Saturday, April 30, 2011

"The Mermaid Garden"

New from Touchstone: The Mermaid Garden by Santa Montefiore.

About the book, from the publisher:

The internationally bestselling authorof The French Gardener presentsa complex and irresistibly compelling novel that confirms the remarkablepower of love to heal and transform.

Ten-year-old Floriana is captivated by the beauty of the magnificent Tuscan villa that overlooks the sea just outside her small village. She likes to spy from the crumbling wall into the gardens and imagine that one day she'll escape her meager existence and live there surrounded by its otherworldly splendor. Then one day Dante, the son of the villa's powerful industrialist owner, invites her inside and shows her the enchanting Mermaid Garden. From that moment, Floriana knows that the only destiny for her is there, in that garden, with Dante. But as they grow up and fall in love, their romance causes a crisis, jeopardizing the very thing they hold most dear.

Decades later and hundreds of miles away, a beau-tiful old country house hotel on England's Devon coast has fallen on hard times after the financial crash of 2008. Its owner, Marina, advertises for an artist to stay the summer and teach the guests how to paint. The man she hires is charismatic and wise and soon begins to pacify the discord in her family and transform the fortunes of the hotel. However, he has his own agenda. Is it to destroy, to seduce, or to heal? Whatever his intentions, he is certain to change Marina's life forever.

Spanning four decades and sweeping from the Italian countryside to the English coast, this new story by Santa Montefiore is a moving and mysterious tale of love, forgiveness, and the past revealed.
Learn more about the book and author at Santa Montefiore's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Perfect Happiness.

"Hotel No Tell"

New from Bantam: Hotel No Tell by Daphne Uviller.

About the book, from the publisher:

The smart and sassy detective Zephyr Zuckerman is now armed and undercover in a Greenwich Village hotel where mysteries—from garbage-grabbing guests to the reservation system—lurk around every corner.

Now working as a junior detective with the New York City Special Investigations Commission, Zephyr’s gone incognito as a concierge to find out who laundered a hundred grand off the hotel books—and why. But the discovery of a prone, flush-faced guest gasping for air in room 502 only hints at the sinister goings-on inside this funky establishment. While the rapid response of the fire department leads to a sweaty date with a smooth-talking, rock-climbing rescue worker, Zephyr finds herself even more hot and bothered by an attempted murder on her watch. Could the smart-mouthed Japanese yenta across the hall know more than she’s telling? How are cryptic phone calls from a mysterious corporation linked to the victim in 502?

Under pressure and overwhelmed, Zephyr soon finds that a concierge cover is no protection in a place where crime, like the city itself, never sleeps.
Visit Daphne Uviller's website.

The Page 69 Test: Super in the City.

Friday, April 29, 2011

"The Burning Lake"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: The Burning Lake by Brent Ghelfi.

About the book, from the publisher:

Another prominent journalist is found murdered in Putin’s Russia, shot to death on the banks of the Techa River near the radioactive village of Metlino. Katarina Mironova, known around the world as Kato, could simply fade from the public eye, one more journalist killed during Putin’s war on the free press, one more statistic in a grim tally. But to Russian agent Alexei Volkovoy, Kato’s murder evokes far more emotion. It summons too many memories, haunts him in too many ways for him to allow her death go unavenged.

Volk's investigation takes him from Moscow to Mayak, the site of a nuclear reprocessing plant where a massive explosion occurred in 1958, then to Las Vegas. All the while the life he has known with his long-time lover, Valya, and his patron, the General, slowly unravels as details about his secret ties to Kato begin to emerge. Meanwhile, American contract agent Grayson Stone and shadowy French assassin Jean-Louis have secrets of their own to protect. Secrets born in the Afghan desert and the streets of Fallujah. Secrets about the tragic consequences of a nuclear alliance among venal Russian, American, and French politicians. Secrets the American and the French governments will pay anything to protect.

In the end, Volk becomes both the hunter and the hunted in the glittering neon jungle of Las Vegas. Equally at home in the snow-covered woods of the Ural mountains and the seamy alleyways of Industrial Boulevard, Volk tracks his prey across the world trying to learn the truth about the story Kato died trying to report.
The Page 69 Test: Volk's Game.

My Book, The Movie: Volk’s Game.

The Page 69 Test: Volk's Shadow.

"Felicity's Gate"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: Felicity's Gate by Julian Cole.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Jane’s body is found, the chief suspect is her friend and lover, Moses Mundy. Chief Inspector Sam Rounder soon discovers that there is more to this murder than meets the eye. To make matters worse, his own brother, Rick, a private eye, has been hired to prove Moses’ innocence.
Read an excerpt from Felicity's Gate.

Julian Cole is a journalist and columnist with The Evening Press. He spent three years writing and researching The Amateur Historian, his first novel.

The Page 69 Test: The Amateur Historian.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Chocolate Chocolate"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: Chocolate Chocolate: The True Story of Two Sisters, Tons of Treats, and the Little Shop That Could by Frances Park and Ginger Park.

About the book, from the publisher:

When their beloved father died suddenly, authors Frances and Ginger Park (To Swim Across the World) comforted themselves with chocolates and mused on opening a confectionery shop with their small inheritance. The idea felt right to them--"a shop our late father would've loved just by virtue of its contents: chocolates and daughters"--and despite their inexperience, they decide to go for it, with their mother as silent partner. In 1984, on the day their Washington, D.C., store, named Chocolate Chocolate, opened, they already were beset with difficulties, from crumbling walls and cracking floors installed by a shoddy, shady contractor to trying to conjure strategies to gain attention and sales. Bit by bit, their clientele grows; the sisters write fondly and often humorously of the recurring characters in their new, chocolate-centric lives, from favorite customers to the kooky sales rep who becomes an employee and dear friend. They easily move between musings on friendship and family, all the while offering inspiration and valuable lessons for budding entrepreneurs. The recipe for their house truffle rounds out this appealing, engaging memoir that's sure to appeal to a range of readers, chocoholics or not.
Visit the Park sisters' website.

"Among the Departed"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: Among the Departed by Vicki Delany.

About the book, from the publisher:

Fifteen years ago, a young girl named Moonlight Smith went to her best friend Nicky Nowak’s house for a sleepover. Before being picked up by her mother the following morning, Moonlight joined the Novak family for breakfast. Shortly after, Mr. Nowak went for a walk. He was never seen again.

Autumn has arrived on the mountains above Trafalgar, B.C. and the promise of winter is in the air. Constable Molly Smith is cuddled by the fireplace with Adam Tocek of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police when Tocek and his dog Norman are called to a wilderness camping ground to join the search for a little boy who snuck away from his family. The child is found, dirty, terrified, weeping, but unharmed. Then the inquisitive Norman digs up something else: human bones.

The ID isn’t positive, but is enough to prompt Sergeant John Winters to re-open the Brian Nowak investigation. Sergeant Winters finds a family shattered beyond recognition: Mrs. Nowak is an empty shell of a woman who rarely leaves her house; her son Kyle haunts the streets of Trafalgar at night and spends his days creating highly disturbing art; and her daughter Nicky, who moved to Vancouver, has grown up to be gorgeous, charming, and elegant. Yet behind this glamorous façade is a dangerous and painful secret, and Nicky returns to Trafalgar trailing in her wake a terrifying threat to another innocent family….

