Blue Willow Content Team's blog

Book Bites: Dog Days

It’s that particular time in a Houston summer when we start to sometimes wish that we could be somewhere (pretty much anywhere) else. You know what we mean—the temperature is climbing towards 100, you can cut through the humid air with a knife, and all of a sudden the skies will open up when you’re trying to load the groceries into your car. Of course, we wouldn’t trade being here for anywhere else. So when we find ourselves momentarily wanting to escape, we know just where to turn: The bookshelf. This roundup of recent favorites is heavy on novels, though we’ve saved some room for kids and nonfiction, too. If you don’t see something that appeals, don’t fret—we’re just a phone call away, and could talk about great books all day. (Literally. We do that sometimes.)

Katherine Center on Craft, Character, and THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE

If you've been around the shop lately, you know we're buzzing over the new book from Katherine Center, Things You Save in a Fire. Friends, it is so enjoyable. You'll be falling for the protagonist, Cassie Hanwell, before you know it—she's the protagonist your TBR pile needs. Like any Katherine Center book, this lovely story is packed full of humor and heart, and we think it will have a place of honor on your shelves for a long time. In fact, we're so excited that we're offering a special pre-order promotion: If you pre-order Things You Save in a Fire from us, we'll reserve a signed, personalized first edition—along with some fun swag, designed and hand-painted by the author.

Check out our exclusive Q&A with Katherine, then head on over to our dedicated pre-order page to get your copy. And circle August 13 on your calendar! That's when we're hosting Katherine, along with Kristan Higgins, right here in the shop. It's going to be a night to remember. Read on! 

Book Bites: One of These Things is Not Like the Others

So is it just us, or has the fiction hitting our shelves over the last few weeks been particularly great? You probably think we say that about all the books, but we swear—this has been quite the summer for novels. And the best part is that it’s happening across every genre. We’ve got literary books full of hard truths and big ideas. We’ve got family sagas. We’ve got fizzy fun. In fact, we were all set to go with an all-novel theme this week to show off some of our new favorites. But then Valerie read a piece of non-fiction so good that it just had to be included. So instead, our theme is this: Good books. Which, when you think about it, is basically our theme every week. Read on!

If You Loved Craft Night, You'll Love This!

We have some great July author events on the calendar, including one that will definitely appeal to you if you liked the book talk portion of our craft night! On Tuesday, July 30, Liz Sullivan and Brian Contine (two of the shop's favorite people ever) will present their favorite current and upcoming reads. Liz and Brian are our publisher reps from Random House and Penguin, respectively, so they know a thing or two about great books.

Book Bites: Bibliopinions and Girlboss

This week, we’re highlighting seven recent releases that drew raves from our very own dynamic duo…. Welcome to the Valerie and Cathy show! First up, Cathy shares her @bibliopinions on everything from picture books to a sweet novel starring your new favorite fictional bookseller. Stick around ‘til the end for two fantastic novels that Valerie’s excited to share with you all—you know our @BWBGirlboss would never lead you astray. Read on!

Novelist Abbi Waxman Chats Books, Bookstores, and THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL

Are you a Jojo Moyes fan? Did you love AJ Fikry? Cuckoo for Kristan Higgins? Friends, have we got the book for you.

Meet Nina Hill. Nina enjoys her simple life of working in a bookshop and spending evenings reading or with her kick-butt trivia team. But when a lawyer reveals the large extended family Nina never knew she had, her carefully organized life is thrown into chaos. To make matters worse, there's a guy—he's Nina's trivia nemesis, and he's not nearly as big of a jerk as she thought. It's up to Nina to determine what will truly make her happy.... Are you hooked yet? The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a warm, witty story of a woman coming into her own, and it's full of lovely asides about the joy of books and reading. It is, in the words of Event Coordinator Cathy Berner, "SO CHARMING!" 

We're thrilled to welcome author Abbi Waxman to the shop on July 11th to introduce y'all to Nina in person, take questions, and sign books. It's going to be a wonderful evening. Read our exclusive Q&A with Abbi, then reserve your copy for the event. We can't wait for you to join us!

Book Bites: Novelpalooza

You know how it is, shopping these days. We live in an era of unprecedented choice. Which can be great! But it can also be overwhelming—since when do there need to be 19 varieties of tortilla chips? We see it with books, too. Every week, scores (hundreds?) of new releases are published, and it seems like every one of them comes with a great blurb from a favorite author or a starred review from a major critic. How to choose? 

Well, we can help with that. We pride ourselves on our recommendations—we’re a staff of voracious Houston readers and we love getting to know our customers. Lately, we can’t stop thinking about the seven wonderful novels listed below. They come in all kinds of different flavors, but each one of them is a staff-approved gem. So read on and take your pick! 

Exclusive Excerpt: THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE

The night I became the youngest person—and the only female ever—to win the Austin Fire Department’s Valor Award, I got propositioned by my partner.

Propositioned.

At the ceremony. In the ballroom. During dinner.

By my partner.

Read the first two chapters of Katherine Center's forthcoming novel, Things You Save in a Fire! Then, pre-order a signed, personalized copy as part of our special offer.

Book Bites: Beach Reads, Ocean (Vuong), & More

In a reading rut? We’ve all been there. You pick up a book, get a few chapters in, and just… run out of steam. We’re here to say that we’ve discovered the cure: More books! This week, we have a literary twist on the old hair-of-the-dog concept—seven books that are guaranteed to break you out of even the toughest reading rut and get you back into bookish bliss. So, what will it be? Fantasy? Romance? Interesting family dynamics? Read our recommendations below and take your pick. (Doctor’s orders.)

Book Bites: Romance! Mystery! Bravery! Spaceships!

New books, new books! Summer reading is officially upon us, friends, and the brand new releases hitting our shelves do not disappoint. Great debuts? Check. Classic beach reads? We’ve got ‘em. Dazzling thrillers? Science fiction? Biography? Memoir? Stop reading this silly intro and check out our list of recent favorites. No matter what kind of book you’re after, you’re sure to find something to love. Read on!

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