Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"In the Shadow of the Banyan"

New from Simon & Schuster: In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner.

About the book, from the publisher:

You are about to read an extraordinary story. It will take you to the very depths of despair and show you unspeakable horrors. It will reveal a gorgeously rich culture struggling to survive through a furtive bow, a hidden ankle bracelet, fragments of remembered poetry. It will ensure that the world never forgets the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979, when an estimated two million people lost their lives. It will give you hope, and it will confirm the power of storytelling to lift us up and help us not only survive but transcend suffering, cruelty, and loss.

For seven-year-old Raami, the shattering end of childhood begins with the footsteps of her father returning home in the early dawn hours, bringing details of the civil war that has overwhelmed the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. Soon the family’s world of carefully guarded royal privilege is swept up in the chaos of revolution and forced exodus. Over the next four years, as the Khmer Rouge attempts to strip the population of every shred of individual identity, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of her childhood— the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father. In a climate of systematic violence where memory is sickness and justification for execution, Raami fights for her improbable survival. Displaying the author’s extraordinary gift for language, In the Shadow of the Banyan is a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.
Visit Vaddey Ratner's website.

"No Way to Kill a Lady"

New from NAL: No Way to Kill a Lady (Blackbird Sisters Series #8) by Nancy Martin.

About the book, from the publisher:

For richer, for poorer...

Nora Blackbird, the Bucks County ex-debutante with a haute couture wardrobe, a hot job as a glamorous society columnist and a stone cold bank account, might finally have her own life just right, but everyone around her is going down in flames. Her sister Libby seems destined to be the lead character in a tabloid sex scandal. Her sister Emma is expecting a mysterious love child. Her best friend, Lexie Paine, is serving time in the slammer. And now her mobbed-up boyfriend, Mick Abruzzo—who might actually be her husband—is conducting clandestine capers from Blackbird Farm while under house arrest. What’s a good girl to do?

Find a killer, that’s what! Word arrives that the sisters’ great aunt, Madeleine Blackbird, has died in a volcanic eruption on an Indonesian island and left her fabulous country estate, worth millions, to the three of them. But when the Blackbird sisters show up to claim their windfall, they find the house in a state of disheartening decay and all of Madeleine’s to-die-for treasures gone. Worse, the mansion has been hiding a grisly secret: the body of a woman who died there many years ago. All the evidence points to a high society murder...

Nora’s special bond with flamboyant Aunt Madeleine compels her to seek out the truth. With her aunt’s amorous stepson dogging her footsteps, her unscrupulous lawyer acting like a skunk, and her devoted housekeeper not to be found, Nora’s investigation is going nowhere. Good thing Mick’s close by to offer Nora distractions both dark and delightful. And, as ever, her irrepressible sisters provide some unexpected... and highly unorthodox... assistance when she most needs it.
Learn more about the book and author at Nancy Martin's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Our Lady of Immaculate Deception.

The Page 69 Test: Sticky Fingers.

Writers Read: Nancy Martin.

Monday, July 30, 2012

"Larceny in My Blood"

New from Gotham Books: Larceny in My Blood: A Memoir of Heroin, Handcuffs, and Higher Education by Matthew Parker.

About the book, from the publisher:

A fully illustrated graphic memoir of a child of the '60s who was raised into a life of crime and addiction —but graduated into freedom.

Matthew Parker was in his mid-forties when he started college. He’d been sidetracked: Eleven years were eaten up by serving time in various county jails, state penitentiaries, and federal prison. He’d been arrested more than thirty times, racking up eight felonies in a crime career that began at age thirteen, when he started dealing pot. When he got out of prison for the last time and kicked his heroin addiction, he was determined to spend the next chapter of his life in the classroom. And he did just that, going on to complete a master’s degree from Columbia University’s highly competitive creative writing program.

Through captivating black-and-white illustrations drawn in a distinctively primitive style, Larceny in My Blood flashes back on Parker's childhood, with memories of a loving but lawless mother teaching him that breaking the law was the way to survive. From there it moves to an account of Parker’s lost decades, where he resorted to petty crime to support a heroin habit. After years of fighting the system, Parker sees the light and Larceny in My Blood becomes a poignant portrait of a man trying to find his way in the straight and narrow. A unique memoir, Parker’s images and words form a mesmerizing road to redemption.
Visit the Larceny in My Blood Facebook page.

"Law Man"

New from Crown: Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases, and Finding Redemption by Shon Hopwood with Dennis Burke.

About the book, from the publisher:

Law Man is an improbable-but-true memoir of redemption -- the story of a young bank robber who became the greatest jailhouse lawyer in American history, and who changed not just his own life, but the lives of everyone around him.

Shon Hopwood was a good kid from a good Nebraskan family, a small-town basketball star whose parents had started a local church. Few who knew him as a friendly teen would have imagined that, shortly after returning home from the Navy, he’d be adrift with few prospects and plotting to rob a bank. But rob he did, committing five heists before being apprehended.

Only twenty three and potentially facing twelve years in Illinois’ Pekin Federal Prison, Shon feared his life was already over. He’d shamed himself and his loving family and friends, and a part of him wanted to die. He wasn’t sure at first if he’d survive the prison gangs, but slowly glimmers of hope appeared. He earned some respect on the prison basketball court, received a steady flow of letters from hometown well wishers, including a note from a special girl whom he’d thought too beautiful to ever pay him notice – and, most crucially, he secured a job in the prison law library.

It was an assignment that would prove his salvation.

Poring over the library’s thick legal volumes, Shon discovered that he had a knack for the law, and he soon became the go-to guy for inmates seeking help. Then came a request to write a complex petition to the Supreme Court – a high-wire act of jailhouse lawyering that had never before met with success.

By the time Shon walked out of Pekin Prison he’d pulled off a series of legal miracles, earned the undying gratitude of numerous inmates, won the woman of his dreams, and built a new life for himself far greater than anything he could have imagined.

A story that mixes moments of high-adrenaline with others of deep poignancy, Law Man is a powerful reminder that even the worst mistakes can be redeemed through faith, hard work and the love and support of others.
Visit Shon Hopwood's Facebook page.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

"Death of a Schoolgirl"

New from Berkley Prime Crime: Death of a Schoolgirl by Joanna Campbell Slan.

About the book, from the publisher:

In her classic tale, Charlotte Brontë introduced readers to the strong-willed and intelligent Jane Eyre. Picking up where Brontë left off, Jane’s life has settled into a comfortable pattern: She and her beloved Edward Rochester are married and have an infant son. But Jane soon finds herself in the midst of new challenges and threats to those she loves...

Jane can’t help but fret when a letter arrives from Adèle Varens—Rochester’s ward, currently at boarding school—warning that the girl’s life is in jeopardy. Although it means leaving her young son and invalid husband, and despite never having been to a city of any size, Jane feels strongly compelled to go to London to ensure Adèle’s safety.

But almost from the beginning, Jane’s travels don’t go as planned—she is knocked about and robbed, and no one believes that the plain, unassuming Jane could indeed be the wife of a gentleman; even the school superintendent takes her for an errant new teacher. But most shocking to Jane is the discovery that Adèle’s schoolmate has recently passed away under very suspicious circumstances, yet no one appears overly concerned. Taking advantage of the situation, Jane decides to pose as the missing instructor—and soon uncovers several unsavory secrets, which may very well make her the killer’s next target...
Learn more about the author and her work at Joanna Slan's website and blog.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Joanna Slan and Rafferty.