As the investigation into the life and disappearance of Brian Nowak grows, old secrets are brought to light and new ones struggle to remain hidden.
Visit Vicki Delany's website.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Clarence Darrow"

New from Hill & Wang: Clarence Darrow: American Iconoclast by Andrew E. Kersten.

About the book, from the publisher:

Clarence Darrow is best remembered for his individual cases, whether defending the thrill killers Leopold and Loeb or John Scopes’s right to teach evolution in the classroom. In the first full-length biography of Darrow in decades, the historian Andrew E. Kersten narrates the complete life of America’s most legendary lawyer and the struggle that defined it, the fight for the American traditions of individualism, freedom, and liberty in the face of the country’s inexorable march toward modernity.

Prior biographers have all sought to shoehorn Darrow, born in 1857, into a single political party or cause. But his politics do not define his career or enduring importance. Going well beyond the familiar story of the socially conscious lawyer and drawing upon new archival records, Kersten shows Darrow as early modernity’s greatest iconoclast. What defined Darrow was his response to the rising interference by corporations and government in ordinary working Americans’ lives: he zealously dedicated himself to smashing the structures and systems of social control everywhere he went. During a period of enormous transformations encompassing the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, Darrow fought fiercely to preserve individual choice as an ever more corporate America sought to restrict it.

"The Butterfly's Daughter"

New from Gallery: The Butterfly's Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe.

About the book, from the publisher:

Four very different women embark on a transformational journey that follows the migrating monarchs across the United States to Mexico. The story begins when Luz Avila's grandmother, the local butterfly lady, purchases an old, orange VW bug for a road trip home to Mexico. When she unexpectedly dies, Luz is inspired to take her grandmother's ashes home. In the manner of the Aztec myth of the goddess who brings light to the world, Luz attracts a collection of lost women, each seeking change in their lives. The Mexican people believe the monarchs are the spirits of the recently departed and Luz taps into ancient rituals and myths as she follows the spectacular, glittering river of orange monarchs in the sky to home.
Visit Mary Alice Monroe's website and blog.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"The Sisters Brothers"

New from Ecco: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt.

About the book, from the publisher:

Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. The enigmatic and powerful man known only as the Commodore has ordered it, and his henchmen, Eli and Charlie Sisters, will make sure of it. Though Eli doesn't share his brother's appetite for whiskey and killing, he's never known anything else. But their prey isn't an easy mark, and on the road from Oregon City to Warm's gold-mining claim outside Sacramento, Eli begins to question what he does for a living–and whom he does it for.

With The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt pays homage to the classic Western, transforming it into an unforgettable comic tour de force. Filled with a remarkable cast of characters–losers, cheaters, and ne'er-do-wells from all stripes of life–and told by a complex and compelling narrator, it is a violent, lustful odyssey through the underworld of the 1850s frontier that beautifully captures the humor, melancholy, and grit of the Old West and two brothers bound by blood, violence, and love.
Visit Patrick deWitt's website.

"The Year We Left Home"

New from Simon & Schuster: The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson.

About the book, from the publisher:

From National Book Award finalist Jean Thompson comes a mesmerizing, decades-spanning saga of one ordinary American family—proud, flawed, hopeful— whose story simultaneously captures the turbulent history of the country at large.

Over the course of a thirty-year career, Jean Thompson has been celebrated by critics as "a writer of extraordinary intelligence and sensitivity" (O, The Oprah Magazine), "an American Alice Munro" (The Wall Street Journal), and "one of our most lucid and insightful writers" (San Francisco Chronicle). Her peers have been no less vocal, from Jennifer Egan ("bracing ... boldly unconventional") to David Sedaris ("if there are 'Jean Thompson characters,' they're us, and never have we been as articulate and worthy of compassion").

Now, in The Year We Left Home, Thompson brings together all of her talents to deliver the career-defining novel her admirers have been waiting for: a sweeping and emotionally powerful story of a single American family during the tumultuous final decades of the twentieth century. It begins in 1973 when the Erickson family of Grenada, Iowa, gathers for the wedding of their eldest daughter, Anita. Even as they celebrate, the fault lines in the family emerge. The bride wants nothing more than to raise a family in her hometown, while her brother Ryan watches restlessly from the sidelines, planning his escape. He is joined by their cousin Chip, an unpredictable, war-damaged loner who will show Ryan both the appeal and the perils of freedom. Torrie, the Ericksons' youngest daughter, is another rebel intent on escape, but the choices she makes will bring about a tragedy that leaves the entire family changed forever.

Stretching from the early 1970s in the Iowa farmlands to suburban Chicago to the coast of contemporary Italy—and moving through the Vietnam War's aftermath, the farm crisis, the numerous economic booms and busts—The Year We Left Home follows the Erickson siblings as they confront prosperity and heartbreak, setbacks and triumphs, and seek their place in a country whose only constant seems to be breathtaking change. Ambitious, richly told, and fiercely American, this is a vivid and moving meditation on our continual pursuit of happiness and an incisive exploration of the national character.

Monday, April 25, 2011

"Johnny Appleseed"

New from Simon & Schuster: Johnny Appleseed: The Man, the Myth, the American Story by Howard Means.

About the book, from the publisher:

This portrait of Johnny Appleseed restores the flesh-and-blood man beneath the many myths. It captures the boldness of an iconic American life and the sadness of his last years, as the frontier marched past him, ever westward. And it shows how death liberated the legend and made of Johnny a barometer of the nation's feelings about its own heroic past and the supposed Eden it once had been. It is a book that does for America's inner frontier what Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage did for its western one.

No American folk hero—not Davy Crockett, not even Daniel Boone—is better known than Johnny Appleseed, and none has become more trapped in his own legends. The fact is, John Chapman—the historical Johnny Appleseed—might well be the best-known figure from our national past about whom most people know almost nothing real at all.

One early historian called Chapman "the oddest character in all our history," and not without cause. Chapman was an animal whisperer, a vegetarian in a raw country where it was far easier to kill game than grow a crop, a pacifist in a place ruled by gun, knife, and fist. Some settlers considered Chapman a New World saint. Others thought he had been kicked in the head by a horse. And yet he was welcomed almost everywhere, and stories about him floated from cabin to cabin, village to village, just as he did.

As eccentric as he was, John Chapman was also very much a man of his times: a land speculator and pioneer nurseryman with an uncanny sense for where settlement was moving next, and an evangelist for the Church of the New Jerusalem on a frontier alive with religious fervor. His story is equally America's story at the birth of the nation.

In this tale of the wilderness and its taming, author Howard Means explores how our national past gets mythologized and hired out. Mostly, though, this is the story of two men, one real and one invented; of the times they lived through, the ties that link them, and the gulf that separates them; of the uses to which both have been put; and of what that tells us about ourselves, then and now.
Visit Howard Means's website.

"The Tragedy of William Jennings Bryan"

New from Yale University Press: The Tragedy of William Jennings Bryan: Constitutional Law and the Politics of Backlash by Gerard N. Magliocca.

About the book, from the publisher:

Although Populist candidate William Jennings Bryan lost the presidential elections of 1896, 1900, and 1908, he was the most influential political figure of his era. In this astutely argued book, Gerard N. Magliocca explores how Bryan's effort to reach the White House energized conservatives across the nation and caused a transformation in constitutional law.

