Elephant Beach used to sparkle. Before the boardwalks rotted and the hotels and mansions along the bay boarded up their windows, there were ballrooms, parties, dancing. Now, the town smells of cigarettes. The streets are filled with drugs. Haunting screams accompany moonlight as traumatized veterans relive pieces of Vietnam in their sleep.
From “Game of Thrones” to The Pillars of the Earth, popular culture offers up medieval stories where royals grab for power, where crucial alliances are built between church and state, where important people suddenly fall over dead after a sumptuous meal, poisoned by a hidden rival. But this world did, in fact, exist, and the subject of Kirstin Downey’s fascinating new biography, Isabella: The Warrior Queen, maneuvered through it with unlikely and thrilling success.
A sobbing 4-year-old bride. A disinterested 12-year-old groom. Married in a rural Indian village 20 years ago at the behest of a tyrannical grandfather, this couple doesn’t seem destined for a happily ever after. That is, unless you ask Mili Rathod, the irrepressible heroine of Sonali Dev’s charming debut novel, A Bollywood Affair.
To imagine what life was like growing up in a French village in the early 15th century, don’t think of A Year in Provence. Think of modern-day Syria.
During the years after World War II, a group of ambitious, idealistic, affluent and well-connected young people settled in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. Until at least 1975, their strong influence was felt, for good or ill, in virtually every aspect of government, especially foreign policy decisions, and in shaping public opinion on such issues as the founding of NATO, the military and covert actions of the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis and the war in Vietnam.
Ember is a dragon. Her life has been spent at an isolated training school run by Talon, the organization that governs all dragons. To fulfill the next stage of training—assimilation into human society—Ember and her brother, Dante, must assume human form.
A blend of mystery, supernatural tale and love story, The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man borrows from several genres but ultimately gets by on its humor. W. Bruce Cameron, best known for his dog-centered fiction series and the memoir 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, uses his own past as a repo man to craft the character of Ruddy McCann, failed college football star who now plays the sometimes dangerous game of seizing autos from their delinquent owners.
Curtis and Kathleen Kaufman are living every parent’s worst nightmare: Their son Daniel, a musical prodigy attending Oberlin College, was mowed down by a drunk driver. In The Fragile World, Paula Treick DeBoard explores the aftermath of this shattering event.
A harried reader could get the gist of The Secret History of Wonder Woman by opening it just past dead center and reading through the 16-page comic-book version of the story.
Is There a Dog in This Book? had me hooked right from the start, when three adorable, hip cats (Andre, Moonpie and Tiny) welcome readers with a warm greeting on the title page. The trio continues to chat with readers as they notice with alarm that someone has drunk their milk and played with their toy.