Recommendations and Reviews

Highlights of what we've been reading and loving.

Book Bites: Three Fresh Favorites, Four You May Have Missed

Gather around, friends! It’s time for us to gush about books again. Seriously, y’all—books are the greatest, and this week we have one of our classic something-for-everyone lists for you to check out. Read on to meet three fresh favorites… and four fantastic titles you may have overlooked earlier this year. We’ve got everything from middle grade novels to a cookbook included within. So, to borrow a phrase… dig in!

Beat the Heat Recap: The Best New Books According to Liz and Brian

We're still bathing in the bookish afterglow of our third annual Beat the Heat event last month. Liz Sullivan and Brian Contine, our publishing reps from Random House and Penguin, respectively, stopped by to share a few of their favorite recent and upcoming releases, give away more swag than a minor league baseball team, and generally heckle one another over whose books are best. Here's the thing, though: They're all good. Looking for big names? How do Colson Whitehead, Jojo Moyes, Jacqueline Woodson, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Margaret Atwood strike you? If you fancy a debut, try the great new novels by Roselle Lim, Linda Holmes, Claire Lombardo, or Kiley Reid. Or, take a break from fiction altogether and dive into Furious HoursLife Undercover, or Running With Sherman. The point is, we all had an excellent time talking about some of the very best books of the year, and anyone looking for a GPS for their book club could do a lot worse than the 16 great choices collected here.

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.)

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!

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! 

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!

Book Bites: Running the Gamut

We pride ourselves on balance here at the store. Half of our space is devoted to kids’ books, half is for adults, and each one of our merry band of booksellers is wholly committed to fostering a love of books in readers of any age. Just check out our list of recent favorites below—we’ve got everything from a great read aloud for young families to a terrific book about Egypt and the Arab spring by longtime New Yorker staff writer Peter Hessler. Welcome, all readers!

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