Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 8, 2024

Blackstone Publishing: An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason Novels #3) by Steve Hamilton

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Running Press Kids: The Junior Witch's Handbook, The Junior Astrologer's Handbook, and The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook by Nikki Van De Car

Scholastic Press: Ruin Road by Lamar Giles


Madison Gaines Joins Shelf Awareness

Madison Gaines

Welcome to Madison Gaines, who has joined the staff of Shelf Awareness as publishing assistant. They hail from Seattle's Third Place Books and the rolling hills of northern Appalachia. She has an MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics from the University of Washington Bothell, and their first favorite book was Savvy by Ingrid Law. They enjoy adult fantasy, romance, and horror, but are first and foremost a children's bookseller. In her free time, Madison yearns for puzzles, listens to B.B. King on vinyl, and drinks tea with too much sugar.

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

James Patterson Announces New Round of Bookseller Bonuses

James Patterson

James Patterson is launching a new round of bookseller bonuses to celebrate the release of his upcoming book The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians (with Matt Eversmann), which Little, Brown will publish on April 8.

Patterson will award $500 bonuses to up to 500 booksellers from American Booksellers Association member stores, for a total donation of up to $250,000. Nominations can be made through an online form, and nominees must be currently employed by an ABA member store.

The form can be used by anyone, including customers, owners, employees, publishers, authors, and booksellers. Self-nominations are eligible, and booksellers who have already received Patterson bonuses are eligible for another. Nominees will not be made aware of who nominated them.

The nomination deadline is March 13. Recipients will be announced on BookWeb and in Bookselling This Week, and the bonuses will be distributed in April.

"We are all so grateful to Mr. Patterson's ongoing support of independent booksellers," ABA CEO Allison Hill said. "His generosity is incredible, and his recognition of booksellers and the valuable role they play in the industry is especially meaningful to us."

Arcadia Publishing Acquires Belt Publishing

Arcadia Publishing, which specializes in books about local history and local interest, has acquired Belt Publishing, which specializes in publishing diverse voices and stories from the Rust Belt. Anne Trubek, who founded Belt in 2013, will join Arcadia and remain Belt's publisher. Belt will continue to publish under its own name.

Zito Madu will appear at the Wednesday lunchtime author reception at Winter Institute next week in Cincinnati.

Belt Publishing has broadened its focus in recent years to include narrative and serious nonfiction on any topic, as well as commercial fiction with a regional focus. Bestsellers include What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia, Midwest Futures, The Last Children of Mill Creek, and The Battle of Lincoln Park. Ongoing series include City Anthologies, Neighborhood Guidebooks, and 50 Maps. Titles being published this year include the memoirs Be Not Afraid of My Body by Darius Stewart and The Minotaur at Calle Lanza by Zito Madu; Chicago House Music: Culture and Community; an anthology about Scranton, Pa.; a book of maps about Ferguson, Mo.; an environmental history of Cleveland; and more.

Trubek said, "I could not be more excited to be joining forces with Arcadia, which has long been the model for local-interest publishing, and served as the inspiration for Belt. We will be able to continue with our editorial program and expand into new areas, together with the wonderful team at Arcadia. How tremendous." (As Winter Institute opens in Cincinnati, Trubek will be on an Indie Press Summit panel this Sunday about the Ohio literary landscape.)

Anne Trubek

Arcadia CEO Brittain Phillips said, "Belt provides Arcadia with two terrific opportunities in one acquisition. It strengthens our local and regional catalog in the Midwest, where Belt has been publishing remarkable books for a decade. And as we look to the future, Belt helps to expand the way we think about local-interest publishing, with new voices and fresh ways to define sense of place."

Booksellers reacted positively. Suzanne DeGaetano of Mac's Backs--Books on Coventry, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, said, "I am very glad that Belt's unique books have found a good home at Arcadia. Their in-depth focus on regional issues is a much-needed perspective in the marketplace."

