Recommendations and Reviews

Highlights of what we've been reading and loving.

New Books to Get Lost In

If you ask us, a good book is a form of time travel, transporting you to a different life, era, or world. Time melts away as you're turning the pages. Suddenly you come to, hours into the future and richer and wiser for what you've just read. This week, we're highlighting fourteen new releases with that special time warp quality — books to savor and get lost in, books you'll wish would never end. We have magical realism, science fiction and fantasy, history, mystery, and much more within — read on!

Keepers by the Dozen

Are your bookshelves looking a little sparse lately? Ours sure aren't. We've been receiving box after box of brand new releases that we can't wait to send home with you. This week, we've got a classic Blue Willow roundup of fresh new reads for all ages — from charming new picture books all the way into page-turning adult fiction. No matter what kind of reader you are, you'll find a new goodie or two below. Dig in!

Eleven New Reasons to Visit Us

We're still wrapping our heads around this whole "2024" thing, so it feels a little strange to say that we've already encountered some contenders for the best books of the year. It's true, though — our latest staff recommendations have real staying power. Read on to discover a charming graphic novel, a new middle grade fave from a local author, unputdownable fiction from heavy hitters like Laurie Frankel and Alex Michaelides, and more great books that have just hit our shelves. We'll be waiting for you in the store! 

Ten Great Books to Kick Off the New Year

Folks, we are so back. After a busy December spent gift matchmaking (and honing our wrapping skills), the Blue Willow team enjoyed a quiet week between the holidays full of rest, relaxation, and reading. Especially reading. Here, we've collected ten new books from these first few days of January that stood out to us as particular favorites. Any one of them would be a great pick to kick off your year in books — take a look below and see what catches your eye. Then, come and pay us a visit — there's lots more on our shelves that we're eager to share with you!

Twelve Books Releasing in 2024 We Can’t to Share With You

The days in December are ticking away, your gifts are all wrapped, and the holiday menu is set... It's time to start looking ahead to another year full of new memories, new experiences, and — of course — new books. One of our resolutions for 2024 is to read even more. We've shared close to 300 recommendations with you on our blog this year, but we bet we can do better. Here's a head start: Twelve books across all ages that we can't wait to share with you in the first few months of the new year. We have precious picture books from some of our favorite creators, a superstar middle grade collaboration, atmospheric teen intrigue, and novels to suit a range of literary tastes. Get ready to discover some new favorites with us this year (and maybe don't make any plans on February 6, phew), and watch this space for plenty more recommendations once the calendar flips. Here's to another year of great stories.

Book Bites: End-of-Year Releases You Don't Want to Miss

Don't ask us quite how, but the end of the year is right around the corner. We're usually turning our attention towards holiday shopping and gift wrapping this time of December, but we couldn't resist sharing one last roundup of great new releases we think you'll love. We have some late-breaking favorites here that we know are going to stick with us well into 2024 — from beautiful literary fiction to history and mystery to the best piece of Florida-set narrative nonfiction this side of The Orchid Thief. Read on!

What the Blue Willow Staff Is Gifting This Holiday Season

If you're here, we probably agree that books make the best gifts. A lesser-known maxim is that all the other fun stuff in a bookstore works great in wrapping paper and bows, too. As we approach this season of gifting, we've asked our team of booksellers to weigh in with which books, puzzles, games, stationery, and more has caught their eyes this year. Browse through their picks for some inspiration while you fill out your holiday shopping list, or check our separate post on the best books of 2023 for more great ideas. Then, stop by and see us! We'll be ready with personal recommendations and on-the-house gift wrapping from the elves in our back room. Happy holidays!

Book Bites: Feeling Festive

The sun is setting at 5:30, there's what passes for a chill in the air, and H-E-B has already switched over to their 24/7 Christmas station... Could it be that the holidays are here already? One look at our display of new releases confirms it — this week, our staff picks include a twisty Christmas mystery, a future Christmas classic, and a beautiful middle grade retelling of Swan Lake. There's plenty more, too, if you're not feeling festive — including a great read for Veteran's Day weekend and one of our favorite debuts of the year. Dig in! 

Book Bites: Slump-Busters

If you've been in a reading slump, you've come to the right place. There have been lots and lots of new releases coming through our doors, and our latest collection of staff picks includes something for everyone. So if you're in the mood for anything from a life-affirming picture book to a YA murder mystery to a holiday rom-com to a mind-bending bit of science writing, read on. And if none of that sounds good, we've got plenty more options, too! (New Jacqueline Woodson or Tim O'Brien, maybe?) So come by and see us sometime soon – we guarantee you'll leave with a great new book and a smile.

New Cookbooks to Try and to Gift

Is it just us, or is there something about the autumn season that calls for long afternoons in the kitchen trying out new ingredients and perfecting favorite dishes? Here at the store, when a new cookbook catches our eye, we like to try a recipe or two and share it among our booksellers at our weekly staff meetings, which have been particularly tasty lately. Here, we've collected ten of our recent favorite cookbooks, each full of tasty recipes and mouthwatering pictures. Try one out for yourself as you design a menu for a family gathering, or have us wrap one up for the epicurean on your holiday list — it's the most delicious time of the year.

Pages