Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, January 11, 2022


Vintage: Morningside Heights by Joshua Henkin

From My Shelf

Cooking for Flavor

It all started with a hostess gift I received over the Thanksgiving holiday, a gorgeously photographed cookbook called The Flavor Equation: The Science of Great Cooking Explained by Nik Sharma (Chronicle, $35).

In his cooking, Sharma elegantly straddles Eastern and Western cultures, crafting recipes with ingredients and techniques that optimize the brightness of food, as well as its savoriness, sweetness, fieriness and bitterness. He defines flavor to include emotion, sight and sound, as well as mouthfeel (texture), aroma and taste, and walks readers through his "flavor approach" to each recipe, sharing tips and explaining the basic science of how ingredients interact.

I naturally gravitated toward recipes in the section of the cookbook titled "Fieriness," with exceedingly aromatic and mouthwatering results. The dishes I cooked, including spiced roast chicken and lamb kofta in almond gravy, all exploded with flavor.

After the success of the lamb kofta in particular, I turned to Sharma's first cookbook, Season (Chronicle, $35), eager to immerse myself further in this author's world of cooking. In Season, Sharma reinvents dishes he has enjoyed at local restaurants across the U.S., enhancing them with spices from his childhood and paying culinary homage to recipes from his husband's Southern upbringing. Sharma's recipe for apple masala chai cake is one my family has anointed our new favorite.

These newly acquired cookbooks enjoy shelf space alongside many old favorites, including a volume that isn't a cookbook in the strict sense but is jam-packed with kitchen fundamentals for the recreational cook. What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained (Norton, $16.95) by the late Robert L. Wolke explains in simple terms and with brilliant humor the chemical principles that govern food preparation and flavor. Posing more than 100 questions that a curious cook might ask, What Einstein Told His Cook is a reliable food science classic that complements Sharma's approach to culinary experimentation. --Shahina Piyarali, reviewer


Sleeping Bear Press: Too Many Pigs in the Pool by Wendy Hinote Lanier, illustrated by Iris Amaya


The Writer's Life

Jonathan Evison: Taking a Shot at the Great American Novel

photo: Keith Brofsky

Jonathan Evison's debut novel, All About Lulu, won the Washington State Book Award in 2008. His next two books, West of Here (2011) and The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving (2012), received the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award. Lawn Boy won a 2019 ALA Alex Award, given to books written for adults with crossover appeal to YA readers. In 2009 and 2011, the American Booksellers Association nominated Evison as "Most Engaging Author." His seventh novel, Small World, is reviewed below. He lives with his wife and three young children near Seattle.

You are a prolific novelist, publishing six novels before Small World in 14 years. Are you percolating ideas for multiple books while you're writing?

I'm usually working on two or three novels at once, but in each case I'm engaged in a different part of the process. I might be line-editing one novel, composing another one and researching a third. This way there is always work to be done, depending on the skill set I feel like using on any given day. Composition is the most challenging and requires the biggest block of time, and some days I just don't have the juice or the time, so I'll edit or research instead.

Many of your previous novels feature your Pacific Northwest home, especially West of Here, set in the Olympic Peninsula's frontier days, and Legends of the North Cascades. Small World links the country's coasts, exploring diverse regions along the transcontinental railroad. Had you been anticipating a novel that would expand your work geographically?

I never really thought about it in geographical terms, to be honest. I just wanted to take a shot at the Great American Novel, and connecting the coasts via the transcontinental railroad seemed like a good opportunity to explore themes of nation building, labor and mobility, and also a good device to connect a big cast of characters.

Did you come to have any favorite characters?

Honestly, my characters are like my kids, I can't pick favorites. For all their flaws, they are created lovingly and painstakingly, and I inhabit them for months, so I empathize with them to the highest possible degree. I mean, if I had to pick one of them to sit down and drink beer with, or take a hike, it might be Jenny's husband, Todd. If I wanted to play shuffleboard or darts with one of them, it might be Malik. If I wanted to just sit down and hear about their personal experiences, probably George, or Finn, or Nora.

About 20 main characters form complex, interlocking multigenerational links. How did you plot your story and keep it organized as you wrote?

I devised a lot of charts and graphs and outlines and such to help me navigate all the characters and their various timelines. The biggest challenge was to keep all the characters fresh in the reader's imagination, though there are times with a cast this large where a character may be out of the spotlight for 60 or 70 pages. This is where the connectivity becomes so important. By connecting characters geographically, ideologically, experientially, even coincidently, you can summon them in the reader's imagination without them being on the page. It was very important to me that the reader could fluidly track all of the characters and have a sense of how they all fit into the larger picture.