"Going to the Bad"

New from Touchstone: Going to the Bad: A Lilly Hawkins Mystery by Nora McFarland.

About the book, from the publisher:


Working as a TV news photographer at her hometown television station, Lilly has documented Bakersfield’s most violent crimes and tragic accidents. To stay sane and avoid burnout, she’s developed a wicked sense of humor and a very thick skin. For her, a vicious shooting is just another day on the job. But what if the victim is someone she loves? Thrown off balance by the brutal attack on her uncle Bud in her own home, Lilly decides to handle the tragedy the only way she knows how. Using all her TV station’s resources and her own considerable skills, Lilly dives headlong into the investigation. But even with the assistance of her well-meaning but eccentric coworkers, this story may prove her last. Because as Lilly untangles a history of her uncle’s misdeeds and betrayals, a clever killer is preparing to strike again. Can she break the story in time to prevent another murder, or will Lilly be the next victim?
Learn more about the book and author at Nora McFarland's website.

My Book, The Movie: Nora McFarland's A Bad Day's Work.

Writers Read: Nora McFarland.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

"The Exceptions"

New from Grand Central Publishing: The Exceptions by David Cristofano.

About the book, from the publisher:

As part of the Bovaro family, one of the most powerful and respected families in organized crime, violence is passed down and becomes a way of life. Jonathan Bovaro always knew he would become a part of his family's legacy, but he never realized how the beautiful little blonde girl he saw when he was ten could change the course of his life forever.

When Melody Grace McCartney and her parents witnessed that legendary Bovaro family violent streak, it was clear they needed to be silenced. But it was too late. The McCartneys joined the Witness Protection Program. Chosen to exterminate the McCartneys and prove himself to his family, Jonathan pledges to do the job. But as he watches her grow into a beautiful but broken woman, he can't get her out of his mind...or his heart. Torn between his duty to his family and his love for Melody-the mysterious, dangerous, yet vulnerable mafioso must choose between the destiny his family carved out for him and a future unlike anything he ever imagined.
Learn more about the book and author at David Cristofano's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Girl She Used to Be.

"The Woman Reader"

New from Yale University Press: The Woman Reader by Belinda Jack.

About the book, from the publisher:

This lively story has never been told before: the complete history of women's reading and the ceaseless controversies it has inspired. Belinda Jack's groundbreaking volume travels from the Cro-Magnon cave to the digital bookstores of our time, exploring what and how women of widely differing cultures have read through the ages.

Jack traces a history marked by persistent efforts to prevent women from gaining literacy or reading what they wished. She also recounts the counter-efforts of those who have battled for girls' access to books and education. The book introduces frustrated female readers of many eras—Babylonian princesses who called for women's voices to be heard, rebellious nuns who wanted to share their writings with others, confidantes who challenged Reformation theologians' writings, nineteenth-century New England mill girls who risked their jobs to smuggle novels into the workplace, and women volunteers who taught literacy to women and children on convict ships bound for Australia.

Today, new distinctions between male and female readers have emerged, and Jack explores such contemporary topics as burgeoning women's reading groups, differences in men and women's reading tastes, censorship of women's on-line reading in countries like Iran, the continuing struggle for girls' literacy in many poorer places, and the impact of women readers in their new status as significant movers in the world of reading.

Friday, July 27, 2012

"All We Know: Three Lives"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: All We Know: Three Lives by Lisa Cohen.

About the book, from the publisher:

Esther Murphy was a brilliant New York intellectual who dazzled friends and strangers with an unstoppable flow of conversation. But she never finished the books she was contracted to write—a painful failure and yet a kind of achievement.

The quintessential fan, Mercedes de Acosta had intimate friendships with the legendary actresses and dancers of the twentieth century. Her ephemeral legacy lies in the thousands of objects she collected to preserve the memory of those performers and to honor the feelings they inspired.

An icon of haute couture and a fashion editor of British Vogue, Madge Garland held bracing views on dress that drew on her feminism, her ideas about modernity, and her love of women. Existing both vividly and invisibly at the center of cultural life, she—like Murphy and de Acosta—is now almost completely forgotten.

In All We Know, Lisa Cohen describes these women’s glamorous choices, complicated failures, and controversial personal lives with lyricism and empathy. At once a series of intimate portraits and a startling investigation into style, celebrity, sexuality, and the genre of biography itself, All We Know explores a hidden history of modernism and pays tribute to three compelling lives.

"Out of It"

New from Bloomsbury USA: Out of It by Selma Dabbagh.

About the book, from the publisher:

Moving from Palestine to London to the Gulf, this unique novel brilliantly depicts modern-day family life in Gaza.

Gaza is being bombed. Rashid—a young, clever Palestinian—has been smoking grass on the roof watching it happen when he gets the e-mail he has been desperate for: he’s won a scholarship to London. Rashid’s sister, Iman, frustrated by the atrocities and inaction around her, is beginning to take an interest in an Islamic resistance group. Sabri, their intellectual older brother, is working on a history of Palestine from his wheelchair while their mother pickles vegetables and feuds with the neighbors.

Out of It follows the lives of Rashid and Iman as they try to forge places for themselves in the midst of occupation, the growing divide between Palestinian factions, and the rise of fundamentalism. Written with extraordinary humanity and humour, and moving between Gaza, London and the Gulf, this book helps to re-define Palestine and its people.
Visit Selma Dabbagh's website.

See Selma Dabbagh's top 10 stories of reluctant revolutionaries.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Darwinian Agriculture"

New from Princeton University Press: Darwinian Agriculture: How Understanding Evolution Can Improve Agriculture by R. Ford Denison.

About the book, from the publisher:

As human populations grow and resources are depleted, agriculture will need to use land, water, and other resources more efficiently and without sacrificing long-term sustainability. Darwinian Agriculture presents an entirely new approach to these challenges, one that draws on the principles of evolution and natural selection.

R. Ford Denison shows how both biotechnology and traditional plant breeding can use Darwinian insights to identify promising routes for crop genetic improvement and avoid costly dead ends. Denison explains why plant traits that have been genetically optimized by individual selection--such as photosynthesis and drought tolerance--are bad candidates for genetic improvement. Traits like plant height and leaf angle, which determine the collective performance of plant communities, offer more room for improvement. Agriculturalists can also benefit from more sophisticated comparisons among natural communities and from the study of wild species in the landscapes where they evolved.

Darwinian Agriculture reveals why it is sometimes better to slow or even reverse evolutionary trends when they are inconsistent with our present goals, and how we can glean new ideas from natural selection's marvelous innovations in wild species.

"The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns"

New from Putnam: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway.

About the book, from the publisher:

Thirty-six-year-old Gal Garner lives a regimented life. Her job teaching biology and her struggle with kidney disease keep her toggling between the high school, the hospital, and her home on a strict schedule.

Only at home, in her garden, does Gal come alive. It's here that she experiments with Hulthemia roses, painstakingly cross-pollinating various specimens in the hopes of creating a brand-new variation of spectacular beauty. But even her passion has a highly structured goal: Gal wants to win Queen of Show in a major competition and bring that rose to market.

