Monday, April 29, 2013

Margolin's SLEIGHT OF HAND on multiple bestseller lists

Phillip Margolin's newest, SLEIGHT OF HAND, has just hit three bestseller lists! The book came out from HarperCollins the other week, and it has made bestseller status in the following places...

The New York Times's Bestseller List.  This makes SLEIGHT OF HAND Margolin's seventeenth New York Times bestseller!

USA Today's Bestseller List:

Publishers Weekly's Bestseller List:

In their review of SLEIGHT OF HAND, Publishers Weekly called the book “stylish” and “clever.” The Associated Press also gave a glowing review, which was picked up in newspapers across the US, including The Miami Herald and Below is the full rave:

Private investigator Dana Cutler returns in SLEIGHT OF HAND, Phillip Margolin's best book in years. Deception is prominent, and the villain is truly vile.

Charles Benedict is a criminal defense lawyer, amateur magician and cold-blooded killer. Ten years earlier, millionaire Horace Blair persuaded the prosecutor in his DUI case to marry him. He also persuaded her to sign a prenuptial agreement that promised her $20 million if she remained faithful for the first 10 years of their marriage.

Two days before the payout, Benedict slips her a date-rape drug and videotapes the deed. When she confronts him and demands the truth, he kills her. Benedict then frames Blair for the crime.

Meanwhile, Cutler receives a cryptic offer to investigate the theft of a scepter with origins in the Ottoman Empire. As it takes her across the country, she realizes the pieces don't fit and she might have been set up.

A magician never reveals his secrets, and like the best prestidigitators, Margolin manipulates readers into believing one thing, then reveals the surprising truth. In SLEIGHT OF HAND, he has created a legal thriller that's guaranteed to mislead and shock readers.

HarperCollins, April 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

"Engaging, magical," HAMMER OF WITCHES presents a quest story that subverts the stereotypes

“What would happen if you took [the] standard quest story and set it in the real world in 1492?” Author Shana Mlawski posits this question in a recent post on John Scalzi's Whatever blog. Her YA debut novel HAMMER OF WITCHES is the answer.

HAMMER OF WITCHES came out last week from Tu Books, an imprint of Lee and Low. Set in 1492 Spain and "the New World,” the novel follows bookmaker's apprentice Baltasar Infante, who has a bad run-in with the Spanish Inquisition. The Inquisition demand that he reveal the whereabouts of a legendary Moorish sorcerer, but Baltasar hadn't realized the sorcerer was real outside of stories, and he certainly doesn't know where to find him. Baltasar escapes the Inquisition and soon finds himself joining Columbus's voyage to "the New World,” a journey on which he will battle demons, befriend a genie, seek out the sorcerer, and learn of the magic inherent in all stories.

As Mlawski explains in her post, standard quest stories have many problems--particularly being colonialist. Typically, the hero is a boy of uncertain ancestry who, along his journey, learns he has “noble, or even divine, blood.” The hero as well as his journey is portrayed very one-sidedly. “Be they villain, bystander, love interest, or sage, [the] secondary characters have one purpose: to help the hero come of age and complete his quest,” Mlawski writes.

But what about the perspectives of the villain, the love interest, or the seemingly unimportant bystander? In Mlawski's words,

HAMMER OF WITCHES approaches the quest story from a different angle. Here the narrator isn’t an omniscient god but a semi-unreliable teenager who spends most of the book unclear on who’s the hero and who’s the villain (or if these terms are even useful)....Characters’ powers don’t come from their pure, noble blood but from their ability to uncover and control the meanings of stories. Every time our narrator thinks he has a handle on these stories, some other character butts in to explain why he’s got it all wrong.

To read more of Mlawski's post, visit here.

And if Mlawski's subversion of stereotypes in HAMMER OF WITCHES intrigues you, you may also be intrigued by her online journalism with Overthinking It. Her pieces “have become somewhat of a meme in certain geeky cultures,” according to Diana Peterfreund in Mlawski's recent interview on Peterfreund's blog. Peterfreund points to Mlawski's “Strong Characters, Female” piece and her “Female Character Flowchart”; Mlawski subverts female stereotypes in both. In the interview, Mlawski writes, “We geeks just have to be careful to add to the conversation instead of shutting it down” in regards to feminism, racism, sexism, etc. To read more of the interview, visit here.

Mlawski's writing has been praised as "dazzling," "fast-paced," and "rollicking," but if you need to see it to believe it, the first two chapters of HAMMER OF WITCHES have been made available as an excerpt on Scribd.  Check it out here:

And if that isn't enough to get you interested in the book, here is a round-up of some of the wonderful reviews received in so far:

“An engaging, magical adventure...Mlawski’s central characters...are imaginative and well-developed, and her swashbuckling pace and intriguing plotting keep readers at seat’s edge...Mlawski invites young readers to see the familiar Columbus story from another perspective—and to consider the power of stories to shape perception in everyday life...Set in the 1490s, this provocative blend of fantasy and history offers loads of contemporary appeal.” --Kirkus