In my conception, the book doesn't really end, the world just keeps going; all the characters go on living in my imagination.

Over 170 years, the details of place, time and culture feel so true. How did you conduct your research? Are you intrinsically drawn to history?

I abhor research, to be honest, though I've become somewhat adept at it out of necessity. It all starts with character for me. In order to develop authentic characters, I have to become well acquainted with their contexts--their histories, geographies and cultures.

Small World incorporates many cultures and traditions. Did any especially resonate with you?

I wouldn't say especially. I became as deeply immersed in all the cultures as I possibly could. My deep research dives into the underground railroad and the transcontinental railroad--in terms of gleaning the logistical hurdles, and understanding the creativity, cooperation and ever-present peril each necessitated in their own way--were probably the most enlightening.

From the early scenes of the impoverished Irish family arriving in New York in 1851, and throughout your novel, your characters parent with deep love. Does your family influence your writing?

My family life informs every breath I take. My love for my kids is the foundation of my whole life, and my entire identity. Everything I do, I do for them, except drink beer and play shuffleboard. I can't even imagine a life without my kids at this point. I'm already dreading an empty nest, and I still have 14 years to go, at least. --Cheryl McKeon, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.


New Harbinger Publications: Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament by Michael A. Singer


Book Candy

Books Now in the Public Domain

Winnie-the-Pooh, Bambi, The Sun Also Rises and other important works entered the public domain January 1, Mental Floss reported.

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Merriam-Webster looked up "apricity and other rare wintry words."

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Author Kelefa Sanneh picked his top 10 books about musical subcultures for the Guardian.

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Abaddon Fugue explored "10 early 20th century authors of the fantastic and the ghastly."

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Bookshelf featured a 15th century Italian book box, which "medical practitioners often attached... to their belts as they traveled about calling on their patients."


Faber & Faber: Hello, Mom by Polly Dunbar


Great Reads

Rediscover: Keri Hulme

Author Keri Hulme, an icon of New Zealand literature and the first Kiwi to win the Booker Prize, died December 27 at age 74, Stuff NZ reported. Her mother was Māori--Hulme was of Kāi Tahu and Kāti Māmoe descent--while her father was of British heritage. Hulme's novel The Bone People, which won the 1985 Booker, "tells the story of Kerewin Holmes, an elusive artist trying to escape her past," Stuff NZ wrote, adding that "despite going on to win widespread critical acclaim, the manuscript was turned down by many New Zealand publishers. Speaking in 2014, Hulme described how she shopped it around for 12 years before it was eventually published by Spiral in 1984. It went on to sell more than a million copies and has been translated into nine languages."

Hulme's other books include the poetry collection Lost Possessions; short story collections Te Kaihau: The Windeater and Stonefish; and a nonfiction work, Homeplaces: Three Coasts of the South Island of New Zealand. She also "began two other novels, each running to hundreds of pages, but they were never finished, despite significant advances from publishers," Stuff NZ wrote. The Bone People is available in paperback from Penguin Books ($16).


Book Review

Fiction

Small World

by Jonathan Evison


Master storyteller Jonathan Evison's seventh novel is a sweeping epic set over 170 years of United States history, a mosaic of intimate stories of 20 main characters whose dreams and labors built the nation. Small World examines the injustices they endure, while celebrating the glory of the American spirit.

The novel opens in 2019 as Oregon Amtrak conductor Walter Bergen drives his last route before retiring. The next chapter, set on a roiling ship crossing the Atlantic to New York in 1851, introduces the Bergens of County Cork, desperate for a new life "on the other side of the Golden Door." Short chapters from the mid-1800s follow diverse Americans, including Wu Chen, who left China for California's "Golden Mountain"; the enslaved Othello of Kentucky, whose master imagines the "small world it shall be" when the railroad joins the East and West, a hope that excludes Othello; and Luyu, a Miwok native whose people were forced to labor for white captors. The Bergen twins, Nora and Finn, cruelly separated as orphans, nurture a lifelong hope to reunite, even as Finn joins the team of Irishmen building the transcontinental railroad.

Modern stories are interspersed with the historic. The 2019 Amtrak carries passengers whose forebears' paths brought them together, and Evison (Lawn Boy) craftily incorporates subtle clues to the genealogy linking the centuries. Rather than feeling disjointed, the fast-paced back-and-forth of the novel underscores the image of the "small world" that is the United States, with its heartwarming dreams achieved, its still-deferred hopes, and the diverse protagonists, whom readers will miss when their epic story ends. --Cheryl McKeon, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.