Responding negatively to the Populist agenda, the Supreme Court established a host of new constitutional principles during the 1890s. Many of them proved long-lasting and highly consequential, including the "separate but equal" doctrine supporting racial segregation, the authorization of the use of force against striking workers, and the creation of the liberty of contract. The judicial backlash of the 1890s—the most powerful the United States has ever experienced—illustrates vividly the risks of seeking fundamental social change. Magliocca concludes by examining the lessons of the Populist experience for advocates of change in our own divisive times.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Oceans' Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter by Ellen Prager.

About the book, from the publisher:

When viewed from a quiet beach, the ocean, with its rolling waves and vast expanse, can seem calm, even serene. But hidden beneath the sea’s waves are a staggering abundance and variety of active creatures, engaged in the never-ending struggles of life—to reproduce, to eat, and to avoid being eaten.

With Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime, marine scientist Ellen Prager takes us deep into the sea to introduce an astonishing cast of fascinating and bizarre creatures that make the salty depths their home. From the tiny but voracious arrow worms whose rapacious ways may lead to death by overeating, to the lobsters that battle rivals or seduce mates with their urine, to the sea’s masters of disguise, the octopuses, Prager not only brings to life the ocean’s strange creatures, but also reveals the ways they interact as predators, prey, or potential mates. And while these animals make for some jaw-dropping stories—witness the sea cucumber, which ejects its own intestines to confuse predators, or the hagfish that ties itself into a knot to keep from suffocating in its own slime—there’s far more to Prager’s account than her ever-entertaining anecdotes: again and again, she illustrates the crucial connections between life in the ocean and humankind, in everything from our food supply to our economy, and in drug discovery, biomedical research, and popular culture.

Written with a diver’s love of the ocean, a novelist’s skill at storytelling, and a scientist’s deep knowledge, Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime enchants as it educates, enthralling us with the wealth of life in the sea—and reminding us of the need to protect it.
Learn more about the book and author at Ellen Prager's website.

Ellen J. Prager is former chief scientist at the world’s only undersea research station, Aquarius Reef Base, in the Florida Keys and a freelance writer. Among her publications are The Oceans and Furious Earth: The Science and Nature of Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis; a series of children’s books including Sand, Volcano, and Earthquakes with the National Geographic Society; and a children’s novel, Adventure on Dolphin Island.

The Page 99 Test: Chasing Science at Sea.

"Warm Bodies"

New from Atria: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.

About the book, from the publisher:

R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, noidentity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and stragely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.
Visit Isaac Marion's website.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"The Medusa Amulet"

New from Bantam: The Medusa Amulet by Robert Masello.

About the book, from the publisher:

Benvenuto Cellini—the master artisan of Renaissance Italy: goldsmith, sculptor ... necromancer. Creator of a beautifully carved amulet that was once the proud possession of popes and princes, queens and conquerors. A work of unimaginable power ... and menace.

In this new spine-tingling thriller by Robert Masello, the critically acclaimed and bestselling author of Blood and Ice, the quest to recover a legendary artifact—and plumb its secrets—depends upon one man: David Franco, a brilliant but skeptical young scholar at Chicago’s world-renowned Newberry Library.

What begins as a simple investigation quickly spirals into a twisting, turning tale of suspense and intrigue, a race against time that carries Franco across continents and centuries in a desperate search for the ultimate treasure—and an answer to a riddle that has puzzled mankind since the beginning of time.

Aided only by a beautiful young Florentine with a conspirator’s mind and dark secrets, Franco is soon caught up in a life-and-death struggle from which there is no escape. Relentlessly pursued by deadly assassins and demons of his own, in the end he must confront—and defeat—an evil greater than anything conjured in his worst nightmares.

Packed with breathtaking invention and breakneck adventure, The Medusa Amulet is a harrowing ride from the streets of Chicago to the châteaux of France, from the ramparts of the French Revolution to the palazzos of Rome, a story where historical fact meets with fascinating conjecture ... and the impossible becomes terrifyingly real. Like a masterpiece from the hand of Cellini himself, The Medusa Amulet is a unique and powerful work, as inviting as it is forbidding, as ingenious as it is bold.
Learn more about the book and author at Robert Masello's website.

The Page 69 Test: Blood and Ice.

"Planting Dandelions"

New from Riverhead: Planting Dandelions: Field Notes From a Semi-Domesticated Life by Kyran Pittman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Introducing a writer with a keen eye, a wicked tongue, and an appealing take on family.

In the family of Jen Lancaster and Elizabeth Gilbert, Kyran Pittman is the laid-back middle sister: warm and witty and confiding, with an addictively smart and genuine voice-but married with three kids and living in the heartland. Relatable and real, she writes about family in a way that highlights all its humor, while at the same time honoring its depth.

A regular contributor to Good Housekeeping, Pittman is well loved because she is funny and honest and self-deprecating, because her own household is in chaos ("semi-domesticated"), and because she inspires readers in their own domestic lives. In these eighteen linked, chronological essays, Pittman covers the first twelve years of becoming a family, writing candidly and hilariously about things like learning to maintain a marriage over time; dealing with the challenges of sex after childbirth; saying good-bye to her younger self and embracing the still attractive, forty-year-old version; and trying to "recession- proof" her family (i.e., downsize to avoid foreclosure).

From a fresh new talent, celebrating the joys and trials of a new generation of parents, Planting Dandelions is an entertaining tribute to choosing the white-picket fence over the other options available, even if you don't manage to live up to its ideals every day.
Visit Kyran Pittman's website and the Planting Dandelions website.

Friday, April 22, 2011

"Cuban Star"

New from Hill & Wang: Cuban Star: How One Negro-League Owner Changed the Face of Baseball by Adrian Burgos, Jr.

About the book, from the publisher:

A proud and boisterous Negro League team owner, Alex Pompez rose to prominence during Latino baseball’s earliest glory days. As a passionate and steadfast advocate for Latino players, he helped bring baseball into the modern age. But like many in the era of segregated baseball, Pompez also found that the game alone could never make all ends meet, and he delved headlong into the seedier side of the sport—gambling—to help finance his beloved team, the New York Cubans. He built one of the most infamous numbers rackets in Harlem, rubbing shoulders with titans of the underworld such as Dutch Schultz and eventually arousing the ire of the famed prosecutor Thomas Dewey. He also brought the Cubans, with their incredible lineup of international players, to a Negro League World Series Championship in 1947.

Pompez presided over the twilight of the Negro League, holding it together as long as possible in the face of integration even as he helped his players make the transition to the majors. In his later days as a scout, he championed some of the brightest future Latino stars and became one of Latin America’s most vocal advocates for the game.

That today’s rosters are filled with names like Rodriguez, Pujols, Rivera, and Ortiz is a testament to the influence of Pompez and his contemporaries.

"The Fallen Angel"

New from Delacorte: The Fallen Angel by David Hewson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Acclaimed author David Hewson returns with this mesmerizing new thriller featuring Nic Costa and the detectives of Rome’s Questura. This time Costa must solve a case with roots buried deep in one of the ancient city’s most infamous episodes—a story of incest, murder, and martyrdom.

