Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"The Amistad Rebellion"

New from Viking: The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom by Marcus Rediker.

About the book, from the publisher:

On June 28, 1839, the Spanish slave schooner Amistad set sail from Havana on a routine delivery of human cargo. On a moonless night, after four days at sea, the captive Africans rose up, killed the captain, and seized control of the ship. They attempted to sail to a safe port, but were captured by the U.S. Navy and thrown into jail in Connecticut. Their legal battle for freedom eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, where their cause was argued by former president John Quincy Adams. In a landmark ruling, they were freed and eventually returned to Africa. The rebellion became one of the best-known events in the history of American slavery, celebrated as a triumph of the legal system in films and books, all reflecting the elite perspective of the judges, politicians, and abolitionists involved in the case. In this powerful and highly original account, Marcus Rediker reclaims the rebellion for its true proponents: the African rebels who risked death to stake a claim for freedom.

Using newly discovered evidence, Rediker reframes the story to show how a small group of courageous men fought and won an epic battle against Spanish and American slaveholders and their governments. He reaches back to Africa to find the rebels’ roots, narrates their cataclysmic transatlantic journey, and unfolds a prison story of great drama and emotion. Featuring vividly drawn portraits of the Africans, their captors, and their abolitionist allies, he shows how the rebels captured the popular imagination and helped to inspire and build a movement that was part of a grand global struggle between slavery and freedom. The actions aboard the Amistad that July night and in the days and months that followed were pivotal events in American and Atlantic history, but not for the reasons we have always thought.

The successful Amistad rebellion changed the very nature of the struggle against slavery. As a handful of self-emancipated Africans steered their own course to freedom, they opened a way for millions to follow. This stunning book honors their achievement.
Visit Marcus Rediker's website.


New from Hudson Street Press: Twentysomething: Why Do Young Adults Seem Stuck? by Robin Marantz Henig & Samantha Henig.

About the book, from the publisher:

What does it mean to be young today?

In the summer of 2010, Robin Marantz Henig wrote a provocative article for the New York Times Magazine called “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” It generated enormous reader response and started a conversation that included both millennials and baby boomers. Now, working with her millennial daughter Samantha, she expands the project to give us a full portrait of what it means to be in your twenties today.

Looking through many lenses, the Henigs ask whether emerging adulthood has truly become a new rite of passage. They examine the latest neuroscience and psychological research, the financial pressures young people face now, changing cultural expectations, the aftereffects of helicopter parenting, and the changes that have arisen from social media and all things Internet. Most important, they have surveyed more than 120 millennials and baby boomers to give voice to both viewpoints of a conversation that is usually one-sided.
Visit Robin Marantz Henig's website.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Poison Shy"

New from ECW Press: Poison Shy by Stacey Madden.

About the book, from the publisher:

A dark debut from a rising literary talent

Brandon Galloway is a 29-year-old nobody, fumbling between dead-end jobs in a town full of drunks and prostitutes. When he lands a position with a pest control company and meets 21-year-old wild-child Melanie Blaxley while fumigating her apartment for bed bugs, Brandon’s life skips from hapless to hectic in no time. He is both attracted to and repelled by Melanie’s vulgar sensuality and reckless promiscuity, but when her world of crazy sex and petty crime starts to take its toll on his sanity, Brandon wonders how much more of her he can stand.

When she disappears, Brandon’s left to put the pieces together. Is it all just a prank, or have Melanie’s wild ways put her in peril? A hair-raising thrill ride through the bars and backstreets of a small college town, Poison Shy is a darkly funny and fast-paced novel about obsession, fear, and the threat of other people.
Visit Stacey Madden's Twitter perch.

"The Small Hours"

New from Virago: The Small Hours by Susie Boyt.

About the book, from the publisher:

Harriet Mansfield, brave, wry and handsome, is determined to triumph no matter what. With a decade of therapy under her belt and a new large inheritance, it seems there is nothing she cannot achieve.

So she decides to open the school of her dreams. To her precious little girls, rich in everything but care, she vows to provide the happiest childhoods in the world. For everyone knows that early years passed in delightful ways can set you up for life.

But can this ambitious new departure spill some retrospective sweetness onto Harriet's own harsh beginnings, or better still cancel them out altogether? Will the family she's estranged from ever grant her the recognition she craves?

Written with deep psychological insight and coal-black humour The Small Hours is a stunning meditation on love, self-love and forgiveness, and their shadowy opposites.
Learn more about the book and author at Susie Boyt's website.

The Page 99 Test: Susie Boyt's My Judy Garland Life.

Monday, October 29, 2012

"The Cassandra Project"

New from Ace: The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick.

About the book, from the publisher:

Two science fiction masters—Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick—team up to deliver a classic thriller in which one man uncovers the secret history of the US space program…

Early in his career, Jerry Culpepper could never have been accused of being idealistic. Doing public relations—even for politicians—was strictly business...until he was hired as NASA’s public affairs director and discovered a client he could believe in. Proud of the agency’s history and sure of its destiny, he was thrilled to be a part of its future—a bright era of far-reaching space exploration.

But public disinterest and budget cuts changed that future. Now, a half century after the first moon landing, Jerry feels like the only one with stars—and unexplored planets and solar systems—in his eyes.

Still, Jerry does his job, trying to drum up interest in the legacy of the agency. Then a fifty-year-old secret about the Apollo XI mission is revealed, and he finds himself embroiled in the biggest controversy of the twenty-first century, one that will test his ability—and his willingness—to spin the truth about a conspiracy of reality-altering proportions...
Visit Jack McDevitt's website and Mike Resnick's website.

"Prosperous Friends"

New from Grove/Atlantic: Prosperous Friends by Christine Schutt.

About the book, from the publisher:

Described by John Ashbery as “pared down but rich, dense, fevered, exactly right and even eerily beautiful,” Christine Schutt’s prose has earned her comparisons to Emily Dickinson and Eudora Welty. The New York Times Book Review described Schutt’s All Souls as “shot through with [Virginia] Woolf’s lyrical, restless spirit.” In her new novel, Schutt delivers a pitch-perfect, timeless, and original work on the spectacle of love.

Prosperous Friends follows the evolution of a young couple’s marriage as it is challenged by the quandaries of longing and sexual self-discovery. The glam­orous and gifted Ned Bourne and his pretty wife, Isabel, travel to London, New York, and Maine in hopes of realizing their artistic promise, but their quest for sexual fulfillment is less assured. Past lovers and new infatuations, doubt and indifference threaten to bankrupt the marriage. The Bournes’ fan­tasies for their future finally give way to a deepened perspective in the company of an older, celebrated artist, Clive Harris, and his wife, a poet, Dinah Harris. With compassionate insight, Schutt explores the divide between those like Clive and Dinah who seem to prosper in love and those like Ned and Isabel who feel themselves condemned to yearn for it.
Visit Christine Schutt's website.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

"Eight Girls Taking Pictures"

New from Scribner: Eight Girls Taking Pictures by Whitney Otto.

About the book, from the publisher:

Bestselling author Whitney Otto’s Eight Girls Taking Pictures is a profoundly moving portrayal of the lives of women, imagining the thoughts and circumstances that produced eight famous female photographers of the twentieth century.

