Library Journal

Home for the Haunting, The Missing Dough, The Nameless Dead | Mystery Series Lineup

Blackwell, Juliet. Home for the Haunting: A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery. Obsidian: NAL. Dec. 2013. 312p. ISBN 9780451240705. pap. $7.99. M

When a weekend volunteer home renovation project unearths a murder victim on-site, San Francisco–based contractor Mel turns to the spirits for help in her fourth outing (after Murder on the House).

Cavender, Chris. The Missing Dough: A Pizza Lovers Mystery. Kensington. Dec. 2013. 248p. ISBN 9780758271549. $24. M

The sixth outing (after Killer Crust) for the North Carolina pizza-baking sisters gets personal when a killer with a barbeque skewer stabs Maddy’s ex-husband. Cavender is a pseudonym for the multiseries writer Tim Myers.

Dunn, Carola. Heirs of the Body: A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Dec. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780312675493. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466836433. M

Lord Dalrymple is turning 50 and needs Daisy’s help figuring out the family tree. Some disreputable characters come out of the woodwork hoping to claim rights as heirs. Dunn is up to number 21 in her witty historical cozy series (after Gone West).

Hess, Joan. Murder as a Second Language: A Claire Malloy Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Dec. 2013. 292p. ISBN 9781250011961. $25.99;

ebk. ISBN 9781250030016. M

Her local literacy foundation has some serious problems, but new volunteer Claire hadn’t thought they’d bring out murderous instincts. Still going strong after 27 years; this is number 19 (after Deader Homes and Gardens).

Jaffarian, Sue Ann. Second-Hand Stiff: An Odelia Grey Mystery. Midnight Ink. Dec. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780738718880. pap. $14.99. M

A storage locker auction blows sky-high when an explosion exposes a corpse—a relative of Odelia’s husband. The comic plus-size sleuth series returns for its eighth time (after Hide & Snoop).

McGilloway, Brian. The Nameless Dead. Pan Macmillan, dist. by Trafalgar Square. Dec. 2013. 392p. ISBN 9780330460866. pap. $12.95. M

An illegal adoption scam is only one of Inspector Devlin’s problems in this gritty Irish procedural. The fifth case is just what readers will want (after The Rising); this series is newly available in the United States and is hot, hot, hot.

Muller, Marcia & Bill Pronzini. The Spook Lights Affair: A Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery. Forge: Tor. Dec. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9780765331755. $24.99. ebk. ISBN 9781429997225. M

Detectives Carpenter and Quincannon and their mysterious colleague (Holmes, anyone?) pursue two cases: a missing debutante and a Wells Fargo robbery. Sign up for number two (after The Bughouse Affair) in this dynamic duo’s historical series set in San Francisco, circa 1895.

Purser, Ann. Scandal at Six: A Lois Meade Mystery. Berkley Prime Crime. Dec. 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780425261767. $25.95. M

Lois feels uneasy about the eccentric zoo owner whose cavalier attitude about his escaped critters is rattling the villagers. Not surprisingly, the house cleaner’s instincts are spot-on; this is her 13th case (after Found Guilty at Five).

Rowe, Rosemary. Dark Omens: A Libertus Mystery of Roman Britain. Severn House. Dec. 2013. 232p. ISBN 9780727882998. $28.95. M

News of the emperor’s death complicates Libertus’s ongoing investigations in Roman Britain. But his 14th outing (after A Whispering of Spies) finds him solving problems wisely.

The First World War and PeerJ | eReviews

The First World War: Personal Experiences and Propaganda and Recruitment Adam Matthew Digital; amdigital.co.uk/m-collections/view-all/; to request a trial please go to: http://www.amdigital.co.uk/trial-request/

By Cheryl LaGuardia

content The First World War Portal is comprised of two modules: “Personal Experiences” and “Propaganda and Recruitment,” which collectively cover the period from 1914 to 1919. “Personal Experiences” includes such material as audio-recorded interviews, cartoons, comics, diaries, letters, paintings, panoramic views, photographs, postcards, propaganda, recruiting posters, reminiscences, scrapbooks, sheet music, sketches, souvenirs, trench journals (from Australian, British, Canadian, French, and New Zealand troops), trench maps, war art, 360° views of personal items and objects, and ephemera. The file also presents material from the Vera Brittain Archive (the author’s wartime diaries and letters and a heavily annotated early version of her first autobiography, Testament of Youth).

The second module, “Propaganda and Recruitment,” contains aerial leaflets; Le Bonnet rouge (newspaper articles suppressed by the French government); cartoons; Daily Mirror wartime front pages; German and Russian propaganda postcards; guidelines for recruiting officers; Kitchener Papers on manpower, morale, and recruitment; minute books of recruiting committees; Mirror Group n­ewspapers’ cartoons and photographs; posters; cabaret, concert, and theater programs kept by the German Army; scrapbooks; and training manuals.

The database also contains secondary sources that provide context for the primary source material. These include case studies, chronologies, a “Glossary of the Great War,” interactive maps, scholarly essays, a slide-show gallery, teaching pages, visual galleries, and a “My Archive” feature by which users can save searches, collect a library of documents, and create personalized slide shows.

Portal material is sourced from institutions such as the Alexander Turnbull Library, the National Library of New Zealand; Bibliothek für Zeitgeschichte in the Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart; British Library; Brotherton Library, University of Leeds; Cambridge University Library; Hooge Crater Museum; Hoover Institution Archives and Library; Imperial War Museum; Mills Memorial Library, ­McMaster University, Canada; Mirrorpix; the National WWI Museum at Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, MO; Over the Top Collection; Sanctuary Wood Cemetery; and the National Archives (UK).

Usability The opening screen has a simple search box at top screen right, below which is a toolbar leading to documents, maps, other visual resources, print materials, advanced search, and popular searches. The opening screen also offers a revolving selection of full-color images from the collections and a list of quick links to: “Nature and Scope: Personal Experiences”; “Nature and Scope: Propaganda and Recruitment”; essays; interactive maps; case studies; and popular searches.

I leapt into popular searches and explored “Searches by Keyword” (in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish) by countries, places, names, battles and other events, and theaters of war. I was surprised not to find Ypres under “Y” in the alphabetical list, but that list is short enough that by looking carefully I found it listed in the F’s (First Battle of Ypres), S’s (Second Battle of Ypres), and and so on. Oddly, there was no entry for the Fourth Battle of Ypres, also known as the Lys Offensive.

Returning to the opening screen I made my way through the buttons in the toolbar. “Introduction” includes sections on nature and scope, participating libraries, editor’s choice pieces, copyright information, and a chance to take a tour. “Documents” offers 43 pages of the collections’ contents, filterable by document type, library or archive, theater of war, language, and module; it takes some time to load the full documents section, but considering the type and amount of material available it’s not unreasonable. However, even on my full-size laptop screen, I couldn’t view all the listings in the library/archive drop-down “Filter By” menu within the documents section, though that’s a minor problem considering the cornucopia that’s here.

Maps and visual resources are divided into two sections each: Interactive Maps and Map Gallery, and Visual Gallery and 360 Object Gallery, respectively. The databases’ “Further Resources” consist of essays, case studies, accounts of war experiences, a chronology, the glossary, popular searches, external links, and Archive Explorer, a function that queries other Adam Matthew resources to which your library subscribes.

Next I tried an Advanced Search for the keywords “vera brittain” and “vad,” restricting the search to primary documents (you can stipulate you want these or Secondary Resources) and got a list of 49 items, including Vera Brittain’s diary from 1917, and here’s where I located the real glory of this file. There were 29 pages compiled by Brittain chronicling her life in 1917, including newspaper clippings (many Times announcements of the deaths of loved ones), pressed flowers from places and fields significant to her (in full color and practically palpable), and later hand-written notes added from 1918.

I spent the next couple of hours trying the myriad features and searches. Maps are easy to find with advanced searches, and the resolution is amazingly clear. The items in the 360° display gallery are so realistically shown I’m sure I’m going to have trouble sleeping after viewing the nightmarish tube helmet for protection against gas attacks.

A series of searches too numerous to list revealed the wealth of highly relevant material—both primary and explicative secondary—to be found quickly and easily. For a file loaded with so many different kinds of material it is surprisingly searchable.

Pricing The one-time price for both modules in the First World War Portal ranges from $27,000 to $90,000, with a nominal annual hosting fee. Adam Matthew uses a banded pricing structure to determine discounts and payment plans for institutions of all sizes.

Verdict This content is stunning in depth, breadth, and multimedia versatility. Interactive maps and items in the 360° gallery are eye-openers, but the archival manuscripts and the extent of the overall collections are the real discoveries to be made here. The First World War Portal is a remarkable resource that will bring the Great War directly to the desktops of researchers ranging from high school students to the most advanced World War I scholar. Highly recommended for those libraries able to afford it.

Cheryl LaGuardia is a Research Librarian for the Widener Library at Harvard University and author of Becoming a Library Teacher (Neal-Schuman, 2000). Readers can contact her at claguard@fas.harvard.edu

PeerJ PeerJ, Inc.; peerj.com

n By Bonnie J.M. Swoger

Content Scholarly journal publishing is going through a period of intense transition, during which journals are leaving behind the vestiges of print publication and embracing new models enabled by online communication. One of the journals leading this transformation is PeerJ, an open access resource for biological and medical research.