It’s August in Rome, and Nic Costa’s vacation is about to be cut short by a scream, a girl covered in blood, and a man lying dead in the Via Beatrice Cenci. It seems that Malise Gabriel, a scholar with an impressive list of enemies, stepped onto faulty scaffolding for a cigarette and fell to his death.

On the surface, it’s no more than an unfortunate accident.

But the deeper Costa looks—into the facts that don’t add up, into the haunted eyes of Gabriel’s beautiful daughter, Mina, and into the mysterious links between the present and the past—the more he’s haunted by disturbing parallels with a centuries-old crime: In 1599, Beatrice Cenci was beheaded by the Vatican for murdering her father, a man known for unthinkable sexual crimes. Does Mina’s obsession with Beatrice intimate her own family’s dark secrets, or is someone using her as a smoke screen for a far deadlier plan?

Soon another body is discovered and Nic comes to doubt his own first impressions. Something evil is circling Mina, her angry and silent mother, her runaway brother, and her family’s checkered history in England, the United States, and Italy. And now that something is closing in fast for the kill.

In a novel that captures modern Rome in all its complexity, as well as its history of beauty and barbarity, genius and blindness, The Fallen Angel is David Hewson at his best—a twisting and twisted contest between innocence and evil.
Learn more about the author and his work at David Hewson's website and blog.

Hewson is the author of the Nic Costa series of novels set primarily in contemporary Rome. A former journalist with the London Times and Sunday Times, his work has been translated into many languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Thai ... and Italian.

The Page 69 Test: The Seventh Sacrament.

The Page 99 Test: The Garden of Evil.

My Book, The Movie: Dante's Numbers.

The Page 69 Test: City of Fear.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"22 Britannia Road"

New from Penguin/ Pamela Dorman Books: 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson.

About the book, from the publisher:

War changes us all, and sometimes we no longer recognise ourselves...

‘Housekeeper or housewife?’ the soldier asks Silvana as she and eight-year-old Aurek board the ship that will take them from Poland to England at the end of the war, to Janusz, her husband. But she isn’t sure any longer that she is a wife of any kind or whether she has a house. After living wild in the forests for years, carrying a terrible secret, all Silvana knows is that she and Aurek are survivors.

In Ipswich, Janusz is getting ready for the arrival of the wife and son he hasn't seen in six years. After fleeing Poland and the war that left him a deserter, he has found his family a house. He works hard planting a proper English garden to welcome them and to distract him from his own secret.

But the six years apart have changed them all, and they must learn that love can't work unless there are no secrets. To make Aurek a real home, Silvana and Janusz will have to come to terms with what happened to them during the war, accept that each have changed immeasurably and allow their beloved but wild son to be who he truly is.
Visit Amanda Hodgkinson's website.

"Jericho Cay"

New from Minotaur Books: Jericho Cay by Kathryn R. Wall.

About the book, from the publisher:

While restoring her Hilton Head home after a brush with a hurricane, PI Bay Tanner reluctantly accepts bestselling true-crime writer Winston Wolfe as a client. Arrogant and secretive, Wolfe is researching the cold-case disappearance of reclusive millionaire Morgan Tyler Bell from his secluded private island off the South Carolina coast. Adding to the mystery, Bell’s personal assistant vanished as well. But what has Bay’s investigative antennae quivering is the apparent suicide at the time of Bell’s longtime housekeeper. After viewing the scene inside the millionaire’s abandoned mansion on Jericho Cay, Bay isn’t so sure she should’ve taken the case.

Bay’s husband and new employee is hot to pursue the inquiry. A former sheriff’s deputy, Red would like nothing better than to solve the one case his old boss has never been able to close. But as Wolfe’s behavior becomes more and more bizarre, Bay is torn between her desire to earn her hefty fee and her fear that something much more sinister is going on just below the surface. Is Bell dead or alive? And who is the elusive man in the red baseball cap who just may hold the answers to all her questions?

While dealing with another tragedy that strikes at the heart of her family, Bay Tanner must dig beneath the lies and evasions that threaten all she holds dear—and her own life as well.

Jericho Cay is filled with Southern charm and local color, making it a terrific addition to Kathryn R. Wall’s sultry Lowcountry series, one of the most absorbing on bookshelves today.
Visit Kathryn R. Wall's website.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


New from Bantam: Knockdown (Home Repair Is Homicide Series #14) by Sarah Graves.

About the book, from the publisher:

They say you can’t go home again—and when it comes to someone with an old score to settle, sometimes you’d better not. That’s what Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree discovers when the past she thought she’d laid to rest comes calling at her lovingly restored 1823 Federal-style house in Eastport, Maine. Unfortunately, her old life and her new one are about to collide with deadly consequences....

Jake is deep in her latest home improvement project—repainting a porch—when she notices the man repeatedly biking past her house. His face is unsettlingly familiar, but his chilling message seems inexplicable: Blood shows up again. Murder will out.

If it’s a prank, it’s an ugly one, and so is the anonymous email warning her to beware the Fourth of July—just two days away. Back in her days as a hotshot financial manager she did business with plenty of shady characters, but she’s still baffled as to the identity of her nemesis—until she receives a photo of a murdered man.

Now Jake knows what—and whom—she’s up against. But knowing her enemy is no guarantee that she can escape the grim payoff he has in store for her. From home invasion to kidnapping, this twisted killer is slowly but surely plotting a knockdown with not just Jake but the entire town of Eastport at its explosive center. And no one can predict when or where the shockingly deadly finale will occur.
Learn more the author and her books at Sarah Graves's website.

Graves lives in Eastport, Maine, where her "Home Repair Is Homicide" mystery novels are set.

The Page 99 Test: The Book of Old Houses.

"Pitch Dark"

New from St. Martin's Griffin: Pitch Dark by Steven Sidor.

About the book, from the publisher:

It’s Christmas Eve, and Vera Coffey is on the run. She doesn't know the men who are after her. She has never seen them before, but she has seen the horrors they visit on people who don’t give them what they want. Vera has something they want badly. She’d give it up if it weren’t the only thing keeping her alive.

The Larkins have known the toll violence takes on a family ever since they were trapped in a madman’s shooting rampage. They've been coping with the trauma for nearly twenty years. Now, on a cold and lonely winter morning, Vera collapses at their roadside motel. And she’s brought something with her. Together they'll have to make one last stand against an evil that has followed them further than anyone could've imagined.

With a thriller so fast-paced that it’s impossible to let go and an ominous sense that everything is destined to go wrong, Pitch Dark is an intense read from a master of suspense.
Learn more about the book and author at Steven Sidor's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Steven Sidor's The Mirror’s Edge.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"The President's Vampire"

New from Putnam: The President's Vampire (Nathaniel Cade Series #2) by Christopher Farnsworth.

About the book, from the publisher:

The ultimate secret. The ultimate agent. Nathaniel Cade returns.

For 140 years, Nathaniel Cade has been the President's Vampire, sworn to protect and serve his country. Cade's existence is the most closely guarded of White House secrets: a superhuman covert agent who is the last line of defense against nightmare scenarios that ordinary citizens only dream of.

