Refresh Your Reading List at Sundog Books This Spring

Springtime in Seaside is a season of renewal, both for nature and our lives. It’s a time when the vibrant energy of new beginnings inspires us to refresh our spaces, our habits, and yes, our reading lists.

As the days grow longer and the world around us blooms, Sundog Books invites you to rejuvenate your literary palette.

Let’s dive into how you can spice up your spring with books, connection, and the great outdoors.

Revitalize your reading list with new spring releases

This is the ideal season to give your bookshelf a makeover. With new titles like “Beautyland” by Marie-Helene Bertino and others making their debut, there’s no better time to add fresh perspectives to your collection and to-be-read pile. Did you know that reading new literature can boost creativity and empathy?

Researchers have found that diving into diverse stories can enrich our understanding and appreciation of the world around us. Let the vibrant stories inspire your next reading adventure, adding a splash of  excitement to your literary journey.

Go to an author event

At Sundog Books, catching an author signing on our picturesque porch is a real treat. It’s a laid-back way to meet your favorite writers and get your books signed, all with our town’s beautiful scenery as a backdrop. But don’t stop there. Author events across the country are a fantastic way to dive deeper into the literary world. Attending these events can significantly enrich your reading experience.

Whether it’s engaging in lively discussions, discovering new authors, or simply soaking in the atmosphere, there’s something incredibly rewarding about being part of a live literary event.

Explore the outdoors with a book in hand

Sundog Books: Celebrating 35 Years of Literary Excellence

There’s something magical about reading in the fresh air, surrounded by the natural beauty of spring. As temperatures become more pleasant, consider taking your book outside to enjoy. Studies suggest that reading outdoors can not only improve your mood but also enhance your comprehension and retention of the material. Whether it’s in your backyard, a local park, or at the beach, find the ideal setting for your next reading escape.

Let Sundog Books be your guide to a season filled with literary exploration and discovery. With each page turned, may you find joy, wonder, and the endless possibilities that reading brings.

Sundog’s Seasonal Selections

Our top picks for spring are sure to captivate and enchant, offering something for every reader:

“Beautyland” by Marie-Helene Bertino 

This imaginative tale transports readers to a world where the lines between earth and the cosmos blur. Bertino crafts a story that’s as whimsical as it is profound, exploring the human condition through the eyes of a uniquely perceptive protagonist. Ideal for those seeking a narrative that combines earthly challenges with celestial whispers.

“The Warm Hands of Ghosts” by Katherine Arden

Arden weaves a tapestry of history and fantasy, bringing together the heartaches of the past with the mystical. This novel is a testament to resilience, exploring how the spirits of history and the personal journeys of the living intertwine. It’s an ideal read for those who love to find the magic hidden within the real world.

“The Book of Love” by Kelly Link

With her debut novel, Link invites us into an expansive tale of adolescence, magic and the complexities of small-town life. This is storytelling at its most inventive, promising a journey that’s as unpredictable as it is engaging. Readers will find themselves lost in the intricacies of Link’s imagination, making the intriguing tale ideal for spring days spent lounging in the sun.

“The Hunter” by Tana French

French returns with a gripping mystery that captures the essence of suspense. Set against the backdrop of the Irish countryside, this novel explores the shadows that past actions cast on the present, making it an exhilarating read for those who crave stories with depth, darkness, and a hint of hope.

“You Like It Darker: Stories” by Stephen King

King’s latest collection offers a mosaic of terror and wonder, with stories that range from the eerily familiar to the unsettlingly bizarre. Each tale is a masterclass in storytelling, proving once again why King remains a titan of the genre. These stories are ideal companions for the lengthening evenings of spring, when the world is a blend of light and shadow.

About Michelle Hayes Uhlfelder

Michelle is deeply honored to lead the marketing narrative for Sundog Books, a role she has grown into over her six-year association with the nationally recognized indie bookstore. Her gratitude extends to the White Family for welcoming her into the Sundog family. Living in WaterColor for 16 years with her husband and their children, who are students at Seaside Neighborhood School, she has woven the threads of her personal and professional life through the heart of the community. Michelle’s bond with the area enhances her dedication to Sundog Books, a local haven where the love for stories and vibrant conversations is ever present.

Sundog books in Seaside

Favorite Fall Reads at Sundog Books

It’s back-to-school season again, a period where we trade in our beach reads and light-hearted romps for educational and informative books that prepare us for the rigors of the upcoming academic year.

This shift doesn’t necessarily mean a departure from the joy of reading. At Sundog Books, we’ve long believed that educational books and fun can coexist.

Working with the beloved family-owned bookshop for over five years, I’ve noticed a particularly strong relationship between the back-to-school season and an increased interest in historical fiction. It’s fascinating to see readers of all ages turn to this genre as a way to explore different periods in time and gain insights into our shared past.