This captivating novel opens in 1917 as Cymbeline Kelley surveys the charred remains of her photography studio, destroyed in a fire started by a woman hired to help take care of the house while Cymbeline pursued her photography career. This tension— between wanting and needing to be two places at once; between domestic duty and ambition; between public and private life; between what’s seen and what’s hidden from view—echoes in the stories of the other seven women in the book. Among them: Amadora Allesbury, who creates a world of color and whimsy in an attempt to recapture the joy lost to WWI; Clara Argento, who finds her voice working alongside socialist revolutionaries in Mexico; Lenny Van Pelt, a gorgeous model who feels more comfortable photographing the deserted towns of the French countryside after WWII than she does at a couture fashion shoot; and Miri Marx, who has traveled the world taking pictures, but also loves her quiet life as a wife and mother in her New York apartment. Crisscrossing the world and a century, Eight Girls Taking Pictures is an affecting meditation on the conflicts women face and the choices they make. These memorable characters seek extraordinary lives through their work, yet they also find meaning and reward in the ordinary tasks of motherhood, marriage, and domesticity. Most of all, this novel is a vivid portrait of women in love—in love with men, other women, children, their careers, beauty, and freedom.

As she did in her bestselling novel How to Make an American Quilt, Whitney Otto offers a finely woven, textured inquiry into the intersecting lives of women. Eight Girls Taking Pictures is her most ambitious book: a bold, immersive, and unforgettable narrative that shows how the art, loves, and lives of the past influence our present.
Visit Whitney Otto's website.


New from Knopf: Elsewhere by Richard Russo.

About the book, from the publisher:

After eight commanding works of fiction, the Pulitzer Prize winner now turns to memoir in a hilarious, moving, and always surprising account of his life, his parents, and the upstate New York town they all struggled variously to escape.

Anyone familiar with Richard Russo's acclaimed novels will recognize Gloversville once famous for producing that eponymous product and anything else made of leather. This is where the author grew up, the only son of an aspirant mother and a charming, feckless father who were born into this close-knit community. But by the time of his childhood in the 1950s, prosperity was inexorably being replaced by poverty and illness (often tannery-related), with everyone barely scraping by under a very low horizon.

A world elsewhere was the dream his mother instilled in Rick, and strived for herself, and their subsequent adventures and tribulations in achieving that goal—beautifully recounted here—were to prove lifelong, as would Gloversville's fearsome grasp on them both. Fraught with the timeless dynamic of going home again, encompassing hopes and fears and the relentless tides of familial and individual complications, this story is arresting, comic, heartbreaking, and truly beautiful, an immediate classic.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"Flame of Sevenwaters"

New from Roc: Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier.

About the book, from the publisher:

Maeve, daughter of Lord Sean of Sevenwaters, was badly burned as a child and carries the legacy of that fire in her crippled hands. After ten years, she’s returning home, having grown into a courageous, forthright woman with a special gift for gentling difficult animals. But while her body’s scars have healed, her spirit remains fragile, fearing the shadows of her past.

Sevenwaters is in turmoil. The fey prince Mac Dara has become desperate to see his only son, married to Maeve’s sister, return to the Otherworld. To force Lord Sean’s hand, Mac Dara has caused a party of innocent travelers on the Sevenwaters border to vanish—only to allow their murdered bodies to be found, one by one.

When Maeve finds the body of one of the missing men in a remote part of the woods, she and her brother Finbar embark on a journey that may bring about the end of Mac Dara’s reign, or lead to a hideous death. If she is successful, Maeve may open the door to a future she has not dared to believe possible....
Visit Juliet Marillier's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Juliet Marillier & Pippa, Gretel, and Sara.

The Page 69 Test: Seer of Sevenwaters.

Writers Read: Juliet Marillier (January 2011).

"Flight Behavior"

New from Harper: Flight Behavior: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver.

About the book, from the publisher:

Flight Behavior transfixes from its opening scene, when a young woman's narrow experience of life is thrown wide with the force of a raging fire. In the lyrical language of her native Appalachia, Barbara Kingsolver bares the rich, tarnished humanity of her novel's inhabitants and unearths the modern complexities of rural existence. Characters and reader alike are quickly carried beyond familiar territory here, into the unsettled ground of science, faith, and everyday truces between reason and conviction.

Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she has settled for permanent disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man. As she hikes up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. The bewildering emergency draws rural farmers into unexpected acquaintance with urbane journalists, opportunists, sightseers, and a striking biologist with his own stake in the outcome. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed.

Flight Behavior takes on one of the most contentious subjects of our time: climate change. With a deft and versatile empathy Kingsolver dissects the motives that drive denial and belief in a precarious world.
Visit Barbara Kingsolver's website.

Friday, October 26, 2012

"Care of Wooden Floors"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Care of Wooden Floors by Will Wiles.

About the book, from the publisher:

A British copywriter house-sits at his composer friend Oskar’s ultra-modern apartment in a glum Eastern European city. The instructions are simple: Feed the cats, don’t touch the piano, and make sure nothing damages the priceless wooden floors. Content for the first time in ages, he accidentally spills some wine. The apartment and the narrator’s sanity gradually fall apart in this unusual and satisfying novel.

Oskar has left several notes for his friend, gently instructing him in the proper maintenance of the flat. But over the course of one disastrous week, as the situation in (and out) of the apartment spirals out of control, the notes take on a more insistent—and creepily prescient—tone.

Anyone who has ever felt inferior to a perfectionist friend will sympathize with the narrator’s plight. Wiles is a genuinely funny comic novelist in the tradition of those two earlier British W’s, Wodehouse and Waugh.
Visit Will Wiles's website.

"You Tell Your Dog First"

New from Berkley: You Tell Your Dog First by Alison Pace.

About the book, from the publisher:

You Tell Your Dog First…

About the date you just had…about the questionable results of a medical test…about the good and the bad…about everything.

For years, award-winning author Alison Pace was a dog person without a dog. And then, she got Carlie—a feisty and fluffy West Highland white terrier. She could weed out bad boyfriends with a sniff of her button-black nose and win the hearts of lifelong friends with an adoring gaze. Suddenly, Alison had a constant companion and confidante, who went with her on long morning rambles in Central Park, on trips to the country and the beach, and on her search for inner peace, love, and happiness. Through Carlie, Alison found herself connected to the world as never before.

With her trademark warmth, wit and humor, Alison shares her stories…the tales of a dog person who found her dog.
Learn more about the book and author at Alison Pace's website.

The Page 69 Test: Alison Pace's City Dog.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


New from Simon Pulse: Ruins by Orson Scott Card.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Rigg and his friends crossed the Wall between the only world they knew and a world they could not imagine, he hoped he was leading them to safety. But the dangers in this new wallfold are more difficult to see. Rigg, Umbo, and Param know that they cannot trust the expendable, Vadesh—a machine shaped like a human, created to deceive—but they are no longer certain that they can even trust one another. But they will have little choice. Because although Rigg can decipher the paths of the past, he can’t yet see the horror that lies ahead: A destructive force with deadly intentions is hurtling toward Garden. If Rigg, Umbo, and Param can’t work together to alter the past, there will be no future.

The adventure, suspense, and time travel continue in this second installment in the critically acclaimed New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestselling Pathfinder series.

