Archive for the ‘2012/13 – Winter/Spring’ Category

New Best Seller; LET’S PRETEND

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Popular internet personality “The Bloggess,” is now an old-media hit.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson (Penguin/Einhorn; Penguin Audio), arrives on the Indie Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller list at #4 (and #17 on the USA Today list).

You can expect to see it in a high spot on the upcoming NYT list (the author spills the beans on her own site, so why shouldn’t we? It arrives at #1 on the Combined Print & E-Book list and at #2 on the Print Nonfiction list).

Over  to you, taxidermied mouse:

Parenting Comic Lands on Indie Best Seller List

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Here’s a great premise: “What if Darth Vader had a 4-year-old?” How would he handle potty time or bedtime stories? That’s the basis for Jeffrey Brown’s graphic novel  Darth Vader and Son (Chronicle), which debuts at #10 on the Indie Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list this week.

The author was recently interviewed in the L.A. Times and USA Today’s PopCandy blog said, “Something tells me Brown’s latest effort, Darth Vader and Son is going to be quite a hit.”

A few libraries own it in small quantities.

Darth Vader and Son (Star Wars (Chronicle))
Jeffrey Brown
Retail Price: $14.95
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books – (2012-04-18)
ISBN / EAN: 145210655X / 9781452106557

Readers Advisory; THE INQUISITOR

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

One of our earlier New Title Radar Watch List titles gets the lead review in Marilyn Stasio’s NYT mystery column this week. Stasio calls Mark Allen Smith’s The Inquisitor(Macmillan/ Holt; Macmillan Audio) a “weird but transfixing first novel.” The main character, Geiger, is a professional torturer, who is transformed into a sympathetic character when he has to care for a young boy. He doesn’t give up torturing, however. Says Stasio, “The curious result is something like an X-rated Disney movie — extremely graphic scenes of physical violence and mental suffering embedded in a rather sweet adventure story about a damaged man who heals himself by saving a child from a similar fate.”

The burst on the cover is a blurb from Nelson DeMille, “This is one of the best and most engrossing debut novels I’ve read in years.”

On his Web site, the author notes that he is working on a second novel featuring Geiger. An excerpt is also available on the site.

Library ordering was generally light (except for one system that ordered over 70 copies for their 20+ branches; all are turning over rapidly) and most libraries are showing holds.

New Title Radar: April 23 – 29th

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Next week, Stephen King returns with a surprise installment in the Dark Tower series that supposedly ended in 2004, and Jonathan Franzen returns with a new essay collection. Meanwhile, British author Rosamond Lupton follows up on her hit debut with a tearjearker thriller, and Sandra Dallas makes her debut by exploring a dark chapter in Mormon history.

In nonfiction, President Obama’s half-sister releases a memoir as does Anna Quindlen and a book about the House of Representatives is set to grab headlines.

Watch List

True Sisters by Sandra Dallas (Macmillan/St. Martin’s) is a work of historical fiction about four women, recruited to Mormonism with Brigham Young’s promise of a handcart to wheel across the desert to Salt Lake City, who help each other survive what turns out to be a harrowing journey. Kirkus says, “readers enticed by the HBO program Big Love will be particularly interested in the origins of this insular community. This fact-based historical fiction, celebrating sisterhood and heroism, makes for a surefire winner.”

Rising Star

Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton (RH/Crown) is the UK author’s followup to Sister, her popular debut. This one is narrated by Grace, a mother whose spirit hovers above her brain-dead body in the hospital after she rescues her 17-year-old daughter Jenny from a school fire set by an arsonist, while her sister-in-law leads the police investigation. LJ calls it “a wonderful mix of smart thriller with tear-provoking literature; a fine blend of Jodi Picoult and P.D. James.”

Usual Suspects

The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel by Stephen King (S&S/Scribner; Simon & Schuster Audio) adds a short, eighth installment to the Dark Tower series that appeared to end in 2004. Largely a flashback to hero Roland Deschain’s gunslinger days, it can stand alone or fit between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla. Kirkus says, “If it weren’t for the profanity which liberally seasons the narrative, it could pass as a young adult fantasy, a foul-mouthed Harry Potter (with nods toward The Wizard of Oz and C.S. Lewis). It even ends with a redemptive moral, though King mainly concerns himself here with spinning a yarn.”

Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick (Penguin/Putnam; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a paranormal historical romance featuring an undercover psychic investigator and fiction writer who finds herself fleeing from an assassin for the second time – and into the arms of a man who may be far more dangerous. LJ raves: “Quick infuses her own addictive brand of breathless, sexy adventure with dashes of vengeance, greed, and violence and a hefty splash of delectable, offbeat humor.”

Young Adult

Rebel Fire: Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins, Book 2 by Andrew Lane (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Young Listeners) pits 14-year-old Sherlock Holmes against assassin John Wilkes Booth, who is apparently alive and well in England, and mixed up with Holmes’s American tutor Amyus Crowe. Kirkus says, “abductions, frantic train rides, near-death experiences and efforts of [Holmes and] friends to save one another increase suspense with each chapter. A slam-bang climax and satisfying conclusion will please readers while leaving loose threads for further volumes.”


Farther Away: Essays by Jonathan Franzen ((Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio) gathers essays and speeches written mostly in the past five years, including his account of dispersing some of David Foster Wallace’s ashes on the remote island of Masafuera, excerpted in the New Yorker. Kirkus says, “Franzen can get a bit schoolmarmish and crotchety in his caviling against the horrors of modern society, and he perhaps overestimates the appeal of avian trivia to the general reader, but anyone with an interest in the continued relevance of literature and in engaging with the world in a considered way will find much here to savor. An unfailingly elegant and thoughtful collection of essays from the formidable mind of Franzen, written with passion and haunted by loss.”

And Then Life Happens: A Memoir by Auma Obama (Macmillan/St. Martin’s) is a memoir by President Obama’s half-sister, who was born a year before her brother to Barack Obama Sr.’s first wife, Kezia. Auma’s meeting with her brother in Chicago in 1984 “marks the brightest moment in this eager-to-please work,” according to Kirkus, “and paved the way for his subsequent trips to Kenya and warmly unfolding relationship with his African family.”

My Happy Days in Hollywood: A Memoir by Garry Marshall (RH/Crown Archetype; Random House Large Print; Random House Audio) expands on film and television producer Marshall’s 1997 memoir, Wake Me When It’s Funny, but Kirkus complains that Marshall “isn’t very funny. Or at least this book isn’t. Nor is it serious, mean, scandalous or particularly revelatory. It’s just nice. Marshall has gotten along fine with some difficult actors–including his sister, Penny, and the beleaguered Lindsay Lohan–and has apparently remained friends with everyone with whom he has ever worked…This is a Fudgsicle of a showbiz memoir.”

Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It by Amy Atlas (Hyperion Books) interwines baking and crafting, showing home cooks how to make beautiful sweets, based on the author’s award-winning blog, Sweet Designs.

Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives, Robert Draper, (S&S), is by the author of Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush. This one is described by the publisher as “a revealing and riveting look at the new House of Representatives.” No pre-pub reviews indicate it’s embargoed. It will be featured on many news shows next week, including NPR’s Weekend Edition, CBS This Morning, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen (RH/Crown; RH Large Print; BOT Audio) will, of course, be featured on many shows next week, including CBS This Morning and The Charlie Rose Show (PBS). An NPR Fresh Air interview is in the works.

PROM In People

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

The Book Reviews section of People magazine is often a refreshing contrast to the relentlessly upbeat tone of the rest of the magazine. This week, it features a documentary photographer’s look at an American ritual and its delusions, Prom by Mary Ellen Mark, (Getty Publications).

A.J. Jacobs’ Finds the Right Formula

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

A.J. Jacobs’ Drop Dead Healthy is the third in his “triathlon devoted to upgrading my mind, my spirit and my body,” following The Know-It All (2004) which chronicled his reading of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and The Year of Living Biblically, (2007), in which he did just that.

It seems readers are more interested in his pursuit of physical perfection than in intellectual or spiritual. His newest title arrives on the USA Today best seller list at #42, the highest spot for the series to date.

Drop Dead Healthy
A. J. Jacobs
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2012-04-10)
ISBN / EAN: 141659907X/9781416599074

Other Formats: Thorndike Press; Simon & Schuster Audio

Readers Advisory; PRAGUE FATALE

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Here’s an interesting readers advisory hook; “Downton Abbey with SS.”

That’s how British novelist, Philip Kerr describes his new thriller, Prague Fatale on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. He says it’s a “traditional country house sort of mystery.”