“Newcomer Mlawski delievers a fast-paced coming-of-age adventure, respectfully evoking the complexities and cultural landscape of the period. She draws from a variety of sources, including Jewish and Biblical myth, offering an accessible, attention-grabbing story that seamlessly inserts its magical elements into historical fact.” --Publishers Weekly

“Mlawski's magical take on the exploration of the New World is a dazzling, richly imagined tale about history, legend, and the fantastic power of story.”—Diana Peterfreund, national bestselling author of FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS

"A truly enjoyable, energetic tale and an altogether original take on one of the most important events in human history--the first voyage of Columbus." --Joseph Bruchac, national bestselling author of WOLF MARK and SKELETON MAN

“HAMMER OF WITCHES is a historical revelation--an eye-opening magical carpet ride that takes the reader over the ocean and through the woods to an ancient time, full of beauty and grace, and the ever-present conflict between man's spirituality and his natural brutality.” --Guadalupe Garcia McCall, internationally bestselling author of UNDER THE MESQUITE

“This rollicking historical fantasy has it all--nail-biting adventure, exciting mystery, fabulous magics, and characters you can really root for. I enjoyed every word." --Victoria Strauss, internationally bestselling author of PASSION BLUE

“HAMMER OF WITCHES is everything I crave in a story--magic, adventure, danger, depth, a rich historical setting, and an irresistibly charming hero. What a fantastic voyage!” --Lesley Livingston, internationally bestselling author of WONDROUS STRANGE

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

BEYOND THE BEAR's extraordinary account of survival inspires, per reviews across the board

Just published this month from Lyons Press, BEYOND THE BEAR by Dan Bigley and Debra McKinney has been recently featured in People Magazine!  The magazine gave the book 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.

BEYOND THE BEAR tells the story of Dan Bigley and the day that changed his life forever. A 25-year-old who loved exploring the Alaskan outdoors and who was newly in love, Dan had spent a glorious midsummer's day in July 2003 doing what he enjoyed most, salmon fishing with friends, when a grizzly bear charged around a bend and mauled him, leaving him blind and near death. 

People writes,
In this richly detailed, emotional memoir, Bigley retraces his harrowing journey of recovery, including the six surgeries it took to reconstruct his face. With the help of dedicated doctors, nurses, friends and family--including future wife Amber Takavitz, whom he'd met just before his accident--Bigley returned to health. His story inspires and sticks with you long beyond the final page.
Here's the review in People's books section:

Publicity is ongoing for BEYOND THE BEAR, particularly in Alaska, where the book has taken newspapers and magazines by storm.  The Anchorage Daily News featured an excerpt of the book in its newspaper just this week, and you can read that excerpt here.

Authors Bigley and McKinney also recently hosted an online book launch party, which streamed live (if you're interested in watching it, the live feed is viewable here).  And there was a non-online launch party as well!  Festivities took place at a bar in Anchorage.  The night included signings and a reading.  Check out a photo of Bigley and McKinney signing copies of the book below:

Bigley has been previously featured in an animal attack survivor series on The Discovery Channel, which continues to air on TV.  For a glimpse of what's to come in the book, watch it below:

In addition to the People review, BEYOND THE BEAR has received a wealth of other wonderful praise.  Here's a summation of what's come in so far:

Inspiring...Unflinchingly recounts the horrific details of the mauling and its aftermath...Perhaps the most moving part of his story, however, is his relationship with Amber, the woman he fell for the night before the attack, who has remained steadfast despite his early attempts to let her go. A well-written and touching tribute to human resilience.” --Booklist

“This moving memoir of his experiences is more about Bigley's emotional recovery and beyond-impressive triumph over adversity...Readers will appreciate Bigley's inspirational and well-written story.” --Publishers Weekly 

“Combine a man shaped by an extraordinary experience with a writer adept at weaving the threads of his story and the result is a stunningly powerful book. BEYOND THE BEAR may compel you to worry less about all the bad things that could happen in life and focus instead on embracing its possibilities. You might as well buy extra copies for you will soon want to give others the gift of this insightful and riveting read.” --Jill Fredston, bestselling author of ROWING TO LATITUDE and SNOWSTRUCK

"BEYOND THE BEAR delivers in gut-wrenching detail the harrowing account of one of the most horrific bear attacks in recent Alaskan memory, but the book is so much more than a bear mauling. BEYOND THE BEAR is a powerful love story, an unforgettable tale of hope and resilience, a triumph of the human spirit in the darkest of hours. A life destroyed in a blinding flash of blood and fur. A bright and beautiful Alaskan landscape seemingly darkened forever, the midnight sun all but extinguished, yet Dan Bigley's courage and heart take us all beyond the bear and along the way we all learn to see the world in a new and beautiful light." --Don Rearden, award-winning author of THE RAVEN'S GIFT

"This book is surprising in so many ways--heartfelt, funny, buoyant, tragic and triumphant--that after awhile I wanted to do nothing else but read it and be inspired and enthralled. And so I was." --Kim Heacox, bestselling author of THE ONLY KAYAK and VISIONS OF A WILD AMERICA

For more information about the authors, visit the website here, and follow them on Facebook here!

Lyons Press, April 2013