Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
Black Moon Draw

Lizzy Ford. Kettlecorn, $2.99 e-book (320p) ISBN 978-1-62378-159-0

..
Dumped and heartbroken, Naia loses herself in wine and falls asleep reading an online romance novel, which features the Shadow Knight of Black Moon Draw. Upon awakening, she finds herself in the world of Black Moon Draw itself—and she’s the Shadow Knight’s new battle-witch, according to a nearby panther-headed minion. Apparently battle-witches tend to get killed off quickly in these parts, despite their ability to regrow severed limbs. In quick succession, she falls in with the Red Knight of White Tree Sound, rescues a kidnapping victim, and is captured by the dread but good-smelling Shadow Knight, who promptly chops off her hand to prove that she is a witch. The Shadow Knight is clearly villainous, as well as engaged to be married, but Naia decides nonetheless to save him and his kingdom from a thousand-year curse, no matter whether she ends up in his world for good. Ford gives herself a cameo role as “LF,” author of the novel that Nina was reading—a ridiculous cherry atop an endearingly silly sundae. This is a fine light read for a rainy afternoon. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/21/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Grand Theft Death: A Salty Sister Mystery

Ann Philipp. Salty Sister, $12.99 trade paper (260p) ISBN 978-0-9895654-0-0

..
Philipp’s tongue is firmly in cheek in this goofy, entertaining series debut. Graphic artist Patricia Schuster, who has hit a professional dead end, gets a chance to start over when she inherits her grandmother’s house and antique business in Lakeville, a short distance north of San Francisco. But when Patricia drives a drunken friend home without knowing her friend’s car has been reported stolen, she gets arrested for stealing it. This humiliation turns into something more complex when her friend drowns in a swimming pool. Aided by some of her late grandmother’s close friends, including the widow of a mobster, Patricia plays gumshoe while falling for the hunky son of the officer who arrested her. The ending is a bit over the top, but Philipp’s light touch and the endearing romantic subplot bode well for the sequel. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/21/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Carpe Diem, Illinois

Kristin A. Oakley. Little Creek Press, $16.95 paper (284p) ISBN 978-0-9899780-3-3

..
In Oakley’s novel, Leo Townsend is a Pulitzer Prize–nominated reporter battling a series of personal demons that have put him on probation at his newspaper. He’s given an assignment that seems innocuous at first glance: investigate the town of Carpe Diem, an enclave in Illinois with no schools (the families all “unschool” their children). As Townsend begins his research, he stumbles upon a conspiracy to destroy Carpe Diem and its education system, or lack thereof. Oakley’s concept is interesting, but the residents of Carpe Diem tend to be one-dimensional. The teenagers come off as Stepford children, perfectly well-behaved, intelligent, and educated in everything from auto mechanics to nursing. The adults, meanwhile, are mired in alcohol, adultery, blackmail, corruption, and murder. Oakley’s heavy promotion of unschooling tends to slow the pace at times. Still, the amateur sleuthing and clever deceptions should delight fans of cozy mysteries. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/21/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Halfway Home: Drawing My Way Through Japan

Christine Mari Inzer. Naruhodo Press (www.naruhodopress.com), $11.95 paper (102p) ISBN 978-0-9907014-0-8

..
Inzer, a high school senior, channels the work of Lucy Knisley and Raina Telgemeier in her journal-like travelogue comic. In 2013, she traveled alone to Japan, her birthplace, to stay with her grandparents outside Tokyo. Accompanied by occasional photos from her travels, Inzer’s gestural b&w cartoons trace her simultaneous excitement and nervousness over exploring Tokyo’s Harajuku neighborhood by herself, moments of cultural confusion (such as the trials of mastering Japanese toilets), and failed attempts to get boys to notice her (“Why don’t you ever look up from your phones?” she moans on a page titled “The Problem with Japanese Boys”). The mostly single-page anecdotes are often amusing, and Inzer isn’t afraid to play with form (while feeding deer in Nara, outside Kyoto, hungry animals descend on her from outside the frame of the final panel on the page). While readers may not feel like they have fully witnessed the growth that Inzer claims at book’s end, her skills of observation and talent for visual humor bode well for future efforts. Ages 12–up. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/21/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Kingdom of the Sun and Moon

Lowell H. Press. Parkers Mill Publishing (www.thekingdomofthesunandmoon.com), $11.99 paper (316p) ISBN 978-0-9905130-0-1

..
First-time author Press creates a complex and absorbing world of mouse kingdoms set against the grounds of Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace. After a small, strong-willed mouse named Nesbit speaks out against the kingdom’s tyrannical ruler, the König, he is cast away to the treacherous Forest of Lost Life (one of the distant regions of the palace complex). Meanwhile, Nesbit’s more even-tempered brother, Sommer, is forced to join the Eagle Guard to defend the palace against a powerful army of approaching field mice. Murine, feline, and human characters commingle in an adventure filled with rich descriptions of a world lived within palace walls, beside corridors, and along labyrinthine garden paths. While abundant details about the mice’s mythology and lore can slow the pace, Press keeps the story scampering along with humor and persistent threats to Nesbit and Sommer in the form of owls, cats, and rival rodents. The author takes full advantage of the expansive backdrop and his diminutive protagonists as the brothers and their allies work to overthrow a brutal adversary and protect their homeland. Ages 10–up. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/21/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
A Man and a Motorcycle: How Hamid Karzai Came to Power