It’s the eighth in the author’s series about Bernie Gunther, a cynical Berlin detective. Excerpt available here. Tom Hanks and producing partner Gary Goetzman are in talks to acquire the series for HBO.

Kerr’s about to begin his US book tour, which includes an appearance at the St. Louis (Missouri) County Library.

Official Author Site:

Prague Fatale (Bernie Gunther)
Philip Kerr
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Penguin/Putnam/Marian Wood – (2012-04-17)
ISBN / EAN: 0399159029 / 9780399159022

Thorndike Large Print


Monday, April 16th, 2012

Chralotte Rogan was interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday about her debut novel, The Lifeboat, the story of a ship’s sinking two years after the Titanic.

The Washington Post reviewed it Friday, saying, “Other novels have examined the conscience and guilt of a survivor among the dead, but few tales are as thoughtful and compelling as this.” It was also on CNN’s list of “Three must-read thrillers for spring” and is a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” pick.

Holds have risen quickly since we last wrote about it; they are now as high as 10 to 1, on modest orders.

The Lifeboat: A Novel
Charlotte Rogan
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Hachette/Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur – (2012-04-03)
ISBN : 9780316185905

Hachette Audio

New Title Radar: April 16 – 22

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Among the books you’ll need to know about next week is The President’s Club, which is already moving up Amazon’s sales rankings. A title to watch is Wiley Cash‘s novel about a North Carolina holy roller (join us for a chat with the author on April 24th), and the second and third installments in E.L. James’ bestselling erotica series. UK favorites William Boyd and Graham Swift also return, along with usual suspects David Baldacci, Iris Johansen, Nora Roberts, and Stuart Woods. In nonfiction, Jenny Lawton, a.k.a. “The Bloggess,” delivers a tongue-in-cheek memoir of her Texas upbringing.


A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash (HarperCollins/Morrow; Blackstone Audiobooks) is a debut novel set in a small North Carolina town, where an ex-con and born-again pastor who uses snakes and poison in his ministry sends the town into a religious frenzy. PW calls it “compelling, with an elegant structure and a keen eye for detail, matched with compassionate attention to character.” Cash was on the debut novelists’ panel at PLA. NOTE:  EarlyWord AuthorChat with Wiley Cash is scheduled for April 24th.



Fifty Shades DarkerFifty Shades Trilogy #2 and Fifty Shades FreedFifty Shades Trilogy #2 by E L James (RH/Vintage) are the middle and final volumes in the bestselling erotica trilogy, republished by Vintage after it the series became a huge word-of-mouth success. The e-books are available from OverDrive.


Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd (Harper; Thorndike Large Print; Audio, Recorded Books) is the Costa/Whitbread Award winner’s latest novel, about a young English actor seeking psychoanalysis in 1913 Vienna, who enters an affair with a woman who cures his sexual problem, but accuses him of rape. British diplomatic authorities come to his rescue, leading to further mysteries and complications. PW says, “as in all of his novels, Boyd speculates about luck and chance and the unpredictable events that can determine a persons life. With its adroit plot twists and themes of deception and betrayal, this is an absorbing spy novel that raises provocative questions.” Following in the footsteps of Sebastian Faulks and Jeffrey Deaver, it was just announced that Boyd has been chosen by the Ian Fleming estate to write the next in the Bond series, to be published some time next year.

Wish You Were Here by Graham Swift (RH/Knopf; Blackstone Audio) is set on the Isle of Wight in 2006, when caravan park proprietor Jack Luxton discovers that his brother Tom, not seen for years, has been killed in combat in Iraq, and makes the journey to receive his brother’s remains. LJ says, “Swift has written a slow-moving but powerful novel about the struggle to advance beyond grief and despair and to come to grips with the inevitability of change. Recommended for fans of Ian McEwan, Michael Ondaatje, and Kazuo Ishiguro, authors with a similar method of slowly developing an intense interior narrative.”


The Innocent by David Baldacci (Hachette/ Grand Central; Hachette Audio) features hitman Will Robi, who is usually called in when the FBI and the military can’t stop an enemy – but this time, he may have made the first mistake of his career.

