Sunday, May 1, 2016

Book Sale Weekend

Every year St. Francis Episcopal Church, around the corner from my house, hosts a 3 day book sale extravaganza. Tens of thousands of books, donated year-round are put up for sale and people come from all over the region to find their treasures. Usually, I'm there on their preview night (or early the next morning) to grab the good titles. 

This year, however, I decided to wait until the last day to make an appearance. The decision to wait was partly financial (on the last day books are cheaper) and partly strategic. Most of the books that remain by day 3 are either those for which they have 100s of copies (and subsequently not books I'm interested in) or those that are a bit more on the obscure side. I knew if I waited, there would be fewer books that I'd feel the need to bring home. Given my lack of shelf space, I thought that a good thing.

So my partner in crime and I hit the sale on $10 bag day. Most years I have no problem filling one or two bags to the brim but this year I wasn't so confident. I decided to be ultra picky. I would only  bring home books in near-fine condition, only first printings and only titles I honestly wanted to read. In a sea of well-worn Faye Kellerman, Nora Roberts, and John Grisham titles, this narrowed my options tremendously.

Tracy, on the other hand went for poetry books. Apparently NO ONE buys poetry books at this sale because she could've filled the entire bag until it was bursting with just poetry. Even after being picky, I think she managed to bring home 22 books of poetry (so thin that they filled only half the bag). And as for me, I left the book sale with its thousands of books, having only bought 3. Seriously. I mean how many of you can say that on $10/bag day that you left a sale with just 3 books? There's a certain amount of pride in that statement for me. A sense of willpower. And yes, I am impressed with myself.

The three books that I bought? (Don't laugh):

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (Grand Central Publishing, March 2010)
Listing for between $4-$40 in near-fine condition (unsigned) over on ABE Books.

Grahame-Smith's books are collectible because they're odd and the first of the horror-classic mash-up genre. His first in this series was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009), followed by Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (2010), Unholy Night (2012), and The Last American Vampire (2015) - sequel to Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.

A Fistful of Collars by Spencer Quinn (Atria Books, September 2012)
Listing for between $7-$12 on ABE Books.

Tracy likes this series and I know she'd not read this one yet. One of the book collecting gurus that I used to follow predicted that Quinn's debut novel Dog On It would be highly collectible (although, I think signed it might be valued at $30 in the current market). Honestly, I just like the premise of having a dog be the main character / narrator. It speaks to my sense of the absurd (and my love of dogs).

The Mayor's Tongue by Nathaniel Rich (Riverhead Books, 2008)
Listing for between $5-$20 (unsigned) on ABE Books.

Book synopsis: "In this debut novel, hailed by Stephen King as 'terrifying, touching, and wildly funny,' the stories of two strangers, Eugene Brentani and Mr. Schmitz, interweave. What unfolds is a bold reinvention of storytelling in which Eugene, a devotee of the reclusive and monstrous author, Constance Eakins, and Mr. Schmitz, who has been receiving ominous letters from an old friend, embark from New York for Italy, where the line between imagination and reality begins to blur and stories take on a life of their own."

Saturday, April 30, 2016

2016 Edgar Winners Announced

Best Novel: 
Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy 
(Penguin Random House - Dutton)

Best First Novel: 
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen 
(Grove Atlantic – Grove Press, 2015)

This is a big collectible, having won the Pulitzer among a number of other awards. First printings are rare and list for $125 to $150 (unsigned) on ABE Books.
Best Juvenile: 
Footer Davis Probably is Crazy by Susan Vaught 
(Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)
Young Adult: 
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis 
(HarperCollins Publishers – Katherine Tegen Books)

Friday, April 29, 2016

2016 Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist Announced

The shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award (for best science fiction novel of the year) was announced yesterday. The winner will be announced on August 24. 
This year's shortlisted titles are:
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton, August 13, 2015)
Synopsis: "When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that's seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.
But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptillian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful - exactly what Rosemary wants.
Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They'll earn enough money to live comfortably for years... if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful. 
But Rosemary isn't the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed."

