Recommendations and Reviews

Highlights of what we've been reading and loving.

Book Bites: Gold Mine!

September is the start of the big fall publishing season, and there are lots and lots of big, exciting books heading towards our shelves—including the ones in this post! Our best advice: Treat yourself to a nice, large stack to keep you entertained as it slowly starts to get darker earlier and we find ourselves spending even more time indoors. We've sifted through tons of titles to find some real gold—whatever your age or interests, your To-Be-Read pile is about to get a lot more exciting. Happy reading, friends, and may your next read always be ready!

Book Bites: Books to Stay Inside With

We're headed towards another week of grueling heat and humidity—with a possible hurricane thrown in, for good measure—which makes us much happier with the prospect of another week spent largely indoors. But we know that it can get boring being confined to one space, even if the thermometer readings make it worth your while. Happily, we have just the thing: A new list of fantastic reads for all ages (YA books in a separate post, here) for you to peruse. Find your next great adventure (or memoir, or historical fiction, or...) to keep you entertained while you stay cool inside, relax by the pool, or enjoy your nighttime reading. Read on, friends!

New in YA: September Picks from Our Teen Advisory Board

The amazing and talented members of Blue Willow’s Teen Advisory Board read a ton (we mean a TON) of books every month. They find and review incredible and engaging books that they think fellow YA bookworms will enjoy. Below, take a look at their September favorites to find your next favorite read(s)!

Also, attention to all YA lovers: You can now purchase a subscription to Blue Willow’s YA First Editions Club! Each month, subscribers receive a first-edition book picked by our Teen Advisory Board, a bookplate signed by the author, and some fun exclusives—like special bookmarks and virtual hangouts with authors. You can learn more here—happy reading!

Guest Post! Author Rex Ogle on the Magic of Graphic Novels

Have you noticed our graphic novel section growing? It’s true—the more we read this genre, the more we love it. If you haven’t picked one up in a while, now’s a great time to dive in. Don’t just take it from us, though. Author and friend of the shop Rex Ogle (Free Lunch) says we’re living in a golden age for graphic novels, and he would know—he used to edit comics for Marvel, DC, and Scholastic, among others.

Here, Rex shares his perspective on the genre, as well as some of his top graphic novel picks for middle grade and young adult readers.

Cathy’s Picks for Bookstore Romance Day

Everybody needs a little love in their lives these days, right? Good news on that front: This Saturday is Bookstore Romance Day, a special bookish holiday designed to celebrate readers and writers of romance fiction. The romance genre is responsible for some of the funniest, most diverse, and empowering books out there. To mark the holiday, store events coordinator and champion of the happy-ever-after Cathy Berner shares how reading romance has shaped her life and made her a better reader below. She also runs through a few of her recent favorites, which are all but guaranteed to make you smile. So make some space on your TBR pile for romance and read on. (If you’re new to the genre or catching up on this year’s releases, our three-book romance bundle is a great place to start!)

Book Bites: How to Find a Book

If you're anything like us, you’re always on the lookout for your next favorite book. Happily, we have a near-inexhaustible supply of books in the back room, and plenty of staffers who are happy to steer you towards a great recommendation. So whether you're looking for a mid-pandemic pick-me-up, a distracting psychological thriller, or engrossing novels or nonfiction, you'll find a great choice below. Choose a few favorites, then take your pick(s) to the pool, to your chair next to the A/C, or to relax six feet apart from your book club friends—it's time to read.

Book Bites: Dig Into Fiction

We’ve reached the part of the Houston summer where all we want to do is stay inside and read—pandemic or not. So drag your comfiest chair next to your biggest A/C vent, put your feet up, and blow through a stack of our favorite new fiction. Below, we recommend a new picture book featuring a beloved character, a couple of supernatural YA reads picked by members of our Teen Advisory Board, and a half-dozen new novels that range from fizzy to searing. Dig in!

New in YA: August Picks from Our Teen Advisory Board

This spring, we started a Teen Advisory Board made up of passionate YA readers from Houston-area middle and high schools. They've been busy reading (and reading and reading) ever since, looking out for fun genre reads, topical pageturners, swoonworthy rom-coms, and everything in between.

Good news, folks: There are lots of amazing YA books coming out this fall. Read on to learn about our Board's top YA picks for August across a variety of genres—including the first book selected for our brand new YA First Editions Club subscription program (sign up by August 10 to start your subscription in September!). Whether you're a bookworm, book blogger, influencer, collector, weekend reader, or just someone who loves a good story, you're sure to find something you'll love below.

Book Bites: Pirates, Potatoes, Peculiarities

If you’re like us, you’ve been reading up a storm this summer. On your evening walks. By the pool. In your special corner on the couch. With so much extra reading time, our merry band of booksellers is working hard to find the best books out there for all our readers! Our latest collection of staff picks runs the gamut—we have hilarious picture books, heartbreaking novels, and everything in between. Explore this latest roundup of titles we loved, then settle in for an enjoyable read.

Summer Picks: Coding for Kids!

Summer is a great time to try new things and hone your skills! In recent years, we’ve seen wave after wave of great books for young readers of all ages on fun topics like art, cooking, sewing, origami, and… coding! Here, full-time librarian, part-time Blue Willow staffer, and all-time tech guru Lisa Stultz shares a few of her favorite coding books. 

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