Friday, August 31, 2018

The Poisoned Pen Bookstore

Bookstore: The Poisoned Pen Bookstore

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona

The Official Patter: "The Poisoned Pen Bookstore, founded in 1989 by Barbara G. Peters, is an independent bookstore specializing in fiction. Discover with us current and classic works of mystery, thrillers, historical and literary fiction, and literature of the American Southwest, much of it offered in Autographed First Editions and imports. Located in Old Town Scottsdale’s Art District, The Pen is celebrated for its schedule of author and literary events and its global outreach through webcasts and worldwide shipping. The Poisoned Pen hosted the Left Coast Crime Conference in 1995 and most years hosts a themed mystery conference of its own in Scottsdale."

Why I Love Them: I actually first learned about The Poisoned Pen, not for their bookstore, but for their publishing imprint, Poisoned Pen Press. They are literally "one of the largest publishers of hardcover mysteries in the world." All my Phryne Fisher books have that memorable pen nib logo on the spine. They are also champions of re-publishing long-lost mystery classics with gorgeous covers worthy of old British Tube and Train advertising. And as for learning about their bookstore? Well, if you follow historical fiction authors or mystery authors it won't be long until you hear about The Poisoned Pen. It literally seems that on each book tour this store, more than anywhere else, is the must stop spot. 

Best Buy: With so many historical fiction authors swinging through their doors it should be no surprise that many of my Lauren Willig signed first editions came from them. Thus it was a little hard to choose a favorite, because how can you choose your favorite child? But I did try, and at the moment my best buy is the sixth Pink Carnation book, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily. Maybe I chose it because the heat of India reminds me of the heat of Arizona? Who knows, I'm a fickle creature. But I have to warn you that if you plan to order from them I have found them not to be the most organized of stores. I think because they host so many events with so many authors and guests in attendance their customer service with regards to those orders placed online aren't given the priority they deserve. Yes, I do think that the customer who shows up in the store deserves the most service, because there is nothing ruder than bothering to show up and having the staff give priority to phone calls... it's just that they need to find some kind of happy medium. I just have this feeling whenever I have dealt with them that they have too much on their plate and I'll be lucky if I get what I ordered. Though interestingly enough the one major problem I had with a book I got from them wasn't their fault at all. I had ordered a copy of Lauren's eleventh Pink Carnation book, The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, and thought when it arrived it looked shorter than her other books. Well, that was because it was somehow missing a hundred pages! I almost wish I had kept this oddity... but even if I had it still wouldn't have been my best buy...

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Bookworm Books

Bookstore: Bookworm Books

Location: Kennewick, Washington

The Official Patter: "Serving the Tri-Cities since 1974, we are a community staple. We sell new and used books, and encourage all bookworms to come on in and grab a great read. The Bookworm first opened in Richland and is now owned by Cindy and Mark Bitzer who are the the third owners. Cindy started as an employee in 2005 and bought the business with her husband in 2009 when the previous owner decided to retire. Being readers and fellow book lovers helps Bitzer and her employees make suggestions to customers looking for something new to try. Bookshelves hold many of the 250,000 books the Bookworm carries in stock. Comfortable chairs are arranged to give customers a chance to peruse their selections."

Why I Love Them: Bookworm Books is kind of an odd choice for me to include, mainly because I have dealt with them only the once, but it was so memorable, and they went over and above what I expect of a bookstore that they deserve to be featured here, even if our acquaintance to date is fleeting. From their pictures online they look like a wonderful little store, much like Books and Company in Oconomowoc. The kind of store that feels like one you'd stumble on during vacation, but also perfectly suited to cater to their local customers. I'm a huge fan of Patricia Briggs and seeing as her Mercy Thompson books are set in the Tri-Cities I like to think that Mercy herself has stopped by occasionally to pick up a book, we all know how much she hates large malls and Bookworm Books is in a cozy little L-shaped strip mall.

Best Buy: And it is because of Patricia Briggs that I reached out to Bookworm Books. On her 2016 book tour promoting Fire Touched Patty and her much missed husband Mike took ill and much of the tour was called off. Therefore she never made it to Murder By The Book and I was at loose ends as to where to get my signed copy. Thanks to NetGalley my buying patterns with my favorite authors have changed over the years because I usually have read an ARC of their recent books and then have the luxury of buying a signed copy online instead of racing to my Barnes and Noble on release day to devour the most recent story. And yes, this IS how it used to be, just ask my Dad who ran out to get me Patty's Fair Game when I was sick. That book literally healed me people! But back to Fire Touched. I saw she still had a signing coming up at Bookworm Books and being as it's near Patty's house I figured, even if she's sick she'll probably eventually show up and sign stock. Well the event went on but because of some snafu my copy was only signed, not inscribed. Instead of writing me an apology about this fact they instead had the store manager send the book to Patty who then resigned it and even did a coyote doodle! And they still apologized! Because having to send the book to Patty meant there was a delay in getting the book to me. I was literally sitting at my computer jaws gaping when they sent me this email. They were apologizing for fixing a problem that most bookstores would have just made me accept. But they "wanted to make sure it was signed as [I] requested." Seriously Bookworm Books, above and beyond, standing ovation here! Get on your feet people and give them the respect they deserve! 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Tuesday Tomorrow

Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews
Published by: Ace
Publication Date: August 28th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world."

For Moxie. I know you're addicted to this series.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Published by: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: August 28th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Ever since Cass almost drowned (okay, she did drown, but she doesn't like to think about it), she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead...and enter the world of spirits. Her best friend is even a ghost.

So things are already pretty strange. But they're about to get much stranger.

When Cass's parents start hosting a TV show about the world's most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh, Scotland. Here, graveyards, castles, and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms. And when Cass meets a girl who shares her "gift," she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil - and herself.

And she'll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

NYT bestselling author Victoria Schwab delivers a thrillingly spooky and action-packed tale of hauntings, history, mystery, and the bond between friends (even if that friend is a ghost...)"

