Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 9, 2017


Penguin Books: The Dying Game by Asa Avdic

Sourcebooks Fire: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Tarcherperigee: Men & Dogs by Alice Chaygneaud-Dupuy and Marie-Eva Chopin / Rescued by Peter Zheutlin

Random House: An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice by Khizr Khan

Chicago Review Press: The Sunken Gold: A Story of World War I Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History by Joseph A. Williams

Park Row Books: Hanna Who Fell from the Sky by Christopher Meades

News

#HarperCollinsLovesIndies Goes Facebook Live

Book Studio 16 at Book Culture, New York City

Expanding on its daily author programing on its Facebook Book Studio 16 page, this year HarperCollins plans to offer programming every Saturday focusing on independent bookstores. With the hashtag #HarperCollinsLovesIndies, the publisher will work with booksellers "to devise unique content for their local customers, as well as book lovers the world over." The Facebook Live segments will run 15 to 45 minutes each, and feature bookstore owners and employees highlighting the qualities of their shops, sharing book recommendations and introducing themselves to a larger audience. Already Book Studio 16 has shared segments on some indies; last Saturday's focused on the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah.

"America is full of fabulous bookstores, from DDG Booksellers in Farmington, Me., to Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif., and everywhere in between," said Lisa Sharkey, senior v-p and director of creative development at HarperCollins. "This is a great way for us to highlight our independent colleagues near and far."

Mary Beth Thomas, v-p, deputy director of sales at HarperCollins, added: "Independent bookstores are an important partner for publishers, and play a significant role in their communities. This program is a great way for them to share what makes their store unique."

Bookstores interested in participating should write to MaryBeth.Thomas@harpercollins.com.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones


Fred Ramey Launches Leaping Man

Long-time editor and publisher Frederick Ramey has launched Leaping Man, a collaborative not-for-profit publishing and production company "exploring the intersection of visual, narrative and performing arts." Ramey will serve as the executive director and will answer to a board of creative people recruited from a number of fields.

"Those who know me well have heard my thinking about this for quite a few years," Ramey said. "With the passing of John Berger, who has long been an inspiration for me, I wanted to bring things together for the cross-genre and cross-media endeavor we've dreamt about for so long. Berger taught us about the responsibility to look for correspondences and to ask essential questions. We mean Leaping Man to be a vehicle for doing that."

Ramey is one of two owner-publishers of Unbridled Books and a member of the board of Denver's Colophon Literary Center. Previously he was a founding editor of the BlueHen imprint at Putnam and through the 1990s was publisher and executive editor of MacMurray & Beck.

According to Ramey, Leaping Man "aspires to increase and intensify exchanges among the arts--regardless of medium or forum--and so we will seek out direct partnerships with visual, literary and performance artists to create work in a variety of media and platforms. We expect that each project will be coordinated with a limited print edition or other artifact, but the parameters for LM's undertakings will be as open as possible."


KidsBuzz for the Week of 06.26.17


Obituary Note: Norah McClintock

Canadian YA mystery author Norah McClintock, who wrote "more than 60 books for young readers over a career spanning more than 25 years, including several well-received mystery series," has died, Quillblog reported. She was 59. Her series include Robyn Hunter Mysteries, Chloe and Levesque Mysteries, Mike and Riel Mysteries and Ryan Dooley Mysteries. She was the only female writer to contribute to Orca's popular Seven Series and Seven Sequels, and joined six other female authors for Orca's Secrets series. McClintock was a five-time winner of the Writers Trust of Canada's Arthur Ellis Award.

"She was one of the finest writers of books for young adults in this country and was a consummate professional," Orca publisher Andrew Wooldrige said. "I have worked with Norah for years on a number of books and knew that we would publish anything Norah wrote. She was that good. I am so glad we were able to publish so many of her titles. We will miss her a lot--she was one of the good ones."


Geek & Sundry: The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein


'Books for Our Times'--and Other Book-Related #Resistance

Chalkboard at Penn Book Center, Philadelphia

Moved by a groundswell of concern about Trump administration policies, many bookstores and publishers are reacting with recommended reading lists, special displays, new titles and more.

