Thursday, May 31, 2012


New from Simon Pulse: Surrender by Elana Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:

The thrilling and seductive sequel to Possession puts love on the line in a dystopian struggle for independent thought.

Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control…

Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi. All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn.

Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque…
Learn more about the book and author at Elana Johnson's website and blog.

Writers Read: Elana Johnson.

My Book, The Movie: Possession.

"Last Call for the Living"

New from Forge Books: Last Call for the Living by Peter Farris.

About the book, from the publisher:

For bank teller Charlie Colquitt, it was just another Saturday. For Hobe Hicklin, an ex-con with nothing to lose, it was just another score. For Hobe’s drug-addled, sex-crazed girlfriend, it was just more lust, violence, and drugs. But in this gripping narrative, nothing is as it seems.

Hicklin's first mistake was double-crossing his partners in the Aryan Brotherhood. His second mistake was taking a hostage. But he and Charlie can only hide out for so long in the mountains of north Georgia before the sins of Hicklin's past catch up to them.

Hot on Hicklin's trail are a pair of ruthless Brotherhood soldiers, ready to burn a path of murder and mayhem to get their revenge. GBI Special Agent Sallie Crews and Sheriff Tommy Lang catch the case, themselves no strangers to the evil men are capable of. Soon Crews is making some dangerous connections while for the hard-drinking, despondent Lang, rescuing Charlie Colquitt might be the key to personal salvation.

Prodigious talent Peter Farris has written a backwoods fairy tale of fate and flight that is also a dark, modern thriller. Like the bastard child of Stephen Hunter's Dirty White Boys and Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, Last Call for the Living is a smashing debut from a writer whose unique and disturbing vision of the world cannot be ignored.
Visit Peter Farris's website.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Jasmine Nights"

New from Touchstone: Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson.

About the book, from the publisher:


At twenty-three, Saba Tarcan knows her only hope of escaping the clamor of Cardiff Bay, Wales, lies in her voice. While traveling Britain, singing for wounded soldiers, Saba meets handsome fighter pilot Dom Benson, recovering from burns after a crash. When Saba auditions to entertain troops in far-off lands, Dom follows her to London. Just as their relationship begins to take root, Saba is sent to sing in Africa, and Dom is assigned a new mission in the Middle East. As Saba explores Cairo’s bazaars, finding friendship among the troupe’s acrobats and dancers, Dom returns to the cockpit once again, both thrilled and terrified to be flying above the desert floor. In spite of great danger, the two resolve to reunite.

When Saba learns that her position makes her uniquely qualified for a secret mission of international importance, she agrees to help the British Secret Service, concealing her role from Dom. Her decision will jeopardize not only her safety but also the love of her life.

Based on true accounts of female entertainers used as spies during World War II, Jasmine Nights is a powerful story of danger, secrets, and love, filled with the colors and sounds of the Middle East’s most beautiful cities.
Learn more about the book and author at Julia Gregson's website.

The Page 69 Test: East of the Sun.

"Into the Darkest Corner"

New from Harper: Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes.

About the book, from the publisher:

Catherine Bailey has been enjoying the single life long enough to know a catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell.

But what begins as flattering attentiveness and passionate sex turns into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon learns there is a darker side to Lee. His increasingly erratic, controlling behaviour becomes frightening, but no one believes her when she shares her fears. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.

Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—compulsively checks the locks and doors in her apartment, trusting no one. But when an attractive upstairs neighbour, Stuart, comes into her life, Cathy dares to hope that happiness and love may still be possible . . . until she receives a phone call informing her of Lee’s impending release. Soon after, Cathy thinks she catches a glimpse of the former best friend who testified against her in the trial; she begins to return home to find objects subtly rearranged in her apartment, one of Lee’s old tricks. Convinced she is back in her former lover’s sights, Cathy prepares to wrestle with the demons of her past for the last time.

Utterly convincing in its portrayal of obsession, Into the Darkest corner is an ingeniously structured and plotted tour de force of suspense that marks the arrival of a major new talent.
Visit Elizabeth Haynes's website.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"The Chaperone"

New from Riverhead: The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty.

About the book, from the publisher:

A captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922, and the summer that would change them both.

Only a few years before becoming a famous actress and an icon for her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita to make it big in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle is a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip. She has no idea what she’s in for: Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous blunt bangs and black bob, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will change their lives forever.

For Cora, New York holds the promise of discovery that might prove an answer to the question at the center of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in a strange and bustling city, she embarks on her own mission. And while what she finds isn’t what she anticipated, it liberates her in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of the summer, Cora’s eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive.
The Page 99 Test: The Rest of Her Life.

Writers Read: Laura Moriarty.

The Page 69 Test and Page 99 Test: While I'm Falling.

"Don't Ever Get Old"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: Don't Ever Get Old (Buck Schatz Series #1) by Daniel Friedman.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Buck Schatz, senior citizen and retired Memphis cop, learns that an old adversary may have escaped Germany with a fortune in stolen gold, Buck decides to hunt down the fugitive and claim the loot. But a lot of people want a piece of the stolen treasure, and Buck’s investigation quickly attracts unfriendly attention from a very motley (and murderous) crew in Daniel Friedman's Don't Ever Get Old.
Visit Daniel Friedman's blog.

Monday, May 28, 2012

"The Green Shore"

New from Simon & Schuster: The Green Shore by Natalie Bakopoulos.

About the book, from the publisher:

IN HER MASTERFUL DEBUT NOVEL, The Green Shore, award-winning writer Natalie Bakopoulos vividly illuminates a seminal yet little-explored moment in Greek history: the 1967 military coup d’état, which ushered in a seven-year period of devastating brutality and repression.

Through lyrical prose of wisdom and sophistication, we follow the adventures of one family, whose stories of love and resistance play out against the backdrop of this turbulent period. Eleni, a widowed doctor, struggles with her lost sense of passion, both personal and political, in the face of this latest challenge to democracy. Her brother, Mihalis, an eccentric poet of some renown, finds himself keeping a low profile as he attempts to reconcile with his estranged wife. Eleni’s daughter Sophie, a student of French literature, gets swept up in the resistance alongside her privileged, left-leaning boyfriend, while her youngest child, pensive Anna, watches events unfold with increasing anxiety. As the years pass and the dictatorship’s oppressive rule continues unchallenged, their lives unfold in surprising ways, each seeking and finding love and fulfillment as they struggle to make their own peace with when to stay silent and when to act.

Set in Athens and Paris, The Green Shore is an ambitiously told and transporting literary tour de force that delves into a momentous episode in the history of a distant country. The stories of these unforgettable characters sear our hearts and make us understand not only this place, but also what it means to be human, in a new way.

"The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D."

New from Crown: The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.: A Novel by Nichole Bernier.

About the book, from the publisher:

Before there were blogs, there were journals. And in them we’d write as we really were, not as we wanted to appear. But there comes a day when journals outlive us. And with them, our secrets.

Summer vacation on Great Rock Island was supposed to be a restorative time for Kate, who’d lost her close friend Elizabeth in a sudden accident. But when she inherits a trunk of Elizabeth's journals, they reveal a woman far different than the cheerful wife and mother Kate thought she knew.

