[image-1] Local and regional authors have been busy writing and releasing fresh new reads this spring and now that area beaches are beginning to reopen, we’re excited to crack open some novels, surfside.

Here’s a look at what we’re reading from South Carolina authors this beach season:

Bells for Eli
South Carolina author Susan Zurenda’s debut novel, Bells for Eli, explores how one small mistake can change the trajectory of a young boy’s life. Taking place in a small Southern town during the 1960s and ’70s, Bells for Eli follows first cousins Eli and Delia as they explore a love forbidden by social constraints. New York Times-bestselling author (and wife of the late Pat Conroy), Cassandra King Conroy has said of the book: “In this tender, beautifully-rendered novel, the powerful connection between cousins Delia and Eli takes them on a journey fraught with longing, desire, and heartbreak. Through loss, Delia comes to understand that the bonds of love can never truly be broken.” Learn more about Zurenda and buy the book at susanzurenda.com.
[content-1] Charleston Green
It doesn’t get more local than author Stephanie Alexander’s new novel, Charleston Green, which is set in the Old Village of Mount Pleasant. Alexander is a local attorney and she says that her book is partially inspired by her own experiences with divorce and family law. Kirkus reviews call Charleston Green “an enchanting novel of a woman finding her way out of a midlife (and mid-death) crisis.” Learn more at stephaniealexanderbooks.com.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires
Last month, City Paper chatted with author Grady Hendrix (who grew up in and around Mount Pleasant) about his latest novel, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. The fast-paced Southern thriller follows an Old Village book club and a new neighbor — a neighbor who one book club member suspects may just be a vampire. Fun, funny, and spine-tingling this book has all the makings of a juicy beach read. Don’t believe us? Kirkus Reviews’ verdict should help you out: “Fans of smart horror will sink their teeth into this one.” Learn more about Hendrix and all of his work at gradyhendrix.com.


On Ocean Boulevard
It’s not truly beach season until beloved local author Mary Alice Monroe releases her latest novel. This year, Monroe fans are blessed with On Ocean Boulevard, part of her popular Beach House series. As always, this book grapples with an environmental concern, this time the endangerment of loggerhead sea turtles during nesting season. The turtles are the backdrop of a story featuring the Rutledge family as they navigate new beginnings. Take NYT-bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand’s advice: “I start my summer with Mary Alice Monroe’s enchanting novels … I’m a devoted fan.” Learn more about Monroe and buy the book at maryalicemonroe.com.

Sunshield (out May 26)
Did someone say eco-fantasy? In Sunshield, South Carolina author Emily B. Martin’s first book in a new fantasy series tells the story or an outlaw, a diplomat and a prisoner working to disrupt the slave-trade that powers the economy of lush city, Moquoia. Advance praise from Publishers Weekly said: “The spectacular opening salvo of this new fantasy series from Martin plunges readers into a fully realized world … clever, thrilling, and full of heart, this is epic fantasy done right.” Learn more about Martin online at emilybmartin.net.

Looking for some more book recommendations? We always turn to our friends at local bookstores like Itinerant Literate, Blue Bicycle, Buxton Books, Turning Page Bookshop, and Main Street Reads, for suggestions on what to pick up next.

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