Thursday, December 8, 2016

"Frosty the Dead Man"

New from Berkley Prime Crime: Frosty the Dead Man by Christine Husom.

About the book, from the publisher:

A snow globe becomes a murder weapon in the latest cozy mystery from the national bestselling author of Snow Way Out and The Iced Princess.

Mayor Lewis Frost has always been known as Frosty to his friends—not that he has many these days. Controversies swirling around the city council have members wondering if Frosty is trying to snow them. After one councilman storms off in a huff, the mayor turns to curio shop manager Camryn Brooks and asks her to consider taking a seat on the council.

Later, when Cami goes to his office to discuss the proposal, her blood runs cold. She finds Frosty dead, and the very snow globe she sold him earlier that day lies in sparkling shards on his carpet—along with a large diamond. Does the snow globe—which features a peculiar tableau of an armed man and three menacing bears—hold a clue to Frosty’s demise? One way or another, it’s up to Cami to shake things up before the killer’s trail goes cold...
Visit Christine Husom's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Iced Princess.

The Page 69 Test: Secret in Whitetail Lake.

Writers Read: Christine Husom.

My Book, the Movie: Snow Globe Shop Mysteries & Winnebago County Mysteries.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Feud"

New from Pantheon: The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship by Alex Beam.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Feud is the deliciously ironic (and sad) tale of how two literary giants destroyed their friendship in a fit of mutual pique and egomania.

In 1940, Edmund Wilson was the undisputed big dog of American letters. Vladimir Nabokov was a near-penniless Russian exile seeking asylum in the States. Wilson became a mentor to Nabokov, introducing him to every editor of note, assigning him book reviews for The New Republic, engineering a Guggenheim Fellowship. Their intimate friendship blossomed over a shared interest in all things Russian, ruffled a bit by political disagreements. But then came the worldwide best-selling novel Lolita, and the tables were turned. Suddenly Nabokov was the big (and very rich) dog. The feud finally erupted in full when Nabokov published his hugely footnoted and virtually unreadable literal translation of Pushkin’s famously untranslatable verse novel, Eugene Onegin. Wilson attacked his friend’s translation with hammer and tongs in The New York Review of Books. Nabokov counterattacked. Back and forth the increasingly aggressive letters flew, until the narcissism of small differences reduced their friendship to ashes.

Alex Beam has fashioned this clash of literary titans into a delightful and irresistible book—a comic contretemps of a very high order and a poignant demonstration of the fragility of even the deepest of friendships.
Visit Alex Beam's website and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Gracefully Insane.

The Page 69 Test: Gracefully Insane.

The Page 99 Test: Great Idea at the Time.

The Page 99 Test: American Crucifixion.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Crime and Catnip"

New from Berkley: Crime and Catnip by T.C. LoTempio.

About the book, from the publisher:

Nick and Nora aren’t just pussyfooting around this time as they deal with a missing person’s case and murder.

While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw’s niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick’s former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown.

As Nora and her curious cat Nick pull at the string of clues, they begin to unravel a twisted tale of coded messages, theft, false identities, murder, and international espionage. Nora dares to hope that the labyrinth of leads will not only help them locate the missing young woman, but also solve the disappearance of the detective. That’s if Nora can stay alive long enough to find him...
Visit T.C. LoTempio's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

"It's Not Me, It's You"

New from Scholastic: It's Not Me, It's You by Stephanie Kate Strohm.

About the book, from the publisher:

Avery Dennis is a high school senior and one of the most popular girls in her class. But a majorly public breakup with the guy she's been dating causes some disastrous waves. It is right before prom and Avery no longer has the perfect date. She runs the prom committee, how could she not show up with somebody?

Post-breakup, Avery gets to thinking about all of the guys that she has ever dated. How come none of those relationships ever worked out? Could it be her fault? Avery decides to investigate. In history class she's learning about this method of record-keeping called "oral history" and she has a report due. So Avery decides to go directly to the source. Avery tracks down all of the guys she's ever dated, and uses that information along with her friends, family, and even teachers thoughts, to compile a total account of her dating history.