Historical fiction serves as a bridge between education and entertainment. It can make the ancient world come alive, turn abstract events into deeply personal narratives, and give us a newfound appreciation for the people who lived through those times. It’s a time-travel ticket and a history lesson rolled into one, wrapped in the magic of storytelling. While textbooks give us the facts, historical fiction allows us to experience the emotional and human aspects of history.

There’s something indescribable about wandering through shelves of books, each one promising a unique adventure or a nugget of knowledge. With every turn of the page, we’re granted a peek into someone else’s world. The pleasure we derive from reading isn’t diminished even when we’re learning something new – in fact, it’s often enhanced.

This back-to-school season, let’s lean into this power of books to both educate and entertain us. Remember, learning doesn’t have to be confined to the classroom. Whether it’s a young student picking up a new book for their school project, or an adult reader delving into a historical fiction novel for a fresh perspective, the pursuit of knowledge continues to be a driving force for readers of all ages.

We look forward to welcoming you at Sundog Books, your partner in the wond

erful, ever-evolving journey of learning. Let’s turn the page to this new chapter together.

 

“The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store” by James McBride

Selected by Sundog Bookseller Kathy, Release Date Aug. 8, 2023

James McBride invites readers to the 1970s Pennsylvania town of Pottstown in “The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store.” Through the eyes of Moshe and Chona Ludlow, the novel delves into the community’s secret past, juxtaposing ambition with sorrow, and the ethereal with the earthly. The genuine pulse of human connection reverberates through McBride’s prose as he unveils a skeleton at the bottom of a well, making “moldy bones dance.” McBride’s craftsmanship as a “storyteller-in-chief” presents a novel brimming with compassion, inventiveness, and the ever-present duality of despair and vitality. This work further solidifies his mastery in blending the subtle nuances of human existence.

“The Vaster Wilds” by Lauren Groff

Selected by Sundog Bookseller Bryan, Release Date Sept. 12, 2023

Strap in for a breathtaking wilderness escapade in Lauren Groff’s “The Vaster Wilds.” A story that teeters on the brink of adventure and allegory, it’s a journey into a world that is raw, riveting, and seemingly boundless. The novel resonates with a sense of urgency and imagination, engaging both the adventurer and thinker. It’s a literary expedition beckoning readers to pack their bags and embark on a transformative exploration that promises to stretch beyond the borders of the ordinary.

“This Other Eden” by Paul Harding

Selected by Sundog Bookseller Tamara, Release Date Jan. 24, 2023

Embarking on a journey to the coastal beauty of Maine, Paul Harding’s “This Other Eden” unearths the secrets of Malaga Island’s racially integrated community. Through the perspective of a young Black woman, readers are invited to explore dreams, identity, and a history marked by both dignity and destruction. Harding’s eloquent storytelling weaves a narrative as captivating as the waves, as profound as the island’s legacy. Dive into this tale, history aficionados, for it promises an immersive experience, rich with lessons echoing across time.

“Chenneville” by Paulette Jiles

Selected by Sundog Bookseller Kathy, Release Date Sept. 12, 2023

Paulette Jiles, the luminary behind the lauded “News of the World,” delivers a poignant exploration of justice, vengeance, and courage in “Chenneville.” Following the haunting journey of John Chenneville, a Union soldier, Jiles paints the lawless post-Civil War American frontier with bold strokes. This is a novel etched in grief, driven by an unrelenting quest for redemption. The landscape, as shattered as the nation itself, becomes a vivid canvas for characters sculpted with Jiles’s unmistakable finesse. Every emotional twist plunges the reader deeper into Texas, where reckoning may exact a price beyond what Chenneville has already lost. The soul of this gripping narrative lies in its raw portrayal of a man’s odyssey to right irrevocable wrongs.

“Bessie” by Linda Kass

Selected by Sundog Owner Linda White, Release Date Sept. 12, 2023

With “Bessie,” Linda Kass paints a portrait of Bess Myerson, a figure of triumph, turbulence, and resolute strength. The first Jewish Miss America transcends her beauty queen image, emerging as a musical virtuoso and staunch warrior against discrimination. The prose takes readers on a riveting promenade down history’s runway, crafting an experience rich in historical texture. The echoes of applause are felt in every line, offering front-row seats to the remarkable women of our shared past. Readers will find themselves captivated by this vibrant blend of cultural celebration and personal resolve.

About Michelle Hayes Uhlfelder:

Take a “page” from Michelle’s book and discover the story of Sundog Books as she spearheads the branding of the bookshop. From WaterColor, where she has resided with her family for over 15 years, Michelle’s an avid reader of pretty much all genres and always loves swapping book recs with visitors and locals of all ages. If you can’t swing by, check out her “favorites shelf” full of instant must reads or visit her Instagram book account @thebookdarling.