When a new outbreak of an ancient evil-one that he has seen before- comes to light, Cade and his human handler, Zach Barrows, must track down its source. To "protect and serve" often means settling old scores and confronting new betrayals . . . as only a centuries-old predator can.
Learn more about the book and author at The President's Vampire website.

The Page 69 Test: Blood Oath.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Violets of March"

New from Plume: The Violets of March by Sarah Jio.

About the book, from the publisher:

A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.

Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.

A mesmerizing debut with an idyllic setting and intriguing dual story line, The Violets of March announces Sarah Jio as a writer to watch.
Visit Sarah Jio's website.

Monday, April 18, 2011


New from Balzer + Bray: Bumped by Megan McCafferty.

About the book, from the publisher:

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty comes a strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood—in a future that is eerily believable.
Visit Megan McCafferty's website.

"The Bride's House"

New from St.Martin's Press: The Bride's House by Sandra Dallas.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Whiter Than Snow and Prayers for Sale comes a novel about the secrets and passions of three generations of women who have all lived in the same Victorian home called the Bride’s House.

It’s 1880, and for unassuming seventeen-year-old Nealie Bent, the Bride’s House is a fairy tale come to life. It seems as if it is being built precisely for her and Will Spaulding, the man she is convinced she will marry. But life doesn’t go according to plan, and Nealie finds herself in the Bride’s House pregnant---and married to another.

For Pearl, growing up in the Bride’s House is akin to being raised in a mausoleum. Her father has fashioned the house into a shrine to the woman he loved, resisting all forms of change. When the enterprising young Frank Curry comes along and asks for Pearl’s hand in marriage, her father sabotages the union. But he underestimates the lengths to which the women in the Bride’s House will go for love.

Susan is the latest in the line of strong and willful women in the Bride’s House. She’s proud of the women who came before her, but the Bride’s House hides secrets that will force her to question what she wants and who she loves.

Sandra Dallas has once again written a novel rich in storytelling and history, peopled by living, breathing characters that will grab hold of you and not let you go.
Learn more about the book and author at Sandra Dallas' website.

The Page 69 Test: Prayers For Sale.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"The Fear"

New from Little, Brown: The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe by Peter Godwin.

About the book, from the publisher:

Journalist Peter Godwin has covered wars. As a soldier, he's fought them. But nothing prepared him for the surreal mix of desperation and hope he encountered when he returned to Zimbabwe, his broken homeland.

Godwin arrived as Robert Mugabe, the country's dictator for 30 years, has finally lost an election. Mugabe's tenure has left Zimbabwe with the world's highest rate of inflation and the shortest life span. Instead of conceding power, Mugabe launched a brutal campaign of terror against his own citizens. With foreign correspondents banned, and he himself there illegally, Godwin was one of the few observers to bear witness to this period the locals call The Fear. He saw torture bases and the burning villages but was most awed as an observer of not only simple acts of kindness but also churchmen and diplomats putting their own lives on the line to try to stop the carnage.

THE FEAR is a book about the astonishing courage and resilience of a people, armed with nothing but a desire to be free, who challenged a violent dictatorship. It is also the deeply personal and ultimately uplifting story of a man trying to make sense of the country he can't recognize as home.
Visit Peter Godwin's website.

"The Great Night"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: The Great Night by Chris Adrian.

About the book, from the publisher:

Acclaimed as a “gifted, courageous writer” (The New York Times), Chris Adrian brings all his extraordinary talents to bear in The Great Night—a brilliant and mesmerizing retelling of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

On Midsummer Eve 2008, three people, each on the run from a failed relationship, become trapped in San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park (the home in exile for Titania, Oberon, and their court) on their way to a party. On this night, something awful is happening in the faerie kingdom: in a fit of sadness over the end of her marriage, which broke up in the wake of the death of her adopted son, Titania has set loose an ancient menace, and the chaos that ensues threatens the lives of immortals and mortals alike.

The three heartbroken lovers will become lost in the park and within the memories of the people they lost or drove away, and each will remember through the course of the night that this is not the first time their lives have been touched by magic. In thrall to her old enemy, Titania puts all the resources of her kingdom at the disposal of a homeless man who thinks he can bring down the purportedly sinister mayor of San Francisco by staging a musical production of Soylent Green. Before the night ends the mortals are transformed, the show is staged, and Titania discovers, at great cost, a way to undo the menace she’s set free, if not to undo her grief.

Selected by The New Yorker as one the best young writers in America, Adrian has created a singularly playful, moving, and humorous novel—a story that charts the borders between reality and dreams, love and magic, and mortality and immortality.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"In Zanesville"

New from Little, Brown: In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard.

About the book, from the publisher:

The beguiling fourteen-year-old narrator of IN ZANESVILLE is a late bloomer. She is used to flying under the radar-a sidekick, a third wheel, a marching band dropout, a disastrous babysitter, the kind of girl whose Eureka moment is the discovery that "fudge" can't be said with an English accent.

Luckily, she has a best friend, a similarly undiscovered girl with whom she shares the everyday adventures of a 1970s American girlhood, incidents through which a world is revealed, and character is forged.

In time, their friendship is tested-- by their families' claims on them, by a clique of popular girls who stumble upon them as if they were found objects, and by the first, startling, subversive intimations of womanhood.

With dry wit and piercing observation, Jo Ann Beard shows us that in the seemingly quiet streets of America's innumerable Zanesvilles is a world of wonders, and that within the souls of the awkward and the overlooked often burns something radiant and unforgettable.

"The Big Scrum"

New from Harper: The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football by John J. Miller.

About the book, from the publisher:

The intriguing, never-before-fully- told story of how Theodore Roosevelt helped to save the game that would become America’s most popular sport.

In its infancy during the late nineteenth century, the game of football was still a work in progress that only remotely resembled the sport millions follow today. There was no common agreement about many of the game’s basic rules, and it was incredibly violent and extremely dangerous. An American version of rugby, this new game grew popular even as the number of casualties rose. Numerous young men were badly injured and dozens died playing football in highly publicized incidents, often at America’s top prep schools and colleges.

Objecting to the sport’s brutality, a movement of proto-Progressives led by Harvard University president Charles W. Eliot tried to abolish the game. President Theodore Roosevelt, a vocal advocate of “the strenuous life” and a proponent of risk, acknowledged football’s dangers but admired its potential for building character. A longtime fan of the game who purposely recruited men with college football experience for his Rough Riders, Roosevelt fought to preserve the game’s manly essence, even as he understood the need for reform.

In 1905, he summoned the coaches of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to the White House and urged them to act. The result was the establishment of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, as well as a series of rule changes— including the advent of the forward pass—that ultimately saved football and transformed it into the quintessential American game. The Big Scrum reveals for the first time the fascinating details of this little-known story of sports history.
Visit John J. Miller's website.

Writers Read: John J. Miller.

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Leaving Van Gogh"

New from Spiegel & Grau: Leaving Van Gogh by Carol Wallace.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the summer of 1890, in the French town of Auvers-sur-Oise, Vincent van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a revolver. He died two days later, at the age of thirty-seven, largely unknown despite having completed over two thousand works of art that would go on to become some of the most important and valued in the world.

