Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: A Short Walk Through a Wide World by Douglas Westerbeke

From My Shelf

Whistling in the (Gathering) Dark

Simon Fitzmaurice

"I was once invisible," Simon Fitzmaurice writes in the first pages of his memoir, It's Not Yet Dark. "I moved among you, invisible in my disguise. Now I am difference made manifest. I cannot hide."

Fitzmaurice, an Irish filmmaker, was diagnosed with ALS just as his career was taking off. Married with two small boys and possessed of a fierce love for life and a keen eye to observing it, he was (and is) determined to fight the encroachment of the disease. Written with the help of an eye-gaze computer, Fitzmaurice's slim memoir is the story not only of his struggle with ALS, but of the life he has built and loved.

In brief, often luminous vignettes, Fitzmaurice tells pieces of his story: his education as a filmmaker; how he met and fell in love with his wife, Ruth; the odd pins-and-needles feeling that presaged his diagnosis; and the many agonizing ups and downs since then. He muses on the strange elasticity of time: "We live in fits and starts and jumps, like dreams. And the lives we inhabit are measured in moments, irrespective of time."

As Fitzmaurice and his family grapple with his disease--and with other changes, including the births of three more children--he becomes determined to capture every moment, every memory. While ALS comes to infuse his life, he refuses to let it dominate entirely. "I'm still alive," he says. "I can let this life crush me.... Or I can bear the weight. And live."

Fitzmaurice has chosen to live: to bear witness to his experience, and to keep making films that show the full range of human experience: "the sadness, loss and love that is this life." Brave and honest, his memoir provides a fierce, sparkling constellation of small lights that gleam against the gathering dark. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Sleeping Bear Press: When You Go Into Nature by Sheri M Bestor, Illustrated by Sydney Hanson

Book Candy

Sidekicks Who're More Popular than the Main Character

Quirk Books shined a light on "sidekicks people like better than the main character." 


"He wanted his ashes to be sent to Mars in a soup can." Mental Floss shared "10 things you should know about Ray Bradbury."


" 'I read my boyfriend Pride and Prejudice as a bedtime story': meet the Jane Austen superfans," the Guardian wrote.


Flavorwire invited fans to watch John Hodgman, author most recently of Vacationland, "explain his key to creative success."


Buzzfeed found "21 parents who pulled off the best Book Week costumes."

Great Reads

Rediscover: Isaac's Storm

On September 8, 1900, a Category 4 hurricane made landfall in Galveston, Texas. The city, on an island just eight feet above sea level, was hit by a 15-foot storm surge. Some 3,600 homes were destroyed and 6,000 to 12,000 lives were lost, making it the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Galveston never fully recovered. Even though the island was raised by 17 feet and a 10-mile-long seawall was constructed, the hurricane caused wary investors to shift their assets to nearby Houston, making it the dominant Texas port city.

The lack of swift communication and reliable remote observation made turn-of-the-century meteorology uncertain at best. Despite reports from Cuba that a severe storm was heading toward Texas, the U.S. Weather Bureau predicted it would impact Florida. The residents of Galveston were generally unconcerned until the night of September 7, when Isaac Cline, the chief meteorologist in the city's Weather Bureau office, unilaterally (and against protocol) issued a hurricane warning--too late for anyone to evacuate. Cline's pregnant wife drowned when their house was destroyed by the storm surge.

Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson (1999) chronicles the circumstances of Galveston's rise to prominence, its destruction and the aftermath, with Isaac Cline in the eye of the storm--including the meteorologist's infamous 1891 article in the Galveston Daily News, in which Cline claimed a significant hurricane strike on Galveston was a "crazy idea." Thanks in part to Cline's professional recommendation, the city decided not to build a seawall at the time. --Tobias Mutter

Excerpt: Tessa Dare's The Duchess Deal: Girl Meets Duke

New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare returns with The Duchess Deal: Girl Meets Duke, out now from Avon. The Regency historical romance is the first in a planned series and follows the adventures of a lowly seamstress and handsome but difficult duke who finds himself in need of a wife. 