"I Want to Kill the Dog"

New from Blue Rider Press: I Want to Kill the Dog by Richard M. Cohen.

About the book, from the publisher:

“Has a couple ever gone to war or a spouse moved to another country because a pet came between them? Have two people other than my wife and me ever had such opposing feelings when it comes to domestic animals?”

So wonders Richard M. Cohen, who has endured the beasts his wife, Meredith Vieira, has brought into the house to enrich their lives. Despite her unshakable affection for these furry creatures, the various animals have destroyed the serenity of a once calm household. Friends watch in stunned silence as the family frantically struggles to keep peace in this lawless land. Delivery people have fled in fear. Guests have cowered or simply laughed at the hideous shrieks, the current mutt’s stab at intimidation. Then there are the cats that think they are ferocious jungle creatures. Weary of having animals run the show, Richard is fed up. These animals are destroying a home, and the life of one simple soul who seeks only peace and quiet. The King has been overthrown. The Queen and her court have taken over. That would be Meredith and her minions.

I Want to Kill the Dog is more than a countercultural ode to those weary of the pet pedestal. It is a portrait of a marriage and of the redemptive power of humor and family when banishing the beast is not an option.
Visit the I Want to Kill the Dog Facebook page.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Cycling Science"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Cycling Science: How Rider and Machine Work Together by Max Glaskin.

About the book, from the publisher:

Every July hundreds of thousands flock to the Champs-Élysées in Paris—and millions more to their televisions and computers—to witness the dramatic conclusion of the grueling three weeks of the Tour de France. There is no better measure of the worldwide love of the bicycle. But of the 1.2 billion cyclists traversing the world’s roadways and trails, few of us take the time to consider the science behind the sport. The simple process of getting about on two wheels brings us in touch with a wealth of fascinating science, and here journalist Max Glaskin investigates the scientific wonders that keep cyclists in their saddles.

Cycling Science tours readers through a wide variety of topics, from tire rolling resistance and the difference between yield strength and ultimate strength, to the importance of aerodynamics and the impact that shaved legs have on speed. Each chapter explores a different subject—fundamentals, strength and stability, materials, power, aerodynamics, and the human factor—and is organized around a series of questions: What is the ideal frame shape? What is the biggest source of drag? What keeps a bicycle from falling over? How much power can a cyclist produce? Which muscles does cycling use? Each question is examined with the aid of explanatory diagrams and illustrations, and the book can be used to search for particular topics, or read through for a comprehensive overview of how machine and rider work together.

Athletes have much to gain from understanding the science of their sports, and Cycling Science will be a must-read for cyclists of all stripes—professionals, recreational riders, and anyone seeking to enhance their enjoyment of cycling.

"The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr: Law, Politics, and the Character Wars of the New Nation by R. Kent Newmyer.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Burr treason trial, one of the greatest criminal trials in American history, was significant for several reasons. The legal proceedings lasted seven months and featured some of the nation's best lawyers. It also pitted President Thomas Jefferson (who declared Burr guilty without the benefit of a trial and who masterminded the prosecution), Chief Justice John Marshall (who sat as a trial judge in the federal circuit court in Richmond), and former Vice President Aaron Burr (who was accused of planning to separate the western states from the Union) against each other. At issue, in addition to the life of Aaron Burr, were the rights of criminal defendants, the constitutional definition of treason, and the meaning of separation of powers in the Constitution. Capturing the sheer drama of the long trial, Kent Newmyer's book sheds new light on the chaotic process by which lawyers, judges, and politicians fashioned law for the new nation.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Shakespeare's Common Prayers"

New from Oxford University Press: Shakespeare's Common Prayers: The Book of Common Prayer and the Elizabethan Age by Daniel Swift.

About the book, from the publisher:

Societies and entire nations draw their identities from certain founding documents, whether charters, declarations, or manifestos. The Book of Common Prayer figures as one of the most crucial in the history of the English-speaking peoples. First published in 1549 to make accessible the devotional language of the late Henry the VIII's new church, the prayer book was a work of monumental religious, political, and cultural importance. Within its rituals, prescriptions, proscriptions, and expressions were fought the religious wars of the age of Shakespeare. This diminutive book--continuously reformed and revised--was how that age defined itself.

In Shakespeare's Common Prayers, Daniel Swift makes dazzling and original use of this foundational text, employing it as an entry-point into the works of England's most celebrated writer. Though commonly neglected as a source for Shakespeare's work, Swift persuasively and conclusively argues that the Book of Common Prayer was absolutely essential to the playwright. It was in the Book's ambiguities and its fierce contestations that Shakespeare found the ready elements of drama: dispute over words and their practical consequences, hope for sanctification tempered by fear of simple meaninglessness, and the demand for improvised performance as compensation for the failure of language to fulfill its promises. What emerges is nothing less than a portrait of Shakespeare at work: absorbing, manipulating, reforming, and struggling with the explosive chemistry of word and action that comprised early modern liturgy. Swift argues that the Book of Common Prayer mediates between the secular and the devotional, producing a tension that makes Shakespeare's plays so powerful and exceptional. Tracing the prayer book's lines and motions through As You Like It, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Othello, and particularly Macbeth, Swift reveals how the greatest writer of the age--of perhaps any age--was influenced and guided by its most important book.
The Page 99 Test: Daniel Swift's Bomber County.

"A Small Hill to Die On"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: A Small Hill to Die On: A Penny Brannigan Mystery by Elizabeth J. Duncan.

About the book, from the publisher:

The North Wales market town of Llanelen is abuzz when a Vietnamese family moves into Ty Brith Hall. It isn’t long before the family’s business dealings have the townsfolk wondering what’s really going on up at the big house on the hill.

Things take a sinister turn when Penny Brannigan, spending a midwinter afternoon sketching the magnificent views that surround the town, discovers the body of the new family’s teenage daughter. Many secrets lie buried in the shallow grave, along with the girl, who Penny identifies by the snakeskin manicure she received at Penny’s salon. When an elderly woman returns to Llanelen to care for her ailing brother, Penny discovers the truth about another death at Ty Brith Hall, one that hits very close to home. Though Penny's romantic interest, Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Davies, warns her to stay away, Penny can't resist getting involved, and her urge to help will ultimately put her in danger.

Elizabeth J. Duncan's latest offering in this engaging series is filled with memorable characters, great escapes, explosive plot twists, and plenty of Welsh charm.
Visit Elizabeth J. Duncan's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Cold Light of Mourning.

The Page 69 Test: A Brush with Death.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Elizabeth J. Duncan and Dolly.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus"

New from Gallery Books: I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus: A Breathers Christmas Carol by S.G. Browne.

About the book, from the publisher:

He sees you when you’re sleeping ... he knows when you’re undead.

How does the leader of a failed zombie civil rights movement from California rescue a group of his undead brethren and help a lonely Breather girl as he hides from a band of medical researchers while disguised as Santa Claus?

If you’ve never believed in Christmas miracles, then you wouldn’t understand.

