Saturday, July 4, 2015

"Genius At Play"

New from Bloomsbury USA: Genius At Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway by Siobhan Roberts.

About the book, from the publisher:

An unabashed original, John Horton Conway is Archimedes, Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, and Richard Feynman all rolled into one--a singular mathematician, with a rock star's charisma, a sly sense of humor, a polymath's promiscuous curiosity, and a burning desire to explain everything about the world to everyone in it.

Born in Liverpool in 1937, Conway found fame as a barefoot Cambridge professor. He discovered the Conway groups in mathematical symmetry, and invented the aptly named surreal numbers, as well as the cult classic Game of Life--more than a cool fad, Life demonstrates how simplicity generates complexity and the game provides an analogy for all mathematics and the entire universe. Moving to Princeton in 1987, as a mathemagician he deployed cards, ropes, dice, coat hangers, and even the odd Slinky as props to extend his winning imagination and share his mathy obsessions with signature contagion. He is a jet-setting ambassador-at-large for the beauties of all things mathematical.

Genius At Play is an intimate investigation into the mind of an endearing genius, laying bare Conway's personal and professional idiosyncrasies. The intimacy comes courtesy of the man himself. He generously granted Roberts full access, though not without the occasional grudge and grumble: "Oh hell," he'd say. "You're not going to put that in the book. Are you?!?"
Learn more about the book and author at Siobhan Roberts' website.

The Page 69 Test: King of Infinite Space.

The Page 99 Test: Wind Wizard.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 3, 2015

"Viral: Stories"

New from W.W. Norton: Viral: Stories by Emily Mitchell.

About the book, from the publisher:

A dazzling collection of stories about how the familiar can suddenly turn strange.

A guidebook introduces foreign visitors to a recognizable but dreamlike America, where mirrors are haunted and the Statue of Liberty wears a bowler hat. A department-store supervisor must discipline employees who don’t smile enough at customers, but finds himself unexpectedly drawn to the saddest of them all. A woman reluctantly agrees to buy her daughter a robot pet, then is horrified when her little girl chooses an enormous mechanical spider for a companion. The characters in these stories find that the world they thought they knew has shifted and changed, become bizarre and disorienting, and, occasionally, miraculous. Told with absurdist humor and sweet sadness, Viral is about being lost in places that are supposed to feel like home.
Visit Emily Mitchell's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Devil's Share"

New from Minotaur Books: The Devil's Share by Wallace Stroby.

About the book, from the publisher:

It's been a year since professional thief Crissa Stone last pulled a job, and she's spent that time under the radar, very carefully not drawing attention to herself. That kind of life is safe, but it's boring, and it's lonely, and it's not very lucrative. So when Crissa starts to get antsy--and low on funds--she agrees to act as a thief-for-hire, partnering with a wealthy art collector to steal a truckload of plundered Iraqi artifacts before they're repatriated to their native country. But what's supposed to be a "give-up" robbery with few complications quickly turns deadly. Soon Crissa is on the run again, with both an ex-military hit squad and her own partners-in-crime in pursuit. And what should be the easiest job of her career--robbing a man who wants to be robbed--might just turn out to be the most dangerous.
Learn more about the author and his novels at the official Wallace Stroby website and The Heartbreak Blog.

The Page 69 Test: Gone 'til November.

The Page 69 Test: Cold Shot to the Heart.

Writers Read: Wallace Stroby (February 2011).

The Page 69 Test: Kings of Midnight.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 2, 2015

"The Perfect Son"

New from Lake Union Publishing: The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White.

About the book, from the publisher:

From a distance, Felix Fitzwilliam, the son of an old English family, is a good husband and father. But, obsessed with order and routine, he’s a prisoner to perfection. Disengaged from the emotional life of his North Carolina family, Felix has let his wife, Ella, deal with their special-needs son by herself.