Then one afternoon Gal's teenaged niece Riley, the daughter of her estranged sister, arrives. Unannounced. Neither one of them will ever be the same.

Filled with gorgeous details of the art of rose breeding, The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns is a testament to the redemptive power of love.
Visit Margaret Dilloway's website and blog.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Goodbye for Now"

New from Doubleday: Goodbye for Now: A Novel by Laurie Frankel.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the spirit of ONE DAY, comes a fresh and warmhearted love story for the 21st century. Sometimes the end is just the beginning...

Sam Elling works for an internet dating company, but he still can't get a date. So he creates an algorithm that will match you with your soul mate. Sam meets the love of his life, a coworker named Meredith, but he also gets fired when the company starts losing all their customers to Mr. and Ms. Right.

When Meredith's grandmother, Livvie, dies suddenly, Sam uses his ample free time to create a computer program that will allow Meredith to have one last conversation with her grandmother. Mining from all her correspondence—email, Facebook, Skype, texts—Sam constructs a computer simulation of Livvie who can respond to email or video chat just as if she were still alive. It's not supernatural, it's computer science.

Meredith loves it, and the couple begins to wonder if this is something that could help more people through their grief. And thus, the company RePose is born. The business takes off, but for every person who just wants to say good-bye, there is someone who can't let go.

In the meantime, Sam and Meredith's affection for one another deepens into the kind of love that once tasted, you can't live without. But what if one of them suddenly had to? This entertaining novel, delivers a charming and bittersweet romance as well as a lump in the throat exploration of the nature of love, loss, and life (both real and computer simulated). Maybe nothing was meant to last forever, but then again, sometimes love takes on a life of its own.
Learn more about the book and author at Laurie Frankel's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Atlas of Love.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Laurie Frankel and Calli.

"You & Me"

New from HarperCollins: You & Me by Padgett Powell.

About the book, from the publisher:

The cult hit The Interrogative Mood—a Best Book of the Year selection by Amazon.com, GQ, The Believer, Time Out New York, and elsewhere—reminded readers that Padgett Powell is one of the enduring stars of American fiction, an electric novelist with a pitch-perfect ear for the way Americans talk and the strange things we say and believe. Now he returns with a hilarious Southern send-up of Samuel Beckett's classic Waiting for Godot, and we enter the world of the sublime and trivial as only Powell can envision it.

Two loquacious men sit talking on a porch. Funny and profound, daft and cogent, they argue about love and sex, how best to live and die, the merits of Miles Davis and Cadillacs and Hollywood starlets of yore, underused clichés, false truisms, and the meaning of nihilism. Together, they shoot the shit—and then they go on shooting it long after it's dead.

Ribald and roaring, You & Me is an exuberant and very funny novel from a master of American fiction at the top of his game.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Double Cross"

New from Crown: Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre.

About the book, from the publisher:

In his celebrated bestsellers Agent Zigzag and Operation Mincemeat, Ben Macintyre told the dazzling true stories of a remarkable WWII double agent and of how the Allies employed a corpse to fool the Nazis and assure a decisive victory. In Double Cross, Macintyre returns with the untold story of the grand final deception of the war and of the extraordinary spies who achieved it.

On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and suffered an astonishingly low rate of casualties. D-Day was a stunning military accomplishment, but it was also a masterpiece of trickery. Operation Fortitude, which protected and enabled the invasion, and the Double Cross system, which specialized in turning German spies into double agents, deceived the Nazis into believing that the Allies would attack at Calais and Norway rather than Normandy. It was the most sophisticated and successful deception operation ever carried out, ensuring that Hitler kept an entire army awaiting a fake invasion, saving thousands of lives, and securing an Allied victory at the most critical juncture in the war.

The story of D-Day has been told from the point of view of the soldiers who fought in it, the tacticians who planned it, and the generals who led it. But this epic event in world history has never before been told from the perspectives of the key individuals in the Double Cross System. These include its director (a brilliant, urbane intelligence officer), a colorful assortment of MI5 handlers (as well as their counterparts in Nazi intelligence), and the five spies who formed Double Cross’s nucleus: a dashing Serbian playboy, a Polish fighter-pilot, a bisexual Peruvian party girl, a deeply eccentric Spaniard with a diploma in chicken farming and a volatile Frenchwoman, whose obsessive love for her pet dog very nearly wrecked the entire plan. The D-Day spies were, without question, one of the oddest military units ever assembled, and their success depended on the delicate, dubious relationship between spy and spymaster, both German and British. Their enterprise was saved from catastrophe by a shadowy sixth spy whose heroic sacrifice is revealed here for the first time.

With the same depth of research, eye for the absurd and masterful storytelling that have made Ben Macintyre an international bestseller, Double Cross is a captivating narrative of the spies who wove a web so intricate it ensnared Hitler’s army and carried thousands of D-Day troops across the Channel in safety.

"The Trinity Game"

New from Thomas & Mercer: The Trinity Game by Sean Chercover.

About the book, from the publisher:

Daniel Byrne is an investigator for the Vatican’s secretive Office of the Devil’s Advocate—the department that scrutinizes miracle claims. Over ten years and 721 cases, not one miracle he tested has proved true. But case #722 is different; Daniel’s estranged uncle, a crooked TV evangelist, has started speaking in tongues—and accurately predicting the future. Daniel knows Reverend Tim Trinity is a con man. Could Trinity also be something more?

The evangelist himself is baffled by his newfound power—and the violent reaction it provokes. After years of scams, he suddenly has the ability to predict everything from natural disasters to sports scores. Now the mob wants him dead for ruining their gambling business, and the Vatican wants him debunked as a false messiah. On the run from assassins, Trinity flees with Daniel’s help through the back roads of the Bible Belt to New Orleans, where Trinity plans to deliver a final prophecy so shattering his enemies will do anything to keep him silent.
Visit Sean Chercover's website and blog.

Monday, July 23, 2012

"The Messenger"

New from Delacorte Press: The Messenger by Stephen Miller.

About the book, from the publisher:

In a world of heightened threat levels, sleeper cells, and unseen enemies, one novel explores the war on terrorism with harrowing suspense ... and deep humanity.

Daria emerges from a refugee camp a believer. She has lost everything, witnessed the unthinkable, and committed herself to a mission with a deadly conclusion. Indoctrinated, trained, and given a ticket to New York, she blends in, posing as an ambitious journalist—an “arrow” hoping to hit too many targets to count.

Dr. Sam Watterman is recruited too. Falsely accused and disgraced in the anthrax inquiries after 9/11, he is no longer a believer in causes. But the government that ruined his career now demands his expertise to locate a threat putting millions of Americans in peril.

In a country that fights wars on foreign soil but remains terrified of the cataclysm at home, Sam strives toward redemption and Daria desperately seeks both rebellion and enlightenment. Their lives will intersect at a place that will test their faith and make them each question what it means to have something worth dying for.

With a riveting plot that spans sixteen fraught, compelling days, Stephen Miller’s dazzling novel of literary suspense brings the war to a landscape both familiar and vulnerable: the America we call home.
Visit Stephen Miller's website.

"A Cupboard Full of Coats"

New from Amistad: A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvvette Edwards.