PeerJ publishes research articles spanning the breadth of the biomedical field, tackling subjects that include ecology, paleontology, bioinformatics, science education, genetics, computational biology, and biochemistry. Research articles are indexed in PubMed, Scopus, Embase, and Chemical Abstracts.

As PeerJ is an open access journal, its offerings are freely available for anyone to read and come with Creative Commons ­CC-BY licenses providing permissions for reuse. But PeerJ has also taken to openness in other ways. First, it encourages authors and reviewers to make reviews (and reviewer names) public. Recent statistics published on the journal’s blog indicate that 75 percent of authors made reviewer comments readily available and that 38 percent of reviewers were willing to sign their names to their assessments. Second, PeerJ requires authors to provide access to the data, materials, and protocols used in each study, either by depositing materials in an appropriate subject repository or including them as PeerJ supplemental information. Finally, registered users can openly comment and ask questions of authors.

In addition to the peer-reviewed pieces (just over 200 since the first ones appeared in February 2013), PeerJ hosts a preprint service for articles in the same biomedical disciplines as the PeerJ journal. Authors can post items to the preprint service for free. Minimum quality checks are performed to ensure that pseudoscientific work is not included, but preprints are not peer reviewed. At the time of review, the preprint service contained 90 works.

Usability PeerJ has worked hard to break with print publishing traditions. It is one of a few online journals I have seen that show that it was born digital. The homepage feels similar to news sites such as Slate.com or The Daily Beast, prominently featuring pictures, artwork, and figures from recently published items.

Users can browse the homepage, scrolling through the images, titles, and topical headings of each piece. Additional selections load once the reader reaches the bottom. It’s also possible to look through complete lists of articles or preprints and filter by publication date or subject area. The site includes a basic search with a check box permitting queries to include “fuzzy matches,” allowing for misspellings and word variations in the search and the results. An advanced search is not available, although with just over 200 articles, it isn’t currently missed.

After clicking on a title, patrons see the full text in clear, large type as an HTML webpage. An internal navigation menu on the left side of the page lets users jump to various sections (methods, discussion, conclusion, etc.). Articles can be read on-screen or downloaded as PDF or XML versions of the paper. Built-in social media tools give users the option to share selections via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and email. Since the pieces are open access, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ friends will actually be able to read the material that interests them.

Articles have other features that make them simple to use online. Figures can be downloaded independently and are given distinct DOIs so they can be found and cited later. Users can elect to “follow” an entry to stay informed about questions, answers, and comments that are added by others. One quick link often pulls up the complete review history for the paper, including initial reviews, editor’s comments, and reviewer comments after revision. This makes PeerJ an excellent tool for teaching students about the peer-review process.

Pricing As an open access publication, PeerJ articles are free for anyone to read, download, share, and reuse when proper attribution is given.

While the journal charges author fees like many other open access publications, its membership model is a groundbreaking experiment in scientific publishing. Instead of charging a flat fee per accepted article, PeerJ asks each author to pay for lifetime membership (with some exceptions, such as for undergraduate students). They can prepay the membership at the point of manuscript submission at the lowest rate of $99, although the fee won’t be refunded if the manuscript is not accepted. Authors can also choose to pay the membership once an article is accepted, in which case an additional $40 fee is charged. There are various membership levels based on how often the author plans to publish (once a year, twice a year, or unlimited times).

Membership does not guarantee publication, and manuscripts are reviewed for scientific merit. As at PLOS ONE, editors and reviewers do not attempt to judge the impact or novelty of the work. The journal does not yet have an impact factor but offers article-level metrics for each publication.

PeerJ also negotiates with libraries, organizations, and universities to provide institutional memberships. In these arrangements, researchers at these institutions can take advantage of the prepayment in order to publish with PeerJ.

On November 11, PeerJ announced that authors will now be allowed to publish an unlimited number of preprints for free, whereas before they were limited to one per year (see details at LJ INFOdocket, ow.ly/qPUee).

Verdict PeerJ is an excellent source for the primary scientific literature for high schools and others on limited budgets and is also useful to researchers, medical professionals, and science educators. Publication in PeerJ may be helpful for biomedical researchers depending on their career goals and institutional cultures.

Bonnie J.M. Swoger is the Science and Technology Librarian at SUNY Geneseo’s Milne Library and the author of the Undergraduate Science Librarian blog, undergraduatesciencelibrarian.org. Readers can contact her at swoger@geneseo.edu

New Books for the New Year | Wyatt’s World

As the close of 2013 and the opening of 2014 usher in glad tidings, hopes, plans, and a new year of books, here is a sampling of the wide title assortment coming in January 2014. From the next Oprah pick to romantic magical realism to a memoir on the politics of war, there’s much to be celebrated.

  • Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (St. Martin’s). An alligator with surprising abilities and an imperiled summer retreat offer a young widow and her daughter a second chance at forging a life. Allen’s many fans will devour her latest lyrical blend of hope and magic.
  • Ex-Purgatory by Peter Clines (Broadway). Fans of Clines’s clever and geekily fun mashup of superheroes and zombies will delight in this fourth outing featuring George Bailey and Stealth. The action remains fast and high as the urban fantasy and pop culture–inspired “Ex” series races on.
  • Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. Gates (Knopf). Sure to make the rounds on popular news shows, Gates’s assemblage of reflections on America’s role in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as his thoughts on Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, promises to be intriguing as it presents a wide view of politics during war.
  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking). Kidd’s vividly realized, intertwined novel of two women—one the daughter of a plantation owner, the other a slave on the estate—has already been picked as the next Oprah Book Club title, but it would have made a splash even without the extra star power behind it.
  • Orfeo by Richard Powers (Norton). Peter Els has spent his life creating music—an interest he expresses through both art and science. In Powers’s arresting novel, it is the latter that gets him in trouble. A suspected bioterrorist at age 70, Els is on the run from the federal government and retraces connections and memories as he plots a way out of the coils of Homeland Security.

Victorian Women, College Sports, and Street Food | Reference

Murdoch, Lydia. Daily Life of Victorian Women. Greenwood. (Daily Life Through History). 2013. 284p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780313384981. $58; ebk. ISBN 9780313384998. REF

Murdoch (history, Vassar Coll.; Imagined Orphans: Poor Families, Child Welfare, and Contested Citizenship in London) offers a new perspective on the lives of Victorian women. The book uses a combination of primary and secondary sources to provide readers with an overview of the routines of work and leisure for women at all levels of society, dispelling the stereotype of Victorian women as solely stay-at-home wives and mothers. Readers will find here portrayals of figures who were politically and socially active, participating in the abolitionist movement, publishing political essays, petitioning parliament, and often working in other ways outside the home. In some instances, they also played prominent roles in religious movements. Throughout, there are numerous illustrations, as well as excerpts from books, government reports, magazines, diaries, and newspapers commenting on everything from women’s rights under the law to women and the British Empire. Endnotes and a list of further readings by chapter close the book. ­VERDICT A worthwhile addition to public and academic libraries.—Diane Fulkerson, Univ. of South Florida, Lakeland

Beck, Stan & Jack Wilkinson. College Sports Traditions: Picking Up Butch, Silent Night, and Hundreds of Others. Scarecrow. 2013. 436p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780810891203. $40; ebk. ISBN 9780810891210. REF

As defined by Beck, an expert on college sports customs, and writer Wilkinson (100 Things Braves Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die), a tradition is an action with a start and a finish that continues over a period of years. Approximately 1,200 such practices covering almost every college sport and including well-known conventions at major universities and obscure ones at smaller schools are depicted in rousing fashion by the authors, both longtime sports fans and journalists. Traditions before, during, and after games, as well some involving nicknames, mascots, and music, capture the excitement, originality, and pageantry of intercollegiate athletics. The authors begin each of the 11 chapters with a short exposé of a practice that is representative of that chapter’s theme and continue with shorter descriptions of traditions at other colleges. The chapter on yells, cheers, and chants, which concludes the title, is one of the most interesting. Photographs, tables, and a detailed index complement the text. Covering subjects that range from the eccentric and outlandish to the touching and meaningful, the book captures the spirit and importance of college sport rituals and campus culture. VERDICT A work that is entertaining, fresh, and fun to browse. Not only sports fans but also anyone who enjoys tidbits about college life will find it hard to put down.—Rob Tench, Old Dominion Univ. Lib., Norfolk, VA

Street Food Around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. ABC-CLIO. 2013. 504p. ed. by Bruce Kraig & Colleen Taylor. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781598849547. $100; ebk. ISBN 9781598849554. REF

Quick and easy, street food has rolled into the spotlight of popular culture and the media. While there are numerous recipe books, television shows, and works on specific topics, this volume is the first to provide a broad view of street food worldwide. It begins with a brief introduction to the fare that includes the World Health Organization’s five keys to safer food and regulations. The heart of the work is its more than 70 country and region entries. Organized alphabetically, the entries, at minimum, include a brief synopsis of street food in the region. Of particular note is the inclusion of places that are less well known for such food, such as Suriname. The title discusses how, as part of the Caribbean Basin, Suriname has a fascinating history demonstrated through the variety of cultures that influenced the area’s street cuisine. For instance, Indian workers brought roti (a kind of bread) to the country in the 1800s, and it is still one of the country’s most popular street foods. And who could have guessed that the hot dog was the most popular street comestible in Iceland? Also included is a section of recipes, a short selected bibliography (each entry has further readings), and a thorough index. Aiding in navigation is a list of entries, a list of recipes, and another list of recipes by country. VERDICT A solid overview of street food worldwide for travelers and researchers.—Lisa Ennis, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham

[BookVerdictBox]

History

Girardi, Robert I. The Civil War Generals: Comrades, Peers, Rivals—in Their Own Words. Zenith. 2013. 304p. photos. maps. index. ISBN 9780760345160. $28. REF

Philosophy

1001 Ideas That Changed the Way We Think. Atria. 2013. 960p. ed. by Robert Arp. photos. index. ISBN 9781476705729. $37; ebk. ISBN 9781476705736. REF

Political Science

Encyclopedia of Politics of the American West. 2 vols. SAGE. 2013. 904p. ed. by Steven L. Danver. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781608719099. $325. REF

The Statesman’s Yearbook 2014: The Politics, Cultures, and Economies of the World. Palgrave Macmillan. 2013. 1604p. ed. by Barry Turner. maps. ISBN 9780230377691. $325. REF

Social Sciences

Best’s Library Center. A.M. Best. ­

ambest.com/sales/librarycenter/

Hite, Richard. Sustainable Genealogy: Separating Fact from Fiction in Family Legends. Genealogical. 2013. 110p. illus. ISBN 9780806319827. pap. $18.95. REF

Morris, Monique W. Black Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty-First Century. New Pr. Jan. 2014. 240p. ISBN 9781595589194. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9781595589262. REF

Social Sciences Reviews | December 2013

Hamilton, Nigel. The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941–1942. Houghton Harcourt. May 2014. 512p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780547775241. $30. BIOG

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s role as commander in chief of the military during World War II has not been covered as much as other aspects of his presidency. Hamilton (senior fellow, McCormack Graduate Sch., Univ. of Massachusetts-Boston; JFK: Reckess Youth) is well qualified to remedy that, showing how FDR worked with individuals and nations. He blasts Winston Churchill’s colonialist values, poor selection of military leaders, and constant meddling in their tactical plans, as well as Douglas MacArthur’s vanity and failure to prepare for a Japanese attack, but shows that FDR appreciated both men as fighters. Hamilton presents FDR as a serious student of world affairs who learned from his six years as assistant secretary of the navy. Unlike most books on Henry Stimson, FDR’s secretary of war, and George C. Marshall, his chief of staff of the army, Hamilton’s work critiques them for their opposition to Operation Torch in French North Africa in 1942, opposition that was near mutiny against the president. Marshall’s disagreement, Hamilton charges, cost him command of the Normandy invasion: FDR brought Adm. William Leahy out of retirement to be chairman of the combined chiefs of staff, putting the Pentagon in its place just as he did the Axis powers. VERDICT This convincingly written and gripping volume is essential for historians, political scientists, and history buffs, for a deeper understanding of the principle of civilian supremacy of the military in the U.S. political system.—­William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., ­Shreveport

López, Ian Haney. Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. Oxford Univ. Jan. 2014. 336p. notes. index. ISBN 9780199964277. $24.95. POL SCI

López (White by Law) examines the intersections of declining economic opportunities and race affiliation as expressed by political parties. He defines “dog-whistle politics” as coded racial appeals that invite hostility toward a target group, a practice employed by both major parties but far more extensively by the Republican Party. López discusses how some members of a middle class that benefited from the opportunities provided by a growing liberal federal governmental system have been swayed into polarized GOP voter groups, a deciding factor in many political contests. Beginning with Nixon’s 1960 presidential campaign in the South, the book follows the evolution of coded racial appeals, including those of Bill Clinton to attract whites away from the GOP. López offers a number of approaches that political parties, unions, civil rights groups, and progressives may consider incorporating into their political activities to offset dog-whistle politics, e.g., stick to a “positive liberal vision,” identify those who are engaging in dog-whistle politics, and openly address issues of race. VERDICT Grounded in history rather than theory, this is recommended to readers engaged in today’s political discourse.—Marcus Kieltyka, Central Washington Univ. Lib., Ellensburg

Tashiro, Ty. The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love. Harlequin. Feb. 2014. 304p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780373892907. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781460325445. PSYCH

In his first book, relationship expert Tashiro (Discovery Network’s Fit and Healthy Channel) encourages love-seeking singles to imagine a fairy godmother granting them three wishes to define their ideal partners. Tashiro theorizes that limiting the wishes to three will make the recipients pause and think about what matters in romantic relationships. He strategizes with readers to make the best decisions, with the goal of achieving stable and satisfying relationships. Tashiro points out that studies show marital instability to be the norm rather than the exception, with only 33 percent of couples finding enduring love. He explores such topics as the nature of lust, innate survival mechanisms, and the power of personality. Interestingly, although Tashiro places little emphasis on the popular theory that relationships are unconsciously initiated to heal the unmet needs of childhood (as in Harville Hendrix’s Getting the Love You Want), he contends that child/caregiver attachment patterns are remarkably predictive of future attachments to romantic partners. VERDICT This engaging and thought-provoking book is highly recommended for readers seeking to learn more about romantic relationship dynamics and is especially ideal for singles.—Linda Petty, Wimberley, TX

[BookVerdictBox]

Anthropology & Customs

Clifford, James. Returns: Becoming Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century. Harvard Univ. 2013. 358p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780674724921. $39.95. ANTHRO

Biography

Orsi, Jared. Citizen Explorer: The Life of Zebulon Pike. Oxford Univ. Jan. 2014. 400p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199768721. $29.95. BIOG

Schafer, Daniel L. Zephaniah Kingsley Jr. and the Atlantic World: Slave Trader, Plantation Owner, Emancipator. Univ. Pr. of Florida. 2013. 384p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780813044620. $29.95. BIOG

Economics

Friedman, Walter A. Fortune Tellers: The Story of America’s First Economic Forecasters. Princeton Univ. Dec. 2013. 288p. photos. notes. index.

ISBN 9780691159119. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781400849864. BUS

Joel, Mitch. Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business, Reboot Your Life, Your Future Depends on It. Business Plus: Grand Central. 2013. 288p. index. ISBN 9781455523306. $27.99. BUS

Vaynerchuk, Gary. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How To Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World. Harper Business. Dec. 2013. 224p. notes. ISBN 9780062273062. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062273079. BUS

Education

Miller, Donalyn & Susan Kelley. Reading

in the Wild: The Book Whisperer’s Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits. Jossey-Bass. 2013. 352p. index. ISBN 9780470900307. pap. $22.95; ebk. ISBN 9781118235010. ED

Sostrin, Jesse. Beyond the Job Description: How Managers and Employees Can Navigate the True Demands of the Job. Palgrave Macmillan. Dec. 2013. 256p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781137337405. $30. CAREERS

History

Ardrey, Adam. Finding Arthur: The True Origins of the Once and Future King. Overlook. 2013. 368p. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781468306897. $26.95. HIST

Associated Press. Vietnam: The Real War; A Photographic History by the Associated Press. Abrams. 2013. 304p. photos. index. ISBN 9781419708640. $40. HIST

Basbanes, Nicholas A. On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History. Knopf. 2013. 448p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780307266422. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780385350440. HIST

Bethencourt, Francisco. Racisms: From the Crusades to the Twentieth Century. Princeton Univ. Dec. 2013. 448p. illus. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9780691155265. $39.50. HIST

Brotton, Jerry. A History of the World in 12 Maps. Viking. 2013. 544p. illus. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9780670023394. $40. HIST

Burns, James MacGregor. Fire and Light: How the Enlightenment Transformed Our World. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. 2013. 352p. notes. index. ISBN 9781250024893. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250024909. HIST

Frank, Marc. Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana. Univ. Pr.

of Florida. 2013. 336p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780813044651. $29.95. HIST

Goodwin, Doris Kearns. The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.

S. & S. 2013. 960p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781416547860. $40; ebk. ISBN 9781451673791. HIST

Linklater, Andro. Owning the Earth: The Transforming History of Land Ownership. Bloomsbury. 2013. 496p. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781620402894. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781620402900. HIST

Roach, Marilynne K. Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials. Da Capo. 2013. 448p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780306821202. pap. $18.99; ebk. ISBN 9780306822346. HIST

Schrad, Mark Lawrence. Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State. Oxford Univ. Feb. 2014. 592p. illus. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780199755592. $35. HIST

Sparks, Randy J. Where the Negroes Are Masters: An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade. Harvard Univ. Jan. 2014. 312p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780674724877. $29.95. HIST

Tippins, Sherill. Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel. Houghton Harcourt. Dec. 2013. 448p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780618726349. $30. HIST

Law & Crime

Di Mambro, Dina. True Hollywood Noir: Filmland

Mysteries and Murders. CreateSpace: Amazon. 2013. 268p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781492338857. pap. $16.95. CRIME

Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America. Michigan State Univ. 2013. 320p. ed. by Doran Larson. notes. index. ISBN 9781611861075; ebk. ISBN 9781609173975. CRIME

Perry, Douglas. Eliot Ness: The Rise and Fall of an American Hero. Viking. Feb. 2014. 352p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780670025886. $27.95. LAW

Scott, Michael. Scapegoats: Thirteen Victims of Military Injustice. Elliott & Thompson. 2013. 322p. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9781908739681. $29.95. LAW

