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Book Bites: Death, Dystopia, Old Hollywood, and Grandma's Purse

Well, Houston, we had another turn of bizarre weather this week. With the ice keeping many of us home, it was a cozy time to fall into books — and we’ve got the reviews to prove it.

Nothing’s better than really good fiction, and this week, we’ve got a great list of novels to recommend. From a fulfilling tale that follows four siblings who know the dates upon which they’ll die (The Immortalists) to a fictionalization of the friendship between old Hollywood star Mary Pickford and renowned female screenwriter Frances Marion (The Girls in the Picture), each pick promises unique delights. 

Meet Jasmine Guillory, Author of the Year's Most Charming Debut

Jasmine Guillory by Andrea Scher

It's tough to escape stereotypes. You get handed a romance novel, and you probably expect steamy scenes with a lot of tartan torn to shreds. At the very least, you think you can count on a pirate or two, or the hero getting called a "rake." That was before Jasmine Guillory, a Stanford-Law-grad-romance-novelist who's responsible for The Wedding Date, one of the most highly-anticipated books of the year. 

Obert Skye on Making Normal Funny

There's always a little magic in books by Obert Skye. Whether he's revealing the mysteries of the world of Foo or introducing us to another marvelous mashup in his hilarious Creature in a Closet series, we can count on Skye to reveal the power of imagination.

Skye's latest middle grade book, Geeked Out, starts a new post-apocalyptic spoof series that touches on tough topics like bullying while maintaining Skye's trademark cheek and humor. The book's out February 6, and Mr. Skye himself will visit the store on Saturday, February 10 to celebrate its release. Go ahead and pre-order your copy now—then read our Q&A with the author below!

Welcome, 2018: Notes from Valerie's Messy Desk

Welcome, 2018! Last year was quite a year for all of us, wasn't it? We hosted wonderful events, from Kwame Alexander to Ree Drummond. We had to close during the worst of Harvey. People from all over rallied behind us and helped donate books to shelters and schools. The Astros won the World Series! (But don't ask me how many times I've had to watch the replay of Game 7.) Our holiday season went so fast that we hardly had time to breathe.

Book Bites: We Love the Truly Devious Woman in the Window

Welcome to our first round-up of staff reviews in 2018! The holidays are always a great time to get some cozy reading in, and we certainly did. The new year has a lot of wonderful titles in store for you, and we’re very excited for the upcoming author events and reading festivals.

Come meet author Matt de la Peña and illustrator Loren Long of Love at the Bookworm Festival on February 3rd. Love is one of the most stunning picture books we’ve ever come across, and we know it’s going to have a special place in your home. Also on the docket: The intrepid Maureen Johnson will be at TeenBookCon on March 24th — check out her latest, Truly Devious, an awesome mystery that we couldn’t put down. Of course, there’s more magic below. Happy reading!

The Best Books of 2017

We read a lot. A lot, a lot. Ever seen our back room? The ceiling is probably propped up by all the ARCs. And we read as many of them as we can.

This year was a strong one for new books, and it was difficult to choose just a few titles to include in our “Best Books of 2017” list. But choose we did, and amazing they are. Just consider this your holiday shopping guide—we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Holiday Favorites and a Taste of Texas: Notes from Valerie's Messy Desk

Have you figured out the bolthole entrance off of Memorial into our shopping center? Hopefully the construction will move along and get our other entrances back open soon. But if you do work your way to us, we have so many books, games, and puzzles to delight you that it will be worth it!

We reviewed some of our favorite holiday books on the blog this week. Some are new and some are old standards. And if we get more snow (what was that all about?), you can snuggle in with a cup of hot chocolate and read away.

Book Bites: Blue Willow Holiday Favorites

You know, it really doesn’t get much better than the holidays. The comforting food, the warm drinks, the sight of hundreds of twinkling lights turning your neighborhood into a wonderland. And then there are the moments with family and friends that make the bittersweet nostalgia of another passing year… perfect.

Of course, sharing our favorite holiday books with our families underpins many of our most cherished memories. As Christmas and Hanukkah jingle ever nearer, we want to share those seasonal favorites with you, too—from beautifully-illustrated children’s books to puzzles that encourage family time, from enchanting imaginings of traditional tales to the caustic holiday humor of David Sedaris—these books are our memories, and we hope a few of them come to hold a special place in your heart, too.

Author Visits and Pop-Up Shops: Notes from Valerie's Messy Desk

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was as special as mine was. We gathered, we ate, some played wiffle ball. Greg and I are still washing dishes and putting away the silver. And I read. Hopefully you did, too. 

We have a busy week ahead of us. After the joy of Indies First Saturday (thank you for stopping in and celebrating with us), we are charging into the holiday season. We welcome our good friend Jessica Brody this week. Read her Q&A on our blog to prepare for the visit. And we are trying a new venture—a pop-up shop at the Theta Design Weekend. Our Theta friends have reinvented their much respected Antiques Show into a new weekend of shopping. Join us at the GRB as we show you the newest and best design books.

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