Andy Warner has just escaped from a zombie research facility in Portland, Oregon, where he’s been subjected to experimental testing for the past year. With Christmas just days away, Andy figures that donning a jolly old St. Nick costume to throw off his would-be captors is just the ticket. But he never expects to encounter a sweet, lonesome nine-year-old girl who not only reminds Andy of the family he’s lost but who thinks he’s the real Santa. He also doesn’t count on being recognized as last year’s national quasi-celebrity by a clandestine group of decaying supporters who look to him for leadership. For the living and the undead, this unforgettable holiday tale will truly put on display just who is gnawing and who is nice....
Visit S.G. Browne's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Breathers: A Zombie's Lament.

The Page 69 Test: Lucky Bastard.

Writers Read: S.G. Browne.

My Book, The Movie: Lucky Bastard.


New from Thomas Dunne Books: Home by Matthew Costello.

About the book, from the publisher:

Besieged and attacked, a mother and her children must escape a post-apocalyptic nightmare world of cannibals and betrayal

Jack Murphy thought he’d found the perfect escape for his family from a world gone horribly mad. He thought wrong. Matthew Costello's Home begins mere minutes after the terrible sacrifice made by Jack to save his family at Paterville Camp. Barely escaping, Jack’s wife, Christie, and two children, Kate and Simon, must accept that their lives and their future have changed forever.

In this intimate and human survivalist horror story, the three of them will face even greater dangers, as well as yet-unknown horrors, to simply stay alive as together they search for a road “home” in this intense and original postapocalyptic thriller.
Visit Matthew Costello's website.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Grace Grows"

New from St. Martin's Griffin: Grace Grows by Shelle Sumners.

About the book, from the publisher:

Grace Barnum’s life is precariously balanced on sensible choices and uncomfortable compromise. She dutifully edits textbooks that, she fears, may be more harmful than helpful to kids. She is engaged to a patent attorney who is steady and reliable. She has a cautious relationship with her fascinating father, a renowned New York painter, and she prefers her mom slightly drunk.

Always a planner, Grace feels prepared for most eventualities. Until the responsibility-challenged Tyler Wilkie shows up. Fresh in town from the Poconos, Tyler has warm eyes, a country drawl, and a smile that makes Grace drop things. Worst of all, he writes devastating songs. About her.

Tyler reaches something in Grace, something she needs, but can't admit to. Something she wants, but won't succumb to. Tyler Wilkie loves Grace Barnum and ruins everything. And Grace grows.
Visit Shelle Sumners's website and blog.

"Jepp, Who Defied the Stars"

New from Hyperion Books for Children: Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh.

About the book, from the publisher:

Is it written in the stars from the moment we are born?
Or is it a bendable thing that we can shape with our own hands?

Jepp of Astraveld needs to know.

He left his countryside home on the empty promise of a stranger, only to become a captive in a strange and luxurious prison: Coudenberg Palace, the royal court of the Spanish Infanta. Nobody warned Jepp that as a court dwarf, daily injustices would become his seemingly unshakeable fate. If the humiliations were his alone, perhaps he could endure them, but it breaks Jepp's heart to see his friend Lia suffer.

After Jepp and Lia attempt a daring escape from the palace, Jepp is imprisoned again, alone in a cage. Now, spirited across Europe in a henchman's carriage, Jepp fears where his unfortunate stars will lead him. But he can't even begin to imagine the strange, new world—with its beer-drinking moose, brilliant and eccentric master, and long-buried secrets about his own identity—that he's about to discover.

Masterfully written, grippingly paced, and inspired by real historical characters, Jepp, Who Defied the Stars is the tale of an unusual hero and his extraordinary quest to become the master of his own destiny.
Learn more about the book and author at Katherine Marsh's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Night Tourist.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Ancient Light"

New from Knopf: Ancient Light by John Banville.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea gives us a brilliant, profoundly moving new novel about an actor in the twilight of his life and his career: a meditation on love and loss, and on the inscrutable immediacy of the past in our present lives.

Is there any difference between memory and invention? That is the question that fuels this stunning novel, written with the depth of character, the clarifying lyricism and the sly humor that have marked all of John Banville’s extraordinary works. And it is the question that haunts Alexander Cleave, an actor in the twilight of his career and of his life, as he plumbs the memories of his first—and perhaps only—love (he, fifteen years old, the woman more than twice his age, the mother of his best friend; the situation impossible, thrilling, devouring and finally devastating) . . . and of his daughter, lost to a kind of madness of mind and heart that Cleave can only fail to understand. When his dormant acting career is suddenly, inexplicably revived with a movie role portraying a man who may not be who he says he is, his young leading lady—famous and fragile—unwittingly gives him the opportunity to see with aching clarity the “chasm that yawns between the doing of a thing and the recollection of what was done.”

Ancient Light is a profoundly moving meditation on love and loss, on the inscrutable immediacy of the past in our present lives, on how invention shapes memory and memory shapes the man. It is a book of spellbinding power and pathos from one of the greatest masters of prose at work today.
See John Banville's five best books on early love and the flush of infatuation.

"The Stockholm Octavo"

New from Ecco: The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann.

About the book, from the publisher:

Life is close to perfect for Emil Larsson, a self-satisfied bureaucrat in the Office of Customs and Excise in 1791 Stockholm. He is a true man of the Town—a drinker, card player, and contented bachelor—until one evening when Mrs. Sofia Sparrow, a fortune-teller and proprietor of an exclusive gaming parlor, shares with him a vision she has had: a golden path that will lead him to love and connection. She lays an Octavo for him, a spread of eight cards that augur the eight individuals who can help him realize this vision—if he can find them.

Emil begins his search, intrigued by the puzzle of his Octavo and the good fortune Mrs. Sparrow's vision portends. But when Mrs. Sparrow wins a mysterious folding fan in a card game, the Octavo's deeper powers are revealed. For Emil it is no longer just a game of the heart; collecting his eight is now crucial to pulling his country back from the crumbling precipice of rebellion and chaos. Set against the luminous backdrop of late eighteenth-century Stockholm, as the winds of revolution rage through the great capitals of Europe, The Stockholm Octavo brings together a collection of characters, both fictional and historical, whose lives tangle in political conspiracy, love, and magic in a breathtaking debut that will leave you spellbound.
Visit Karen Engelmann's website.

Friday, October 19, 2012

"The Big Exit"

New from Overlook: The Big Exit by David Carnoy.

About the book, from the publisher:

Richie Forman is freshly out of prison. By night, he makes a living impersonating Frank Sinatra in San Francisco’s lounges and corporate parties. But then his ex-best friend—the man who stole his fiancée while he was in prison—is found hacked to death in his garage, and Richie is the prime suspect. In a murder mystery with the twists and turns of a microchip, Carnoy weaves his characters like a master. He has written an authentic, unputdownable thriller that is sure to chill and delight.
Visit David Carnoy's website.

"Panorama City"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Panorama City by Antoine Wilson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Oppen Porter, a self-described “slow absorber,” thinks he’s dying. He’s not, but from his hospital bed, he unspools into a cassette recorder a tale of self-determination, from village idiot to man of the world, for the benefit of his unborn son.

Written in an astonishingly charming and wise voice, Panorama City traces forty days and nights navigating the fast food joints, storefront churches, and home-office psychologists of the San Fernando Valley. Ping-ponging between his watchful and sharp-tongued aunt and an outlaw philosopher with the face "of a newly hatched crocodile," Oppen finds himself constantly in the sights of people who believe that their way is the only way for him.

