Our Holiday Tradition continues with our Seasonal Party! Readers can enjoy refreshments and mingle with authors whose works meet a variety of genre (and gift giving opportunity) needs for readers of picture books to complex prose. Staff will be on-hand to make recommendations of books and creative gift items, both from our in-store Staff Picks, and also from the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association’s Wish List.
More than a dozen authors representing a spectrum of genres will be sparkling in the spotlight.
Kids’ book options include picture poem book Rocket Shoes by Sharon Skinner; The first Phoebe and Her Unicorn graphic novel, Phoebe and Her Unicorn in the Magic Storm by Dana Simpson; seasonal middle grade fantasy Nutcracked by Susan Adrian; and near-future dystopian young adult novel The Equals by Daniel Sweren-Becker.
The sub-genres of mystery are well represented, including a trio of cozy amateur sleuth novels: The Trouble with Murder by Kathy Krevat; A Deadly Éclair by Daryl Wood Gerber; and A Cajun Christmas Killing by Ellen Byron. Fans of police procedurals and private investigators can select from Death by His Grace by Kwei Quarty; A-List by D.P. Lyle, and Pineapple Crush by Richard Cahill.
In the mood for romantic relationships? Try one of HelenKay Dimon’s Games People Play contemporary suspense romances, or Christina Lauren’s latest, Roomies, a contemporary romantic comedy.
A range of speculative fiction titles are also in the spotlight, including Tim Pratt’s space opera, The Wrong Stars; Tony Valdez’s retro pulpy Dax Harrison; and Matt Wallace’s latest paranormal foodie novel in his Sin du Jour affair series, Gluttony Bay.
“Shoes with engines, springs and sprockets,
kick-start heels, and shoe-size rockets.”
A rhyming story for every kid who wants to fly—and wonders when it’s okay to break the rules.
Like all children, José dreams of flying. So he works hard to buy a pair of rocket shoes that let him jet into the atmosphere. But all those spins, kicks, and airborne tricks cause such a ruckus around town that the mayor bans the shoes and shuts down the factory. Then, one day, during a terrible snowstorm, José hears a cry: his neighbor’s in danger—and he can only help her if he puts on the shoes. Will José dare to break the rules and save the day?
The first Phoebe and Her Unicorn graphic novel
Phoebe and Marigold decide to investigate a powerful storm that is wreaking havoc with the electricity in their town. The adults think it's just winter weather, but Phoebe and Marigold soon discover that all is not what it seems to be, and that the storm may have a magical cause. To solve the case, they team up with Max, who is desperate for the electricity to return so he can play video games, and frenemy Dakota, who is aided by her goblin minions. Together, they must get to the bottom of the mystery and save the town from the magic storm.
"Phoebe is a remarkably real little girl, as bright and imaginative as Bill Watterson's Calvin, as touchingly vulnerable as Charles Schulz's Charlie Brown. And if these strike you as big names to conjure with, I'll go further and state for the record that in my opinion Heavenly Nostrils is nothing less than the best comic strip to come along since Calvin and Hobbes. Simpson is that good, and that original."
--Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn
Enter the magical world of The Nutcracker in a whole new way with this perfect Christmas stocking stuffer!
Christmastime, ballet, and magic! Georgie has waited for this moment her whole life--to dance the part of Clara in The Nutcracker ballet. And when she finally gets the part, it's like a dream come true. . . .
Every time Georgie dances with the Nutcracker doll, she leaves the ballet studio and enters a world where everything around her--the old wooden furniture, the Christmas tree, the carefully wrapped presents--is larger than life. It's so magical, Georgie can't wait to return again and again.
Then the Nutcracker's magic seeps into the real world, putting Georgie's friend in danger. Everything is falling apart, and it's almost Christmas! Can Georgie save her friend, the Nutcracker, and most of all, herself?
What happens when your own government turns against you?
The Equality Team continues to round up and subject The Ones--the 1% of the American population who were genetically engineered in vitro--to a vaccine that will level the playing field. Desperate to save her boyfriend James from this fate, Cody flees into the wild to seek assistance from a shadowy rebel group dedicated to equal rights for the Ones at any cost.
But when she grows closer to a radical named Kai, she's brought deeper into the fold, only to realize the group's leader has a secret plan more dangerous than Cody could have imagined--something that could change the course of the Ones' future.