There's a cat on the cover! The ghosts, etc, they're just icing on the cake!

The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart
Published by: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 28th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A horror story about friendship, growing up, and finding a place in the world: Gremlins meets The Breakfast Club by way of Stephen King and Stranger Things.

In the summer of 1982, five friends discover an ancient stone box hidden deep in the woods. They seal inside of it treasured objects from their childhoods, and they make a vow:

Never come to the box alone.
Never open it after dark.
Never take back your sacrifice. 

Four years later, a series of strange and terrifying events begin to unfold: mirrors inexplicably shattering, inanimate beings coming to life, otherworldly crows thirsting for blood. Someone broke the rules of the box, and now everyone has to pay.

But how much are they willing to sacrifice?"

For those needing the next season of Stranger Things and realizing it's not out until next summer... 

The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: August 28th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In the Tale of The Fall of Gondolin are two of the greatest powers in the world. There is Morgoth of the uttermost evil, unseen in this story but ruling over a vast military power from his fortress of Angband. Deeply opposed to Morgoth is Ulmo, second in might only to Manwë, chief of the Valar: he is called the Lord of Waters, of all seas, lakes, and rivers under the sky. But he works in secret in Middle-earth to support the Noldor, the kindred of the Elves among whom were numbered Húrin and Túrin Turambar.

Central to this enmity of the gods is the city of Gondolin, beautiful but undiscoverable. It was built and peopled by Noldorin Elves who, when they dwelt in Valinor, the land of the gods, rebelled against their rule and fled to Middle-earth. Turgon King of Gondolin is hated and feared above all his enemies by Morgoth, who seeks in vain to discover the marvellously hidden city, while the gods in Valinor in heated debate largely refuse to intervene in support of Ulmo’s desires and designs.

Into this world comes Tuor, cousin of Túrin, the instrument of Ulmo’s designs. Guided unseen by him Tuor sets out from the land of his birth on the fearful journey to Gondolin, and in one of the most arresting moments in the history of Middle-earth the sea-god himself appears to him, rising out of the ocean in the midst of a storm. In Gondolin he becomes great; he is wedded to Idril, Turgon’s daughter, and their son is Eärendel, whose birth and profound importance in days to come is foreseen by Ulmo.

At last comes the terrible ending. Morgoth learns through an act of supreme treachery all that he needs to mount a devastating attack on the city, with Balrogs and dragons and numberless Orcs. After a minutely observed account of the fall of Gondolin, the tale ends with the escape of Túrin and Idril, with the child Eärendel, looking back from a cleft in the mountains as they flee southward, at the blazing wreckage of their city. They were journeying into a new story, the Tale of Eärendel, which Tolkien never wrote, but which is sketched out in this book from other sources.

Following his presentation of Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien has used the same ‘history in sequence’ mode in the writing of this edition of The Fall of Gondolin. In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, it was ‘the first real story of this imaginary world’ and, together with Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin, he regarded it as one of the three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days."

Everyone always needs more Tolkien! 

The Towering Sky by Katherine McGee
Published by: HarperCollins
Publication Date: August 28th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 464 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The final book in Katharine McGee's epic New York Times bestselling Thousandth Floor series.

When you have everything, you have everything to lose.

Welcome back to New York, 2119. A skyscraper city, fueled by impossible dreams.

Leda just wants to move on from what happened in Dubai. Until a new investigation forces her to seek help—from the person she’s spent all year trying to forget.

Rylin is back in her old life, reunited with an old flame. But when she starts seeing Cord again, she finds herself torn: between two worlds, and two very different boys.

Calliope feels trapped, playing a long con that costs more than she bargained for. What happens when all her lies catch up with her?

Watt is still desperately in love with Leda. He’ll do anything to win her back—even dig up secrets that are better left buried.

And now that Avery is home from England—with a new boyfriend, Max—her life seems more picture-perfect than ever. So why does she feel like she would rather be anything but perfect?

Perfect for fans of Kiera Cass and Anna Godbersen, and with all the drama, romance and hidden secrets from The Thousandth Floor and The Dazzling Heights, this explosive finale will not disappoint."

If you wait long enough to start a series they all come out and then you can binge! So go me? 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Politics and Prose Bookstore

Bookstore: Politics and Prose Bookstore

Location: Washington, D.C.

The Official Patter: "Politics and Prose is an independent bookstore located in Chevy Chase, Washington, D.C., on Connecticut Avenue. The store was founded in 1984 by co-owners Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade, who expanded the store fivefold to its present size. After a failed sale attempt in 2005, the two co-owners eventually sold the store to current owners Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine in 2011. Politics and Prose is known for its knowledgeable staff and is seen as a part of D.C. culture. Its author events attract famous speakers, such as Bill Clinton and J.K. Rowling, and have a reputation for their astute audiences."

Why I Love Them: When I went to D.C. back in 1996 oh how I wish I knew about this store. But then again, being seventeen with my parents planning the entire trip, it's not like I got much say, even if the trip was technically for me. I was going to accept an art award which I was late to. Thanks Amtrak. I also got sick on the trip. Yeah. I totally know how to party don't I? But with a name like Politics and Prose, I just feel like this isn't just the perfect store, but the name perfectly embodies what a bookstore should be in our nation's capital. And what I find most interesting is that they don't seem to have any genre bias. Hosting a whole range of authors from women's fiction to YA. Now that's something our government should try to embrace, inclusivity. 