Richard Hunt of Roebling Books & Coffee, with stores in Covington, Newport, and Dayton, Ky., added, "Even after drifting to southern Ohio, Belt Books have always held a special place in my heart and on our bookstores' shelves. Since I started as a Cleveland bookseller a long time ago, just about as far back as when books first made their way to the Western Reserve, we know the deep interest that readers have for stories that take place in the great Midwest. Certainly, The Cincinnati Neighborhood Guidebook has been a bestseller for us ever since its publication. It's good news all around that Anne and her crew will continue to publish these local treasures."

Kirsty Melville Named CEO of Andrews McMeel Universal

Kirsty Melville

Kirsty Melville has been named CEO of Andrews McMeel Universal and will continue as president and publisher of Andrews McMeel Publishing. She is only the third CEO in the history of the company, which was founded in 1970.

A native of Australia, Melville was the founding publisher of Simon & Schuster Australia. In 1994, she moved to the U.S. to become v-p and publisher of Ten Speed Press. She then was publisher of San Francisco's University Games. In 2005, she became publisher and executive v-p of Andrews McMeel Publishing. She was named president in 2009.

Andrews McMeel Universal chairman Hugh Andrews commented: "Kirsty's leadership of our publishing division has been exceptional. Her initiatives have enabled AMP to grow in unprecedented ways, advancing a culture of excellence and cultivating relationships with creators, associates, and business partners to our great advantage for many years. I am confident that in her expanded role as CEO she will continue to address challenges, seek new opportunities, and fuel AMU's success across our publishing, syndication, digital, and entertainment divisions."

Melville said, "I am energized and excited to assume the CEO position. AMU is an extraordinary global media company distinguished by its creator-first vision, remarkable leadership team, outstanding associates, and rich and varied content offerings that entertain people and enrich lives. I am honored to build upon the outstanding legacy established by the Andrews and McMeel families and AMU's boundless potential. I look forward to focusing my energy on AMU's continued growth and future success in each of its divisions."

Outgoing CEO Andy Sareyan said, "I've worked closely with Kirsty for the last nine years. She brings a rare combination of results-oriented drive, a deft creative touch, mastery of the publishing world and insatiable curiosity to explore new things. I'm leaving AMU in remarkably capable hands."

Folio Books, San Francisco, Calif., to Close

After 10 years in business, Folio Books in San Francisco, Calif., will close permanently at the end of this month, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Folio's physical storefront will close on February 29, and its website will be open for direct-to-home orders until March 15. The bookstore will maintain normal business hours until the 29th, and all books, gifts, and stationery will be marked down for the rest of the month.

Owners Katerina Argyres, Martha Dietzel, John Foley, Paula Foley, and Alissa Hugel did not give specific reasons for the closure, but wrote in a statement that the decision was "an intensely personal one for all five co-owners. We hope you will respect our privacy during this difficult time as we and our staff say goodbye to what has been our home away from home for the past 10 years. While we may not be able to answer every question, please come laugh with us, cry with us, and share your memories."

In the same statement, they thanked their customers and the Noe Valley community "for the most amazing ten years," and said the bookstore's success over that span was "only possible because of our staff of booksellers, both past and present. Their tireless efforts have been awe-inspiring. They have gone above and beyond to make recommendations, find that 'one book with the red cover,' and share their passion for books with everyone who walks through the door. They have always been the heart of Folio Books."

Inquiries about buying the bookstore's fixtures or any of its infrastructure can be sent to

The Chapter & Co. Bookstore Coming to New Braunfels, Tex. 