About the book, from the publisher:

Plagued by guilt, paralyzed by shame, Jinx has spent the years since her mother's death alone, estranged from her husband, withdrawn from her son, and entrenched in a childhood home filled with fierce and violent memories. When Lemon, an old family friend, appears unbidden at the door, he seduces Jinx with a heady mix of powerful storytelling and tender care. What follows is a tense and passionate weekend, as the two join forces to unravel the tragedy that binds them. Jinx has long carried the burden of the past; now, she must relive her mother's last days, confront her grief head-on, and speak the truth as only she knows it.

Expertly woven and perfectly paced, A Cupboard Full of Coats is both a heartbreaking family drama and a riveting mystery, with a cast of characters who linger in the mind and the heart long after the last page has been turned.
Learn more about A Cupboard Full of Coats, and visit Yvvette Edwards's Facebook page.

Writers Read: Yvvette Edwards.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Heron's Cove"

New from Mira: Heron's Cove by Carla Neggers.

About the book, from the publisher:

New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers returns with a gripping story of romantic suspense, where FBI agents Sharpe and Donovan must decide whether working alone or standing together is the only way to outwit an enemy set to tear them apart.

When your safety depends on living a lie…

After escaping certain death, deep-cover agent Colin Donovan is back home on the Maine coast with his new love, FBI art crimes expert Emma Sharpe. Then Tatiana Pavlova, a London-based jewelry designer, arrives in Heron's Cove, asking for Emma's help—a prized collection from a lost era of Russian opulence, decadence and rare beauty has resurfaced, and Tatiana warns Emma it's about to be stolen again. And Colin realizes his nightmare isn't over. It's just begun.

And everyone you love is a target…

Emma guards her past closely, and Colin is determined to unlock her secrets. As they investigate the mysterious collection and the equally mysterious Tatiana, they confront their greatest challenge. Now they must count on their expertise—and each other—to outwit an enemy who wants to destroy them and everyone they love most.

Who can you afford to trust?
Visit Carla Neggers's website and Facebook page.

"Dare Me"

New from Little, Brown & Company: Dare Me: A Novel by Megan Abbott.

About the book, from the publisher:

Addy Hanlon and Beth Cassidy are tough, inseparable, invincible. No pair more charismatic or sophisticated. No pair more dangerous.

But with the fall term, their new coach arrives and things begin to change. She has plans for the cheerleading squad. All sleek poise and cool command, the girls are soon entirely in her thrall. Faster, harder, higher, thinner, the stakes raised, their world contracting, they compete to risk-everything.

She, however, has been crossing a line of her own.

From the author of The End of Everything, Dare Me is a searing novel about the allure of adulthood and the dark heart of adolescence: the fierce bonds between girls, their bitter rivalries, and their power to transform one another.
Learn more about the book and author at Megan Abbott's website.

The Page 69 Test: Bury Me Deep.

The Page 69 Test: The End of Everything.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

"52 Reasons to Hate My Father"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody.

About the book, from the publisher:

Being America’s favorite heiress is a dirty job…but someone’s gotta do it.

Lexington Larrabee has never had to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand-new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Boulevard either.

Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteenth birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

In Jessica Brody's hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have fifty-two reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.
Visit Jessica Brody's website and blog.

Writers Read: Jessica Brody (October 2009).

"The Sacrifice Game"

New from Dutton: The Sacrifice Game by Brian D'Amato.

About the book, from the publisher:

The mind-bending, stunningly inventive sequel to Brian D'Amato's In Courts of the Sun, in which one man holds the key to saving the world from the 2012 apocalypse foretold by the Mayan Prophecy.

In Brian D’Amato’s cult classic, In the Courts of the Sun, a team of scientists sent math prodigy and Mayan descendant Jed DeLanda back in time to the year AD 664 to learn the "Sacrifice Game," a divination ritual that the ancient Maya used to predict the apocalypse on December 21, 2012. But after arriving in the body of a willing human sacrifice instead of a Mayan king, Jed’s experiences led him to the fateful decision that rather than avert the apocalypse, he must ensure instead that the world ends.

Using his knowledge of the divination game, Jed sets in motion a series of events that will bring about the destruction of humanity, ending the world’s pain and suffering once and for all. But before the plan can be completed, the organization that sent him into the past discovers his intention and devotes every resource to stop him.

Taking readers back to the dizzying action of ancient times, The Sacrifice Game is a breathtaking odyssey in which Jed must survive bloody wars, ruthless leaders, shifting alliances, and unspeakable betrayal to learn about the Game, before his time in both the ancient Mayan empire and the present day runs out.
Learn more about the book and author at Brian D'Amato's website.

The Page 69 Test: In the Courts of the Sun.

Friday, July 20, 2012


New from Riverhead: Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins.

About the book, from the publisher:

Like the work of Cormac McCarthy, Denis Johnson, Richard Ford, and Annie Proulx, Battleborn represents a near-perfect confluence of sensibility and setting, and the introduction of an exceptionally powerful and original literary voice. In each of these ten unforgettable stories, Claire Vaye Watkins writes her way fearlessly into the mythology of the American West, utterly reimagining it. Her characters orbit around the region's vast spaces, winning redemption despite - and often because of - the hardship and violence they endure. The arrival of a foreigner transforms the exchange of eroticism and emotion at a prostitution ranch. A prospecting hermit discovers the limits of his rugged individualism when he tries to rescue an abused teenager. Decades after she led her best friend into a degrading encounter in a Vegas hotel room, a woman feels the aftershock. Most bravely of all, Watkins takes on - and reinvents - her own troubled legacy in a story that emerges from the mayhem and destruction of Helter Skelter. Arcing from the sweeping and sublime to the minute and personal, from Gold Rush to ghost town to desert to brothel, the collection echoes not only in its title but also in its fierce, undefeated spirit the motto of her home state.
Visit Claire Vaye Watkins's website.


New from Berkley: Haven (Bishop/Special Crimes Unit Series #13) by Kay Hooper.

About the book, from the publisher:

Another nightmare, in the woods this time. Different: She was running. Trying to escape.

But the same ending. Always the same ending. Another dead girl

Emma Rayburn was born and raised in Baron Hollow, North Carolina, and it was a quiet life. Then came the accident…and the nightmares—each filled with unshakable visions of darkness, blind panic, and desperate women chased toward inevitable death. With no reports of local women missing or found dead, Emma has written it off to troubled imaginings—night after dreaded night. Until her sister arrives.

Jessie Rayburn, psychic investigator for a firm called Haven, has been estranged from Emma for years. Unresolved issues from Jessie’s past have not only kept them apart but have been clouding Jessie’s unique abilities. A return to her hometown to face a dark and violent incident from years gone by is her chance to regain them. But reconciliation with the past comes with a price. Few people in Baron Hollow are welcoming Jessie back. No one dares to breathe a word. And in this conspiracy of silence, Emma’s nightmares are becoming more vivid than ever.

Even with the help of Noah Bishop, head of the FBI Special Crimes Unit and co-founder of Haven, Jessie and Emma soon find themselves outnumbered by the secrets buried in Baron Hollow—and outrunning an evil that has been festering for years, one that’s targeting Jessie and Emma one last time.
Visit Kay Hooper's website.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Playing with Matches"

New from Bantam: Playing with Matches by Carolyn Wall.

About the book, from the publisher:

When I felt truly lost—which was most of the time—I went out to the narrow lot and sat down in the weeds. From there I could observe both houses. After all, I had two eyes, didn’t I? Two nostrils, two arms, two knobby knees. The trouble was, I had only one heart.