In this riveting novel, Carol Wallace brilliantly navigates the mysteries surrounding the master artist’s death, relying on meticulous research to paint an indelible portrait of Van Gogh’s final days—and the friendship that may or may not have destroyed him. Telling Van Gogh’s story from an utterly new perspective—that of his personal physician, Dr. Gachet, specialist in mental illness and great lover of the arts—Wallace allows us to view the legendary painter as we’ve never seen him before. In our narrator’s eyes, Van Gogh is an irresistible puzzle, a man whose mind, plagued by demons, poses the most potentially rewarding challenge of Gachet’s career.

Wallace’s narrative brims with suspense and rich psychological insight as it tackles haunting questions about Van Gogh’s fate. A masterly, gripping novel that explores the price of creativity, Leaving Van Gogh is a luminous story about what it means to live authentically, and the power and limits of friendship.
Visit Carol Wallace's website.

"The Wizard of Lies"

New from Times Books: The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana B. Henriques.

About the book, from the publisher:

The inside story of Bernie Madoff and his $65 billion Ponzi scheme, with surprising and shocking new details from Madoff himself.

Who is Bernie Madoff, and how did he pull off the biggest Ponzi scheme in history?

These questions have fascinated people ever since the news broke about the respected New York financier who swindled his friends, relatives, and other investors out of $65 billion through a fraud that lasted for decades. Many have speculated about what might have happened or what must have happened, but no reporter has been able to get the full story -- until now.

In The Wizard of Lies, Diana B. Henriques of The New York Times -- who has led the paper’s coverage of the Madoff scandal since the day the story broke -- has written the definitive book on the man and his scheme, drawing on unprecedented access and more than one hundred interviews with people at all levels and on all sides of the crime, including Madoff’s first interviews for publication since his arrest. Henriques also provides vivid details from the various lawsuits, government investigations, and court filings that will explode the myths that have come to surround the story.

A true-life financial thriller, The Wizard of Lies contrasts Madoff's remarkable rise on Wall Street, where he became one of the country’s most trusted and respected traders, with dramatic scenes from his accelerating slide toward self-destruction. It is also the most complete account of the heartbreaking personal disasters and landmark legal battles triggered by Madoff’s downfall -- the suicides, business failures, fractured families, shuttered charities -- and the clear lessons this timeless scandal offers to Washington, Wall Street, and Main Street.
Visit Diana B. Henriques's website.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Night on Fire"

New from Minotaur Books: Night on Fire by Douglas Corleone.

About the book, from the publisher:

Kevin Corvelli---a hotshot New York defense attorney who packed up his bags and hung his shingle in Hawaii to dodge the spotlight---is deep in his mai tais at a resort when an argument erupts down at the other end of the bar. It’s a pair of newlyweds, married that very day on the beach. And since Corvelli doesn’t do divorces, he all but dismisses the argument.

That’s at least until the fire breaks out later that night, and he barely escapes his hotel room. Most weren’t so lucky, including the new husband. His wife, Erin, becomes not only the police’s prime suspect for arson and murder but also Corvelli’s newest client, and she has a lot working against her, like motive and opportunity, not to mention a history of starting fires.

The heat gets turned all the way up in Douglas Corleone’s scorching legal thriller Night on Fire, his second following the MB/MWA's First Crime Novel Competition winner, One Man’s Paradise.
Learn more about the book and author at Douglas Corleone's website.

The Page 69 Test: One Man's Paradise.

"The Gods of Greenwich"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: The Gods of Greenwich by by Norb Vonnegut.

About the book, from the publisher:

Forget about Bernie Madoff or Gordon Gekko—there’s a new villain on Wall Street…

Norb Vonnegut didn’t realize how close he skirted to non-fiction when he was writing his spectacular debut Top Producer. Penned before tumultuous revelations and scandals rocked the financial world in late 2008, Vonnegut’s novel depicts, with an insider’s solid knowledge, the tricks that the industry’s real top producers pull in their frenzied pursuit of billions. Now Vonnegut sets his electrifying follow-up in the high-rolling world of hedge funds, lending his seasoned perspective to a riveting thriller.

Jimmy Cusack is the tough kid from a blue-collar neighborhood who made good on Wall Street. Well, almost. After a sterling start to his career, things have soured. His hedge fund has collapsed. The bank is foreclosing on his upscale condominium. And his wife is two months pregnant. That’s the good news. When Cusack takes a “must-have” job with Leeser Capital, a Greenwich fund impervious to the capital market woes, his real troubles begin.

Vonnegut’s unique insider’s perspective and his intuitive, darkly humorous writing are once again on full display in this fast-talking suspense thriller. A high-stakes poker game of a book, The Gods of Greenwich is a timely and gripping read that will keep you glued to the edge of your seat until the last card is played.
Learn more about the book and author at Norb Vonnegut's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Top Producer.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Stolen Lives"

New from Soho Press: Stolen Lives by Jassy Mackenzie.

About the book, from the publisher:

When wealthy Pamela Jordaan hires PI Jade de Jong as a bodyguard after her husband Terrance disappears, Jade thinks keeping an eye on this anxious wife will be an easy way to earn some cash. But when a determined shooter nearly kills them both and Jade finds Terrance horrifically tortured and barely alive, she realizes that she has been drawn into a wicked game. At the same time, her relationship with police superintendent David Patel is on the rocks, and things only get more complicated when his son is kidnapped and his wife is blackmailed. It soon becomes clear that the kidnapping and the attempted killings of Pamela and her husband are tied to a human trafficking ring that stretches from Johannesburg to London.
Learn more about the book and author at Jassy Mackenzie's website.

The Page 69 Test: Random Violence.

"A Hard Death"

New from Harper: A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes.

About the book, from the publisher:

Brilliant forensic pathologist Edward Jenner returns in this explosive sequel to Precious Blood—an edgy, electrifying thriller set in a small-town coastal community where nothing is as it seems.

Edward Jenner, introduced in Precious Blood, has survived the horrific ordeal of the Inquisitor serial killings in New York, but not the political fallout. His state medical license suspended, Jenner finds himself banished to Douglas County in coastal Florida, working as a medical examiner in the balmy seaside resort of Port Fontaine.

But there's a seamy underside to picturesque Douglas County. First Jenner finds the bodies of a murdered man and woman decaying in a sunken car. Then an anonymous call in the middle of the night leads him to a gruesome discovery in the heart of the Everglades. He finds traces of a shadowy criminal conspiracy, and soon learns that he can trust no one.

With his life on the line, Jenner refuses to walk away and let the murderers go unpunished. The result is dark Florida noir, a fierce, edge-of-the-seat thriller from an emerging master of the genre.
Learn more about the author and his work at his website and the Precious Blog.

The Page 69 Test: Precious Blood.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Minding Ben"

New from Voice: Minding Ben by Victoria Brown.

About the book, from the publisher:

At sixteen, Grace Caton boards her first airplane, leaving behind the tropical papaya and guava trees of her small village in Trinidad for another island, this one with tall buildings, graceful parks, and all the books she can read. At least that’s what Grace imagines. But from the moment she touches down, nothing goes as planned. The aunt who had promised to watch over her disappears, and Grace finds herself on her own.

Grace stumbles into the colorful world of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, having been taken in hand, sort of, by a fellow islander, Sylvia. Here, she’s surrounded by other immigrants also finding their way in America. From her Orthodox Jewish landlord, Jacob, to her wannabe Jamaican friend, Kathy, who feels that every outfit can be improved with a Bedazzler and a low-cut top, there’s much to learn about her new city.