Europe at Midnight by Dave Hutchinson (Solaris, November 5, 2015)
Synopsis: "Europe is crumbling. The Xian Flu pandemic and ongoing economic crises have fractured the European Union, the borderless Continent of the Schengen Agreement is a distant memory, and new nations are springing up everywhere, some literally overnight. For an intelligence officer like Jim, it's a nightmare. Every week or so a friendly power spawns, a new and unknown national entity which may or may not be friendly to England's interests; it's hard to keep on top of it all. But things are about to get worse for Jim. A stabbing on a London bus pitches him into a world where his intelligence service is preparing for war with another universe, and a man has come who may hold the key to unlocking the mystery."

The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor (
Hodder & Stoughton, May 7, 2015)
Synopsis: "They call her many things - a research project, a test-subject, a specimen.An abomination. 
But she calls herself Phoenix, an 'accelerated woman' - a genetic experiment grown and raised in Manhattan's famous Tower 7, the only home she has ever known. Although she's only two years old, Phoenix has the body and mind of an adult - and powers beyond imagining. Phoenix is an innocent, happy to live quietly in Tower 7, reading voraciously and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human.
Until the night that Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life. Devastated, Phoenix begins to search for answers - only to discover that everything that she has ever known is a lie. 
Tower 7 isn't a haven. It's a prison.
And it's time for Phoenix to spread her wings and rise. 
Spanning contents and centuries, The Book of Phoenix is an epic, incendiary work of magial realism featuring Nnedi Okorafor's most incredible, unforgettable heroine yet."

Arcadia by Iain Pears (Faber and Faber, September 3, 2015)
Synopsis: "Three interlocking worlds. Four people looking for answers. But who controls the future—or the past?

In 1960s Oxford, Professor Henry Lytten is attempting to write a fantasy novel that forgoes the magic of his predecessors, J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. He finds an unlikely confidante in his quick-witted, inquisitive young neighbor Rosie. One day, while chasing Lytten’s cat, Rosie encounters a doorway in his cellar. She steps through and finds herself in an idyllic, pastoral land where Storytellers are revered above all others. There she meets a young man who is about to embark on a quest of his ownand may be the one chance Rosie has of returning home. These breathtaking adventures ultimately intertwine with the story of an eccentric psychomathematician whose breakthrough discovery will affect all of these different lives and worlds.  

Dazzlingly inventive and deeply satisfying, Arcadia tests the boundaries of storytelling and asks: If the past can change the future, then might the future also indelibly alter the past?" 

Way Down Dark by J.P. Smythe (Hodder & Stoughton, July 2, 2015)
Synopsis: "Imagine a nightmare from which there is no escape. Seventeen-year-old Chan's ancestors left a dying Earth hundreds of years ago, in search of a new home. They never found one.
This is a hell where no one can hide. The only life that Chan's ever known is one of violence, of fighting. Of trying to survive.
This is a ship of death, of murderers and cults and gangs. But there might be a way to escape. In order to find it, Chan must head way down into the darkness - a place of buried secrets, long-forgotten lies, and the abandoned bodies of the dead.
This is Australia. Seventeen-year-old Chan, fiercely independent and self-sufficient, keeps her head down and lives quietly, careful not to draw attention to herself amidst the violence and disorder. Until the day she makes an extraordinary discovery - a way to return the Australia to Earth. But doing so would bring her to the attention of the fanatics and the murderers who control life aboard the ship, putting her and everyone she loves in terrible danger. 
And a safe return to Earth is by no means certain."

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor, June 4, 2015)

Synopsis: "WHO WILL INHERIT THIS NEW EARTH? The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age - a world terraformed and prepared for human life. But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind's worst nightmare. Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?"

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

2016 Hugo Finalists Announced

According to their Website, "The Hugo Awards, presented annually since 1955, are science fiction’s most prestigious award. The Hugo Awards are voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention." They'll be awarded this year in my hometown of Kansas City during MidAmeriCon.

You can check out the full list of finalists here.



  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (
  • The Builders by Daniel Polansky (
  • Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum)
  • Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment)
  • Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)


  • Pierce Brown *
  • Sebastien de Castell *
  • Brian Niemeier
  • Andy Weir *
  • Alyssa Wong *
* Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Penguin Horror & Penguin Galaxy Series

A couple of weeks ago the Wall Street Journal did an article on Penguin's upcoming Galaxy (Sci-fi) series curated by Neil Gaiman. I meant to write about it then, but time got away from me (& actually Dan over at the Casual Optimist beat me to it), but here we are anyway.

The Galaxy series will be released in October (2016), but follows in the footsteps of Penguin's Horror series released back in 2013. The Horror series was a set of 6 books curated by Guillermo del Toro with art direction by Paul Buckley.