 

Sundog Books: The Best Winter Reads

Sundog Books: The Best Winter Reads

The Seaside experience and books go hand in hand. Beaches and Books is a phrase I mutter countless times a day. This pairing might be the secret sauce to the 34 years of success for Seaside’s family-owned indie bookstore. Because at its core, this charming community was founded on growth, fresh ideas, taking risks and new possibilities — much like literature.

Despite the illusion that these colorful buildings are stuck in time, I’ve witnessed first-hand how Seaside is continually evolving. Once you experience Seaside year after year, you see the brilliance of the culture of excellence at the heart of it.

And aren’t superb stories much the same? We start a book thinking it’s one thing, and yet, after flipping the last page, we walk away with a new perspective, often refreshed and energized intellectually. We have a clearer focus for the subjects, people and ideas that once seemed foreign, now enriching our lives in ways we can’t quite articulate. We better ourselves by reaching for the latest body of work by thought leaders and talented storytellers.

I strive to treat every interaction at Sundog Books much like what an enlightening story provides — an awakening of growth. Each customer who crosses the bookstore’s threshold to chat — from the one who wants to spill the beans on the latest can’t-put-down thriller to the dad who sips a cup of coffee while picking my brain for a recommendation that will help his teen fall back in love with reading, it’s these conversations that fuel a bookseller’s passion for literature.

It’s absolutely a pleasure to connect you to your next read — truly, it means the world to those of us behind the counter who share our knowledge and literally countless hours of reading with visitors to our little coastal community. What book will you put in your satchel?

“Now Is Not the Time to Panic” by Kevin Wilson

If you haven’t read Kevin Wilson’s prior work, “Nothing to See Here,” about fire combusting children — do yourself a favor and grab it soon. It’s wickedly funny in all the right ways and incredibly well-written. I’m pleased to report that his just-released third novel, “Now Is Not the Time to Panic,” is also a stand-out with Wilson’s signature whip-smart wit. This coming-of-age tale about two teenagers who create art together explores young love and nails that awkward teenage period we’ve all conveniently repressed. I have yet to find a customer who hasn’t thoroughly enjoyed his novels.

“No Accident” by Laura Bates

If you follow my book Instagram account (@thebookdarlingblog), then you are clued in that I have a teen and consequently, read quite a bit of young adult books. I just couldn’t resist throwing in a recommendation for the 13+ age group that’s sure to delight. Centered around a plane crash that leaves seven teenagers alone on a deserted island, “No Accident” will keep your beach bum flipping the pages faster than they can say Frost Bites three times fast. Bring this home and you’re sure to get a (mumbled) thank you. Better yet, grab two copies and read it alongside them and gasp loudly for them to hear for maximum eyerolls.

“Phaedra” by Laura Shepperson

“Circe” by Madeline Miller, the 2018 fiction novel about the Greek half-god, half-enchantress from Odysseus’ travels, is quite possibly in my top three books of all time. So when I came across this similar debut novel by Laura Shepperson, my heart quite literally went pitter-patter. A powerful feminist retelling of Greek mythology’s Cretan princess Phaedra and her unyielding quest for justice, it’s perfect for those who enjoy a modern retelling of old-world women’s bravery.

“The Bandit Queen” by Parini Shroff

While working on my master’s degree, I traveled to India for nearly a month. Since then, I enjoy taking in stories about Indian culture. But caution, I am a shrewd judge and it truly has to be very good to move the needle. Ding, ding, ding! I found it. A young Indian woman finds the false rumors that she killed her husband surprisingly useful — until other women in the village start asking for her help getting rid of their own husbands. In this razor-sharp debut, you needn’t look any further for the perfect crime novel.

“How to Sell a Haunted House” by Grady Hendrix

Dubbed the new “horror master,” Grady Hendrix has this way of crafting a thriller that is true bliss. And Hollywood has taken note with many of his works hitting the screen, including his latest book being adapted by Amazon Studios, “The Southern Book Clubs Guide to Slaying Vampires,” a mash of “Steel Magnolias” meets “Fried Green Tomatoes” with major “Dracula” vibes. His newest release, “How to Sell a Haunted House,” promises to deliver all the hilarious and heart-pounding storylines Hendrix is famous for. And true to the title, he takes a common(ish) theme — haunted houses — and spins an extraordinary tale, that every childhood home is haunted, and each of us are possessed by our parents. Gulp. I promise, even if this is not your normal genre read, Hendrix is a Southern treasure and it would be worth the stretch.

Sundog Books in seaside

The Best Fall Reads From Sundog Books

Let me tell you a little secret that book lovers know well: Fall is the most phenomenal season for reading. I’m not sure if it’s the leaves changing colors, dropping temperatures, or the students bustling back to class with fresh supplies. But whatever magic the autumn breeze brings makes it the ideal moment for a page-turner paired with a fluffy blanket on a front porch swing.

