OUTLAWED by Anna North




This amazing novel crackles with the spirit and tenacity of the characters. Imagine a Hole In The Wall Gang where all the members are women. Alrighty. I am all in. Anna North kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I read OUTLAWED. It’s so unique. A modern day telling of an old western that will blow your mind. There is nothing out there like it!

Outlawed

The next five paragraphs are from Goodreads because this is so darn good!

The Crucible meets True Grit in this riveting adventure story of a fugitive girl, a mysterious gang of robbers, and their dangerous mission to transform the Wild West.

In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.

The day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada’s life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows.

She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she’s willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all.

Featuring an irresistibly no-nonsense, courageous, and determined heroine, Outlawed dusts off the myth of the old West and reignites the glimmering promise of the frontier with an entirely new set of feminist stakes. Anna North has crafted a pulse-racing, page-turning saga about the search for hope in the wake of death, and for truth in a climate of small-mindedness and fear.

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I gobbled this unique and edgy novel up like a cat laps a bowl of cream.  I do have to say I’m not a fan of the cover. I think it could be way better. But the story more than makes up for it. Copperfish has copies of

 by Anna North in stock right this minute. They are discounted 20% because this is a brand new novel. If I were you I would run to get my copy. It’s quite simply a stunning novel. 

OUTLAWED is published by Bloomsbury Publishing. I read my review copy digitally through Edelweiss. I was grateful to be able to read so far ahead, as always. 

2021 Let’s Begin Anew

A new day, a new dawn, a new beginning. We get the chance to start again. Fresh. I’m so grateful to have this opportunity. We are safe and somewhat sane here in SW Florida. We live in Lee County which was in the national news this week and not in a good way. The county decided suddenly to begin distributing the Covid-19 vaccine without a viable plan. Really disappointing. Last Sunday evening it trickled out that there would be vaccines available in limited doses at several spots in Lee County. Beginning two hours after the announcement people 65 and older began lining up at the first site. Older people waited all night dragging chairs and blankets in the cold. Cars kept arriving with people expecting the vaccine. Of course before dawn they were being turned away. What a mess. I am so disappointed in our local government. The county I live in is the only one that I know of that rolled out the vaccine in a come and wait free-for-all. I hear this coming week will be better, more organized, even a possibility of a reservation system…. This would be good.

Watermelon Radish

I just had to post a picture of this watermelon radish my son and his wife grew in their amazing garden. And then Mike made a special salad to go with Christmas dinner and utilized this gorgeous vegetable. And it was delicious, too!

Christmas salad

I am surrounded with stacks and stacks of upcoming books; both physical review books and digital. I can’t tell you how excited I am about so many of them. And I’m really looking forward to the book club event at Copperfish with best-selling author of historical fiction, Erika Robuck. I will be posting more about this event soon. But it is up on the Copperfish website now. Erika’s novel THE INVISIBLE WOMAN will be available for purchase in a very attractive trade paperback form on February 9th. Our virtual bookclub event with Erika will be on March 2 at two in the afternoon. Erika and I will be in conversation about this remarkable book. You are not going to want to miss this.

The Invisible Woman

I am very happy to announce that the fireworks in our neighborhood were early. Our kitties were not amused but did not run and hide like usual. By midnight the entire world around us was silent. It’s quiet this morning and peaceful. A great way to begin a New Year.

I’m thinking of all you readers today and hoping I get to see all of you one way or the other this coming year. Might be in person but will more likely be virtual or maybe at the store, carefully. What I do know is that I have so many truly great books to present this coming winter and spring. I can’t wait to show them all to you.

January is here. Let the reading begin. Cheers!

My Favorite Books Of 2020

These are the books I enjoyed the most throughout this horrendous year. Not in any order.

28 Summers

Was the perfect read during the pandemic. Totally took me away to Nantucket Island.

ON OCEAN BOULEVARD by Mary Alice Monroe is her best novel to date.

On Ocean Boulevard

The Girl With The Louding Voice

This debut novel, THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE,  knocked my socks off!

 

 

 

 

 

A Good Neighborhoof

Therese Ann Fowler blew me away early in the year with A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD. 

And along came Rick Bragg with his new book of outrageously funny stories of life as he knows it. I was in a low place during the pandemic and this book totally got me out of my own way. LOL.

Hamnet

Hamnet is up for several big awards as well it should be. O’Farrell has hit the jackpot once again. Bound for glory. 

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany

We finally get to read THE STAR-CROSSED SISTERS OF TUSCANY after Berkley pushed it back one year because of the pandemic. Absolutely worth the wait. You simply must read this book!