Best Buy: Being in the Midwest you kind of have to resign yourself to the fact you might never meet your favorite author unless you're willing to travel to the coasts, and Robin LaFevers is easily one of my favorite authors. I first discovered her through her Theodosia Throckmorton books that will delight the heart of any budding Egyptologist. But it's her His Fair Assassin series that showed a new more mature side to her writing. I instantly fell in love with the strong female leads and their various struggles. Thankfully for the second book in the series, Dark Triumph, Robin had a signing in Illinois, which I eagerly jumped in the car to attend! Because I was able to get the first book in the series, Grave Mercy, also signed at that event there was no way I was going to not have the whole trilogy signed... and of course I wasn't so lucky this time with her tour stops... but luck was still on my side when I saw her Mortal Heart schedule and noticed that Politics and Prose was on the tour. I had previously ordered some books from them, literally two ends of the genre spectrum, one being a Zadie Smith book, the other being a Leigh Bardugo book, so I knew they were good people. And sure enough, the book arrived in perfect shape and my collection was complete... for now. Because one of the reasons this book is so important to me is that Robin has finally returned to writing and is continuing this series with a new duology! And while I hope with fervent fingers crossed that she stops in the Midwest, I know if she stops at Politics and Prose I will still be able to get another best buy...  

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

WORD Bookstores

Bookstore: WORD Bookstores

Location: Brooklyn, New York

The Official Patter: "WORD has two bookstores: one in Greenpoint, the northernmost neighborhood of Brooklyn, that opened in March of 2007, and one in Jersey City, which opened in December 2013. Our primary goal is to be whatever our communities need us to be! In Brooklyn, that means carrying a lot of paperback fiction (especially classics), cookbooks, board books, and absurdly cute cards and stationery. In addition, we're fiends for a good event, from the classic author reading and Q and A to potlucks and a basketball league (and anything set in a bar). We're a small operation, just 1000 square feet, but we read too much, so it all works out."

Why I Love Them: For me 2015 was the year of Lauren Willig. I do not joke. My friend Ashley who did the blog The Bubble Bath Reader hosted Pink for All Seasons that year, a re-read of the entire Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig before the release of the final book, The Lure of the Moonflower. I provided monthly casting posts as well as hosting one and a half of the books and providing all the graphics. But the best part of this was just spending that year re-reading all Lauren's books on top of promoting her stand alone, The Other Daughter, with Jazzy July, which you should remember if you read my Friday post... if you haven't, well, it's your loss. Lauren's book launch was going to be at WORD in Brooklyn. Ah, how I wish I could have been there, but thankfully, Ashley was.

Best Buy: So it therefore should come as no surprise to you that The Lure of the Moonflower is my best buy. This was the culmination of the entire Pink Carnation series! This was the end of a series I had spent years enjoying and the last year re-reading. And thanks to WORD I had my dream edition. Though in truth I would have liked it if the last three books in the series had also been released in hardcover, but what can you do? Publishers, am I right? And right now you're probably thinking, damn, her dream editions as this month go on seem to focus more and more on just a few authors... well, you wouldn't be wrong in thinking that. Three times Lauren Willig is my best buy, and Leigh Bardugo comes in a close second. The reason this is is because I reach out to these stores when my favorite authors go on tour and I can't see them, so my best buys are obviously my favorite authors. You might think that this means I only ever interact with these stores the once and move on, but you'd be wrong. If they do a good job I make sure to check out who they have visiting for other books I can buy in the future. What's more is I usually subscribe to their mailing lists and study them carefully wishing I lived closer. And if my "favorite" author visits that store again? You can be sure I'll be purchasing whatever book they are selling. In fact, sometimes I wish I could just buy copies of my favorite books from all the independent bookstores the author visits to support them and the stores... but there is sadly only so much money in my bank account and there are only so many bookshelves in my house, and yes, most of them are filled beyond capacity.  

Monday, August 20, 2018

Tuesday Tomorrow

Cemetery Girl Book Three: Haunted by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden
Published by: Dynamite Entertainment
Publication Date: August 21st, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 120 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"They call her the Ghost of Dunhill Cemetery, but most people think “the Cemetery Girl” is just a story. In some ways, that’s true. Her chosen name is Calexa Rose Dunhill, but she doesn’t know her real name. When she first arrived here, all she knew was that someone had tried to murder her, dumped her body, and left her for dead. Calexa has been hiding out, afraid to seek out her true identity in fear that her would-be murderer would find her and finish the job. And someone is searching for her…a man named Salazar, who holds the key that will unlock the secrets of Calexa’s past.

Calexa has new secrets as well―including the fact that she was murdered…she did die, if only for a moment. And in that moment, something changed inside her. Now, if someone dies near her, their spirit is drawn to Calexa, drawn into her. It has happened twice before, but now―as her worst fears come true and there are killers on her trail―the third ghost to take up residence in Calexa’s soul will change everything, and bring the Cemetery Girl trilogy to its shocking conclusion!"

It's finally here! After years of delay, the loss of their artist, we are finally getting the conclusion to this great graphic novel series from two of my favorite authors!

Giant Days by Non Pratt
Published by: Amulet Books
Publication Date: August 21st, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 288 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Based on the hit graphic-novel series from BOOM! Studios, the publisher behind Lumberjanes, Giant Days follows the hilarious and heartfelt misadventures of three university first-years: Daisy, the innocent home-schooled girl; Susan, the sardonic wit; and Esther, the vivacious drama queen. While the girls seem very different, they become fast friends during their first week of university. And it’s a good thing they do, because in the giant adventure that is college, a friend who has your back is key—something Daisy discovers when she gets a little too involved in her extracurricular club, the Yogic Brethren of Zoise. When she starts acting strange and life around campus gets even stranger (missing students, secret handshakes, monogrammed robes everywhere . . .), Esther and Susan decide it’s up to them to investigate the weirdness and save their friend."

It took me awhile to warm up to the graphic novel series, but now I'm a huge Giant Days fan, so I'm very curious for it's transition away from the medium... but mainly the cover just freaks me out because Susan looks like a deformed Gru from Despicable Me... 

The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal
Published by: Tor Books
Publication Date: August 21st, 2018
Format: Paperback, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Mary Robinette Kowal continues the grand sweep of alternate history begun in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars.

Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic―but potentially very dangerous―mission? Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the Civil Rights movement taking hold all over Earth, will the astronaut pool ever be allowed to catch up, and will these brave men and women of all races be treated equitably when they get there? This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been."