Avery discovers some surprises about herself and the guys she's spent time with just in time for prom night!
Visit Stephanie Kate Strohm's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Taming of the Drew.

My Book, The Movie: The Taming of the Drew.

Writers Read: Stephanie Kate Strohm (April 2016).

Coffee with a Canine: Stephanie Kate Strohm & Lorelei Lee Strohm-Lando.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Weight of Zero"

New from Delacorte Press: The Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati.

About the book, from the publisher:

For fans of 13 Reasons Why and Girl in Pieces, this is a novel that shows the path to hope and life for a girl with mental illness.

Seventeen-year-old Catherine Pulaski knows Zero is coming for her. Zero, the devastating depression born of Catherine’s bipolar disorder, almost triumphed once; that was her first suicide attempt.

Being bipolar is forever. It never goes away. The med du jour might work right now, but Zero will be back for her. It’s only a matter of time.

And so, in an old ballet-shoe box, Catherine stockpiles medications, preparing to take her own life before Zero can inflict its living death on her again. Before she goes, though, she starts a short bucket list.

The bucket list, the support of her family, new friends, and a new course of treatment all begin to lessen Catherine’s sense of isolation. The problem is, her plan is already in place, and has been for so long that she might not be able to see a future beyond it.

This is a story of loss and grief and hope, and how some of the many shapes of love—maternal, romantic, and platonic—affect a young woman’s struggle with mental illness and the stigma of treatment.
Visit Karen Fortunati's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Lost Stars"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Lost Stars by Lisa Selin Davis.

About the book, from the publisher:

Eleanor & Park meets Perks of Being a Wallflower in this bittersweet 1980’s story about love, loss, and a comet that only comes around every ninety-seven years.

When Carrie looks through her telescope, the world makes sense. It’s life here on Earth that’s hard to decipher. Since her older sister, Ginny, died, Carrie has been floating in the orbit of Ginny’s friends, the cool kids, who are far more interested in bands and partying than science.

Carrie’s reckless behavior crosses a line, and her father enrolls her in a summer work camp at a local state park. There, Carrie pulls weeds and endures pep talks about the power of hard work. Despite her best efforts to hate the job, Carrie actually feels happy out in nature. And when she meets Dean—warm, thoughtful, and perceptive—she starts to discover that her life can be like her beloved night sky, with black holes of grief for Ginny and dazzling meteors of joy from first love.
Visit Lisa Selin Davis's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Curried Away"

New from Minotaur Books: Curried Away: A Spice Shop Mystery by Gail Oust.

About the book, from the publisher:

Piper Prescott, proprietor of Spice It Up!, has persuaded Doug Winters, the mild-mannered vet she’s been dating, to demonstrate Indian cuisine at her shop. But before Doug’s presentation of classic chicken curry is completed, Ned Feeney, local handyman, bursts in with news of a murder.

Sandy Granger, the director of a local production of Steel Magnolias, was found strangled in the third-floor balcony of the Brandywine Creek Opera House. Sandy, it seems, had not endeared herself to cast or crew. Complaints about her ran the gamut from her management style to her lack of people skills. Everyone connected with the production falls under suspicion, including Piper Prescott’s BFF, Reba Mae Johnson, who made it well known how unhappy she is that she was cut from the cast.

When the spotlight for the dastardly deed shines on Reba Mae, Piper rushes to her friend’s defense. Who among Sandy’s detractors was angry enough to wrap a silk scarf around her neck—and pull tight? Will Piper succeed in solving the case before she becomes the killer’s encore performance? And will she ever learn just how to prepare the perfect curry? As delicious as it is charming, this entry in Gail Oust’s mouth-watering Spice Shop Mysteries, Curried Away, is sure to delight both old fans and new.
Learn more about the book and author at Gail Oust's website.

My Book, The Movie: Rosemary and Crime.

Writers Read: Gail Oust (December 2013).

--Marshal Zeringue

"Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

Although mammals and birds are widely regarded as the smartest creatures on earth, it has lately become clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. In captivity, octopuses have been known to identify individual human keepers, raid neighboring tanks for food, turn off lightbulbs by spouting jets of water, plug drains, and make daring escapes. How is it that a creature with such gifts evolved through an evolutionary lineage so radically distant from our own? What does it mean that evolution built minds not once but at least twice? The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter?

