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill (Tordotcom)
Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age by Katherine May (Riverhead)
Veganistan: A Vegan Tour of the Middle East & Beyond by Sally Butcher, photos by Yuki Sugiura (Interlink)
I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai (Viking)
B.F.F.: A Memoir of Friendship Lost and Found by Christie Tate (Avid Reader)
Victory City by Salman Rushdie (Random House)
The Cradle of Ice by James Rollins (Tor)
She Is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran (Bloomsbury)
The Island by Natasha Preston (Delacorte)


Books & Books Coral Gables, LEGO Edition

Posted on Instagram by Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla.: "BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT EVER! Books & Books employee Ed Boland and his two sons, Charlie and Jamie, surprised Mitchell with a Lego replica of our Gables location. And it took them over 4 months to make! Can you guess how many lego pieces they used?" Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan shared a more detailed look at the creation on his Facebook page.

Bookseller Cat: Lex at Pig City Books 

"New Year, New Lex!" Pig City Books, Lexington, N.C., posted on Facebook, adding: "Not really but he did get fixed. Stop by the store today and catch up on all those kitty cuddles! Lex will be here from 10-5!"

Personnel Changes at The Experiment

Jennifer Hergenroeder has been promoted to associate publisher at The Experiment. She was formerly executive director of marketing, publicity, and sales.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Shahan Mufti on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Shahan Mufti, author of American Caliph: The True Story of a Muslim Mystic, a Hollywood Epic, and the 1977 Siege of Washington, D.C. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30, 9780374208585).

Drew Barrymore Show: Julie Tremaine and Brendan Kirby, authors of Seinfeld: The Official Cookbook (Insight Editions, $34.99, 9781647227647).

TV: The Nurse

The Nurse, a Danish thriller TV series adapted from the book by Kristian Corfixen, will make its debut on Netflix later this year. The project is based on the true story of nurse Christina Aistrup Hansen, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2016 for four counts of attempted murder of patients at Nykøbing Falster Hospital. 

Produced by SAM Productions and directed by Kasper Barfoed, The Nurse stars Josephine Park (Baby Fever, Doggystyle) as Hansen and Fanny Louise Bernth (Ride Upon a Storm) as her colleague Pernille Kurzmann Larsen. 

Books & Authors

Reading with... Amber and Danielle Brown

photo: Deidhra Fahey Photography

Identical twin sisters Amber and Danielle Brown graduated from Rider University, where they studied communications/journalism and were on the editorial staff of the On Fire!! literary journal. They then pursued a career in fashion and spent five years in New York City, eventually managing their own fashion and lifestyle blog--experiences that served as inspiration for the glamorous fashion backdrop in Someone Had to Do It (Graydon House, December 27, 2022), their debut thriller. They both live in Los Angeles.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

A fun, sexy, cat-and-mouse thriller set in the glamorous New York City fashion scene, dripping in social satire where privilege and prejudice intersect.

On your nightstand now:

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus; Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason; Jackal by Erin E. Adams.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Our mom and dad used to always read us bedtime stories, and so many of them live rent-free in our minds to this day. But we have to say our favorite is probably one of the stories from Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad series where Toad is searching for his lost button, only to come home and find that it was home all along. Still makes us get teary-eyed. But we also get really nostalgic when we think about the Franklin series by Paulette Bourgeois and The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown.

Your top five authors:

There are a ton of authors we've only read one book by (mainly because that's all they've released so far) but, to be fair, we're selecting only authors that we've read and loved at least two books from: Fredrik Backman, Ibram X. Kendi, Madeline Miller, S.A. Cosby, Matt Haig.

Book you've faked reading:

Pretty much everything we were supposed to read in college. We couldn't afford to buy books for our classes, so SparkNotes was definitely our friend. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley comes to mind, because we specifically remember telling our professor we didn't have money to buy it and she let us borrow her personal copy--because there was a paper due on it, worth 30% of our grade. We ended up never reading it, because we just couldn't get into it, though we got a B+ on the paper, so go figure.

Books you're an evangelist for:

Of all the books, fiction and nonfiction, that explore the grooming of young people and rape culture, My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell is beyond the best we've encountered. It's simultaneously the most disturbing and insightful book we've ever read. It is such a brilliant portrayal of the psychological dynamics of a predatory relationship, and you cannot read this book without having a searing visceral reaction.

We also are always recommending The Push by Ashley Audrain, Saving Noah by Lucinda Berry and Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby. And for nonfiction, we think literally every American needs to read Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi. A magnum opus if there ever was one.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Literally was obsessed with the gorgeous rose-gold of the cover of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, but we both fell in love with V.E. Schwab's dreamy writing style and ugly-sobbed at the ending. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid were also both cover-buys but are a couple of our favorites.

Book you hid from your parents:

Confession: when we were 14, we were obsessed with Zane and, yeah, there was no way we were going to let our mother witness us reading The Sex Chronicles. And even though we were technically quite young to be consuming a book like that, learning about sex through the lens of a very empowered female protagonist really impacted our self-esteem in a positive way as young Black women. So it was a win-win, even though our mom probably wouldn't have approved.