The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories

Introduction by S. T. Joshi
Edited by Guillermo Del Toro
Cover design by Paul Buckley

Published: October 1, 2013
Cover price: $25
Pages: 544
Print run: 35,000
Listing for up to $32 USD

"Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s unique contribution to American literature was a melding of traditional supernaturalism (derived chiefly from Edgar Allan Poe) with the genre of science fiction that emerged in the early 1920s. The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories brings together a dozen of the master’s tales—from his early short stories “Under the Pyramids” (originally ghostwritten for Harry Houdini) and “The Music of Erich Zann” (which Lovecraft ranked second among his own favorites) through his more fully developed works, “The Dunwich Horror,” “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,” and “At the Mountains of Madness.” The book presents the definitive corrected texts of these works, along with Lovecraft critic and biographer S. T. Joshi’s illuminating introduction and notes to each story."

Introduction by S. T. Joshi
Edited by S. T. Joshi and Guillermo Del Toro
Cover design by Paul Buckley

Published: October 1, 2013
Cover price: $25
Pages: 512
Print run: not listed
Listing for up to $61 USD

"American Supernatural Tales is the ultimate collection of weird and frightening American short fiction. As Stephen King will attest, the popularity of the occult in American literature has only grown since the days of Edgar Allan Poe. The book celebrates the richness of this tradition with chilling contributions from some of the nation’s brightest literary lights, including Poe himself, H. P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and—of course—Stephen King. This volumes also includes “The Yellow Sign,” the most horrific story from The King in Yellow, the classic horror collection by Robert W. Chambers featured on HBO’s hit TV series True Detective. By turns phantasmagoric, spectral, and demonic, this is a frighteningly good collection of stories."

The Raven, Tales and Poems

Edited by Guillermo Del Toro
Cover design by Paul Buckley

Published: October 1, 2013
Cover price: $23
Pages: 352
Print run: not listed
Listing for up to $56 USD

"The Raven: Tales and Poems is a landmark new anthology of Poe’s work, which defied convention, shocked readers, and confounded critics. This selection of Poe’s writings demonstrates the astonishing power and imagination with which he probed the darkest corners of the human mind. “The Fall of the House of Usher” describes the final hours of a family tormented by tragedy and the legacy of the past. In “The Tell Tale Heart,” a murderer’s insane delusions threaten to betray him, while stories such as “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Cask of Amontillado” explore extreme states of decadence, fear and hate. The title narrative poem, maybe Poe’s most famous work, follows a man’s terrifying descent into madness after the loss of a lover."

Introduction by Elizabeth Kostova
Edited by Guillermo Del Toro
Cover design by Paul Buckley

Published: October 1, 2013
Cover price: $23
Pages: 384
Print run: not listed
Listing for up to $45 USD

"The epic battle between man and monster reaches its greatest pitch in the famous story of Frankenstein. In trying to create life, the young student Victor Frankenstein unleashes forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events that brings Victor himself to the very brink. How he tries to destroy his creation, as it destroys everything Victor loves, is a powerful story of love, friendship . . . and horror."

Edited by Guillermo Del Toro
Cover design by Paul Buckley

Published: October 1, 2013
Cover price: $22
Pages: 372
Print run: not listed
Listing for up to $53 USD

"Haunted Castles is the definitve, complete collection of Ray Russell’s masterful Gothic horror stories, including the famously terrifying novella trio of  ”Sardonicus,” “Sanguinarius,” and ”Sagittarius.” The characters that sprawl through Haunted Castles are frightful to the core: the heartless monster holding two lovers in limbo; the beautiful dame journeying down a damned road toward depravity (with the help of an evil gypsy); the man who must wear his fatal crimes on his face in the form of an awful smile. Engrossing, grotesque, perverted, and completely entrancing, Russell’s Gothic tales are the best kind of dreadful."

Introduction by Laura Miller
Edited by Guillermo Del Toro
Cover design by Paul Buckley

Published: October 1, 2013
Cover price: $22
Pages: 288
Print run: not listed
Listing for up to $53 USD

"The classic supernatural thriller by an author who helped define the genre. First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting;’ Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own."

