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
Crazy Dumplings

Amanda Roberts. Two Americans in China, $6.99 e-book (176p) ASIN B00OVTRWKC

Roberts’s eclectic dumpling cookbook covers a variety of fillings, from traditional pork to tacos and cheesecake. She is an American expatriate who has been living in China for four years; her recipe attempt to respect local traditions and the foods she has come to love while recreating her comfort foods from home. In this manner, she shows readers how she can turn almost anything into a dumpling filling and make a tasty meal for two. By providing a single dumpling wrapper recipe, she frees herself (and her readers) to consider non-traditional fillings, as well as a variety of sauces. Roberts makes readers think about the versatility of dumplings in a new way. However, readers are bombarded with so many different recipes, most of which are requests from Kickstarter backers, that they have no idea what is worth making and what is not; and the recipes all start to blend together, especially with her overly succinct directions. She provides good notes on metric conversions and some of her research around dumplings, but there is very little of the theory of what makes dumpling fillings work (or not), so readers will likely feel a little overwhelmed. Roberts covers a lot of ground, but she does it without much depth. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Dear Hannah: A Geek’s Life in Self-Improvement

Philip Dhingra. Nuclear Elements, $14.99 trade paper (254p) ISBN 978-1-5003-9224-6

App developer Dhingra is fluent in the language of self-help texts, as his epistolary memoir of self-improvement shows. At 14, he received a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People from a classmate, and used it to improve how he socialized and negotiated early professional experiences. He concluded that if one book could do that, more would be even better. The next 15 years were devoted to a repetitive and somewhat self-destructive process: discovering a new self-improvement technique, relaying it to his friend Hannah with enthusiasm, and then feeling his interest wane and his frustration with his work and love life redouble. After taking up meditation and sticking with it for multiple years, however, he decided to write a book collecting his letters to Hannah, in hopes of helping other self-help devotees. Reading about Dhingra’s past self-improvement efforts can be difficult, since his obsession with self-analysis borders, as even he admits, on the obsessive-compulsive—he has an apparent need to put every aspect of his life in a spreadsheet. While Dhingra presents some useful ideas about meditation and mindfulness, the book’s tone comes off as at once relentlessly self-analytical and un-self-aware, making it unlikely to appeal to readers seeking their own path to self-improvement. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Number One Songs: The First Twenty Years

Larry Irons. Black Hills, $15.95 trade paper (218p) ISBN 978-0-9907-6360-4

Irons, a former radio disc jockey who landed his first job in Reno in 1967, decided to parlay his love of radio into a long-form poem consisting of one rhyming verse about each #1 song in the U.S. from 1956 through 1975, occasionally including . interesting biographical details about the artists. Readers will have to really love music to tolerate Irons’s epic. The rhymes are trite, albeit sometimes whimsical, and the whole piece would have benefited from very serious editing, particularly when Irons loses focus and veers off on autobiographical tangents. Twenty years of songs also isn’t a strong theme to organize a book around—and therefore the collection feels unwieldy. Readers may want to skip this altogether and go straight to Irons’s source, The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, to learn about the music itself. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Miseryland

Keiler Roberts. Keiler Roberts, $10 ISBN 978-1-5078-0475-9

Roberts shares her life as a mother living with a young child just learning to push boundaries in this collection of her Ignatz Award–nominated Powdered Milk minicomics. With this strong entry in the autobiographical comic genre, Roberts is unafraid to show herself looking bad, such as when she’s frustrated when her daughter, Xia, calls her—only to find out it’s to say “I love you.” In the comic’s best pages, Roberts and Xia struggle with toilet training (“That already happened,” Xia beams when she is warned to keep her butt out of the bowl), and Xia abuses her swearing privileges. The linework on the characters is detailed while retaining a sketchiness for backgrounds that makes the figures feel raw, rather than polished. The simple, direct art makes for an intimate, personal journey through Roberts’s life as a mother and creator. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Black Canyon

Jeremy Bates. Ghillinnein, $2.99 e-book (78p) ISBN 978-0-9937646-4-6

Discontented adolescent Brian, the narrator of this short, sharp shocker, admits to parricide in the opening paragraphs, and he has a few more startling surprises to spring before he’s through recalling his family’s ill-fated Colorado camping trip in the fall of 1990. Things are already tense between Brian and his bickering parents when Brian’s showboating dad stumbles off a cliff and seriously injures himself. While Brian’s mom runs for help, Brian watches over his dad, until the delirious man tells Brian a secret that makes the boy less inclined to save him. The stage is set for other revelations that put Brian’s behavior in grim context. Bates (The Taste of Fear) writes persuasively from Brian’s adolescent point of view, making the horror of his youthful reminiscences that much more intense. A coda shifting from the past to the present comes across as something of a storytelling cheat, but it doesn’t diminish the power of this first-person tale. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Wytchfire

