Five September Non-Fiction Book Releases

It’s been a while since I posted new book releases and, with fall just around the corner bringing with it cozy book reading weather, I decided now was a good a time as any to let everyone know what is coming our way in the non-fiction genre.

smokeTitle ~ Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
Author ~ Caitlin Doughty
ISBN ~ 978-0393240238
Publisher ~ W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date ~ September 15th 2014
Description ~ A young mortician goes behind the scenes, unafraid of the gruesome (and fascinating) details of her curious profession.

Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures.

Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didn’t know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like?

Honest and heartfelt, self-deprecating and ironic, Caitlin’s engaging style makes this otherwise taboo topic both approachable and engrossing. Now a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice, Caitlin argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead).

sally rideTitle ~ Sally Ride: Life on a Mission
Author ~ Sue Macy
ISBN ~ 978-1442488540
Publisher ~ Aladdin
Release Date ~ September 9th 2014
Description ~ Sally Ride was more than the first woman in space; she was a real-life explorer and adventurer whose life story is a true inspiration for all those who dream big.

Most people know Sally Ride as the first American female astronaut to travel in space. But in her lifetime she was also a nationally ranked tennis player, a physicist who enjoyed reading Shakespeare, a university professor, the founder of a company that helped inspire girls and young women to pursue careers in science and math, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

From Sally Ride’s youth to her many groundbreaking achievements in space and beyond, Sue Macy’s riveting biography tells the story of not only a pioneering astronaut, but a leader and explorer whose life, as President Barack Obama said, demonstrates that the sky is no limit for those who dream of reaching for the stars.

unspeakableTitle ~ Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution
Author ~ Laurie Penny
ISBN ~ 978-1620406892
Publisher ~ Bloomsbury USA
Release Date ~ September 16th, 2014
Description ~ Smart, clear-eyed, and irreverent, Unspeakable Things is a fresh look at gender and power in the twenty-first century, which asks difficult questions about dissent and desire, money and masculinity, sexual violence, menial work, mental health, queer politics, and the Internet.

Celebrated journalist and activist Laurie Penny draws on a broad history of feminist thought and her own experience in radical subcultures in America and Britain to take on cultural phenomena from the Occupy movement to online dating, give her unique spin on economic justice and freedom of speech, and provide candid personal insight to rally the defensive against eating disorders, sexual assault, and internet trolls. Unspeakable Things is a book that is eye-opening not only in the critique it provides, but also in the revolutionary alternatives it imagines.

Killing pattonTitle ~ Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General
Author ~ Bill O’Reilly, Martin Dugard
ISBN ~ 978-0805096682
Publisher ~ Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition
Release Date ~ September 23rd 2014
Description ~ Readers around the world have thrilled to “Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy,” and “Killing Jesus”–riveting works of nonfiction that journey into the heart of the most famous murders in history. Now from Bill O’Reilly, anchor of “The O’Reilly Factor,” comes the most epic book of all in this multimillion-selling series: “Killing Patton.”

General George S. Patton, Jr. died under mysterious circumstances in the months following the end of World War II. For almost seventy years, there has been suspicion that his death was not an accident–and may very well have been an act of assassination. “Killing Patton” takes readers inside the final year of the war and recounts the events surrounding Patton’s tragic demise, naming names of the many powerful individuals who wanted him silenced.

MinecraftTitle ~ Minecraft: Construction Handbook: An Official Mojang Book
Author ~ Scholastic Inc.
ISBN ~ 978-0545685177
Publisher ~ Scholastic Inc.
Release Date ~ September 30th 2014 (first published April 29th 2014)
Description ~ If you can dream it, you can build it in Minecraft! This OFFICIAL guide will give you tips and tricks on how to be a creative genius!