Open-hearted, bicycle-riding, binocular-toting Oppen Porter is "an American original" (Stewart O'Nan) for whom finding one's own way is both a delightful art and a painstaking science. Disarmingly funny and surreptitiously moving, Panorama City makes us see the world, and our place in it, with new eyes.
Visit Antoine Wilson's website.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"War Culture and the Contest of Images"

New from Rutgers University Press: War Culture and the Contest of Images by Dora Apel.

About the book, from the publisher:

War Culture and the Contest of Images analyzes the relationships among contemporary war, documentary practices, and democratic ideals. Dora Apel examines a wide variety of images and cultural representations of war in the United States and the Middle East, including photography, performance art, video games, war reenactment, and social media images, while exploring the merging of photojournalism and artistic practices, the effects of visual framing, and the construction of both sanctioned and counter-hegemonic narratives in a global contest of images.

As a result of the global visual culture in which anyone may produce as well as consume public imagery, the wide variety of visual and documentary practices present realities that would otherwise be invisible or officially off-limits. In our digital era, the prohibition and control of images has become nearly impossible to maintain. Using carefully chosen case studies—such as Krzysztof Wodiczko's video projections and public works in response to 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the performance works of Coco Fusco and Regina Galindo, and the practices of Israeli and Palestinian artists—Apel posits that contemporary war images serve as mediating agents in social relations and as a source of protection or refuge for those robbed of formal or state-sanctioned citizenship.

While never suggesting that documentary practices are objective translations of reality, Apel shows that they are powerful polemical tools both for legitimizing war and for making its devastating effects visible. Today, more than ever, and after thirty years of academic analysis, the documentary image demonstrates renewed potential for galvanizing radical critique of the state in a time of global political upheaval. Ultimately, Apel asserts that in modern warfare and in the accompanying culture of war that capitalism produces as a permanent feature of modern society, the contest of images is as critical as the war on the ground.

"The Shortest Way Home"

New from Penguin: The Shortest Way Home: A Novel by Juliette Fay.

About the book, from the publisher:


Sean has spent twenty years in Third World war zones and natural disaster areas, fully embracing what he’d always felt was his life’s mission. But when burnout sets in, Sean is reluctantly drawn home to Belham, Massachusetts, the setting of Fay’s much-loved Shelter Me. There, he discovers that his steely aunt, overly dramatic sister, and quirky nephew are having a little natural disaster of their own. When he reconnects with a woman from his past, Sean has to wonder if the bonds of love and loyalty might just rewrite his destiny. Completely relatable, The Shortest Way Home is another perfect serving of a slice of life from the irresistible Fay.
Learn more about the book and author at Juliette Fay's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Deep Down True.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"The Book of 'Genesis': A Biography"

New from Princeton University Press: The Book of "Genesis": A Biography by Ronald Hendel.

About the book, from the publisher:

During its 2,500-year life, the book of Genesis has been the keystone to almost every important claim about reality, humanity, and God in Judaism and Christianity. And it continues to play a central role in debates about science, politics, and human rights. With clarity and skill, acclaimed biblical scholar Ronald Hendel provides a panoramic history of this iconic book, exploring its impact on Western religion, philosophy, science, politics, literature, and more.

Hendel traces how Genesis has shaped views of reality, and how changing views of reality have shaped interpretations of Genesis. Literal and figurative readings have long competed with each other. Hendel tells how Luther's criticisms of traditional figurative accounts of Genesis undermined the Catholic Church; how Galileo made the radical argument that the cosmology of Genesis wasn't scientific evidence; and how Spinoza made the equally radical argument that the scientific method should be applied to Genesis itself. Indeed, Hendel shows how many high points of Western thought and art have taken the form of encounters with Genesis--from Paul and Augustine to Darwin, Emily Dickinson, and Kafka.

From debates about slavery, gender, and sexuality to the struggles over creationism and evolution, Genesis has shaped our world and continues to do so today. This wide-ranging account tells the remarkable story of the life of Genesis like no other book.

"Red Army Red"

New from Triquarterly: Red Army Red: Poems by Jehanne Dubrow.

About the book, from the publisher:

Displaying a sure sense of craft and a sharp facility for linking personal experience to the public realms of history and politics, Jehanne Dubrow’s Red Army Red chronicles the coming of age of a child of American diplomats in Eastern Europe in the 1980s. In the last moments of the Cold War, Poland—the setting for many of the poems—lurches fitfully from a society characterized by hardship and deprivation toward a free-market economy. The contradictions and turmoil generated by this transition are the context in which an adolescent girl awakens to her sexuality. With wit and subtlety, Dubrow makes apparent the parallels between the body and the body politic, between the fulfillment of individual and collective desires.
Visit Jehanne Dubrow's website and blog.

Writers Read: Jehanne Dubrow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"The Last Walk"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the End of Their Lives by Jessica Pierce.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the moment when we first open our homes—and our hearts—to a new pet, we know that one day we will have to watch this beloved animal age and die. The pain of that eventual separation is the cruel corollary to the love we share with them, and most of us deal with it by simply ignoring its inevitability.

With The Last Walk, Jessica Pierce makes a forceful case that our pets, and the love we bear them, deserve better. Drawing on the moving story of the last year of the life of her own treasured dog, Ody, she presents an in-depth exploration of the practical, medical, and moral issues that trouble pet owners confronted with the decline and death of their companion animals. Pierce combines heart-wrenching personal stories, interviews, and scientific research to consider a wide range of questions about animal aging, end-of-life care, and death. She tackles such vexing questions as whether animals are aware of death, whether they're feeling pain, and if and when euthanasia is appropriate. Given what we know and can learn, how should we best honor the lives of our pets, both while they live and after they have left us?

The product of a lifetime of loving pets, studying philosophy, and collaborating with scientists at the forefront of the study of animal behavior and cognition, The Last Walk asks—and answers—the toughest questions pet owners face. The result is informative, moving, and consoling in equal parts; no pet lover should miss it.
The Page 99 Test: Marc Bekoff & Jessica Pierce's Wild Justice.


New from Bloomsbury USA: Rabid: Are You Crazy About Your Dog or Just Crazy? by Pamela Redmond Satran.

About the book, from the publisher:

Dogs now dominate the $55 billion a year pet business, with nearly 40 percent of American households owning a total of 78.2 million dogs. Dog products, dog services, dog admiration--okay, let's call it dog worship--has become totally over the top, with doggie treadmills, dog swimming pools, caffeine-free doggie java, dog massage, dog perfume, aromatherapy, hair coloring, and, yes, dog tattoos that would have seemed outlandish a generation ago when applied to your everyday household Rover.

But Rover isn't called Rover anymore: he's called Rufus. Or Lola, according to the Tumblog Hipster Puppies. In fact, all Top Ten Dog Names are people names. And the canine Rufus doesn't stay home alone all day; he goes to Doggie Daycare. Eats brightly frosted martini-shaped doggie treats. Wears designer tutus. Gets married on the beach. Has...

Well, you'll see. With hilarious full-color photos throughout, Rabid holds a humorous mirror up to our dog-centered society, helping us laugh at our own behavior and at the even-more-insane antics of all those other dog people.
Visit Pamela Redmond Satran's website.

Writers Read: Pamela Redmond Satran (September 2009).