And here's the sequel to The Calculating Stars, just a month after that book's release... still feels like Tor is burning off it's contract with Mary Robinette Kowal... 

Changeling by Molly Harper
Published by: NYLA
Publication Date: August 21st, 2018
Format: Kindle, 271 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"If 14-year-old Cassandra Reed makes it through her first day at Miss Castwell’s Institute for the Magical Instruction of Young Ladies without anyone discovering her secret, maybe, just maybe, she’ll let herself believe that she really does belong at Miss Castwell’s.

Except Cassandra Reed’s real name is Sarah Smith and up until now, she lived her whole life in the Warren, serving a magical family, the Winters, as all non-magical “Snipes” are bound by magical Guardian law to do. That is, until one day, Sarah accidentally levitates Mrs. Winter’s favorite vase in the parlor...

But Snipes aren’t supposed to have magical powers…and the existence of a magical Snipe threatens the world order dictated during the Guardians’ Restoration years ago. If she wants to keep her family safe and protect her own skin, Sarah must figure out how to fit into posh Guardian society, master her newfound magical powers and discover the truth about how an ordinary girl can become magical."

A new magical series called Sorcery and Society? YAS!!! 

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Mysterious Bookshop

Bookstore: The Mysterious Bookshop

Location: New York, New York

The Official Patter: "The Mysterious Bookshop is an independent bookstore and publisher specializing in mystery fiction. It is one of the oldest mystery bookstores in the Unites States. In addition to housing its own imprint, the shop contains the offices of both the Mysterious Press, and, an e-book imprint. The store and its various publishing enterprises are owned and operated by editor and publisher Otto Penzler; its inventory consists of new and rare titles in detective fiction, crime fiction, spy fiction, thrillers, and various other mystery fiction subgenres. The store also features the largest collection of Sherlock Holmes titles and Sherlockiana in the world, as well as a considerable Bibliomystery collection."

Why I Love Them: What's interesting about all the times I've visited New York is the number of times I ask people what their favorite bookstore is and most people just comment that there aren't really many bookstores about. How can they be this ignorant!?! There are so many independent bookstores full of goodness that you could spend your entire vacation going from one to another! Which makes me now wonder about the trustworthiness of my friends... perhaps they know me too well and know that this is what would happen and have therefore been deceiving me "for my own good." Little do they know that being surrounded by books is the best thing for me! In fact the weekly newsletter that drops in my inbox every Friday from The Mysterious Bookshop makes me wonder if I could get my doctor to recommend a trip to the store for my well being...

Best Buy: As I'm sure ALL of you know, I'm an addict of Lauren Willig's books. I don't actually know how many times I've written features for my and other blogs about how much I love her books, or even how many theme months I've done by this point, but one of my favorite theme months was Jazzy July. Jazzy July was to celebrate the release of her 2015 stand alone The Other Daughter. I got to spend that summer reading about Evelyn Waugh and other "bright young things" not to mention how much I love The Other Daughter which I devoured twice! So obviously I was sad that she wasn't going anywhere near me on her book tour, but such is life, and such is me, I will always find a way. That way was The Mysterious Bookshop. Nothing could have been easier than contacting them for a copy of The Other Daughter, signed, to me, Miss Eliza, aka my handle should Mr. Darcy ever bother showing up. The lovely surprise once I got the book was that Lauren mentioned Jazzy July in her inscription. That's what I love about forging relationships with authors and independent bookstores, there's this whole symbiotic relationship. I like their books, I buy their books, I buy their books from an independent store and everyone gets something out of it, the store gets money and a chance for the author to visit again, the author gets money and the chance to write another book, and while I am the one losing money, I get a new book. It's the circle of life! A circle that is made possible by reaching out to stores online. If there's anything I hope this final month of Support Your Brick and Mortar does is to show you that there are resources, there are stores out there to help you get signed copies of books that you will always treasure. All it takes is a little research and a call or an email.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore

Bookstore: Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore

Location: Forest Park, Illinois

The Official Patter: "Centuries and Sleuths is a warm, inviting and well organized store where a customer can sit in a rocking chair while looking through books. A bust of Sherlock Holmes exclusively commissioned by Centuries and Sleuths owner Augie Aleksy graces the bookstore. From the day its doors opened, Centuries and Sleuths has been a destination for the discriminating reader, a meeting place for authors and readers and a place for intellectual discussion. And that’s all been a part of Aleksy’s master plan."

Why I Love Them: I don't know why it is, but whenever I think of the best independent bookstores I know they are almost always stores that specialize in mysteries... This could be because I spent years trailing behind my mom, a devoted mystery fanatic, whenever she went to the bookstore, and especially when she went to Booked for Murder (now Mystery to Me.) Couple that with the fact that Murder By The Book is easily my favorite bookstore I've never been too... and well, you can easily see how my bias came to exist. Enter Centuries and Sleuths. One of my favorite authors was on tour and was stopping by the this Midwestern mystery bookstore I had never heard of... needless to say, they have since made my list of favorite stores I've never been to... and hopefully soon they will upgrade to stores I have been to!

Best Buy: In fact, my best buy from Centuries and Sleuths was initially going to be a best buy purchased in person. Lisa Lutz's Spellman series is hands down one of my favorite book series out there. They are witty and clever and know just when it's right to go dark and just when it's right to throw in a Doctor Who joke. In other words, you can see why I was drawn to them. Well for the book tour for the fifth installment the closest to Madison Lisa was coming was Forest Park Illinois. Not that far a journey, but at the same time, trudging down to the flatland in March is always hazardous, because you never know what the weather will be like. Will it be freakishly warm, or a blizzard? A few years back when I went down in April I was in a blizzard, it wasn't fun. At all. So I decided, as much as I love Lisa, I'd already met her three times at this point so I could sit this tour out, and luckily her tour for the final Spellman book the next year came to Madison! But what was great is Centuries and Sleuths. I called them up saying I could no longer make the event which I had RSVP'd to and instead could they get it signed to me and ship it up north? The sign of a truly great bookstore is when they are accommodating. When they instantly understand that you have had a change in plans and are willing to go the extra mile to help their customers. This, more than anything, is why I want to make the pilgrimage there. I want to go and throw lots of money at them in exchange for books as a big thank you for helping me out when I needed it. And trust me, I needed a signed first edition of The Trail of the Spellmans bad.  