A talented jewelry designer turned full-time mother, Ella is the family rock…until her heart attack shatters their carefully structured existence. Now Harry, a gifted teen grappling with the chaos of Tourette’s, confronts a world outside his parents’ control, one that tests his desire for independence.

As Harry searches for his future, and Ella adapts to the limits of her failing health, Felix struggles with his past and present roles. To prevent the family from being ripped apart, they must each bend with the inevitability of change and reinforce the ties that bind.
Learn more about the book and author at Barbara Claypole White's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The In-Between Hour.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Last Pilot"

New from Picador: The Last Pilot: A Novel by Benjamin Johncock.

About the book, from the publisher:

"Harrison sat very still. On the screen was the surface of the moon."

Jim Harrison is a test pilot in the United States Air Force, one of the exalted few. He spends his days cheating death in the skies above the Mojave Desert and his nights at his friend Pancho's bar, often with his wife, Grace. She and Harrison are secretly desperate for a child-and when, against all odds, Grace learns that she is pregnant, the two are overcome with joy.

While America becomes swept up in the fervor of the Space Race, Harrison turns his attention home, passing up the chance to become an astronaut to welcome his daughter, Florence, into the world. Together, he and Grace confront the thrills and challenges of raising a child head-on. Fatherhood is different than flying planes-less controlled, more anxious-however the pleasures of watching Florence grow are incomparable. But when his family is faced with a sudden and inexplicable tragedy, Harrison's instincts as a father and a pilot are put to test. As a pilot, he feels compelled to lead them through it-and as a father, he fears that he has fallen short.

The aftermath will haunt the Harrisons and strain their marriage as Jim struggles under the weight of his decisions. Beginning when the dust of the Second World War has only just begun to settle and rushing onward into the Sixties, Benjamin Johncock traces the path of this young couple as they are uprooted by events much larger than themselves. The turns the Harrisons take together are at once astonishing and recognizable; their journey, both frightening and full of hope. Set against the backdrop of one of the most emotionally charged periods in American history, The Last Pilot is a mesmerizing debut novel of loss and finding courage in the face of it from an extraordinary new talent.
Visit Benjamin Johncock's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

"Let Me Explain You"

New from Scribner: Let Me Explain You: A Novel by Annie Liontas.

About the book, from the publisher:

A powerful debut novel about a Greek American family and its enigmatic patriarch from a riveting new voice in contemporary literature.

Stavros Stavros Mavrakis, Greek immigrant and proud owner of the Gala Diner, believes he has just ten days to live. As he prepares for his final hours, he sends a scathing email to his ex-wife and three grown daughters, outlining his wishes for how they each might better live their lives. With varying degrees of laughter and scorn, his family and friends dismiss his behavior as nothing more than a plea for attention, but when Stavros disappears, those closest to him are forced to confront the possibility of his death.

A vibrant tour de force that races to a surprising conclusion, Let Me Explain You is told from multiple perspectives: Stavros Stavros, brimming with pride and cursing in broken English; his eldest daughter Stavroula, a talented chef in love with her boss’s daughter; her sister, the wounded but resilient Litza; and many other voices who compose a veritable Greek chorus.

By turns hilarious and deeply moving, this multigenerational novel delivers a heartfelt meditation on the power of storytelling and family, the relationship between fathers and daughters, and also the complex bond of sisterhood. Annie Liontas explores our origins and family myths, hunger and what feeds us, reinvention and forgiveness.
Visit Annie Liontas's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Those Girls"

New from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / Poppy: Those Girls by Lauren Saft.

About the book, from the publisher:

Some girls will always have your back, and some girls can't help but stab you in it.

Junior year, the suburbs of Philadelphia. Alex, Mollie and Veronica arethose girls: They're the best of friends and the party girls of the school. But how well does everybody know them-and really, how well do they know one another? Alex is secretly in love with the boy next door and has joined a band-without telling anyone. Mollie suffers from a popular (and possibly sociopathic) boyfriend and a serious mean streak. And Veronica just wants to be loved-literally, figuratively, physically...she's not particular. Will this be the year that bonds them forever or tears them apart for good?