Monday, October 15, 2012


New from Touchstone: Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin.

About the book, from the publisher:

This sweeping biography of one of America’s greatest musicians is the first in twenty-five years to be written with the cooperation of Bruce Springsteen himself. With unfettered access to the artist, his family, and band members—including Clarence Clemons in his last major interview—acclaimed music writer Peter Ames Carlin presents a startlingly intimate and vivid portrait of a rock icon.

For more than four decades, Bruce Springsteen has reflected the heart and soul of America with a career that includes twenty Grammy Awards, more than 120 million albums sold, two Golden Globes, and an Academy Award. He has also become an influential voice in American culture and politics, inspiring President Barack Obama to admit: “I’m the president, but he’s the Boss.”

Built from years of research and unparalleled access to its subject and his inner circle, Bruce presents the most revealing account yet of a man laden with family tragedy, a tremendous dedication to his artistry, and an all-consuming passion for fame and influence. With this book, the E Street Band members finally bare their feelings about their abrupt dismissal in 1989, and how Springsteen’s ambivalence nearly capsized their 1999 reunion. Carlin deftly traces Springsteen’s often harrowing personal life: from his lower working- class childhood in Freehold, New Jersey, through his stubborn climb to fame and tangled romantic life, and finally to his quest to conquer the demons that nearly destroyed his father.

In Bruce, Carlin encompasses the breadth of Springsteen’s astonishing career and explores the inner workings of a man who managed to redefine generations of music. A must for fans, Bruce is a meticulously researched, compulsively readable biography of one of the most complex and fascinating artists in American music.
Writers Read: Peter Ames Carlin (March 2007).


New from Pegasus Books: Accelerated by Bronwen Hruska.

About the book, from the publisher:

Every afternoon Sean Benning picks up his son, Toby, on the marble steps that lead into the prestigious Bradley School. Everything at Bradley is accelerated—3rd graders read at the 6th grade level, they have labs and facilities to rival most universities, and the chess champions are the bullies. A single dad and struggling artist, Sean sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the power-soccer-mom cliques and ladies-who-lunch that congregate on the steps every afternoon. But at least Toby is thriving and getting the best education money can buy. Or is he?

When Sea starts getting pressure from the school to put Toby on medication for ADD, something smells fishy, and it isn't the caviar that was served at last week's PTA meeting. Toby's "issues" in school seem, to Sean, to be nothing more than normal behavior for an eight-year-old boy. But maybe Sean just isn't seeing things clearly, which has been harder and harder to do since Toby's new teacher, Jess, started at Bradley. And the school has Toby's best interests at heart, right? But what happens when the pressure to not just keep up, but to exceed, takes hold? When things take a tragic turn, Sean realizes that the price of this accelerated life is higher than he could have ever imagined.
Visit Bronwen Hruska's website.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"City of Saints"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: City of Saints: A Mystery by Andrew Hunt.

About the book, from the publisher:

To the outside observer, Salt Lake City might seem to be the squeaky-clean “City of Saints”—its nickname since Mormon pioneers first arrived. Its wide roads, huge Mormon temple topped by a horn-blowing angel, and orderly neighborhoods give it the appearance of the ideal American city, but looks can be deceiving.

When a beautiful socialite turns up dead, Art Oveson, a twenty-something husband, father, and devout Mormon just getting his start as a sheriff’s deputy, finds himself thrust into the role of detective. With his partner, a foul-mouthed former strikebreaker, he begins to pursue the murderer---or murderers. His search takes him into the underbelly of Salt Lake City, a place rife with blackmail, corruption, and death.

Based on a true yet largely forgotten murder that once captivated the nation but still remains unsolved eighty years later, City of Saints reveals a darker picture of the Mormon capital than you ever expected.
Visit Andrew Hunt's website.

"The Snow White Christmas Cookie"

New from St. Martin's Minotaur: The Snow White Christmas Cookie: A Berger and Mitry Mystery by David Handler.

About the book, from the publisher:

The newest adventure featuring the mismatched romantic crime-fighting duo of New York City film critic Mitch Berger and Connecticut State Resident Trooper Desiree Mitry presents Des with her first taste of Christmas in the historic New England village of Dorset.

And what a taste it is. Three blizzards have blanketed the village in forty inches of snow. Bryce Peck, Mitch’s blue-blooded neighbor out on Big Sister Island, has just been found dead of a drug overdose. Young Kylie Champlain has slammed her car head-on into an office building after she’s caught trying to shoplift a pair of Ugg boots. And a grinch has taken to stealing the mail from Hank Merrill’s postal route, which happens to be the main route through the historic district.

Stealing the U.S. mail is a serious federal crime, but Des soon discovers that she’s onto something much bigger: a black-market prescription drug gang with ties to organized crime. And now a fourth blizzard is on its way. And so is another murder. And, somehow, the man in her life has managed to land himself smack dab in the middle of the whole mess. Not to mention that he’s in way over his head with Josie Cantro, the beautiful and treacherous life-coach who just may be responsible for it all. If Des doesn’t act fast, this will truly be a Christmas to remember---but for all of the wrong reasons.

David Handler’s ninth book in this original series is brimming with plenty of murder, mayhem, and holiday spirit.
Learn more about the book and author at David Handler's website and blog.

Writers Read: David Handler (October 2011).

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"Aztec Revenge"

New from Forge Books: Aztec Revenge by Gary Jennings and Junius Podrug.

About the book, from the publisher:

The fascinating history of Mexico that began in the #1 New York Times bestselling novel Aztec continues....

Don Juan de Zavala was the most skilled fighter in all of New Spain—as gifted with weapons and horses as he was with women. These pleasures were all he desired.
But the magnificent Aztec empire, its grand cities and riches lay broken under the Spanish boot…. Now valiant men and fearless women rise and battle their brutal overlords.

As a warrior-priest leads an Aztec revolt, across the ocean in Spain courageous people battle Napoleon’s invading armies.

No one, including Juan de Zavala could stay neutral. Especially if a shocking secret from Zavala’s lurid past is exposed—a secret so lethal to the Spanish Crown it threatens their very existence. Zavala will be swept from glittering Mexico City to snake-and-croc infested jungles, to lost Mayan civilizations to the torture chambers of the Inquisition, to beautiful Barcelona and the bloody carnage of Napoleon’s war in Spain, to the bloodiest and most spectacular of New Spain’s (colonial Mexico) revolutions.

Everybody wants Don Juan de Zavala…and many people want him dead:

Isabella… Instinctively wicked, sinfully seductive.

Father Hidalgo… Can a man of God take up the sword and lead a people by the hundreds of thousands into a bloody revolution he cannot control?

Raquel… Attractive, sensuous, erudite, she challenges Juan with her mind—and her body.

Marina… A gorgeous pure-blood Aztec, she knows too well the oppressor’s rape and pillage of her people.

"The Witch of Babylon"

New from Forge Books: The Witch of Babylon by D.J. McIntosh.

About the book, from the publisher:

Out of the searing heat and sandstorms of the infamous summer of 2003 in Baghdad comes The Witch of Babylon, a gripping story rooted in ancient Assyrian lore and its little-known but profound significance for the world.