The Chapter & Co. Bookstore will open later this year at 278 W. San Antonio St. in New Braunfels, Tex. Co-founders and sisters Lilliana Brabham, who is president and CEO, and secretary Laura Hickman "are transforming the red brick townhouse into New Braunfels' next stop for the community's book, cafe and boutique needs," the Herald-Zeitung reported. They hope to finish their store by the end of this year 

When they were growing up, Hickman loved cooking and baking while Brabham leaned toward reading and writing. "We liked the name Double Trouble for a bakery, and so we've always wanted to open Double Trouble Bakery," Brabham said. "And then after I had my daughter... I was like, 'I really want to open a bookstore,' and I noticed that there wasn't one in New Braunfels... then I was like, 'We could do a cafe and basically be just an all-inclusive thing.' "

The bookstore's focus will be on fantasy and romance titles. "Since I do a lot of reading in both of those categories, I want to be able to talk to my customers about the books that they're looking to purchase," Brabham said. "We actually have plans to have a little collector's corner, too. We have some really cool limited edition first prints of Iron Flame and Fourth Wing, and so we're really excited to bring those in."

The two-story property gives the appearance of having two separate buildings, the Herald-Zeitung wrote, noting that the back half of the property will house the cafe area on its second floor.

Brabham said the bookshop's name encapsulates all three aspects of the store--books, boutique items, and café--and the layout will reflect this. "It kind of almost forces people to see everything. We're gonna have photo ops throughout... so not (only) do we want you to come here and buy things--yeah, sure, absolutely, please--but also just come here and have (an) experience, or have a good time and walk around with your girlfriends and have a coffee."

She added: "A lot of the passion for this came from my love of books, [my sister's] love of coffee, her love of (cafes), like all of our love of things, but what's really the driving factor is setting an example for [my daughter] and showing her that you can have dreams--that they can come true. You can do things that you love, and it's going to be hard work, and you really have to put everything that you have into it, but you can do it."

Maine's Oliver & Friends Bookshop on the Move

Oliver & Friends Bookshop, which opened in 2020 in Belgrade Lakes, Maine, will be relocating to 150 Main St. in Waterville and expects to open the doors of its new space this spring. Colby News reported that as part of the Main Street Commons, a residential facility that houses more than 200 Colby College students, faculty, and staff, the bookshop will occupy approximately 950 square feet of the ground floor.

Oliver & Friends' current location.

"While it was wonderful to start my business in Belgrade Lakes, it's a very seasonal area and the next chapter for Oliver & Friends Bookshop requires more consistent business throughout the whole year so we can continue to grow and move forward," said bookstore owner Renee Cunningham. "As I started to talk to people about where I might move my shop, Waterville kept coming up. Then I saw the emphasis on the arts and humanities in the city and it quickly became very clear to me that Waterville would be the new home for the bookstore. It really felt like the perfect location."

She added that the spirit of the city's business community was also important and that she felt instantly welcomed as a potential new business owner in Waterville: "What's happening in Waterville with the revitalization is one of the main reasons I chose to move here. It was impossible not to get excited about what's going on in the city, and we're very much looking forward to being a part of and supporting this exciting momentum. Our goal is to create a really welcoming space where there's something for every reader, encourage conversation, and bring the community together."

Colby's v-p of planning and strategy, Brian Clark, said, "We're extremely pleased to have Renee and her shop occupy the Main Street Commons. It's a great addition to downtown Waterville and another example of creating an ideal Main Street that's evolved into a real destination due in large part to the wide range of dynamic small businesses located there."

Garvan Donegan, director of planning, innovation, and economic development at the Central Maine Growth Council, added: "Waterville's year-round activity and thriving economic trends make it an ideal location for Oliver & Friends Bookshop. The new retail operation is poised to enrich the city's cultural fabric, providing a hub for literary exploration and community engagement, and it aligns seamlessly with the city's revitalization efforts."


Image of the Day: Porchlight's Publishing Party

Porchlight Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis., returned to New York City to host its Publishing Industry Appreciation Party for the first time since January 2020. Pictured: managing director Sally Haldorson with owner, president, and CEO Rebecca Schwartz.