The complicated portrait of Elizabeth—her troubled upbringing, and her route to marriage and motherhood—makes Kate question not just their friendship, but her own deepest beliefs about loyalty and honesty at a period of uncertainty in her own marriage.

The more Kate reads, the more she learns the complicated truth of who Elizabeth really was, and rethinks her own choices as a wife, mother, and professional, and the legacy she herself would want to leave behind. When an unfamiliar man’s name appears in the pages, Kate realizes the extent of what she didn’t know about her friend, including where she was really going on the day she died.

Set in the anxious summer after the September 11th attacks, this story of two women—their friendship, their marriages, private ambitions and fears—considers the aspects of ourselves we show and those we conceal, and the repercussions of our choices.
Visit Nichole Bernier's website.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Equal of the Sun"

New from Scribner: Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani.

About the book, from the publisher:

Legendary women—from Anne Boleyn to Queen Elizabeth I to Mary, Queen of Scots—changed the course of history in the royal courts of sixteenth-century England. They are celebrated in history books and novels, but few people know of the powerful women in the Muslim world, who formed alliances, served as key advisers to rulers, lobbied for power on behalf of their sons, and ruled in their own right. In Equal of the Sun, Anita Amirrezvani’s gorgeously crafted tale of power, loyalty, and love in the royal court of Iran, she brings one such woman to life, Princess Pari Khan Khanoom Safavi.

Iran in 1576 is a place of wealth and dazzling beauty. But when the Shah dies without having named an heir, the court is thrown into tumult. Princess Pari, the Shah’s daughter and protégé, knows more about the inner workings of the state than almost anyone, but the princess’s maneuvers to instill order after her father’s sudden death incite resentment and dissent. Pari and her closest adviser, Javaher, a eunuch able to navigate the harem as well as the world beyond the palace walls, are in possession of an incredible tapestry of secrets and information that reveals a power struggle of epic proportions.

Based loosely on the life of Princess Pari Khan Khanoom, Equal of the Sun is a riveting story of political intrigue and a moving portrait of the unlikely bond between a princess and a eunuch. Anita Amirrezvani is a master storyteller, and in her lustrous prose this rich and labyrinthine world comes to vivid life with a stunning cast of characters, passionate and brave men and women who defy or embrace their destiny in a Machiavellian game played by those who lust for power and will do anything to attain it.
Visit Anita Amirrezvani's website.

"Wallflower in Bloom"

New from Touchstone: Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the acclaimed bestselling author of Must Love Dogs comes a winning and witty new novel about a woman who emerges from the shadow of her overbearing family and finds herself “dancing with the stars.”

Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it’s just not her own. She’s the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound.

Then Deirdre’s sometime boyfriend informs her that he is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted. While drowning her sorrows in Tag’s expensive vodka, Deirdre decides to use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute Dancing with the Stars replacement. It’ll get her back in shape, mentally and physically. It might even get her a life of her own. Deirdre’s fifteen minutes of fame have begun.

Irresistible and offbeat, Wallflower in Bloom is an original and deeply satisfying story of having the courage to take a leap into the spotlight, no matter where you land.
Visit Claire Cook's website and blog.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

"The Last Hunger Season"

New from PublicAffairs: The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change by Roger Thurow.

About the book, from the publisher:

The story of a group of Kenyan farmers working to transcend lives of dire poverty and hunger illuminates the challenges, and vital necessity, of transforming Africa's agriculture sector

Africa's small farmers, who comprise two-thirds of its population, toil in a time warp, living and working essentially as they did in the 1930s. Without mechanized equipment, fertilizer, or irrigation; using primitive storage facilities, roads, and markets; lacking capital, credit, and insurance; they harvest only one-quarter the yields of Western farmers, half of which spoil before getting to market. But in 2011 one group of farmers in Kenya came together to try to change their odds for success—and their families' futures. Roger Thurow spent a year following their progress.

In The Last Hunger Season, the intimate dramas of the farmers' lives unfold amidst growing awareness that to feed the world's growing population, food production must double by 2050. How will the farmers, Africa, and a hungrier world deal with issues of water usage, land ownership, foreign investment, corruption, GMO's, the changing role of women, and the politics of foreign aid?

"Women from the Ankle Down"

New from Harper: Women from the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us by Rachelle Bergstein.

About the book, from the publisher:

What is it about a pair of shoes that so enchants women of all ages, demographics, political affiliations, and style tribes? Part social history, part fashion record, part pop-culture celebration, Women from the Ankle Down seeks to answer that question as it unfolds the story of shoes in the twentieth century.

The tale begins in the rural village of Bonito, Italy, with a visionary young shoemaker named Salvatore Ferragamo and ends in New York City with a fictional socialite and trendsetter named Carrie Bradshaw. Along the way it stops in Hollywood, where Judy Garland first slipped on her ruby slippers; New Jersey, where Nancy Sinatra heard something special in a song about boots; and the streets of Manhattan, where a transit-worker strike propelled women to step into cutting-edge athletic shoes. Fashion aficionado Rachelle Bergstein shares the stories behind these historical moments, interweaving the design innovations and social changes that gave each one its lasting significance and appeal.

Bergstein shows how the story of shoes is the story of women, told from the ankle down. Beginning with the well-heeled suffragettes in the 1910s, women have fought for greater freedom and mobility, a struggle that exploded in the 1960s with the women's liberation movement and culminated in the new millennium with our devotion to personal choice. Featuring interviews with designers, historians, and cultural experts, and a cast of real-life characters, from Marilyn Monroe to Jane Fonda, from Gwen Stefani to Manolo Blahnik, Women from the Ankle Down is a lively, compelling look at the evolution of modern women and the fashion that reflects—and has shaped—their changing lives.
Visit Rachelle Bergstein's website.

Friday, May 25, 2012

"The Sovereignties of Invention"

New from Red Lemonade: The Sovereignties of Invention by Matthew Battles.

About the book, from the publisher:

Matthew Battles does not write stories that move, develop or unfold. He creates worlds that hiss, snap, and rattle, and decorates them with objects that brood in black, glassine silence, or crumble into dusty revelation. Characters are left to grab at scraps of reality sent whipping about them at hurricane force. Ideas "run faster than memory can sieve them from the flow," leaving vaporous reverie to fill the vacuum - dogs populate trees, demolition men bear holy forgeries, and a slick dark box siphons off synaptic vibrations.

The thrill and anxiety of the Uncanny is the engine of this debut collection by rare book librarian and cultural critic Matthew Battles. He invents a new Creole, one that combines the baroque grandiosity of 19th century industrialist with the sleek grandiosity of the 21st technologist. Traversing musty libraries and austere technology conferences, Battles quietly but ruthlessly discloses the beauty and grotesquerie of our present times, our infatuation with the New and our nostalgia for the Old both lovingly depicted and then slowly roasted on the spit.