Discover: This epic novel of mid-19th century American expansion follows 20 diverse characters and their efforts to claim rich lives.

Dutton, $28, hardcover, 480p., 9780593184127

Wahala

by Nikki May


The worlds of three mixed-race best friends are overturned by a newcomer to their group in Wahala, the deliciously intrigue-packed debut from Nikki May.

Ronke, Simi and Boo are all Anglo-Nigerian women living in London, and they are searching for different things in their lives. Ronke wants a husband and children; she has hopes for her current boyfriend but her friends have their doubts. Boo is feeling stifled by motherhood and the limited fulfillment of a job that she's placed on the back burner. Simi and her husband, who is temporarily an ocean away, should be enjoying their career successes but she's not as certain of the plans they made together as she claims. When Simi's childhood friend Isobel comes back into her life, she seems glamorous and exciting, if perhaps a little too eager to insinuate herself into all of their lives. But as their relationships with each other and their families begin to suffer, it becomes clear that Isobel has darker plans.

Sharply funny and insightful, Wahala tackles realistic issues around colorism, race and imposter syndrome, while reveling in culture, fashion and food. (Recipes are included.) It seamlessly blends the friendship fiction with a more sinister thriller aspect. Readers will fall in love with this group of friends, hold their breath waiting to discover their fates and eagerly look forward to more from May. --Kristen Allen-Vogel, information services librarian at Dayton Metro Library

Discover: Career and relationship troubles mix with more sinister plots in this wonderfully dramatic story of women's friendship.

Custom House, $27.99, hardcover, 384p., 9780063084247

To Paradise

by Hanya Yanagihara


In her sprawling third novel, Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life; The People in the Trees) begs to differ with John Donne's 17th-century aphorism that no man is an island. To Paradise is indeed thoroughly preoccupied with islands: Manhattan and Hawaii, as well as an archipelago of characters sharing names across three consecutive centuries in an alternate history, always at tragic crossways with one another.

The 19th-century David Bingham is the eldest heir of a wealthy Manhattan family, whose legacy is pitched between a conventional marriage to Charles Griffith and an exciting affair with Edward Bishop. The 20th-century David Bingham also lives in New York, with Charles Griffith, an affluent lawyer, despite being the heir-in-exile to the Kingdom of Hawaii, which Edward Bishop desperately and resentfully tries to preserve against the onslaught of colonialism. And in a 21st century smothered by plague, Charles, a research scientist, rhapsodizes about Davids Island, N.Y.: it could be a refugee camp for the mystifying variations of his prodigal son, "at all different ages.... There would be no misunderstandings... no loneliness.... They would only know one another, which is to say themselves, and their happiness would be complete."

This triptych surveys a dazzling alternate multiverse, but consistently returns to the dilemma of balancing risk and security in one's flight from despondency toward an ever-elusive utopia. Composed with an increasing number of epistles soaked in personal regrets, To Paradise is an ambitious undertaking, but ultimately rewarding. At times Yanagihara's aesthetic commitment to maximalism distracts from her iconoclastic brilliance, but the overall effect is a thorough and humane examination of "those who wept for the world, and those who wept for themselves." --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: Combining inventive alternate history and an uncanny speculative near future, this meditative rhapsody on the lonesome desire for paradise is a symphony only Hanya Yanagihara could compose.

Doubleday, $32.50, hardcover, 720p., 9780385547932

Mystery & Thriller

The Survivors

by Jane Harper


From the dusty outback to the frigid Tasman Sea, Jane Harper (The Lost Man; The Dry) does a superb job capturing the geographical diversity of Australia, while simultaneously showing that human nature never really changes. As The Survivors begins, Kieran, his girlfriend, Mia, and their new baby have come home for a visit to Evelyn Bay, a small Tasmanian seaside town. Evelyn Bay is the kind of touristy place where the population doubles in the summer but is placid the rest of the year.

Kieran and Mia rarely return, however, because a dozen years earlier, in a terrible storm, Kieran's brother was killed and Mia's best friend went missing. It was the most dramatic day in town history, until the day after Mia and Kieran arrive, when a body appears on the beach. It's a young artist named Bronte, who was waitressing in Evelyn Bay for the summer. Tensions among the townspeople immediately skyrocket, as inevitable comparisons to the aftermath of the storm begin.