Emma Gladstone had learned a few hard lessons by the age of two-and-twenty.

Charming princes weren't always what they seemed. Shining armor went out of fashion with the Crusades. And if fairy godmothers existed, hers was running several years late.

Most of the time, a girl needed to rescue herself.

This afternoon was one of those times.

Ashbury House loomed before her, taking up one full side of the fashionable Mayfair Square. Elegant. Enormous.


She swallowed hard. She could do this. Once, she'd walked to London alone in the bitter heart of winter. She'd refused to succumb to despair or starvation. She'd found work and made a new life for herself in Town. Now, six years later, she'd swallow every needle in Madame Bissette's dressmaking shop before she'd go crawling back to her father.

Compared to all that, what was knocking on the door of a duke?

Why, nothing. Nothing at all. All she had to do was square her shoulders, charge through the wrought-iron gates, march up those granite steps--really, there were only a hundred or so--and ring the bell on that immense, richly carved door.

Good afternoon, I'm Miss Emma Gladstone. I'm here to see the mysterious, , reclusive Duke of Ashbury. No, we aren't acquainted. No, I don't have a calling card. I don't have anything, really. I may not even have a home tomorrow if you don’t let me in.

Oh, good heavens. This would never work.

With a whimper, she turned away from the gate and circled the square for the tenth time, shaking out her bare arms under her cloak.

She had to try.

Emma stopped her pacing, faced the gate, and drew a deep breath. She closed her ears to the frantic pounding of her heart.

The hour was growing late. No one was coming to her aid. There could be no further hesitation, no turning back.

Ready. Steady.


From his library desk, Ashbury heard an unfamiliar ringing sound. Could it be a doorbell?

There it came again.

It was a doorbell.

Worse, it was his doorbell.

Damned gossips. He hadn't even been in Town but a few weeks. He'd forgotten how London rumors traveled faster than bullets. He didn't have the time or patience for busybodies. Whoever it was, Khan would send them away.

He dipped his quill and continued the letter to his feckless solicitors.

I don't know what the devil you've been doing for the past year, but the state of my affairs is deplorable. Sack the Yorkshire land steward directly. Tell the architect I wish to see the plans for the new mill, and I wish to see them yesterday. And there's one other thing that requires immediate attention.

Ash hesitated, quill poised in midair. He couldn't believe he was actually going to commit the words to paper. But much as he dreaded it, must be done. He wrote:

I need a wife.

He supposed he ought to state his requirements: a woman of childbearing age and respectable lineage, in urgent need of money, willing to share a bed with a scarred horror of a man.

In short, someone desperate.

God, how depressing. Better to leave it at that one line.

I need a wife.

Khan appeared in the doorway. "Your Grace, I regret the interruption, but there's a young woman to see you. She's wearing a wedding gown."

Ash looked at the butler. He looked down at the words he'd just written. Then he looked at the butler again.

"Well, that’s uncanny." Perhaps his solicitors weren't as useless as he thought. He dropped his pen and propped one boot on the desk, reclining into the shadows. "By all means, show her in."

A young woman in white strode into the room.

His boot slipped from the desk. He reeled backward and collided with the wall, nearly falling off his chair. A folio of papers tumbled from a nearby shelf, drifting to the floor like snowflakes.

He was blinded.

Not by her beauty--though he supposed she might be beautiful. It wasn't possible to judge. Her gown was an eye-stabbing monstrosity of pearls, lace, brilliants, and beads.

Good Lord. He wasn't accustomed to being in the same room with something even more repulsive than his own appearance.

He propped his right elbow on the arm of his chair and raised his fingertips to his brow, concealing the scars on his face. For once, he wasn't protecting a servant's sensibilities or even his own pride. He was shielding himself from…from that.

"I'm sorry to impose on you this way, Your Grace," the young woman said, keeping her gaze fixed on some chevron of the Persian carpet.

"I should hope you are."

"But you see, I am quite desperate."

"So I gather."

"I need to be paid for my labor, and I need to be paid at once."

Ash paused. "Your... your labor."

