The Hatch Books Last-Minute Gift Guide
It’s been a fun and fast-paced year for Hatch Editorial Services, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
In fact, we want to share the wealth! Below is a list of books from authors we’d highly recommend. (After all, we’ve worked with them.)
Use them for your friends’ last-minute stocking stuffers, download them as e-books for your flight home to Gran’s, or curl up with them and some red wine + cocoa. The book covers are linked to purchase pages, and "liner notes" are available below.
This slideshow not your jam? Check out a more comprehensive list of Hatch Editorial authors here. May your reading be merry and bright!
Please note: Hatch Editorial Services is sharing this out of the goodness of its heart. It is not receiving affiliate income from the buy links below.
Stocking Stuffers for Your Favorite History Buff
Clint Dohmen, The Rose and the Crane (2017)
In this East meets West bromance that I’ve previously described as “if Galavant took place in Tudor England,” exiled Englishman Simon Lang finds himself somewhere "China-adjacent," with a crew of mercenary Italians.
There, in what is actually feudal Japan, he meets Kojiro Takeda, a samurai warrior without a lord. In a saga that spans two continents, three countries, and many jokes about sheep, they team up to fight on the side of Henry Plantagenet at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Well-researched and culturally respectful. Check it out here.
Ken Fox, Unlocking Freedom's Door (Flat Pond Publishing, 2016)
Ken Fox’s novel explores a little-known piece of history out of Civil War era Hampton Roads.
From the book's Amazon page, "In the early years of the Civil War, Mary Peake, a free biracial woman, believes illiteracy is like a closed door and devotes herself to educating the children of slaves. Under a large oak tree in a secluded field, Mary prepares the children for a future when they might be free. Brutal slave patrols are in constant pursuit, determined to capture and punish her for violating Virginia law that prohibits her actions.
"Meanwhile, Benjamin Franklin Butler, a discredited Union general, is banished to command nearby Fortress Monroe. When escaped slaves seek sanctuary within the fort, Butler must decide whether to defy Federal law, which requires him to return the men to their Rebel owners.
"Mary seizes upon the moment to form a bond with the General. After she is viciously assaulted, Mary believes that Butler is the key for her to safely continue classes for the children, and—with growing confidence—she pursues the broader goal of ending slavery."
Now with a middle grade version from Mary’s daughter’s POV, coming soon. Buy the adult novel here.
Laura Morelli, The Painter's Apprentice (2017)
From the author of the award-winning The Gondola Maker comes another tale of 16th century Venice. Maria Bartolini is sent to a wealthy painter’s house to learn how to use the gold leaf her father produces to gild panels. Though gilding is going out of fashion in Venice, and though she knows she’s been sent away from home as punishment for a sexual transgression, she welcomes the opportunity to learn a trade, an opportunity few women have in town. But when the Plague hits the sestiere where her father and her lover live and Maria finds herself with child, she has many choices to make.
An insightful look at what it meant to be a woman in the early modern era. Buy it here.
Stocking Stuffers for the "Cool Mom"
Kay Shostak, The Chancey Series
Carolina Jessup is from a small town. She never wants to live in one again. So when her railfan husband gets the bright idea to move their family from the Atlanta suburbs to the mountain town of Chancey, Georgia, Carolina gets a lot more than she bargained for.
In just the first book, there are gossips, ghosts, and cosmic misunderstandings — or as they call it in Chancey, “just your average Tuesday.” If you giggle with your mom at Gilmore Girls, or she’s prone to saying things like “Bless your heart,” this is a great series for her. Start with Book 1, and watch how quickly she buys the next! Learn more here.
Beth Aldrich, Pink Slips (2017)
If Chancey is for moms who love Gilmore Girls, then Pink Slips is for moms who can’t get enough of Benson and Stabler on Law & Order: SVU.
From Penguin/NAL author Beth Aldrich, Pink Slips tells the story of Betsy Ryan, a well-to-do chef, mother, and wife living in a tony Chicago. She survived an attack in her twenties when she lived in the city, but now, in her thirties, everything seems hunky-dory. She has a loving husband, a beautiful daughter, a dog that she insists can read her thoughts, and a baby on the way. But now it seems she’s being stalked again… thanks to notes that appear on pink slips of paper, everywhere from her doctor’s office to her front stoop.
Lately, I read an article that discussed how women (especially titular "girls") do nothing more than disappear and die in thriller fiction. Betsy sticks around and solves her own thriller, thank you very much. Learn more here.
Engrossing Reads for Your Trip Home
Tim Gilmore, Devil in the Baptist Church (2016)
Gilmore is a prolific author, and you can’t go wrong with his stuff.
I had the privilege of advising him on a publicity campaign for this book in summer and fall 2016. Devil in the Baptist Church is a major exposé of a church leader and “pillar of society” in Jacksonville, Florida. In light of recent Senate races, the subject matter is sadly relevant again. Celebrate Doug Jones' narrow victory by purchasing this book.
Teri Youmans Grimm, Becoming Lyla Dore (Red Hen Press, 2015)
This collection of persona poetry explores a fading starlet looking back on her life in the early days of silent film. You get a Norma Desmond feeling from Lyla, and yet you want to be her friend. Even if you’re not a poetry fiend most of the time, give this a shot. Very accessible, but with structures and lines that will make you think. Get it here.
Love is Love, Actually
Ella Marques, I Was Born a Boy, from Venus (Coral Orchid Press, 2017)
2017 saw the first openly transgender candidate become a member of Virginia’s House of Delegates. It also saw Ella Marques’ memoir get published.
In I Was Born a Boy, from Venus, Marques explains that she did not transition from male to female until her late fifties. Instead, she buried herself under work and travel to stifle her urges.
Whether sailing with her family on the Indian Ocean or flying business class to Warsaw so often Polish became her seventh language, Marques developed a cycle of self-discovery and insight, followed by guilt and repression, that dogged her for many years.
As Marques cycles through, so, too, does the world — with fiery revolution in the 1970s, the economic boom and bust of the 1980s, and the eye-opening frontier of the World Wide Web in the 1990s.
Since its publication, the book has been well-received, with positive words from The Miami Herald, and upcoming appearances at the Stonewall National Museum & Archives and Art Basel Miami. Check it out here.
Heartsome Publishing's Catalog
Ladies, looking for some, shall we say, cozy reading? Heartsome has you covered.
All of their books are fantastic, so playing favorites would be foolhardy. I’ll just direct you to their shop, where you can find yourself on the run from counterterrorist units, adjusting to life in a fantastical city, or even auditioning for coveted cello seats with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Buy books here.