The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey
"Inspired by a family trip in a covered wagon in the 1950s, Rinker Buck and his brother Nick set out by wagon to discover what remains of the Oregon Trail between Missouri and Oregon. Along the way, readers learn about wagon design, mule heritage, and what pioneers needed to endure traveling west in the 19th century. This is also a moving personal story of brotherhood, endurance, and the kindness of strangers. Buck weaves fact, action, and reflection together into a page-turning delight that history buffs and fans of contemporary nonfiction will not want to miss."
— Dick Hermans, Oblong Books And Music,LLC., Millerton, NY
July 2015 Indie Next List
Inspired Recommendations from Indie Booksellers
Hauntingly beautiful, The Book of Speculation weaves a spectacular multigenerational story of magic, love, betrayal, and redemption. The story follows Simon, a young librarian and the descendant of circus mermaids, whose family is steeped in loss. Alongside his story is woven another's: Amos, a mute boy from the 1700s with a special gift. As histories are unveiled and unlikely connections are discovered, Simon is sent a mysterious book with a sinister message. Can he discover the secret that haunts his family in time? Fantastical history, engaging characters, and a love of the written word combine in this compelling novel.
— Jax Caldwell-Dunn (E), Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
Everyone should have access to a 'literary pharmacist' to prescribe the perfect book for what ails them. Bookstore owner Jean Perdu is the victim of a long-ago heartache. While he can cure others, he is unable to quench his own grief. When Perdu's life collides with a reluctant celebrity author, a chef, a neighbor with her own lovelorn past, and an unopened letter, he finds himself on a journey to reawaken his life before it is too late. George's novel is a love song to literature and its curative powers. Launch yourself on a trip with Jean Perdu and company. Reading The Little Paris Bookshop is definitely a journey worth taking.
— Pamela Klinger-Horn (E), Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN
Henry Hayden has it all: loving wife, faithful dog, money, fame, and the respect of those lucky enough to be called his friends. Henry is actually someone who will go to extreme lengths to protect the one thing that truly matters to him: himself. When his mistress tells Henry that she is pregnant, the news sets off a chain of events that causes Henry to commit the biggest mistake of his life and forces him to stay one step ahead of the law. Arango's novel is twisty, cynical, and brilliant.
— Teresa Steele (E), Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO
Mindblowing, outrageous, and visionary, this is without question the best fantasy I have read in many moons! Hawkins has penned a tale that both opens the reader up to new perceptions of the universe, its creation, and ascendency, and gives the adage 'absolute power corrupts absolutely' an entirely singular meaning. He has imagined characters who are simultaneously loveable and despicable and presents them in a way that is both terrifying and darkly funny. Whether or not fantasy is your genre of choice, The Library at Mount Char will amaze you!
— Lynn Riggs (M), Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI
Set in the mountainous region of northern Georgia and reminiscent of Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell, this debut is a potent tale about land and lineage, love and loyalty, livelihood and the law, and life itself. Panowich's words are fresh and clean, hard and dirty; he knows what he is writing about. The book's first chapter - a short story in its own right - is worth the price of admission to Bull Mountain. Climb on up and enjoy the view. Just watch your step!
— JK Garrett Thomas (W), Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The art of communication is the major theme of this story, and Kallos employs all of its variations - whether spoken nuances and innuendos, written assumptions and dissonance, or the fractured and difficult ways of being known that those with autism experience. This is the story of a marriage, of a father and his son, and of how a man's childhood shapes his life. Readers will be absorbed, challenged, puzzled, and ultimately satisfied by this wise and soulful book.
— Rachel Watkins (E), Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA
The ability to write with both humor and sadness, to tell fairy tales without becoming sappy, to convey real love and grief - these are Backman's remarkable gifts. Elsa is seven years old and curious about everything, braver than most adults, often difficult, and acutely aware of being an outsider. Her eccentric grandmother loves her fiercely and is willing to do many unusual things to bring joy and magic to Elsa's life. When her grandmother passes away, Elsa discovers the roles played by the quirky inhabitants of her life and begins to find her way through her grief and to the discovery that being different may be the magic that saves them all.
— Luisa Smith (E), Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
No one writes quite like Matthew Quick. If you loved The Silver Linings Playbook or The Good Luck of Right Now, you'll love this, too; if Quick is new to you, Love May Fail is an excellent place to start. As in his other books, there is love, friendship, family, depression, addiction, and a mishmash of literary and musical references. With its all-new cast of quirky characters, Love May Fail should be in every beach bag this summer!
— Mary Laura Philpott, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN
This is an amazingly complex novel that explores humanity, time, memory, communication, love, and the fear of losing what once was. Introducing five different narratives that at first seem unconnected, Hall creates a shimmering spiderweb of a story: delicately crafted, fragile, and infinitely beautiful, uncovering humanity's most elusive and abstract thoughts. Hall impresses upon the reader the importance of speaking not just in order to move forward, but also in order to retain the past: 'They are all in me, in the words that I speak, as long as I am still speaking.
— Nancy Solberg (E), Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
Kurson, the author of Shadow Divers, follows a team of treasure hunters on their quest for the ultimate bounty of the oceans -- a sunken pirate ship from the Golden Age of Piracy -- as they race against the clock of international legislation and rival hunters. It quickly becomes clear that these are men who share more than a little in common with the pirates for whom they search. Pirate Hunters reminds us that the daring and romance of piracy's heroes was good cause to inspire centuries of boyhood daydreams, which are still alive and well today.
