The Girl Who Chased the Moon
Sarah Addison Allen,
Sarah Addison Allen stays on familiar ground in her latest offering, dishing up light doses of magical realism and romance, all in the North Carolina landscape where she grew up. It's a formula that has worked well for her, including putting her first novel, "Garden Spells," on the best-seller list. This latest book - the literary equivalent of a chick flick - offers the very lightest of reading and happy endings all around.
Randy Wayne White,
Gulf Coast author Randy Wayne White has used series hero Doc Ford's double life to explore how a man reconciles his diametrically opposed personalities. A seemingly mild-mannered marine biologist, Ford often is jolted out of his quiet life in a boating community whenever his past as a government operative leads him to a new mission around the world. But the 17th Ford novel keeps this iconic character home in Florida for a tense, race-against-time thriller that never stalls.
Oline H. Cogdill, Sun Sentinel
Melissa Febos, Thomas Dunne Books, 288pages
Melissa Febos was a sex worker in New York City. (Think leather, whips, ropes and even a horse's saddle.) "Whip Smart" is about the world of the dominatrix, but it's also about her struggle to keep her work a secret - and what she learned about herself and others along the way. It's a quick and easy book that reads like a gabfest with close friends.
Alicia Rancilio, Associated Press
Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire
Robert Perkinson, Metropolitan, 496pages
As Robert Perkinson points out in "Texas Tough," his very readable history of U.S. prisons, locking up people is big business. America sends more people to prison per capita than any other country in the world. When the modern prison system began, Perkinson notes, it was promoted as a citadel of enlightenment where inmates were expected to be redeemed and society was ultimately to be rid of crime. That promise never panned out.
Mary Foster, Associated Press