Most challenging of all is figuring out her new employers, the Bruckners, an upper-middle-class family in Manhattan. The job is strange—Grace’s duties range from taking daily nude photos of her pregnant boss (a shock to her, since she’s never even seen her own mother naked) to dressing in a traditional maid’s costume to serve Passover seder. But Grace loves four-year-old Ben, and she’s intrigued by the alternately friendly and scheming nannies who spend their days in Union Square Park, and by their constant gossip about who’s hired, who’s fired, and who, scandalously, married her boss.

As the seasons change, Grace discovers that the Bruckners have surprising secrets of their own, and her life becomes increasingly complicated and confusing. But opportunities appear in the most unexpected places, and Grace realizes that she’s living in a city—and a world—where anything is possible.
Visit Victoria Brown's blog.

"The Bird Sisters"

New from Crown: The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen.

About the book, from the publisher:

When a bird flies into a window in Spring Green, Wisconsin, sisters Milly and Twiss get a visit. Twiss listens to the birds' heartbeats, assessing what she can fix and what she can't, while Milly listens to the heartaches of the people who've brought them. These spinster sisters have spent their lives nursing people and birds back to health.

But back in the summer of 1947, Milly and Twiss knew nothing about trying to mend what had been accidentally broken. Milly was known as a great beauty with emerald eyes and Twiss was a brazen wild child who never wore a dress or did what she was told. That was the summer their golf pro father got into an accident that cost him both his swing and his charm, and their mother, the daughter of a wealthy jeweler, finally admitted their hardscrabble lives wouldn't change. It was the summer their priest, Father Rice, announced that God didn't exist and ran off to Mexico, and a boy named Asa finally caught Milly's eye. And, most unforgettably, it was the summer their cousin Bett came down from a town called Deadwater and changed the course of their lives forever.

Rebecca Rasmussen's masterfully written debut novel is full of hope and beauty, heartbreak and sacrifice, love and the power of sisterhood, and offers wonderful surprises at every turn.
Visit The Bird Sisters website.

Monday, April 11, 2011

"The Long Goodbye"

New from Penguin: The Long Goodbye by Meghan O'Rourke.

About the book, from the publisher:

What does it mean to mourn today, in a culture that has largely set aside rituals that acknowledge grief? After her mother died of cancer at the age of fifty-five, Meghan O'Rourke found that nothing had prepared her for the intensity of her sorrow. In the first anguished days, she began to create a record of her interior life as a mourner, trying to capture the paradox of grief-its monumental agony and microscopic intimacies-an endeavor that ultimately bloomed into a profound look at how caring for her mother during her illness changed and strengthened their bond.

O'Rourke's story is one of a life gone off the rails, of how watching her mother's illness-and separating from her husband-left her fundamentally altered. But it is also one of resilience, as she observes her family persevere even in the face of immeasurable loss.

With lyricism and unswerving candor, The Long Goodbye conveys the fleeting moments of joy that make up a life, and the way memory can lead us out of the jagged darkness of loss. Effortlessly blending research and reflection, the personal and the universal, it is not only an exceptional memoir, but a necessary one.
Visit Meghan O'Rourke's website.

"Finding Emilie"

New from Gallery: Finding Emilie by Laurel Corona.

About the book, from the publisher:

Woman is born free, and everywhere she is in corsets....

Lili du ChÂtelet yearns to know more about her mother, the brilliant French mathematician Emilie. But the shrouded details of Emilie's unconventional life—and her sudden death—are elusive. Caught between the confines of a convent upbringing and the intrigues of the Versailles court, Lili blossoms under the care of a Parisian salonniÈre as she absorbs the excitement of the Enlightenment, even as the scandalous shadow of her mother's past haunts her and puts her on her own path of self-discovery.

Laurel Corona's breathtaking new novel, set on the eve of the French Revolution, vividly illuminates the tensions of the times, and the dangerous dance between the need to conform and the desire to chart one's own destiny and journey of the heart.
Learn more about the book and author at Laurel Corona's website and diary.

The Page 69 Test: The Four Seasons.

My Book, The Movie: The Four Seasons.

The Page 69 Test: Penelope's Daughter.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"This Life Is in Your Hands"

New from Harper: This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone by Melissa Coleman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Set on a rugged coastal homestead during the 1970s, This Life Is in Your Hands introduces a superb young writer driven by the need to uncover the truth of a childhood tragedy and connect anew with the beauty and vitality of the back-to-the-land ideal that shaped her early years.

In the fall of 1968, Melissa Coleman's parents, Eliot and Sue—a handsome, idealistic young couple from well-to-do families—pack a few essentials into their VW truck and abandon the complications of modern reality to carve a farm from the woods. They move to a remote peninsula on the coast of Maine and become disciples of Helen and Scott Nearing, authors of the homesteading bible Living the Good Life. On sixty acres of sandy, intractable land, Eliot and Sue begin to forge a new existence, subsisting on the crops they grow and building a home with their own hands.

While they establish a happy family and achieve their visionary goals, the pursuit of a purer, simpler life comes at a price. Winters are long and lean, summers frenetic with the work of the harvest, and the distraction of the many young farm apprentices threatens the Colemans' marriage. Then, one summer day when Melissa is seven, her three-year-old sister, Heidi, wanders off and drowns in the pond where she liked to play. In the wake of the accident, ideals give way to human frailty, divorce, and a mother's breakdown—and ultimately young Melissa is abandoned to the care of neighbors. What really happened, and who, if anyone, is to blame?

This Life Is in Your Hands is the search to understand a complicated past; a true story, both tragic and redemptive, it tells of the quest to make a good life, the role of fate, and the power of forgiveness.
Visit Melissa Coleman's website.

"The Compass of Pleasure"

New from Viking: The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good by David J. Linden.

About the book, from the publisher:

A leading brain scientist's look at the neurobiology of pleasure-and how pleasures can become addictions.

Whether eating, taking drugs, engaging in sex, or doing good deeds, the pursuit of pleasure is a central drive of the human animal. In The Compass of Pleasure Johns Hopkins neuroscientist David J. Linden explains how pleasure affects us at the most fundamental level: in our brain.

As he did in his award-winning book, The Accidental Mind, Linden combines cutting-edge science with entertaining anecdotes to illuminate the source of the behaviors that can lead us to ecstasy but that can easily become compulsive. Why are drugs like nicotine and heroin addictive while LSD is not? Why has the search for safe appetite suppressants been such a disappointment? The Compass of Pleasure concludes with a provocative consideration of pleasure in the future, when it may be possible to activate our pleasure circuits at will and in entirely novel patterns.
The Page 99 Test: David J. Linden's The Accidental Mind.

Read about the collection of short stories Linden called "knee-slapping funny, surreal and profound all at once," at Writers Read: David J. Linden.

Visit the official The Compass of Pleasure blog.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

"Say Her Name"

New from Grove/Atlantic: Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Celebrated novelist Francisco Goldman married a beautiful young writer named Aura Estrada in a romantic Mexican hacienda in the summer of 2005. The month before their second anniversary, during a long-awaited holiday, Aura broke her neck while body surfing. Francisco, blamed for Aura’s death by her family and blaming himself, wanted to die, too. But instead he wrote Say Her Name, a novel chronicling his great love and unspeakable loss, tracking the stages of grief when pure love gives way to bottomless pain.