Bette Dam. Ipso Facto, $15.30 trade paper (246p) ISBN 978-90-77386-13-2

..
Reporter Dam meticulously recounts Hamid Karzai’s rise to power, drawing on the experiences she’s had living in Afghanistan for the past eight years, including multiple meetings with the president. In fact, she recalls being surprised, as a woman, by the level of access she had to him, and to Afghan politicians in general. Armed with this first-hand knowledge, Dam begins by laying out the system of tribal nepotism and patronage that keeps the country running but hinders it from advancing into a functioning democracy. She goes on to show how those systems were disrupted by the arrival of the Taliban and restored under Karzai, despite American efforts to paint the new regime as a paragon of democratic government. Dam also outlines how American military might was co-opted by regional warlords in power struggles neither U.S. policy makers nor troops fully understood. Military history enthusiasts and students of comparative culture will be grateful the author has decided to share her unique perspective on Karzai and Afghanistan. The book’s focus on the minutiae of the Afghan president’s life and career can be overwhelming, but it quickly becomes clear that only this level of detail will allow Americans to understand a very different culture. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/21/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Dark Spell: Surviving the Sentence

Mara Leveritt, with Jason Baldwin. Bird Call Press, $20 trade paper (290p) ISBN 978-1-4991-7575-2

..
Investigative reporter Leveritt follows up her 2002 work about the West Memphis Three, Devil’s Knot, with the second in her Justice Knot Trilogy. This time she focuses on Jason Baldwin, one of the three young men accused of murdering three boys in Alabama in 1993. Leveritt uses interviews, public records, and Baldwin’s own recollections to recreate his life leading up to the arrest and trial as well as his extended stint in prison. It’s clear Leveritt believes that Baldwin was wrongfully accused, and she emphasizes the many irregularities in the trial and subsequent legal wranglings, while portraying Baldwin as an essentially decent person caught up in events far beyond his control. Between Baldwin’s first-hand experiences and Leveritt’s own pointed interpretation of the events, readers will be outraged by what seems to be a grievous failure of the justice system. Some of the material becomes repetitive, as Baldwin is transferred from one prison to another for nearly two decades. Meanwhile, support in the outside world grows to a fever pitch, leading to a reexamination of the evidence. A powerful look at how the wrong agenda can thoroughly undermine the justice system, this book is bound to be of interest to true-crime readers. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/21/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Cobblestones and Heels

Kathryn Martone. Kathryn Martone, $21 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-0-692-21890-7

..
Corporate flight attendant Martone’s goal in this brief, informative guide is to dispel the outdated mystique of the “sky angel,” replacing it with the intense training, long hours, and hard work of modern private cabin attendants. Chatty and uncomplicated, Martone’s writing has the tone of a diary even when giving practical advice for aspiring flight attendants, such as what to have on a resume (professional safety training, culinary skills, and a customer-service background). She acquaints the reader with the best the job has to offer(international travel and culture), as well as the worst (high-altitude work when you’re sick), and recounts one memorable episode of mid-air peril, during a “bad trip” with novice pilots. Although she tends to repeat herself, Martone is most cogent when recalling her favorite travel memories: an unexpected African safari, a one-month tour with a rock band, and a trip to her ancestral home in Russia. She concedes that “looks” might get the interview, but debunks their importance in doing the job: “Your face will not accomplish creating and serving five-star meals. It will not help you meet the needs of your passengers and supply them with the outstanding customer service they are expecting.” Her writing suffers from numerous errors (such as typos and grammatical inconsistencies), but Martone skillfully shows that an easygoing temperament and discreet nature are necessary to succeed in private aviation. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/21/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Behind the Lines: WWI’s Little-Known Story of German Occupation, Belgian Resistance, and the Band of Yanks Who Helped Save Millions from Starvation

Jeffrey B. Miller. Millbrown Press, $16.95 trade paper (480p) ISBN 978-0-9906893-0-0

..
Part one of a three-part examination of the conditions in Belgium during WWI under the German occupation, Miller’s book covers only the first five months: August to December 1914. His primary focus is the origin of the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB), led by American businessman—and future president—Herbert Hoover. Miller also examines the beginnings of the Belgian resistance and the experiences of the Bunge family, who were participants in both the resistance and the activities of the Belgian relief. Miller’s excellent research is extensive and strongly supports his thesis that Hoover and the CRB were instrumental in saving the lives of untold numbers of Belgian civilians. The work’s major shortcoming is obvious: it ends abruptly in December 1914. Though it’s an intriguing read, Miller’s well-written and thorough study will be of greatest interest to specialists in WWI and European history. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/21/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Heartbreak Hotel

Aneta Cruz. Black Opal, $11.99 trade paper (286p) ISBN 978-1-62694-060-4

..
Cruz (The Guardian) tries and fails to bring a literary sensibility to contemporary romance. Kara, a young woman desperate for love, is confused and self-absorbed. Freshly graduated from hospitality school in Czechoslovakia, Kara joins the ranks of the desk clerks at one of Prague’s finest hotels. Blending in with a wide cast of likewise single co-workers, she fumbles from club to bed and from relationship to obsessive crush over the next several months, rarely settling for long with any one man or friend. Her most elusive hope is a romantic kiss in the center of the Charles Bridge. Kara’s single-minded focus on sex, virginity, and relationships gives an adolescent tone to her epic quest to find Mr. Right (Now), overwhelming the pleasant prose. Her occasional charming sweetness and the interesting but underdeveloped supporting cast aren’t quite enough to overcome a one-track plot and murky ending. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 09/26/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.