In "The Dogs in the Trees," man's best friends deliver an enigmatic rebuke. The protagonist of "The Sovereignties of Invention" is enthralled by a gadget that plumbs the depths of the stream of consciousness. In "The Manuscript of Belz," a librarian ponders the glamor of the book and the bloody limits of cultural experience. And "the Gnomon" seeks in Internet culture the same dark energies limned by Poe. Each story within "The Sovereignties of Invention" waits, still, dark and deep, to yield its unique shock of uncanny truth - the only choice is to dive in.

"Ice Cap"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: Ice Cap by Chris Knopf.

About the book, from the publisher:

A new addition to Chris Knopf's fun, smartly-plotted series starring Jackie Swaitkowski, Hamptons lawyer to the rich and criminal

It’s the middle of the worst winter on record in the Hamptons, and Jackie Swaitkowski’s client, Franco Raffinni, is headed for a 1st degree murder rap. The case pulls her reluctantly back into her late-husband’s extended, and partly nutty family, entangles her in intrigue both criminal and romantic, and challenges her basic principles of right and wrong. Crazy weather, crazy artists, the uniquely close-knit and colorful Polish-American community in the East End of Long Island, organized crime and digital wizardry all play a role in Ice Cap, a murder mystery that could only happen in the Hamptons.
Coffee with a canine: Chris Knopf & Sam.

My Book, The Movie: Two Time.

The Page 99 Test: Hard Stop.

Writers Read: Chris Knopf.

My Book, The Movie: Short Squeeze.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Dark Magic"

New from Tor Books: Dark Magic by James Swain.

About the book, from the publisher:

Peter Warlock is a magician with a dark secret. Every night, he amazes audiences at his private theater in New York, where he performs feats that boggle the imagination. But his day job is just a cover for his otherworldly pursuits: Peter is a member of an underground group of psychics who gaze into the future to help prevent crimes.

No one, not even his live-in girlfriend, knows the truth about Peter—until the séance when he foresees an unspeakable act of violence that will devastate the city. As Peter and his friends rush to prevent tragedy, Peter discovers that a shadowy cult of evil psychics, the Order of Astrum, know all about his abilities. They are hunting him and his fellow psychics down, one by one, determined to silence them forever.

Dark Magic is a genre-bending supernatural thriller from national bestselling novelist and real-life magician James Swain.
Visit James Swain's website and Facebook page.


New from HarperTeen: Dreamless by Josephine Angelini.

About the book, from the publisher:

Can true love be forgotten?

As the only scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.

Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out—a ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies' cry for blood is growing louder.

As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen's sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos.

Josephine Angelini's compelling saga becomes ever more intricate and spellbinding as an unforgettable love triangle emerges and the eternal cycle of revenge intensifies. Eagerly awaited, this sequel to the internationally bestselling Starcrossed delivers a gritty, action-packed love story that exceeds all expectations.
Learn more about the book and author at Josephine Angelini's website and blog.

Writers Read: Josephine Angelini.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"The Ocean of Life"

New from Viking: The Ocean of Life: The Fate of Man and the Sea by Callum Roberts.

About the book, from the publisher:

Who can forget the sense of wonder with which they discovered the creatures of the deep? In this vibrant hymn to the sea, Callum Roberts—one of the world’s foremost conservation biologists—leads readers on a fascinating tour of mankind’s relationship to the sea, from the earliest traces of water on earth to the oceans as we know them today. In the process, Roberts looks at how the taming of the oceans has shaped human civilization and affected marine life.

We have always been fish eaters, from the dawn of civilization, but in the last twenty years we have transformed the oceans beyond recognition. Putting our exploitation of the seas into historical context, Roberts offers a devastating account of the impact of modern fishing techniques, pollution, and climate change, and reveals what it would take to steer the right course while there is still time. Like Four Fish and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, The Ocean of Life takes a long view to tell a story in which each one of us has a role to play.
The Page 99 Test: Callum Roberts's The Unnatural History of the Sea.

"Gender, Violence, and the Past in Edda and Saga"

New from Oxford University Press: Gender, Violence, and the Past in Edda and Saga by David Clark.

About the book, from the publisher:

Gender, Violence, and the Past in Edda and Saga is the first book to investigate both the relation between gender and violence in the Old Norse Poetic Edda and key family and contemporary sagas, and the interrelated nature of these genres. Beginning with an analysis of eddaic attitudes to heroic violence and its gendered nature through the figures of Gutrun and Helgi, the study broadens out to the whole poetic compilation and how the past (and particularly the mythological past) inflects the heroic present. This paves the way for a consideration of the comparable relationship between the heroic poems themselves and later reworkings of them or allusions to them in the family and contemporary sagas. The book's thematic concentration on gender/sexuality and violence, and its generic concentration on Poetic Edda and later texts which rework or allude to it, enable a diverse but coherent exploration of both key and neglected Norse texts and the way in which their authors display a dual fascination with and rejection of heroic vengeance.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"In the Kingdom of Men"

New from Knopf: In the Kingdom of Men by Kim Barnes.

About the book, from the publisher:

Here is the first thing you need to know about me: I’m a barefoot girl from red-dirt Oklahoma, and all the marble floors in the world will never change that.

Here is the second thing: that young woman they pulled from the Arabian shore, her hair tangled with mangrove—my husband didn’t kill her, not the way they say he did.

1967. Gin Mitchell knows a better life awaits her when she marries hometown hero Mason McPhee. Raised in a two-room shack by her Oklahoma grandfather, a strict Methodist minister, Gin never believed that someone like Mason, a handsome college boy, the pride of Shawnee, would look her way. And nothing can prepare her for the world she and Mason step into when he takes a job with the Arabian American Oil company in Saudi Arabia. In the gated compound of Abqaiq, Gin and Mason are given a home with marble floors, a houseboy to cook their meals, and a gardener to tend the sandy patch out back. Even among the veiled women and strict laws of shariah, Gin’s life has become the stuff of fairy tales. She buys her first swimsuit, she pierces her ears, and Mason gives her a glittering diamond ring. But when a young Bedouin woman is found dead, washed up on the shores of the Persian Gulf, Gin’s world closes in around her, and the one person she trusts is nowhere to be found.

Set against the gorgeously etched landscape of a country on the cusp of enormous change, In the Kingdom of Men abounds with sandstorms and locust swarms, shrimp peddlers, pearl divers, and Bedouin caravans—a luminous portrait of life in the desert. Award-winning author Kim Barnes weaves a mesmerizing, richly imagined tale of Americans out of their depth in Saudi Arabia, a marriage in peril, and one woman’s quest for the truth, no matter what it might cost her.
Kim Barnes' books include the novel Finding Caruso and two memoirs, In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country—a finalist for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize—Hungry for the World, and A Country Called Home.

The Page 69 Test: A Country Called Home.

"So Far Away"

New from Little, Brown: So Far Away by Meg Mitchell Moore.

About the book, from the publisher:

Thirteen-year-old Natalie Gallagher is trying to escape: from her parents' ugly divorce, and from the vicious cyber-bullying of her former best friend. She discovers a dusty old diary in her family's basement and is inspired to unlock its secrets.