"I'm a seamstress. I stitched this"--she swept her hands down the silk eyesore--"for Miss Worthing."

For Miss Worthing.

Ah, this began to make sense. The white satin atrocity had been meant for Ash's formerly intended bride. That, he could believe. Annabelle Worthing had always had dreadful taste--both in gowns and in prospective husbands.

"When your engagement ended, she never sent for the gown. She'd purchased the silk and lace and such, but she never paid for the labor. And that meant I went unpaid. I tried calling at her home, with no success. My letters to you both went unanswered. I thought that if I appeared like this"--she spread the skirts of the white gown--"I would be impossible to ignore."

"You were correct on that score." Even the good side of his face twisted. "Good Lord, it's as though a draper's shop exploded and you were the first casualty."

Book Review


Impossible Views of the World

by Lucy Ives

Poet Lucy Ives's novel Impossible Views of the World is a savvy, snarky, self-deprecating week in the life of her young Ph.D. narrator Stella Krakus. An assistant curator at a New York City museum with a notable collection of 19th-century American decorative arts, she is in the late stages of an unpleasant divorce and negotiating an on-again, off-again affair with a colleague. When another curator disappears in the midst of setting up a financially critical exhibit sponsored by a global water conglomerate, Stella's life takes a turn. Asked to pick up the work by her distracted boss, Stella discovers in the curator's desk a cryptic photocopy of an exquisitely detailed map depicting the mysterious township of Elysia. Ives smoothly sidesteps from a story of an over-educated, looking-for-love millennial "reared in the neurotic northern reaches of Manhattan's Upper East Side" to an art history detective mystery. Stella may be an ambivalent romantic partner, but she's a dogged researcher when it comes to deciphering a conundrum.

The charm and energy of Impossible Views of the World rest in Ives's uncanny eye for the subtle tells of romance, the idiosyncrasies of the NYC young, and the details of 19th-century furniture and art. A clever curatorial mystery, a love-gone-wrong rom-com or a sharp-witted story of a young New York woman, Impossible Views of the World is way more fun than a rainy afternoon in the American Objects wing of a cavernous museum. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Discover: Impossible Views of the World is a diverting dip into 19th-century American art and tangled love at a New York City museum.

Penguin Press, $25, hardcover, 304p., 9780735221536

The Hideout

by Egon Hostovský, trans. by Fern Long

This new edition of Egon Hostovský's The Hideout, translated by Fern Long, rediscovers the depth and humanity of a great Czech writer.

First published in 1945, The Hideout belongs in the canon of classic 20th-century literature. Hostovský (The Arsonist) was born to a large Jewish family in Czechoslovakia and had to flee both Nazis and Communists. His work helped shape Central European literature. The Hideout is a short epistolatory novel in which a Czech engineer who's fled to France at the outbreak of World War II writes to his estranged wife in his last days. Hiding from German occupiers in his friend's dark cellar, the engineer suffers bouts of madness and nostalgia, trying to make sense of life and death. He composes the letter as he prepares for a suicide mission with the French Resistance.

The Hideout is an important work of existentialism that recalls Albert Camus's The Stranger and Jean-Paul Sartre's Nausea in terms of probing the reality of self-knowledge and the nature of good and evil. Though dark, the novel has a poetry all its own. It contains awe-inspiring passages and a wondrous mysticism. Before the Nazi invasion, the engineer writes of the "invincible merriment" and "bleating voluptuousness" of Parisian life. Even later in his abysmal hiding place, his mind hearkens back to his childhood and "all the roads which lead to the springs of life," where "God still lives and from its wells you can draw living water."

The Hideout is not without horrifying moments of violence, but it offers a glimpse of transcendence while shaking one to the core. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset

Discover: This English translation of Egon Hostovský's Czech masterpiece creates an unforgettable account of a war refugee in his darkest hour.

Pushkin Press, $18, paperback, 128p., 9781782272403

Class Mom

by Laurie Gelman

Class Mom is part satire, part coming-of-middle-age comedy. This witty first novel from Laurie Gelman follows the seething drama behind the playdate-scheduling, brownie-baking kindergarten moms of William H. Taft Elementary School.