The Wall Street Journal revealed the covers for the upcoming Galaxy Series, designed by Alex Trochut:

Introduction by Neil Gaiman
Cover design by Alex Trochut

Published: October 25, 2016
Cover price: $25
Pages: 288
Print run: not listed

The Once and Future King

Introduction by Neil Gaiman
Cover design by Alex Trochut

Published: October 25, 2016
Cover price: $30
Pages: 736
Print run: not listed

Introduction by Neil Gaiman
Afterword by Brian Herbert
Cover design by Alex Trochut

Published: October 25, 2016
Cover price: $30
Pages: 592
Print run: not listed

Introduction by Neil Gaiman
Cover design by Alex Trochut

Published: October 25, 2016
Cover price: $25
Pages: 320
Print run: not listed

Introduction by Neil Gaiman
Cover design by Alex Trochut

Published: October 25, 2016
Cover price: $30
Pages: 592
Print run: not listed

Introduction by Neil Gaiman
Cover design by Alex Trochut

Published: October 25, 2016
Cover price: $25
Pages: 320
Print run: not listed

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Procrastinating Taxes By Looking at Other People's Libraries

I find myself, on this last day before taxes are due, being pulled not to the mathematics of deductions, but to the Internet's vast array of library images – naturally. Big, beautiful bookshelves full of disheveled (or appealingly staged) books. And I think to myself, with a small sense of urgency, I should really organize my books. 

An enviable bookshelf with room.
In this epically manic attempt at procrastination, I searched the web for inspiration and guidance, and I come across an article – with pictures – about readers and their home libraries. Some of the libraries have 250 books and I sarcastically think to myself 'how sweet,' before I realize that it is actually pretty sweet. Other libraries on display have 2,000 books. One of the pictures displays a bookcase that has room for knickknacks that I find myself secretly envying. Other pictures show bookcases like mine that are chock-a-block full of books. 

You shouldn't really stack books unless you
regularly rotate them.
At the end of the article is the 'More like this' section listing the headline: "How to Care for Your Home Library." I click on it because, of course, I want to know if I am doing it right. 

I am not. According to the article, I should first declutter my bookshelves, then I should order my books in either rainbow colors or by theme. For my larger books, it says, I should support them properly and it shows a beautifully staged picture of horizontally stacked books. And I begin to suspect that this article is not written by a bibliophile but by a designer.

In addition to organizing my books by color or by theme, I am supposed to rotate the books to "spark new interest," or display books with their covers facing out (like a bookstore) to "increase engagement with [my] home library." In all honesty, I don't know many book lovers or book collectors that need to increase engagement with their library.

Books with fore edges facing out might
be a cool design trick, but how do you
find the book you're looking for?
Along the same lines, I do not understand why people would turn their books around so the fore edge faces out (unless it's painted) or cover their books with white or brown paper. My preference is to see my books. If you cover them or turn them around, how do you find the book you're looking for?

To be fair, there is a small section buried in the middle of the article stating that books should be kept out of direct sunlight, not packed too tightly on shelves, and that you should wash your hands before handling them (which unless your hands are just filthy doesn't really help as it's the oils in your hands, not so much the dirt, that you're wanting to protect your collection from). 

Carl Sandburg's study.
All snarky-ness aside, I love looking at other people's bookshelves to see how they value & treat their books. I love the artist's whose books are well-worn tools for insight and inspiration, and I love the avid readers whose bookshelves overflow into stacks on the floor. When we visited Carl Sandburg's house a few years ago, I fell in love with his floor to ceiling bookshelves and books covering the desks. It was absolute heaven to be standing in that space, surrounded by his inspirations. 

As I'm a bookshelf voyeur, it's only fair that I share my living room bookshelf. (I'm seriously contemplating a pull-down screen and projector so I can free up that TV space for more bookshelves).

Okay, taxes are calling. Hope you all are having a good weekend!


Monday, April 4, 2016

Looking for Some Southern Fiction?

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) released its Spring 2016 Okra Picks, a selection of 12 titles (11 of which are fiction) favored by Southern indie booksellers. This is what they're suggesting for your to-be-read pile this season:

Lies and Other Acts of Love by Kristy Woodson Harvey 

(Berkley, April 5, 2016)

Synopsis: After sixty years of marriage and five daughters, Lynn “Lovey” White knows that all of us, from time to time, need to use our little white lies. 
Her granddaughter, Annabelle, on the other hand, is as truthful as they come. She always does the right thing—that is, until she dumps her hedge fund manager fiancĂ© and marries a musician she has known for three days. After all, her grandparents, who fell in love at first sight, have shared a lifetime of happiness, even through her grandfather’s declining health.
But when Annabelle’s world starts to collapse around her, she discovers that nothing about her picture-perfect family is as it seems. And Lovey has to decide whether one more lie will make or break the ones she loves . . .