To keep your reading fresh from season to season, try mixing up your book line-up. Forget about your summer pile with exotic locations, love stories and surface-level plot-lines. Now is the time to pick up more substantive reads and dig into books that will stretch you as a reader. And good news – most publishers save their most anticipated releases for the last half of the year – banking on cozy weather to pull people into good stories.

Try something provocative and dangerous with the changing season. Step outside your comfort zone and reach for an author or genre you typically shy away from. You never know, you might discover that you actually crave far-fetched stories, offbeat genres, and contrasting voices.

Sundog’s Favorite Fall Releases:

“Wrong Place, Wrong Time” by Gillian McAllister

Fall is the perfect time to scare the bejesus out of yourself. Like many fans of this genre, I’ve read about a bajillion psychological thrillers and mysteries, so it takes quite a bit to move me, because the book descriptions start to sound the same. Blah blah blah, woman gets kidnapped by her – shocker – husband. Blah, blah, blah, neighbor’s a psychopath. Well, ladies and gentleman, I’m here to share that “Wrong Place, Wrong Time” by Gillian McAllister is going to deliver. Serving up twists, mystery, turns, shock, crime and mind-games, it’s already been called “one the best books I’ve ever read” by New York Times best-selling author Lisa Jewell. This new release might be the most gripping mystery of the season and I’m totally here for it. Let’s scare ourselves silly together.

“The Deceptions” by Jill Biaosky

Calling all “Circe” by Madeline Miller fans. I found your next prized read in the contemporary fiction genre. An explosive tale of art and myth, desire and betrayal, from New York Times best-selling author Jill Bialosky, “The Deceptions” includes Greek and Roman myths, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and testing the stories we tell ourselves. It’s been named “Most Anticipated Book of the Year” by Literary Hub, so be sure to pick up this bold and intriguing work and pair it with a cotton-candy beach sunset.

“The Marriage Portrait” by Maggie O’Farrell

If you’ve read “Hamnet,” the National Book Award-winning novel by Maggie O’Farrell, you know how amazing this author is. Whether you’re new or a seasoned fan, be sure to snatch her next release, “The Marriage Portrait.” Taking place in Renaissance Italy, this story paints an unforgettable portrait of the captivating young duchess as she makes her way in a troubled court. You had me at “Italy” and “Dutchess.” Sold.

“Fairy Tale” by Stephen King

Confession: I can’t read the majority of Stephen King’s writing. Anything in the horror genre has me sleep with the lights on and run to the bathroom super fast at midnight (I blame R.L. Stine’s glorious Fear Street series from my teen years). But good news – this release promises to be a fantasy that doesn’t go bump in the night. “Fairy Tale” will show off the best of Stephen King’s phenomenal storytelling abilities wrapped in magic, portals and heroic fights against evil – all mixed with a dose of childhood wonder. If you haven’t read one of King’s “non-scary” books before, you’re in for a treat. It’s sure to be an epic tale and a needed 609-page escape from our complex reality.

“The Two Lives of Sara” by Catherine Adel West

I’m originally from Memphis, Tenn., and constantly strive to better understand the struggle for civil rights in the 1960s, so when this new release came across my desk, it caught my attention. This historical fiction novel is a captivating story about a young mother who finds refuge and friendship at a boarding house in ‘60s Memphis, where family encompasses more than blood. The main character, Sara, falls into conversations about politics, education, and segregation with Jonah, a local school teacher. As they fall in love and fight to help end segregation, secrets from the past threaten to ruin their life together. Given the status of “lead read” for the fall season, I fully anticipate Reese Witherspoon or Jenna Bush Hager picking up this title. In other words, your book club will surely be selecting this soon.

“Tell me I’m an Artist” by Chelsea Martin

Of all the books I’ve discussed thus far in this column, I am most excited about this one. Speculated to be a masterpiece and work of comedic genius, it’s been named “Most Anticipated Book of the Year” by multiple national book review outlets. This story is a hilarious and incisive coming-of-age novel about an art student from a poor family struggling to find her place in a new social class of rich, well-connected peers. More so, if you have any connection to art at all, this is absolutely a must-read.

About Michelle:

Surrounding her life with books, Michelle loves to chit chat with visitors and locals alike about literature at Sundog Books. Michelle lives in WaterColor with her husband and two middle school aged children. Follow Michelle on Instagram at @thebookdarlingblog for adult, children and young adult book reviews. Be sure to swing by the bookstore to meet her in-person, but if she’s not there, check out her “favorites shelf” for on-the-spot recs.

Sundog Books | Seaside

Sundog Books Donates Books to Local Teachers in Honor of Teacher Appreciation Month

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Month, Sundog Books is donating a children’s or young adult book to every Walton County teacher to help stock classroom libraries. All Walton County teachers with a current teacher identification badge can visit Sundog Books from May 1st to June 30th to select a free children’s or young adult book of their choice to be used in their classroom libraries.

“As our community’s local independent bookstore, we know first-hand how important it is to have new, exciting literature available to students in the classroom,” said Linda White, co-owner of Sundog Books. “We are so fortunate to have such amazing educators in Walton County, and we want to support their efforts by donating books directly to our local teachers to help offset the cost of classroom libraries which, more often than not, comes out of the teachers’ pockets.”

According to the National Education Association, public school educators spend an average of $459 on school supplies. Thirty percent of teachers spent $1,000 or more on school supplies.

“We hope our small contribution will make an impact, getting more books in the hands of students,” said Bob White, co-owner of Sundog Books. “It’s a small thank you to our local educators for showing up and giving their all to the next generation of readers.”

“Teachers are our heroes!” said Mrs. White. “We are so excited to give back to those who make such a positive impact in our local community.”

To redeem, Walton County teachers just need to come by Sundog Books in Seaside, FL, from May 1st to June 30th, 2022, with a current teacher badge. The teacher can choose any children or young adult book for their classroom libraries. Teachers are limited to one book per school badge, and this donation is not redeemable to cash value. To avoid paying a parking fee, teachers are encouraged to use the complimentary shuttle provided by Seaside, Florida, that runs from the 283 South Grayton Beach public parking lot to Seaside, Florida, every 15 minutes.

The Best Spring Beach Reads From Sundog Books

The Best Spring Beach Reads From Sundog Books

If you’ve ever met me, then you know I’m never at a loss for words when it comes to discussing “can’t-put-down, oh-my-goodness, this is the best book I’ve ever read” literature.

In fact, let’s jump past formal greetings and answer the question I’m asked on a daily basis. My favorite books are “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett, and whatever novel I just read and couldn’t put down, so I guess you will just have to ask me.

Having my nose in a book was just one of the many reasons I decided to leave my corporate communications career and follow my passion to the most amazing independent bookstore in the world — Sundog Books. Every day feels like a “pinch me” moment now that I get to spend my time discussing fantastic plots and intriguing authors, and fawning over great literature all day long, all while sipping a latte.

Let me arm you with a few choice beach reads while you visit during my favorite time of the year. These books are ideal for sandy toes and wicked tan lines while fostering the vacationing spirit.

Grab a cup of coffee from Modica Market (medium latte with oat milk for me. Don’t forget to tip the barista and say hello to Carmel and Charlie) and swing by the bookstore to say hello.

Our staff at Sundog Books would love to help you find the perfect story to accompany your adventures. And in case I don’t see you, good afternoon, good evening and good night!

“The Paris Apartment” by Lucy Foley

Paris setting? Oui. Psychological crime drama? You had me at hello. Descriptive writing that makes you feel like you’re there? Say no more, I’m wearing a beret and sipping a latte now. I have to be vague about this storyline because how it unfolds is the real kicker. Suffice to say that inside a Paris apartment resides a socialite, a nice guy, an alcoholic, a girl on the verge and a concierge. Everyone’s a neighbor and a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling. If you need a book you literally cannot put down, pick this up. Prepare to become a full-fledged Lucy Foley fangirl.

“One Italian Summer” by Rebecca Serle

When one of my favorite chick-lit authors selects Italy for her next adventure, how could I say no? Whether you’ve been to the Amalfi Coast or not, this book transports you to the one-of-a-kind coastline. A pretty affordable vacation, right? At the center of this story is the relationship between a mother and daughter. This book will break you and put you back together, one tear stained tissue at a time. Oh, and your mother said to call her. Now.

“The Golden Couple” by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Ever been to marriage therapy? Get ready for that experience— with a twist. I’ve really enjoyed this co-writing team’s past psychological thrillers (especially “The Wife Between Us”), so this was required reading for me, and boy did it deliver. I love it when women write, work and produce amazing lit together. The twists and turns in this seemingly perfect couples’ marriage are epic. It’s definitely a big step up from so many “popcorn psychological thrillers” out there, and the novel has serious teeth. I loved the therapist and patient relationship — much like “The Silent Patient” — and the idea of lifting the curtain to the science of behavioral therapy. It’s like free therapy for the reader. All in all, a solid five stars for this marital crisis.

“These Precious Days” by Ann Patchett

Have you ever had an author crush? Ann Patchett is mine. I mean, she owns a bookstore in Nashville and has a down-to-earth, elegant writing style. In reading this short story collection, Ann becomes a dear friend with her reflective stories about friendship, life and the passing of time. If ever there is a book that inspires me to also pick up the pen and write my own story, this is it. Bonus, this collection of stories earns “perfect beach read” status, given that you can jump in and out of it, much like the rolling tide (settle down Alabama fans, it was just a wave reference).

