by Powell's Staff, February 9, 2022 8:50 AM
The folks on Powell's Book Buying team have been highly anticipating a whole load of great titles that will soon be heading to our stores. With topics ranging from vanished empires to biopunk noir pirates to misunderstood Sasquatches (aren't they all?) to serinettes (wazzat?), here are 26 of the books they're most excited about reading this spring. If one (some?) (all?) of these look good to you, too, preorder now and get ‘em when they drop!
Jen H.'s Picks
Jen buys books for the mystery and sports sections. Her three favorite things are books, cats, and basketball.
Yerba Buena (May 2022)
by Nina LaCour
I’m a fan of Nina LaCour’s young adult fiction, so I was thrilled to learn that she has written her first novel for adults. I was not disappointed. The writing is beautiful and feels both dreamlike and matter of fact at the same time. This story follows Sara and Emilie and alternates between their two narratives. Exploring family dynamics, grief, and finding oneself, it is an ultimately hopeful love story.
Double Shot Death (Ground Rules Mystery #2) (April 2022)
by Emmeline Duncan
I’m looking forward to reading the second installment of this cozy mystery series set in a food cart pod in Portland. This time, master barista Sage has brought her coffee cart to an eco-friendly music festival, where she finds the body of one of the band’s managers. I expect this story will bring the same great cast of characters and very real Portland vibe that made Fresh Brewed Murder so much fun to read.
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McKenzie W.'s Picks
McKenzie is a romance and true-crime junkie! She spends most of her free time reading, knitting, or listening to podcasts.
A Lady for a Duke (May 2022)
by Alexis Hall
Alexis Hall continues to blow my mind. I cannot wait to read his upcoming historical novel, A Lady for a Duke. I love and emphatically recommend Boyfriend Material and the appetite-provoking Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake while you wait with me for the reunion of Viola — a transgender woman who is finally able to live as herself — and her childhood companion, Justin — a lonely, grief-stricken duke. Without a doubt, it will be devastatingly romantic and utterly brilliant.
A Caribbean Heiress in Paris ( Las Léonas #1) (May 2022)
by Adriana Herrera
Adriana Herrera has been writing sexy, diverse romances for years, both as an independent author and for mainstream publishers. A Caribbean Heiress in Paris is her first historical novel and I’m ALL IN. Combining the “not here to find love” and “fish out of water” tropes, rum heiress Luz Alana sails for Paris to expand her family business. There, she finds “daddy issues” and a “marriage of convenience” in the form of whisky distiller/Earl of Darnick, James Evanston Sinclair. I can already imagine the intense sexual chemistry that will manifest when each tries the other’s sure-to-be-amazing booze.
By the Book (May 2022)
by Jasmine Guillory
Jasmine Guillory's By the Book proves that fairy tale retellings are still golden! Publisher-assistant Izzy braves the Santa Barbara mansion/dungeon of Beau, a reclusive star and aspiring author, to help him bring his book to life. While there are no singing candelabras or pitchfork-wielding villagers in this Beauty and the Beast homage, there are definitely lingering glances and romantic library interludes! This story is perfectly satisfying for adult rom-com readers, but teens will be happy with this one too!
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Doug C.'s Picks
Doug buys graphic novels for Powell's, writes rarely published fiction, and lives with a wonderful spouse and a ridiculous dog.
Kids in America: A Gen X Reckoning (June 2022)
by Liz Prato
Liz Prato writes with clear vision about the generation that followed the baby boomers, the generation that today moves into the spaces created by that older generation. This book is a long-overdue examination and reconciliation of the people and the era.
In On the Joke: The Original Queens of Standup Comedy (April 2022)
by Shawn Levy
Shawn Levy does it again, this time bringing his impeccable research, engaging story-telling, and expansive taste to the telling of the early queens of standup comedy, the women who broke barriers and opened doors for those that followed.
Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary (April 2022)
by Laura Stanfill
This lovely, whimsical, humorous, smart, and fantastical book brightened up my winter reading (lucky enough to read an advanced copy). Take yourself out of this wearisome world and into Laura Stanfill's magic.
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Deana R.'s Picks
Deana is an avid home cook, amateur theologian, prolific crafter, and voracious consumer of genre fiction. Somewhere in her spare time, she’s managed to raise two kind, intelligent human beings and numerous cats.