Monday, August 13, 2018

Tuesday Tomorrow

Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill
Published by: Berkley
Publication Date: August 14th, 2018
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In the first thrilling installment of Chloe Neill's spinoff to the New York Times bestselling Chicagoland Vampires series, a new vampire will find out just how deep blood ties run.

As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she's a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he's prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever."

I love Urban Fantasy set in places I love, like Chicago! Here's to Chloe Neill writing more Chicago set books! Chicago FOREVER!

Black Lotus Kiss by Jason Ridler
Published by: Night Shade Books
Publication Date: August 14th, 2018
Format: Paperback, 288 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Winter 1970. As rock stars die of excess and revolution fills the air, newly minted private investigator James Brimstone is spending his days wandering the streets of Los Angeles, looking for low rent cases as far as possible from his last work-for-hire, an unfortunate run-in with the occult on a pornographic film set. But fate has a funny way of slapping Brimstone with the dark hand of magic."

While I hadn't heard of this series until now, the combination of pulp crime and the occult calls to me to pick it up!

The Kill Jar by J. Reuben Appelman
Published by: Gallery Books
Publication Date: August 14th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 288 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Enthralling. Gripping. Cinematic. Raw. A cold case murder investigation paced like a podcast, as visually stunning as a film, and as brave and personal as our darkest memoirs. J. Reuben Appelman cracks open one of America’s most notorious murder sprees while simultaneously banging the gavel on his own history with violence. A deftly-crafted true crime story with grit, set amid the decaying sprawl of Detroit and its outliers.

With a foreword by Catherine Broad, sister of victim Timothy King.

Four children were abducted and murdered outside of Detroit during the winters of 1976 and 1977, their bodies eventually dumped in snow banks around the city. J. Reuben Appelman was six years old at the time the murders began and had evaded an abduction attempt during that same period, fueling a lifelong obsession with what became known as the Oakland County Child Killings.

Autopsies showed the victims to have been fed while in captivity, reportedly held with care. And yet, with equal care, their bodies had allegedly been groomed post-mortem, scrubbed-free of evidence that might link to a killer. There were few credible leads, and equally few credible suspects. That’s what the cops had passed down to the press, and that’s what the city of Detroit, and J. Reuben Appelman, had come to believe.

When the abductions mysteriously stopped, a task force operating on one of the largest manhunt budgets in history shut down without an arrest. Although no more murders occurred, Detroit and its environs remained haunted. The killer had, presumably, not been caught.

Eerily overlaid upon the author’s own decades-old history with violence, The Kill Jar tells the gripping story of J. Reuben Appelman’s ten-year investigation into buried leads, apparent police cover-ups of evidence, con-men, child pornography rings, and high-level corruption saturating Detroit’s most notorious serial killer case."

I'm liking this more personal approach to cold cases, but using a podcast as the epitome of the true crime genre in the blurb? All the no.

Friday, August 10, 2018

DreamHaven Books & Comics

Bookstore: DreamHaven Books and Comics

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Official Patter: "DreamHaven has been an open shop since 1977. We are leading purveyors of new, used, and rare science fiction, fantasy, horror, film and media books, comics, and graphic novels.

“The Tooth Fairy left the name DreamHaven Books
under my pillow. Usually it’s a 25-cent piece;
but given the current value of the U.S. dollar,
the value of this tip was far more glorious.
DreamHaven is a book-seeker’s cave of miracles.” – Harlan Ellison"

Why I Love Them: Years ago I was searching for the perfect birthday present for my mom. She had recently told me how she thought Neil Gaiman's Coraline was one of her favorite books so I set out to find her a signed copy. Neil had a link on his site to DreamHaven Books and Comics saying that he often popped across the Mississippi River from his secluded Northern Wisconsin home to the Minnesota store and signed books for them and if you were willing to wait a bit he could personalize them. I placed an order long in advance of my mother's birthday and waited. She loved the present when it arrived, Neil had even done a little drawing of a rat in the book! So DreamHaven Books became my go to store for anything Neil Gaiman, from my hardcover editions of Neverwhere and American Gods, to Neil's rather rare guide to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I ordered them all from DreamHaven Books!  

Best Buy: About six months after I placed my first order with them I went to my first WisCon. In the dealers' room who should I find but DreamHaven Books! They had by far the biggest display, and what I loved most was it was a mix of new and used. There were books I had been longing to see in person and books I never thought I'd find. My second year at WisCon, knowing that DreamHaven Books would be there I budgeted accordingly and in fact found a wonderful out of print copy of Caroline Stevermer's The Alchemist: Death of a Borgia which I was then able to get signed by her! But my best buy was purchased at what I will always view as my best convention experience ever, the 2011 North American Discworld Convention. The dealers' room was a wonderful mishmash of the unknown, The Cunning Artificer and The Discworld Emporium, and the familiar, DreamHaven Books. On my third day I went to this lovely and intimate event with one of the other guests, Patrick Rothfuss. He passed out copies of his book The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed for us to read as a group. It was a raucous time and so much fun, in fact if you want to read more about it, you can! After this reading I was waiting for my friend by perusing the wares of DreamHaven Books and Pat came by to give them a stack of copies of The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle. In fact the stack we had just been reading. Now, I already owned a signed first edition of this book, but then Pat said that these were his own personal copies he got when the book came out, as evidenced by the fact he signed and dated them "Pat Rothfuss 7-21-10." How could I pass up an opportunity to own such a unique copy of this wonderful book? The answer is I obviously couldn't because it is my best buy ever from DreamHaven Books, and let me tell you it had some stiff competition.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore

Bookstore: Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore

Location: San Diego, California

The Official Patter: "Founded in 1992, Mysterious Galaxy is an independent genre bookstore specializing in science fiction, fantasy, mystery, young adult, romance, and horror. The founders of Mysterious Galaxy are Terry Gilman, Maryelizabeth Yturralde, and Jeff Mariotte. They met and began talking about Mysterious Galaxy in late 1992 when they recognized a need for a genre store in San Diego and saw it as a way to share their passion for books, book selling, and a love of reading with their community. Mysterious Galaxy opened on May 8, 1993 and among the authors who celebrated the opening of the store with hundreds of fans were Ray Bradbury, David Brin, and Robert Crais."