Single mom and gourmet cat food entrepreneur Colbie Summers thought she’d escaped her tiny California hometown forever. But when her father needs her, she packs up her adolescent son, their finicky feline, Trouble, and her budding business. She knows change is tough—but she doesn’t expect it to be murder . . .
Between dealing with her newly rural life, her grumpy, sports-obsessed father, and preparing to showcase her products in the local Sunnyside Power Mom’s trade show, Colbie has more on her plate than she bargained for. Luckily, she has her official taste-tester, Trouble, by her side to vet her
Meow-io Batali Gourmet Cat Food line. Things look promising—until one of the Power Moms is found dead—with an engraved Meow-io specialty knife buried in her chest.
As the prime suspect, Colbie needs paws on the ground to smoke out who had means, motive, and opportunity among the networking mothers—including a husband-stealing Sofia Vergara lookalike. And the cat’s still not out of the bag when a second violent death rocks the bucolic community. Trouble may have nine lives, but Colbie’s only got one to clear her name and stop a killer from pulling off the purr-fect crime . . .
It's always been Mimi Rousseau's dream to open her own bistro, but it seems beyond her grasp since she's been chased back home to Nouvelle Vie in Napa Valley by her late husband's tremendous debt. Until her best friend Jorianne James introduces her to entrepreneur Bryan Baker who invests in promising prospects. Now, working the bistro and inn until she's able to pay it off and call it her own, Mimi is throwing the inn's first wedding ever.
The wedding will be the talk of the town, as famous talk show host Angelica Edmonton, daughter of Bryan's half-brother, Edison, has chosen the inn as her perfect venue. Anxious, Mimi is sure things are going to turn south, especially when Edison gets drunk and rowdy at the out-of-towners' dinner, but by the evening, things begin to look up again. That is until six AM rolls around, and Bryan is found dead at the bistro with an eclair stuffed in his mouth. And the fingers point at Mimi, whose entire loan is forgiven in Bryan's will.
Now it's up to Mimi to clear her name and get to the bottom of things before the killer turns up the heat again in A Deadly Eclair, the scrumptious series debut by Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber.
Maggie Crozat is back home in bayou country during the most magical time of the year. In Pelican, Louisiana, Christmastime is a season of giant bonfires on the levee, zydeco carols, and pots of gumbo. Except, this year, the Grinch has come to stay at the family-run Crozat Plantation B&B. When he floods travel websites with vicious reviews, Maggie thinks she's identified him as rival businessman Donald Baxter. That is, until he's found stabbed to death at Maggie's workplace. And Maggie and her loved ones become top suspects.
The Crozats quickly establish alibis, but Maggie's boyfriend, Detective Bo Durand, remains under suspicion. With Bo sidelined during the investigation, Maggie finds herself forced to work with an unlikely ally: longtime family enemy Rufus Durand. Her sleuthing uncovers more suspects than drummers drumming, and lands her in the crosshairs of the murderer.
The sleigh bells are jingling, and the clock is ticking for Maggie and Rufus, who must catch the killer or it will be the opposite of a Joyeux Noel in A Cajun Christmas Killing, the recipe-stuffed third installment of USA Today bestselling author Ellen Byron's Cajun Country mysteries.
Atmospherically set in Accra, Ghana, Chief Inspector Darko Dawson investigates the brutal murder of a high-society bride. In order to expose the truth, Darko must confront the pivotal role religion plays in Ghana--and wrestle with his old demons the investigation stirs up in the fifth entry to the African series.
Katherine Yeboah's marriage to Solomon Vanderpuye is all the talk of Accra high society. But when it becomes apparent that Katherine is infertile, Solomon's extended family accuses her of being a witch, hounding her until the relationship is so soured Solomon feels compelled to order Katherine out of the house they shared. Alone on her last night there, Katherine is brutally murdered by an intruder.
Chief Inspector Darko Dawson of the Ghanaian federal police has personal as well as professional reasons to find the killer fast: Katherine was the first cousin of his wife, Christine, who is devastated by the tragedy. As Darko investigates, he discovers that many people close to Katherine had powerful motives to kill her, including: Solomon, her husband; James Bentsi-Enchill, her lawyer and ex-lover; and her filthy rich pastor, Bishop Clem Howard-Mills. In order to expose the truth, Darko must confront the pivotal role religion plays in Ghana--and wrestle with his old demons the investigation stirs up.
