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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

New On the Shelf At Fiction Books This Week

Picture of an English red post boxMailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week. Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home, where links may be added each week. So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for our three new joint administrators, after all, we all like to receive them … www.mailboxmonday.wordpress.com

Leslie of ‘Under My Apple Tree’

Serena of ‘Savvy Verse & Wit’

Vicki of ‘I’d Rather Be At The Beach’

This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!


Just one new addition to the shelves this week, but this one is certainly another ‘must read’, courtsey of the NetGalley team. Not a book that I would have probably chosen for myself, when presented with this alluring and intriguing storyline and eye-catching cover, from a great new voice in fiction writing, I was instantly hooked.


A mother-daughter story of reinvention—about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana.

Why exactly her late father left her eight hundred acres of prime sugarcane land in Louisiana is as mysterious as it is generous. But for Charley Bordelon, it’s also an opportunity start over: to get away from the smog and sprawl of Los Angeles, and to grow a new life in the coffee-dark soil of the Gulf coast. Accompanied by her eleven-year-old daughter Micah, Charley arrives with high hopes and just in time for growing season.

Charley is as unfamiliar with Southern customs as she is with cane farming—which poses serious challenges both on and off the farm, especially when her farm manager leaves without warning. But, rolling up her sleeves and swallowing her pride, Charley finds the help of a colorful cast of characters—blood relatives and townspeople alike—who all become a family to her and Micah.

As the cane grows, Charley is tested by a brother who is quickly using up her patience, and it will take all of her heart to keep the sugar growing and her family intact. Queen Sugar is a story of Southern wisdom, unexpected love, and one family flourishing against all odds.


Image Of Author Natalie BaszileNatalie grew up in Southern California, although she now lives in San Francisco, with her family.

She has a M.A. in Afro-American Studies from UCLA, and is a graduate of Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers where she was a Holden Minority Scholar.

An early version of ‘Queen Sugar’, then titled, ‘The Grinding Season’, won the Hurston Wright College Writer’s Award, was a co-runner up in the Faulkner Pirate’s Alley Novel-in-Progress competition, and excerpts were published in Cairn and ZYZZYVA.

Natalie has had residencies at the Ragdale Foundation where she was awarded the Sylvia Clare Brown fellowship, Virginia Center for the Arts, and Hedgebrook. Her non-fiction work has appeared in The Rumpus.net, Mission at Tenth, and in The Best Women’s Travel Writing Volume 9. She is a former fiction editor at The Cortland Review, and is a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.

I think that the greatest joy I have is when I read a book and someone has described exactly what I’m feeling, what I have felt, and I think that is exactly it. I love that. I think that’s why I write. I am so appreciative when I encounter other works and writers who have done that for me, and I think I’m trying to do that for other people.

I can’t wait to discover all your own great new finds this week … so please stop by and share your link, so that I can visit your post.


Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Vicki,

      I have become a little more discerning about what I choose to download from NetGalley these days. I have come across some great new featured authors and titles this way, with some excellent storylines that are a bit out of the ordinary. ‘Queen Sugar’ definitely piqued my interest!

      Thanks for stopping by and for hosting MM this week. I love this new format, long may it continue!

    • Hi Harvee,

      Definitely a powerful and probably emotional storyline waiting here, I’m sure!

      I was intrigued about the original title of the book ‘The Grinding Season’, which apparently has to do with the harvesting and treating of the sugarcane crop, which lasts from the beginning of October until the end of January. I think that in retrospect, Natalie must think that the title change was probably a good move.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I always appreciate your thoughts.

    • Hi Mary,

      I have only just started blog hopping for today, so I haven’t come across ‘Queen Sugar’ anywhere else yet, I shall be interested to see who else has it in their mailbox.

      I am sure there will be many reviews published before the book gets to the top of my reading pile, although as yet there are none and the major sites are not allowing any reviews to be published yet, so we shall all be waiting to see what the first person to publish thinks of it!

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Have a good week.

  • This sounds really good to me. I’ve lived in the south most of my life but the south of Louisiana would be foreign to me as well. I bet it’ll be interesting to read how Charley navigates her new world.

    • Hi Kathy,

      I am sure that moving from Los Angeles to the deep South of Louisiana is going to be a huge culture shock, not only for Charley, but possibly even more so for her daughter, who has, at 11 years old, reached a pivotal stage in her schooling and friendship building skills.

      Throw in a few disgruntled relatives who have been overlooked by Charley’s father and I am sure that all is going to be far from ‘plain sailing’ for her, as she strives to stamp her authority on the land.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments, they are always appreciated.

    • Hi Lindsay,

      That has been one of the best advantages of starting up Fiction Books blog; I have got to read books from genres that I would never have ordinarily thought of trying and have got to meet not only many amazing fellow bloggers, but some fantastic authors, from all over the world.

      The diversity of World fiction has totally amazed me and even though I have read a couple of books set in the deep South of the US, the storyline following the sugarcane harvest, is truly original and authentic and for me, not one to be missed.

      Thank you for your visit, I truly appreciate your comments.

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      An interesting and intriguing premise for a debut novel, for sure. Family conflicts and troubles can always be relied on for some interesting writing and narrative.

      Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the rest of your week.

    • Hi Cheryl,

      The cover art for ‘Queen Sugar’ is quietly understated, yet totally alluring isn’t it? I do try never to judge a book by its cover and I would never consciously buy a book simply because of its cover art, however I do like a cover to set the scene for the story within and therefore should have some relevance both to the book’s plot and title.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate your visit.

    • Hi Serena,

      I hadn’t come across mention of this book until I received the email blurb from NetGalley, but I only took a short time to convince myself that this was definitely one that I should be reading.

      Although I will check out review ratings, I generally try not to read full reviews of a book until I am finished with it, so that I open the pages with fresh eyes and an open mind. Reviews can be so subjective, as ‘one man’s meat, is another man’s poison’, as the saying goes, so I do try not to be too influenced by others.

      Thanks for taking part in the discussion today, I always value your thoughts.

    • Hi Leslie,

      There really are some excellent new authors appearing on the scene just lately and it is often a privilege to be ‘in at ground level’ and invited to review their debut novels, especially when the premise is as unique as that of ‘Queen Sugar’.

      Thank you for being an excellent co-host of MM, I am so pleased that a meme so well supported didn’t have to be disbanded.


Written by Yvonne