Political Science

Hopgood, Stephen. The Endtimes of Human Rights. Cornell Univ. 2013. 272p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780801452376. $27.95. POL SCI

Shaw, Catherine. The Campaign Manager: Running and Winning Local Elections. 5th ed. Westview. Jan. 2014. 464p. illus. index. ISBN 9780813348636. pap. $39; ebk. ISBN 9780813348643. POL SCI

Psychology

Saul, Richard. ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. HarperWave. Mar. 2014. 336p. notes. index. ISBN 9780062266736. $23.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062266750. PSYCH

Vyse, Stuart A. Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition. rev. ed. Oxford Univ. 2013. 336p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199996926. pap. $19.95. PSYCH

Social Science

Hofler, Robert. Sexplosion: From Andy Warhol to A Clockwork Orange—How a Generation of Pop Rebels Broke All the Taboos. It: HarperCollins. Feb. 2014. 368p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780062088345. $27.99. SOC SCI

Mahoney, Rosemary. For the Benefit of Those Who See: Dispatches from the World of the Blind. Little, Brown. Jan. 2014. 288p. bibliog. ISBN 9780316043427. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316248709. SOC SCI

Naughton, John. From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: Disruptive Innovation in the Age of the Internet. Quercus. Jan. 2014. 320p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781623650629. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781623650636. SOC SCI

Voice Male: The Untold Story of the Pro-Feminist Men’s Movement. Interlink. Jan. 2014. 320p. ed. by Rob A. Okun. ISBN 9781566569446. $45. SOC SCI

Travel & Geography

Fletcher, Robert. Romancing the Wild: Cultural Dimensions of Ecotourism. Duke Univ. Mar. 2014. 264p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780822355830. $89.95; pap. ISBN 9780822356004. $24.95. TRAV

Henriksson, Markku. Route 66: A Road to America’s Landscape, History, and Culture. Texas Tech Univ. 2013. 296p. illus. index. ISBN 9780896726772. $65; pap. ISBN 9780896728257. $39.95; ebk. ISBN 9780896728264. TRAV

35 Going on 13: Series and Sequels

A few weeks, back, I shared my picks for some of my favorite books of the year (LJ Best Books: YA Lit for Adults; 35 Going On 13: Best Teen Books for Adults, 2013; Extended List). In the interest of featuring a broad range of great new books for teens (and we adults who read like them), I neglected to include some of what I enjoyed most this past year: next installments in beloved series and unexpected sequels to favorites from years past.  Here are some that surprised and delighted, as they continued—or improved on—stories already begun.

Bick, Ilsa. Monsters. Egmont. (Ashes Trilogy, Bk. 3). 2013. 680p. ISBN 9781606841778. $18.99.
When we last saw Alex—in the concluding pages of Shadows (Egmont. 2012)—all hope seemed lost; she was falling down a mineshaft in the winter lair of the Changed. In Bick’s brutal post-apocalyptic United States, most of humanity was wiped out in one blinding electromagnetic pulse. Those that remain fight to survive among the Changed, the part of the population that transformed into blood-thirsty pack animals. Now our heroine must endure a cold, cold winter and somehow reunite with Tom, her true love from the series’ riveting opener, Ashes (Egmont. 2011). Fans of the series”The Walking Dead” will find much that is familiar in the pace, themes, and body county of this gripping trilogy (although here the enemy has begun to evolve and use weapons), yet Bick’s subtle exploration of the psychology of survival sets it apart from a crowded field of end-of-the-world teen fiction.

Gantos, Jack. From Norvelt to Nowhere. Farrar. (Norvelt, Bk. 2). 2013. 278p. ISBN 9780374379940. $16.99.
Since Gantos has already won the Newbery for the hilarious Dead End in Norvelt (Farrar, 2011), one might think that he would be content to leave his fictional self and the wholly original Miss Volker to the confines of near history. Not so fast. The elusive Mr. Spizz seems to have claimed another victim, and Jackie and his arthritic friend are hot on his trail in a madcap cross-country adventure. Their travels take them from the grave of Norvelt’s founder, Eleanor Roosevelt, to Florida’s Fountain of Youth, with nods to Moby-Dick as they track their old lady–killing quarry. The assertive pace and broad comedy of this follow-up will be most enjoyed by those with a good recollection for the finer details of Dead End.

Kontis, Alethea. Hero. Harcourt. (Woodcutter Sisters, Bk. 2). 2013. 282p. ISBN 9780544056770. $17.99.
In Enchanted (Harcourt. 2012) readers met the Woodcutters, a hardscrabble magical family living in the kingdom of Arilland. In that charming debut, Sunday—youngest in the line of seven daughters, likewise named for the days of the week—befriended and kissed a frog near a well, only to have him turn into Rumbold, the crown prince. Now, it is her older sister Saturday’s turn for adventure. Saturday considers herself the least lovely among her sisters, preferring to chop wood and practice swordplay over spellwork and palaces. Her fighting spirit is put to good use when she is taken prisoner by a blind witch in a cavern at the very top of the world. There she befriends her fellow prisoner, Peregrine, a young man of noble birth who has donned a skirt and poses as the witch’s daughter as his own method of survival, and together they attempt to keep their captor from opening a hole in the fabric of the world. Kontis’s clever play on gender roles flavors a delicious mix of fairy tales that feels both fresh and familiar. Would that there were another week’s worth of unmatched Woodcutters!

LaFevers, Robin. Dark Triumph. Houghton Harcourt. (His Fair Assassin Trilogy, Bk. 2). 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780547628387. $17.99.
In Grave Talent (Houghton Harcourt. 2012), readers were introduced to the convent of St. Mortain, where assassin nuns train young ladies in service to the god of death. There, Lady Sybella was an angry fellow-acolyte and loyal friend of Ismae, who was then sent from the convent to protect a young countess from the nobles who would control her. Unknown to Ismae, chief among these evildoers is Sybella’s own father, d’Albret. Sybella wants nothing more than to kill him and her brothers for the abuse she has suffered at their hands, but her dark master has other plans involving a key prisoner who must be rescued from d’Albret’s dungeon and delivered to the countess’s defenders. True to its title, this second book is darker than its predecessor, baring the heart of a young woman hardened by her incestuous family. For that, her journey from fear to love is all the sweeter.

Meyer, Marissa. Cress (Lunar Chronicles, Bk. 3). Feiwel & Friends. Feb. 2014. 550p. ISBN 9780312642976. $18.99.
In Cinder (Feiwel & Friends. 2012), a cyborg Cinderella attempts to save her prince from an evil Lunar queen and ends up a fugitive for her trouble. In Scarlet (Feiwel & Friends, 2013), a feisty redhead enlists the help of a streetfighter named Wolf when her beloved grand-mère goes missing. Together they join Cinder in the quest to rescue humanity (and her love). Now, in Cress, the tangle-haired prisoner of a Lunar noble seeks the renegade band as Queen Levana’s wedding to Prince Kai draws ever nearer. Trapped in a lonely satellite, Crescent Moon has been crushing on the infamous Carswell Thorne (a roguish fellow-prisoner friend of Cinder’s), not knowing that he is among the very gaggle of renegades she has been tasked to find. In a botched rescue attempt, Thorne and Cress fall to Earth in the middle of the Sahara, and the scoundrel captain—think Han Solo meets Indiana Jones—must now protect the innocent Lunar and somehow reunite with his friends. Meyer, like Kontis, uses a familiar tale to launch a story like no other.

Stiefvater, Maggie. The Dream Thieves. Scholastic. (Raven Cycle, Bk. 2). 2013. 439p. ISBN 9780545424943. $18.99.
In last year’s The Raven Boys, readers met Blue, the hard-working, mostly ordinary daughter of a family of psychics, living near the exclusive Aglionby Academy. Her whole life, Blue has heard that after she kisses her true love, he will die, which makes her (very) determined not to fall for Gansey, the charismatic leader of a gang of four prep school boys who in their off hours follow ley lines in search of a legendary king. In this worthy sequel, we learn more about Gansey’s friends—Adam, Noah, and especially Ronan—as they face a new threat, the enigmatic and determined Grey Man. Just what is he seeking? And are his intentions regarding Blue’s mother honorable? Blue’s longing for Gansey is all the more bittersweet for their class differences, which are more of a barrier than any cursed prophecy. Stiefvater holds this multilayered story together with a mastery painstakingly forged in her Shiver trilogy and the Printz Honor–winning Scorpio Races (Scholastic. 2011).

 

The Lost Sisterhood | RA Crossroads

As Lewis Carroll’s Alice so aptly points out, What is the use of a book‚ without pictures or conversations?

Welcome to RA Crossroads, where books, movies, music, and other media converge, and whole-collection readers’ advisory (RA) service goes where it may. In this column, mythic tales of the Amazons lead me down a winding path.

