Bad blood

“Bad Blood” by John Carreyrou might be our most gripping new story, a real-life account lies and double-dealing. Theranos, a biotech firm founded by Elizabeth Holmes, a charismatic Stanford dropout, claimed to have developed a revolutionary blood-testing technology. Her start-up quickly shot up to  a $9 billion valuation. Behind the scneces, however, all was not well.  When testing did not produce the desired results, investors and journalists were snowed with fake demos.  Meanwhile, Holmes and her partner, Sunny Balwani, dismissed staff concerns and chased down whistleblowers and threatened reproters, including authorCarreyrou, with lawsuits. He persevered to created a “vivid portrait” of a  “toxic” business culture that values branding, stock profits and boosterism over honest work.

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Tangled up in genes

tangled.jpgThe Tangled Tree” by David Quammen tells us what DNA sequencing is teaching about evolution.   Perhaps the most startling discovery to come out of this new field—the study of life’s diversity and relatedness at the molecular level—is horizontal gene transfer (HGT), or the movement of genes across species lines.  For instance, we now know that roughly eight percent of the human genome arrived sideways via viral infection.  It’s not just about Darwin anymore.

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Another Friday UPS book drop!

upsnbfriDon’t know why, but Friday afternoons is becoming a common time for the men in the little brown trucks and cute shorts to make book deliveries. Be it by plan or by chance–these new titles are ready for your weekend reading pleasure.  For mystery readers, we’ve got the latest Longmire story by Craig Johnson and a new Bess Crawford by Charles Todd.  There’s also suspense by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) and and magic realism  by Carlos Zafon Ruiz.  Or lose yourself in a story that bridges the present and the past by Deborah Harkness.

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Royal watching

ninety-nine-glimpses-of-princess-margaretMargaret was the “disobedient, attention-seeking” younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II.  She captured the world’s sympathy with her first, doomed romance to Royal Air Force pilot Peter Townsend and it’s attention for “abrasive behavior, well-heeled bohemia, and rumored sexual affairs”(Kirkus Reviews).  margaret, despite her difficult persona, receive sympathetic treatment; not so, the  “royal industry” (Library Journal).

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New in Sci-Fi and Fantasy

star.jpg“Starless” by Jacqueline Carey is a “rich, evocative fantasy epic”.  In this story set long ago and far, far away, a prophecy warns that a fallen god, Miasmus, that will “arise against the Sun-Blessed” Princess Zariya, despite a childhood injury, believes she is the prophesied one who will stand. Khai, her protector, finds his role compromised when he learns that he is bhazim, a daughter who was raised as a son. “Carey handles themes of duty, love, and identity with tenderness”, which “elevates this novel above its peers” (Publishers Weekly). “Spinning Silver” by Naomi Novik, meanwhile, is a “fresh and imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale” from the bestselling author of “Uprooted”.  Naomi Novik has gathered countless old tales and turned them into something all kinds of new” (NYT).

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Three promising debuts

fruitIngrid Rojas Contreras set her coming-of-age debut, ”Fruit of the Drunken Tree”  in Colombia during the last year of Pablo Escobar’s reign of terror.   They story is seen through the dreamlike voice of seven-year-old Chula.   “Salt Houses” by poet Hala Alyan follows four generations of the Yacoub family through the Palestinian diaspora.  And, in “Ghosted” by Rosie Walsh, love at first sight turns into a puzzling mystery.  After a whirlwind week of romance, new beaux Eddie leaves for a trip, then drops out of contact, leaving Sara to wonder what happened.

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Thrillers

mtFor those still hanging out at the beach, new series favorite Cork O’Conner  investigates a plane crash that killed a Senator in “Desolation Mountain” (William Kent Kruger).  In “Murder on the Left Bank” by Cara Black finds Aimée Leduc searches for a ledger containing evidence of police.   In “The Money Shot” by Stuart Woods, new series character Teddy Fay races to stop extortion plot.  Texas Ranger by James Patterson, introduces a new character, ranger Rory Yates, who is accused of killing his ex-wife.

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