This past Friday, Greenlight Bookstore, with two locations in Brooklyn, N.Y., sent an e-mail to customers highlighting a list of "Books for Our Times," 23 titles that "can provide historical and contemporary context, suggest actions and strategies, and offer hope." The books range from 1984 by George Orwell to an introduction to the Koran, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer, What We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump's America, Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's autobiography.

As the store noted, in part, "The world is more complex than ever, and things are happening and changing so fast. As we work with our publisher partners and learn from you, our customers, we're able to highlight some of the books that are vital right now."

In addition, Greenlight noted that it "offers not only access to ideas, but a safe and welcoming space for discussion and connection. This means that we don't endorse political parties or candidates, but also that we practice a politics of inclusion, offering room for voices that are often unheard, and supporting resistance of bigotry, oppression, and other threats to our shared humanity.

"Whether they are access to information or escape from the world, books play a vital role in our lives and we thank you for letting us be a part of it. These books are only a beginning, and we hope you'll come in to the store and talk to us about where to go from here."

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In a similar vein, in the wake of the election, City Lights bookstore, San Francisco, Calif.,  created a new section in the store called "Pedagogies of Resistance," with an "evolving" list of more than 100 titles designed to be "an educational course in revolutionary competence." See the full list here.

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Some booksellers have had fun with displays of current events books. The Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., put a sign reading "Commemorating the Victims of the Bowling Green Massacre" in a section of books that include Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter, It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis and The Plot Against America by Philip Roth.

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Grass Roots Books & Music, Corvallis, Ore., is working with a customer, Seema Bharwani, who has solicited donations from friends to purchase picture books featuring Muslim and/or Middle Eastern characters and culture to donate to local kindergarten-through-second-grade classrooms so that local children from Muslim and/or Arabic-speaking families can see themselves reflected in the books they read at school.

Some of the titles on Grass Roots' list.

Tiffany Harlan, manager/co-book buyer, wrote that she considers "the project as an essential way for all children in our community to learn about Muslim and/or Arabic-speaking cultures and people (including their classmates), appreciate diversity, and develop empathy for others. Beyond wanting to donate the books to local classrooms, Ms. Bharwani also wanted to buy local, rather than order from Amazon."

Harlan noted that the store and Bharwani are ordering multiple copies of seven titles, and the store is "extending more than our usual educator discount to stretch her dollars and provide more books."

Harlan added that she and Bharwani were already working on the project when President Trump issued his executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. "Suddenly, an important project became an imperative one!" she commented. "One that we feel could be replicated in communities around Oregon, the Pacific Northwest, and hopefully the whole country."

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Window display at the Booksmith, San Francisco

Last week, a "mystery benefactor" began an unusual phenomenon of buying many copies of a book to be given out free by bookstores. It started at Point Reyes Books in Point Reyes Station, Calif., then spread to the Booksmith and Green Apple Books, San Francisco, and Diesel in Oakland, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

At the Booksmith, the benefactor bought 50 copies of 1984 by George Orwell, a bestseller again in recent weeks. The store's sign read "Read up! Fight back! A mystery benefactor has bought these copies of 1984 for you if you need one." The books were gone within a few hours.

Several other anonymous benefactors made similar gestures, buying copies of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson to be distributed for free in the store. At the other stores, another title given away was The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin.

Booksmith co-owner Christin Evans told the San Francisco Chronicle that the book donations were a "fruitful, constructive form of resistance," adding, "This has become a way for bookstores to play a role in this political climate. Bookstores believe greatly in the power of the written word to help inform, educate, inspire, and persuade."

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A campaign launched by a Facebook group called Leaders Are Readers aims to "bury the White House in books on Valentine's Day!" As the Huffington Post put it, the idea is to protest "by sending the president mountains of his least favorite form of entertainment."

The group is asking participants to "buy a book you think President Trump should read at your local indie bookstore or favorite book purveyor"; inside the book write a note "either explaining why you chose the book, and/or promoting an issue you care about"; and send the book on Valentine's Day, so that the books arrive "roughly at once en masse." The group also recommends sending books separately to add to the pile. "Extra credit: for each book you send the White House, buy an extra one to donate to a worthy cause, like a local school or library."

Besides protesting, the effort aims to "share our love of literature and hopes for a better world" and "support local bookstores and the publishing industry."

