American Sycamore

Posted in Modern Literature by - Oct 01, 2014
American Sycamore
  • Release Date: 3/15/2014

By Karen Fielding
Seren Books, $12.17, 192 pages

American Sycamore crafts a world bound to the winding, burbling Susquehanna River. A world where time seems to stand still, the inhabitants armoring themselves in paranoia against the evils of a rapidly changing world.  The book is a fascinating exploration of the intertwining of normalcy and insanity that flows through the lives of the character, like the Susquehanna River that flows throughout the book. It raises, explores, and leaves open questions of what is normal, what is safe, and what is sane.

The story, like the river that serves to tie the threads of the book together—both geographically …

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How to Barter for Paradise: My Journey through 14 Countries, Trading Up from an Apple to a House in Hawaii

Posted in Travel by - Aug 06, 2014
How to Barter for Paradise: My Journey through 14 Countries, Trading Up from an Apple to a House in Hawaii
  • Release Date: 1/2/2014

By Michael Wigge
Skyhorse Publishing, $14.95, 208 pages

A house in Hawaii. I imagine that would be on most people’s wish lists at one point or another. But how would you obtain it? Michael Wigge wants one, and he has a most audacious plan to achieve his desire: bartering toward his ultimate goal, starting with an apple, and trading, cajoling, and finagling across the world in order to realize his dream.

How to Barter for Paradise is the travelogue covering Michael’s journey across six continents in order to negotiate his way to paradise. It is weird and fascinating and seems utterly absurd, because it is. Michael …

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The Headmaster’s Wife

Posted in Modern Literature by - Aug 06, 2014
The Headmaster’s Wife
  • Release Date: 2/25/2014

By Thomas Christopher Greene
Thomas Dunne Books, $24.99, 288 pages

Several times a week, I cross the green at the center of the Vermont College of Fine Arts campus, the elite arts school started by Thomas Christopher Greene. So when I saw his novel, The Headmaster’s Wife, with the familiar orange maple leaves and grand brick buildings on its cover, I wondered: How closely would Greene’s fiction reflect his real life and the Vermont hillsides I call home? The mirror is in place, certainly–I recognize Green’s version of New England–but he also uses it to illuminate unexpected pockets of the human experience, like the …

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Minnie and Moo: Hooves of Fire

Posted in Kids' Book Review, Tweens by - Aug 06, 2014
Minnie and Moo: Hooves of Fire
  • Release Date: 7/15/2014

By Denys Cazet, Illustrator
Creston Books, $15.95, 208 pages

As a little kid, I used to read the “Minnie and Moo” books for beginning readers. When I first got a “Minnie and Moo” chapter book for middle readers a long time ago, I didn’t like it very much. But then I received Minnie and Moo: Hooves of Fire by Dennys Cazet to review and I found out that I liked it. In this book, Minnie and Moo decide to put on an animal talent show to raise money to give to Mr. and Mrs. Farmer so they can buy a new tractor. Animals from their …

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The Spectral Link

Posted in Horror by - Aug 06, 2014
The Spectral Link
  • Release Date: 6/30/2014

By Thomas Ligotti
Subterranean, $20.00, 96 pages

The Spectral Link is something of an event, and this slim volume is likely to be out-of-print before publication. If you are a fan of Thomas Ligotti, you should preorder.

First, a brief word of explanation. Ligotti has been suffering from writer’s block, but a brush with death has sparked him back into creative life. Fortunately, the surgery was a success and he’s now writing again (albeit no more quickly than before the block appeared).

This book contains two powerful novelettes, both falling into the classification of existential horror. The first is a rather deft piece of plotting in which …

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Taken

Posted in Erotica by - Aug 06, 2014
Taken
  • Release Date: 7/22/2014

By Lora Leigh
St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.99, 384 pages

Taken by Lora Leigh is a misty-eyed exploration into the human heart through a series of six, loosely-related short stories, which are thick with emotion and action, and filled with love, scorching hot sex, manly men, and feisty but innocent women.

Leigh is the author of several lines of erotic romance. This collection falls along the line of her Elite Ops or Temping Seals imprints,  of strong military men and their lady loves. It was interesting the way minor characters reappeared, helping to connect the stories through the book. This technique worked well, like little Easter eggs …

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The Great War

Posted in History by - Aug 06, 2014
The Great War
  • Release Date: 2/1/2014

By Field Marshal von Hindenberg
Frontline Books, $19.95, 240 pages

Field Marshal von Hindenburg was the highest officer in the German military during World War I. This essential primary document is his own account of the war, surprisingly readable and sympathetic. As he recounts the various battles and tactical strategies, Von Hindenburg comes across as honest, trustworthy, dedicated, and stalwart. His love for his Fatherland is always uppermost in his mind; remarkably, he does not come across as a rabid zealot even though he idolizes, almost worshipfully, his “All-Highest War Lord”, Kaiser Wilhelm II. Amazingly restrained and tactful, he shows only the greatest respect …

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My Father’s Keeper

Posted in Modern Literature by - Aug 06, 2014
My Father’s Keeper
  • Release Date: 2/27/2014

By Andrew Potok
Fomite, $15.00, 268 pages

As an eight-year-old boy, Mishek and his family lived in Poland as freely practicing Jews. Then 1940 hits. The Nazis inevitably invade Poland, and Mishek and his family are forced to flee the country. During their escape, Mishek sees his true family dynamic begin to evolve, and the consequences shatter his relationship with his father Zyga even after they start a new life in the United States. It isn’t until Mishek dates an American girl who bonds with his father that he is able to start to make amends, and he realizes that his memories of the …

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Poisoned Ground: A Rachel Goddard Mystery (Rachel Goddard Mysteries)

Posted in Mystery, Crime & Thrillers by - Aug 06, 2014
Poisoned Ground: A Rachel Goddard Mystery (Rachel Goddard Mysteries)
  • Release Date: 3/4/2014

By Sandra Parshall
Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95, 250 pages

This gripping mystery starts with a bang. Rachel Goddard, a veterinarian in Mason County, Virginia, drives to Joanna McKendrick’s farm to check on her animals and finds Joanna pointing a shotgun at bank president Robert McClure. McClure has been badgering Joanna to sell to Packard Development, an outfit that wants to turn the area into a resort. Then shots ring out from the neighboring Kelly farm. The Kellys are found dead.

There are so many convincing suspects in this satisfying puzzle mystery: The Kellys opposed selling. Jake Hollinger is in favor of selling. Did he do …

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Equoid: a Laundry Novella (Laundry Files)

Posted in Mystery, Crime & Thrillers by - Aug 06, 2014
Equoid: a Laundry Novella (Laundry Files)
  • Release Date: 7/31/2014

By Charles Stross
Subterranean, $35.00, 112 pages

Endless paperwork is usually the worst part of any modern office job, but for Bob Howard, it’s undoubtedly the safest, since any fieldwork usually ends with him scrambling to save the Earth from monstrous unknowable Lovecraftian horrors. So naturally, he’s hoping his latest assignment – assisting with an inspection of a local farm – will be boring drudgery rather than supernatural combat. But there’s something horrific lurking in the stables of Edgebaston Farm, and before his trip is over, Bob will find himself wondering how anyone ever thought unicorns were sweet and pretty.

A curious mix of diary, procedural …

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