Kathleen Lynch, an archivist at the Massachusetts State Archives, has her own painful secrets: she's a widow estranged from her only daughter. Natalie's research brings her to Kathleen, who in Natalie sees traces of the daughter she has lost.

What could the life of an Irish immigrant domestic servant from the 1920s teach them both? In the pages of the diary, they will learn that their fears and frustrations are timeless.

So Far Away is an affecting story of mothers and daughters and how solace can be found in the most unlikely places.
Learn more about the book and author at Meg Mitchell Moore's website.

Writers Read: Meg Mitchell Moore.

Monday, May 21, 2012

"A Small Fortune"

New from Riverhead: A Small Fortune by Rosie Dastgir.

About the book, from the publisher:

An entertaining debut novel that explores the lives of an extended Pakistani family—all with a gently humorous touch and fond but wry eye.

Harris, the presumed patriarch of his large extended family in both England and Pakistan, has unexpectedly received a “small fortune” from his divorce settlement with an English woman: £53,000. As a devout Muslim, Harris views this sum as a “burden of riches” that he must unload on someone else as quickly as possible. But deciding which relative to give it to proves to be a burden of its own, and soon he has promised it both to his extremely poor cousins in Pakistan and to his Westernized, college-student daughter. Then, in a rash bout of guilt and misunderstanding, Harris signs the entire sum away to the least deserving, most prosperous cousin of all. This solves none of his problems and creates many more, exacerbating a tricky web of familial debt and obligation on two sides of the world, until the younger generation steps in to help.

With insight, affection, and a great gift for character and story, Dastgir immerses us in a rich, beautifully drawn immigrant community and complex extended family. She considers the challenges between relatives of different cultural backgrounds, generations, and experiences—and the things they have to teach one another. A Small Fortune offers an affectionate and affecting look at class, culture, and the heartbreak of misinterpretation.
Visit Rosie Dastgir's website.

"The Kissing List"

New from Hogarth: The Kissing List by Stephanie Reents.

About the book, from the publisher:

An inventive debut that recalls the imagination of Aimee Bender and the sardonic wit of Lorrie Moore.

The interlocking stories in The Kissing List feature an unforgettable group of young women – Sylvie, Anna, Frances, Maureen – as their lives connect, first during a year abroad at Oxford, then later as they move to New York on the cusp of adulthood. We follow each of them as they navigate the treachery of first dates, temp jobs and roommates, failed relationships and unexpected affairs – all the things that make their lives seem full of possibility, but also rife with potential disappointment.

Shot through with laugh-out-loud lines, yet still wrenchingly emotional and resonant, The Kissing List is a book about women who bravely defy expectations and take outrageous chances in the face of a life that might turn out to be anything less than extraordinary.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


New from Tor Books: Princeps: A Novel in the Imager Portfolio by L. E. Modesitt Jr.

About the book, from the publisher:

The thrilling follow-up to Scholar—in which, after discovering a coup attempt and preventing a bloody civil war, Quaeryt was appointed princeps of Tilbor—begins a new episode in the young Imager's life. Now second only to the governor, and still hiding his powers as an Imager, Quaeryt is enjoying his new position, as well as his marriage to Lord Bhayar’s youngest sister, Vaelora, when a volcanic eruption devastates the old capital of Telaryn.

He and his wife are dispatched to Extela, Telaryn’s capitol city, to replace the governor killed in the eruption. Quaeryt and Vaelora must restore order to a city filled with chaos and corruption, and do so quickly. The regiment under his command must soon depart to bolster Telaryn’s border defenses against a neighboring ruler who sees the volcanic devastation as an opportunity for invasion and conquest.
Learn more about the author and his work at L. E. Modesitt, Jr.'s website.

My Book, The Movie: L. E. Modesitt, Jr.'s Flash.

The Page 69 Test: The Lord-Protector's Daughter.

The Page 69 Test: Empress of Eternity.

The Page 69 Test: Scholar.

Writers Read: L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

"The Yard"

New from Putnam: The Yard by Alex Grecian.

About the book, from the publisher:

Victorian London is a cesspool of crime, and Scotland Yard has only twelve detectives—known as “The Murder Squad”—to investigate thousands of murders every month. Created after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure to capture Jack the Ripper, The Murder Squad suffers rampant public contempt. They have failed their citizens. But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own ... one of the twelve...

When Walter Day, the squad’s newest hire, is assigned the case of the murdered detective, he finds a strange ally in the Yard’s first forensic pathologist, Dr. Bernard Kingsley. Together they track the killer, who clearly is not finished with The Murder Squad ... but why?

Filled with fascinating period detail, and real historical figures, this spectacular debut in a new series showcases the depravity of late Victorian London, the advent of criminology, and introduces a stunning new cast of characters sure to appeal to fans of The Sherlockian and The Alienist.
Visit Alex Grecian's website.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

"The Rock Star in Seat 3A"

New from William Morrow: The Rock Star in Seat 3A: A Novel by Jill Kargman.

About the book, from the publisher:

It's Hazel's thirtieth birthday and she has everything she's ever wanted: a kickass job, a dream apartment in New York City, and the perfect boyfriend—who's just days away from proposing. Hazel thinks she's happy but isn't quite ready to settle down. So when her most far-fetched fantasy enters the realm of the possible, shouldn't she drop everything to see it through?

The morning after her birthday, Hazel boards a flight to L.A. only to get the surprise of her life. When she's bumped up to first class, extra legroom and free drinks are absolutely the last things on her mind when she catches sight of her seatmate: her all-time biggest celebrity crush, rock star Finn Schiller! Only the night before she'd confessed her infatuation with the gorgeous musician, and her boyfriend joked that she had a free pass if she ever met him. Hazel can't believe fate has actually thrown them together.

Even more unbelievable is that during the flight they genuinely connect. Finn likes her uncensored cursing and wicked sense of humor, and that she's unlike all of his groupies; Hazel likes his killer looks, ripped physique, and soulful music. But what started as a fantasy quickly becomes a real attraction, and after a dream date and taste of the rock-star life with Finn in L.A., Hazel is forced to examine the track her life is on. Indulging in a passionate affair with a rock star seems crazy—but could she ever forgive herself if she walked away from her wildest dream coming true? And is her wildest dream the stuff that happiness is made of?

A lively novel about a down-to-earth New York City girl who suddenly finds herself in a rock 'n' roll Cinderella fantasy, The Rock Star in Seat 3A is seasoned with Jill Kargman's signature wit and hilarious dialogue. This is a fairy-tale romance with a twist.
Learn more about the book and author at Jill Kargman's website.

Writers Read: Jill Kargman.

The Page 99 Test: Sometimes I Feel Like A Nut.

"The Battle for the Arab Spring"

New from Yale University Press: The Battle for the Arab Spring: Revolution, Counter-Revolution and the Making of a New Era by Lin Noueihed and Alex Warren.

About the book, from the publisher:

Sparked by the protest of a single vegetable seller in Tunisia, the flame of revolutionary passion swept across the Arab world in what has come to be called the Arab Spring of 2011. Millions took to the streets in revolt: the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya fell, other regimes remain embattled, and no corner of the region has escaped unchanged. In this informed and accessible book, Lin Noueihed and Alex Warren explain the economic and political roots of the Arab Spring, assess what has been accomplished so far, and consider the many stumbling blocks that confront the Arab nations as they try to shape their futures.