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Two publishers are coming out with books about the January 21 Women's March, which drew an estimated five million people around the world.

On February 21, Abrams Image is publishing Why I March: Images from the Women's March Around the World, featuring 350 photographs from marches on all seven continents, many of which were provided by Getty Images, a partner in the project, as well as a resources guide for activists who want to keep the momentum going. Abrams, which will donate all royalties to nonprofits affiliated with the march, said it's publishing the book "to honor the movement, give back to it, and promote future activism in the same vein."

On March 7, Workman's Artisan division will publish Why We March: Signs of Protest and Hope: Voices from the Women's March, which highlights 500 of "the most powerful, uplifting, clever, and creative signs from these marches." Among the signs: "Make America Think Again," "Build Bridges, Not Walls," "Girls Just Wanna Have Fundamental Rights," "Love Trumps Hate" and "A Woman's Place Is in the Resistance." The book aims to be "a source of hope for women from all walks of life and a meaningful gift for Mother's Day and graduation." Artisan will donate all royalties to Planned Parenthood.

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For its part, Prometheus Books has noted that it has long specialized in books on "critical thinking, advancing the practical application of science, reason, and logic" since its founding in 1969. "As a public service," Prometheus has put together a list of 31 books that encourage "critical thinking, science literacy, and other subjects that are vital resources in Trump's America." It added, "One of the most troubling aspects of Donald Trump's White House is the assault on fact-based knowledge... This reluctance to acknowledge facts as distinct from opinion, assumption, or disputable information is unprecedented--and dangerous to an informed democracy. Now more than ever, people must be wary of fake news, misinformation, and so-called 'alternative facts.' The need for clear and critical thinking skills has never been more vital." The No. 1 title on the list: Think: Why You Should Question Everything by Guy P. Harrison.


Counterpoint: Gangster Nation by Tod Goldberg


Notes

Image of the Day: Amberlough at Astoria

Astoria Bookshop, Queens, N.Y., hosted a launch party for Lara Elena Donnelly's debut spy thriller, Amberlough (Tor). Many of her fans dressed to the nines to match the book's Jazz Age setting. Donnelly is in the middle in the red jacket, her editor Diana Pho is in the red feather boa and white dress, and agent Connor Goldsmith is in the back, wearing a hat. (photo: Desirae Friesen)


Happy Birthday, the Bookworm of Edwards!

Congratulations to the Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, Colo., which will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. The Vail Daily noted that "many things have changed in those 20 years, yet the core mission of the Bookworm has always stayed the same: to be a passionate, community-minded bookstore and cafe providing a unique shopping experience, atmosphere and event programming for locals and visitors to the Vail Valley."

Kathy Westover founded the Bookworm in 1996 with a van that traveled between coffee shops selling new books. She soon partnered with Neda Jansen to open a bricks-and-mortar location in 1997. In 2002, Nicole Magistro became a part-time employee, and by 2005 she had bought Westover's share of the business and became co-owner.

"After 10 years as a tiny bookstore, we felt that we needed to be at top of mind to our customers," Magistro recalled. "They needed good reason to visit us weekly--or even daily--rather than monthly.... It was 2007, and we'd been in business 10 years, but Amazon seemed to be solving the world's problems, and we saw a lot of colleagues closing up shop. I was in my 20s then and knew that it was critical not just to stay relevant, but to become indispensable to our community before it was too late."

Magistro then partnered with Eat! Drink! manager Kristi Allio, who bought Jansen's share of the Bookworm and construction began on a café, which has since expanded and, more recently, been remodeled.

"All of the owners of the store over the years--Kathy Westover, Neda Jansen, Kristi Feichtinger and myself--we all worked like dogs," Magistro said. "Failure just wasn't an option.... Today, I can say that my staff firmly believes in the power to build something great. They are the glue that keeps it all together. Each person who works at The Bookworm wants to be part of something special. This year will be a celebration of where we've come from and where we're going."