You can make theme parks with incredible waterslide rides, or entire pirate coves complete with galleons! Is there nothing that can’t be achieved in Minecraft? Here the experts talk you through amazing constructs which range from awe-inspiring cathedrals to wacky inventions–like the hilarious animal cannon that catapults cows out to sea! Find out which are Notch’s personal favorites and get step-by-step instructions to fuel your own creative genius. Be ORE-some!

divider

Advertisements

Ten Teen and Young Adult April Book Releases

I know I’m late with this post this month, but believe me the ten Teen/YA books due for release during the last two weeks of this month are well worth the delay.  Some are hard-hitting, some are scary and some just make you want to chuckle out loud.  Whatever your tastes, I hope there will something listed here that will make you either reserve a copy at your library or make them a permanent resident on your bookshelves, I know there are a couple I’m going to be reading.

not invisibleTitle ~ She Is Not Invisible
Author ~ Marcus Sedgwick
ISBN ~ 978-1596438019
Publisher ~ Roaring Brook Press (April 22, 2014)
Age Range ~ 12 – 17 years
Grade Level ~ 7 and up

Description – Laureth Peak’s father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers–a skill at which she’s remarkably talented. Her secret: She is blind. But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her 7-year-old brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness. She Is Not Invisible is an intricate puzzle of a novel that sheds a light on the delicate ties that bind people to each other.

SummerTitle ~ Summer State of Mind
Author ~ Jen Calonita
ISBN ~ 978-0316091152
Publisher ~ Poppy (April 22, 2014)
Age Range ~ 12 and up
Grade Level ~ 7 and up

Description – Summer has finally arrived and fifteen-year-old Harper McCallister intends to spend her days at the mall shopping or by the pool at her country club. But after receiving her latest heart-stopping credit card bill, Harper’s parents makes other plans, and ship her off to camp.

Suddenly, the clueless yet ever-popular Harper is the new girl at the bottom of a social ladder she can’t climb in wedge sandals and expensive clothes. She seems to be winning over super-cute camp “Lifer” Ethan, though, and if she can manage to make a few friends–and stay out of trouble–she just might find a whole new summer state of mind.

InventorsTitle ~ The Inventor’s Secret
Author ~ Andrea Cremer
ISBN ~ 978-0399159626
Publisher ~ Philomel (April 22, 2014)
Age Range ~ 12 and up
Grade Level ~ 7 and up

Description – Sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape from the coastal cities or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.

The Inventor’s Secret is the first book of a YA steampunk series set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery

Night and fogTitle ~ Prisoner of Night and Fog
Author ~ Anne Blankman
ISBN ~ 978-0062278814
Publisher ~ Balzer + Bray (April 22, 2014)
Age Range ~ None listed
Grade Level ~ None listed

Description – In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.  And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

TalkerTitle ~ Talker 25
Author ~ Joshua McCune
ISBN ~ 978-0062121912
Publisher ~ Greenwillow Books (April 22, 2014)
Age Range ~ None listed
Grade Level ~ None listed

Description – It’s a high school prank gone horribly wrong-sneaking onto the rez to pose next to a sleeping dragon-and now senior Melissa Callahan has become an unsuspecting pawn in a war between Man and Monster, between family and friends and the dragons she has despised her whole life. Chilling, epic, and wholly original, this debut novel imagines a North America where dragons are kept on reservations, where strict blackout rules are obeyed no matter the cost, where the highly weaponized military operates in chilling secret, and where a gruesome television show called Kissing Dragons unites the population. Joshua McCune’s debut novel offers action, adventure, fantasy, and a reimagining of popular dragon lore.

shadowsTitle ~ In the Shadows
Author ~ Kiersten White
ISBN ~ 978-0545561440
Publisher ~ Scholastic Press (April 29, 2014)
Age Range ~ 12 and up
Grade Level ~ 7 and up

Description – From the remarkable imagination of acclaimed artist Jim Di Bartolo and the exquisite pen of bestselling author Kiersten White comes a spellbinding story of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy, told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures.

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch.

Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t.

drowningTitle ~ The Drowning
Author ~ Rachel Ward
ISBN ~ 978-0545627719
Publisher ~ Chicken House (April 29, 2014)
Age Range ~ None listed
Grade Level ~ None listed

Description – Water, water, everywhere: His brother has drowned, but Carl can’t remember a thing. Until it all comes flooding back…with a vengeance.

