Recommendations and Reviews

Highlights of what we've been reading and loving.

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!

Book Bites: Histories and Mysteries

Have you noticed? There’s been a terrific wave of historical fiction washing over our shelves this spring. Below, we highlight three of the best, spanning over 100 years. Read them in chronological order for some Blue Willow Brownie points. We’ve got mysteries, too—from a British boarding school for tweens to intrigue and murder on the streets of Houston. If that’s not your thing, Alice just finished a fascinating novel packed with insightful social commentary. Plus, we share our thoughts on the new novel by Sally Rooney—if you haven’t already, put her on your list of names to know. Read on!

Book Bites: Kate, Kwame, Kadir, Kip, and More!

Kate DiCamillo! Kwame Alexander! Kadir Nelson! Our shelves have been hit by a winning influx of Ks over the last few weeks, and we couldn’t be more excited. From the legendary Kate DiCamillo, we have a wonderful new picture book that serves as a prequel to the early-reader Mercy Watson series. Elsewhere in picture books, Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson have teamed up for a stunningly beautiful US history lesson for any young reader. Plus, there’s an incredible debut YA novel by Kip Wilson to check out (from Kwame’s Versify imprint, no less). Believe by Robert Sabuda doesn’t have a single K to its name… but it will knock you over with its innovation and beauty. (We tried.)

Moving over to the adult side of the store, we have two novels and a book of essays you’ll want to add to your list. Up first, The Book of Dreams marks the return of Little Paris Bookshop author Nina George. Stay Up With Hugo Best is a timely, witty debut full of sharp social commentary. And Helen Ellis’ hilarious Southern Lady Code is a rowdy romp through life and womanhood below the Mason-Dixon.

Book Bites: We Miss You Already, Alice! Plus Faith, Baseball, and Soccer

If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you probably know that we often try to find some kind of theme to frame our bi-weekly roundup of staff picks. Sometimes the books we feature are all written by women, for example. Sometimes the women are named Sarah. And so on. The theme for this week? How much we miss Alice. Our resident book orderer and literary tastemaker is off on another one of her globetrotting vacations, leaving our little shop a smidge short on its signature pizzazz. So of the seven titles featured below, four are recent favorites of the marvelous Ms. Meloy. (And don’t you worry—she brought a whole bookcase worth of e-books on her trip, so there will be plenty more Alice-approved picks coming your way after she returns.)

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