What Doesn’t Kill Youby Iris Johansen (Macmillan/ St. Martin’s Press; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print) features Catherine Ling, the CIA agent introduced in the Eve Duncan novel Chasing the Night (2010), as she tracks a Chinese master herbalist who has disappeared with the formula to his potent and untraceable poison. PW says, “the intrigue spans the globe and involves superhuman characters from earlier Johansen novels with long histories together. The authors trademark dry wit bolsters the bombastic story line.”

The Witness by Nora Roberts (Penguin/Putnam; Putnam Large Print; Brilliance Audio) is the tale of a woman living under an assumed identity to avoid the Russian mob after witnessing a double murder – but attracts the interest of the local police chief. LJ says, “a brilliant, slightly socially awkward heroine meets a puzzle-loving, protective hero in a taut, riveting drama that’s guaranteed to keep the adrenaline flowing.”

Unnatural Acts by Stuart Woods (Penguin/Putnam; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print) finds the usual cast – lawyer Stone Barrington, senior associate Herbie Fisher, and NYPD Lt. Dino Bacchetti – overcoming obstacles with aplomb. However, Baldacci can’t bring himself to arrest a former FBI director who turns out to be a serial killer and a great lover. PW says, “Woods’s well-tested formula ensures that the action purrs along fueled by good food, good liquor, good sex, and plenty of wealth.”


Snow White and the Huntsman by Lily Blake, Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini (Hachette/LBYR/Poppy) is a novelization tying into the film release slated for June 1, 2012, starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. The book cover, which features Stewart as a knife-wielding warrior princess, ran on Entertainment Weekly in an exclusive “cover peek,” in which they felt they had to explain the concept of novelization: “a kind of reverse-adaptation.” Guess they haven’t seen one in a while.


The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity, by Nancy Gibb and Michael Duffy, (S&S) will be getting strong media attention, including this week’s Time magazine cover; no surprise, since the writers are at the top of that publication’s masthead. Networks are competing for “exclusives” about it; CBS This Morning looked at the four-story D.C. brownstone that serves as the ex-presidents’ “clubhouse” (Barbara Bush characterized it as “a dump”). NBC begins its coverage with the Andrea Mitchell Reports today. The book has already moved to #41 on Amazon sales rankings.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson (Penguin/Einhorn; Penguin Audio), by the popular internet personality “The Bloggess,” makes hay out of her mostly uneventful upbringing in rural Texas, which involved taxidermy, panic attacks, and a 15-year marriage. Kirkus says, “While Lawson fails to strike the perfect balance between pathos and punch line, she creates a comic character that readers will engage with in shocked dismay as they gratefully turn the pages.”

Congrats, Adriana Trigiani

Friday, April 13th, 2012

We can hear the prosecco corks popping. The Shoemaker’s Wife, by librarian favorite Adriana Trigiani debuts at #5 on the  NYT bestseller list this week; the author’s highest spot to date.

Trigiani says she changed genres for this book, in response to her readers, who asked her to write a “big lush saga.” She based the story on the life of one of her grandmothers (who is featured in her nonfiction title, Don’t Sing at the Table: Lessons from My Grandmothers, 2010).

Trigiani talks about the book on the Today Show (Kathie Lee & Hoda fawning alert) as well as CBS This Morning.

Below, she thanks librarians for their support during the HarperCollins Buzz panel at ALA MidWinter in January:


The Shoemaker’s Wife
Adriana Trigiani
Retail Price: $21.99
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2012-04-03)
ISBN / EAN: 0061257095/9780061257094

Audio, read by Annabella Sciorra & Adriana Trigiani; HarperAudio and BOT audio

Author Web site:

Donna Leon Breaks Into Top Ten

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

 Looks like #21 is lucky for author Donna Leon’s Commissario Brunetti mysteries. Beastly Things, (Atlantic Monthly; Thorndike Large Print; AudioGo), the 21st title   in the series, arrives at #9 on the Indie Bestseller list and at #10 on the NYT Fiction list; the first time Leon has broken in to the top ten.

For those not familiar with the series, long-time fan, NYT mystery columnist, Marilyn Stasio, offers a succinct readers advisory; “Donna Leon is the ideal author for people who vaguely long for a ‘good mystery’. That Leon is also a brilliant writer should only add to the consistently comforting appeal of her Venetian procedurals featuring Commissario Guido Brunneti. Leon allows her warmhearted detective to take what solace he can from the beauty of his city and the homely domestic rituals that give him the strength to go on.”

Leon has also written nonfiction about her adopted home, Venice; book about Venice’s myths and legends, Venetian Curiosities and a book on Venetian cooking, Brunetti’s Cookbook (her fictional detective is an avid cook).

Author’s Web Site: Grove Atlantic/Leon

Grisham on The Today Show

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

John Grisham takes a break from legal thrillers with his new novel, Calico Joe,(RH/Doubleday), but sticks to the tradition of appearing on The Today Show on the day of the book’s publication (excerpt here). The Washington Post reviewed the book on Friday, calling it, ” a sweet, simple story, a fable really.”

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Grisham returns to the legal thriller in the fall, with The Racketeer, about the murder of a federal judge (note; the cover below is not final).

The Racketeer
John Grisham
Retail Price: $28.95
Hardcover: ? pages
Publisher: RH/Doubleday – (2012-10-23)
ISBN / EAN: 0385535147 / 9780385535144

Carole King’s Memoirs

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Carole King wrote her first hit song at age 17 (“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” sung by the Shirelles). She recently turned her writing talents to a longer form, her memoir, A Natural Woman, releasing today. She was interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition today as well as on The Today Show (book excerpt here).

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


A Natural Woman: A Memoir
Carole King
Retail Price: $27.99
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Hachette/Grand Central – (2012-04-10)
ISBN / EAN: 1455512613 / 9781455512614

Thorndike Large Print; Hachette Audio

Mike Wallace Bio Releasing Early

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Amazingly, there are no full-length biographies of Mike Wallace, the ground-breaking 60 Minutes journalist who died on Saturday at 93, other than his own two memoirs (Close Encounters, Morrow, 1984 and Between You and Me, Hyperion, 2005).

In a stroke of great timing, an unauthorized biography is on the way. Originally scheduled for publication on April 24th, the publisher, Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of Macmillan/St. Martin’s, announced that it will be released early,  this coming Friday, April 14 (via The Hollywood Reporter).

The Daily Beast today offers a summary, “Mike Wallace Reconsidered: 6 Revelations From a New Biography.”

It was reviewed favorably by Library Journal, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, which concluded,

Rader’s revelations about Wallace go to some pretty impressive psychological depths…[his] portrait is of the classic American workaholic, one whose burning ambition and freakishly tireless work ethic were fueled by massive insecurities and existential crises. Bold, well-crafted biography of a long-elusive and controversial public figure.

Mike Wallace: A Life
Peter Rader
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books – (2012-04-13)
ISBN / EAN: 0312543395 / 9780312543396

Thorndike large print

New Title Radar: April 9th – 15

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Ron Rash’s The Cove, goes on sale next week, but critics have already been vying to review the latest novel from the author of the acclaimed Serena. Two buzzed-about debuts will also arrive: Regina O’Melveny‘s historical novel The Book of Madness and Cures and Patrick Flanery‘s exploration of contemporary South Africa Absolution, plus a new novel from Katherine Howe.  Usual suspects include John Grisham, Seth Grahame-Smith and Barbara Taylor Bradford. In nonfiction, there are new books from economist and foodie Tyler Cowen, Brad Meltzer and Edward O. Wilson.


The Cove by Ron Rash (Harper/Ecco; Thorndike Large Print) features a love affair doomed by the turmoil of WWI, set in Appalachia. Critics have been competing to review it early: People gives it 4 out of 4 stars, saying “In Rash’s skilled hands, even farm chores take on a meditative beauty” and Entertainment Weekly gives it a straight A. However, the Washington Post‘s Ron Charles expresses disappointment: “Maybe anything Ron Rash published after Serena would seem pale… Only at the very end do these pages ignite, and suddenly we’re racing through a conflagration of violence that no one seems able to control except Rash.” The New York Times‘ Janet Maslin also doesn’t find it as good as the ” dazzling” Serena. In any case, the attention offers readers advisors the opportunity to lead people to the earlier book, which is being made into a movie, starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.


The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O’Melveny (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a debut novel about a female doctor in 16th-century Italy that is one of BookPage’s most-buzzed about releases. As the Boston Globe‘s early review notes: “Women physicians playing the sleuth in hostile terrain have been a burgeoning club in the recent field of fiction, led by popular new works from Ann Patchett and Téa Obreht…. [This] story makes for a confounding hybrid, one that speaks to devotees of high-end historical romance from one side of its mouth and the fan base of Dr. Oliver Sacks from the other.”

Absolution by Patrick Flanery (Penguin/Riverhead) is a debut about a celebrated novelist in contemporary Cape Town, South Africa who believes she betrayed her anti-apartheid activist sister. It’s part literary detective story, part portrait of an uncertain society new to freedom. LJ notes that the author, an American living in London, has been called “the next J.M. Coetzee,” and declares that this “assured, atmospheric novel perfectly reflects the tenuous trust being forged among South Africans as they look to the future.”

The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe (Hyperion Books; Hyperion Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a historical mystery with a romantic twist by the author of the 2009 debut hit The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. Set in Boston in 1915, Boolklist says, “it offers a poignant look at spiritualism during the Great War and the comfort it brought to people who had lost loved ones.” LJ recommends it  for fans of Tracy Chevalier and Diana Gabaldon.


Calico Joe by John Grisham (RH/Doubleday; Random House Large Print; Random House Audio) is a baseball-themed book timed for the opening of the season.  Booklist calls it  “a solid baseball story but one that never delivers the emotional payoff readers will expect.”

Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio) is the latest from the “master of the mashup,” as the Wall Street Journal calls him in a long feature today. Not so much a mashup, this new title plays with history, turning the Three Kings into escaped thieves who happen upon the manger and reluctantly help the Holy family escape to Egypt.  Entertainment Weekly calls it “a fantasy action-adventure akin to fusing Game of Thrones with the Gospel of Luke…Grahame-Smith’s depiction of sacred figures as flawed humans that makes the book feel like a secret account of events that have been sanitized by legend.” Following in the footsteps of the author’s other books, this one has been optioned for the movies. The 3-D film based on his Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter arrives in theaters in June.

Letter from a Stranger by Barbara Taylor Bradford (St. Martin’s Press; Center Point Large Print; Macmillan Audio) is another of the author’s signature multigenerational novel. PW says, “Gardens, food, clothing, and accessories – everything in Bradford’s world shows taste. If the plot turns simplistic at times, loyal fans will still tear up at the descriptions of enduring friendship and familial love.”


The Calling (Darkness Rising Series #2) by Kelley Armstrong (HarperCollins) is the second installment in a teen fantasy series. Booklist says, “the lightning-fast plot leaves little room for character development, and Armstrong keeps the focus on the motion rather than the emotion while paving the way for the series finale. Fans of the first book, The Gathering (2011), won’t find any reason not to stay on board.”

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict (Mysterious Benedict Society Series) by Trenton Lee Stewart (Hachette/LBYR; Listening Library) is a prequel to the popular series, focusing on the backstory of the narcoleptic genius founder of the Mysterious Benedict Society. Booklist says, “The novel is long, true, but many readers will find themselves reluctant to reach the end; and while Stewart leaves an opening for sequels about Nicholas as a child, this invigorating novel stands on its own.”


An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies by Tyler Cowen (RH/Dutton) is a gastronomic treatise by an economist best known for The Great Stagnation. PW says, “Cowen writes like your favorite wised-up food maven, folding encyclopedic knowledge and piquant food porn… into a breezy, conversational style; the result is mouth-watering food for thought.” According to Forbes, Cowen is “America’s hottest economist” (remember when that would have been an oxymoron?). Maybe it’s true; he’s spoken at TED. FastCompany recently listed a few of his intriguing “new rules.”

Heroes for My Daughter by Brad Meltzer (Harper) is a compilation by the popular thriller author, of stories of 55 people who dedicated their lives to improving the world, from Eleanor Roosevelt to Amelia Earhart, Anne Frank to Randy Pausch, Theodore Roosevelt to Lucille Ball, Rosa Parks to the passengers on United Flight 93. His Heroes for My Son was published in 2010.

The Social Conquest of Earth by Edward O. Wilson (Norton) is the Pulitzer Prize winning Harvard scientist’s answer to life’s big questions; “Where did we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” Kirkus says, “Group selection–as opposed to kin selection, i.e., the ‘selfish gene’ a la Richard Dawkins–is the author’s big idea…Wilson succeeds in explaining his complex ideas, so attentive readers will receive a deeply satisfying exposure to a major scientific controversy.”