Begin:

Fortier, Anne. The Lost Sisterhood. Ballantine. Mar. 2014. 608p. ISBN 9780345536228. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780345536235. F
This dual story tracks the modern-day quest of Diana Morgan, an Oxford scholar caught in a high-stakes game to uncover the secrets of the Amazons and the lost treasures of Troy. Paralleling Diana’s search is the journey and blossoming of Myrina, a girl who will one day lead the Amazons. Myrina steps onto this path when the son of King Agamemnon abducts many of her sisters, after he and a marauding band desecrate and rob their temple. Myrina’s pursuit of rescue heads her in the direction of Mycenae, where with the aid of Paris and Aeneas she saves her sisters and liberates Helen. Thousands of years later, Diana traces Myrina’s journey from scattered clues found on temple walls, shards of stone, and ancient texts. Shadowing her every move are diverse forces set to stop her—or beat her to the horde. Some of these powers have murderous intent. Others have a 3,000-year-old history and lineage to protect. Author Fortier interweaves both stories with a quick and lively hand, creating a strong sense of mystery and movement by jumping between each narrative at moments of parallel crisis. Both story lines are immersive and engaging and satisfying in fun and evocative ways, for example, the Iliad is turned on its head and the usual male-dominated action quest/treasure hunt is led by a realistic female scholar. Fortier’s tale of battles, rescues, secrets, and treasures offers a neat mix of Indiana Jones meets Dan Brown on the plains of Troy and in the halls of Oxford.

Read-Alikes:

Howe, Katherine. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. Hyperion. 2010. 384p. ISBN 9781401341336. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781401394431. F
Fortier’s novel revolves around a captivating question: What is the secret history of the Amazons? Howe’s novel orbits an equally intriguing one: What if there really were witches in Salem, MA? Set in the Bay State, during the dark years of both the 1692 witch trials and the 1990s, Howe’s novel intertwines the stories of Deliverance Dane, a woman accused—with some merit—of being a sorceress, and Connie Godwin, a Harvard PhD candidate in history. The two women connect through Connie’s grandmother, who, though long dead, has left a literal key in her moldering ivy-covered home. Locating and deciphering the key set Connie on a quest that uncovers a hidden past and reveals a surprising future.

Mosse, Kate. Labyrinth. Berkley. 2007. 528p. ISBN 9780425213971. pap. $17; ebk. ISBN 9781101205716. F
This quest for the Holy Grail intimately links two women over the span of centuries in Mosse’s compelling and intricately plotted novel that should please fans of Fortier’s work with its similar mix of dual stories, action, and history. In 2005, while on an archaeological dig in France, Alice Tanner finds a cave protecting the remains of two skeletons: one wears a ring with a labyrinth pattern carved within it. In 13th-century France, Alais, the daughter of a guardian of the Holy Grail, is given a sacred book containing some of the holy relic’s secrets; she is also given a ring. By finding the cave and holding both book and ring, Alice and Alais are each placed in grave danger, separated by time but caught in the same centuries-old quest to claim the power of the Grail.

Neville, Katherine. The Eight. Ballantine. 2004. 624p. ISBN 9780345419088. pap. $16. F
Historical adventure and mythic quest combine in Neville’s addictive mix of chess, secrets, and parallel stories. In the 1970s, computer expert Catherine Velis travels to Algiers where she learns of a mythical chess set once owned by Emperor Charlemagne, a set that holds infinite power and has been sought for centuries; a game that is seemingly still being played. In the 1790s, a novice from the Montglane Abbey, Mireille, is faced with the dangerous task of keeping the chess pieces safe by hiding them, while multiple figures of the French Revolution seek the set’s power. Twisty, complex, and suspenseful, Neville’s smart and sweeping novel should please fans of Fortier looking for more tales of intrepid women caught in the coils of conspiracy and the hunt for treasure.

Read-Arounds:

Bradley, Marion Zimmer. The Firebrand. ROC. 2003. 608p. ISBN 9780451459244. pap. $17.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101028889. F
Fortier fans in the mood for more stories about the battle of Troy and who enjoyed the feminist point of view of her novel may also enjoy Bradley’s take on the period. Centering on Kassandra, Paris’s prophesying twin sister, Bradley deftly plumbs ancient lore, detailing the destruction of Troy while at the same time creating a new history. In her version, Kassandra is fostered by Penthesilea, the Amazon Queen, and is introduced to the ancient religion of the goddess. However, she is eventually returned to her family and begins training as a priestess to Apollo. Torn between the old female gods and the dominion of the male deities, Kassandra struggles to find a place and fights to be heard. Finding her voice and devoting her life to the female gods of old, she eventually leaves the bloody remnants of Troy behind as she seeks a new path.

Gemmell, David. Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow. Ballantine. (Troy, Bk. 1). 2006. 496p. ISBN 9780345494573. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780345486080. SF/FANTASY
Readers who want more details about the Trojan War can turn to Caroline Alexander’s outstanding The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer’s Iliad and the Trojan War. However, for readers who would rather experience Homer’s epic in much the way Fortier made use of it—as a handy launch pad—suggest Gemmell’s finely crafted and lushly imagined trilogy, beginning with this story focused on Prince Aeneas—a great warrior allied to Troy. In the opening book, Gemmell sets a fast pace as he pits Aeneas against a slew of enemies and thrusts him into the company of the priestess Andromache, a woman evoking Myrina’s warrior spirit and more than a match for any who might claim her hand.

Pressfield, Steven. Last of the Amazons. Bantam. 2003. 416p. ISBN 9780553382044. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780553897715. F
Fortier’s book might leave many readers longing for more tales of the Amazons, as for all of the focus on Myrina, her adventures are more muted than those of Diana. Such readers might enjoy Pressfield’s action-packed account of Antiope, the Queen of the Amazons, and her love affair with Theseus, King of Athens, whom she eventually marries. When Antiope abandons the Amazons to journey with Theseus to Greece, she sets in motion a war that will ravage her people—for her Amazon lover, Eleuthera, spurned by Antiope’s decision, gathers the armies of the Amazons and follows the Queen, attacking and laying siege to Theseus’s kingdom. The detail-rich and atmospheric story that unfolds through Pressfield’s ever-capable hands is gripping and multilayered, resplendent with war and romance, myth and history, honor and violence.

Watch-Around:

Warrior Princess Anthology. 54 discs. color. 6,312+ min. Mark Beesley & Eric Brevig, Davis-Panzer Merchandising, www.legendaryheroes.com. 2005. DVD UPC 013131318395. $129; streaming available. FANTASY
While Myrina does not necessarily evoke comparisons to Xena, those who remember the television series might connect the dots. Readers who have yet to encounter the TV show might similarly find the echoes between Myrina and the warrior princess interesting and pleasing. The six-season series followed the continuing adventures of Xena and Gabrielle (who eventually joins the ranks of the Amazons) as they travel the world of Ancient Greece helping those in need as Xena tries to redeem her wrathful past. Along the way, they crisscross many historical and mythological plotlines—including the fall of Troy. Quickly paced and full of action, the series obtained cult status during its heyday. For readers wishing to remain a bit longer in an amped-up version of Myrina’s world, Xena makes a worthy companion.

 

35 Going On 13: Best Teen Books for Adults, 2013; Extended List

Black, Holly. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Little, Brown Bks. for Young Readers. ISBN 9780316213103. $18.99.
Tana awakens in a bathtub after a night of revelry and discovers that she is the only wholly human survivor of a vampire massacre. Her ex-boyfriend has been infected and is tied to a bed in another room with a hot-looking vampire chained to the wall. The only escape for these three is Coldtown, where vampires and infected humans co-mingle and the party never stops. Tana is determined to beat the odds and make it out of Coldtown alive with her humanity intact, despite the squalid conditions and old-school vampire politics. In Black’s skillful hands, vampirism becomes a metaphor for the evils of our day—addiction, reality television, urban decay—as the narrative lays bare the grisly truth behind the glamorous mythos. A (rare) stand-alone that will leave even the most jaded gothic readers begging for another chapter.

King, A.S. Reality Boy. Little Brown Bks. for Young Readers. ISBN 9780316222709. $17.99.
As an angry five-year-old, Gerald became a reality TV sensation when he punched the Network Nanny and pooped in his mother’s shoes. Now he is 17 and not much has improved on the family front—Mom and Dad continue to let his psychotic oldest sister rule their household. Still known as “the Crapper” to his classmates, Gerald is just getting by until he meets Hannah, a fellow survivor on the family front, who helps him finally to voice his needs. A.S. King indicts both an industry that exploits children’s pain for entertainment value and parents who allow their children to be so used. Few writers balance humor and pathos as well as this Printz Honor (Please Ignore Vera Dietz, 2010) and Los Angeles Times Prize winner (Ask the Passengers, 2012).

Levithan, David. Two Boys Kissing. Knopf. ISBN 9780307931900. $16.99.
Ex-boyfriends Craig and Henry are inspired to break the Guinness World Record for longest kiss. While the world watches their 32-hour vigil, Ryan and Avery meet cute at a gay prom, longtime boyfriends Neil and Peter chafe at the ties that bind, and depressed Cooper runs away when his parents discover pornography addiction. These entwined stories of what it means to be young and gay today are lent gravitas by a chorus of AIDS victims,  marveling at how much—and how little—the world has changed in 30 years and urging readers to “make more than dust.” Ten years after wowing the reading world with Boy Meets Boy (2003), Levithan again celebrates a world where a boy-and-a-boy can kiss in public, only this time it is as close as the headlines.

Lewis, Catherine. Thrice Told Tales: Three Mice Full of Writing Advice. Atheneum Books for Young Readers. ISBN 9781416957843. $16.99.
Three blind mice. See how they run—and how they take your writer’s chops to a new level. This clever overview of literary terms will delight both students and experts looking for a concise way to understand exposition and point-of-view or distinguish an epic from a bildungsroman. Enchanting illustrations and a comic tone help the lessons go down easy.