The Kaiju Preservation Society (March 2022)
by John Scalzi
I've been a Scalzi fan since Old Man's War first came out, so I was super excited to hear he had a new standalone novel set in an Alt-Earth world where Kaiju are real. Similar in pacing and humor to his novel Redshirts, this is pop sci-fi at its very best.
Patricia Wants to Cuddle (June 2022)
by Samantha Allen
The Patricia in the title is a much-misunderstood lady Sasquatch living on a scenic and remote Washington State island. When a Bachelor-style dating show invades her space, she pushes back in the only way she knows how, and campy horror hijinks and bitingly sharp social commentary ensue. The perfect pacing and wry humor kept me guessing until the very last page, no small feat for this lifelong horror fan.
Fabulous Modern Cookies: Lessons in Better Baking for Next-Generation Treats (April 2022)
by Chris Taylor and Paul Arguin
My partner and I have already made several of the cookies in the book, and each one has been a hit. There's lots of fun, fresh twists on old favorites, all written in such a way that you feel like you're learning to bake from a close friend. It's become my new go-to cookie book!
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Leah B.'s Picks
Leah buys books for the art and craft sections. She is getting better at keeping her houseplants alive.
Maryanne Moodie's Modern Weaver: Where Color Meets Loom (May 2022)
by Maryanne Moodie
My book-buyer senses started tingling when I saw the cover of this book, and the more I learned about it, the more I knew my instincts were correct. This is the most fun small loom weaving book I’ve seen in some time. The bright colors, the accessible projects, and the sheer joy of craft that this book radiates makes it a must-have for beginner weavers and anyone looking to add some chunky wool roving to their weaving projects.
Embroidery: A Modern Guide to Botanical Embroidery (April 2022)
by Arounna Khounnoraj
I’m something of a Arounna Khounnoraj fangirl. Her first two books, Punch Needle and Visible Mending, were exquisite. The projects, the photography, the book design, and her straightforward directions are fantastic. So, when I saw she had a third book coming out about embroidery, you can imagine my excitement. There are plenty of embroidery books out there, but Khounnoraj’s promises to be something special.
New School Macramé: A Contemporary Knotting Manual for Over 100 Fresh Fibre Projects (June 2022)
by Terri Watson
Wow, if you’ve never tried macramé, but want to make really polished looking projects relatively quickly, pick up this book. The projects are made up almost entirely from one knot: the vertical clove hitch. It’s a fairly simple knot to learn, and once you’ve got the hang of it, the variety of designs you can make is only limited by the colors of cord you have. And if you’re more experienced with macramé, I don’t have to tell you these are perfect projects to work on while relaxing with an audiobook.
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Kim T.'s Picks
Kim is one of the children’s book buyers and adult nonfiction buyers. She loves spending time with her family and their sweet Australian Shepherd.
Realm of the Blue Mist: A Graphic Novel (The Rema Chronicles #1) (April 2022)
by Amy Kim Kibuishi
Perfect for fans of Pilu of the Woods or the Amulet series by author Amy Kim’s Kibuishi's husband, Kazu Kibuishi, Realm of the Blue Mist is the first book in a new graphic novel series: The Rema Chronicles.
Realm of the Blue Mist introduces us to Tabby Simon, a young girl seeking the mystery of what happened to her father who died after investigating a tree releasing an unexplained mist in her neighborhood. When Tabby enters a portal to another planet, a great adventure begins. Absolutely stunning illustrations and riveting storytelling make this a wonderful gem of a graphic novel, great for ages eight and up.
Finding Me (April 2022)
by Viola Davis
The first African-American actor to receive an Emmy, an Oscar, and a Tony award, Viola Davis has written a beautiful and inspiring memoir, beginning from her working-class upbringing in Rhode Island to her time spent at Julliard and her determination for playing the roles she wanted to play. If you’ve been enthralled by her craft in film, television, and stage, you will enjoy this wonderful memoir by an amazing actor.
This Woman's Work: Essays on Music (May 2022)
by Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon of the iconic post-punk band, Sonic Youth, assembles an all-star collection of essays about music, activism, and sexism from icons in the industry, along with award-winning writer, Sinéad Gleeson. Featuring authors Rachel Kushner, Anne Enright, Margo Jefferson, Fatima Bhutto, and Megan Jasper on her ground-breaking work with Sub Pop, these ground-breaking stories from the pioneers of feminism and politics in modern music are captivating and inspiring.