— Sara Hinckley, Hudson Booksellers, Newark, NJ
If you want to experience a great psychological thriller, you must read As Night Falls. Sandy has tried to leave her past behind and start a new life, but it comes crashing in on her in a vicious way. Two convicts break into her house, and that is just the beginning of the terror as Sandy must try to face the past and save her family. I could not put this book down!
— Melissa Wade, Vero Beach Book Center, Vero Beach, FL
Conjure an image of Emily Dickinson: brilliant, but dour and odd? No! In O'Connor's gem of a novel, Miss Emily is spirited and witty, even brave. Emily befriends Ada Concannon, who was hired as the Dickinsons' kitchen girl almost immediately after she arrived from Ireland. Their unlikely friendship quickly provides each with solace and strength in a world where women are often marginalized. Later, an act of raw violence will ripple outward, resulting in consequences that neither Ada nor Emily could ever have imagined. O'Connor has written a small, hope-filled masterpiece!
— Christopher Rose (M), Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA
Morgan is living the good life until the day she returns home to find her fiance mauled to death and her dogs covered in blood. She had rescued her dogs from a shelter, wanting to do something good, and now a man is dead. As time moves forward, the ground under Morgan shifts. She doesn't understand why her dogs, loving animals, would have done such a thing. And the victim is not all he seemed either -- his job, his home, nothing is as he said, and then there is the discovery of other fiancees. This edge-of-your-seat mystery has twists and turns that will keep you guessing. A.J. Rich is the pseudonym of award winners Jill Ciment and Amy Hempel, writing as a team.
— Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR
Set in a fantastical 18th century world where rain falls up and color storms wash the land with bright hues, Bell Weather is, at its core, the story of a spirited young woman fighting for the freedom to choose her own path. Although Molly tells the townsfolk of Root almost nothing of her past, readers learn about her childhood with an overbearing governess, a cold father, and a brilliant, cunning brother who will stop at nothing to ensure that he and Molly are together and unbridled. Mahoney has created a marvelous world that readers will want to visit again and again.
— Amelia Stymacks (E), Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT
Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond has been called off his current case load to join his boss, Assistant Chief Constable Georgina Dallymore, on an internal investigation. A detective is accused of failing to follow up on DNA evidence that could link her niece to a murder. It's an ethical violation case, but the evidence came to light three years ago and only now is she being accused. Diamond expects that more is happening than meets the eye. Meanwhile, a teacher from a private girls' school has gone missing and now the schoolgirl who was looking for her has disappeared as well. It's going to take a bit of doing to unravel what is happening in Sussex. If you've never read an Inspector Diamond book, this one is a great place to start.
— Janice Hunsche (E), Kaleidosaurus Books, Fishers, IN
Filled with dialogue that cuts like a knife, The Last Pilot is a riveting time capsule of a novel that tells the gripping story of Jim Harrison, an Air Force test pilot working at NASA during the glory years of the 1950s. The dangers and magnitude of space exploration pale in comparison to Harrison's life-on-earth challenges -- including the death of his young daughter -- which haunt and threaten to destroy him. An emotionally raw, riveting read.
— Susan Hans O'Connor, Penguin Bookshop, Sewickley, PA
In the summer of 1989, sisters Dionne and Phaedra -- aged 16 and 10, respectively -- are shuttled from their Brooklyn life to their grandmother Hyacinth's home in Barbados. Dionne is filled with palpable teenage angst and the desire for romance, while Phaedra prefers to experience the mysteries of Bird Hill with her grandmother. Both girls have a tentative curiosity about their mother's early life on the island, but it is not until their father shows up unexpectedly that they question their very identities and what it means to be 'home.' Reminiscent of Jamaica Kincaid, Jackson's coming-of-age tale makes Barbados spring from the page with humor, beauty, and heartbreak.
— Amanda Hurley, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL
In 1886, a young Chinese woman is forced out of the only home she has ever known in Seattle. Liu Mei Lin must overcome prejudices and terror while struggling to keep the traditional beliefs that are close to her heart. On contemporary Orcas Island, Inara deals with an overbearing father who will throw up every roadblock he can to get her to do what he wants. As Inara prepares to turn a family home into a hotel, she finds an embroidered silk sleeve hidden below a stair step. Wanting to learn more about the sleeve and the figures depicted on it, she begins a search to find out more about the woman who made it. This story is compelling, heart-wrenching, and an absolutely beautiful read.
— Debbie Buck, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
This rollicking great novel, brimming with vivid characters, takes the position that Charles Dickens did not create his first, and arguably greatest, novel on his own. Two historians struggle through documents and incidents, sending the reader through a cartwheel tour of Victorian London. Not only is there the main plot about Dickens and illustrator Robert Seymour, but also back-alley trips to drunken sports clubs, gay meeting places, taverns, and even the courtroom where the prime minister is standing trial. It's a delightful story, full of wit and sardonic humor, but with true emotion at the heart of it all, which elevates the entire read. A delight!
— William Carl (E), The Booksellers on Fountain Square, Cincinnati, OH
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