Friday, August 14, 2015

Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs

  • ISBN-10: 0345544048 - Hardcover $28.00
  • Publisher: Bantam (July 21, 2015), 320 pages.
  • Review copy courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley.

The blurb:
In the latest blockbuster novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs, forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan investigates what looks to be a typical missing person case, only to find herself digging up bones possibly left by a serial killer, a cult, or perhaps something not entirely of this world.

I'd been a big fan of the TV show Bones but hadn't read the books on which the show is based.  It was a surprise to find that Temperance Brennan of the TV show lives a very different life from that of the novels. The Temperance Brennan of Speaking in Bones didn't grow up in the foster care system, instead she is very rooted in her family.  We meet her beautiful, smart and difficult mother, her outspoken sister, and her daughter who is serving in the military overseas.  It's clear that Brennan pushes herself constantly to care for her family and further the investigations that arise from the discovery of missing bones.  

She's still the brilliant forensic anthropologist, well respected, well connected. She's not in DC with a lively and quirky supporting cast. Instead, she's working with local law enforcement with far less resources and trying to navigate reluctant witnesses to follow missing persons cases.  

Speaking in Bones is a forensic mystery novel with a well beloved heroine who is trying to make sense of the deaths that suddenly surround her and the people that she cares about.  It's a fun read, rich with forensic and medical details and unexpected twists. While this heroine is different from the Temperance Brennan of Bones on Fox TV, she's equally endearing.

About the Author:
Kathy Reichs is the author of seventeen New York Times bestselling novels featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Like her protagonist, Reichs is a forensic anthropologist—one of fewer than one hundred ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. A professor in the department of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she is the former vice president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and serves on the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada. Reichs’s own life, as much as her novels, is the basis for the TV show Bones, one of the longest-running series in the history of the Fox network. 

Cover Reveal: America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

  • ISBN-10: 0062347268- Paperback $15.99
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (March 1, 2016), 592 pages. 

About the Book:
In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and 
original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the 
fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson's eldest daughter, Martha "Patsy" 
Jefferson Randolph -- a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding 
father and shaped an American legacy.
From her earliest days, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson knows that though her father loves his 
family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper.  As Thomas Jefferson's oldest 
daughter, she becomes his helpmate in the wake of his mother's death, traveling with 
him when he becomes American minister to France.  And it is in Paris, at the glittering 
court and among the first tumultuous days of the revolution, that she learns of her father's
liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl of her own age. 
Patsy too has fallen in love--with her father's protege, William Short, a staunch abolitionist 
intent on a career in Europe.  Heartbroken at having to decide between being William's 
wife or a devoted daughter, she returns to Virginia with her father and marries a man 
of his choosing, raising eleven children of her own.
Yet as family secrets come to light during her father's presidency, Patsy must again 
decide how much she will sacrifice to protect his reputation, in the process defining 
not just Jefferson's political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.
About the Authors:
Stephanie Dray is a bestselling and award-nominated author of historical 
women's fiction.  Her series of Cleopatra's daughter has been translated into six 
different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award and won the Golden Leaf.  
As Stephanie Draven, she is a national bestselling author of paranormal romance, 
contemporary romance, and American set-historical women's fiction.  She is a 
frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near 
the nation's capital.  Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer, a game 
designer, and a teacher. She uses the stories of women in history to inspire the 
young women of today.
Laura Kamoie has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical 
presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological 
study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from 
The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early 
America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History 
at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre 
fiction as the New York Times bestselling author of over twenty books, Laura Kaye. 
Her debut historical novel, America's First Daughter co-authored with Stephanie 
Dray, allowed her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her 
passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, 
Maryland with her husband and two daughters.
If you're interested in learning more about America's First Daughter or winning a copy of
the book, head over to Tasty Book Tours to join the book contest!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity by Oriana Leckert

  • ISBN-10: 1580934285 -  Paperback $29.95
  • Publisher: The Monacelli Press (May 19, 2015), 224 pages.
  • Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