The police start questioning everyone who interacted with Bronte, and it becomes clear that someone local must have been involved in her death. Kieran is reeling, repeatedly drawn back to the sea caves where he nearly died, and where his brother met his end. Kieran's unease mounts as strange things keep happening, and he's not alone: most of the residents of Evelyn Beach are stretched to their limits. Atmospherically creepy, and full of fascinating characters, The Survivors is Jane Harper at her best, a surefire hit for fans of Tana French or Camilla Läckberg. --Jessica Howard, bookseller at Bookmans, Tucson, Ariz.

Discover: In this atmospheric mystery, two tragedies, more than a decade apart, have dire consequences for a tiny Tasmanian town.

Flatiron, $17.99, paperback, 400p., 9781250232434

All I Want

by Darcey Bell


The image of the gloomy Victorian mansion--usually abandoned--with a murky history, located in a remote area, immediately creates a feeling of foreboding. It certainly isn't the place to call home. But Emma and Ben put aside any misgivings--ignoring their many viewings of The Shining--when they fall in love with a dilapidated Victorian in Darcey Bell's chilling All I Want.

Pregnant artist Emma is apprehensive when her husband, Ben, a rising Broadway producer, says he's fallen in love with a mansion located in a dying community in upstate New York. Sure, it's been vacant for years, needs a major overhaul and was once a mental hospital for actors. As aficionados of films such as The Amityville Horror, they should run. But the home is gorgeous, has a complete in-house theater and might be a good place to raise a family. Tensions between Ben and Emma begin even before they move in, accelerating when Ben spends more time in New York City to work on a new musical production, leaving Emma to deal with renovations. Using shifting points of view, Bell ramps up the tension as Emma sees phantom people, a former patient's diary disappears and an eerie presence hovers in the house. Yet, Emma begins to feel "an almost physical craving" for the house.

Bell (A Simple Favor) makes several familiar tropes, such as a woman alone and an overly involved handyman, seem fresh and even more frightening with shades of Rosemary's Baby, as All I Want builds to a solid finale. --Oline H. Cogdill, freelance reviewer 

Discover: A mixture of horror and mystery imbue this chilling novel about a couple buying a dilapidated mansion with a dark past.

Atria, $17, paperback, 272p., 9781982177270

Romance

The Siren of Sussex

by Mimi Matthews


Readers should expect emotional heft and fascinating historical detail from The Siren of Sussex, the first in the Belles of London Victorian romance series from Mimi Matthews (Fair as a Star).

Evelyn Maltravers of Sussex has "only two passions in life: horses and fashion," and plans to leverage both in the pursuit of a husband. The futures of her four younger sisters and her beloved horse, Hephaestus, depend upon her success in the London marriage market. She intends to use her riding skills to emulate the so-called Pretty Horsebreakers, a stylish and desired group of equestrienne-courtesans, to catch the eye of a wealthy suitor. First, she needs a truly standout riding habit. Enter Ahmad Malik, a British Indian tailor in need of the right patron to get his stunning, original designs noticed by the upper crust. The two strike up an alliance, but their sensible goals don't stop Ahmad from noticing Evelyn is "a singular beauty," nor Evelyn from realizing Ahmad has "the most sensual pair of lips in Christendom." However, if they act on their deepening connection, backlash from their prejudiced society could ruin them, their families, and their futures.

Remarkable for including an interracial couple and a tradesman as its hero, this sweet, intelligent novel offers a broader and more complex look at Victorian society than the average historical romance. Matthews explores cultural identity conflicts, exoticism and the difficult position of a merchant catering to the whims of a privileged class, all within a tender, empowering love story. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Discover: This Victorian romance stars a brilliant British Indian tailor who falls for a talented equestrienne in need of a high-class, wealthy husband.

Berkley, $16, paperback, 432p., 9780593337134

Biography & Memoir

Lost in the Valley of Death: A Story of Obsession and Danger in the Himalayas

by Harley Rustad


The never-ending quest for inner peace leads one man far into the trackless depths of India in Lost in the Valley of Death: A Story of Obsession and Danger in the Himalayas, Harley Rustad's compelling and personal investigation into Justin Alexander Shetler's life.

In the summer of 2016, American adventurer and traveler Justin Alexander Shetler set off on a spiritual pilgrimage in the Parvati Valley with a Hindu holy man, never to be seen again. Known to his thousands of social media followers simply as "Justin Alexander," the 35-year-old was a trained survivalist who sought the most authentic experiences of solo living in nature. With his quiet intensity and kind eyes, he made friends easily as he moved through foreign lands, living out his own personal mantra "Be Kind, and Do Epic Shit."