Harvey's debut, Dear Carolina, won a number of positive reviews.

Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan 

(Algonquin, April 5, 2016)

Synopsis: In his latest historical novel, bestselling author Robert Morgan brings to full and vivid life the story of Jonah Williams, who, in 1850, on his eighteenth birthday, flees the South Carolina plantation on which he was born a slave. He takes with him only a few stolen coins, a knife, and the clothes on his back--no shoes, no map, no clear idea of where to head, except north, following a star that he prays will be his guide.

Hiding during the day and running through the night, Jonah must elude the men sent to capture him and the bounty hunters out to claim the reward on his head. There is one person, however, who, once on his trail, never lets him fully out of sight: Angel, herself a slave, yet with a remarkably free spirit.

In Jonah, she sees her own way to freedom, and so sets out to follow him.

Bristling with breathtaking adventure, Chasing the North Star is deftly grounded in historical fact yet always gripping and poignant as the story follows Jonah and Angel through the close calls and narrow escapes of a fearsome world. It is a celebration of the power of the human spirit to persevere in the face of great adversity. And it is Robert Morgan at his considerable best.

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo 

(Candlewick, April 12, 2016)
Children's book, age range 9-14.

Synopsis: Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

Starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus

The Other Widow by Susan Crawford 

(Morrow, April 26, 2016)

Synopsis: The author of The Pocket Wife explores the dark side of love, marriage, and infidelity in this sizzling novel of psychological suspense.

Everybody’s luck runs out. This time it could be theirs . . .
It isn’t safe. That’s what Joe tells her when he ends their affair—moments before their car skids off an icy road in a blinding snowstorm and hits a tree. Desperate to keep her life intact—her job, her husband, and her precious daughter, Lily—Dorrie will do everything she can to protect herself, even if it means walking away from the wreckage. Dorrie has always been a good actress, pretending to be someone else: the dutiful daughter, the satisfied wife, the woman who can handle anything. Now she’s going to put on the most challenging performance of her life. But details about the accident leave her feeling uneasy and afraid. Why didn’t Joe’s airbag work? Why was his car door open before the EMTs arrived? And now suddenly someone is calling her from her dead lover’s burner phone. . . .
Joe’s death has left his wife in free fall as well. Karen knew Joe was cheating—she found some suspicious e-mails. Trying to cope with grief is devastating enough without the constant fear that has overtaken her—this feeling she can’t shake that someone is watching her. And with Joe gone and the kids grown, she’s vulnerable . . . and on her own.
Insurance investigator Maggie Devlin is suspicious of the latest claim that’s landed on her desk—a man dying on an icy road shortly after buying a lucrative life insurance policy. Maggie doesn’t believe in coincidences. The former cop knows that things—and people—are never what they seem to be.
As the fates of these three women become more tightly entwined, layers of lies and deception begin to peel away, pushing them dangerously to the edge . . . closer to each other . . . to a terrifying truth . . . to a shocking end.

Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks 

(Hub City Press, May 1, 2016)

Synopsis: It’s 1939, and the federal government has sent USDA agent Virginia Furman into the North Carolina mountains to instruct families how to modernize their homes and farms. There she meets farm wife Irenie Lambey, who is immediately drawn to the lady agent’s self-possession. Already, cracks are emerging in Irenie’s fragile marriage to Brodis, an ex-logger turned fundamentalist preacher: She has taken to night ramblings through the woods to escape her husband’s bed, storing strange keepsakes in a mountain cavern. To Brodis, there are all the signs that Irenie—tiptoeing through the dark in her billowing white nightshirt—is practicing black magic.

When Irenie slips back into bed with a kind of supernatural stealth, Brodis senses that a certain evil has entered his life, linked to the lady agent, or perhaps to other, more sinister forces.

This is Franks debut novel. It's getting some good early reviews over at Goodreads.

Redemption Road by John Hart 

(Thomas Dunne, May 3, 2016)

Synopsis: A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother.