John Madison is a Turkish-American art dealer raised by his much older brother, Samuel, a mover and shaker in New York's art world. Caught between his brother's obsession with saving a priceless relic looted from Iraq's National Museum and a deadly game of revenge staged by his childhood friend, John must solve a puzzle to find the link between a modern-day witch and an ancient one.

Aided by Tomas, an archaeologist, and Ari, an Iraqi photojournalist—two men with their own secrets to hide—John races against time to decipher a biblical prophecy that leads to the dark history behind the science of alchemy. Kidnapped by villainous fortune hunters, John is returned to Iraq, where a fabulous treasure trove awaits discovery—if he can stay alive long enough to find it.
Visit D.J. McIntosh's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Friday, October 12, 2012

"Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting"

New from Harvard University Press: Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting by Sianne Ngai.

About the book, from the publisher:

The zany, the cute, and the interesting saturate postmodern culture. They dominate the look of its art and commodities as well as our discourse about the ambivalent feelings these objects often inspire. In this radiant study, Sianne Ngai offers a theory of the aesthetic categories that most people use to process the hypercommodified, mass-mediated, performance-driven world of late capitalism, treating them with the same seriousness philosophers have reserved for analysis of the beautiful and the sublime.

Ngai explores how each of these aesthetic categories expresses conflicting feelings that connect to the ways in which postmodern subjects work, exchange, and consume. As a style of performing that takes the form of affective labor, the zany is bound up with production and engages our playfulness and our sense of desperation. The interesting is tied to the circulation of discourse and inspires interest but also boredom. The cute’s involvement with consumption brings out feelings of tenderness and aggression simultaneously. At the deepest level, Ngai argues, these equivocal categories are about our complex relationship to performing, information, and commodities.

Through readings of Adorno, Schlegel, and Nietzsche alongside cultural artifacts ranging from Bob Perelman’s poetry to Ed Ruscha’s photography books to the situation comedy of Lucille Ball, Ngai shows how these everyday aesthetic categories also provide traction to classic problems in aesthetic theory. The zany, cute, and interesting are not postmodernity’s only meaningful aesthetic categories, Ngai argues, but the ones best suited for grasping the radical transformation of aesthetic experience and discourse under its conditions.

"Under the Eye of God"

New from Mysterious Press: Under the Eye of God by Jerome Charyn.

About the book, from the publisher:

After decades of madness in the Bronx, Isaac Sidel visits the craziest state in the country

Isaac Sidel is too popular to be America’s vice president. Once the New York Police Department commissioner, he became the most beloved mayor in the city’s history—famous for his refusal to surrender his Glock, and for his habit of disappearing for months at a time to fight crime at street level. So when baseball czar J. Michael Storm asks Sidel to join him on the election’s Democratic ticket, the two wild men romp to an unprecedented landslide. But as the president-elect’s mandate goes off the rails—threatened by corruption, sex, and God knows what else—he tires of being overshadowed by Sidel, and dispatches him to a place from which tough politicians seldom return: Texas.

In the Lone Star state, Sidel confronts rogue astrologers, accusations of pedophilia, and a dimwitted assassin who doesn’t know when to take an easy shot. If this Bronx bomber doesn’t watch his step, he risks making vice-presidential history by getting killed on the job.
Visit Jerome Charyn's website.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Three Parts Dead"

New from Tor Books: Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone.

About the book, from the publisher:

A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.

Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.

Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.

When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.

Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.
Visit Max Gladstone's website.

"Blood Lance"

New from Minotaur Books: Blood Lance: A Medieval Noir (The Crispin Guest Novels, Volume 5 of 6) by Jeri Westerson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Crispin Guest, returning home after a late night, sees a body hurtling from the uppermost reaches of the London Bridge. Guest's attempted rescue fails, however, and the man—an armourer with a shop on the bridge—is dead. While whispers in the street claim that it was a suicide, Guest—known in certain London circles as The Tracker for his skill in solving puzzles—is unconvinced.

What Guest uncovers is that the armourer had promised Sir Thomas Saunfayl, a friend from Guest's former life, that he would provide him something that would make him unbeatable in battle, something for which he'd paid a small fortune. Sir Thomas believes that the item was in fact the Spear of Longinus - the spear that pierced the side of Christ on the cross—which is believed to make those who possess it invincible.

Complicating matters is another old friend, Geoffrey Chaucer, who suddenly comes to London and is anxious to help Guest find the missing spear, about which he seems to know a bit too much. With various forces anxious to find the spear, the life of Sir Thomas in danger and perhaps the very safety of England hangs in the balance, Guest and his apprentice Jack Tucker must navigate some very perilous waters if they are to survive.
Learn more about the author and her work at Jeri Westerson's website, her "Getting Medieval" blog, and the Crispin Guest Medieval Noir blog.

The Page 69 Test: Veil of Lies.

The Page 69 Test: Serpent in the Thorns.

The Page 69 Test: The Demon's Parchment.

Writers Read: Jeri Westerson.

My Book, The Movie: The Demon's Parchment.

The Page 69 Test: Troubled Bones.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"Sacrifice Fly"

New from Minotaur: Sacrifice Fly by Tim O'Mara.

About the book, from the publisher:

Raymond Donne wasn’t always a schoolteacher. Not only did he patrol the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as one of New York’s Finest, but being the nephew of the chief of detectives, he was expected to go on to bigger things. At least he was until the accident that destroyed his knees. Unable to do the job the way he wanted, he became a teacher in the same neighborhood, and did everything he could to put the force behind him and come to terms with the change.

Then Frankie Rivas, a student in Ray’s class and a baseball phenom, stops showing up to school. With Frankie in danger of failing and missing out on a scholarship, Ray goes looking for him, only to find Frankie’s father bludgeoned to death in their apartment. Frankie and his younger sister are gone, possibly on the run. But did Frankie really kill his father? Ray can’t believe it. But then who did, and where are Frankie and his sister? Ray doesn’t know, but if he’s going to have any chance of bringing them home safely, he’s going to have to return to the life, the people, and the demons he walked out on all those years ago.

Intense, authentic, and completely gripping, Tim O’Mara’s Sacrifice Fly is an outstanding debut from a stellar new voice in crime fiction.
Visit Tim O'Mara's website and Facebook page.

"A Fatal Winter"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: A Fatal Winter (Max Tudor Series #2) by G. M. Malliet.

About the book, from the publisher:

Last year, Agatha Award-winning author G. M. Malliet charmed mystery lovers, cozy fans, and Agatha Christie devotees with Wicked Autumn, the first mystery featuring her captivating protagonist, Max Tudor, and the small English village of Nether Monkslip.

In A Fatal Winter, Max—Anglican priest, former MI5 agent, and village heartthrob—investigates two deaths at Chedrow Castle. But his growing attraction to Awena Owen complicates his case, as does the recent arrival at Chedrow Castle of a raucous group of long-lost, greedy relatives, any one of whom has a motive for murder. With a cozy setting, intricate puzzles, and a handsome (non-celibate) priest doing the sleuthing, the books in this series are destined to become instant classics in the mystery world.
Visit G. M. Malliet's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"The Middlesteins"

New from Grand Central Publishing: The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg.

About the book, from the publisher:

For more than thirty years, Edie and Richard Middlestein shared a solid family life together in the suburbs of Chicago. But now things are splintering apart, for one reason, it seems: Edie's enormous girth. She's obsessed with food--thinking about it, eating it--and if she doesn't stop, she won't have much longer to live.