In Other Minds, Peter Godfrey-Smith, a distinguished philosopher of science and a skilled scuba diver, tells a bold new story of how subjective experience crept into being—how nature became aware of itself. As Godfrey-Smith stresses, it is a story that largely occurs in the ocean, where animals first appeared. Tracking the mind’s fitful development, Godfrey-Smith shows how unruly clumps of seaborne cells began living together and became capable of sensing, acting, and signaling. As these primitive organisms became more entangled with others, they grew more complicated. The first nervous systems evolved, probably in ancient relatives of jellyfish; later on, the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous mollusks, abandoned their shells and rose above the ocean floor, searching for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so. Taking an independent route, mammals and birds later began their own evolutionary journeys.

But what kind of intelligence do cephalopods possess? Drawing on the latest scientific research and his own scuba-diving adventures, Godfrey-Smith probes the many mysteries that surround the lineage. How did the octopus, a solitary creature with little social life, become so smart? What is it like to have eight tentacles that are so packed with neurons that they virtually “think for themselves”? What happens when some octopuses abandon their hermit-like ways and congregate, as they do in a unique location off the coast of Australia?

By tracing the question of inner life back to its roots and comparing human beings with our most remarkable animal relatives, Godfrey-Smith casts crucial new light on the octopus mind—and on our own.
Visit Peter Godfrey-Smith's website.

The Page 99 Test: Philosophy of Biology.

--Marshal Zeringue

"How Will I Know You?"

New from Grand Central Publishing: How Will I Know You?: A Novel by Jessica Treadway.

About the book, from the publisher:

A page-turner about the murder of a teenage girl, from the author of Lacy Eye.

On a cold December day in northern upstate New York, the body of high school senior Joy Enright is discovered in the woods at the edge of a pond. She had been presumed drowned, but an autopsy shows that she was, in fact, strangled. As the investigation unfolds, four characters tell the story from widely divergent perspectives: Susanne, Joy's mother and a professor at the local art college; Martin, a black graduate student suspected of the murder; Harper, Joy's best friend and a potential eyewitness; and Tom, a rescue diver and son-in-law of the town's police chief. As a web of small-town secrets comes to light, a dramatic conclusion reveals the truth about Joy's death.
Visit Jessica Treadway's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 5, 2016

"The Glass Universe"

New from Viking: The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars by Dava Sobel.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Harvard College Observatory began employing women as calculators, or “human computers,” to interpret the observations their male counterparts made via telescope each night. At the outset this group included the wives, sisters, and daughters of the resident astronomers, but soon the female corps included graduates of the new women’s colleges—Vassar, Wellesley, and Smith. As photography transformed the practice of astronomy, the ladies turned from computation to studying the stars captured nightly on glass photographic plates.

The “glass universe” of half a million plates that Harvard amassed over the ensuing decades—through the generous support of Mrs. Anna Palmer Draper, the widow of a pioneer in stellar photography—enabled the women to make extraordinary discoveries that attracted worldwide acclaim. They helped discern what stars were made of, divided the stars into meaningful categories for further research, and found a way to measure distances across space by starlight. Their ranks included Williamina Fleming, a Scottish woman originally hired as a maid who went on to identify ten novae and more than three hundred variable stars; Annie Jump Cannon, who designed a stellar classification system that was adopted by astronomers the world over and is still in use; and Dr. Cecilia Helena Payne, who in 1956 became the first ever woman professor of astronomy at Harvard—and Harvard’s first female department chair.

Elegantly written and enriched by excerpts from letters, diaries, and memoirs, The Glass Universe is the hidden history of the women whose contributions to the burgeoning field of astronomy forever changed our understanding of the stars and our place in the universe.
Learn more about the book and author at Dava Sobel's website.

Read about Sobel's heroine from outside literature.

See Sobel's five best list of books which record extraordinary journeys of discovery.

The Page 99 Test: A More Perfect Heaven.

--Marshal Zeringue