Through research, interviews, and a wealth of firsthand experience, the authors explain the unique set of obstacles that endanger stability in each country. They analyze the challenges many Arab nations face in building democratic institutions, finding consensus on political Islam, overcoming tribal divides, and satisfying an insatiable demand for jobs. In an era of change and uncertainty, this insightful guide provides the first clear glimpse of the post-revolutionary future the Arab Spring set in motion.

Friday, May 18, 2012

"Cliff Walk"

New from Forge Books: Cliff Walk (Liam Mulligan Series #2) by Bruce DeSilva.

About the book, from the publisher:

Prostitution has been legal in Rhode Island for more than a decade; Liam Mulligan, an old-school investigative reporter at dying Providence newspaper, suspects the governor has been taking payoffs to keep it that way. But this isn’t the only story making headlines…a child’s severed arm is discovered in a pile of garbage at a pig farm. Then the body of an internet pornographer is found sprawled on the rocks at the base of Newport’s famous Cliff Walk.

At first, the killings seem random, but as Mulligan keeps digging into the state’s thriving sex business, strange connections emerge. Promised free sex with hookers if he minds his own business—and a beating if he doesn’t—Mulligan enlists Thanks-Dad, the newspaper publisher’s son, and Attila the Nun, the state’s colorful Attorney General, in his quest for the truth. What Mulligan learns will lead him to question his beliefs about sexual morality, shake his tenuous religious faith, and leave him wondering who his real friends are.

Cliff Walk is at once a hard-boiled mystery and an exploration of sex and religion in the age of pornography. Written with the unique and powerful voice that won DeSilva an Edgar Award for Best First Novel, Cliff Walk lifts Mulligan into the pantheon of great suspense heroes and is a giant leap for the career of Bruce DeSilva.
Learn more about the book and author at Bruce DeSilva's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Rogue Island.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Bruce DeSilva and Brady.

"Waking the Giant"

New from Oxford University Press: Waking the Giant: How a Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Volcanoes by Bill McGuire.

About the book, from the publisher:

An astonishing transformation over the last 20,000 years has seen our planet changed from a frigid wasteland into the temperate world within which our civilization has grown and thrived. This dynamic episode in our planet's history, right at the close of the Ice Age, saw not only a huge temperature hike but also the Earth's crust bouncing and bending in response to the melting of the great ice sheets and the filling of the ocean basins--dramatic geophysical events that triggered earthquakes, spawned tsunamis, and provoked a series of eruptions from the world's volcanoes. In Waking the Giant, Bill McGuire argues that now that human activities are driving climate change as rapidly as anything seen in post-glacial times, the sleeping giant beneath our feet is stirring once again. When and if it finally wakes, we should all be afraid--very afraid. Could we be leaving our children not only a far hotter world, but a more geologically unstable one too?
Waking the Giant is one of Fred Pearce's top ten eco-books.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Mozart at the Gateway to His Fortune"

New from W.W. Norton: Mozart at the Gateway to His Fortune: Serving the Emperor, 1788-1791 by Christoph Wolff.

About the book, from the publisher:

A fresh look at the life of Mozart during his imperial years by one of the world's leading Mozart scholars.

"I now stand at the gateway to my fortune," Mozart wrote in a letter of 1790. He had entered into the service of Emperor Joseph II of Austria two years earlier as Imperial-Royal Chamber Composer—a salaried appointment with a distinguished title and few obligations. His extraordinary subsequent output, beginning with the three final great symphonies from the summer of 1788, invites a reassessment of this entire period of his life. Readers will gain a new appreciation and understanding of the composer's works from that time without the usual emphasis on his imminent death. The author discusses the major biographical and musical implications of the royal appointment and explores Mozart's "imperial style" on the basis of his major compositions—keyboard,chamber, orchestral, operatic, and sacred—and focuses on the large, unfamiliar works he left incomplete. This new perspective points to an energetic, fresh beginning for the composer and a promising creative and financial future.

"The Land Grabbers"

New from Beacon Press: The Land Grabbers: The New Fight over Who Owns the Earth by Fred Pearce.

About the book, from the publisher:

An unprecedented land grab is taking place around the world. Fearing future food shortages or eager to profit from them, the world's wealthiest and most acquisitive countries, corporations, and individuals have been buying and leasing vast tracts of land around the world. The scale is astounding: parcels the size of small countries are being gobbled up across the plains of Africa, the paddy fields of Southeast Asia, the jungles of South America, and the prairies of Eastern Europe. Veteran science writer Fred Pearce spent a year circling the globe to find out who was doing the buying, whose land was being taken over, and what the effect of these massive land deals seems to be.

The Land Grabbers is a first-of-its-kind exposé that reveals the scale and the human costs of the land grab, one of the most profound ethical, environmental, and economic issues facing the globalized world in the twenty-first century. The corporations, speculators, and governments scooping up land cheap in the developing world claim that industrial-scale farming will help local economies. But Pearce's research reveals a far more troubling reality. While some mega-farms are ethically run, all too often poor farmers and cattle herders are evicted from ancestral lands or cut off from water sources. The good jobs promised by foreign capitalists and home governments alike fail to materialize. Hungry nations are being forced to export their food to the wealthy, and corporate potentates run fiefdoms oblivious to the country beyond their fences.

Pearce's story is populated with larger-than-life characters, from financier George Soros and industry tycoon Richard Branson, to Gulf state sheikhs, Russian oligarchs, British barons, and Burmese generals. We discover why Goldman Sachs is buying up the Chinese poultry industry, what Lord Rothschild and a legendary 1970s asset-stripper are doing in the backwoods of Brazil, and what plans a Saudi oil billionaire has for Ethiopia. Along the way, Pearce introduces us to the people who actually live on, and live off of, the supposedly "empty" land that is being grabbed, from Cambodian peasants, victimized first by the Khmer Rouge and now by crony capitalism, to African pastoralists confined to ever-smaller tracts.

Over the next few decades, land grabbing may matter more, to more of the planet's people, than even climate change. It will affect who eats and who does not, who gets richer and who gets poorer, and whether agrarian societies can exist outside corporate control. It is the new battle over who owns the planet.
See Fred Pearce's top ten eco-books.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


New from Thomas Dunne Books: SecondWorld by Jeremy Robinson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Lincoln Miller, an ex-Navy SEAL turned NCIS Special Agent is sent to Aquarius, the world’s only sub-oceanic research facility located off the Florida Keys, to investigate reports of ocean dumping. A week into his stay, strange red flakes descend from the surface. Scores of fish are dead and dying, poisoned by the debris that turns to powder in Miller’s fingers and tastes like blood.

Miller heads for the surface, ready to fight whoever is polluting on his watch. But he finds nothing. No ships. No polluters.

No oxygen.