Madison, Bennett. September Girls. HarperTeen. ISBN 9780061255632. $17.99.
Sam is at sea after his mother’s recent abandonment of the family, a feeling his father evidently shares when he decides to take Sam and his hunky older brother to the Outer Banks for the summer. In the rundown ocean-side town where they take residence in a small rental, Sam becomes an unlikely focus of attention. The lithe, blonde, strangely similar female residents who wait the tables, clean the motels, and serve bar in town all turn their heads when he walks by. As Margo Lanagan did in last year’s The Brides of Rollrock Island (35 Going on 13: Best of 2012), Madison exposes the sexual power politics behind a watery legend. Bound in their bikini tops and uncomfortable shoes, these cursed daughters of the waves have much to teach Sam, and us, about the objectification of women in our hyper-sexed culture.

McNeal, Tom. Far Far Away. Knopf. ISBN 9780375849725. $17.99.
Young Jeremy Johnson Johnson is guided by the ghostly companionship of that great collector of stories, Jacob Grimm. He will need more than Grimm’s encyclopedic knowledge of fairy tales when he and his friend, the magnetic Ginger Boultinghouse, come face to face with the evil that lurks in their small village of Never Better. The exacting Grimm finds himself inextricably drawn to these teens and their budding romance, making his narration more compelling than that of a less-flawed observer. Marrying quiz-show television and magic cakes, missing children and real-life monsters, McNeal’s modern fable has a timeless quality. A beautiful tribute to the redemptive power of story.

Rowell, Rainbow. Eleanor & Park. St. Martin’s Griffin. ISBN 9781250012579. $18.99.
For those of us of a certain age, there is no purer love than Eighties love. Awkward, bulky Eleanor meets comic-loving, Korean American Park on the school bus. She has just been allowed back into her abusive home after nearly a year of living with friends of her mother’s. Reading over Park’s shoulder, she learns to appreciate the X-men and that revolutionary new comic, Watchmen. Sensing a kindred soul, Park makes her mixtapes. When Eleanor’s domestic situation forces them into an impossible decision, the refrain of Joy Division’s signature “Love Will Tear Us Apart Again” will never feel the same. Rowell pairs two of the most appealing characters of the year in a love story that is both timeless and emblematic of its time.

Rowell, Rainbow. Fangirl. St. Martin’s Griffin. ISBN 9781250030955. $18.99.
Here is the second offering this year from a writer who, like her wholly appealing (anti) heroine, is poised for greatness. Cath is a popular fan fiction author, more at home in the magical world of Simon Snow than in the day-to-day of her freshman year at the University of Nebraska. Her twin sister, Wren, has become a drunken party girl; her surly roommate, Reagan, seems barely to tolerate her; and the always-around Levi is more attentive than she would like. Introverts and bibliophiles alike will understand Cath’s plight—why risk the real world, and possibly painful relationships, when fiction presents such a seductive alternative? More than just an able defense of the readers and writers of fan fiction.

Sedgwick, Marcus. Midwinterblood. Roaring Brook. ISBN 9781596438002. $17.99.
It is 2073, and a researcher has arrived on the isle of Blessed, whose residents are rumored to have discovered the secret to longevity. Connected stories of a dragon-flower cult, an archaeological dig, a painter, a vampire, and a ghost point further and further back to the bloody beginnings of the remote northern island, ultimately landing on a Norse legend depicted in Sweden’s most controversial painting. Hanging in Stockholm’s Nationalmuseum, Carl Larsson’s Midvinterblot (1915) depicts the story of a king sacrificed by his people in order to end a famine. Here, connected themes of love and loss play out in each story, tied together by the island, similar-sounding names, and a foreboding sense of horror.

Stone, Tanya Lee. Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickels—America’s First Black Paratroopers. Candlewick. ISBN 9780763651176. $24.99.
This loving tribute to the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion details the racial prejudice experienced by a group of soldiers who never saw overseas combat yet became an indelible part of U. S. military history. When the Japanese sent some 9000 incendiary balloons to ignite forest fires, the “Triple Nickels” proved themselves in the rugged West. Lovingly researched, their story is told in the context of the larger societal forces of military integration and the Civil Rights movement. A gorgeous tribute to a largely unsung band of heroes.

Yancey, Rick. The 5th Wave. Putnam/Penguin Young Readers. ISBN 9780399162411. $18.99.
The first wave was an electromagnetic pulse; the second, disasters that destroy the world’s coasts; the third, an ebola-like plague; and the fourth, “Silencers” picking off those unlucky enough to remain. Now Cassie and Ben must survive the fifth assault by an alien species intent on eliminating the human race. Propelled by a $750,000 ad campaign, this high-octane thriller by a Printz Honor winner (The Monstrumologist in 2009) famous for his ability to scare delivers end-of-the-world thrills that will have you clamoring for the next installment (The Infinite Sea, due May 2014).

Yang, Gene Luen. Boxers & Saints. First Second. Boxers. ISBN 9781596433595. $18.99. Saints. ISBN 9781596436893. $15.99. Boxed set: ISBN 9781596439245. $34.99.
China’s Boxer Rebellion is the unlikely backdrop for this graphic treatment of two young villagers on the opposite sides of history. Bao wants to drive out the white devils that poison his country with opium and Christianity. Four-Girl is an unwanted daughter who finds purpose in the missionary life. Yang demonstrates his signature magical realism as both Bao and Four-Girl receive guidance from spiritual ancestors. Their stories collide in a transpiring moment of grace that could only be penned by the Printz Award–winning author of American Born Chinese (2006).

Xpress Reviews: Nonfiction | First Look at New Books, December 27, 2013

Week ending December 27, 2013

Davies, James O. A Year at Stonehenge. Frances Lincoln: Quayside. 2013. 112p. photos. ISBN 9780711234833. $27.95. PHOTOG
In making this book, architectural photographer Davies was given privileged access to photograph Britain’s ancient site over a five-year period; the resulting photos reveal Stonehenge during different seasons and at all times of the day and night. Included are impressive scenes of Stonehenge in the snow, with the setting sun, and under a full moon. Davies captures close-up images that convey incredible detail about the monument’s history, such as the ancient graffiti carved into the stone monoliths. Also included is a private view of a Druid solstice celebration. The extended time frame and sheer volume of documentation give a concentrated and intimate view of this famous place—something that sets this work apart from other Stonehenge photo books. Stonehenge expert Mike Pitts (editor, British Archaeology) contributes the foreword, which deepens the reader’s understanding of British prehistory, including fascinating information on how the stone circle has been rearranged and even rebuilt over the years.
Verdict Recommended for Stonehenge enthusiasts and students of British prehistory.—Shauna Frischkorn, Millersville Univ., PA

A Fork in the Road: Tales of Food, Pleasure, & Discovery on the Road. Lonely Planet. 2013. 304p. ed. by James Oseland. ISBN 9781743218440. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781743601105. TRAV
Oseland (editor in chief, Saveur magazine) requested that those participating in this collection share the moment that they tasted something that changed them forever. Contributors range from Rita Mae Brown to Francine Prose to Michael Pollan. Probably the most humorous contribution is from food writers Jane and Michael Stern, who fondly remember the Naked City Truck Stop in Roselawn, IN. “We don’t spend much time dining in strip clubs, so it was a little strange eating a meal surrounded by naked cooks, waitresses, and customers. But that’s the way it was at the Adam and Eve Diner in 1974.” Sadly, the diner is no more; it closed in 1986 after several run-ins with the law. Writer David Kamp writes that some of the best food he’s ever eaten was during childhood vacations at Maple Cottages in Center Harbor, NH, where owner R.M. Fletcher did all the cooking, including a full-course turkey dinner and a New England boiled dinner. After dining all over the world, Kamp concludes, “My abiding culinary love is for…Mr. Fletcher food.” Other entries in this deliciously varied tome include an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, reflections on the Twinkie, and memories of the food miracles that a poor mother could create using few modern conveniences.
Verdict Foodies looking for something a bit different will be pleasantly satisfied.—Susan G. Baird, formerly with Oak Lawn P.L., IL

Kastner, Victoria. Hearst Ranch: Family, Land, and Legacy. Abrams. 2013. 240p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781419708541. $50. PHOTOG
Many are familiar with William Randolph Hearst’s “Castle,” the vast 1920s estate the newspaper mogul built on designs by architect Julia Morgan. Less known is that the castle—a popular park donated to the state in the 1950s—is surrounded by a working cattle ranch comprised of lands purchased by patriarch George Hearst, a 19th-century mining tycoon, and occupying some of the most sublime and scenic portions of the Pacific coast. This lavishly illustrated coffee-table book directs attention away from the castle and toward the bucolic Hearst Ranch, now owned by the eponymous New York media company and largely protected from development through conservation easements and tax breaks awarded in 2005. That deal preserved the land as a working ranch while also allowing limited public access to shoreline areas. The text by Hearst Castle historian Kastner offers an insider’s history of this spectacular property and the Hearst family’s stewardship of it—a tad hagiographic and self-congratulatory in tone—with many photos demonstrating its singular beauty and the quality of the livestock raised there.
Verdict As a tribute to the picturesque, pastoral scenery that is within a day’s drive for millions of Californians, this book would be most enjoyed by those readers who have visited or live in the area.—Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L.