Why I Love Them: Back in 2009 I really started to get into Patricia Briggs, who of course is now one of my favorite authors, but this was before that happened. The problem was she never seemed to stop in the Midwest, so I took to the Internet and found out about a tour stop at Mysterious Galaxy. While I quickly placed my order for Bone Crossed I started to look at their upcoming events. They literally had the who's who of science fiction and fantasy authors coming through their door. It didn't take long before they became my go-to source for these authors, and because of them I have signed editions from Laini Taylor to Gail Carriger, John Barrowman to Dan Simmons. In fact I just placed an order with them two days ago and by the time this goes live I will hopefully have a new book in my hands!  

Best Buy: Though of all the YA authors specializing with that fantastical bent there's one I long to meet, and that's Leigh Bardugo. I remember back in 2012 reading about a new trilogy coming out. It was dark and Russian and instantly peaked my interest. I immediately went online and ordered Shadow and Bone, interestingly enough from a bookstore I will be featuring in a few weeks. Though with my growing to be read pile the second book was already on it's way to press before I had picked up the first, so I ordered Siege and Storm from Mysterious Galaxy, and then as it turns out, I didn't get around to the series until the next year when the final book, Ruin and Rising was coming out. But that meant I spent the summer of 2014 binging and falling in love with Leigh Bardugo's world of The Grisha. What really struck me was that thinking back to that initial review I read, I don't think they had read the book at all. They painted a very different world from the one Leigh had written, one about a lone girl in a dark forest... and while I would like to find out exactly what they had read, because it still sounds like a book right up my alley, I don't know if I would love it as much as I love Ravka and Alina. And the thing with a series of books is there's ALWAYS one you love more than the rest. If someone says Harry Potter I instantly say that Goblet of Fire is hands down my favorite. So the same rules apply to this series, and it's the second book, Siege and Storm, which I ordered from Mysterious Galaxy which will forever be my favorite in this series and therefore my best buy from them.  

Monday, August 6, 2018

Tuesday Tomorrow

The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal
Published by: Bantam
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A series of baffling murders among a group of imprisoned agents threatens the outcome of World War II in this chilling mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Mr. Churchill’s Secretary.

World War II is raging, and former spy Maggie Hope knows too much.

She knows what the British government is willing to do to keep its secrets.

She knows the real location of the planned invasion of France.

She knows who’s lying. She knows who the double-crossers are. She knows exactly who is sending agents to their deaths.

These are the reasons Maggie is isolated on a remote Scottish island, in a prison known as Killoch Castle, out of contact with friends and family.

Then one of her fellow inmates drops dead in the middle of his after-dinner drink—and he’s only the first. As victims fall one by one, Maggie will have to call upon all her wits and skills to escape—not just certain death . . . but certain murder.

For what’s the most important thing Maggie Hope knows?

She must survive."

New Maggie Hope! And in Scotland! 

Weekend at Thrackley by Alan Melville
Published by: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Paperback, 240 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:

'I'm taking a revolver to Thrackley. You never know with blokes like Carson. I hate these harmless, potty people – they're always up to something.'

Jim Henderson is one of six guests summoned by the mysterious Edwin Carson, a collector of precious stones, to a weekend party at his country house, Thrackley. The house is gloomy and forbidding but the party is warm and hospitable – except for the presence of Jacobson, the sinister butler. The other guests are wealthy people draped in jewels; Jim cannot imagine why he belongs in such company.

After a weekend of adventure – with attempted robbery and a vanishing guest – secrets come to light and Jim unravels a mystery from his past."

While I love books written like Golden Age mysteries, sometimes nothing beats actual Golden Age mysteries... 

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen
Published by: Berkley
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In the days leading up to her wedding to Darcy O'Mara, Lady Georgiana Rannoch takes on the responsibilities of a grand estate, but proving she can run a household just may be the death of her in the new Royal Spyness Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service.

If only Darcy and I had eloped! What I thought would be a simple wedding has been transformed into a grand affair, thanks to the attendance of the queen, who has offered up the princesses as bridesmaids. Silly me! I thought that withdrawing from the royal line of succession would simplify my life. But before Darcy and I tie the knot in front of queen and country, we have to find a place to live as man and wife...

House hunting turns out to be a pretty grim affair. Just as we start to lose hope, my globetrotting godfather offers us his fully staffed country estate. Mistress of Eynsleigh I shall be! With Darcy off in parts unknown, I head to Eynsleigh alone, only to have my hopes dashed. The grounds are in disarray and the small staff is suspiciously incompetent. Not to mention the gas tap leak in my bedroom, which I can only imagine was an attempt on my life. Something rotten is afoot--and bringing the place up to snuff may put me six feet under before I even get a chance to walk down the aisle..."

Anyone else sick of Four Weddings and a Funeral puns? 

The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis
Published by: Dutton
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In her latest captivating novel, nationally bestselling author Fiona Davis takes readers into the glamorous lost art school within Grand Central Terminal, where two very different women, fifty years apart, strive to make their mark on a world set against them.

For the nearly nine million people who live in New York City, Grand Central Terminal is a crown jewel, a masterpiece of design. But for Clara Darden and Virginia Clay, it represents something quite different.