The blurb:
As an incubator of culture and creativity, Brooklyn is celebrated and imitated across the world. The settings for much of its dynamic underground scene are the numerous industrial spaces that were vacated as manufacturing dwindled across the huge borough. Adapted, hacked, and reused, these spaces host an eclectic range of activities by and for Brooklyn’s unique creative class, from DIY music venues to skillsharing centers. These are spaces to make art together, throw parties and concerts, host classes and performances, grow vegetables, build innovative products, and, most importantly, to support and inspire one another while welcoming more and more collaborators into the fold.
In Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity, Oriana Leckert introduces us to the creators driving Brooklyn’s cultural renaissance, and in their company takes us on a tour of these unique alternative spaces. Whether a graffiti art show in an abandoned power station, a circus school in a former ice house, or a shuffleboard club in a disused die-cutting factory, these spaces present a vibrant cross-section of life in the borough where trends in music, fashion, food, and lifestyle are set. A chronicle of a thriving and ever-renewing scene, this book will appeal to everyone who’s interested in the unique energy that makes Brooklyn Brooklyn.

I've lived in Brooklyn since 2008 but Leckert's Brooklyn Spaces revealed so many aspects of Brooklyn culture as well as places that I didn't know existed.  I'd walked by the Superhero Supply Co., and thought it had such a catchy name but didn't know the tutorial and writing services it provides to kids and teens in the community.  

The Morbid Anatomy Museum is near Four and Twenty Blackbirds, but I'd never gone further than peering into the windows. I've seen two different homes Brooklyn Brainery, but haven't taken a class yet.  

I'm not interested in guidebooks for New York City - have read so many and they often have the same suggestions.  But Brooklyn Spaces worked as a guide for me,  Leckert gives a concise but full picture of  50 spots scattered throughout Brooklyn (albeit heavily weighted towards Williamsburg) and offers us readers an introduction to worlds and areas that we might otherwise have missed.  I've my own short list of places that I'd like to visit and perhaps become well acquainted with, thanks to Leckert.  I feel rather guilty linking to Amazon - so I've signed up for Indiebound to link to independent booksellers as well. 

About the Author:
Oriana Leckert is a writer, editor, and cultural "hipstorian" whose love for Brooklyn borders on obsession.  She is the creatrix of the website Brooklyn Spaces (, a compendium of the borough's creative and underground culture; a writer for Atlas Obscura, the definitive guide to the world's wondrous and curious places; a matchmaker for ghosts at Gotham Ghostwriters.  Her writing has also appeared on Slate, Matador, Hyperallergenic, Untapped Cities, and Brooklyn Based.  She is relentlessly happy and will probably correct your grammar.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

  • ISBN-10: 0316405124 - Hardcover $18
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (October 20, 2015), 400 pages.
  • Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Reviewers Program.

The blurb:
The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world.  To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour, an annual mtorcycle race across their conjoined continents.  The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's Ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal:  Win the race and kill Hitler.  A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe.  This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele's twin brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move.  But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

Wolf by Wolf is set in a world where Adolf Hitler's Third Reich goes on to control half the world alongside the Japanese Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere. Our heroine Yael survives a death camp after having been singled out by the concentration camp's doctor for his skin changing experiments.  Yael's buried her entire family and many of those closest to her.  Her overriding goal is to destroy the Third Reich's control and to bring about Hitler's end.

The Resistance has planned an elaborate mission that requires her to first win the Axis Tour - a deadly race over the conjoined continents of what had been Europe, Russia, and Asia.  It is only as the winner of the contest that she'll have the opportunity to come close enough to Hitler to make her move.

I loved Wolf by Wolf. Yael enters the Axis Tour with a dossier on each of her competitors and quickly finds that there is much that her files fail to cover.  She must decipher their shared histories without revealing her identity or her mission and play to win.  Yael is strong, deadly, and with a strict code and as she goes through one of the most difficult challenges in her world, we can't help but root for her.

About the Author:
Ryan Graudin was born in Charleston, South Carolina.  She's the author of All That Glows and The Walled City.  She lives in South Carolina with her husband and wolf dog.