With a jolt, Carl opens his eyes. He’s on the bank of a lake, soaked to the bone. Rob, his brother, is being zipped up in a body bag. And a girl, drenched and trembling, is talking to the police. Who is she? What happened in the water? And why can’t he remember any of it?
“Bring her to me . . .”
At first Carl thinks it’s his grief speaking. Remembering Rob. The sound of his voice, things he used to say.
“Bring her to me . . .”
But then Carl starts to see him. Rob’s face in the water before it washes down the drain. His ghost rising up from the puddles. His hands clawing out of the moldy, rain-rotted walls. Like a dripping tap, he won’t stop.
“Bring her to me!”
Rob may be dead. But he’s not gone. Because he wants to finish what he started, and he won’t go under alone.

teaseTitle ~ Tease
Author ~ Amanda Maciel
ISBN ~ 978-0062305305
Publisher ~ Balzer + Bray (April 29, 2014)
Age Range ~ None listed
Grade Level ~ None listed

Description – Emma Putnam is dead, and it’s all Sara Wharton’s fault.

At least, that’s what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma’s shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who’s ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media.

During the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her role in an undeniable tragedy. And she’ll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.

In this powerful debut novel inspired by real-life events, Amanda Maciel weaves a narrative of high school life as complex and heartbreaking as it is familiar: a story of everyday jealousies and resentments, misunderstandings and desires. Tease is a thought-provoking must-read that will haunt readers long after the last page.

sleepTitle ~ Sleep No More
Author ~ Aprilynne Pike
ISBN ~ 978-0061999031
Publisher ~ HarperTeen (April 29, 2014)
Age Range ~ None listed
Grade Level ~ None listed

Description – Oracles see the future but are never supposed to interfere. Charlotte learned that the hard way. If she hadn’t tried to change one of her childhood visions, her father would still be alive. Since the accident, Charlotte has suppressed her visions to avoid making the same mistake. But when she receives a premonition of a classmate’s murder, she can no longer ignore her powerful gift.

Then Charlotte meets someone who not only knows her secret but who also has a way for her to stop the killer. He offers to teach her how to manipulate her visions to change the future. But doing so will put Charlotte in the path of the murderer.…

takingTitle ~ The Taking
Author ~ Kimberly Derting
ISBN ~ 978-0062293602
Publisher ~ HarperTeen (April 29, 2014)
Age Range ~ None listed
Grade Level ~ None listed

Description – A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

divider

Ten January Book Releases

If you are looking for something new to kickstart your reading in 2014, here is a very small selection of what is available this month:

Stone Cold DeadTitle – Stone Cold Dead
Author – Catherine Dilts
ISBN 13– 978-1432827434
Pub Date – January 8th, 2014
Publisher – Five Star

Description – When her brother abandons the family rock shop, recently widowed Morgan Iverson reluctantly becomes the manager. Business is as dead as the fossils cluttering the dusty shelves. While rounding up a runaway donkey, Morgan discovers the body of a Goth teen. When a newspaper article hits the streets hinting that Morgan witnessed the murder, she becomes the victim of escalating threats that make it clear the killer thinks she holds a clue to the teen’s murder. Morgan knows her life won’t be worth a pile of fossilized dinosaur dung unless she can dig up the murderer. Stone Cold Dead is an amateur sleuth mystery set in a mountain tourist town populated with lively western characters and two determined donkeys.

 

Hero worshipTitle – Hero Worship
Author – Christopher E. Long
ISBN 13– 978-0738739090
Pub Date – January 8th, 2014
Publisher – Flux

Description – Marvin Maywood only wants one thing in life—to join the heroes of the Core. But he can’t follow his dream because his powers are fed by fear, which is against the Core’s standards. So he lives on the streets and watches the elite team of costumed crime fighters from afar.

After Marvin performs an illegal act of heroism, he meets Roisin, one of the Core’s heroes, and it seems like his chance to join the team has finally come. As she guides him through his tryout, he starts investigating some strange happenings within the Core. And when Marvin realizes that the idyllic hero life he imagined is a mask for the ugly reality lurking beneath it, he becomes caught in a corrupt web of secrets, lies, and death.