Kansas City, Kan., mom Jen Dixon is a kindergarten veteran. She raised two daughters--souvenirs of her days as a young INXS groupie--by herself, and is now on round three with Max, her five-year-old son with husband Ron. When her best friend and PTA president Nina volunteers Jen as class mom, she decides to do the thankless job her own way, namely with plenty of tongue-in-cheek e-mails in which she sarcastically solicits bribes and threatens slackers. In return, she puts up with a helicopter food-allergy mom, autoreplies from a mother no one has ever seen, a sexpot kindergarten teacher who refuses to deal with parents at all, and various slings and arrows from cool moms, snob moms and Asami, who doesn't think Jen or her jokes fit the parameters of her position. On the side, Jen counsels her college-age daughters through dating drama, while wading too deep into a flirtation with old high school crush Don "Suchafox" Burgess.

Jen's first-person narration is sassy yet vulnerable as she faces motherhood with panache and her midlife crisis with uncertainty. Her e-mails to the other parents will elicit cackles of glee. Class Mom provides mom-raderie to those who still feel 20 but aren't. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Discover: The middle-aged mother of a kindergartner, Jen approaches her duty as class mom for a neurotic group of parents with humor and style.

Holt, $26, hardcover, 304p., 9781250124692

Cicada Summer

by Maureen Leurck

As summer approaches in Geneva Lake, Wis., home renovation expert Alex Proctor takes on her biggest project yet: a beautiful, dilapidated historic house with a million problems (and counting). Buying the house at auction nearly wiped out her savings, but she's determined to restore it to its original glory, especially after befriending Elsie, the elderly widow who lives next door. Alex has her work cut out for her: the house is full of expensive problems to fix, and she's still trying to move on after her divorce while caring for her young daughter, Abby. As Alex digs deeper into the house's history, peeling back layers of wallpaper and secrets, she must decide whether she truly believes in second chances.

In her debut novel, Cicada Summer, Maureen Leurck creates an appealing narrator in Alex: hardworking, self-sufficient but also vulnerable. Alex throws herself into the house's renovation (with the help of her contractor and right-hand man, Eddie), but has a harder time deciding how to handle her complicated feelings for her ex-husband, Matt. Leurck adds a couple of pleasing subplots: Elsie's past and her connection to the family who once owned Alex's house, for instance, and Alex's relationship with her straight-talking cousin Traci, who has a son with autism. While certain plot elements feel a bit predictable, Leurck's characters are engaging, and Alex's passion for her work gives the novel a feeling of peeking behind the scenes on This Old House. An enjoyable restoration project--no hard hat required. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Discover: An enjoyable novel chronicling one woman's attempt to rehabilitate a beautiful historic house and her own life.

Kensington, $15, paperback, 320p., 9781496706522

Mystery & Thriller

Fierce Kingdom

by Gin Phillips

Fierce Kingdom fixes a reader's hands to the binding and eyes to the page with no apparent escape, even while the plot threatens to bring on severe angina. Gin Phillips (The Well and the Mine) masterfully turns a euphoric mother-son afternoon zoo outing into a three-hour evening of terror on the turn of a dime, and never lets her characters or reader catch a breath.

Joan and her four-year-old son, Lincoln, are hurrying to leave the zoo at closing time when she realizes the scattered scarecrow decorations are actually bodies and a man with a gun is between her and the exit. What follows is a zero-to-60 account of a mother's efforts to keep her son safe in a harrowing cat-and-mouse scenario that is anything but a game.

Walking a tightrope between needing her son to understand enough to stay safe and not wanting him to appreciate their grim reality, Joan works exquisitely with Lincoln while facing an internal combustion engine of competing impulses. How we want to respond as a fellow human in an emergency is never who we can be when our child is at risk.