Xpress Reviews: Fiction | First Look at New Books, December 27, 2013

Week ending December 27, 2013

Berenson, Alex. The Counterfeit Agent: A John Wells Novel. Putnam. Feb. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780399159732. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698150157. F
In whose interest is it to provoke a nuclear war between the United States and Iran? John Wells, the legendary ex-CIA agent at the center of Berenson’s seven earlier incendiary sagas (The Night Ranger; The Faithful Spy), is lured from his lover’s side on a Caribbean cruise to find some credible answers. Scrambling from death’s door in exotic corners of distant cities and allied with one confederate in Langley, VA, Wells rips into clues to sift fact from teasing morsels. When a clear pattern begins to emerge, Wells and his ally confront total disbelief from the powers-that-be in Washington. Like an old-fashioned serial, this volcanic shocker does not end but simply sets the stage for the next adventure.
Verdict Working with plot elements that are terrifyingly realistic, research that rings as true as today’s headlines, and characters that brim with integrity and swagger, Berenson puts John Wells right up there with the best of espionage fiction’s greatest heroes. [See Prepub Alert, 8/19/13.]—Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, VA

Dolan, Harry. The Last Dead Girl. Amy Einhorn: Putnam. Jan. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780399157967. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698150676. F
When 26-year-old David Malone stops to aid Jana Fletcher at an accident scene, his life changes dramatically. He spends ten days, and nights, with the mysterious young law student, and then she is brutally and ritualistically murdered. Naturally, he is a suspect but not yet charged. Jana had been passionately involved in the Innocence Project, seeking to free a local high school teacher convicted of killing his wife. David decides to pursue this case on her behalf. Through “interlude” chapters we learn about Jana’s earlier harrowing ordeal, the anonymous killer’s mind-set, and more murders.
Verdict This is a more sober prequel to Dolan’s humorous and witty Bad Things Happen, also featuring David Loogan né Malone. There is little connection between the two books except the author’s skill with shocking twists, complex plotting, bizarre situations, and striking characters that keep the reader intrigued—and wary of dark places. With just three books (including Very Bad Men), Dolan is already a seasoned pro, worthy of high acclaim—and so is his protagonist.—Roland Person, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale

Grant, Donna. Dark Heat: The Dark Kings Stories. St. Martin’s. Jan. 2014. 448p. ISBN 9781250043788. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466848566. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
The Dragon Kings are shape-shifting immortals who hide somewhat in plain sight at a distillery in Scotland, where they brood about the past and try to stay out of the way of the modern world. In “Dark Craving,” the green Dragon King Hal breaks the spell blocking the kings from falling in love when he meets Cassie, a young woman who comes to Scotland to stay with her brother, who had disappeared. The red Dragon King Guy falls in love in “Night’s Awakening” after rescuing London businesswoman Elena from a cave where her boss had trespassed and took her exploring. Then blue Dragon King Banan meets Jane, a secretary in the company the kings believe sent Elena’s boss to spy on them, as the kings seek to find out who knows their secrets in “Dawn’s Desire.” A bonus story, “Passion’s Claim,” revisits Banan and Guy as they decide whether to commit to their newfound loves, or set the women free to live a normal life.
Verdict The ongoing “Dark Kings” series is loosely tied to Grant’s “Dark Warriors” and “Dark Sword” series, and brief mention of those titles is made in the last two stories here. The tales are fast paced and loosely plotted and leave several plot threads hanging. What happened to Cassie’s brother? Who is conspiring against the Dragon Kings? What is happening with the Silver dragons and their king? One hopes these questions will be answered in the forthcoming Darkest Flame and Fire Rising (both 2014), but new readers may become frustrated at the repetitiveness of these pieces. Recommended only for libraries where Grant’s previous series are popular.—Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA

Krajewski, Marek. Phantoms of Breslau: An Inspector Mock Investigation. Melville House. Jan. 2014. 288p. tr. from Polish by Danusia Stok. ISBN 9781612192727. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781612192734. MYS
Eberhard Mock (Death in Breslau; The End of the World in Breslau), a World War I veteran and criminal assistant in the eastern German city of Breslau, returns in this mystery set in 1919. Still suffering nightmares from his military service and self-medicating with alcohol, vice detective Mock is summoned to the scene of a grisly multiple homicide. His presence is requested because a note found with the bodies mentions him by name and suggests that somehow he is responsible. As the investigation continues, the murder count rises, and it becomes clear the victims were killed for talking to Mock. Removed from the case, he is determined to find the killer. Many twists and turns must be negotiated before Mock can resolve this case and not without the stakes, both personal and professional, increasing to dangerous and deadly levels.
Verdict Rich in period detail, from nascent nationalist movements to the rising interest in the theories of Freud and Jung and spiritualism and the occult, this compelling mystery should appeal to fans of hard-boiled historical mysteries such as Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther novels.—Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green

McMahon, Jennifer. The Winter People. Doubleday. Feb. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780385538497. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385538503. F
Would you do anything to bring a lost loved one back to life? McMahon’s (Promise Not To Tell) latest novel weaves the chilling tale of Sara Harrison Shea, whose life was full of tragedy and brutal deaths. In 1908, after her daughter mysteriously dies, Sara is found flayed to death, presumably by her husband, who commits suicide at the scene. For years the townspeople swear they see Sara at the sites of many local tragedies, and even skeptics leave gifts for her on their doorsteps in hopes of escaping her wrath. Generations later, a new family moves into Sara’s home. Nineteen-year-old Ruthie and her sister, Fawn, live in fear of the mysterious forest behind their house, where “sleepers” are rumored to live. These pale, bloodthirsty spirits of the undead are the result of grief-stricken family members using dark magic to bring their loved ones back to life. When Ruthie’s mother goes missing, the sisters embark on a downright creepy journey to find her, a journey that also reveals the truth about Sara.
Verdict Extremely well written with a story line that is sure to delight (and frighten) thriller lovers and supernatural fans, this novel has the makings of a blockbuster horror flick. [Prepub Alert, 9/15/13.]—Chelsie Harris, San Diego Cty. Lib.

White, Karen. Return to Tradd Street. NAL. (Tradd Street, Bk. 4). Jan. 2014. 321p. ISBN 9780451240590. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781101626481; premier fiction hc. Mar. 2014. ISBN 9781611739848. $34.95. PARANORMAL
Over the course of a few short years, psychic realtor Melanie Middleton has come to love the home she unexpectedly inherited from a descendant of the storied Vanderhorst family, who trace their lineage in Charleston, SC, well into the past and whose secrets go back almost as far. At first reluctant to accept the exorbitant gift, a now pregnant Melanie works vigorously to restore her home in anticipation of the birth of her child. In the process, she unearths the remains of a baby buried in the foundation, seemingly for well over a century. With the discovery, a hostile presence that means to do Melanie harm has also awakened. Melanie has stumbled across other dead bodies and unraveled ghostly mysteries in the past, with her boyfriend, mystery author Jack Trenholm. Although the pair are currently on shaky ground, Melanie will need Jack’s help to identity the dead child and the accompanying ghost and uncover long-hidden truths and right a wrong, even if it means putting her ownership claims on the line.
Verdict This fourth and final installment of the “Tradd Street” series (after The Strangers on Montagu Street) holds up well as a stand-alone novel. Still, readers will want to check out the previous titles to trace the development of the relationship between Melanie and Jack, to see how Melanie bonded with Jack’s teenage daughter, and also how she reconnected with her own mother, who abandoned her when she was a child and shares her psychic abilities.—Natasha Grant, New York

Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, December 27, 2013

Week ending December 27, 2013

Ashe, Katharine. Kisses, She Wrote: A Christmas Romance. Avon Impulse. Dec. 2013. NAp. ebk. ISBN 9780062229892. 99¢. REGENCY ROMANCE
The Princess of Sensaire is shy and unremarkable, so when Charles Camlann Westfall, the Earl of Bedwyr, reads her diary and finds her sultry and saucy desires—about him—he is suddenly enraptured. They are both guests of the Comte de Rallis’s, her brother Reiner’s trusted friend. Princess Jacqueline is unlike any woman Cam has ever met; she is smart, funny, and courageous, and her secret diary, which explicitly details what she wishes him to do to her in private, has him completely boggled. With Jacqueline to be married by Christmas, and Cam’s great-aunt trying to announce his betrothal by the holidays, what is one confused earl to do? Will this shy princess catch her handsome prince?
Verdict Fans of Regency romance should already be familiar with Ashe and her “Falcon Club” series (e.g., How a Lady Weds a Rogue). This Christmas novella is a nice companion to I Married the Duke, the first title of her “Prince Catchers” series and includes glimpses of characters seen in her previous works. Readers not aware of the overlap among the series might be a tad nonplussed, as suddenly people are married who weren’t several pages before, but readers who enjoy romances and the season will delight in a Christmas story to get them in that holiday mood. Typical of Ashe, these characters are smoldering, drawn to each other as love and lust lead them on a precarious path to passion.—Judy Taylor Garner, Strayer Univ. Lib., Glen Allen, VA