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Mary Jo S.'s Picks
Mary Jo buys literature, science fiction, and horror. She firmly believes in the redemptive power of strong tea.
Her Majesty's Royal Coven (June 2022)
by Juno Dawson
Four women who are witches and friends since childhood have radically differing ideas about a young, powerful warlock. Is he a threat, someone who needs training, or all of the above? Gender politics are front and center here, and race, class, and power dynamics all affect their actions and choices and are central to the outcome.
The Dawnhounds (June 2022)
by Sascha Stronach
A biopunk noir with lots of pirates and magic that isn't called magic, The Dawnhounds is a heady brew of fungus and the story of Yat, a former thief turned police officer. Recently demoted for her "unnatural activities" (frequenting a queer bar), Yat is murdered one night, returned to life, and then things get really interesting.
Rainbow Rainbow (May 2022)
by Lydia Conklin
Stories focusing on queer characters and pivotal moments in their relationships. Conklin deftly captures both the sweetness and strangeness the heart contains.
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Ryan V.W.'s Picks
R.V.W. is the buyer for history and social science. Any free time they have is devoted wholly to Dungeons & Dragons and scotch whisky.
The Burgundians: A Vanished Empire (April 2022)
by Bart Van Loo
Located between France, Germany, and England, the Burgundian State was a formidable power in medieval Europe. Currently, the home of the modern nations of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands; the Dukes of Burgundy ruled one of Europe’s major centers of commerce and culture for over a thousand years. The Burgundian State ceased existence as a distinct political entity at the dawn of the 16th century. This lavish history of the Burgundian Dukes was a massive hit in Europe. I can’t wait to get lost in here and learn about a part of Europe often forgotten.
Japan at War in the Pacific: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Empire in Asia: 1868-1945 (May 2022)
by Jonathan Clements
In 1853, a fleet of US warships arrived at Japan, and through the threat of violence, ended Japan's 250 years of self-isolation from the world. The destabilization caused by this event led to a government that looked to the Western powers as their example, and they started down the road to creating an empire. Jonathan Clements's new book outlines how a nation that had no living memory of war transformed itself into a militarized, expansionist power that dragged the entirety of Asia and the Pacific into war.
Slaves For Peanuts: A Story of Conquest, Liberation, and a Crop That Changed History (April 2022)
by Jori Lewis
I love learning the history of everyday things. Extra points when these things are so small and ubiquitous you probably never really think about them at all. In her debut book, Slaves for Peanuts, Jori Lewis brings to light the dark and violent history of this unassuming legume. A history that continues to affect the lives of millions.
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Madeline S.'s Picks
Madeline is one of our children’s book buyers, with a focus on YA and middle grade; she also buys world languages and some adult nonfiction. In high school, she was voted “most likely to randomly give an inspirational speech.”
Magic Steeped in Poison (Book of Tea #1) (March 2022)
by Judy I. Lin
I immediately fell in love with this unforgettably unique debut (first in a duology) from Judy I. Lin. Young teamaker Ning is determined to join the competition to choose the next shénnóng-shi (a master of the magical art of tea) of the Imperial court. Ning cares more about the favor granted to the winner; she’s determined to save her sister, suffering from a poisoned tea that killed their mother. But that poison is part of a larger plot, and Ning finds herself (and a handsome stranger) in the center of a fight for the throne.
Ballad and Dagger (Outlaw Saints #1) (May 2022)
by Daniel José Older
The Rick Riordan Presents imprint is a platform for authors of color to craft modern myths based in their own cultures, heritages, and experiences. Ballad and Dagger marks the imprint’s first foray into YA, and Daniel José Older is the perfect author for the job. The Brooklyn diaspora community of the (fictional) sunken island of San Madrigal — once home to Cuban Santeros, Sephardic Jews, and pirates — is vibrant, full of real joy and real pain. All Mateo Matisse wants is to make his name as a traditional musician; but what if he can reclaim his people’s island from the sea?
When Women Were Dragons (May 2022)
by Kelly Barnhill
A few things to know about me as a reader: I’m a sucker for a literalized metaphor; I’m very invested in the expression of female rage; and I love dragons. I’m also a huge fan of Kelly Barnhill’s middle grade writing (The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a masterpiece that should be devoured by readers of all ages), so when I found out she was writing an adult fiction novel in which unhappy, furious women spontaneously turned into dragons, my response, naturally, was, “sign me the $%*& up.” Yours should be the same.