Phillips is adept at creating a foreboding sense of space, turning the zoo into a macabre mousetrap. Every new noise could be death around the corner while the park's innocent soundtrack blares through the speakers. In a fierce microcosm of a brutal world, men with guns run up against the most ferocious force in any kingdom--a mother protecting her child. Fierce Kingdom is stunning and extraordinary; keep the defibrillator handy. --Lauren O'Brien of Malcolm Avenue Review

Discover: A mother struggles with physical and moral obstacles as she tries to keep herself and her son safe in a zoo overtaken by gunmen.

Viking, $25, hardcover, 288p., 9780735224278

The Blinds

by Adam Sternbergh

Adam Sternbergh, Edgar Award nominee for the futuristic noir Shovel Ready, shows with The Blinds that he's also adept at writing a modern sci-fi western.

Calvin Cooper is the sheriff of an off-the-grid Texas town formally named Caesura, but the residents call it the Blinds. Everyone there has had their memory entirely or partially erased, because they either committed violent crimes or witnessed one and needed to be disappeared. The catch: they don't know which they are.

Life in the Blinds has been peaceful for eight years, until two shooting deaths occur within a couple of months. How is this possible when Sheriff Cooper is supposedly the only one with a gun? As he investigates, he encounters other disturbing incidents, harbingers of something wicked coming, threatening to destroy the town and everyone in it.

Though the town's nickname is a riff on how the residents, without their memories, are like the blind leading the blind, Sternbergh guides readers through his strange, riveting landscape with a sure hand. His descriptions are insightful and clever: "He's amassed an impressive collection of frowns over the years, to go with his extensive arsenal of shrugs." There's a sense of dread and unpredictability throughout--how can readers know what the residents will do when the characters themselves don't? Humor pops up in deadly scenes, and tenderness appears in the middle of chaos. Sternbergh explores philosophy, human nature, morality and redemption, giving readers an experience that will open their eyes as well as their hearts. --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, blogger at Pop Culture Nerd

Discover: The sheriff of a rural sanctuary for fugitives defends his residents against outside threats.

Ecco, $26.99, hardcover, 400p., 9780062661340

Let the Dead Speak

by Jane Casey

Jane Casey's seventh book in the Maeve Kerrigan mystery series has the London detective sergeant investigating a murder that's missing a vital piece of evidence--the victim. Eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery flees her father's house, where she's been visiting, to return unexpectedly to the home she shares with her mother, Kate Emery. But instead of her parent, Chloe finds a gruesome scene: blood splashed across all surfaces.

Crime scene investigators and a blood-spatter expert are called in, but the lack of a body leaves Kerrigan and the homicide team in a precarious position. The situation doesn't improve as they canvass the neighborhood and begin racking up suspects: an ultra-religious couple who think Kate's promiscuous, a young man with a possible criminal history, Kate's ex-husband, even Chloe. The plot thickens and the stakes rise as Kerrigan and Detective Inspector Josh Derwent sift through the complex, sometimes volatile, relationships among their suspects.

Regardless of whether readers have previously encountered the Maeve Kerrigan series, Let the Dead Speak will enthrall mystery fans. The intricacy of the plot, packed with plenty of unexpected twists, makes the case exciting and unpredictable, while the entanglements of the intense, dimensional characters offer plenty to connect with emotionally. Casey expertly weaves in humor, catching readers off guard and leaving them chuckling, but still maintains the gravity of her dark homicide investigation. Expertly crafted, Let the Dead Speak exclaims volumes about Casey's superb talent. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Discover: A murder with no body takes Maeve Kerrigan and the London homicide team into an angry hornet's nest of suspects, where they have to determine who is the deadly stinger.

Minotaur Books, $27.99, hardcover, 352p., 9781250100832

Science Fiction & Fantasy


by Brian Allen Carr

In a post-apocalyptic world far in the future, humans are divided into two factions: those who achieve a high from drinking their own shadows and the shadows they've stolen from others (including animals), and those who live inside artificially lit domes, where no natural shadows exist. Murk is a self-shadow drinker. "He found the sun and put his back to it.... Down he went like a starving man. His mouth bored open, he crashed against dirt, and he gulped at the dark, each swallow dimming the shade." He and fellow outsider Mira befriend Bale, a domer evicted from his city, in search of a cure for the addiction before the arrival of Halley's Comet, an event that could change everything.