For Clara, the terminal is the stepping stone to her future, which she is certain will shine as the brightly as the constellations on the main concourse ceiling. It is 1928, and twenty-five-year-old Clara is teaching at the lauded Grand Central School of Art. A talented illustrator, she has dreams of creating cover art for Vogue, but not even the prestige of the school can override the public's disdain for a "woman artist." Brash, fiery, confident, and single-minded--even while juggling the affections of two men, a wealthy would-be poet and a brilliant experimental painter--Clara is determined to achieve every creative success. But she and her bohemian friends have no idea that they'll soon be blindsided by the looming Great Depression, an insatiable monster with the power to destroy the entire art scene. And even poverty and hunger will do little to prepare Clara for the greater tragedy yet to come.

Nearly fifty years later, in 1974, the terminal has declined almost as sharply as Virginia Clay's life. Full of grime and danger, from the smoke-blackened ceiling to the pickpockets and drug dealers who roam the floor, Grand Central is at the center of a fierce lawsuit: Is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved, or a cancer to be demolished? For Virginia, it is simply her last resort. Recently divorced, she has just accepted a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her college-age daughter, Ruby. But when Virginia stumbles upon an abandoned art school within the terminal and discovers a striking watercolor hidden under the dust, her eyes are opened to the elegance beneath the decay. She embarks on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece--an impassioned chase that draws Virginia not only into the battle to save Grand Central but deep into the mystery of Clara Darden, the famed 1920s illustrator who disappeared from history in 1931."

Literally THE BOOK everyone I know is talking about this summer!

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Paperback, 448 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
""The house, when I first saw it, seemed intent on guarding what it knew; but we all learned, by the end of it, that secrets aren't such easy things to keep."

It's late summer, war is raging, and families are torn apart by divided loyalties and deadly secrets. In this complex and dangerous time, a young French Canadian lieutenant is captured and billeted with a Long Island family, an unwilling and unwelcome guest. As he begins to pitch in with the never-ending household tasks and farm chores, Jean-Philippe de Sabran finds himself drawn to the daughter of the house. Slowly, Lydia Wilde comes to lean on Jean-Philippe, true soldier and gentleman, until their lives become inextricably intertwined. Legend has it that the forbidden love between Jean-Philippe and Lydia ended tragically, but centuries later, the clues they left behind slowly unveil the true story.

Part history, part romance, and all kinds of magic, Susanna Kearsley's latest masterpiece will draw you in and never let you go, even long after you've closed the last page."

It's a new Susanna Kearsley, AKA a new "Must Buy!"

Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose
Published by: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The New York Times bestselling author of The Library of Light and Shadow crafts a dazzling Jazz Age jewel—a novel of ambition, betrayal, and passion about a young painter whose traumatic past threatens to derail her career at a prestigious summer artists’ colony run by Louis Comfort Tiffany of Tiffany and Co. fame. “[M.J. Rose] transports the reader into the past better than a time machine could accomplish” (The Associated Press).

New York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.

But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.

As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life."

Tiffany and the Jazz Age are making me go, perhaps if she doesn't mention sandalwood I won't have flashbacks to that bad book of her's I read... 

The Husband Hunters by Anne de Courcy
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A deliciously told group biography of the young, rich, American heiresses who married into the impoverished British aristocracy at the turn of the twentieth century – The real women who inspired Downton Abbey.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century and for the first few years of the twentieth, a strange invasion took place in Britain. The citadel of power, privilege and breeding in which the titled, land-owning governing class had barricaded itself for so long was breached. The incomers were a group of young women who, fifty years earlier, would have been looked on as the alien denizens of another world - the New World, to be precise. From 1874 - the year that Jennie Jerome, the first known 'Dollar Princess', married Randolph Churchill - to 1905, dozens of young American heiresses married into the British peerage, bringing with them all the fabulous wealth, glamour and sophistication of the Gilded Age.

Anne de Courcy sets the stories of these young women and their families in the context of their times. Based on extensive first-hand research, drawing on diaries, memoirs and letters, this richly entertaining group biography reveals what they thought of their new lives in England - and what England thought of them."

Let's read about some Buccaneers! 

An Unwanted Guests by Shari Lapena
Published by: Pamela Dorman Books
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway...but when the storm hits, no one is getting away.

It's winter in the Catskills and Mitchell's Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing--maybe even romantic--weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity--and all contact with the outside world--the guests settle in for the long haul.

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead--it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic.

Within the snowed-in paradise, something--or someone--is picking off the guests one by one. And there's nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm."

And Then There Were None Catskills edition? 

Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas
Published by: Pamela Dorman Books
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Sizzling with action and suspense, #1 New York Times bestselling author SARAH J. MAAS delivers a coming-of-age Selina Kyle who will steal readers' hearts in a new, highly anticipated YA blockbuster: CATWOMAN!

When the Bat's away, the Cat will play. It's time to see how many lives this cat really has.

Two years after escaping Gotham City's slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Gotham City looks ripe for the taking.

Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove that as Batwing he has what it takes to help people. He targets a new thief on the prowl who has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Together, they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman is clever--she may be Batwing's undoing.

In this third DC Icons book, Selina is playing a desperate game of cat and mouse, forming unexpected friendships and entangling herself with Batwing by night and her devilishly handsome neighbor Luke Fox by day. But with a dangerous threat from the past on her tail, will she be able to pull off the heist that's closest to her heart?"

Beloved YA author writing about Catwoman? YAS!

A Girl of White Winter by Barb Hendee
Published by: Rebel Base Books
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Kindle, 327 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Kara, as a ward with no parentage and no future, has been raised knowing nothing outside her lady’s chambers. Until Royce Capello, a visiting nobleman, is struck by her ice-pale looks, and demands her as payment for the land the family needs.

With barely time to protest, Kara is sold and packed off for a life as a concubine—until a raiding party descends on Royce’s company and she’s kidnapped for the second time in as many days.