Reese's February Book Club Pick: Redwood Court

Reese Witherspoon has selected Redwood Court, the debut novel  by DéLana R.A. Dameron (The Dial Press) as the February pick for her book club, describing the book this way: "The baby of the family, Mika Tabor spends much of her time in the care of loved ones, listening to their stories and witnessing their struggles. On Redwood Court, the cul-de-sac in the all-Black working-class suburb of Columbia, South Carolina, where her grandparents live, Mika comes of age and finds her voice. With visceral clarity and powerful prose, Dameron reveals the devastation of being made to feel invisible and the transformative power of being seen."

Reese wrote: "This book is filled with a sense of nostalgia as Mika takes us down memory lane, sharing stories of her Southern Black family through a collection of vivid vignettes. Read and discuss with us all month as we explore community, love, and what it means to be seen in this exquisite debut."

Personnel Changes at Hachette; Simon & Schuster

Chrissy Heleine is joining Hachette Book Group on February 26 in the newly created role of senior v-p, deputy group sales director. She has spent more than a decade at Penguin Random House, most recently as v-p, sales.


At Simon & Schuster:

Nicholas Hayne has been named international sales director, managing the U.S. and U.K.-based international and export sales teams.

Colin Shields, v-p, executive director, global and international sales is leaving Simon & Schuster. His last day is February 16.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jamie Ivey on Good Morning America

Good Morning America: Jamie Ivey, author of Why Can't I Get It Together?: Kick Unrealistic Expectations to the Curb and Rest in God's Truth (Thomas Nelson, $19.99, 9781400333929).

This Weekend on Book TV: Joshua Green on The Rebels

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, February 10
2 p.m. Elizabeth Varon, author of Longstreet: The Confederate General Who Defied the South (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781982148270).

3:05 p.m. Stuart A. Reid, author of The Lumumba Plot: The Secret History of the CIA and a Cold War Assassination (Knopf, $35, 9781524748814).

4:20 p.m. Michael Hardt, author of The Subversive Seventies (Oxford University Press, $27.95, ‎ 9780197674659).

Sunday, February 11
8 a.m. Joshua Green, author of The Rebels: Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the Struggle for a New American Politics (Penguin Press, $30, 9780525560241). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9 a.m. John Catsimatidis, author of How Far Do You Want to Go?: Lessons from a Common-Sense Billionaire (Holt, $30, 9781637743430). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m.)

10 a.m. Coleman Hughes, author of The End of Race Politics: Arguments for a Colorblind America (Thesis, $30, 9780593332450). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

6:55 p.m. Daniel Schulman, author of The Money Kings: The Epic Story of the Jewish Immigrants Who Transformed Wall Street and Shaped Modern America (Knopf, $35, 9780451493545).

Books & Authors

Awards: Plutarch Longlist; Waterstrones Children's Shortlists; Bread & Roses Radical Publishing Shortlist

The longlist has been selected for the $2,000 2024 Plutarch Award, sponsored by Biographers International Organization (BIO).

The longlist:
King: A Life by Jonathan Eig (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse by Howard Fishman (Dutton)
The Hungry Season: A Journey of War, Love, and Survival by Lisa M. Hamilton (Little, Brown)
Althea: The Life of Tennis Champion Althea Gibson by Sally H. Jacobs (St. Martin's Press)
The Slip: The New York City Street That Changed American Art Forever by Prudence Peiffer (Harper)
Into the Amazon: The Life of Cândido Rondon, Trailblazing Explorer, Scientist, Statesman, and Conservationist by Larry Rohter (W.W. Norton)
Merze Tate: The Global Odyssey of a Black Woman Scholar by Barbara D. Savage (Yale University Press)
Nothing Stays Put: The Life and Poetry of Amy Clampitt by Willard Spiegelman (Knopf)
Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage by Jonny Steinberg (Knopf)
Anansi's Gold: The Man Who Looted the West, Outfoxed Washington, and Swindled the World by Yepoka Yeebo (Bloomsbury)


Waterstones has selected the shortlists for its 2024 Children's Book Prize in the illustrated books, young readers, and older readers categories. The overall winner and category winners will be announced March 21. To see the nominated titles, click here.