Brian Carr's short chapters flicker and shift like the shadows they're filled with, not quite revealing every detail of this odd and grisly world. As they search for answers to questions they barely know how to form, Murk, Mira and Bale cross paths with more curious characters and lodge in the Town of Lost Souls, which feels like a place from an old western crossed with something from Mad Max. More information about the dome cities could have been included to balance out some of the gruesomeness of the shadowlands, and a little less staccato-like delivery of some of the events would have helped solidify this shifting world of light and dark. Overall though, Sip is a fast-paced, strange and enjoyable leap into a flickering world of addiction. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

Discover: In the far future, a strange addiction afflicts many inhabitants: they drink shadows to hit their next high.

Soho Press, $26, hardcover, 304p., 9781616958275

Nature & Environment

Quakeland: On the Road to America's Next Devastating Earthquake

by Kathryn Miles

Get ready. After reading Quakeland, the account of science journalist Kathryn Miles's trek across the United States in search of earthquakes, you'll realize there are fault lines in more places than San Francisco and Seattle.

Miles found that tectonic plates moving far below the earth's surface do not cause all quakes. Humans are responsible for much of the shaking by redistributing stress in rock, inducing tremors from oil and natural gas extraction, mining, building dams and reservoirs, wastewater injection, nuclear testing and even the construction of some high-rise buildings. In the first 40 years after completion of Hoover Dam, the waters of Lake Mead set off more than 10,000 quakes. This happens with dams worldwide; ironically, the dams themselves perform well in earthquakes.

Faults, and their proliferation, keep surprising us--there is no known method for predicting earthquakes, nor is there likely to be one. Miles presents apocalyptic scenarios, but says, "We can create resiliency plans and policies that end in a very different scenario: one with far fewer lives lost." We should be in "permanent emergency" mode. Not just communities--everyone needs a plan: water and food for a week, a first-aid kit, a meeting place.

Miles covers the history of seismology and plate tectonics, and the passion, ingenuity and patience of seismologists and their cohorts. She considers past and recent quakes resulting from hundreds or thousands of years of accumulated energy, and quakes from recent fracking. Quakeland is everything a popular science book should be: well-researched, anecdotal, sometimes humorous, and easily understood. --Marilyn Dahl

Discover: Travel across the country with Kathryn Miles for a compelling story of fault lines, seismologists and the clear and present danger of earthquakes.

Dutton, $28, hardcover, 368p., 9780525955184


In Jerusalem and Other Poems

by Tamim Al-Barghouti, trans. by Radwa Ashour

Palestinian poet Tamim Al-Barghouti is a force of nature whose poetry collection In Jerusalem uncovers the human condition with both spare precision and evocative grandeur.

The 16 poems in this collection were written between 1996 and 2016. Translated into English by Radwa Ashour, they capture the Middle East in all its contemporary chaos, its diversity and culture and beauty, but also its divisiveness, prejudices, violence and oppression. A journalist as well as a poet, Al-Barghouti was active in the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. The spirit of political activism permeates these poems, which alternate formalistically from fable-like dialogues to ode-like lyricism.

Though Al-Barghouti eschews punctuation, his lines have a clean edge; he employs a lean economy of images and sentiments that flow smoothly from stanza to stanza. In "The Ant," the speaker of the poem addresses "A nation of foam/ Whose sorrows are forged of iron/ Like palace gates/ Where death is a wandering drummer/ Passing our windows each dawn." In "Airport," the poet self-consciously ponders his own words, how "The curve of each character has weight/ Each sentence is a form of masonry." The best poem in the collection is the subtly delivered yet incredibly powerful "Joy." "Your sorrows, coquette-like, want all of you/ They build for you a prison," the poet states. His call to throw off these shackles of depression and embrace life is radical and subversive in its simplicity: "And if they ask your name, say/ I have no name today/ But tomorrow morning/ I will be known as Joy."