Fifty Words For Rain

 

 

 

What a unique and edgy novel that took my breath away. Don’t miss FIFTY WORDS FOR RAIN. 

Pale Morning Light With Violet Swan

 

 

PALE MORNING LIGHT WITH VIOLET SWAN is an amazing story of one artist and her violent past that she secrets away even from her family. 

The Book of Lost Names

Kristin Harmel wows us with a novel of family and strength during the Holocaust. 

The Key Lime Crime

 

THE KEY LIME CRIME will have you in stitches and will also have you in Key West, Florida over the holidays. A welcome retreat during challenging times.

Call Your Daughter Home

 CALL YOUR DAUGHTER HOME crept up on me. It was simply wonderful.

Squeeze Me

And for your comic relief I bring you Carl Hiaasen’s newest caper: SQUEEZE ME.

I must say that for such a challenging year there sure were a lot of great books. My hat goes out to the authors and publishers who had to deal with publishing books in the middle of this mess. But now we have added yet another way to connect with readers: zoom and virtual events; ways to meet people you may never have had the opportunity to do before. It’s far from perfect. But it’s a means to an end and will forever change the normal.  And good news: I’m reading far into the New Year and encountering many, many wonderful new books. You are in for such a treat. 

The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Many years ago I was a fan of Anne Rice’s notorious vampire novels. They were a bit naughty and definitely eerie, and more than a little bit addicting. I read the entire series. Some of you probably saw the movies. They were really good and starred big movie stars like Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. So I’m no novice at reading about the undead.

Then we had years of light and humorous stories featuring vampires. I got bored. Enough. Along comes Grady Hendrix with his new novel called THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB’S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES. It is being touted as “smart” horror, whatever that is. I gave the book not even a second glance when it first appeared. Southern Independent Booksellers began advertising it. After all, a Southern author wrote it. Still, I paid it no notice. Then one of my bookseller friends told me she loved it. And it began getting chatter about awards. So, I requested it from my library to take a peek. And the rest is history.

THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB’S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES takes place just outside Charleston, South Carolina, near Mt. Pleasant, not far from the islands. This is an area I know and love. It was easy to get right into this story. I found the characters quite engaging and immediately thought of people who might like this novel. The story is set up so that you believe that the community is quite normal. Normal people doing normal things. Don’t fret. That changes suddenly.

What seems fluffy at first suddenly takes a turn for the very unfluffy. The ladies in the book club read true crime novels, mostly. One of their husbands believes the club reads the bible. Oh my Lord. Such normal folk.

Then one night Patricia Campbell’s life forever changes when she is attacked by her elderly neighbor while taking out the trash. The scene that ensues almost made me put the book down. Let me rephrase that: I did put the book down. I had to regroup and decide whether or not to continue. Things quickly got back to normal and I read on. Then we meet the vicious neighbor’s nephew, James Harris. Just writing his name now makes my hackles stand straight up in the air.

This is a neighborhood filled with men who are very successful. Their wives are stay at home mom’s as was the case in South Carolina in the late eighties. It was so normal. The women were restless and bored. The men took them for granted. The kids were mostly spoiled. And then children from the other side of town began to go missing.

There are several scenes in this book that are very disturbing. Graphic. Sometimes hard to read. But the story is compelling as all get-out. I had to know how this was going to end. I just had to.

The writing is oh-so-good. It’s clever and yanks you in. It’s a bit erotic at times. It’s presented in a way that I found to be almost mesmerizing.

So what would you do if you knew there was a vampire in your midst and no one believed you.?Thought you were losing your mind. And we watch as “Jim” slowly and surely wins the trust of the community. Horrifying. And that is exactly what it’s supposed to be.

There are those of you who will not even crack this book open. I get that. But for those of you who want to step outside your reading comfort zone, perhaps are looking for something well-written yet totally unique, this is your novel. Smart Horror. Ha.

Copperfish Books has it in stock right now. And it’s 20% off.

Merry Christmas And Happy Holidays

In my wildest dreams I never, ever thought we’d still be dealing with this pandemic during the holidays. But here we are right in the thick of it. Nevertheless I’m trying to keep a good attitude. I think I see a light way at the end of the tunnel. I think I do. I hear there is a vaccine…

I think there will be a lot of zooming on Christmas Day. Most of us are getting used to it. It’s a means to an end and a way to see and speak to our loved ones and friends. Win/win. Whatever it takes. We must be safe and keep our loved ones safe as well.