Comments ~ Ages 12 and up

 

The forgotten SisterTitle – The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet’s Pride and Prejudice
Author – Jennifer Paynter
ISBN 13– 978-1477848883
Pub Date – January 14th, 2014
Publisher – Lake Union Publishing

Description – As a middle child flanked by two pairs of closely bonded sisters, marginalized by her mother, and ridiculed by her father, Mary Bennet feels isolated within her own family. She retreats to her room to read and play the pianoforte and, when obliged to mix in society, finds it safer to quote platitudes from books rather than express her real opinions. She also finds it safer to befriend those who are socially “beneath” her. When wealthy Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley glide into her sisters’ lives, Mary becomes infatuated with an impoverished young musician, the son of her old wet-nurse, who plays the fiddle at the Meryton assemblies.

It is only after her sisters tease her about her “beau with the bow” that Mary is forced to examine her real feelings and confront her own brand of pride and prejudice.
 

Saints of the shadow bible

Title – Saints of the Shadow Bible
Author – Ian Rankin
ISBN 13– 978-0316224550
Pub Date – January 14th, 2014
Publisher – Little, Brown and Company

Description – Rebus and Malcolm Fox go head-to-head when a 30-year-old murder investigation resurfaces, forcing Rebus to confront crimes of the past.

Rebus is back on the force, albeit with a demotion and a chip on his shoulder. He is investigating a car accident when news arrives that a case from 30 years ago is being reopened. Rebus’s team from those days is suspected of helping a murderer escape justice to further their own ends.

Malcolm Fox, in what will be his last case as an internal affairs cop, is tasked with finding out the truth. Past and present are about to collide in shocking and murderous fashion. What does Rebus have to hide? And whose side is he really on? His colleagues back then called themselves “The Saints,” and swore a bond on something called the Shadow Bible. But times have changed and the crimes of the past may not stay hidden much longer — and may also play a role in the present, as Scotland gears up for a referendum on independence.

Allegiances are being formed, enemies made, and huge questions asked. Who are the saints and who the sinners? And can the one ever become the other?
 

Galaxy Rand

Title – Galaxy Rand
Author – M.R. Tighe
ISBN 13– 978-1627870306
Pub Date – January 15th, 2014
Publisher – Wheatmark

Description – Galaxy Rand is one tough fem. A hard-drinking, two-fisted recoup agent, she’s used to dealing with space-scum like hijackers and smugglers. But when she stumbles across a discarded robot, she’s thrown for a loop. Not only is Tin Man obnoxious, but he’s denser than a ton of spectromium! Rand’s unsavory past comes back to haunt her; she finds a price on her head and a target on her back. As for Tin Man, he has secrets of his own. To save her life and her job, and to earn the five-million credit reward offered by multi-billionaire Roman Aguilar, Rand is forced to do the one thing she always swore she’d never do: go back to Esperance — the Death Planet!
 

Mr Peabody

Title – Mr. Peabody & Sherman Big Golden Book
Author – Erica David
ISBN 13– 978-0385371421
Pub Date – January 21st, 2014
Publisher – Golden Books

Description – Mr. Peabody is the world’s smartest person who just so happens to be a dog. When his “pet” boy, Sherman, uses their time-traveling WABAC machine without permission, the events in history spiral out of control to disastrous and comical results! It’s up to this most unexpected of father-son teams to put things back on track.

Comments – Ages 5 – 9 years

 

Neferata

Title – Neferata (Time of Legends)
Author – Josh Reynolds
ISBN 13– 978-1849705370
Pub Date – January 21st, 2014
Publisher – Games Workshop; Original edition

Description – The vampire queen Neferata plots to create a new empire.

Neferata is a queen without a kingdom. Lahmia has fallen, her vampire children have scattered and she is reduced to draining blood from the beasts of the mountains. After a chance encounter with a party of dwarfs, she sets her sights on a capital for her new empire – the stronghold of Silver Pinnacle. She calls her allies to battle – but can she truly trust Ushoran, Lord of Masks, and his bestial Strigoi vampires?

