Sunday, March 1, 2015

"The Storyspinner"

New from Margaret K. McElderry Books: The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace.

About the book, from the publisher:

Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.
Visit Becky Wallace's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Above Us Only Sky"

New from Simon & Schuster: Above Us Only Sky: A Novel by Michele Young-Stone.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the author of The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, which Library Journal called, “ripe for Oprah or fans of Elizabeth Berg or Anne Tyler,” comes a magical novel about a family of women separated by oceans, generations, and war, but connected by something much greater—the gift of wings.

On March 29, 1973, Prudence Eleanor Vilkas was born with a pair of wings molded to her back. Considered a birth defect, her wings were surgically removed, leaving only the ghost of them behind.

At fifteen years old, confused and unmoored, Prudence meets her long-estranged Lithuanian grandfather and discovers a miraculous lineage beating and pulsing with past Lithuanian bird-women, storytellers with wings dragging the dirt, survivors perched on radio towers, lovers lit up like fireworks, and heroes disguised as everyday men and women. Prudence sets forth on a quest to discover her ancestors, to grapple with wings that only one other person can see, and ultimately, to find out where she belongs.

Above Us Only Sky spans the 1863 January Uprising against Russian Tsarist rule in Eastern Europe to the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Lithuania gaining its independence in 1991. It is a story of mutual understanding between the old and young; it is a love story; a story of survival, and most importantly a story about where we belong in the world. This “is a raw, beautiful, unforgettable book” (Lydia Netzer, bestselling author of Shine, Shine, Shine).
Learn more about the book and author at Michele Young-Stone's website, blog, and Facebook fan page.

The Page 69 Test: The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors.

My Book, The Movie: The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors.

Coffee with a Canine: Michele Young-Stone & Emma (May 2010) and Coffee with a Canine: Michele Young-Stone & Emma Peel and Chauncey.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Boy Who Lost Fairyland"

New from Feiwel & Friends: The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente.

About the book, from the publisher:

When a young troll named Hawthorn is stolen from Fairyland by the Golden Wind, he becomes a changeling-a human boy-in the strange city of Chicago, a place no less bizarre and magical than Fairyland when seen through trollish eyes. Left with a human family, Hawthorn struggles with his troll nature and his changeling fate. But when he turns twelve, he stumbles upon a way back home, to a Fairyland much changed from the one he remembered.

Time magazine has praised Catherynne M. Valente's Fairyland books as "one of the most extraordinary works of fantasy, for adults or children, published so far this century." In this fourth installment of her saga, Valente's wisdom and wit will charm readers of all ages.
Visit Catherynne M. Valente's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 27, 2015

"Too Bad to Die"

New from Riverhead Books: Too Bad to Die: A Novel by Francine Mathews.

About the book, from the publisher:

A tense and enthralling historical thriller in which British Naval Intelligence officer Ian Fleming attempts to foil a Nazi plot to assassinate FDR, Churchill, and Stalin.

November, 1943. Weary of his deskbound status in the Royal Navy, intelligence officer Ian Fleming spends his spare time spinning stories in his head that are much more exciting than his own life…until the critical Tehran Conference, when Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Josef Stalin meet to finalize the D-Day invasion.

With the Big Three in one place, Fleming is tipped off that Hitler’s top assassin has infiltrated the conference. Seizing his chance to play a part in a real-life action story, Fleming goes undercover to stop the Nazi killer. Between martinis with beautiful women, he survives brutal attacks and meets a seductive Soviet spy who may know more than Fleming realizes. As he works to uncover the truth and unmask the assassin, Fleming is forced to accept that betrayal sometimes comes from the most unexpected quarters—and that one’s literary creations may prove eerily close to one’s own life.

Brilliantly inventive, utterly gripping and suspenseful, Too Bad to Die is Francine Mathews’s best novel yet, and confirms her place as a master of historical fiction.
Visit Francine Mathews's website.

The Page 69 Test: Jack 1939.

--Marshal Zeringue

"American Ghost"

New from Harper: American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus.

About the book, from the publisher:

The award-winning journalist and author of The Beekeeper’s Lament attempts to uncover the truth about her great-great-grandmother, Julia--whose ghost is said to haunt an elegant hotel in Santa Fe—in this spellbinding exploration of myth, family history, and the American West.

The dark-eyed woman in the long black gown was first seen in the 1970s, standing near a fireplace. She was sad and translucent, present and absent at once. Strange things began to happen in the Santa Fe hotel where she was seen. Gas fireplaces turned off and on without anyone touching a switch. Vases of flowers appeared in new locations. Glasses flew off shelves. And in one second-floor suite with a canopy bed and arched windows looking out to the mountains, guests reported alarming events: blankets ripped off while they slept, the room temperature plummeting, disembodied breathing, dancing balls of light.

La Posada—“place of rest”—had been a grand Santa Fe home before it was converted to a hotel. The room with the canopy bed had belonged to Julia Schuster Staab, the wife of the home’s original owner. She died in 1896, nearly a century before the hauntings were first reported. In American Ghost, Hannah Nordhaus traces the life, death, and unsettled afterlife of her great-great-grandmother Julia, from her childhood in Germany to her years in the American West with her Jewish merchant husband.

American Ghost is a story of pioneer women and immigrants, ghost hunters and psychics, frontier fortitude and mental illness, imagination and lore. As she traces the strands of Julia’s life, Nordhaus uncovers a larger tale of how a true-life story becomes a ghost story—and how difficult it can sometimes be to separate history and myth.
Learn more about the book and author at Hannah Nordhaus's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Beekeeper's Lament.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Where All Light Tends to Go"

New from G.P. Putnam’s Sons: Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the country-noir tradition of Winter’s Bone meets ‘Breaking Bad,’ a savage and beautiful story of a young man seeking redemption.