Book that changed your life:

Sleeping with Strangers by Eric Jerome Dickey was the first time we'd ever read a novel where the characters are relatable and the drama is juicy, yet there is this unputdownable element because of the intercontinental crime spree the protagonist is on. It is fast-paced and incredibly sexy and has murder, guns and assassins duking it out. It was the spark that led us to writing thrillers, for sure, and still holds up to this day.

Favorite line from a book:

There's a ton of stunning lines in Raven Leilani's Luster, but this one takes the cake: "He wants me to be myself like a leopard might be herself in a city zoo. Inert, waiting to be fed. Not out in the wild, with tendon in her teeth." We promise that it's even more brilliant in the context of the scene and the overall narrative.

Five books you'll never part with:

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton [with Lara Love Hardin] is the best depiction of the American justice system and how it's less about justice and more about who has more money.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman was so, so impactful. Fredrik's writing is perfection. Can't help but feel everything he writes so deeply, and it's chock-full of stunning one-liners that are ideal fodder for rereading.

Completely bought A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara for the stunning monochrome cover to go with the aesthetics of our bookshelves, and it turned out to be the most impactful book of our entire lives.

The Push by Ashley Audrain has such compelling writing and an incredibly visceral exploration of early motherhood.

The Comfort Book by Matt Haig is something that will always come in handy and something we love to have in our home library for friends and family to borrow.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

The One by John Marrs was one of the most exhilarating reads of all time for us. The twists just kept coming, and it would be so fun to ride that wave again.

Book Review

YA Review: Where Darkness Blooms

Where Darkness Blooms by Andrea Hannah (Wednesday Books, $18.99 hardcover, 320p., ages 12-up, 9781250842626, February 21, 2023)

Where Darkness Blooms is an eerie, tense supernatural thriller about a Midwestern town where missing women are as much a part of its fabric as the suffocating sunflowers and windstorms that plague it.

In the strange town of Bishop, Kans., the perpetual windstorms feel like they're keeping people away from the edges of town. The surrounding fields of sunflowers are "a wall of aggressive yellow" staring at townsfolk with "empty, unreadable faces." Then there's the number of women who go missing or die every year. It is a fate accepted by the townspeople that Bishop can't satisfy "hungry, restless women with sharp edges."

Three of those sharp-edged women went missing on the same day two years ago, leaving behind four teenage daughters. Eighteen-year-old Delilah believes that if she can "keep them all in line," maybe they can escape a similar fate. Seventeen-year-old Whitney's girlfriend died six months ago, while her twin sister, Jude, is hiding a secret fling she had with Delilah's boyfriend. Then there's Bo: while the other girls are ready to move on, she's convinced there's more what to happened, and she wants answers. Lies begin to unravel at a two-years-too-late memorial, leading the girls down a path that will reveal what happened not only to their moms but to all the unfortunate women of Bishop.

Andrea Hannah begins her haunting story with Bishop's founding. Readers learn that the town's land lusted for blood to feed its parched, lifeless soil. The first male settler offers his wife's blood, but it's not enough. And so begins a long line of sacrifice. By the time the girls' moms disappear, the history of the town is lost. Hannah's decision to reveal this before the beginning of the main story sets the tone and propels the action. What follows is not rushed; instead, Hannah uses each girl's perspective to slowly unravel the mystery and its unexpected twists and turns. In doing so, she creates a sense of foreboding and distinct characters, which include the wind (which moves "deliberately, intentionally") and the sunflowers.

Throughout the story, Hannah sensitively discusses sexism, gaslighting, victim-shaming (the women were "a little too wild" or "never did follow the rules") and generational trauma while delivering an immersive, creepy mystery filled with visceral imagery. --Lana Barnes, freelance reviewer and proofreader

Shelf Talker: In this haunting, immersive supernatural thriller, four teenage girls confront the lies surrounding the mysterious disappearance of their mothers in a town where the land hungers for blood.

The Bestsellers Bestsellers in December

The bestselling audiobooks at independent bookstores during December:

1. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. The Henry Huggins Audio Collection by Beverly Cleary (HarperCollins)
4. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (HarperAudio)
5. Babel by R.F. Kuang (HarperAudio)
6. Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan (HarperAudio)
7. A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny (Macmillan Audio)
8. The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun (Simon & Schuster Audio)
10. Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree (Macmillan Audio)

1. The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (Simon & Schuster Audio)
3. An Immense World by Ed Yong (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. Surrender by Bono (Penguin Random House Audio)
6. How to Keep House While Drowning by K.C. Davis (Simon & Schuster Audio)
7. Atomic Habits by James Clear (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. Spare by Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. Wintering by Katherine May (Penguin Random House Audio)
10. South to America by Imani Perry (HarperAudio)

AuthorBuzz: Berkley: Peach Tea Smash (Tea Shop Mystery #28) by Laura Childs
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