Comments – Part of the Time of Legends Series

 

Moriarty

Title – Moriarty Returns a Letter: A Baker Street Mystery (Baker Street Letters)
Author – Michael Robertson
ISBN 13– 978-1250016461
Pub Date – January 28th,  2014
Publisher – Minotaur Books

Description – Michael Robertson has delighted mystery readers and Sherlock Holmes aficionados everywhere with his charming and innovative Baker Street mystery series, where brothers Reggie and Nigel Heath are charged with answering letters to Holmes that arrive at their law office, located at 221B Baker Street. Now, Reggie and Nigel are back in a case that would confound even Sherlock himself. An exhibition of vintage Sherlock Holmes letters has opened at the Marylebone Hotel. As Reggie and his beloved Laura embark on a pre-wedding trip, someone from Reggie and Nigel’s past—someone whom they thought was long gone—reappears, causing a whole slew of new problems for the brothers. Written with Robertson’s characteristic charm, Moriarty Returns a Letter is a standout mystery in a much-loved series, perfect for fans of the smash hit television shows “Sherlock” and “Elementary.”

Comments ~ To be reviewed in 2014

 

Lockdown

Title – Star Wars: Maul – Lockdown
Author – Joe Schreiber
ISBN 13– 978-0345509031
Pub Date – January 28th,  2014
Publisher – LucasBooks

Description – It’s kill or be killed in the space penitentiary that houses the galaxy’s worst criminals, where convicts face off in gladiatorial combat while an underworld gambling empire reaps the profits of the illicit blood sport. But the newest contender in this savage arena, as demonic to behold as he is deadly to challenge, is fighting for more than just survival. His do-or-die mission, for the dark masters he serves, is to capture the ultimate weapon: an object that will enable the Sith to conquer the galaxy.

Sith lords Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious are determined to possess the prize. And one of the power-hungry duo has his own treacherous plans for it. But first, their fearsome apprentice must take on a bloodthirsty prison warden, a cannibal gang, cutthroat crime lord Jabba the Hutt, and an unspeakable alien horror. No one else could brave such a gauntlet of death and live. But no one else is the dreaded dark-side disciple known as Darth Maul.

 

UnboundTitle – The Unbound
Author – Victoria Schwab
ISBN 13– 978-1423178200
Pub Date – January 28th, 2014
Publisher – Disney-Hyperion

Description – Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she’s struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn’t easy — not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she’s really safe.

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace,and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She’s sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she’ll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

Comments ~ Part of The Archived series; to be reviewed in 2014

divider

Six November Book Releases

November is usually the last month of the year for notable book releases, and the last chance we get to pick out something from a genre we may not have read before; November is also the slowest month for new releases.  As we head, full steam, into the holiday season here are six new releases that I feel may be worth your time to pick up:

valley_of_amazementTitle – The Valley of Amazement
Author – Amy Tan
ISBN 13– 978-0062107312
Pub Date – November 5 2013
Publisher – Ecco

Description – Moving between the dazzling world of courtesans in turn of the century Shanghai, a remote Chinese mountain village, and the rough-hewn streets of nineteenth-century San Francisco, Amy Tan’s sweeping new novel maps the lives of three generations of women connected by blood and history-and the mystery of an evocative painting known as “The Valley of Amazement.”

Violet is one of the most celebrated courtesans in Shanghai, a beautiful and intelligent woman who has honed her ability to become any man’s fantasy since her start as a “Virgin Courtesan” at the age of twelve. Half-Chinese and half-American, she moves effortlessly between the East and the West. But her talents belie her private struggle to understand who she really is and her search for a home in the world. Abandoned by her mother, Lucia, and uncertain of her father’s identity, Violet’s quest to truly love and be loved will set her on a path fraught with danger and complexity-and the loss of her own daughter.

Lucia, a wilful and wild American woman who was once herself the proprietress of Shanghai’s most exclusive courtesan house, nurses her own secret wounds, which she first sustained when, as a teenager, she fell in love with a Chinese painter and followed him from San Francisco to Shanghai. Her search for penance and redemption will bring her to a startling reunion with Flora, Violet’s daughter, and will shatter all that Violet believed she knew about her mother.