Growing up in False River, Mississippi, Clea Shine learned early that a small town is no place for big secrets. Having fled years ago in the wake of a tragedy and now settled with a family of her own, she faces a turning point in her marriage and seeks refuge in the one place she vowed never to return.

Clea’s homecoming is bittersweet. Reunited with Jerusha Lovemore, the kindly neighbor who raised her, Clea gains a sense of love and comfort, but still cannot escape the ghosts of her past: the abandonment by her disreputable mother, her constant search for belonging, the truth behind that fateful night from long ago. Once outspoken and impulsive, Clea now seeks only redemption and peace of mind. And as a hurricane threatens to hit False River, everything she has tried to forget may finally be exposed once and for all.

A mesmerizing and poignant work by a master of the Southern novel, Playing with Matches is a stunning tale of guilt, forgiveness, and the enduring bonds of family.
Visit Carolyn Wall's website.

"The Thing about Thugs"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: The Thing about Thugs by Tabish Khair.

About the book, from the publisher:

A subversive, macabre novel of a young Indian man’s misadventures in Victorian London as the city is racked by a series of murders

In a small Bihari village, Captain William T. Meadows finds just the man to further his phrenological research back home: Amir Ali, confessed member of the infamous Thugee cult. With tales of a murderous youth redeemed, Ali gains passage to England, his villainously shaped skull there to be studied. Only Ali knows just how embroidered his story is, so when a killer begins depriving London’s underclass of their heads, suspicion naturally falls on the “thug.” With help from fellow immigrants led by a shrewd Punjabi woman, Ali journeys deep into a hostile city in an attempt to save himself and end the gruesome murders.

Ranging from skull-lined mansions to underground tunnels a ghostly people call home, The Thing about Thugs is a feat of imagination to rival Wilkie Collins or Michael Chabon. Short-listed for the 2010 Man Asian Literary Prize, this sly Victorian role reversal marks the arrival of a compelling new Indian novelist to North America.
Visit Tabish Khair's website.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"Let the Devil Sleep"

New from Crown: Let the Devil Sleep: A Novel by John Verdon.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this latest novel from bestselling author John Verdon, ingenious puzzle solver Dave Gurney puts under the magnifying glass a notorious serial murder case – one whose motives have been enshrined as law-enforcement dogma - and discovers that everyone has it wrong.

The most decorated homicide detective in NYPD history, Dave Gurney is still trying to adjust to his life of quasi-retirement in upstate New York when a young woman who is producing a documentary on a notorious murder spree seeks his counsel. Soon after, Gurney begins feeling threatened: a razor-sharp hunting arrow lands in his yard, and he narrowly escapes serious injury in a booby-trapped basement. As things grow more bizarre, he finds himself reexamining the case of The Good Shepherd, which ten years before involved a series of roadside shootings and a rage-against-the-rich manifesto. The killings ceased, and a cult of analysis grew up around the case with a consensus opinion that no one would dream of challenging -- no one, that is, but Dave Gurney.

Mocked even by some who’d been his supporters in previous investigations, Dave realizes that the killer is too clever to ever be found. The only gambit that may make sense is also the most dangerous – to make himself a target and get the killer to come to him.

To survive, Gurney must rely on three allies: his beloved wife Madeleine, impressively intuitive and a beacon of light in the gathering darkness; his de-facto investigative “partner” Jack Hardwick, always ready to spit in authority’s face but wily when it counts; and his son Kyle, who has come back into Gurney’s life with surprising force, love and loyalty.

Displaying all the hallmarks for which the Dave Gurney series is lauded -- well-etched characters, deft black humor, and ingenious deduction that ends in a climactic showdown – Let the Devil Sleep is something more: a reminder of the power of self-belief in a world that contains too little of it.
Visit John Verdon's website and Facebook page.

"The Fear Artist"

New from Soho Press: The Fear Artist by Timothy Hallinan.

About the book, from the publisher:

An accidental collision on a Bangkok sidewalk goes very wrong when the man who ran into Rafferty dies in his arms, but not before saying three words: Helen Eckersley. Cheyenne. Seconds later, the police arrive, denying that the man was shot. That night, Rafferty is interrogated by Thai secret agents who demand to know what the dead man said, but Rafferty can't remember. When he's finally released, Rafferty arrives home to find that his apartment has been ransacked. In the days that follow, he realizes he's under surveillance. The second time men in uniform show up at his door, he manages to escape the building and begins a new life as a fugitive. As he learns more about his situation, it becomes apparent that he's been caught on the margins of the war on terror, and that his opponent is a virtuoso artist whose medium is fear.
Learn more about the book and author at Timothy Hallinan's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: A Nail Through the Heart.

The Page 69 Test: The Fourth Watcher.

My Book, The Movie: The Fourth Watcher.

The Page 69 Test: Breathing Water.

Writers Read: Timothy Hallinan (August 2010).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"A Labyrinth of Kingdoms"

New from W. W. Norton: A Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles through Islamic Africa by Steve Kemper.

About the book, from the publisher:

A true story that rivals the travels of Burton or Stanley for excitement, and surpasses them in scientific achievements.

In 1849 Heinrich Barth joined a small British expedition into unexplored regions of Islamic North and Central Africa. One by one his companions died, but he carried on alone, eventually reaching the fabled city of gold, Timbuktu. His five-and-a-half-year, 10,000-mile adventure ranks among the greatest journeys in the annals of exploration, and his discoveries are considered indispensable by modern scholars of Africa.

Yet because of shifting politics, European preconceptions about Africa, and his own thorny personality, Barth has been almost forgotten. The general public has never heard of him, his epic journey, or his still-pertinent observations about Africa and Islam; and his monumental five-volume Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa is rare even in libraries. Though he made his journey for the British government, he has never had a biography in English. Barth and his achievements have fallen through a crack in history.
Visit Steve Kemper's website.

"Better With You Here"

New from Grand Central Publishing: Better With You Here by Gwendolyn Zepeda.

About the book, from the publisher:

Single mom Natasha Dávila has done a good job holding things together. Her divorce didn't leave her with much, but she has her kids and they are her world. Only now, she's facing a problem she never predicted: Her ex-husband is re-marrying, expecting a new baby and --worst of all--suing Natasha for full custody of their two children. Desperate to save her family, she turns to her neighbors--fellow single moms facing their own drama. Sharing their laughter and their tears, these near strangers help Natasha find a strength she never knew she had. And when her ex ups the ante and exposes some disturbing news about Natasha's new friends, she'll need that strength more than ever.
Learn more about the book and author at Gwendolyn Zepeda's website.

The Page 69 Test: Gwendolyn Zepeda's Houston, We Have a Problema.

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Small Damages"

New from Philomel: Small Damages by Beth Kephart.

About the book, from the publisher:

Juno meets Under the Tuscan Sun

It's senior year, and while Kenzie should be looking forward to prom and starting college in the fall, she discovers she's pregnant. Her determination to keep her baby is something her boyfriend and mother do not understand. So she is sent to Spain, where she will live out her pregnancy, and her baby will be adopted by a Spanish couple. No one will ever know.