Instead, he finds a cloudless sky full of red particles dropping like snow and coating the ocean with a thick film that stretches to the horizon. When a dead blue whale collides with Aquarius, Miller begins a harrowing race to escape the affected area. Cut off from the rest of the world and surrounded by death, Miller makes his way to Miami where he discovers just one survivor, and the awful truth: the strange phenomenon that robbed the air of its life giving oxygen was an attack by an enemy reborn from the ashes of World War II. And they’re just getting started. Miami, Tel Aviv, and Tokyo have all been destroyed. Millions are dead.

And if Miller can’t track down and stop those responsible in seven days, the rest of the world is next.
Learn more about the book and author at Jeremy Robinson's website.

My Book, the Movie: Instinct.

The Page 69 Test: Instinct.

The Page 69 Test: Threshold.

Writers Read: Jeremy Robinson.

"Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murder"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murder by Catriona McPherson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Aristocratic and delightfully witty amateur sleuth Dandy Gilver was greeted with boisterous cheers from readers and reviewers alike in Catriona McPherson’s previous outing, Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains, which The Boston Globe named one of the best crime novels of 2011. In this new book in this charming and funny series, Dandy is caught between two feuding families who run rival department stores.

Dandy’s services are needed when the heiress to one of the stores goes missing. As Dandy starts to unravel long-hidden family secrets, she begins to discover disturbing connections, and it's not long before danger abounds.

“With witty dialogue and low-key humor, McPherson’s series is a great choice for Jacqueline Winspear, Carola Dunn, and Amy Patricia Meade fans. A strong traditional offering with sly humor, a love of dogs, and not too much violence. A real contender for the Agathas!”(Library Journal, starred review), Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murder is one mystery not to be missed.
Visit Catriona McPherson's website.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


New from Solaris: Harmony by Keith Brooke.

About the book, from the publisher:

The aliens are here, all around us. They always have been. And now, one by one, they're destroying our cities. Dodge Mercer deals in identities, Hope Burren has no identity and no past, but she does have a multitude of voices filling her head. In a world where humans are segregated and aliens can tear worlds apart, Dodge and Hope lead a ragged band of survivors on a search for sanctuary in what may be the only hope for humankind.

The aliens are here, all around us. They always have been. And now, one by one, they're destroying our cities.

Dodge Mercer deals in identities, which is fine until the day he deals the wrong identity and clan war breaks out. Hope Burren has no identity and no past, but she does have a multitude of voices filling her head.

In a world where nothing is as it seems, where humans are segregated and aliens can sing realities and tear worlds apart, Dodge and Hope lead a ragged band of survivors on a search for sanctuary in what may be the only hope for humankind.
Visit Keith Brooke's website.

"Dog Days"

New from Tor Books: Dog Days by Elsa Watson.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Elsa Watson's Dog Days, struggling café owner Jessica Sheldon volunteered to be the chairperson of Woofinstock, Madrona’s annual dog festival, to overcome her reputation as “number one dog hater” in her dog crazy Northwestern town. Determined to prove her dog-loving credentials, Jessica rescues Zoe, a stray white German shepherd— and in the process the two are struck by lightning.

Jessica wakes to discover paws where her feet should be, and watches in horror as her body staggers around the town square…. Zoe and Jessica have switched bodies. Learning to live as a dog is difficult enough, but Jessica’s real worry is saving her café from financial ruin. To complicate matters, she’s falling hard for Max, the town veterinarian.

It’s clear that Zoe is thrilled to live life on “human terms,” thoroughly relishing all of the fun and food Woofinstock has to offer. But Zoe is also anxious to use her new human skills to find her missing family—who may not want her back. And Jessica needs to confront a complicated figure from her past before she can move on with her life.

Jessica and Zoe will need to learn from each other to set things right, and possibly find acceptance and love in the bargain.
Visit Elsa Watson's website.

Monday, May 14, 2012


New from John Wiley & Sons: Utopias: A Brief History from Ancient Writings to Virtual Communities by Howard P. Segal.

About the book, from the publisher:

This brief history connects the past and present of utopian thought, from the first utopias in ancient Greece, right up to present day visions of cyberspace communities and paradise.
  • Explores the purpose of utopias, what they reveal about the societies who conceive them, and how utopias have changed over the centuries
  • Unique in including both non-Western and Western visions of utopia
  • Explores the many forms utopias have taken – prophecies and oratory, writings, political movements, world's fairs, physical communities – and also discusses high-tech and cyberspace visions for the first time
  • The first book to analyze the implicitly utopian dimensions of reform crusades like Technocracy of the 1930s and Modernization Theory of the 1950s, and the laptop classroom initiatives of recent years

"My Father's Name"

New from the University of Chicago Press: My Father's Name: A Black Virginia Family after the Civil War by Lawrence P. Jackson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Armed with only early boyhood memories, Lawrence P. Jackson begins his quest by setting out from his home in Baltimore for Pittsylvania County, Virginia, to try to find his late grandfather’s old home by the railroad tracks in Blairs. My Father’s Name tells the tale of the ensuing journey, at once a detective story and a moving historical memoir, uncovering the mixture of anguish and fulfillment that accompanies a venture into the ancestral past, specifically one tied to the history of slavery.

After asking around in Pittsylvania County and carefully putting the pieces together, Jackson finds himself in the house of distant relations. In the pages that follow, he becomes increasingly absorbed by the search for his ancestors and increasingly aware of how few generations an African American needs to map back in order to arrive at slavery, “a door of no return.” Ultimately, Jackson’s dogged research in libraries, census records, and courthouse registries enables him to trace his family to his grandfather’s grandfather, a man who was born or sold into slavery but who, when Federal troops abandoned the South in 1877, was able to buy forty acres of land. In this intimate study of a black Virginia family and neighborhood, Jackson vividly reconstructs moments in the lives of his father’s grandfather, Edward Jackson, and great-grandfather, Granville Hundley, and gives life to revealing narratives of Pittsylvania County, recalling both the horror of slavery and the later struggles of postbellum freedom.

My Father’s Name is a family story full of twists and turns—and one of haunting familiarity to many Americans, who may question whether the promises of emancipation have ever truly been fulfilled. It is also a resolute look at the duties that come with reclaiming and honoring Americans who survived slavery and a thoughtful meditation on its painful and enduring history.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Trusting What You're Told"

New from Harvard University Press: Trusting What You're Told: How Children Learn from Others by Paul L. Harris.

About the book, from the publisher:

If children were little scientists who learn best through firsthand observations and mini-experiments, as conventional wisdom holds, how would a child discover that the earth is round—never mind conceive of heaven as a place someone might go after death? Overturning both cognitive and commonplace theories about how children learn, Trusting What You’re Told begins by reminding us of a basic truth: Most of what we know we learned from others.

Children recognize early on that other people are an excellent source of information. And so they ask questions. But youngsters are also remarkably discriminating as they weigh the responses they elicit. And how much they trust what they are told has a lot to do with their assessment of its source. Trusting What You’re Told opens a window into the moral reasoning of elementary school vegetarians, the preschooler’s ability to distinguish historical narrative from fiction, and the six-year-old’s nuanced stance toward magic: skeptical, while still open to miracles. Paul Harris shares striking cross-cultural findings, too, such as that children in religious communities in rural Central America resemble Bostonian children in being more confident about the existence of germs and oxygen than they are about souls and God.