Spanning fifty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement is a deeply moving narrative of family secrets, the legacy of trauma, and the profound connections between mothers and daughters, that returns readers to the compelling territory Amy Tan so expertly mapped in The Joy Luck Club. With her characteristic wisdom, grace, and humor, she conjures a story of the inheritance of love, its mysteries and senses, its illusions and truths

Comments – Author of The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God’s Wife

All Fudged UpTitle – All Fudged Up (Candy-Coated Mystery with Recipes)
Author – Nancy Coco
ISBN 13– 978-0758287106
Pub Date – November 5 2013
Publisher – Kensington

Description – Welcome to the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop–where life is sweet, revenge is sweeter, and murder is here to stay…

You Can’t Fudge An Alibi.

Allie McMurphy is up to her neck in renovations at the grand old hotel that’s been in her family for generations. With its quaint Victorian charm–and world-famous fudge shop–the place is one of Mackinac Island’s most beloved landmarks.

Sure, every family has a skeleton or two in the closet. But Allie didn’t expect to find an actual corpse inside hers, especially one Joe Jessup, who had a long-running feud with her dear departed grandfather. Which makes Allie the number-one suspect.

Can she sniff out the culprit before another victim checks in?

HildTitle – Hild: A Novel
Author – Nicola Griffith
ISBN 13– 978-0374280871
Pub Date – November 12 2013
Publisher – Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Description – Hild is born into a world in transition. In seventh-century Britain, small kingdoms are merging, usually violently. A new religion is coming ashore; the old gods’ priests are worrying. Edwin of Northumbria plots to become overking of the Angles, ruthlessly using every tool at his disposal: blood, bribery, belief.

Hild is the king’s youngest niece. She has the powerful curiosity of a bright child, a will of adamant, and a way of seeing the world—of studying nature, of matching cause with effect, of observing human nature and predicting what will happen next—that can seem uncanny, even supernatural, to those around her. She establishes herself as the king’s seer. And she is indispensable—until she should ever lead the king astray. The stakes are life and death: for Hild, her family, her loved ones, and the increasing numbers who seek the protection of the strange girl who can read the world and see the future.

Comments – Will be reviewed at a later date

 
Black HairTitle – Death of the Black-Haired Girl
Author – Robert Stone
ISBN 13– 978-0618386239
Pub Date – November 12 2013
Publisher – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Description – In an elite college in a once-decaying New England city, Steven Brookman has come to a decision. A brilliant but careless professor, he has determined that for the sake of his marriage, and his soul, he must extract himself from his relationship with Maud Stack, his electrifying student, whose papers are always late and too long yet always incandescent. But Maud is a young woman whose passions are not easily contained or curtailed, and their union will quickly yield tragic and far-reaching consequences.

As in Robert Stone’s most acclaimed novels, here he conjures a complex moral universe where nothing is black and white, even if the characters—always complicated, always compelling—wish it were. The stakes of Brookman and Maud’s relationship prove higher than either one could have anticipated, pitting individuals against one another and against the institutions meant to protect them.

Comments – Author of Dog Soldiers

Permanent memberTitle – A Permanent Member of the Family
Author – Russell Banks
ISBN 13– 978-0061857652
Pub Date – November 12 2013
Publisher – Ecco

Description – Suffused with Banks’ trademark lyricism and reckless humor, the twelve stories in A Permanent Member of the Family examine the myriad ways we try—and sometimes fail—to connect with one another, as we seek a home in the world. In the title story, a father looks back on the legend of the cherished family dog whose divided loyalties mirrored the fragmenting of his marriage. In “Christmas Party,” a young man entertains dark thoughts as he watches his newly remarried ex-wife leading the life he once imagined they would share. “A Former Marine” asks, to chilling effect, if one can ever stop being a parent. And in the haunting, evocative “Veronica,” a mysterious woman searching for her missing daughter may not be who she claims she is.

Comments – Author of Rule of the Bone

First Phone callTitle – The First Phone Call from Heaven: A Novel
Author – Mitch Albom
ISBN 13– 978-0062294371
Pub Date – November 12 2013
Publisher – Harper

Description – The First Phone Call from Heaven tells the story of a small town on Lake Michigan that gets worldwide attention when its citizens start receiving phone calls from the afterlife. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, is determined to find out. An allegory about the power of belief–and a page-turner that will touch your soul–Albom’s masterful storytelling has never been so moving and unexpected.