Alone and resentful in a foreign country, Kenzie is at first sullen and difficult. But as she gets to know Estela, the stubborn old cook, and Esteban, the mysterious young man who cares for the horses, she begins to open her eyes, and her heart, to the beauty that is all around her, and inside her. Kenzie realizes she has some serious choices to make--choices about life, love, and home.

Lyrically told in a way that makes the heat, the colors, and the smells of Spain feel alive, Small Damages is a feast for the heart and the soul, and a coming-of-age novel not easily forgotten.
Visit Beth Kephart's website.

"Have Mother, Will Travel"

New from William Morrow: Have Mother, Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Themselves, Each Other, and the World by Claire and Mia Fontaine.

About the book, from the publisher:

A mother, a daughter, and a life-changing adventure around the world...

Their bestselling memoir, Come Back, moved and inspired readers with the story of Mia Fontaine's harrowing drug addiction and her mother, Claire's, desperate and ultimately successful attempts to save her. Now it's a decade later and Claire and Mia each face a defining moment in her life, and a mother-daughter relationship that has frayed around the edges. At fifty-one, Claire's shed her identity as Mia's savior but realizes that, oops, she forgot to plan for life after motherhood; Mia, twenty-five and eager to step outside her role as recovery's poster child, finds adult life isn't all it's cracked up to be. Determined to transform themselves and their relationship once again, the pair sets off on a five-month around-the-world adventure.

What awaits them is an extraordinary, often hilarious journey through twenty cities and twelve countries—one that includes mishaps, mayhem, and unexpected joys, from a passport-eating elephant to a calamitous camel ride around the Pyramids—and finally making peace with their tumultuous past in the lavender fields of France, where they live for the last four months of the trip. Seeing how self-possessed and community-minded twentysomethings are in other countries broadens Mia's perspective, helping her grow, and grow up. Claire uses the trip to examine her broken relationship with her own mother, a Holocaust survivor, and to create a vision for her second act. Watching her mom assess half a century of life, Mia comes to know her as Claire has always known Mia—as all mothers know their daughters—better than anyone else, and often better than themselves.

Wiser for what they've learned from women in other cultures, and from each other, they return with a deepened sense of who they are and where they want to go—and with each embracing the mature friendship they've discovered and the profound love they share.

Alternating between Claire and Mia's compelling and distinct voices, Have Mother, Will Travel is a testament to the power and beauty of the mother-daughter relationship, one that illuminates possibilities for our own lives.
Visit Claire and Mia Fontaine’s website.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

"A City of Broken Glass"

New from Forge Books: A City of Broken Glass by Rebecca Cantrell.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Rebecca Cantrell's A City of Broken Glass, journalist Hannah Vogel is in Poland with her son Anton to cover the 1938 St. Martin festival when she hears that 12,000 Polish Jews have been deported from Germany. Hannah drops everything to get the story on the refugees, and walks directly into danger.

Kidnapped by the SS, and driven across the German border, Hannah is rescued by Anton and her lover, Lars Lang, who she had presumed dead two years before. Hannah doesn’t know if she can trust Lars again, with her heart or with her life, but she has little choice. Injured in the escape attempt and wanted by the Gestapo, Hannah and Anton are trapped with Lars in Berlin. While Hannah works on an exit strategy, she helps to search for Ruth, the missing toddler of her Jewish friend Paul, who was disappeared during the deportation.

Trapped in Nazi Germany with her son just days before Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, Hannah knows the dangers of staying any longer than needed. But she can’t turn her back on this one little girl, even if it plunges her and her family into danger.
Learn more about the book and author at Rebecca Cantrell's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: A Trace of Smoke.

My Book, The Movie: A Trace of Smoke.

The Page 69 Test: A Game of Lies.

My Book, The Movie: A Game of Lies.

"Hell or High Water"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: Hell or High Water by Joy Castro.

About the book, from the publisher:

Nola Céspedes, an ambitious young reporter at the Times-Picayune, finally catches a break: an assignment to write her first full-length feature. While investigating her story, she also becomes fixated on the search for a missing tourist in the French Quarter. As Nola’s work leads her into a violent criminal underworld, she’s forced to face disturbing truths from her own past and is confronted with the question: In the aftermath of devastation, who is responsible for rebuilding what's been broken?

Vividly rendered in razor-sharp prose, this haunting thriller is a riveting journey of trust betrayed—and the courageous struggle to rebuild. Fast-paced, atmospheric, and with a knockout twist, Hell or High Water features an unforgettable heroine as fascinating and multilayered as New Orleans itself.
Visit Joy Castro's website, blog, and Twitter perch.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

"Jack 1939"

New from Riverhead: Jack 1939 by Francine Mathews.

About the book, from the publisher:

Charming. Reckless. Brilliant. Deadly.

A young Jack Kennedy travels to Europe on a secret mission for Franklin Roosevelt as the world braces for war

It’s the spring of 1939, and the prospect of war in Europe looms large. The United States has no intelligence service. In Washington, D.C., President Franklin Roosevelt may run for an unprecedented third term and needs someone he can trust to find out what the Nazis are up to. His choice: John F. Kennedy.

It’s a surprising selection. At twenty-two, Jack Kennedy is the attractive but unpromising second son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Roosevelt’s ambassador to Britain (and occasional political adversary). But when Jack decides to travel through Europe to gather research for his Harvard senior thesis, Roosevelt takes the opportunity to use him as his personal spy. The president’s goal: to stop the flow of German money that has been flooding the United States to buy the 1940 election—an election that Adolf Hitler intends Roosevelt lose.

In a deft mosaic of fact and fiction, Francine Mathews has written a gripping espionage tale that explores what might have happened when a young Jack Kennedy is let loose in Europe as the world careens toward war. A potent combination of history and storytelling, Jack 1939 is a sexy, entertaining read.
Visit the Jack 1939 Facebook page and Francine Mathews's website.

"Henry Cowell"

New from Oxford University Press: Henry Cowell: A Man Made of Music by Joel Sachs.

About the book, from the publisher:

Joel Sachs offers the first complete biography of one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century American music. Henry Cowell, a major musical innovator of the first half of the century, left a rich body of compositions spanning a wide range of styles. But as Sachs shows, Cowell's legacy extends far beyond his music. He worked tirelessly to create organizations such as the highly influential New Music Quarterly, New Music Recordings, and the Pan-American Association of Composers, through which great talents like Ruth Crawford Seeger and Charles Ives first became known in the US and abroad. As one of the first Western advocates for World Music, he used lectures, articles, and recordings to bring other musical cultures to myriad listeners and students including John Cage and Lou Harrison, who attributed their life work to Cowell's influence. Finally, Sachs describes the tragedy of Cowell's life--his guilty plea on a morals charge, which even the prosecutor felt was trivial, but brought him a sentence of 15 years in San Quentin, of which he served four.

Friday, July 13, 2012


New from Doubleday: Amped by Daniel H. Wilson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Technology makes them superhuman. But mere mortals want them kept in their place. The New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse creates a stunning, near-future world where technology and humanity clash in surprising ways. The result? The perfect summer blockbuster.

As he did in Robopocalypse, Daniel Wilson masterfully envisions a frightening near-future world. In Amped, people are implanted with a device that makes them capable of superhuman feats. The powerful technology has profound consequences for society, and soon a set of laws is passed that restricts the abilities—and rights—of "amplified" humans. On the day that the Supreme Court passes the first of these laws, twenty-nine-year-old Owen Gray joins the ranks of a new persecuted underclass known as "amps." Owen is forced to go on the run, desperate to reach an outpost in Oklahoma where, it is rumored, a group of the most enhanced amps may be about to change the world—or destroy it.