A shortlist has been released for the £500 (about $630) Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing. Presented by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers with support from Lighthouse, the prize is "dedicated to lifting up and celebrating radical left-wing political nonfiction." The winner will be named in a virtual ceremony at the end of February. This year's shortlisted titles are:

I Heard What You Said by Jeffrey Boakye
Abolition Revolution by Aviah Sarah Day & Shanice Octavia McBean 
Poor Little Sick Girls by Ione Gamble 
This Arab Is Queer, edited by Elias Jahshan 
Uncommon Wealth by Kojo Koram

Other titles on the longlist included Regenesis by George Monbiot, The Racial Code by Nicola Rollock, and The Value of a Whale by Adrienne Buller.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, February 13:

The Book of Love: A Novel by Kelly Link (Random House, $31, 9780812996586) follows three teenagers resurrected from the dead to perform magical tasks.

The Book of Doors: A Novel by Gareth Brown (Morrow, $30, 9780063323988) features an ordinary bookseller in possession of a supernatural book.

The Fox Wife: A Novel by Yangsze Choo (Holt, $27.99, 9781250266019) takes place in Qing China, where a fox spirit hunts a murderer.

Lone Wolf by Gregg Hurwitz (Minotaur, $29, 9781250871732) is book nine in the Orphan X thriller series.

The Warm Hands of Ghosts: A Novel by Katherine Arden (Del Rey, $28.99, 9780593128251) follows a World War I nurse searching for a brother gone missing amid supernatural circumstances.

With a Little Luck by Marissa Meyer, contributions by Chuck Gonzales (Feiwel and Friends, $20.99, 9781250618931) is a YA rom-com featuring a young man gifted (or cursed) with luck.

Dangerous Allies by Lisa McMann (Putnam, $17.99, 9780593615836) is the fourth book in the Forgotten Five series featuring five children with supernatural powers.

Dune: Exposures by Josh Brolin and Greig Fraser (Insight Editions, $60, 9781647229269) gives a behind-the-scenes look at Denis Villeneuve's Dune adaptations.

The Lede: Dispatches from a Life in the Press by Calvin Trillin (Random House, $31, 9780593596449) collects six decades of reporting about reporters.

The Farm Table by Julius Roberts (Ten Speed Press, $35, 9781984862662) includes 100 recipes divided by seasons.

Private Equity: A Memoir by Carrie Sun (Penguin Press, $29, 9780593654996) is a memoir about working for a Wall Street billionaire.

All in Her Head: The Truth and Lies Early Medicine Taught Us About Women's Bodies and Why It Matters Today by Elizabeth Comen (Harper Wave, $32, 9780063293014) is a history of women's healthcare.

Technofeudalism: What Killed Capitalism by Yanis Varoufakis (Melville House, $19.99, 9781685891244).

The Sock Project: Colorful, Cool Socks to Knit and Show Off by Summer Lee (Abrams, $24.99, 9781419768118).

Magnolia Parks: Into the Dark by Jessa Hastings (Dutton, $18, 9780593474945).

The Phoenix Crown: A Novel by Kate Quinn and Janie Chang (Morrow, $18.99, 9780063304734).

The Perfect Passion Company by Alexander McCall Smith (Vintage, $16.99, 9780593688328).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Where You End: A Novel by Abbott Kahler (Holt, $27.99, 9781250873248). "A very dark and intriguing thriller where one cannot rely on memory. After lies are uncovered, the twins still must work together to survive a cult. The pacing and character development are excellent and will keep you turning the page." --Stephanie Csaszar, Books Around the Corner, Gresham, Ore.

Only If You're Lucky: A Novel by Stacy Willingham (Minotaur, $29, 9781250887931). "Only If You're Lucky is Stacy Willingham's best work yet! I was immediately hooked by this tale of the tantalizing lure--and potential very dark side--of close friendships. And as always, Stacy's Southern setting gives the perfect gothic vibe." --Emilie Sommer, East City Bookshop, Washington, D.C.