When Richard abandons his wife, it is up to the next generation to take control. Robin, their schoolteacher daughter, is determined that her father pay for leaving Edie. Benny, an easy-going, pot-smoking family man, just wants to smooth things over. And Rachelle-- a whippet thin perfectionist-- is intent on saving her mother-in-law's life, but this task proves even bigger than planning her twin children's spectacular b'nai mitzvah party. Through it all, they wonder: do Edie's devastating choices rest on her shoulders alone, or are others at fault, too?

With pitch-perfect prose, huge compassion, and sly humor, Jami Attenberg has given us an epic story of marriage, family, and obsession. The Middlesteins explores the hopes and heartbreaks of new and old love, the yearnings of Midwestern America, and our devastating, fascinating preoccupation with food.
Learn more about the author and her work at Jami Attenberg's website and her blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Kept Man.

"Driving the Saudis"

New from Free Press: Driving the Saudis: A Chauffeur's Tale of the World's Richest Princesses (plus their servants, nannies, and one royal hairdresser) by Jayne Amelia Larson.

About the book, from the publisher:

After more than a decade of working in Hollywood, actress Jayne Amelia Larson found herself out of luck, out of work, and out of prospects. Without telling her friends or family, she took a job as a limousine driver, thinking that the work might be a good way to dig out of debt while meeting A-list celebrities and important movie moguls.

When she got hired to drive for the Saudi royal family vacationing in Beverly Hills, Larson thought she’d been handed the golden ticket. She’d heard stories of the Saudis giving $20,000 tips and Rolex watches to their drivers. But when the family arrived at LAX with millions of dollars in cash—money that they planned to spend over the next couple of weeks—Larson realized that she might be in for the ride of her life. With awestruck humor and deep compassion, she describes her eye-opening adventures as the only female in a detail of over forty assigned to drive a beautiful Saudi princess, her family, and their extensive entourage.

To be a good chauffeur means to be a “fly on the wall,” to never speak unless spoken to, to never ask questions, to allow people to forget that you are there. The nature of the employment—Larson was on call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week—and the fact that she was the only female driver gave her an up close and personal view of one of the most closely guarded monarchies in the world, a culture of great intrigue and contradiction, and of unimaginable wealth.

The Saudis traveled large: they brought furniture, Persian rugs, Limoges china, lustrous silver serving trays, and extraordinary coffees and teas from around the world. The family and their entourage stayed at several luxury hotels, occupying whole floors of each (the women housed separately from the Saudi men, whom Larson barely saw). Each day the royal women spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on plastic surgery and mega-shopping sprees on Rodeo Drive. Even the tea setup had its very own hotel room, while the servants were crammed together on rollaway beds in just a few small rooms down the hall.

Larson witnessed plenty of drama: hundreds of hours of cosmetic surgery recovery, the purchasing of Hermès Birkin bags of every color, roiling battles among the upper-echelon entourage members all jockeying for a better position in the palace hierarchy, and the total disregard that most of the royal entourage had for their exhausted staff. But Driving the Saudis also reveals how Larson grew to understand the complicated nuances of a society whose strict customs remain intact even across continents. She saw the intimate bond that connected the royals with their servants and nannies; she befriended the young North African servant girls, who supported whole families back home by working night and day for the royals but were not permitted to hold their own passports lest they try to flee.

While experiencing a life-changing “behind the veil” glimpse into Saudi culture, Larson ultimately discovers that we’re all very much the same everywhere—the forces that corrupt us, make us desperate, and make us human are surprisingly universal.
Visit the Driving the Saudis website.

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Wild Girls"

New from Scribner: Wild Girls: A Novel by Mary Stewart Atwell.

About the book, from the publisher:

Daringly imagined, atmospheric, and original, Wild Girls is an exhilarating debut—part coming-of-age story and part supernatural tale about girls learning their own strength.

Kate Riordan fears two things as she grows up in the small Appalachian town of Swan River: that she’ll be a frustrated townie forever or that she’ll turn into one of the mysterious and terrifying wild girls, killers who start fires and menace the community. Struggling to better her chances of escaping, Kate attends the posh Swan River Academy and finds herself divided between her hometown—and its dark history—and the realm of privilege and achievement at the Academy. Explosive friendships with Mason, a boy from the wrong side of town, and Willow, a wealthy and popular queen bee from school, are slowly pulling her apart. Kate must decide who she is and where she belongs before she wakes up with cinders at her fingertips.

Mary Stewart Atwell has written a novel that is at once funny and wise and stunningly inventive. Her wild girls are strange and fascinating creatures—a brilliant twist on the anger teenage girls can feel at their powerlessness—and a promise of the great things to come from this young writer.

"Lovely, Dark and Deep"

New from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers: Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara.

About the book, from the publisher:

A resonant debut novel about retreating from the world after losing everything—and the connections that force you to rejoin it.

Since the night of the crash, Wren Wells has been running away. Though she lived through the accident that killed her boyfriend Patrick, the girl she used to be didn’t survive. Instead of heading off to college as planned, Wren retreats to her father’s studio in the far-north woods of Maine. Somehwere she can be alone.
Then she meets Cal Owen. Dealing with his own troubles, Cal’s hiding out too. When the chemistry between them threatens to pull Wren from her hard-won isolation, Wren has to choose: risk opening her broken heart to the world again, or join the ghosts who haunt her.
Visit Amy McNamara's website.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

"Spy in a Little Black Dress"

New from Grand Central Publishing: Spy in a Little Black Dress by Maxine Kenneth.

About the book, from the publisher:

Inspired by an actual letter in the John F. Kennedy Library written by Jackie and revealing her job offer from the newly formed CIA

When young Jackie Bouvier receives her second assignment from the CIA, she knows it will go better than her first. She managed to survive the Paris job-while looking her best in Givenchy, no less-but now she's completed her official CIA training. So she's excited to show her boss exactly what she can do for her country.

Her new mission: Go undercover in sultry Havana and investigate a young revolutionary named Fidel Castro. But before Jackie can infiltrate the communist cabal, she's in past her hemline in danger. In another exciting adventure, she colludes with Grace Kelly, dances with Frank Sinatra, and flirts with an up-and-coming congressman from Massachusetts.

As the international intrigue escalates, Jackie must use all her finely honed skills to stay ahead of her enemies . . . and make sure spying never goes out of fashion.


New from Candlewick Press: Paradise by Joanna Nadin.

About the book, from the publisher:

When sixteen-year-old Billie Paradise unexpectedly inherits her grandmother’s house, it couldn’t come at a better time. With her stepdad abroad and her mom starting to lose it, moving from their cramped London apartment to an old house by the sea seems serendipitous. Maybe Billie, as she navigates the small-town social scene and falls for a certain intriguing older boy, can even find the father she never met. But her mom’s remote childhood home, which she left in haste before Billie was born, harbors hints of suspicious long-ago deaths and family secrets. As Billie’s story unfolds, flowing back and forth in time and through alternate points of view, it becomes clear that while people may die, the past lives forever.

A move to a small seaside town gives Billie a chance at a new life and new love -- until the undertow of the past pulls her toward a shocking secret.
Visit Joanna Nadin's website.