Once again, Daniel H. Wilson's background as a scientist serves him well in this technologically savvy thriller that delivers first-rate entertainment, as Wilson takes the "what if" question in entirely unexpected directions. Fans of Robopocalypse are sure to be delighted, and legions of new fans will want to get "amped" this summer.
Visit Daniel Wilson's website.

My Book, The Movie: A Boy and His Bot.

Writers Read: Daniel H. Wilson.

The Page 69 Test: Robopocalypse.

"The Constant Lovers"

New from Severn House: The Constant Lovers (Richard Nottingham Series #1) by Chris Nickson.

About the book, from the publisher:

A tale of greed, ambition and thwarted love in eighteenth-century Leeds

July, 1732. On a hot summer morning, Richard Nottingham, Constable of Leeds, is called out when a young woman is found stabbed to death among the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey. In her pocket is a love note: 'Soon we'll be together and our hearts can sing loud, my love, W.' What happened to the maid who accompanied her mistress on her final, fatal journey? Who is the mysterious 'W' who signed the note? Nottingham must delve into the dark secrets of the rich and influential to uncover the truth.
Visit Chris Nickson's website.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Castro's Daughter"

New from Forge Books: Castro's Daughter by David Hagberg.

About the book, from the publisher:

Cuban Intelligence Service Colonel Maria Leon is called to the bedside of the dying Fidel Castro. She is his illegitimate daughter but has never been acknowledged by her father until now. Castro makes her promise to contact the legendary former Director of the CIA Kirk McGarvey to help her on a mysterious quest to find Cibola, the fabled seven cities of Gold.

As the Cuban government unravels, Leon has to use every means at her disposal just to find the elusive McGarvey, all the while fending off men in her own Operations Division who want her job or her death. In desperation, Leon kidnaps McGarvey’s closest friend, Otto Rencke, to force McGarvey's hand.

Mac's meeting with Leon launches the most bizarre mission of his entire career that takes him from Cuba to Mexico City, to Spain and finally to an ancient site in New Mexico that the Spanish conquistadors called the Jornada del muerto—the Journey of Death.

On the run from Cuban intelligence agents and blood thirsty Mexican drug cartel soldiers who will stop at nothing for a piece of the fabulous treasure, McGarvey struggles to decipher the truth buried in Leon's deception.

This latest installment in David Hagberg's New York Times bestselling Kirk McGarvey series takes the former CIA director on another deadly international adventure in Castro's Daughter.
Learn more about the book and author at David Hagberg's website.

Writers Read: David Hagberg.

My Book, The Movie: Abyss.

The Page 69 Test: Abyss.

"Whiplash River"

New from William Morrow: Whiplash River by Lou Berney.

About the book, from the publisher:

Having left his life of crime behind, former getaway driver Charles "Shake" Bouchon has finally realized the dream of owning his own restaurant in Belize. Unfortunately, to do so he's had to go deep in debt to a murderous local drug lord named Baby Jesus. And when Shake thwarts an attempted hit on an elderly customer named Quinn, things go from bad to worse.

Next thing Shake knows, his restaurant's gone up in flames and he's on the run from Baby Jesus, two freelance assassins, and a beautiful but ferocious FBI agent. Out of options, Shake has to turn to the mysterious Quinn for help. Suddenly Shake's up to his neck in a dangerous score that he'll never pull off unless he can convince an even more dangerous ex-girlfriend to join him.
Learn more about the book and author at Lou Berney's website and blog, and the Whiplash River Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Gutshot Straight.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"Shout Her Lovely Name"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Shout Her Lovely Name by Natalie Serber.

About the book, from the publisher:

Mothers and daughters ride the familial tide of joy, regret, loathing, and love in these stories of resilient and flawed women. In a battle between a teenage daughter and her mother, wheat bread and plain yogurt become weapons. An aimless college student, married to her much older professor, sneaks cigarettes while caring for their newborn son. On the eve of her husband’s fiftieth birthday, a pilfered fifth of rum, an unexpected tattoo, and rogue teenagers leave a woman questioning her place. And in a suite of stories, we follow capricious, ambitious single mother Ruby and her cautious, steadfast daughter Nora through their tumultuous life—stray men, stray cats, and psychedelic drugs—in 1970s California.

Gimlet-eyed and emotionally generous, achingly real and beautifully written, these unforgettable stories lay bare the connection and conflict in families. Shout Her Lovely Name heralds the arrival of a powerful new writer.
Visit Natalie Serber's website and blog.

"Shine Shine Shine"

New from St. Martin's Press: Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Maxon met Sunny, he was seven years, four months, and eighteen-days old. Or, he was 2693 rotations of the earth old. Maxon was different. Sunny was different. They were different together.

Now, twenty years later, they are married, and Sunny wants, more than anything, to be “normal.” She’s got the housewife thing down perfectly, but Maxon, a genius engineer, is on a NASA mission to the moon, programming robots for a new colony. Once they were two outcasts who found unlikely love in each other: a wondrous, strange relationship formed from urgent desire for connection. But now they’re parents to an autistic son. And Sunny is pregnant again. And her mother is dying in the hospital. Their marriage is on the brink of imploding, and they’re at each other’s throats with blame and fear. What exactly has gone wrong?

Sunny wishes Maxon would turn the rocket around and come straight-the-hell home.

When an accident in space puts the mission in peril, everything Sunny and Maxon have built hangs in the balance. Dark secrets, long-forgotten murders, and a blond wig all come tumbling to the light. And nothing will ever be the same.…

A debut of singular power and intelligence, Shine Shine Shine is a unique love story, an adventure between worlds, and a stunning novel of love, death, and what it means to be human.
Visit Lydia Netzer's website and blog.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


New from Touchstone: Discretion by Allison Leotta.

About the book, from the publisher:

When a beautiful young woman plummets to her death from the balcony of the U.S. Capitol, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna Curtis is summoned to the scene. The evidence points to a sexual assault and murder. The victim is one of the city’s highest-paid escorts. And the balcony belongs to Washington, D.C.’s sole representative to Congress, the most powerful figure in city politics.

The Congressman proclaims his innocence, but he’s in the middle of a tough primary fight, and the scandal could cost him the election. For Anna, the high-profile case is an opportunity. But as the political stakes rise, she realizes that a single mistake could end her career.

At the same time, her budding romance with Jack Bailey, the chief homicide prosecutor, is at a crossroads. Determined to gain respect in the office, Anna wants to keep their relationship under wraps. But the mounting pressure and media attention that come with the office’s most important case will inevitably expose their relationship—if it doesn’t destroy it first.

The investigation leads Anna to Discretion, a high-end escort service that caters to D.C.’s elite. But with each break in the case, the mystery deepens. And the further Anna ventures into D.C.’s red-light underworld, the larger the target on her own back.

From the secret social clubs where Washington’s most powerful men escape from public view to the asphalt “track” where the city’s most vulnerable women work the streets, Discretion is a gripping exploration of sex, power, and the secrets we all keep.
Learn more about the book and author at Allison Leotta's website and blog.