“How High We Go in the Dark” by Sequoia Nagamatsu

Calling all sci-fi fans. This devastatingly good realistic dystopian debut novel rocked my world. If you love “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel, this book is for you. Opening in a pandemic world in the 2030s and spanning hundreds of years into the future, the way the author brilliantly weaves this tale together is mind blowing. While the topic is heavy, the story is essentially about how each of us has similar needs, wants and desires even when facing the worst of circumstances. This is going to be one of the standouts of 2022. Sci-fi reader or not, this should not be missed and would make a wildly different and intriguing book club discussion.

“The Maid” by Nita Prose

Do you need a cozy mystery wrapped up in dark comedy with a touch of thriller energy? Look no further. Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) is raving about this book, and with good reason. It is fast paced and delightful. “The Maid” is a clever story about a hotel housekeeper who gets entangled in an unfortunate situation involving a murder of a guest. But alas, I can’t say more. Who wants to spoil a delightful whodunit mystery? This would be a perfect “sandwich” book for in-between heavier reads. And with the incredibly unique lead character, I imagine we will see this story on the big screen very soon.

“Violeta” by Isabel Allende

Imagine living 100 years, the span of a century, and trying to communicate the fullness of your life to your grandchild. What would you say to them? Isabel Allende’s newest historical fiction starts in the 1920s and continues to 2020, much like a memoir with the level of detail and description. This author is known for her gift of immersing the reader into the story and sweeping you away, and “Violeta” is just that — a delicious historical fiction escape into the ever-change world of the greatest generation ever known.

“Reminders of Him” by Colleen Hoover

If there was a queen of the modern-day romance, then all hail Colleen Hoover. We repeatedly sell out of anything she pens. I’m pretty sure I could sell her scrap notes if bound with a pretty cover. “Reminders of Him” delivers all the greatness we’ve come to expect from her novels — deep feelings, emotional romance, heartbreaking relationships and epic love stories. I featured this on my book blog and a friend immediately snagged it. She messaged me, “Finished in two days! It was fantastic!” I’m pretty sure her children were sent out to pasture and the house was in shambles. There is glitter within the pages of any Colleen Hoover novel and if you need the equivalent of a “book hug,” jump into this new release, but please, don’t forget the whole box of Kleenex.

“The Paris Bookseller” by Kerri Maher

While Sundog Books is hands down my favorite bookstore ever, there is a close second — Shakespeare and Company in Paris, France. If you’ve been there, then you know first-hand about the enchantment that lies within the walls of this historic and charming English literature bookstore in the very heart of the city of lights. Maher’s newest historical fiction novel tells the story of how Shakespeare and Company — founded in 1919 — came to be when the feisty American booklover Sylvia Beach dared to try something new. If you love books and enjoy learning about strong young women with a can-do attitude rising above extreme challenges, then please pick this up. But be prepared to buy a plane ticket to Paris after reading the first chapter. Tell them Michelle from Sundog Books says hello and ask for the Shakespeare and Company book stamp for your purchases. I treasure mine.

is pleasure.

You can follow her on Instagram at @thebookdarlingblog and join the virtual booklovers discussion. She specializes in reviewing adult and children’s literature. When not bantering with customers, Michelle spends an exorbitant amount of time curating her recommendations shelf at Sundog Books — so please be sure to check it out if she’s not in-store during your visit or you are looking for your next great story.

Central Square Records employees share favorite albums for fall

Central Square Records employees share favorite albums for fall

A few beloved employees of Central Square Records, Allison, CiCi, and Matt, gave The Seaside Times a look at what’s currently happening in the music industry as well as a peek at the hottest fall releases.

Allison shared that she has no doubt rising teen popstar Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour” album will be the biggest hit coming to the store this fall, and Matt believes Taylor Swift’s “folklore” will be a close second. Although both albums are currently available on streaming services, they explained that vinyl records take longer to be released due to the pressing process and what some may call time, love and care.

Swift even released some signed “evermore” CDs to the record store. While they flew off the shelves, make sure to check and see if any are still left when stopping by for “folklore” on vinyl.

Central Square Records houses just about every genre, from high energy pop, rock, and hip hop to classic smooth jazz and country artists. The indie record shop even carries some mashup albums, which blend the recordings of various songs to form an entirely new musical composition with an effortlessly harmonious sound.

Central Square Records also hosts a bi-annual Record Store Day where the shelves are stocked full of new titles that music lovers don’t want to miss, as well as record drops throughout the years. Visitors should plan on getting there as early as 8 a.m. because this popular event has lines wrapped around the store, with fans of artists like John Mayer, Clairo, Wavves, and Dave McMurray and record labels like Columbia Records, Republic Records and Loma Vista Recordings all offering exclusive releases.

Next time you stop into Central Square Records, make sure to ask an employee about their top recommendations, which they’re more than happy to share. Current employee favorites include David Bowie, Crumb, Faye Webster, Pond, and Nilüfer Yanya.