Cool Idea of the Day: Paul Auster's 70th Birthday Celebration

Paul Auster

Paul Auster is celebrating his 70th birthday on Tuesday, February 21, at the Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Fla., in an event called Music, Magic & the Muse: An Evening with Paul Auster: Family & Friends, which is being sponsored by the Center and Books & Books, which has a branch, the Cafe at Books & Books, at the Center. Highlights of the evening include a musical performance by Auster's daughter, singer-songwriter Sophie Auster, and an appearance by magician David Blaine, who will give a performance created in Auster's honor. Tickets are $40 and include a signed copy of Auster's new novel, 4 3 2 1 (Holt).

"For as long as I can remember being a bookseller, I've read and re-read the work of Paul Auster," said Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books and producer of the event. "Paul will turn 70 this year and his oeuvre should be celebrated. This production is simple, whimsical, it explores some of the themes in Paul's writing, coincidence, random happenings--it is a random happening, born of chance and the desire to put Paul on a stage for an evening's encounter with music, magic and the muse."

According to the New York Times, Auster and Blaine have been friends "since the 1994 publication of Mr. Auster's novel Mr. Vertigo, which was set in the 1920s vaudeville era and inspired a then-unknown Mr. Blaine to seek him out." When Kaplan suggested a 4 3 2 1 reading could be expanded into a larger event, "I gave Mitchell two names," Auster said.


Doylestown Bookshop: 'Definitely My Dream Come True'

Glenda Childs, owner of the Doylestown Bookshop in Doylestown, Pa., was interviewed recently by realtor Cheryl Anton for the city's Parkbench blog. Among our favorite exchanges:

What was it like when you first started [in 2012]?
Overwhelming! There was so much to learn, but I was really lucky. We have a staff of 17-20 and they all stayed. They trained and taught me the business, since I hadn't worked in a bookstore before. It's been amazing and it's definitely my dream come true.

What would your customers say they love most about your business?
Our staff!!! That's what I hear all the time. I get compliments about the kindness and helpfulness of our staff all the time. I hope our customers would also say they love the experience of walking around in the bookstore, the beautiful displays, the large selection of books, and the great gifts and cards.

What do you love about this neighborhood?
It's a perfect place for a bookstore and for us too, and that's why I chose it. It actually is grounded in research at the bookseller's training, for a bookstore to do well in a community, it needs to be on a main street of a walking community, a community with culture (like our museums), a community that has a university in it, a community that values reading and Doylestown has every single one of those things. I also love the small town feel and the caring community of people here. This is a community that supports its local businesses, including the bookshop. It's the community that makes all this possible.



Media and Movies

TV: The Expatriates

Nicole Kidman and her Blossom Films (Big Little Lies) have optioned and will adapt Janice Y.K. Lee's novel The Expatriates as a television series, with Kidman potentially starring in the project, Deadline reported. Screenwriter Alice Bell (Suburban Mayhem) is writing the adaptation. Kidman and Blossom partner Per Saari are executive producing alongside POW! Productions' Theresa Park. Lee is a consulting producer.


This Weekend on Book TV: Bernard-Henri Lévy on The Genius of Judaism

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, February 11
3:30 p.m. Larrie D. Ferreiro, author of Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It (Knopf, $30, 9781101875247). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

7 p.m. Bernard-Henri Lévy, author of The Genius of Judaism (Random House, $28, 9780812992724). (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m. and Monday at 6:30 a.m.)

8:30 p.m. Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg, authors of What Washington Gets Wrong: The Unelected Officials Who Actually Run the Government and Their Misconceptions about the American People (Prometheus Books, $25, 9781633882492). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 a.m. and Monday at 5 a.m.)

10 p.m. Melissa Fleming, author of A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee's Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival (Flatiron, $25.99, 9781250105998). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Dean Baker, author of Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer (Center for Economic and Policy Research, $9.99, 9780692793367), at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C.

Saturday, February 12
1:15 a.m. April Ryan, author of At Mama's Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White (Rowman & Littlefield, $24.95, 9781442265639), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

6:45 a.m. Daina Ramey Berry, author of The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation (Beacon Press, $27.95, 9780807047620), at BookPeople in Austin, Texas. (Re-airs Sunday at 7:45 p.m.)

6:30 p.m. Stephen Kinzer, author of The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire (Holt, $28, 9781627792165).