Writers Read: Allison Leotta.

My Book, The Movie: Law of Attraction.

"Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety"

New from Simon & Schuster: Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

Anxiety once paralyzed Daniel Smith over a roast beef sandwich, convincing him that a choice between ketchup and barbeque sauce was as dire as that between life and death. It has caused him to chew his cuticles until they bled, wear sweat pads in his armpits, and confess his sexual problems to his psychotherapist mother. It has dogged his days, threatened his sanity, and ruined his relationships.

In Monkey Mind, Smith articulates what it is like to live with anxiety, defanging the disease with humor, traveling through its demonic layers, and evocatively expressing its self-destructive absurdities and painful internal coherence. With honesty and wit, he exposes anxiety as a pudgy, weak-willed wizard behind a curtain of dread and tames what has always seemed to him, and to the tens of millions of others who suffer from anxiety, a terrible affliction.

Aaron Beck, the most influential doctor in modern psychotherapy, says that “Monkey Mind does for anxiety what William Styron’s Darkness Visible did for depression.” Neurologist and bestselling writer Oliver Sacks says, “I read Monkey Mind with admiration for its bravery and clarity. . . . I broke out into explosive laughter again and again.” Here, finally, comes relief and recognition to all those who want someone to put what they feel, or what their loved ones feel, into words.
Visit Daniel Smith's website and Facebook page.

Monday, July 9, 2012


New from Tin House Books: Parsifal by Jim Krusoe.

About the book, from the publisher:

There's a war going on between the earth and the sky, but that doesn’t stop Parsifal, a humble fountain-pen repairman, from revisiting the forest where he was raised. On his journey, Parsifal—a wise fool if there ever was one—encounters several librarians, a therapist, numerous blind people, and Misty, a beautiful woman who may well be under the influence of recreational drugs.

Head-spinning and hilarious, Parsifal is a book like no other about the entanglement of the past and present, as well as the limitations of the future.
The Page 69 Test: Girl Factory.

The Page 69 Test: Erased.

The Page 69 Test: Toward You.

Writers Read: Jim Krusoe.

"The Red Chamber"

New from Knopf: The Red Chamber by Pauline A. Chen.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this lyrical reimagining of the Chinese classic Dream of the Red Chamber, set against the breathtaking backdrop of eighteenth-century Beijing, the lives of three unforgettable women collide in the inner chambers of the Jia mansion. When orphaned Daiyu leaves her home in the provinces to take shelter with her cousins in the Capital, she is drawn into a world of opulent splendor, presided over by the ruthless, scheming Xifeng and the prim, repressed Baochai. As she learns the secrets behind their glittering façades, she finds herself entangled in a web of intrigue and hidden passions, reaching from the petty gossip of the servants’ quarters all the way to the Imperial Palace. When a political coup overthrows the emperor and plunges the once-mighty family into grinding poverty, each woman must choose between love and duty, friendship and survival.

In this dazzling debut, Pauline A. Chen draws the reader deep into the secret, exquisite world of the women’s quarters of an aristocratic household, where the burnish of wealth and refinement mask a harsher truth: marriageable girls are traded like chattel for the family’s advancement, and to choose to love is to risk everything.
Visit Pauline A. Chen's website.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"The Science of Navigation"

New from Johns Hopkins University Press: The Science of Navigation: From Dead Reckoning to GPS by Mark Denny.

About the book, from the publisher:

In today's world of online maps and travel directions delivered wirelessly to hand-held devices, getting from place to place requires little thought from most of us—which is a good thing, since accurate navigation can be tricky. Get your bearings with Mark Denny—an expert at explaining scientific concepts in non-technical language—in this all-encompassing look at the history and science of navigation.

Denny's tour kicks off with key facts about the earth and how its physical properties affect travel. He discusses cartography and early mapmakers, revealing fascinating tidbits such as how changes over time of the direction of true north, as well as of magnetic north, impacted navigation. Denny details the evolution of navigation from the days of coastal piloting to GPS and other modern-day technologies. He explains the scientific breakthroughs in accessible, amusing terms and provides an insightful look at their effects on societies, cultures, and human advancement. Throughout, Denny frames the long history of navigation with amazing tales of such people as Pytheas, an ancient Greek navigator, and Sir Francis Drake and of such discoveries as the magnetic compass and radio direction finding.

Whether you have an interest in orienteering and geocaching or want to know more about the critical role navigation has played in human survival and progress since ancient people learned to use lodestones, The Science of Navigation is for you. With it you'll finally understand the why of wayfinding.

"The Last Policeman"

New from Quirk Books: The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters.

About the book, from the publisher:

What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die? Detective Hank Palace has asked this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. Several kilometers wide, it’s on a collision course with planet Earth, with just six precious months until impact.

The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. Industry is grinding to a halt. Most people have abandoned their jobs. But not Hank Palace. As our story opens, he’s investigating the latest suicide in a city that’s full of suicides—only this one feels wrong. This one feels like homicide. And Palace is the only one who cares. What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die?

The Last Policeman offers a story we’ve never read before: A police procedural set on the brink of an apocalypse. What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?
Visit the official Ben H. Winters website.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

"Eat the City"

New from Crown: Eat the City: A Tale of the Fishers, Foragers, Butchers, Farmers, Poultry Minders, Sugar Refiners, Cane Cutters, Beekeepers, Winemakers, and Brewers Who Built New York by Robin Shulman.

About the book, from the publisher:

New York is not a city for growing and manufacturing food. It’s a money and real estate city, with less naked earth and industry than high-rise glass and concrete. Yet in this intimate, visceral, and beautifully written book, Robin Shulman introduces the people of New York City - both past and present - who do grow vegetables, butcher meat, fish local waters, cut and refine sugar, keep bees for honey, brew beer, and make wine. In the most heavily built urban environment in the country, she shows an organic city full of intrepid and eccentric people who want to make things grow. What’s more, Shulman artfully places today’s urban food production in the context of hundreds of years of history, and traces how we got to where we are.

In these pages meet Willie Morgan, a Harlem man who first grew his own vegetables in a vacant lot as a front for his gambling racket. And David Selig, a beekeeper in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn who found his bees making a mysteriously red honey. Get to know Yolene Joseph, who fishes crabs out of the waters off Coney Island to make curried stews for her family. Meet the creators of the sickly sweet Manischewitz wine, whose brand grew out of Prohibition; and Jacob Ruppert, who owned a beer empire on the Upper East Side, as well as the New York Yankees.

Eat the City is about how the ability of cities to feed people has changed over time. Yet it is also, in a sense, the story of the things we long for in cities today: closer human connections, a tangible link to more basic processes, a way to shape more rounded lives, a sense of something pure.

Of course, hundreds of years ago, most food and drink consumed by New Yorkers was grown and produced within what are now the five boroughs. Yet people rarely realize that long after New York became a dense urban agglomeration, innovators, traditionalists, migrants and immigrants continued to insist on producing their own food. This book shows the perils and benefits—and the ironies and humor—when city people involve themselves in making what they eat.

Food, of course, is about hunger. We eat what we miss and what we want to become, the foods of our childhoods and the symbols of the lives we hope to lead. With wit and insight, Eat the City shows how in places like New York, people have always found ways to use their collective hunger to build their own kind of city.
Visit Robin Shulman's website.