Sundog Books: Top Summer Beach Reads from the Independent Bookstore

Sundog Books: The best summer beach reads from the indie bookstore

If you’re looking for a buzzy book this summer, we’ve rounded up a beach read for everyone. There’s “Malibu Rising,” a tale about a family of surfers in Malibu, “The Soulmate Equation” for readers looking for a happy ending, and “Seven Days in June if you’re searching for something spicier.

Head to Sundog, grab one of these books, and pop them in your beach bag.

“Malibu Rising” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

If you (and your whole book club) loved Daisy Jones and the Six, you’ll go crazy for Malibu Rising, a story about the A-list Riva siblings trying to figure out their true purpose in life, all while making a go at being pro surfers.

The California-based author immerses readers in two entirely different worlds: the shrimp shack, surf town Malibu of the 1950s and the glamorous, star-studded Malibu of the 80s, offering readers a sun drenched escape complete with Hollywood stars both real and fake.

The story seamlessly bops back and forth between two generations, showcasing a ’50s housewife and then her children’s infamous ‘80s Malibu house party, complete with surfers and stars. It’s an ideal beach read as it quite literally transports you to the sand…but expect to shed a few tears along the way.

This one is for fans of early Susan Elizabeth Phillips and other emotionally charged authors who have mastered storytelling. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll strongly consider taking some surf lessons.

Jenkins Reid introduces new characters constantly but they’re all equally intriguing. You’ll be thinking about the surfer sibling long after you’ve finished reading.

“The Soulmate Equation” by Christina Lauren

If you can’t get enough of Netflix rom-coms, Christina Lauren’s sweet stories are for you. In “The Soulmate Equation” a just turned 30 single mom grapples with dating. On a whim, she signs up for the latest dating service, which matches couples based on a questionnaire and their DNA. She quickly realizes that she actually knows her perfect match but there’s just one catch…she doesn’t exactly like him.

While the book has a bit of a slower start, this one is perfect for a lazy day at the beach where you just want to escape with an inventive, love/hate story that takes a different look at what a “soulmate” really is.

“Seven Days in June” by Tia Williams

This spicy novel is about a reclusive writer and a single mom who meet at a literary event and attract attention from New York’s Black literary scene. But the secret (spoiler alert) is that they actually met and spent a week together 15 years beforehand. The surprisingly emotional book is a second chance romance for fans of Jasmine Guillory, complete with How Stella Got Her Groove Back vibes.

Author Tia Williams began her career writing for magazines including YM, Elle, and Essence, before publishing her debut novel, The Accidental Diva, in 2004. Her last novel, The Perfect Find, won the African American Literary Award for Best Fiction. Grab this one if you want a steamy beach read but make sure your kids don’t find it.

“The Last Goodbye” by Fiona Lucas

If you’re a fan of contemporary women’s fiction that will make you shed a tear or two, this book is for your beach bag. It’s about a woman named Anna who loses her husband, Spencer, in a tragic accident. When she calls his phone on New Year’s Eve to hear his voicemail greeting, a man picks up. She and Brody, the man who now has Spencer’s number, develop a relationship but Brody’s hiding something. This poignant tale is for fans of emotional authors like Cecelia Ahern.

“Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead” by Emily Austin

Emily Austin’s debut novel is a darkly funny look at an anxious woman who becomes a receptionist for a Catholic church and becomes obsessed with her predecessor’s mysterious death. If you can’t stop listening to murder podcasts, think Fleabag’s second season was the best ever, and devoured the book “Mostly Dead things,” give this one a try.

“Palm Beach” by Mary Adkins

Palm Beach is a laugh out loud look at modern-day wealth. When a journalist who covers the mega-rich’s husband lands a job working for a Palm Beach billionaire, they relocate from New York City to South Florida and hijinks ensue. When they become friends with the family her husband is working for, things really get interesting. Grab this book if you’re looking for something a little bit meatier, but still just as beach day-worthy.

“Where The Grass Is Green And The Girls Are Pretty” by Lauren Weisberger

If you loved The Devil Wears Prada and can’t stop quoting the movie even years later, try the writer’s latest novel. The New York Times bestselling author’s new book is about two sisters living very different lives. Peyton is a wildly successful news anchor with a daughter heading to Princeton, while her sister, Skye, is a stay-at-home mom in the suburbs looking to escape the PTA. If you love watching Big Little Lies, this book has similar vibes – lots of intrigue and loads of glamour.