Don't Want You Like a Best Friend: A Novel by Emma R. Alban (Avon, $18.99, 9780063312005). "What a vibrant beginning to a new historical romance series! Full of intrigue, stolen kisses, and London drama, this sweet queer love story follows two women who dare to hope in a world not built for them." --Vaughn Lachenauer, Main Point Books, Wayne, Pa.

Ages 4 to 8
Pepper and Me by Beatrice Alemagna (Hippo Park, $18.99, 9781662640506). "Having experience with skinned knees (even as an adult), this sweet story surprised, delighted, and resonated with me. The illustrations are precious and the wit and humor are executed perfectly. Hoping this one rises to the top!" --Stacey Haerr, Warwick's, La Jolla, Calif.

Ages 7 to 12
K Is in Trouble by Gary Clement (Little, Brown Ink, $24.99, 9780316468527). "Young K is polite, kind, and quiet, yet he finds himself in trouble no matter what he does--or doesn't--do. The stories in this delightful graphic novel will resonate with young readers, and with readers who were kids themselves in years past." --Susan Posch, The Book Shoppe, Boone, Iowa

Teen Readers
Most Ardently: A Pride & Prejudice Remix by Gabe Cole Novoa (Feiwel & Friends, $19.99, 9781250869807). "Fleshing out the familial and platonic love found in the original novel, Most Ardently is an ode to historical LGBTQ+ people and a hopeful queer future, providing a thoughtful exploration of solidarity and the rebellion of authenticity." --Grace Enright, The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn, Glen Ellyn, Ill.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Rough Trade

Rough Trade by Katrina Carrasco (MCD, $28 hardcover, 384p., 9780374272685, April 9, 2024)

Katrina Carrasco (The Best Bad Things) blends deeply researched historical fiction with riveting queer adventure in Rough Trade, the spectacular second installment of her episodic crime series about the undeniably charming antihero Alma Rosales.

It's the summer of 1888, and Alma's crew is working the Tacoma docks of Washington Territory. They're stevedores, taking on the backbreaking work of loading and unloading ships that come into port. At least, that's their cover story. Smuggling opium is their real trade. Or, it would be if a longshoremen's strike weren't preventing their access to the Ferndale's hold, leaving Alma's crew to watch scabs unload the ship under the watchful eye of an unfamiliar customs inspector, helpless to prevent the discovery of 500 pounds of contraband.

In the months that follow that drug bust, several new players wander onto Alma's docks and threaten the tidy little business she runs under the protective care of seductive socialite Delphine Beaumond. Among those new faces are Ben Collins, an undercover reporter hoping for a scoop he can sell to news magnate William Randolph Hearst, and Bess Spencer, Alma's former partner at the Pinkerton Women's Bureau of investigators, from a lifetime ago. But the real fuse lights when dead bodies start turning up under suspicious circumstances, and with signs of injection. If Alma doesn't act fast, she risks a swarming police presence that could irreversibly upset the life she's only recently built for herself in Washington, after escaping tragedy elsewhere.

Carrasco writes with a brisk pace and cheeky playfulness that offset the rugged terrain and dicey stakes intrinsic to running opium through the shipyards of a Pacific Northwest outpost. Alma carries a queer and irresistible swagger as she shapeshifts into her public persona, Jack Camp, the roughest man in town. And her sexual tension with both Bess and Delphine gin up a satisfying heat. So much of the fun in this novel pivots on the divide between public and private presentations--Alma's as well as those of the journalistic interloper Ben Collins--highlighting how simple it becomes to defy the law when one's gender and sexuality are already at odds with it.

Rough Trade is an addictive treat sure to please fans of Sarah Waters and HBO's Our Flag Means Death. --Dave Wheeler, senior editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: Detailed historical research bolsters dynamic crime fiction in this spectacular queer adventure about opium smugglers in 19th-century Washington Territory.

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