Suddenly a widower, Goldman collects everything he can about his wife, hungry to keep Aura alive with every memory. From her childhood and university days in Mexico City with her fiercely devoted mother to her studies at Columbia University, through their newlywed years in New York City and travels to Mexico and Europe—and always through the prism of her gifted writings—Goldman seeks her essence and grieves her loss. Humor leavens the pain as he lives through the madness of utter grief and creates a living portrait of a love as joyous and playful as it is deep and profound.

Say Her Name is a love story, a bold inquiry into destiny and accountability, and a tribute to Aura, who she was and who she would have been.
Visit Francisco Goldman's website.

"In the Rooms"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: In the Rooms by Tom Shone.

About the book, from the publisher:

Part Nick Hornby, part Jay McInerney, with a dash of vermouth, In the Rooms is a warm, sharply observed comedy about sex, lies, drinking, and second chances

London literary agent Patrick Miller comes to New York dreaming of joining the big league, only to find himself selling celebrity dog books. But when he spots legendary novelist Douglas Kelsey on the street and follows him into an AA meeting, a world of opportunity beckons. Who knew that sobriety offered such networking possibilities? Or that the women would be so attractive? Soon he’s a regular attendee at AA meetings, but there’s only one problem—he’s not an alcoholic.
Visit Tom Shone's blog.

Friday, April 8, 2011

"After the Golden Age"

New from Tor Books: After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn.

About the book, from the publisher:

Can an accountant defeat a supervillain? Celia West, only daughter of the heroic leaders of the superpowered Olympiad, has spent the past few years estranged from her parents and their high-powered lifestyle. She’s had enough of masks and heroics, and wants only to live her own quiet life out from under the shadow of West Plaza and her rich and famous parents.

Then she is called into her boss’ office and told that as the city’s top forensic accountant, Celia is the best chance the prosecution has to catch notorious supervillain the Destructor for tax fraud. In the course of the trial, Celia’s troubled past comes to light and family secrets are revealed as the rift between Celia and her parents grows deeper. Cut off from friends and family, Celia must come to terms with the fact that she might just be Commerce City’s only hope.

This all-new and moving story of love, family, and sacrifice is an homage to Golden Age comics that no fan will want to miss.
Learn more about the author and her work at Carrie Vaughn's website, blog, and Facebook page.

The Page 99 Test: Kitty and the Silver Bullet.

The Page 99 Test: Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand.

The Page 69 Test: Discord's Apple.

Writers Read: Carrie Vaughn.

"The Unremembered"

New from Tor Books: The Unremembered: Book One of The Vault of Heaven by Peter Orullian.

About the book, from the publisher:

The gods, makers of worlds, seek to create balance—between matter and energy; and between mortals who strive toward the transcendent, and the natural perils they must tame or overcome. But one of the gods fashions a world filled with hellish creatures far too powerful to allow balance; he is condemned to live for eternity with his most hateful creations in that world’s distant Bourne, restrained by a magical veil kept vital by the power of song.

Millennia pass, awareness of the hidden danger fades to legend, and both song and veil weaken. And the most remote cities are laid waste by fell, nightmarish troops escaped from the Bourne. Some people dismiss the attacks as mere rumor. Instead of standing against the real threat, they persecute those with the knowledge, magic and power to fight these abominations, denying the inevitability of war and annihilation. And the evil from the Bourne swells….

The troubles of the world seem far from the Hollows where Tahn Junell struggles to remember his lost childhood and to understand words he feels compelled to utter each time he draws his bow. Trouble arrives when two strangers—an enigmatic man wearing the sigil of the feared Order of Sheason and a beautiful woman of the legendary Far—come, to take Tahn, his sister and his two best friends on a dangerous, secret journey.

Tahn knows neither why nor where they will go. He knows only that terrible forces have been unleashed upon mankind and he has been called to stand up and face that which most daunts him—his own forgotten secrets and the darkness that would destroy him and his world.
Visit Peter Orullian's website.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"No Biking in the House Without a Helmet"

New from Sarah Crichton Books: No Biking in the House Without a Helmet by Melissa Fay Greene.

About the book, from the publisher:

Dispatches from the new front lines of parenthood

When the two-time National Book Award finalist Melissa Fay Greene confided to friends that she and her husband planned to adopt a four-year-old boy from Bulgaria to add to their four children at home, the news threatened to place her, she writes, “among the greats: the Kennedys, the McCaughey septuplets, the von Trapp family singers, and perhaps even Mrs. Feodor Vassilyev, who, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, gave birth to sixty-nine children in eighteenth-century Russia.”

Greene is best known for her books on the civil rights movement and the African HIV/AIDS pandemic. She’s been praised for her “historian’s urge for accuracy,” her “sociologist’s sense of social nuance,” and her “writerly passion for the beauty of language.”

But Melissa and her husband have also pursued a more private vocation: parenthood. “We so loved raising our four children by birth, we didn’t want to stop. When the clock started to run down on the home team, we brought in ringers.”

When the number of children hit nine, Greene took a break from reporting. She trained her journalist’s eye upon events at home. Fisseha was riding a bike down the basement stairs; out on the porch, a squirrel was sitting on Jesse’s head; vulgar posters had erupted on bedroom walls; the insult niftam (the Amharic word for “snot”) had led to fistfights; and four non-native-English-speaking teenage boys were researching, on Mom’s computer, the subject of “saxing.”

“At first I thought one of our trombone players was considering a change of instrument,” writes Greene. “Then I remembered: they can’t spell.”

Using the tools of her trade, she uncovered the true subject of the “saxing” investigation, inspiring the chapter “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, but Couldn’t Spell.”

A celebration of parenthood; an ingathering of children, through birth and out of loss and bereavement; a relishing of moments hilarious and enlightening—No Biking in the House Without a Helmet is a loving portrait of a unique twenty first-century family as it wobbles between disaster and joy.

"The Illusion of Murder"

New from Forge Books: The Illusion of Murder by Carol McCleary.

About the book, from the publisher:

History, mystery, murder andmagic accompany Nellie Bly – Victorian Age detective, reporter, and feminist – as she takes up a challenge by Jules Verne to beat the eighty days it took his fictional hero Phileas Fogg to race around the world. Nellie tackles the journey--alone, with a single change of clothes--against the wishes of her publisher, Joseph Pulitzer, who felt it was “too dangerous for a woman to attempt.”

In her official account of the journey, Seventy-Two Days Around the World, Nellie leaves out one riveting event: a mysterious death. In the bustling harbor city of Port Said, she witnesses an event that makes her a target for a killer and involves her in international intrigue with the fate of nations at stake.

On board the ships that take Nellie from the Land of the Pharaohs to the exotic Orient and across the Pacific are the most famous magicians in the world... but a killer also stalks the decks. As magicians conjure the fantasy and a spiritualist raises the dead, Nellie wonders if Mr. Pulitzer had underestimated the danger.
Learn more about the book and author at Carol McCleary's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Alchemy of Murder.