Comments – Author of The Five people You Meet in Heaven

divider

Ten October Book Releases

As winter draws in, and we all turn to curling up with a good book to get through the cold evenings, here are 10 of the new releases that are hitting the shelves in October.  This month is also the month, I usually start looking for books to give as Christmas gifts, a tradition in our home, and some of these may appear under our tree this year; if they do you can be sure a review will follow.

The Signature of All ThingsTitle – The Signature of All Things: A Novel
Author – Elizabeth Gilbert
ISBN – 978-1408841907
Pub Date – October 1 2013
Publisher – Penguin Group (USA) LLC

Description – Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker—a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry’s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father’s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma’s research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist—but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.

Comments – Author of Eat, Pray Love and Committed

 

The Rosie ProjectTitle – The Rosie Project: A Novel
Author – Graeme Simsion
ISBN – 978-1408841907
Pub Date – October 1 2013
Publisher – Simon & Schuster

Description – MEET DON TILLMAN, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, in the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.

Rosie Jarman is all these things. She also is strangely beguiling, fiery, and intelligent. And while Don quickly disqualifies her as a candidate for the Wife Project, as a DNA expert Don is particularly suited to help Rosie on her own quest: identifying her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on the Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.

 

Bellman & BlackTitle – Bellman & Black
Author – Diane Setterfield
ISBN – 978-1476711959
Pub Date – October 8 2013
Publisher – Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Description – Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But rooks don’t forget . . .

Years later, when a stranger mysteriously enters William’s life, his fortunes begin to turn—and the terrible and unforeseen consequences of his past indiscretion take root. In a desperate bid to save the only precious thing he has left, he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner. Together, they found a decidedly macabre business.

And Bellman & Black is born.

Comments – Author of The Thirteenth Tale

 

Hitler's FuriesTitle – Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields
Author – Wendy Lower
ISBN – 9780547863382
Pub Date – October 8 2013
Publisher – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Description – Wendy Lower’s stunning account of the role of German women on the Nazi eastern front—not only as plunderers and direct witnesses, but as actual killers—powerfully revises history. Many young nurses, teachers, secretaries, and wives saw the emerging Nazi empire as a kind of “wild east” of opportunity—and yet could not have imagined what they would do there. Lower, drawing on twenty years of archival research and fieldwork on the Holocaust, access to post-Soviet documents, and interviews with German witnesses, presents compelling evidence that these women went on “shopping sprees” and romantic outings to the Jewish ghettos of Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus; that they were present at killing-field picnics, not only providing refreshment but also taking part in the shooting of Jews. And Lower uncovers the stories of SS wives with children of their own whose female brutality is as chilling as any in history.

Hitler’s Furies will challenge our deepest beliefs: women can be as brutal as men, and the evidence can be hidden for seventy years.

Comments – A book review based on an ARC will be posted shortly.

 

Dr. KateTitle – The Trial of Dr. Kate
Author – Michael E. Glasscock III
ISBN – 9781626340138
Pub Date – October 8 2013
Publisher – Green Leaf Book Group Press

Description – In the summer of 1952, Lillian Johnson was found dead in her home, slumped in the wheelchair that had become her cage due to multiple sclerosis. An overdose of barbiturate had triggered a heart attack, but the scene was not quite right. It looked as though someone other than Lillian herself had injected the fatal dose.

Dr. Kate Marlow, Lillian’s physician and best friend, now sits in the Round Rock city jail. The only country doctor for miles, Kate cannot remember her whereabouts at the time of Lillian’s death, and the small Tennessee town buzzes with judgment.

As Dr. Kate’s trial approaches, another woman is determined to uncover the truth about the night of Lillian’s death. Memphis reporter Shenandoah Coleman grew up in Round Rock on the wrong side of the tracks, but unlike the rest of her unsavory clan, escaped her destiny. Now, back in the town she grew up in, she’ll have to turn every stone to keep Kate from a guilty verdict.