Rustad (Big Lonely Doug) explores the formative years of Shetler's peripatetic lifestyle and how he came to India. He also reveals the fascinating phenomenon of "India Syndrome," best described as a combination of a traveler's preconceived expectations of India along with hallucinatory drug use to achieve a spiritual awakening. These startling and documented tales are just part of Rustad's dense narrative of Indian spiritual traditions that ultimately form the stage for Shetler's final act. While the mystery of Shetler's disappearance remains just that, his spirit of adventure may attract new followers to far unknowns of the world, while also confirming for many more the comforts of the known and the near. --Peggy Kurkowski, book reviewer and copywriter in Denver

Discover: The cautionary and haunting tale of Justin Alexander Shetler--who vanished in "India's backpacker Bermuda Triangle" in 2016--raises compelling questions about the limits of spiritual seeking.

Harper, $29.99, hardcover, 304p., 9780062965967

Performing Arts

Lightning Striking: Ten Transformative Moments in Rock and Roll

by Lenny Kaye


It's impossible to say everything there is to say about rock music in 400-something pages, but--his book's subtitle to the contrary--Lenny Kaye just about says it all in Lightning Striking: Ten Transformative Moments in Rock and Roll.

Kaye is well positioned to tell rock's story: best known for his guitar work with Patti Smith, he has been an album reviewer, a musical talent scout and a record producer. Of an age to recall the dawn of rock, Kaye winds his personal reminiscences through the book's 11 chapters, each named for at least one place and time, from "Cleveland, 1952" through "Seattle, 1991." (Readers who have to ask why the "Ten Transformative Moments" of the book's subtitle correspond with not 10 but 11 chapters don't know their rock mockumentaries.) Each chapter amounts to an extended portrait of a scene and how it got that way. This means that before readers can, say, meet the Beatles in "Liverpool, 1962," they're introduced to singer Lonnie Donegan, manager Larry Parnes and producer Joe Meek.

Kaye is an unabashed music geek but doesn't write like one: he sustains a beat poetry-evoking style that usually works well (the early Ramones were "all downstrokes and lyrics one step removed from the asylum"). Kaye not only knows all the rock; he knows all the words, and if the ones that exist don't suffice, he invents them (Jimi Hendrix "pyrotechnics" his guitar). Lightning Striking is a love-letter-like historic record that can turn rock know-it-alls into rock know-even-mores. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Discover: With Lightning Striking, Lenny Kaye, best known for his guitar work with Patti Smith, proves that he is equally formidable as a rock music historian.

Ecco, $35, hardcover, 512p., 9780062449207

Now in Paperback

The Sanatorium

by Sarah Pearse


Sarah Pearse's scenic thriller The Sanatorium is set in a tuberculosis sanatorium turned five-star hotel in the Swiss Alps resort of Crans-Montana. Thanks to Pearse's descriptive powers and taste for the macabre, her debut--a Reese's Book Club Pick--will give readers the impression of looking through a design magazine guest edited by Vincent Price.

Elin Warner and her boyfriend, Will, are at Le Sommet for an engagement party for Elin's brother, Isaac, and Elin's childhood friend Laure, who works at the newly opened hotel. Will, an architect, is smitten with the place, whose decor includes glass cases displaying medical artifacts from the former sanatorium. Elin isn't sold: "This juxtaposition... it's chilling. Institution butting up against beauty." Her uneasiness grows when Isaac tells her that the hotel's principal architect went missing several years earlier, and her misgivings are flat-out validated the next morning, when Isaac announces that Laure has vanished. Elin, a British police detective on leave following a traumatic case, gets sleuthing--something made all the more difficult when a snowstorm traps everyone at the hotel.

When it's not calling to mind Architectural Digest, The Sanatorium can read like an issue of Psychology Today. Pearse's characters doggedly explore the interpersonal dynamics that she has constructed for them, especially a long-unresolved issue between Elin and Isaac. There's also the anguishing matter of whether the panic-attack-prone Elin should return to her job. The novel's psychologically focused passages can be dense, but readers coming out the other side will savor the intricate plotting, idiosyncratic set dressing and snow-covered suspense. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Discover: Villainy and psychology are equally key to this elaborately plotted thriller set in a tuberculosis sanatorium turned luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps.