We are biologically designed to learn from one another, Harris demonstrates, and this greediness for explanation marks a key difference between human beings and our primate cousins. Even Kanzi, a genius among bonobos, never uses his keyboard to ask for information: he only asks for treats.

"The Croning"

New from Night Shade Books: The Croning by Laird Barron.

About the book, from the publisher:

Strange things exist on the periphery of our existence, haunting us from the darkness looming beyond our firelight. Black magic, weird cults and worse things loom in the shadows. The Children of Old Leech have been with us from time immemorial. And they love us...

Donald Miller, geologist and academic, has walked along the edge of a chasm for most of his nearly eighty years, leading a charmed life between endearing absent-mindedness and sanity-shattering realization. Now, all things must converge. Donald will discover the dark secrets along the edges, unearthing savage truths about his wife Michelle, their adult twins, and all he knows and trusts. For Donald is about to stumble on the secret...

...of The Croning.
Visit Laird Barron's LiveJournal.

Writers Read: Laird Barron (February 2008).

Saturday, May 12, 2012

"Run, Swim, Throw, Cheat"

New from Oxford University Press: Run, Swim, Throw, Cheat: The Science Behind Drugs in Sport by Chris Cooper.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the 2012 Summer Olympics, we will see athletes do extraordinary things. In most cases, their achievements can be attributed to hard work and natural talent. But some will take drugs to enhance their performance. Written by top biochemist Chris Cooper, Run, Swim, Throw, CHEAT explains how people have cheated in the past, how they cheat now, and how they will cheat in the future.

From anabolic steroids to human growth hormone and the blood booster EPO, Cooper separates the truth from the hype, revealing what works and what doesn't work. More disturbing, the book argues that science has barely touched the surface of performance enhancement; there are many, many drugs yet to be discovered. Future developments are limited only by our imagination, research funding, and, of course, ethics. Moreover, recent findings of genetic enhancements on animals show it is possible to create super animals that far outperform their peers, suggesting that the top human athletes of the future may get there via gene manipulation. Cooper also argues that drug testing is of necessity imperfect and the rules arbitrary. And it cannot succeed, as it will always fight a losing battle between doper and tester. But the alternative--free access to all chemical tools--is not necessarily desirable. Just because a war cannot be won, does not mean that surrendering will lead to better sport.

Cooper concludes that the problem of drugs in sports mirrors the problem of drugs in society--we may not like them, we may rage against them, but they are here to stay. No one should think there will ever be a time when athletes can be completely prevented from using chemistry to enhance their sports performance.

"Scourge of the Betrayer"

New from Night Shade Books: Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards.

About the book, from the publisher:

A gritty new fantasy saga begins...

Many tales are told of the Syldoon Empire and its fearsome soldiers, who are known throughout the world for their treachery and atrocities. Some say that the Syldoon eat virgins and babies–or perhaps their own mothers. Arkamondos, a bookish young scribe, suspects that the Syldoon’s dire reputation may have grown in the retelling, but he’s about to find out for himself.

Hired to chronicle the exploits of a band of rugged Syldoon warriors, Arki finds himself both frightened and fascinated by the men’s enigmatic leader, Captain Braylar Killcoin. A secretive, mercurial figure haunted by the memories of those he’s killed with his deadly flail, Braylar has already disposed of at least one impertinent scribe ... and Arki might be next.

Archiving the mundane doings of millers and merchants was tedious, but at least it was safe. As Arki heads off on a mysterious mission into parts unknown, in the company of the coarse, bloody-minded Syldoon, he is promised a chance to finally record an historic adventure well worth the telling, but first he must survive the experience!

A gripping military fantasy in the tradition of Glen Cook, Scourge of the Betrayer explores the brutal politics of Empire–and the searing impact of violence and dark magic on a man’s soul.
Visit Jeff Salyards's website and blog.

Friday, May 11, 2012

"The Taliban Cricket Club"

New from Ecco: The Taliban Cricket Club by Timeri Murari.

About the novel, from the publisher:

Rukhsana is a spirited young journalist who works for the Kabul Daily in Afghanistan. She takes care of her ill, widowed mother and her younger brother, Jahan. But then Rukhsana is summoned to appear at the infamous Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, and their quiet and tenuous way of life is shattered.

There, the malevolent minister, Zorak Wahidi, announces that the Taliban has found a new way to pursue the diplomatic respect it has long been denied: cricket. On the world stage of sports, the Taliban will prove they are a fair and just society. Rukhsana and several other journalists are to report that a tournament will be held to determine who will play for Afghanistan. Anyone can put together a team. Women are forbidden to play. The winners will travel to Pakistan to train, then go on to represent Afghanistan around the world.

Rukhsana knows that this is a shameful, and deeply surreal, idea. The Taliban will never embrace a game rooted in civility, fairness, and equality, with no tolerance for violence or cheating. And no one in Afghanistan even knows how to play the game.

Except for Rukhsana.

This could be a way to get her cousins and her brother out of Afghanistan for good. But before she can organize a team, the terrifying Wahidi demands her hand in marriage. He finds her both exciting and infuriating, and wants to control her unruly, willful nature. The union would be her prison, stripping away what few freedoms she has left under Taliban rule and forcing her away from her family. Not marrying Wahidi, however, might mean her death. Her family rallies around her, willing to do anything to protect her, even if it means imprisonment or worse.

But Rukhsana realizes that Wahidi may have given her a way out, too. With the help of her loyal, beloved brother and cousins, she forms her own cricket team and sets about teaching them how to win their freedom—with a bat and a ball.

Inspired by the Taliban's actual and unprecedented promotion of cricket in 2000 in an attempt to gain acceptance in the global community, internationally bestselling author Murari weaves a riveting story of strength, hope, and soaring human triumph that proves no tyranny is ever absolute in the face of love.
Visit Timeri Murari's website.

"The Cosmonaut Who Couldn't Stop Smiling"

New from Northern Illinois University Press: The Cosmonaut Who Couldn't Stop Smiling: The Life and Legend of Yuri Gagarin by Andrew L. Jenks.

About the book, from the publisher:

“Let’s go!” With that, the boyish, grinning Yuri Gagarin launched into space on April 12, 1961, becoming the first human being to exit Earth’s orbit. The twenty-seven-year-old lieutenant colonel departed for the stars from within the shadowy world of the Soviet military-industrial complex. Barbed wires, no-entry placards, armed guards, false identities, mendacious maps, and a myriad of secret signs had hidden Gagarin from prying outsiders—not even his friends or family knew what he had been up to. Coming less than four years after the Russians launched Sputnik into orbit, Gagarin’s voyage was cause for another round of capitalist shock and Soviet rejoicing.