PI Jake Longly and Nicole Jamison head to New Orleans at the behest of Nicole's uncle, movie producer Charles Balfour, when his megastar, A-list actor Kirk Ford, awakens in his hotel bed with the body of Kristi Guidry, a local college coed. Ford, in the Big Easy for a location shoot, remembers little of the evening and nothing of the murder. And, to make matters worse, Kristi is the niece of a local mafioso-type who will do whatever is necessary to avenge her death. Balfour is losing money every day the filming is stalled--he needs his actor cleared, and quickly.
Surrounded by glitzy Hollywood stars and intimidated by seedy underworld characters, Jake and Nicole encounter nothing but obstacles. Something isn't right. The facts don't fit. Who would want Kristi dead? Why frame Kirk for the murder? Everyone has an opinion, including Kristi's friends and ex-boyfriend, the local homicide detectives, and a fortune-teller. The clock is ticking as Jake and Nicole struggle to decipher who's lying, who's telling the truth, and exactly who schemed to murder Kristi Guidry. Nothing is easy in The Big Easy.
Meet Artie Harper, single mom, former Marine, and unfairly dismissed mainland cop. Forced to take a job as head of security for a Hawaiian hotel chain, she's suddenly in the spotlight when a body is dumped at the hotel, and her underling is arrested for murder.
They say it takes a thief to catch a thief, and Harrison Tate is proof. Once a professional burglar, he now makes a lawful living tracking down stolen art. No one needs to know about his secret sideline, "liberating" artifacts acquired through underhanded methods. At least until one of those jobs sees him walking in on a murder.
Gabrielle Wright has long been estranged from her wealthy family, but she didn't kill her sister. Trouble is, the only person who can prove it is the sexy, elusive criminal who shouldn't have been at the island estate on that terrible night. She's not expecting honor among thieves--or for their mutual attraction to spark into an intense inferno of desire.
Under the guise of evaluating her family's art, Harris comes back to the estate hoping to clear Gabby's name. But returning to the scene of the crime has never been riskier, with their hearts and lives on the line.
Marriages of convenience are so ...inconvenient.
For months Holland Bakker has invented excuses to descend into the subway station near her apartment, drawn to the captivating music performed by her street musician crush. Lacking the nerve to actually talk to the gorgeous stranger, fate steps in one night in the form of a drunken attacker. Calvin Mcloughlin rescues her, but quickly disappears when the police start asking questions.
Using the only resource she has to pay the brilliant musician back, Holland gets Calvin an audition with her uncle, Broadway's hottest musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway--until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he's in the country illegally, his student visa having expired years ago.
Seeing that her uncle needs Calvin as much as Calvin needs him, a wild idea takes hold of her. Impulsively, she marries the Irishman, her infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves and Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway--in the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting--will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?
Contributor Bio: Lauren, Christina
The shady crew of the White Raven run freight and salvage at the fringes of our solar system. They discover the wreck of a centuries-old exploration vessel floating light years away from its intended destination and revive its sole occupant, who wakes with news of First Alien Contact. When the crew break it to her that humanity has alien allies already, she reveals that these are very different extra-terrestrials... and the gifts they bestowed on her could kill all humanity, or take it out to the most distant stars.
Well, this is a damned mess...
Dax was so close to leaving the hero business behind him. He'd done his duty, saved the galaxy a time or two, and made out like a bandit with the movie and merchandise rights.
Now, Alliance HQ is forcing him to be the poster boy for their "ten years of peace" hoopla. If that's not enough, a disgraced alien general-turned-war-criminal with an unpronounceable name has escaped from an inescapable prison planet, and he's got Dax in his crosshairs
Scrambling to avoid the madman's swath of destruction, Dax finds himself stuck with a crew comprised of an overly enthusiastic fanboy cadet, an aging physician, a suspicious and tough-as-nails lieutenant, and a possibly malfunctioning AI. And they are all looking at Dax to save the day... whether he likes it or not.
Gluttony Bay is the penultimate Sin du Jour affair, Matt Wallace's funny foodie series about the New York firm that caters to the paranormal, which began with Envy of Angels.
Welcome to Gluttony Bay High Security Supernatural Prison. We value your patronage. For your entertainment this evening, we are delighted to welcome the world's most renowned paranormal culinary experts.
And on the menu: You.