Dailey, Sara & Staci Weber. Web of Lies. Boroughs. (Red Ridge Pack, Bk. 4). 2013. 191p. ebk. ISBN 9781938876721. $4.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
In this fourth installment in the series about shape-shifting werewolves (after Pack of Lies; Circle of Lies; and Born of Lies), the Red Ridge pack has invited members of the Crescent Hills pack for an extended stay. Little do they know that Crescent Hills has hatched an evil plan to take over Red Ridge. The novel is told from the point of view of three teens caught up in the drama: Luke, the future Red Ridge enforcer; Scarlett, daughter of the Crescent Hills alpha who is tasked with seducing Luke; and Drew, Scarlett’s unsavory half-brother. The plan is to drive a wedge between Aiden and Cade, both contenders to be the next Alpha of Red Ridge, but the scheme is foiled when Scarlett and Luke fail to hook up but instead fall in love. Scarlett spills the beans on the conspiracy, but will she escape with her life? Will Red Ridge survive as a pack?
Verdict A casual attitude toward hookup culture adds authenticity to this suspenseful young adult romance, but the couple’s choice to eschew indiscriminate sex in favor of a committed relationship provides an interesting twist; recommended for teens and fans of the genre.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA

Porter, Jane. Christmas at Copper Mountain. Montana Born: Tule Pub. (Copper Mountain Christmas). Dec. 2013. 88p. ebk. ISBN 9781940296074. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Harley Diekerhoff couldn’t have been more pleased when the agency placed her as housekeeper for the Brock Sheenan ranch in Marietta, MT. Leaving behind all her misery in California, Harley finds this temporary position working for a brusque widower offers no emotions and no holiday celebration, which is exactly what she wants. Harley is managing just fine until Brock’s two children escape from their New York boarding school and arrive at the ranch’s front door. Children are the last thing her broken heart can handle, so she plans to leave Marietta as soon as possible, but Brock, the kids, and the ranch hands need her more than she realizes. The growing physical attraction between Harley and Brock is enough to melt his tough exterior. Harley just needs to move beyond her sadness and accept the love that will be the greatest Christmas gift of her life.
Verdict Prolific modern lit and romance author Porter (Flirting with Forty; Take Me, Cowboy) unites with a band of romance authors to form Montana Born Books, an imprint of Tule, which features novellas that take place in the fictional town of Marietta, MT. This latest “Copper Mountain Christmas” offering (e.g., Katherine Garbera’s A Cowboy for Christmas; Melissa McClone’s Home for Christmas ) is a feel-good shortie, perfect for the season, that provides a bit more grit than your stock holiday romance.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Seaton, Annie. Tangling with the CEO. Bliss: Entangled. (Half Moon Bay). Dec. 2013. 180p. ISBN 9781622660902. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Anastasia Delaney is proud of the home restoration service that she runs with her two best friends. Sure, she didn’t graduate from college as she had planned—her mother’s sudden illness and death stopped that ambition. But with this new career, she not only gets to create homes but works for a small-town store that gives back to the community. That success is threatened, however, when a large corporation buys the little hardware store. New store manager Blake Buchanan hasn’t changed since Ana last saw him during their one-night stand in college. His biggest concern is still profit margins. Or is it? When Ana gets a glimpse of Uncle Blake, she finds that he does have a heart after all. So can the activist and the executive find a way to tangle happily?
Verdict Although this novel has a slow start, the middle and end are worth the wait.—Christyna Hunter, Loudoun Cty P.L., Lovettsville, VA

Xpress Reviews: Audiobooks | First Look at New Books, December 27, 2013

Week ending December 27, 2013

Atkins, Ace. The Broken Places. (Quinn Colson, Bk. 3). 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 10 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470370497. $92.75; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Following the events in The Lost Ones, Jericho, MS, sheriff Quinn Colson’s sister, Caddy, takes up with recently paroled Jamey Dixon. The convicted murderer has become a preacher, but Quinn is not convinced he has reformed. Then two escaped convicts come looking for revenge against Jamey. The Colson books are slightly darker than Atkins’s highly entertaining “Nick Travers” series but pack plenty of local color and, in this case, an homage to William Faulkner as well. Brian d’Arcy James does fairly well with the dialog of multiple characters but does not make the villains sound sufficiently threatening.
Verdict Recommended for Atkins’s fans and those who enjoy colorful but violent Southern tales. [“Atkins has real men grappling with classic themes like redemption, duty, villainy, and sympathy; his knack for realistic dialog is especially attuned to the direct, Southern way of speaking that conveys volumes about the speaker’s nobility or crudeness,” read the review of the Putnam hc, Books for Dudes, 4/18/13.]—Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. Lib.

Clark, Marcia. Killer Ambition. (Rachel Knight, Bk. 3). 13 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 15 hrs. Hachette Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781619696341. $29.98; 13 CDs. retail ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Clark’s (Guilt by Degrees) real-life experience as lead prosecutor on the O.J. Simpson trial lends credibility to this story that blends Hollywood heavy-hitters and a horrifying crime. The daughter of high-profile Hollywood director Russell Antonovich has been murdered, and her boyfriend—former child star Ian Powers, who is now Russell’s agent—is the prime suspect. DA Rachel Knight and her buddy Det. Bailey Keller are assigned the daunting task of trying to prove Powers’s guilt. January LaVoy returns as narrator, effectively capturing the diverse personalities of Knight’s inner circle as well as providing the necessary tension during the courtroom scenes.
Verdict Recommend to those who enjoy legal thrillers with a female protagonist and tales of Hollywood told from an insider’s perspective.—Theresa Horn, St. Joseph Cty. P.L., South Bend, IN

Hart, Carolyn. Escape from Paris. 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. ISBN 9781624066597. $59.99; 2 MP3-CDs. library/retail eds.; digital download. F
Shortly after American sisters Linda Rossiter and Eleanor Masson begin to help English soldiers escape from Nazi-controlled Paris in 1940, they learn that they could be shot if their efforts are discovered. Encouraged by Eleanor, whose husband has been missing since the Battle of Dunkirk, they continue, gaining strength from knowing they are helping the war effort. In this novel, Hart (Engaged To Die) captures the tense atmosphere in occupied Paris and provides plenty of suspense as her characters wonder whom to trust, as they search for money and food while avoiding German attention. Jennifer Brownstein gives the French characters a charming accent, but her sweet voice isn’t quite menacing enough for the Germans.
Verdict Originally published in a shortened version 30 years ago, this expanded edition, although somewhat predictable, will appeal to World War II buffs.—Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo

Mead, Richelle. Gameboard of the Gods. (Age of X, Bk. 1). 13 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 16 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781611761764. $39.95; 13 CDs. retail ed. Penguin Random Audio; digital download. F
In a near future where religion and worship must be approved by the government, Justin March, Servitor to the Republic of United North America (RUNA), is pulled out of exile to investigate a string of murders that may be connected to an underground religious cult. Paired with Praetorian Mae Koskinsen, a genetically engineered soldier, Justin discovers that there are ethereal adversaries, good and evil, who seek out human vessels to do their bidding. Mead (Vampire Academy) here launches “Age of X,” a provocative new series for adults. Sex, murder, and the supernatural are delivered with twists, turns, and action-packed suspense. Narrator Emily Shaffer guides listeners through a new world order fraught with uncertainty and precariously balanced in the occult. Written for adults but acceptable for Mead’s young adult crossover following.
Verdict A must-have for library collections. [“Mead melds romance, mystery, urban fantasy, and action into a fascinating dystopian tale, featuring fully realized characters that will captivate her many current fans and attract new ones,” read the review of the Dutton hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 7/5/13.]—JoAnn Funderburk, South Garland Branch Lib., TX

Moyes, Jojo. Me Before You. 12 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 15 hrs. Penguin Random Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781611762358. $29.95; digital download. F
Despite her lack of nursing experience, former waitress Louisa Clark lands a job as daytime caretaker for recently paralyzed quadriplegic businessman Will Traynor. Will’s wealthy family prays that this cheerful young woman can dispel Will’s depression and determination to end his own life. Louisa is horrified when she learns that euthanasia has been scheduled and sets out to enrich Will’s life enough to restore his will to live. Moyes (The Girl You Left Behind) writes with such intimacy that the listener almost feels like an eavesdropper. Susan Lyons’s reading brings Louisa to life, with an array of other voices that relay the thoughts of key characters in Will’s life.
Verdict Recommended for all collections.—Judith Robinson, Dept. of Lib. & Information Studies, Univ. at Buffalo

White, Susan Rebecca. A Place at the Table. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8¾ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470348168. $123.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. F
Food represents not only nutrition but also friendship, personal growth, and personal fulfillment in this thought-provoking story. Combining flashbacks with a present-day New York City setting, White (Bound South) introduces and establishes each character’s life and the backstory that brings them together at a Manhattan café. Bobby is a gay Southern boy who has been ostracized by his family; wealthy Amelia is struggling with a recently revealed family secret; and Alice is an African American chef with a famous cookbook but a mysterious past. Food and companionship teach the characters that it is possible to find authenticity and fulfillment on their own. Consistent volume and lack of background noise merge nicely with the accent-free, slow-paced, and expressive voices of Robin Miles, George Newbern, and Katherine Powell.
Verdict The work will appeal to White’s fans and those interested in serious fiction.—Laurie Selwyn, formerly with Grayson Cty. Law Lib., Sherman, TX

Pages