Penguin, $17, paperback, 416p., 9780593296691

Children's & Young Adult

Ain't Burned All the Bright

by Jason Reynolds, illus. by Jason Griffin


Ain't Burned All the Bright is a gripping, emotional look into the life of a Black family living through what is evidently the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Artist Jason Griffin (My Name Is Jason, Mine Too) has designed this book as a notebook-style journal, separated by author Jason Reynolds (Stamped; Long Way Down) into three parts: "Breath One," "Breath Two" and "Breath Three." In the first breath, a Black first-person child narrator grapples with the protests he sees on the news about people who look like him fighting for "the freedom to breathe." With breath two, the child observes his family members in the living room while his father coughs incessantly in his bedroom. His father, despite the "rattling hack," reaches out to his son with optimism. In the third breath, the boy becomes overwhelmed with worry: "It feels like I'm the only person who can tell we're all suffocating." As the news makes him spiral, he sees "the beginning/ of a laugh" on his mother's face. Though the boy still wonders about the world, he is able to take a breath "in through the nose/ out through the mouth."

Griffin uses a childlike style to depict images such as neighborhoods on fire, a home swallowed by raging floods and figures in masks. The artist shows his creativity and range by also including abstract pages full of stark red and black paint and realistic figures like George Floyd or illustrations of hands. Reynolds's spare free verse appears as text printed out then taped down on top of the art. Together, the two creators channel the weight of uncertainty and chaos that Black people endure, as well as the hope they carry with them on a regular basis. --Kharissa Kenner, children's librarian, Bank Street School for Children

Discover: A harrowing and eye-opening snapshot of the life of a Black family living during the pandemic.

Atheneum, $19.99, hardcover, 384p., ages 12-up, 9781534439467

Echoes and Empires

by Morgan Rhodes


An entitled socialite teams up with a criminal to rid herself of magic in this fast-paced first book of a new fantasy duology from Morgan Rhodes (the Falling Kingdoms series).

Josslyn "Joss" Drake's prime minister father was assassinated a year ago by "warlock terrorist" Lord Banyan. Joss has been taught that magic is "the root cause of all darkness, all illness, all cruelty and violence" and that anyone who possesses it or is infected by it is a threat to the Regarian Empire. When Joss accidentally ingests magic that causes her to see Banyan's memories ("echoes"), she'll do anything to rid herself of the soul-corrupting, forbidden evil, including pairing up with 19-year-old Jericho Nox, a dangerous yet alluring "Blackheart" who works for a powerful witch. As Joss learns more about the magic within her and the echoes reveal shocking truths, she starts to question if her magic-free life of "glamour and sparkle" is just lies and secrets.

Echoes and Empires is a fast-paced fantasy with an enemies-to-lovers romance, snappy dialogue and several unexpected twists and turns. But the real standout is Joss's transformation from a shallow society girl who never questions authority to someone who accepts hard truths even if they turn her world upside down. As each fact is revealed, a bit of the old Joss is sloughed away, and a more self-aware version emerges. This--paired with Joss and Jericho's witty repartee dripping with sarcasm--elevates Rhodes's YA fantasy adventure. --Lana Barnes, freelance reviewer and proofreader

Discover: An entitled socialite must team up with a dangerous yet alluring criminal to rid herself of forbidden magic in this fast-paced YA fantasy.

Razorbill, $18.99, hardcover, 400p., ages 12-up, 9780593351659

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Author Buzz

The Murders at Fleat House

by Lucinda Riley

Dear Reader,

A fresh and compelling crime novel written by Lucinda Riley who sadly died in 2021. This note is from her son, Harry Whittaker. Together, they created the Guardian Angels series for children.

The Murders at Fleat House, although it has never seen the light of day, was written in 2006. Mum was hugely proud of this project. It is the only crime novel she ever wrote, but loyal readers will instantly recognize her unrivaled ability to capture a sense of place. I'm sure it will interest you to know that at the time of writing, my family lived in the vast, mysterious landscape in which the story is set. What's more, the Norfolk school featured in the book was heavily inspired by the one which we, her own children, attended. Thankfully, I can confirm that nothing so dramatic actually took place in the corridors of the boarding houses.

As you might expect, hidden secrets from the past strongly influence present day events, and we are treated to some typically superb characterization in the form of DI Jazz Hunter, who I'm sure you'll agree has the potential to anchor a series of her own.

Perhaps she would have, in another life.

Harry Whittaker

Available on Kobo



Publisher: 
Blue Box Press

Pub Date: 
May 26, 2022

ISBN:
9781952457807

List Price: 
$9.99 e-book

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