My husband and I are keeping it simple this year. We don’t really need anything. But who doesn’t enjoy receiving a gift! So we are exchanging small. Being thoughtful. Giving thanks for all that we have. Thankful for family and good friends. Work that we love. Great books to read. A new home that has become our nest that we share with our beloved kitties. So many things that we take for granted on a daily basis.

We’ve done a little decorating. We have a wee tree this year. It’s so tiny. I love it. It’s sparkly and bright and perfect for us this year. We peppered the living room with our collection of Santas. And Jack even covered the front porch in festive bright lights. I made cookies and the house was filled with fresh sweets.

I’m thinking of all the amazing novels that are coming this winter and spring. Making my lists, checking them twice. The upcoming winter and spring months are going to continue to be challenging. I am continuing to work with clubs for zoom events. Even though some in-person events are scheduled for March, it is a wait-and-see time. If it’s safe, talks will be in person. However, I am beginning to offer alternative ideas.

The Asheville family brought someone special home to live with them last weekend. Meet Willow, their new puppy who is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She’s simply adorable. April, the matriarch doggie is taking it all in her stride.

Willow and April 2020

One of my coworkers at Copperfish has been urging me to read THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB’S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES by Grady Hendrix. I have resisted so long because, well, vampires. But, lately, there’s been a lot of chatter about this novel…. And it’s up for awards. What could it hurt to give it a go. So I got it from the library. What did I think? My review will air before New Year’s. You might be surprised.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires

I want to thank all my readers who stopped by Copperfish Books and bought books and gifts. You are so appreciated. It is because of wonderful book lovers like you that we continue to thrive during these challenging times. My bookseller’s hat goes off to each and every one of you.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas. A safe holiday. And at least one good book for you to read over the holidays. I hope to see each of you in the New Year.

Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera

Call Your Daughter Home

My daughter asked me recently about this book. Had I read it? Had I heard of it? She heard it was really good. I was intrigued. I got a copy from the library to see what I thought. I thought it was pretty great. This trade paperback cover is so much nicer than the hardcover. This is very pretty.

I have to say right out of the gate that this reminded me a lot of WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens. The setting is South Carolina and it’s in the swamp. I mean IN the swamp.

CALL YOUR DAUGHTER HOME begins with a chapter so compelling I double dare you to put it down. Ha. There is one scene especially that is so vividly portrayed and so unbelievable that the hair stood up on my arms. This is what I’m looking for when I begin a book by a new author.

Gertrude is one tough cookie. She was practically given away for marriage. She’s the mother of four girls. They’re all starving. Literally. She’s married to a dog of a man who is not only a drunk but an abuser. He learned it well from his own daddy. She’s desperate.

Retta is a first generation freed slave who still works for the people who owned her family. You will love her.

Annie is the matriarch of the Coles family. She’s prim and proper and filled with righteousness. But hold on. Her life is about to turn upside down and backward. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. Her daughters are estranged and she hasn’t seen them in years. Her husband is a real ASS. And here we go.

This story has such a bold in-your-face urgency that you’ll find yourself reading far into the night with your heart pounding and your throat all tied up. These women are here to stay in your mind forever. Motherhood, deep dark awful secrets. Set in the pre-depression South after times of boll weevil blight when cotton lost its luster and the South was brought to its knees. And they thought tobacco would be the very thing to save them….

This magnificent novel of race and class and abuse is going to knock your reading socks off.

This is Deb Spera’s first novel but, you can bet it won’t be her last. I will be first in line for her next novel. Can’t wait.

We have copies of CALL YOUR DAUGHTER HOME by Deb Spera at Copperfish Books right now. This is a great gift for yourself during the holidays.

Great Books For Gifting

Where I Come From

Rick Bragg’s WHERE I COME FROM is the perfect gift for any adult readers on your gift list! Ladies and gentlemen alike will enjoy Bragg’s humor and it’s just what we need as we continue to deal with this pandemic that just will not go away.

THE ARCTIC FURY by Greer Macallister is a brand new historical novel based on a true story. An Arctic adventure like no other. Some of the strongest women ever.

The Arctic Fury

CALL YOUR DAUGHTER HOME by Deb Spera is an amazing story that might just blow your mind. Unforgettable characters. Reminiscent of WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING. You need this book.

Call Your Daughter Home

If someone on your list is a sci-fi reader I think I have just the ticket. THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA by T.J. Klune is, quite simply ,delightful. Even those of us who don’t usually read sci-fi will eat this one up.