Whatever happens, Kara will be alone in the world, inexperienced and fearing even the vast unfamiliar sky. But one raider gives her a choice—and a magic mirror appears to show her where each path will lead...

~She can leave with her protector Raven and journey with his performing troupe, competing for his mercurial affections.

~She can flee the raiders’ settlement, and return to Royce’s manor, chattel among devious nobility.

~Or she can stay in the settlement, bound to firm, silent Caine, who is as gentle as he is staid and inscrutable.

Her fates twist and turn to affect far more than she could have guessed, tangling the bitter with the sweet—and Kara must choose which consequences she can live with..."

Yeah, yeah, romantic fairy tale retelling, but what I really love is the publisher's name, Rebel Base Books!

Friday, August 3, 2018

The King's English Bookshop

Bookstore: The King's English Bookshop

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

The Official Patter: "The King’s English Bookshop opened its door (there was only one, to start) in 1977. Betsy Burton and Ann Berman, book lovers and aspiring writers, thought they had it all figured out. They rented an old building with several rooms, thinking they’d write their Great American Novels in the back, emerging to sell a book or two whenever the bells on the front door jangled to announce the arrival of a customer. The women soon realized the jingling bells were not a distraction from their writing life but a welcome sound, signalling the opportunity to meet new friends and talk books. The bookshop became a full-time labor of love."

Why I Love Them: The interesting thing about Utah is this was the epicenter for the rise of the YA movement. Just look at all the authors who write in that genre and still live there: James Dasher, Ally Condie, Shannon Hale, Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson (in a one-two Brandon punch), and Jessica Day George. If we go back to those who've since left we'll see the darling of the YA genre, Stephenie Meyer, was also a member of the Utah literati. Having that many big name authors is a boon to an independent bookstore, and that boon was 100% there for The King's English Bookshop. But it's friendliness to YA authors meant it also became a hub for authors on tour, so you could catch everyone from Marissa Meyer to Leigh Bardugo stopping by.   

Best Buy: For more years than I can remember I've been a fan of Shannon Hale. I was lucky enough to meet her once at a bookstore here in Wisconsin and another time down in Illinois. But in recent years as her proliferation as a writer has grown her author appearances outside the sphere of Utah and it's environs has waned. So needless to say the reason I first became away of The King's English Bookshop was because she was signing there. Since then all my Shannon Hale books have come from The King's English, in fact I'm impatiently (very impatiently) awaiting two books at this very moment! But of all her books there is one that I view the most important, the true best buy. When the fourth book in her Bayern series Forest Born was released in 2009 it had a cover that broke with the look of the previous three books. The previous three volumes had simply gorgeous covers by the amazingly talented Alison Jay. These covers are in fact why I picked up the series. But then artistic covers were no longer in vogue and instead we got a picture cover with some YA waif instead of Alison Jay artwork for Forest Born. I was no happy. Shannon Hale herself didn't seem that happy with the change and saw that her fans weren't happy and did something about it. In 2011 a "special edition" of Forest Born was released with an Alison Jay cover and I didn't think I could be happier. But then Shannon was doing a signing at The King's English and I was able to get a signed copy of this much hoped for edition. Therefore it is easily my best buy, and a book lovers dream come true to have all the covers of a series matching!  

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Murder By The Book

Bookstore: Murder By The Book

Location: Houston, Texas

Official Patter: "Murder By The Book is one of the nation's oldest and largest mystery specialty bookstores, established in 1980 by Martha Farrington, and purchased by McKenna Jordan in 2009. The store stocks over 25,000 books - new and used, hardbacks and paperbacks, first editions, collectibles, gift items, mystery magazines, and more. We host over 200 of the hottest mystery, crime, and fantasy authors for book signing events every year. We've had everyone from Dick Francis to P.D. James, Sue Grafton to Robert Crais, Michael Connelly to Patricia Cornwell, James Lee Burke to Daniel Silva."

Why I Love Them: They are literally my favorite bookstore that I've never been to! I first heard about them because I had fallen in love with the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig and I saw this was a bookstore she was stopping at way back in 2008 to promote the fourth book in the series, The Seduction of the Crimson Rose. It wasn't long before I started to notice how many authors I loved stopped by, all those wonderful signed first editions that could be coming my way! From Tasha Alexander to Deanna Raybourn, Melissa Marr to Kate Morton, Mary Robinette Kowal to Jacqueline Winspear, so many authors on the historical fiction/mystery spectrum made Murder By The Book their go to stop on their tours that I long to live closer. And this doesn't even include Charlaine Harris's link to the store and how many signed books they have supplied me with of hers!

Best Buy: But the best thing about Murder By The Book is that through them I have been given some of the best book recommendations. Recommendations that I'm sure I'd never have heard of otherwise! Johnnie Cakes (the moniker many authors know and love John Kwiatowski by) introduced me to The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, a favorite Steampunk series of mine by Pip Ballantine and her husband Tee Morris among many many others. Occasionally he'll just email me and be like, you need this. I always listen. But before Johnnie there was the store's dearly departed owner David Thompson giving me recommendations. Back in 2009 there was a new book coming out, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and he told me it was not just a must read but that it was going to be big. I listened and am the proud owner of a signed first edition of this Alan Bradley book that went on to win every award that year. Though the awards would mean nothing if it wasn't for the fact that I just fell in love with this series. Every year I wait with baited breath for the next installment, currently at nine books, one short story, and book ten on the way. There's something about Flavia De Luce that I just connect with. She's precocious, incorrigible, and whip-smart. She might be one of my favorite crime solving heroines of all time, and easily my favorite who isn't yet a teenager! But to think, I would never have heard of her it not for David! That is why I love reaching out and forming relationships with bookstores online. They have all these books they want to recommend to you and they help to expand your horizons. The Internet truly does make the world smaller, and because of it I've met some great friends, both real and fictional.       

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