In a debut novel that is raw, honest, hilarious, and thought-provoking, Lauren Saft masterfully conveys what goes on in the mind of a teenage girl and how often even the closest of friends walk the thin line between love and hate.
Visit Lauren Saft's website.

--Mashal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"Death by Tiara"

New from Kensington: Death by Tiara by Laura Levine.

About the book, from the publisher:

Freelance writer Jaine Austen thought she knew what she was getting herself into when she landed a gig working behind the scenes at a teen beauty pageant. But between the vicious stage moms, exacting judges, and trash-talking teens, she’s not sure she’s the woman for the job—especially when the catfights turn deadly…

Jaine has been hired by ├╝ber-pushy stage mom Heather Van Sant to write lyrics for her daughter Taylor’s song in the talent competition for the Miss Teen Queen America pageant. It’s different from anything Jaine has done before, but if nothing else, she’s looking forward to a free weekend in a swanky hotel and a chance to see what really goes on backstage at a beauty pageant. But the hotel is a dump, the cattiness is out of control, and Candace—the perfectly-coiffed, whip-cracking pageant director—is making even Jaine’s life miserable.

When Candace’s assistant Amy is found bludgeoned to death with a silver tiara, there are more suspects than sequins on a pageant gown—and Heather is first on the list. Taylor begs Jaine to help clear her mom’s name, but the search for the killer hits a dead end as Jaine quickly realizes that finding the culprit is going to be trickier than walking the stage in stilettos….
Visit Laura Levine's website.

The Page 69 Test: Killing Cupid.

Writers Read: Laura Levine.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Mask"

New from Crown: The Mask: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel by Taylor Stevens.

About the book, from the publisher:

Vanessa Michael Munroe, chameleon and information hunter, has a reputation for getting things done: dangerous and not quite legal things that have taken her undercover into some of the world’s deadliest places. Still healing from a Somali hijacking gone wrong and a brutal attack that left her near death, Munroe joins her lover, Miles Bradford, in Japan where he’s working as a security consultant protecting high-value technology from industrial espionage. In the domesticity of their routine she finds long sought-after peace—until Bradford is arrested for murder, and the same interests who targeted him come after her, too.

Searching for answers and fighting to stay alive, Munroe will soon discover how far she’ll go to save Bradford from spending the next twenty years in locked-up isolation; how many laws she’ll break when the truth seems worse than his lies; and who to trust and who she must kill. Because she’s a strategist and hunter with a predator’s instincts, and the man she loves has just stabbed her in the back.

With break-neck pacing, incendiary prose, and an unforgettable cast of characters, The Mask features Vanessa Michael Munroe: a brilliant, lethal heroine who will stop at nothing to find the truth, no matter what it may cost.
Visit Taylor Stevens's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 29, 2015

"Stone Rider"

New from Delacorte Press: Stone Rider by David Hofmeyr.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the vein of The Outsiders and the early Western novels of Elmore Leonard, this inventive debut novel, a cross between the cult classic Mad Max movie series and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, blends adrenaline-fueled action with an improbable yet tender romance to offer a rich and vivid portrayal of misfits and loners forced together in their struggle for a better life.

Adam Stone wants freedom and peace. He wants a chance to escape Blackwater, the dust-bowl desert town he grew up in. Most of all, he wants the beautiful Sadie Blood. Alongside Sadie and the dangerous outsider Kane, Adam will ride the Blackwater Trail in a brutal race that will test them all, body and soul. Only the strongest will survive.

The prize? A one-way ticket to Sky-Base and unimaginable luxury.

And for a chance at this new life, Adam will risk everything.
Visit David Hofmeyr's website.

Stone Rider is one of Rachel Paxton-Gillilan's five YA books for Mad Max fans.

--Marshal Zeringue