The House In The Cerulean Sea
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany

THE STAR-CROSSED SISTERS OF TUSCANY is as wonderful as its cover! I loved this atmospheric novel of Southern Italy. It’s a classic you’ll wish to reread over and over again.

PALE MORNING LIGHT WITH VIOLET SWAN is one of my favorite novels of the year. The writing is spectacular. The characters jump and leap from the page. The setting on the Pacific Coast is devastatingly gorgeous. And the seeming mild mannered main character has lead a shocking life.

Pale Morning Light With Violet Swan

Anything written by Pat Conroy is always the perfect gift for both men and women. And, if you haven’t read BEACH MUSIC, well, give it to yourself for holiday. It’s my favorite book ever!

Pat Conroy
Beach Music

Another perfect gift for a book lover is always a g/c for any denomination. I hope you’ll buy yours from Copperfish Books. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Punta Gorda
Copperfish Books

Shop Local. Small Business Saturday. Punta Gorda. Copperfish Books

Punta Gorda
Copperfish Books

What a year this has been and continues to be. We at Copperfish Books feel so lucky that our customers have been so supportive over the past many months of the pandemic. From shopping online to doing curbside pick up, we are so grateful for all of  you. Now that the holidays are upon us we are hoping you will continue to shop with us. We have been hard at work filling the new store with the perfect books and gift items for your shopping pleasure. 

Our T shirts are so comfortable you may want to live in them. They come in three colors: gray, white and copper.
I love a good tote and this is just one example of ours. They do make great gifts.
This is a great jigsaw puzzle for the booklover.

And every reader will love finding a Copperfish Books gift certificate so they can come in a shop and get just what they want. Any denomination.

Copperfish Books will be open tomorrow, Saturday, November 28th from 10-4. Come on in and join the celebration. There will be a lot going on and you don’t want to miss it. Plus, Sullivan Street Craft Festival will be in full swing to add to your holiday festivities.

This year we’re going to be open this Sunday from 11-2 for your shopping convenience. So, if you miss us on Saturday and want to visit the store while shopping the festival, we’ll be open and looking forward to seeing you! Come on in! Free gift wrapping.

Sullivan St Craft Festival

And just a heads’ up: don’t forget we are now open in our new store at 212 W. Virginia Ave in Punta Gorda.

Cover Reveal

#CoverReveal! Behold #TheForestofVanishingStars by #nytimes #bestseller @kristinharmel (“a powerful and dazzling voice in historical fiction,” says NYT bestselling author @pattichenry). Kristin’s evocative new coming-of-age World War II story will be in stores everywhere on July 6, 2021 from @gallerybooks. Mark your calendars and start planning your summer reading early. Copy & paste this link to #preorder NOW! https://bit.ly/preorderTFOVS 
#TFOVSreveal #historicalfiction #wwiifiction #kristinharmel #gallerybooks 
 
SYNOPSIS: After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything. 

You know how exciting this is. Love the cover!

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany

Okay, right away the cover gets an A plus from me. Brings back memories of trips to Tuscany and beyond. But, is the story as good as the cover? You betcha!! In fact, it’s better.

This from Goodreads: A trio of second-born daughters set out to break the family curse that says they’ll never find love on a whirlwind journey through the lush Italian countryside by New York Times bestseller Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List.

Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than two hundred years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily-single baker at her grandfather’s Brooklyn deli, claim it’s an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it’s a true hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday, and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.

I decided to copy the review listed on Goodreads because it sums up the novel without giving away too much. This novel begins rather softly: light reading. It then moves to a place I could not resist. Lori Nelson Spielman is a delightful author. She created a world filled with characters I kept rooting on. And the Italian vistas, Venetian canals, Amalfi coastline, and hills of Tuscany come blazingly to life beneath her pen. 

This beautiful story became so compelling that I put aside everything until I was finished. I did not want it to end but I was DYING to know the climax. I know you will be too. 

THE STAR-CROSSED SISTERS OF TUSCANY by Lori Nelson Spielman was due to come out in the spring. Alas, we know what came along. I think the publisher made a brilliant decision to postpone the pub date. This book is going to be on every single reader’s list! I know several people who have already pre-ordered it. I was one of the very lucky people who received an early copy. I am grateful to the publishing people at Berkley. This is a real winner!! Knocked it right out of the book park!! Loved, loved, loved it. 

THE STAR-CROSSED SISTERS OF TUSCANY will be available for purchase tomorrow. Copperfish Books will have copies in stock. I can’t wait to hand sell it. We are really fortunate that it will be in trade paperback making it the perfect choice for book clubs everywhere!