Books & Authors

Awards: Audie Finalists; Waterstones Children's Book Shortlist

The Audio Publishers Association has selected finalists in 26 categories for the Audie Awards. Winners in all categories will be announced June 1 at the Audies Gala at the French Institute Alliance Française in New York City during BookExpo. See the complete list of nominees here.

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An 18-title shortlist in three categories (illustrated books, younger fiction and older fiction) has been announced for Waterstones Children's Book Prize, which, "in a year that has so far been overshadowed by sometimes troubling global events... is particularly abundant in struggle and hope." Category winners receive £2,000 (about $2,495) and then vie for the title of £3,000 (about $3,745) Waterstones Children's Book of the Year, which will be announced March 30 in London at Waterstones Piccadilly.

Children's book buyer Florentyna Martin said that while "reading has always encouraged an element of escapism, this year's shortlists provide a guiding light of optimism in the face of uncertain times... we're delighted to celebrate these inspiring books."

James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, said: "'These are wonderful books of great power and imagination. They show children's publishing to be as inventive and inspiring as ever, and to have a pointed relevance that seems never more important in the shaping of ideas and attitudes."


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, February 14:

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders (Random House, $28, 9780812995343), Saunders's first novel, follows Abraham Lincoln after the death of his young son.

Heartbreak Hotel: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine, $28.99, 9780345541437) is the 32nd thriller with child psychologist Alex Delaware.

On Turpentine Lane: A Novel by Elinor Lipman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780544808249) is a romantic comedy about a 32-year-old woman who moves back to her hometown.

Be My Wolff: A Novel by Emma Richler (Knopf, $27.95, 9781101946527) is a genre-bending tale of two adopted siblings-turned-lovers.

The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions ... and Created Plenty of Controversy by Leigh Gallagher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544952669) is a behind-the-scenes look at the rise of the home-rental network.

My Life as Eva: The Struggle Is Real by Eva Gutowski (Gallery, $22.99, 9781501146664) is the memoir of a YouTube personality.

Dance by Matthew Van Fleet (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, $19.99, 9781481487078) is an interactive board book by the creator of Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings in which a baby chick learns how to dance.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780062473042) is a YA coming-of-age novel by a debut author who draws on her own experience as a Haitian immigrant to America.

Movie:
In Dubious Battle, based on the novel by John Steinbeck, opens February 17. James Franco directs and stars in this story of labor unrest in 1930s California.


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
The Futures: A Novel by Anna Pitoniak (Lee Boudreaux Books, $26, 9780316354172). "Julie and Evan, a young couple just out of college, move to New York looking for success and for a place to establish themselves. Their relationship is rocked in the crucible of the big city in a time of financial crisis. I guess one can call it a coming-of-age novel for uncertain times, but it's one that feels honest and even cathartic because it doesn't flinch at the complicated and messy ways we relate to each other, especially to those we love. Pitoniak is an astute, unflinching, and sensitive observer of both the tender and terrible dynamics of young love, and she has given us a novel about coming of age in New York and in the 21st century that manages to feel both intimate and familiar. The Futures is a terrific debut from a talented author!" --Dale Zapata, The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, Calif.

Hardcover
The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel by Katherine Arden (Del Rey, $27, 9781101885932). "The Bear and the Nightingale is an enchanting mix of fairy tale, fantasy, and historical fiction set in medieval Russia. Nestled between the northern wilderness and civilization is a village where old and new traditions live side by side. Vasya, the last daughter of Pyotr and Marina, is born on the howling winds of autumn. Different from the others in her village, she is destined to be like her grandmother and is gifted with powers by birthright. As time goes by, Vasya is tested. Caught in the conflict between the old spirits and the new religion, Vasya must do everything in her power to save her family and village. Arden's novel is the rich, mesmerizing fairy tale you've been waiting for!" --Jennifer Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.

Paperback
Two Days Gone: A Novel by Randall Silvis (Sourcebooks Landmark, $15.99, 9781492639732). "This is the perfect dead-of-winter read! Ryan DeMarco is shocked to learn that his friend Thomas Huston, an internationally bestselling author, has disappeared into the woods, leaving his slaughtered family behind in their once-serene home. How could a man who has it all--perfect career, perfect wife, perfect kids--become such a monster? This is the question DeMarco sets out to answer, all while on a wild chase to track down Huston before he freezes to death in the harsh northern Pennsylvania winter." --Maggie Henriksen, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, Mich.