In Jerusalem is a poetry collection of searching conscience from one of the world's greatest living talents. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset

Discover: In this collection of 16 poems, Palestinian poet Tamim Al-Barghouti captures the dignity of life in war-scarred Middle Eastern countries.

Interlink, $15, paperback, 80p., 9781566560238

Children's & Young Adult

Hit the Ground Running

by Alison Hughes

Fueled by beef jerky and Skittles, 16-year-old Dee and her seven-year-old brother, Eddie, set off on a road trip from Arizona to Canada to track down some family. Their mother died years earlier and their freespirited--though depressed--father has been missing for six weeks. He's disappeared before on antique-hunting expeditions, but never for so long, and social service agencies are starting to sniff around. Desperate, Dee, who doesn't have a driver's license, decides to get out of town, framing it as a fun adventure to her younger brother. On the edge of hysteria as she loads up the car, Dee finds herself packing an aloe plant she calls Vera and Eddie's various nature collections alongside necessities: "Let's see--a plant, lots of dead bugs, rocks, snake skin... yeah, I think we've got it all. We're all good for this psycho-family road trip."

Anyone who has ever felt alone and overwhelmed knows what Dee means when she gazes up at a condor soaring over the Grand Canyon and thinks, "That bird, with a brain probably the size of a peanut, is exactly, precisely everything I'm not. I'm incompetent. I'm afraid. I'm scared to get back in that car, scared of the highway, scared of the coming night...." But readers will cheer her bravery, loving integrity and competence as she and her brother Hit the Ground Running. Alison Hughes (Poser; Kings of the Court; Lost in the Backyard) weaves a touching, thrilling and wryly funny story of an "anchorless family" seeking a safe home port. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Discover: After their mentally ill father disappears, a teenage girl and her young brother travel from Arizona to Canada in a panicked effort to find stable relatives, in this poignant and humorous YA novel.

Orca, $14.95, paperback, 216p., ages 12-up, 9781459815445

All Rights Reserved

by Gregory Scott Katsoulis

Speth's family is poor, especially now that it's only her, her older sister, Saretha, and little brother Sam at home. Her parents live in indentured servitude, hand-pollinating plants, because one of their ancestors illegally downloaded a song; the family owes the company (with interest) for that stolen property. In Speth's world, everything--every word, every gesture, every sign of affection--is "Trademarked™, Restricted® or Copyrighted©. The companies and people who own these rights let people use them, but once you turn fifteen, you have to pay."

Speth is about to make her Last Day speech--a 15th birthday celebration in which the individual agrees to the Terms of Service and declares their Brand--and become a contributing member of society. But on her way to the speech, her already-15-year-old friend kills himself in front of her. Distraught and completely bewildered, Speth is unable to get a single word out. Her refusal to speak is seen as an act of rebellion and makes her a target for the all-powerful Lawyers (as well as a burden on her family). What began as a spontaneous response to trauma quickly becomes an uprising with Speth at its forefront. Will she heed the call of the revolutionaries, or give up and give in?

Though she doesn't speak, Speth has been given a distinctive and memorable voice by Gregory Scott Katsoulis. All Rights Reserved is both deeply troubling and utterly captivating; a must read for fans of the dystopic, and more specifically of M.T. Anderson's Feed. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: When all words and actions have a price, one teen discovers that silence can be revolutionary.

Harlequin Teen, $18.99, hardcover, 400p., ages 14-up, 9780373212446


Author Buzz

Dragon Kiss
(A Dragon Kings Novella)

by Donna Grant

Dear Reader,

Welcome back to the Dragon Kings! I'm thrilled to bring you DRAGON KISS. The world of the Dragon Kings keeps expanding, and this story brings us Alasdair and Lotti, a powerful couple who have overcome all odds to find love. But a deadly enemy intends to rip them apart.

I can't wait for you to fall in love with Alasdair and Lotti as I have.


Available on Kobo

AuthorBuzz: 1001 Dark Nights Press: Dragon Kiss (A Dragon Kings Novella) by Donna Grant

1001 Dark Nights Press

Pub Date: 
January 9, 2024


List Price: 
$2.99 e-book

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