Michael Meyerhofer. Red Adept, $16.99 trade paper (360p) ISBN 978-1-940215-28-0

Poet Meyerhofer (Damnatio Memoriae) somewhat unsuccessfully tries his hand at fantasy in his fiction debut. The land of Runn is a war-torn continent blending traditional sword-and-sorcery elements with those of the more recently popular grimdark subgenre; prostitution, suicide, and sexual assault coexist with ancient draconic cults, magic swords, and prophecies of a chosen savior. Rowen, a failed candidate for knighthood, accidentally crosses paths with a bloodthirsty army bent on using certain powerful individuals, called Dragonkin, to conquer the known world. The resulting conflict, though rooted in an intricate setting, relies far too heavily on clichés and creative misspellings: orc becomes olg, dwarf is dwarr, and so on. Meyerhofer’s prose is serviceable, but unlike his award-winning poetry, it brings nothing unique or especially interesting to its genre. The plot, which meanders and sometimes appears to contradict itself, is in dire need of editing. Though enthusiastic about his subject matter, Meyerhofer unfortunately comes up short when translating that emotion into his work. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Gene.sys: Magigate Returns

Bill Gourgey. Jacked Arts, $16.95 trade paper (409p) ISBN 978-0-9894205-5-6

Gourgey opens his intensely imagined third futuristic Glide novel (after Nu Logic: Rise of the Neos) with virologist Dr. Janot poised to eradicate humankind with the Gene.sys virus. Preparing for his created Nephilim species to ascend to power, Janot transforms captive teen Maddy into a Nephilim, hoping to provoke his former associate Dr. Magigate. The benign, philosophical Magigate and his adversary-turned-ally Samantha Biggs join forces with a diversified array of teens, knights, ruffians, reporters, and cyber ghosts to face off against Janot and his Neo supporters, with whom the authorities are aligned. Gourgey conjures up dazzlingly innovative concepts that wickedly satirize online interactions and offer mind-spinning visions of futuristic technologies. He includes a nod to the double-edged nature of scientific development, and the conclusion provides an uneasy, sometimes unconvincing union of techie arcana with conventional heroic lore. The hyperimaginative tone of the trilogy will enthrall readers willing to risk foundering in strange seas of thought. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths

Harry Bingham. Sheep Street, $4.99 e-book (391p) ASIN B00Q6QOCQK

A payroll-scam investigation drives Bingham’s suspenseful third police thriller featuring Welsh Det. Constable Fiona Griffiths (after 2013’s Love Story, with Murders). The police have learned that a furniture superstore has been tricked into paying thousands of pounds to two women who didn’t actually work for the business. When Fiona tries to track down the phantom workers, she finds that one, the reclusive Hayley Morgan, has died under suspicious circumstances: someone drained Morgan’s bank account, and her recluse’s phone and electricity were cut off, leaving her to die. The inquiry into the fraud case goes nowhere, until Fiona’s bosses ask her to go undercover as a cleaning woman as a way of getting at the white-collar criminals running the scheme. For Fiona, living as a different person constitutes her second “strange death” after her traumatic abandonment as a child left her believing she was dead for two years. Fans of plucky, independent heroines will be pleased. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Someday File: Deuce Mora Series, Vol. 1

Jean Heller. CreateSpace, $14.99 trade paper (362p) ISBN 978-1-505880-33-5

Chicago reporter Deuce Mora, the appealing narrator of Heller’s well-crafted and suspenseful series opener, is a columnist for the Chicago Journal, a paper facing declining readership and revenues, and is at odds with her editor, who wants her to tone down her treatment of controversial issues such as gun control. Meanwhile, a sniper assassinates eight-term Congressman Charles Reading in Las Vegas, Nev. Just the evening before, Deuce met with ex-con Vinnie Colangelo, a potential human-interest story whose name had been in her “someday file” of such leads. Vinnie was drunk when she spoke to him at his Cicero home, but Reading’s murder makes her consider his warnings that something big was going to happen in Las Vegas in a new light. Before she can follow up, however, Vinnie is murdered. Motivated by guilt that her meeting precipitated Vinnie’s death, Deuce turns sleuth. The story line is nicely twisty without stretching probability. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Short Bus Hero

Shannon Giglio. Nightscape, $13.99 trade paper (250p) ISBN 978-1-938644-21-4

Ally Forman, a young woman with Down syndrome and a burnt-out guardian angel, wins the lottery in this unusual work from horror scribe Giglio (Revival House). Twenty-four-year-old grocery bagger Ally is obsessed with pro wrestling, so when she finds out she’s won $314 million she vows to bring her favorite wrestler, the recently booted Stryker Nash, back into the ring. Determined to use her riches to finally make her own decisions, Ally—with the help of a few whispered words from her cynical spirit guide—fights for independence from a family that’s just as determined to convince her she can’t. And as the choices Ally makes take hold, she learns that being normal isn’t exactly what she thought it would be. In less sensitive hands, Ally’s story could have devolved into something unsatisfying and distasteful. But it never veers in that direction. Instead, what Giglio has presented is a compassionately written and uplifting tale of forgiveness and redemption. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | 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.