For Ages 4 to 8
XO, OX: A Love Story by Adam Rex, illustrated by Scott Campbell (Roaring Brook Press, $17.99, 9781626722880). "A clumsy, hapless, love-struck ox. A famous, graceful, and fabulously vain gazelle. You wouldn't think that love letters from one to the other would make for a hilarious and sweet picture book, but they do. Romance will never be the same!" --Melissa Fox, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, Kan.

For Ages 9 to 12: An Indies Introduce Title
The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish (HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780062433381). "The Ethan I Was Before is quietly engaging, heartfelt, and authentic. Sometimes the most meaningful books are not the ones that hit you over the head with issues and drama, but the ones that slowly unfold to tell you a personal story. Standish does just that, through a unique setting and well-drawn cast of supporting characters." --Johanna Albrecht, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.

For Teen Readers
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (Katherine Tegen, $17.99, 9780062422644). "Nine-year old Mary B. Addison is allegedly guilty of murdering a three-month-old child who was left under her mother's care. At the age of 16, when Mary is faced with a life-changing event, she feels that she must tell the truth about that terrible night. Desperate to do right for herself, Mary begins to talk about the relationships that hurt her and the reason she didn't speak up for herself at the time. As secrets are revealed, readers begin to see the real Mary... but who is she? A highly addictive book that held me captive until the very end." --Teresa Steele, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, Colo.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: The Song Rising

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon (Bloomsbury USA, $26 hardcover, 384p., 9781632866240, March 7, 2017)

In the third installment in Samantha Shannon's projected seven-book Bone Season series, the motley crew of clairvoyants are surrounded by adversaries. The government is determined to hunt them down using a dangerous new technology while panic leads to vicious infighting.

In the near-future realm of Scion (an alternate universe version of England and eight other European nations), the ScionIDE military is poised to seek out and quarantine the so-called "unnaturals," people with psychic gifts. Though a prejudicial human bureaucracy fronts Scion, the strings are pulled by ethereal entities called the Rephaim, who exploit the clairvoyant captives as an expendable force against their enemies. Following the events of The Mime Order, 19-year-old dreamwalker and seventh-level clairvoyant Paige Mahoney now rules the London voyant underground as Underqueen and co-leads the Mime Order (an alliance between rebel Rephaim and voyants aiming to overthrow Scion).

Paige inherits her mantle at a moment of crisis, as ScionIDE hones its technology to unprecedented efficacy, building concealed Senshield voyant sensors into ATMs and phone boxes. After falling into a trap that forces her cohort literally to go underground, Paige's subjects lose faith in her leadership and fight among themselves. Rumors then reach her of a coming portable Senshield scanner, and the possibility of destroying its power source for good. Paige must gather her closest confederates and strike out from London, potentially alienating her people and allies in the process. Aiding in the mission are longtime friend Nick, Mime Order commanders Ognena Maria and Tom the Rhymer, and the gorgeous Rephaim Warden Arcturus Mesarthim, whose relationship with Paige remains in flux while she questions his allegiance.

Series newbies would do well to begin with The Bone Season, though the author's blog contains detailed recaps. Shannon expands the world of Scion effectively, showing the tyrannical atrocities the Rephaim's rule has inflicted outside London, including labor camps and mass murders. Paige shines as she finally gets the chance to take the fight to Scion, but also realizes that straightforward revolutions where "the world stands with you in your fight... [exist] only in daydreams." High-stakes play often ends catastrophically. The many-armed Scion monster receives further detail, growing into a fully formed evil empire with hints of conquests soon to be attempted. Shannon's hybridized world combines sci-fi and fantasy as the perfect backdrop for a human rights thriller. While many issues remain unresolved, including romantic subplots, readers who sign on for the series will appreciate the amount of meat on the bone for future adventures. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: In the third outing in the seven-book Bone Season series, clairvoyant Paige Mahoney is faced with hard choices and dangerous missions as the Underqueen of London.


Disney-Hyperion: Serafina and the Splintered Heart (Serafina # 3) by Robert Beatty
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