The area surrounding Cashiers, North Carolina, is home to people of all kinds, but the world that Jacob McNeely lives in is crueler than most. His father runs a methodically organized meth ring, with local authorities on the dime to turn a blind eye to his dealings. Having dropped out of high school and cut himself off from his peers, Jacob has been working for this father for years, all on the promise that his payday will come eventually. The only joy he finds comes from reuniting with Maggie, his first love, and a girl clearly bound for bigger and better things than their hardscrabble town.

Jacob has always been resigned to play the cards that were dealt him, but when a fatal mistake changes everything, he’s faced with a choice: stay and appease his father, or leave the mountains with the girl he loves. In a place where blood is thicker than water and hope takes a back seat to fate, Jacob wonders if he can muster the strength to rise above the only life he’s ever known.
Visit David Joy's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Autumn Balloon"

New from Grand Central Publishing: The Autumn Balloon by Kenny Porpora.

About the book, from the publisher:

Every autumn, Kenny Porpora would watch his heartbroken mother scribble messages on balloons and release them into the sky above Long Island, one for each family member they'd lost to addiction. As the number of balloons grew, his mother fell deeper into alcoholism, drinking away her sorrows every night in front of the television, where her love of Regis Philbin provided a respite from the sadness around her.

When their house was foreclosed upon, Kenny's mother absconded with him and his beloved dog and fled for the Arizona desert, joining her heroin-addicted brother on a quixotic search for a better life. What followed was an outlaw adolescence spent in constant upheaval surrounded by bizarre characters and drug-addicted souls.

In the wake of unspeakable loss, Kenny convinced a college to take a chance on him, and turned to the mentors, writers, and poets he found to rebuild the family he lost, and eventually graduated from the Ivy League with a new life.

Porpora's memoir is the story of a deeply dysfunctional but loving family, and follows his life from the chaos of his youth to his triumphs in the Ivy League. At times darkly comic, at times elegiac, The Autumn Balloon is a beautifully written testament to the irreplaceable bonds of family, even under the most trying circumstances, and one that marks the debut of an exciting new writer.
Visit Kenny Porpora's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Flunked"

New from Sourcebooks: Flunked by Jen Calonita.

About the book, from the publisher:

Full of regret, Cinderella's wicked stepmother, Flora, has founded the Fairy Tale Reform School with the mission of turning the wicked and criminally mischievous into upstanding members of Enchantasia.

Impish, sassy 12-year-old Gilly has a history of petty theft and she's not too sorry about it. When she steals a hair clip, she gets tossed in reform school—for at least three months. But when she meets fellow students Jax and Kayla, she learns there's more to this school than its sweet mission. There's a battle brewing and she starts to wonder: Can a villian really change?
Visit Jen Calonita's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Jen Calonita and Captain Jack Sparrow.

--Marshal Zeringue

"In Wilderness"

New from Bantam Books: In Wilderness: A Novel by Diane Thomas.

About the book, from the publisher:

For readers of Amanda Coplin and Chris Bohjalian, In Wilderness is a suspenseful and literary love story—a daring and original novel about our fierce need for companionship and our enduring will to survive.

In the winter of 1966, Katherine Reid moves to an isolated cabin deep in Georgia’s Appalachian Mountains. There, with little more than a sleeping bag, a tin plate, and a loaded gun, she plans to spend her time in peaceful solitude. But one day, Katherine realizes the woods are not empty, and she is not alone. Someone else is near, observing her every move.

Twenty-year-old Vietnam veteran Danny lives not far from Katherine’s cabin, in a once-grand mansion he has dubbed “Gatsby’s house.” Haunted by war and enclosed by walls of moldering books, he becomes fixated on Katherine. What starts as cautious observation grows to obsession. When these two souls collide, the passion that ignites between them is all-consuming—and increasingly dangerous.

Suffused with a stunning sense of character and atmosphere, Diane Thomas’s intimate voice creates an unforgettable depiction of the transformative power of love, how we grieve and hope, and the perilous ways in which we heed and test our hearts.
Visit Diane Thomas's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"The Unraveling of Mercy Louis"

New from Harper: The Unraveling of Mercy Louis: A Novel by Keija Parssinen.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this intricate novel of psychological suspense, a fatal discovery near the high school ignites a witch-hunt in a Southeast Texas refinery town, unearthing communal and family secrets that threaten the lives of the town’s girls.

In Port Sabine, the air is thick with oil, superstition reigns, and dreams hang on making a winning play. All eyes are on Mercy Louis, the star of the championship girls’ basketball team. Mercy seems destined for greatness, but the road out of town is riddled with obstacles. There is her grandmother, Evelia, a strict evangelical who has visions of an imminent Rapture and sees herself as the keeper of Mercy’s virtue. There are the cryptic letters from Charmaine, the mother who abandoned Mercy at birth. And then there’s Travis, the boy who shakes the foundation of her faith.

At the periphery of Mercy’s world floats team manager Illa Stark, a lonely wallflower whose days are spent caring for a depressed mother crippled in a refinery accident. Like the rest of the town, Illa is spellbound by Mercy’s beauty and talent, but a note discovered in Mercy’s gym locker reveals that her life may not be as perfect as it appears.

The last day of school brings the disturbing discovery, and as summer unfolds and the police investigate, every girl becomes a suspect. When Mercy collapses on the opening night of the season, Evelia prophesies that she is only the first to fall, and soon, other girls are afflicted by the mysterious condition, sending the town into a tailspin, and bringing Illa and Mercy together in an unexpected way.

Evocative and unsettling, The Unraveling of Mercy Louis charts the downfall of one town’s golden girl while exploring the brutality and anxieties of girlhood in America.
Visit Keija Parssinen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue