River Bend

Note from a Bookseller

Hi, River Bend readers! Audrey here:

Know what's hotter than this July weather? Our Member Sale discount! This Saturday our members receive 20% off everything in stock at both our Glastonbury and West Hartford locations! Not a member yet? Not a problem! Sign up on Saturday and receive the same discount. The fine print: Discount will be honored for online orders as well only if the requested books are in stock in one of our locations. While quantities last.

We celebrated a fabulous book launch in honor of Megan Collins' new book, Thicker Than Water, with over one hundred book lovers! Congratulations, again, to Megan on her fourth book and many thanks to the fine people at Hops on the Hill for hosting us. We can't wait to collaborate again! Get signed copies in the shop!

Speaking of author events, Sandra Miller is celebrating the release of her newest book, Wednesdays at One, with an author meet-and-greet at our West Hartford shop on July 12 at 5:30pm. All are welcome! Then join award-winning fantasy author P. Djelí Clark in our West Hartford location on Tuesday, July 25 at 5pm. We'll celebrate the release of his first epic fantasy for young readers — Abeni's Song — with a Q&A about his writing AND a fun, author-led creative exercise! Kids 8+ are strongly encouraged to attend. Naturally, grownups are welcome as well. ;)

And who can forget the man in red...and white stripes. It's Waldo season around River Bend! If you haven't already, stop into either of our shops to pick up a passport and get searching for Waldo at area businesses. We'll celebrate on Saturday, July 29th with a party in West Hartford and then in Glastonbury. Go to one OR go to 'em both! We'd love to see you. There will be prizes, games, cool treats, and crafts aplenty.

And, as always, take a look at what your neighbors and our booksellers are reading below with our Best Sellers and Staff Picks.

See you at the shop soon!

— Audrey, General Manager

River Bend Bookshop

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Libro.fm, in partnership with author and indie bookstore owner Danny Caine, are making his audiobook How to Resist Amazon and Why free to download July 11 and 12. Plus, new members will receive an extra audiobook credit when use code SWITCH (so you'll have two credits to redeem from the start).


Recent Best Sellers at River Bend

Curious what your friends and neighbors have been reading?

Here were the Top Sellers at our shops in June:

The Nation That Never Was by Kermit Roosevelt

Pageboy: A Memoir by Elliot Page

Ice: From Mixed Drinks to Skating Rinks… by Amy Brady

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yaros

Trust by Hernandez Diaz

The Celebrants by Steven Rowley

Upcoming Author Events

Attention thriller fans! New England author alert:

Join us on July 12 at 5:30 PM, in our West Hartford shop, to celebrate Sandra Miller’s newest book, Wednesdays at One. Come hear the Boston-area author share an excerpt from the book and chat with Sandra.

She will sign and personalize copies of the book as well!

Calling all fantasy-loving middle schoolers (& grown ups, too)!

Join us on July 25 at 5 PM to launch fantasy author P. Djèlí Clark's first middle grade book, Abeni’s Song! Whether you're already a fan or ready to discover his work, come dream up your own magical house of enchanted rooms with the author!

Joining Clark will be fellow fantasy writer Lisa Stringfellow for a fun chat!

Check Our Calendar of Events

River Bend Staff Picks

Audrey — Deep at the Sky, Red as the Sea by Rita Chang-Eppig

"A breathtaking historical fiction based in fact so ripe for storytelling it defies belief. This book tells the story of a formidable pirate queen (yes, PIRATE QUEEN) of the South China seas and her rise to power. Though her tale is of legendary proportions, Shek Yeung is also a nuanced and relatable human, as deep and complex as the sea. Perfect for fans of powerhouse women in historical fiction like Lauren Groff's Matrix and C. Pam Zhang's How Much of These Hills is Gold. I absolutely loved it."

Jillian — Banyan Moon by Thao Thai

"Set in Florida and Vietnam, Banyan Moon is an epic family saga told through three generations of the Tran family. It is a richly written and an expansive exploration of mothers and daughters, of secrets and forgiveness. I found it compulsively readable and unputdownable.

Fans of The Mountains Sing or The Island of Sea Women will love this gorgeous generational novel.

This bookseller highly recommends this remarkable debut."

Matteo — All The Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby

"Back with another must-read for thriller fans, S.A. Cosby continues to cement himself as a titan in the genre. Set against a rural southern background and full of poignant commentary, All The Sinners Bleed delivers a grimy and twisty story to keep you hooked throughout."

Veronica - Half-Life of a Stolen Sister by Rachel Cantor

"This is a fever dream of a novel about the Bronte family and their losses and triumphs. Scenes and voices and media shift to convey the rich underpinnings of these complicated people. Cantor tackles the subject matter in a new and refreshing way. A must-read for Bronte fans."

Tess — She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

"This historical war/fantasy epic follows Zhu’s sweeping journey as she takes her brother’s identity and tries to fulfill his destiny of “greatness”. Make sure to pick it up before the sequel, He Who Drowned the World, comes out on August 22nd!"

Nora — Let's Not Do That Again by Grant Ginder

"A hilarious, fast-paced, wild family story with some politics thrown in for extra fun.

Nancy is running for senate and her two children become embroiled—intentionally and otherwise—in the election. Hijinks ensue.

I read this while traveling, and it's a perfect book to bring along on any adventures or backyard reading this summer because it has short chapters, moves between characters in a way that is easy to follow, and the witty dialogue keeps you pulled in tight."

Ernio — The 1998 Yankees by Jack Curry

"With the recent historic perfect game, this was the perfect time to relive the glory of the greatest baseball team in my lifetime, if not all time.

Curry, who helped pen the David Cone and Paul O'Neill books, gets them as well as star teammates Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and breakout stars like 'El Duque' Hernandez, Scott Brosius and Shane Spencer to tell tales of the winningest season in the New York franchise's history — which included 114 wins, a perfect game & World Series sweep! A great midseason, midsummer read."

Mary — Everything's Fine by Cecilia Rabess

"This debut novel enters with a bang, and we're not just talking about the strawberry on the cover. Jess is a Black woman navigating the world of finance, which (as you can imagine) is rife with a slew of white men eager to prove her wrong. Among them is her old college chum Josh, who becomes an ally (and so much more) as she continues her often futile journey. 

On the surface, it seems like an enemies-to-lovers story, however, it reveals the confusion, frustration, and overwhelming doubt of discovering one's identity in a world that tries to tamp it down."

Kaitee - Abeni's Song by P. Djèlí Clark

"The best way I can think of to describe it is a West-African inspired Spirited Away. A fun fantasy that also doesn't shy away from bigger topics: families stolen away to ghost ships, never to be seen again. Children transformed into literal monsters, made to fight a war that's not theirs. All woven into this adventure full of magic and unexpected friendships, and of course, Abeni — a young girl who survives a raid on her village and must learn the power of her own magic in order to save those she loves."

Sophia - To Shape a Dragon's Breath by Moniquill Blackgoose

"Anequs is a strong queer indigenous teenager who finds the first dragon egg on her island in centuries. Upon hatching, it chooses her to be its companion. Its existence could start a war if she doesn't register her and learn how to shape her breath. So off to an Anglish dragon academy. Being away from her family and one of the only indigenous students is hard, but Anequs proves she deserves to be a dragoneer. A story with steampunk elements, neurodivergent representation and of course tons of dragons!"

Grace - Looking for Alaska by John Green

"Looking for Alaska is one of if not the best YA book I've ever read.

Green tells the story of a high school junior named Miles, who is the new kid at a boarding school in Alabama.

The story is centered around a life-changing event in Miles' life, one that isn't revealed until the middle of the story.

This book is important and beautifully written, I highly recommend giving it a read!"

Elsa - Biography of X by Catherine Lacey

"Riddled with the grief of losing her wife X, CM finds herself uncovering her wife's past as she begins to write X's biography. Have you ever read a fictionalized biography? Using footnotes, real images, and a reference section, I was taken back by the care put into ensuring these characters are as real as you and me.

With the best opening paragraph I have read thus far, Biography of X cannot be missed."

Taryn — Tegan and Sara: Junior High by Tegan Quin, Sara Quin & Tillie Walden (ill.)

"Lovers of Tegan and Sara and of graphic novels will love their slightly fictionalized autobiography, Junior High.

What would their experience of being twins and both coming out be like if it was set in present day, especially with access to the world wide web?

A creative way to document growing up."

Astrin - Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

"Mickey’s life as a softball star is upended by a car — literally.

In an effort to aid her recovery, Mickey’s doctors and parents put her on a small dose of heroine to ease her pain. But back on the softball field, Mickey isn’t just playing, she’s performing and feeling better than ever, all thanks to her medication.

Will she succumb to the drug entirely, or will she overcome it, making her the heroine?"

Shop Hours

Glastonbury: Tuesday-Saturday 10-6, Sunday 10-4, closed Mondays

West Hartford: Tuesday-Saturday 10-6, Sunday Noon-4, closed Mondays

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