Sundog Books: Celebrating 35 Years of Literary Excellence

Sundog Books Celebrates its 35th Anniversary

In Seaside in 1986, there were more sea oats than houses, more sand than brick-lined streets, more breeze than traffic, and more seagulls than visitors. 30A existed in long stretches of wood and coast, with a few houses dotting the horizon and even fewer businesses creeping their way into history. But these simple notes would quickly become the melody for the song that plays in the hearts of all who visit today, played strongest by the visionaries who imagined much more for the delicate stretch of coastal settlement that would infamously become Seaside. Two of those dreamers were Bob and Linda White, who would eventually create a haven for book lovers under the name of Sundog Books. With a copy of Elizabeth Strout’s new book My Name is Lucy Barton tucked under his arm, Bob recounts the story that led Sundog Books to its lasting place in the 30A community.

Bob and his wife moved to the Destin area as newlyweds in 1983, where they both found jobs in the restaurant industry. Bob recalls, “I’d always loved vacationing down here. We drove down here and got a motel room in Destin and just started looking for a job. I started as a banquet waiter in Sandestin. I drove out this way, and just happened on 30A. There was a shack near what’s now Grayton Corners, and we rented it for $80 a month, and worked at what was then the Paradise Cafe, waiting tables.”

Waiting tables and pouring drinks lost luster compared to a different kind of dream; one of opening a bookstore along 30A. Bob had two very good friends in Mississippi that had successful bookstores, and, he remembers, “Linda and I both liked books, so we decided to give it a go.”

Because there was little happening in the area in 1986, they hurried to open the shop for Memorial Day Weekend to be available for whatever tourists were vacationing nearby. Just down from Perspicasity, Sundog Books opened as what Bob describes as a “little 8’x12’ plywood shack with a tin roof and a few lightbulbs,” and when vacation season closed after Labor Day, and so did the shop.

The next year, however, Seaside attracted a bigger crowd and the seasons for vacation grew longer. Sundog grew out of its confines and moved into what is now Amavida Coffee. Original Seaside vacationers and locals recall the presence of a very special employee during those years; the White’s dog, Patty.

“Families would come in the bookstore and say, ‘We haven’t checked in yet, but we had to come by and see Patty first.’ She was a big draw, a big part of it for a long time,” Bob reminisces.

The bookstore was a success on all accounts, providing ‘just the right book’ for a diverse clientele, and in 1998, the Whites moved their wares to Central Square, where it stands today.

In the face of corporate bookstore monsters and online shopping behemoths, it’s nice to see a neighborhood bookstore weather time and age with grace. The power of good literature still lives at the forefront of the bookstore’s success year after year, partnered with the welcoming vibes of the staff and the continued pursuit of the customer experience. Now celebrating its 35th year, Sundog is a vision of eclecticism, a collection of classic and new literature, unique gifts, and distinctive stationery, all bundled into the warm atmosphere that feels nothing short of coming home.

Discover the Best Spring Break Beach Reads Available at Sundog Books in Seaside

The best Spring Break beach reads to buy at Sundog Books

If you’re looking for the perfect beach read, we’ve rounded up some fan favorites to pop into your beach bag for the ultimate escape (although you are already on vacation).

Whether you’re looking for a frothy rom-com or a meaty mystery to dig into, we consulted the experts at Sundog Books to find out what’s going to be the hottest beach read this spring break.

Stay tuned for more reads this summer. But until then, here’s what to grab on the go.

“The Chicken Sisters” by KJ Dell’Antonia

Reese Witherspoon calls Chicken Sisters a “charming, hilarious, feel-good story about the kind of bonds and rivalries only sisters can share,” which should already convince you. The Reese-approved book is about a chicken feud (yes, you read that right). With a little bit of scandal and a whole lot of food (make sure you have a snack from Modica Market on hand), this is the ideal beach read. Get ready to escape to Kansas.

“Everything After” by Jill Santopolo

“The Light We Lost” author Jill Santopolo’s new book is out just in time for people looking for a meatier relationship novel. It’s for fans of her prior novel, as well as the bestseller, “Daisy Jones and the Six.” If you’re looking for an intense love story set in New York City, pick this emotional novel up.

“The Wife Upstairs” by Rachel Hawkins

Want an updated take on Jane Eyre with just a hint of Southern charm? This mystery takes place in Birmingham, Ala., and is chock full of drama and intrigue complete with a love triangle. If you’re looking for a similar Young Adult tale for a younger reader in your life, the author previously penned the extremely Southern-meets-science-fiction Rebel Belle series.

“Concrete Rose” by Angie Thomas

In one of the buzziest books of 2021, bestseller Angie Thomas writes about a young black man coming of age. While it’s technically Young Adult (it’s a prequel to “The Hate U Give,” which was made into a film starring Amandla Stenberg) it’s a poignant story that can be appreciated by all ages.

“The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah

Expect to see The Four Winds all over the beach this spring. While this isn’t a light read, it is a deeply moving one. The novel takes place in Texas during the Great Depression and is already receiving rave reviews. The emotional novel is about a woman who must decide if she’s going to move to California in search of a new life or stay in the place she loves most.

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