The Trial of Dr. Kate is the second novel in a four-part series from Michael E. Glasscock III that explores the intricate social cloth of Round Rock, Tennessee. Though each story stands alone, readers who enjoyed Glasscock’s first Round Rock tale, Little Joe, will delight in the cameo appearances in this one.

Comments – A book review based on an ARC will be posted shortly.

 

AllegiantTitle – Allegiant
Author – Veronica Roth
ISBN – 978-0062024060
Pub Date – October 8 2013
Publisher – Katherine Tegen Books

Description – What if your whole world was a lie?

What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?

What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

Comments – Conclusion of the Divergent trilogy.

 

Lost andTitle – Lost and
Author – Jeff Griffin
ISBN – 9781609381998
Pub Date – October 15 2013
Publisher – University of Iowa Press; Kuhl House poets series

Description – Lost and is both a chronicle of Griffin’s obsessive journeying and a portal into a world of dispossessed people and enduring desires. Comprised entirely of unaltered reproductions of extraordinary found materials—drawings, charts, questionnaires, compulsively detailed letters, legal documents, jottings, journal entries, stunningly vivid and mysterious photographs—this is a work of sociological and literary daring that defies categorization. Part documentary history, part literary adventure, part mystical detective story, Griffin’s immersion in extremity has yielded wrenching annals of the modes and manners in which lost people inscribe their psychic, sexual, religious, and economic yearnings.

 

Mad about the BoyTitle – Bridget Jones: Mad about the Boy
Author – Helen Fielding
ISBN – 978-0385350860
Pub Date – October 15 2013
Publisher – Knopf

Description – What do you do when your girlfriend’s sixtieth birthday party is the same day as your boyfriend’s thirtieth?

Is it better to die of Botox or die of loneliness because you’re so wrinkly?

Is it wrong to lie about your age when online dating?

Is it morally wrong to have a blow-dry when one of your children has head lice?

Is it normal to be too vain to put on your reading glasses when checking your toy boy for head lice?

Does the Dalai Lama actually tweet or is it his assistant?

Is it normal to get fewer followers the more you tweet?

Is technology now the fifth element? Or is that wood?

If you put lip plumper on your hands do you get plump hands?

Is sleeping with someone after two dates and six weeks of texting the same as getting married after two meetings and six months of letter writing in Jane Austen’s day?

Pondering these and other modern dilemmas, Bridget Jones stumbles through the challenges of loss, single motherhood, tweeting, texting, technology, and rediscovering her sexuality in—Warning! Bad, outdated phrase approaching!—middle age.

 

UndertowTitle – Undertow
Author – K. R. Conway
ISBN – 9780989776301
Pub Date – October 18 2013
Publisher – Kathleen Conway

Description – Luckless Eila is unknowingly the last of her kind: Rare.  Gifted.  Breakable.  Stunning Raef is her kind’s historic enemy: Soulless.  Lethal.  Lost.  A legendary death 160 years before would set their lives to collide, forcing a beautiful killer to become a savior, a simple wallflower to become a warrior, and ruthless destiny to become a death sentence.

Comments – First in a trilogy for teens and YA

 

Beyond the Firefly FieldTitle – Beyond the Firefly Field: Book One of the Last Elfairian Series
Author – R.E. Munzing
ISBN – 9780983169932
Pub Date – October 20 2013
Publisher – BQB Publishing

Description – By the time he was fourteen, Clayton Curtis realized his whole life would be boring. Living in a middle-of-nowhere piece of the country would have been boring enough, but it was also the land that time forgot. Due to inherit the family home passed down through many generations, Clayton felt doomed to a life in the stone age.

Everything changed when a new subdivision was built a mile from his house. With scrap wood, he and his friends built a large tree house complex. From high in the tree, they saw a glowing faraway field one night and were determined to find out what it was. What they discovered there was beyond epically wonderful, and the boys knew it must be kept secret. They quickly became obsessed with going to see it often, even though being there was changing them and herding them toward a decision they didn’t want to make. They would soon either have to be willing to do whatever was necessary to keep the secret or never go there again.

Comments – Fantasy novel for 9-14 year-olds

divider