A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting.
After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen…
This is a town on the brink. 
This is Redemption Road.
Brimming with tension, secrets, and betrayal, Redemption Road proves again that John Hart is a master of the literary thriller.

It's getting some good reviews, including a Publishers Weekly starred review.

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart

(Delacorte, May 3, 2016)
Children's book, age range 10-14.

Synopsis: Award-winning author Donna Gephart crafts a compelling dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. Their powerful story will shred your heart, then stitch it back together with kindness, humor, bravery, and love.

Starred review from Booklist.

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley 

(Dial, May 10, 2016)
Young adult, age range 14+.

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But how can she prove she deserves a spot there? 

Solomon is the answer.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa thrusts herself into his life, introducing him to her charming boyfriend Clark and confiding her fears in him. Soon, all three teens are far closer than they thought they’d be, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well.  

A hilarious and heartwarming coming-of-age perfect for readers of Matthew Quick and Rainbow Rowell, Highly Illogical Behavior showcases the different ways in which we hide ourselves from the world—and the ways in which love, tragedy, and the need for connection may be the only things to bring us back into the light.

Starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.

Last Ride to Graceland by Kim Wright 

(Gallery, May 24, 2016). Paperback.

Synopsis: Kim Wright channels the best of Jennifer Weiner and Sarah Pekkanen in this delightful novel of self-discovery on the open road as one woman sets out for Graceland hoping to answer the question: Is Elvis Presley her father?

Blues musician Cory Ainsworth is barely scraping by after her mother’s death when she discovers a priceless piece of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia hidden away in a shed out back of the family’s coastal South Carolina home: Elvis Presley’s Stutz Blackhawk, its interior a time capsule of the singer’s last day on earth.

A backup singer for the King, Cory’s mother Honey was at Graceland the day Elvis died. She quickly returned home to Beaufort and married her high school sweetheart. Yearning to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past—and possibly her own identity—Cory decides to drive the car back to Memphis and turn it over to Elvis’s estate, retracing the exact route her mother took thirty-seven years earlier. As she winds her way through the sprawling deep south with its quaint towns and long stretches of open road, the burning question in Cory’s mind—who is my father?—takes a backseat to the truth she learns about her complicated mother, the minister's daughter who spent a lifetime struggling to conceal the consequences of a single year of rebellion.

Field of Graves by J.T. Ellison

(Mira, June 14, 2016)

Synopsis: All of Nashville is on edge with a serial killer on the loose. A madman is trying to create his own end-of-days apocalypse and the cops trying to catch him are almost as damaged as the killer. Field of Graves reveals the origins of some of J.T. Ellison's most famous creations: the haunted Lieutenant Taylor Jackson; her blunt, exceptional best friend, medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens; and troubled FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin. Together, they race the clock and their own demons to find the killer before he claims yet another victim. This dark, thrilling and utterly compelling novel will have readers on the edge of their seats, and Ellison's fans will be delighted with the revelations about their favorite characters.

There's already a publishing date for the mass-market paperback on this one, so they're expecting it to be a big seller.

A Thousand Miles from Nowhere by John Gregory Brown 

(Lee Boudreaux, June 28, 2016)

Synopsis: Fleeing New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approaches, Henry Garrett is haunted by the ruins of his marriage, a squandered inheritance, and the teaching job he inexplicably quit. He pulls into a small Virginia town after three days on the road, hoping to silence the ceaseless clamor in his head. But this quest for peace and quiet as the only guest at a roadside motel is destroyed when Henry finds himself at the center of a bizarre and violent tragedy. As a result, Henry winds up stranded at the ramshackle motel just outside the small town of Marimore, and it's there that he is pulled into the lives of those around him: Latangi, the motel's recently widowed proprietor, who seems to have a plan for Henry; Marge, a local secretary who marshals the collective energy of her women's church group; and the family of an old man, a prisoner, who dies in a desperate effort to provide for his infirm wife.

For his previous novels John Gregory Brown has been lauded for his "compassionate vision of human destiny" as well as his "melodic, haunting, and rhythmic prose." With A Thousand Miles from Nowhere, he assumes his place in the tradition of such masterful storytellers as Flannery O'Connor and Walker Percy, offering to readers a tragicomic tour de force about the power of art and compassion and one man's search for faith, love, and redemption.

This is getting some good early buzz, although no starred reviews (as of this writing).

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