GREAT READS HANDPICKED BY GREAT SOUTHERN BOOKSELLERS...

Hot to the Touch by Jaci BurtonI have always enjoyed Jaci Burton's books but was glad to see her step into a new setting outside of sports. This romance with a firehouse setting really works. There is just enough romance and drama to keep the book interesting and the story's incorporation of juvenile homelessness and the foster care system adds depth. I was hooked until the end!

Hot to the Touch by Jaci Burton ($16.00*, Berkley), recommended by Bookmiser, Roswell, GA.

Grant by Ron ChernowChernow does it again. Common knowledge: Grant won the war for Lincoln; he drank; he came into office as a rank amateur. Chernow gives us a bigger picture: Grant's appreciation for Lee; his stature as the first modern general; his abolitionism; his life in the Gilded Age.

Grant by Ron Chernow ($40.00, Penguin Press), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody, Joanne RendellThe top reviews kept saying "Les Mis in space!" and "if you liked The Lunar Chronicles, this is for you." Sometimes the reviews are right. If you like retellings and liked the Lunar Chronicles, you're going to love Sky without Stars!

I certainly did. The characters are fleshed out in a way you don't get from the original. I found myself falling in love and rooting for Marcellus, Aloutte, and Chatine. They're all wonderfully flawed in their own way and I stayed up way too late reading this. I can't wait for the next part of the story. The book wrapped up some loose ends while opening new ones--the best way to keep you excited for more.

Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody, Joanne Rendell ($19.99*, Simon Pulse), recommended by Story on the Square, McDonough, GA.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine GuilloryThe Wedding Date is a fun read featuring two adults who throw caution to the wind for a fun weekend but then have to navigate their budding romance while balancing professional lives in separate cities. Skip Valentine's Day and stay home with this book instead!

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory ($15.00*, Berkley Books), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

This Is Memorial Device by David KeenanAs if Bolaño was obsessed with post-punk, This is Memorial Device is a journey through a music scene that could've been and never was, as seen through a lens of memory and innate sadness.

This Is Memorial Device by David Keenan ($16.00*, Faber & Faber Social), recommended by Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC.