3 ARCs – Comment to Claim

February 18, 2015

This isn’t housecleaning.  This  is “I can’t wait to share.”  The first, Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale, comes out mid-March from Del Rey and is an exciting, truly original alternative history with interesting speculation about the mound-building Cahokia culture of 13th century North America.  It also has imaginative battle scenes featuring Cahokians dropping liquid fire from a sort of handglider onto traditional Roman legionaries. In every best sense of the word – fantastic!

Blaine Harden attended PNBA and spoke about his research for his book on how North Korea came to be and sustains its isolation. In the process, he was contacted by the protagonist defecting pilot No Kum Sok, who said call me back when you’ve researched me more because you should know who I am.  Harden followed up and the result is The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot.

The last is a renaissance history focusing on its dark side – a natural follow-up for Borgia lovers.

Please comment to claim.


Clash of eagles : book one of the Hesperian trilogy

Smale, Alan.  Clash of Eagles. Random House, 2015.

Perfect for fans of action-adventure and historical fiction–including novels by such authors as Bernard Cornwell, Steve Berry, Naomi Novik, and Harry Turtledove–this stunning work of alternate history imagines a world in which the Roman Empire has not fallen and the North American continent has just been discovered. In the year 1218 AD, transported by Norse longboats, a Roman legion crosses the great ocean, enters an endless wilderness, and faces a cataclysmic clash of worlds, cultures, and warriors. Ever hungry for land and gold, the Emperor has sent Praetor Gaius Marcellinus and the 33rd Roman Legion into the newly discovered lands of North America. Marcellinus and his men expect easy victory over the native inhabitants, but on the shores of a vast river the Legion clashes with a unique civilization armed with weapons and strategies no Roman has ever imagined. Forced to watch his vaunted force massacred by a surprisingly tenacious enemy, Marcellinus is spared by his captors and kept alive for his military knowledge. As he recovers and learns more about these proud people, he can’t help but be drawn into their society, forming an uneasy friendship with the denizens of the city-state of Cahokia. But threats–both Roman and Native–promise to assail his newfound kin, and Marcellinus will struggle to keep the peace while the rest of the continent surges toward certain conflict. Advance praise for Clash of Eagles “Authoritatively researched, compellingly told, and with pleasing echoes of L. Sprague de Camp, Clash of Eagles is a modern masterpiece of what-if speculation.” –Stephen Baxter, Philip K. Dick Award-winning author of The Time Ships “Alan Smale has done remarkable work with the world-building in Clash of Eagles, dropping the sole Roman survivor of a massacre into the complex civilization of the Cahokian Native Americans in the thirteenth century. Yet what follows is more than a standard clash of cultures yarn, for there are other forces in play in this alternate North America, and Marcellinus knows his imperial masters will send more legions to replace his lost men. Can the determination and ingenuity of one man change the fate of a continent? I’m eager to find out.” –Harry Turtledove, New York Times bestselling author of How Few Remain “My favorite kind of alternate history: epic, bloody, and hugely imaginative.” –John Birmingham, author of Without Warning “Clash of Eagles is epic in its sweep, exciting in its narrative, and eyeball-kick sharp in its details.” –Nancy Kress, Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author of Beggars in Spain

The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot : The True Story of the Tyrant Who Created North Korea and the Young Lieutenant Who Stole His Way to Freedom

Harden, Blaine. The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot.  Viking, 2015.

From the bestselling author of Escape from Camp 14, the murderous rise of North Korea’s founding dictator and the fighter pilot who faked him out In The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot , New York Times bestselling author Blaine Harden tells the riveting story of how Kim Il Sung grabbed power and plunged his country into war against the United States while the youngest fighter pilot in his air force was playing a high-risk game of deception-and escape. As Kim ascended from Soviet puppet to godlike ruler, No Kum Sok noisily pretended to love his Great Leader. That is, until he swiped a Soviet MiG-15 and delivered it to the Americans, not knowing they were offering a $100,000 bounty for the warplane (the equivalent of nearly one million dollars today). The theft-just weeks after the Korean War ended in July 1953-electrified the world and incited Kim’s bloody vengeance. During the Korean War the United States brutally carpet bombed the North, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and giving the Kim dynasty, as Harden reveals, the fact-based narrative it would use to this day to sell paranoia and hatred of Americans. Drawing on documents from Chinese and Russian archives about the role of Mao and Stalin in Kim’s shadowy rise, as well as from neverbefore- released U.S. intelligence and interrogation files, Harden gives us a heart-pounding escape adventure and an entirely new way to understand the world’s longest-lasting totalitarian state.


The ugly Renaissance : sex, greed, violence and depravity in an age of beauty

Lee, Alexander. The Ugly Renaissance.  Doubleday, 2015.

A fascinating and counterintuitive portrait of the sordid, hidden world behind the dazzling artwork of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and more Renowned as a period of cultural rebirth and artistic innovation, the Renaissance is cloaked in a unique aura of beauty and brilliance. Its very name conjures up awe-inspiring images of an age of lofty ideals in which life imitated the fantastic artworks for which it has become famous. But behind the vast explosion of new art and culture lurked a seamy, vicious world of power politics, perversity, and corruption that has more in common with the present day than anyone dares to admit. In this lively and meticulously researched portrait, Renaissance scholar Alexander Lee illuminates the dark and titillating contradictions that were hidden beneath the surface of the period’s best-known artworks. Rife with tales of scheming bankers, greedy politicians, sex-crazed priests, bloody rivalries, vicious intolerance, rampant disease, and lives of extravagance and excess, this gripping exploration of the underbelly of Renaissance Italy shows that, far from being the product of high-minded ideals, the sublime monuments of the Renaissance were created by flawed and tormented artists who lived in an ever-expanding world of inequality, dark sexuality, bigotry, and hatred. The Ugly Renaissance is a delightfully debauched journey through the surprising contradictions of Italy’s past and shows that were it not for the profusion of depravity and degradation, history’s greatest masterpieces might never have come into being.

March Library Reads

February 17, 2015

LibraryReads (click for full list and descriptions) has come out with its March list, and it’s far-reaching and fulsome as usual.  About half of it is also quite familiar, including titles corresponding to ARCs we’ve been getting.  It seems there’s a connection, hm.

Whatever we don’t have in audio or e-formats we’ll work on ordering if available. Pocket Wife and Delicious Foods will be in the catalog shortly.

The Favorite

The love song of Miss Queenie Hennessy : a novel

Joyce, Rachel.  The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. Random House, 2015.

From the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry comes an exquisite love story about Queenie Hennessy, the remarkable friend who inspired Harold’s cross-country journey. A runaway international bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry followed its unassuming hero on an incredible journey as he traveled the length of England on foot–a journey spurred by a simple letter from his old friend Queenie Hennessy, writing from a hospice to say goodbye. Harold believed that as long as he kept walking, Queenie would live. What he didn’t know was that his decision to walk had caused her both alarm and fear. How could she wait? What would she say? Forced to confront the past, Queenie realizes she must write again. In this poignant parallel story to Harold’s saga, acclaimed author Rachel Joyce brings Queenie Hennessy’s voice into sharp focus. Setting pen to paper, Queenie makes a journey of her own, a journey that is even bigger than Harold’s; one word after another, she promises to confess long-buried truths–about her modest childhood, her studies at Oxford, the heartbreak that brought her to Kingsbridge and to loving Harold, her friendship with his son, the solace she has found in a garden by the sea. And, finally, the devastating secret she has kept from Harold for all these years. A wise, tender, layered novel that gathers tremendous emotional force, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy underscores the resilience of the human spirit, beautifully illuminating the small yet pivotal moments that can change a person’s life. Praise for The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy “If you enjoyed Harold’s odyssey, you will adore this book. A page into this tender tale and it is clearly the perfect companion piece to the original story of Harold Fry. . . . Rachel Joyce fleshes out the joyous woman who inspired his epic journey.” — Daily Express “A beautiful story which will grip you, make you laugh and cry, uplift your spirit and leave you feeling profoundly grateful and changed by the reading experience . . . a wonderful book about loss, redemption and joy.” — Daily Mail “Touching . . . [a] quiet, gentle, moving novel . . . Joyce’s writing . . . has a simplicity that sings. She captures hope best of all.” — The Observer Praise for Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry “[A] gorgeously poignant novel of hope and transformation.” –O: The Oprah Magazine “Joyce’s beguiling debut is [a] modest-seeming story of ‘ordinary’ English lives that enthralls and moves you as it unfolds.” — People (four stars) ” The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is not just a book about lost love. It is about all the wonderful everyday things Harold discovers through the mere process of putting one foot in front of the other.” –Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Dead wake : the last crossing of the Lusitania Prudence  The witch of painted sorrows

Vanishing girls  The Fifth Gospel  Where all light tends to go

Cat out of hell

This should be in the catalog shortly and is out May 5th.  Strangely, no RINC’s yet.  Still we’re ordering somewhat big as it is the sequel to Life After Life (or as I think of it, copy after copy).

A God in Ruins

Atkinson, Kate. A God in Ruins. Little, Brown, 2015.

Publisher summary:

Kate Atkinson’s dazzling Life After Life explored the possibility of infinite chances and the power of choices, following Ursula Todd as she lived through the turbulent events of the last century over and over again.

A GOD IN RUINS tells the dramatic story of the 20th Century through Ursula’s beloved younger brother Teddy–would-be poet, heroic pilot, husband, father, and grandfather-as he navigates the perils and progress of a rapidly changing world. After all that Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge is living in a future he never expected to have.

Oprah Has Spoken

February 11, 2015

Oprah 2.0 is back in business with a fiction title that came out last year – Ruby by Cynthia Bond.  We’re starting with 15 more print (for 17 total right now) and 10 audio copies, as well as some eaudio and ebook in OverDrive (more copies) and 3M.  We even have an Oprah Book Club posting category to dust off.

Publisher summary: The epic, uRuby : a novelnforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her–this beautiful and devastating debut heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction. nbsp; Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city–the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village–all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram fromnbsp;her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby Bell finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy. Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage. This wondrous page-turner rushes through the red dust and gossip of Main Street, to the pit fire where men swill bootleg outside Bloom’s Juke, to Celia Jennings’s kitchen where a cake is being made, yolk by yolk, that Ephram will use to try to begin again with Ruby. Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man’s dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love.


Annotations from Baker & Taylor or Ingram
Listed by Author


The Forgotten Room
Child, Lincoln
Jeremy Logan (The Third Gate, Deep Storm) is an enigmalogist—an investigator who specializes in analyzing phenomena that have no obvious explanation. In this newest novel Logan finds himself on the storied coastline of Newport, Rhode Island, where he has been retained by Symposikon, one of the oldest and most respected think tanks in America. Just days earlier, a series of frightening events took place in the sprawling seaside mansion that houses the organization. One of its most distinguished doctors began acting erratically—violently attacking an assistant in the mansion’s opulent library and, moments later, killing himself in a truly shocking fashion. Terrified by the incident and the bizarre evidence left behind, the group hires Logan to investigate—discreetly—what drove this erudite man to madness.

Into the Fire
Couch, Dick/ Galdorisi, George/ Clancy, Tom/ Pieczenik, Steve R.
When a team of assassins murder a high-ranking North Korean general and his family in their sleep, making it look like a robbery, events are set in motion that could shake the balance of world powers. Meanwhile, a U.S. naval combat ship, the USS Milwaukee, is attacked by North Korean forces in the middle of a training exercise off the shore of South Korea, and Commander Kate Bigelow is forced to ground the ship to avoid being captured. The crew takes refuge on a tiny island, trapped dangerously between the grounded ship and a fleet of hostile North Korean soldiers.

Solitude Creek
Deaver, Jeffery
A tragedy occurs at a small concert venue on the Monterey Peninsula. Cries of “fire” are raised and, panicked, people run for the doors, only to find them blocked. A half dozen people die and others are seriously injured. But it’s the panic and the stampede that killed; there was no fire. Kathryn Dance–a brilliant California Bureau of Investigation agent and body language expert–discovers that the stampede was caused intentionally and that the perpetrator, a man obsessed with turning people’s own fears and greed into weapons, has more attacks planned.

Day Shift
Harris, Charlaine
There is no such thing as bad publicity, except in Midnight, Texas, where the residents like to keep to themselves. Even in a town full of secretive people, Olivia Charity is an enigma. She lives with the vampire Lemuel, but no one knows what she does; they only know that she’s beautiful and dangerous.

Born of Defiance
Kenyon, Sherrilyn
Born an Outcast, Talyn Batur has spent the whole of his life fighting against the prejudice of his people. An Andarion without a father is not something anyone wants to be. But when his companion’s brother draws him into a plot against the Andarion crown, he finds himself torn between the loyalty to their planetary government that his mother has beaten into him and his own beliefs of justice and right.

The Enemy Inside: A Paul Madriani Novel
Martini, Steve
One of the most successful lawyers in the country, Olinda Serna is a master at managing money as well as her influential clients. After years of fierce combat in the political trenches, Serna knows all the dirty secrets, where the bodies are buried, and how deeply they are stacked. When she’s killed in a roadside crash in the high desert of Southern California, powerful heads in Washington begin to panic, worried that their secrets may not be safe anymore.

Palmer, Michael
When Carrie learns about an experimental program at the VA Medical Center exploring the use of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) that could forever cure the emotional and memory trauma of PTSD, it seems like a way back into medicine. Carrie is apprehensive, but a chance meeting with David Hoffman, a reporter for the Lowell Observer writing a story on PTSD, helps her overcome any hesitation. Her first surgery appears to be a success until her patient mysteriously vanishes. When a second patient also goes missing, Carrie employees the investigative skills of David, and together they descend into a labyrinth of murder and corruption. And the price Carrie might pay for asking the wrong questions could be her life.

14th Deadly Sin
Patterson, James/ Paetro, Maxine
With a beautiful baby daughter and a devoted husband, Detective Lindsay Boxer can safely say that her life has never been better. In fact (for a change), things seem to be going well for all the members of the Women’s Murder Club as they gather to celebrate San Francisco Medical Examiner Claire Washburn’s birthday. But the party is cut short when Lindsay is called to a gruesome crime scene, where a woman has been murdered in broad daylight.

Posted by Jenifer Brown

I have a publicity kit from Vertigo for their newer titles like Wake, Trillium and Hinterkin.  Some of the titles are “for mature readers”.  I was waiting for Wake which is finally in the system.  The kit includes bookmarks, posters and samples.  Would anyone like this kit?


Posted by Becky


The Vertigo kit is going to Arlington.  Becky

ALA Notable Books for 2015

February 4, 2015

From the American Library Association Midwinter Conference, the 2015 selections are:


“All My Puny Sorrows” by Miriam Toews, McSweeneys
How much sacrifice does the love of a sister require?

“All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr, Scribner
Navigating the dark of World War II a German boy and a French girl survive using senses other than sight.

“The Bone Clocks: A Novel” by David Mitchell, Random House
The human condition: bleak but not without moments of redemption.

“The Children Act” by Ian McEwan, Nan A Talese
A deceptively simple story reveals complexities of life choices.

“The Crane Wife” by Patrick Ness, Penguin
A thoughtful exposition of love, in all its endless varieties.

“The Enchanted: A Novel” by Rene Denfeld, Harper
Death row inmates await escape through execution in this weirdly gorgeous tale.

“Narrow Road to the Deep North: A Novel” by Richard Flanagan, Alfred A. Knopf
Australian beaches, Burmese jungles, love and death permeate a story of World War II POWs.

“On Such a Full Sea” by Chang-Rae Lee, Riverhead
From fish farm to big pharma, 100 years later it’s all the same.

“Orfeo: A Novel” by Richard Powers, W.W. Norton
On the run from Homeland Security, Peter Els reflects on a life of attempted creation and immortality through music and chemistry.

“Something Rich and Strange: Selected Stories” by Ron Rash, Ecco
A brutal and beautiful collection of human tales set in the Carolinas.

“Station Eleven: A Novel” by Emily St. John Mandel, Alfred A. Knopf
Love, music, and Shakespeare sustain survivors of a global pandemic.

“Tigerman” by Nick Harkaway, Alfred A. Knopf
Funny, strange, and dangerous, the island of Mancreu may be beyond saving, but perhaps a superhero can bring redemption. “Full of win.”


“The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution” by Jonathan Eig, W.W. Norton
The not-so-immaculate conception of the first oral contraceptive.

“Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection in Medieval Paris” by Eric Jager Little, Brown and Company
Political intrigue that starts with a murder and ends with a throne.

“Dark Invasion: 1915 Germany’s Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America” by Howard Blum, Harper
German spies collaborate to unleash a campaign of terror in the United States at the start of World War I.

“Factory Man” by Beth Macy, Little, Brown and Company.
Made in America vs Made in China—is it too late to save one of these labels?

“In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeanette” by Hampton Sides, Doubleday
Glory and heartbreak on the rocks.

“Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story” by Rick Bragg, Harper
“Can a man play rock and roll and still go to heaven?”

“Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stephenson, Spiegel & Grau
A searing indictment of institutionalized racism and state-sanctioned death.

“The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses” by Kevin Birmingham, Penguin Press
Biography of a notorious classic which changed the landscape of literature and launched the Modernist movement.

“No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State” by Glenn Greenwald, Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt
A real life spy thriller and a cautionary tale about government data gathering.

“Pandora’s DNA: Tracing the Breast Cancer Genes Through History, Science, and One Family Tree” by Lizzie Stark, Chicago Review Press
One woman’s face-off with her genetic fate.

“The Secret History of Wonder Woman” by Jill Lepore, Alfred A. Knopf
Suffering Sappho, we need to teach these girls to have some fun!

“The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” by Elizabeth Kolbert, Henry Holt and Company
Whether it’s rats or cockroaches that inherit the earth, this tale of species loss forms a narrative of evolution and annihilation.


“The Blue Buick: New and Selected Poems” by B.H.Fairchild, W.W. Norton
A regional American experience through myth and memory.

“Gabriel: A Poem”, by Edward Hirsch, Knopf
A father’s lament.

The winners were selected by the Notable Books Council whose members include 12 expert readers’ advisory and collection development librarians. The Council considers titles based on stellar reviews published in standard library reviewing sources and other authoritative sources. Derived from this list is the long list for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, ALA’s highest honor for books written for adults.

We own all except The Blue Buick; we’ll submit an order this week.


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