The Cosmonaut Who Couldn’t Stop Smiling relates this twentieth-century icon’s remarkable life while exploring the fascinating world of Soviet culture. Gagarin’s flight brought him massive international fame—in the early 1960s, he was possibly the most photographed person in the world, flashing his trademark smile while rubbing elbows with the varied likes of Nehru, Castro, Queen Elizabeth II, and Italian sex symbol Gina Lollobrigida. Outside of the spotlight, Andrew L. Jenks reveals, his tragic and mysterious death in a jet crash became fodder for morality tales and conspiracy theories in his home country, and, long after his demise, his life continues to provide grist for the Russian popular-culture mill.

This is the story of a legend, both the official one and the one of myth, which reflected the fantasies, perversions, hopes and dreams of Gagarin’s fellow Russians. With this rich, lively chronicle of Gagarin’s life and times, Jenks recreates the elaborately secretive world of space-age Russia while providing insights into Soviet history that will captivate a range of readers.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"As the Crow Flies"

New from Viking: As the Crow Flies (Walt Longmire Series #8) by Craig Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Embarking on his eighth adventure, Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire has a more important matter on his mind than cowboys and criminals. His daughter, Cady, is getting married to the brother of his undersheriff, Victoria Moretti. Walt and old friend Henry Standing Bear are the de facto wedding planners and fear Cady’s wrath when the wedding locale arrangements go up in smoke two weeks before the big event.

The pair set out to find a new site for the nuptials on the Cheyenne Reservation, but their scouting expedition ends in horror as they witness a young Crow woman plummeting from Painted Warrior’s majestic cliffs. It’s not Walt’s turf, but the newly appointed tribal police chief and Iraqi war veteran, the beautiful Lolo Long, shanghais him into helping with the investigation. Walt is stretched thin as he mentors Lolo, attempts to catch the bad guys, and performs the role of father of the bride.

With the popularity of Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series growing apace, fans new and old will relish As the Crow Flies, the sheriff’s latest quirky and complex investigation.
Learn more about the author and his work at Craig Johnson's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Page 69 Test: Kindness Goes Unpunished.

My Book, The Movie: The Cold Dish.

The Page 69 Test: The Dark Horse.

The Page 69 Test: Junkyard Dogs.

The Page 69 Test: Hell Is Empty.

"The Master's Muse"

New from Scribner: The Master's Muse by Varley O'Connor.

About the book, from the publisher:

“We set our sights on each other almost from the beginning.”

So begins The Master’s Muse, an exquisite, deeply affecting novel about the true love affair between two artistic legends: George Balanchine, the Russian émigré to America who is widely considered the Shakespeare of dance, and his wife and muse, Tanaquil Le Clercq.

Copenhagen, 1956: Tanaquil Le Clercq, known as Tanny, is a gorgeous, talented, and spirited young ballerina whose dreams are coming true. She is married to the love of her life, George Balanchine— the famous mercurial director of New York City Ballet. She dances the best roles in his newest creations, has been featured in fashion magazines and television dramas, socializes with the country’s most renowned artists and intellectuals, and has become a star around the world. But one fateful evening, only hours after performing, Tanny falls suddenly and gravely ill; she awakens from a feverous sleep to find that she can no longer move her legs.

Tanny is diagnosed with polio and Balanchine quits the ballet to devote himself to caring for his wife. He crafts exercises to help her regain her strength, deepening their partnership and love for each other. But in the ensuing years, after Tanny discovers she will never walk again, their relationship is challenged as she endeavors to create a new identity for herself and George returns to the company, choreographing ballets inspired by the ever-younger, more beautiful and talented dancers. Their marriage is put to the ultimate test as Tanny battles to redefine her dreams and George throws himself into his art.

The Master’s Muse is an evocative imagining of the deep yet complicated love between a smart, beautiful woman and her charismatic, ambitious husband; it is the story of an extraordinary collaboration in art and in life.
Visit Varley O'Connor's website.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"From Melancholia to Prozac"

New from Oxford University Press: From Melancholia to Prozac: A History of Depression by Clark Lawlor.

About the book, from the publisher:

Depression is an experience known to millions. But arguments rage on aspects of its definition and its impact on societies present and past: do drugs work, or are they merely placebos? Is the depression we have today merely a construct of the pharmaceutical industry? Is depression under- or over-diagnosed? Should we be paying for expensive 'talking cure' treatments like psychoanalysis or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Here, Clark Lawlor argues that understanding the history of depression is important to understanding its present conflicted status and definition. While it is true that our modern understanding of the word 'depression' was formed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the condition was originally known as melancholia, and characterised by core symptoms of chronic causeless sadness and fear. Beginning in the Classical period, and moving on to the present, Lawlor shows both continuities and discontinuities in the understanding of what we now call depression, and in the way it has been represented in literature and art. Different cultures defined and constructed melancholy and depression in ways sometimes so different as to be almost unrecognisable.

Even the present is still a dynamic history, in the sense that the 'new' form of depression, defined in the 1980s and treated by drugs like Prozac, is under attack by many theories that reject the biomedical model and demand a more humanistic idea of depression - one that perhaps returns us to a form of melancholy.

"In One Person"

New from Simon & Schuster: In One Person by John Irving.

About the book, from the publisher:

A compelling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love—tormented, funny, and affecting—and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character of In One Person, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a “sexual suspect,” a phrase first used by John Irving in 1978 in his landmark novel of “terminal cases,” The World According to Garp.

His most political novel since The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving’s In One Person is a poignant tribute to Billy’s friends and lovers—a theatrical cast of characters who defy category and convention. Not least, In One Person is an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself “worthwhile.”

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Until I Die"

New from HarperTeen: Until I Die by Amy Plum.

About the book, from the publisher:

I wish there was only today, just right now, and no forever.

It seems fitting that I fell in love in Paris, the most beautiful city in the world. And if I pretend, I can almost believe that my life is normal and everyone I care about is safe.

But as long as I’m with Vincent, “normal” doesn’t exist. Gorgeous, charming, and witty, he’s everything you could ask for in a boyfriend—but his destiny is so much more.

Even more terrifying than his destiny are his dangerous enemies, enemies who will kill for immortality. How are Vincent and I supposed to be together forever if we’re always in danger?

I know I’ll do whatever it takes—even if it means lying to the people I love—to fight against a fate that is trying to tear us apart.
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Read--Coffee with a Canine: Amy Plum and Ella.

"Don't Cry, Tai Lake"

New from Minotaur Books: Don't Cry, Tai Lake: An Inspector Chen Novel by Qiu Xiaolong.

About the book, from the publisher:

Chief Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police Department is offered a bit of luxury by friends and supporters within the Party – a week’s vacation at a luxurious resort near Lake Tai, a week where he can relax, and recover, undisturbed by outside demands or disruptions. Unfortunately, the once beautiful Lake Tai, renowned for its clear waters, is now covered by fetid algae, its waters polluted by toxic runoff from local manufacturing plants. Then the director of one of the manufacturing plants responsible for the pollution is murdered and the leader of the local ecological group is the primary suspect of the local police. Now Inspector Chen must tread carefully if he is to uncover the truth behind the brutal murder and find a measure of justice for both the victim and the accused.
Visit Qiu Xiaolong's website.

Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xiaolong is on Catherine Sampson's Top 10 list of Asian crime fiction.