The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest 20% Off

May 25, 2010

The most requested book of the year is now available.  We’ve got a stack of them, 20% off.

The Cradle-Midwest Connections

May 24, 2010


A Novel
Patrick Somerville

The Chicago Tribune

Somerville’s surprisingly tender novel retains the elegant economy and sense of mystery that distinguished the short stories in his 2006 collection, Trouble.  The person standing at Renee’s door is not whom you might expect, and the letter handed to her voices fascinating ambivalence, not sentimental absolution. We don’t know everything that has occurred in the 11-year gap between the separate odysseys of mother and son; those details are as unnecessary as the cradle that Marissa wanted so much proved to be. What matters are Somerville’s characters, rendered with such warm appreciation of their complexity and resilience that, although he declines to predict their future, we have every reason to hope they will continue making slow, tentative progress toward healing the wounds of the past.”

The New York Times – Dean Bakopoulos
One gets the sense that somewhere, near Patrick Somerville’s writing desk, hundreds of unpublished pages of his first novel, THE CRADLE,litter the floor. The scope of the story indicates that many hours of imaginative sweat went into the production of this lean, moving tale. Happily, THE CRADLE emerges swift and cinematic, an epic story told in a series of artfully curated, wonderfully rendered scenes.”

Early one summer morning, Matthew Bishop kisses his still-sleeping wife Marissa, gets dressed and eases his truck through Milwaukee, bound for the highway. His wife, pregnant with their first child, has asked him to find the antique cradle taken years before by her mother Caroline when she abandoned Marissa, never to contact her daughter again. Soon to be a mother herself, Marissa now dreams of nothing else but bringing her baby home to the cradle she herself slept in. His wife does not know-does not want to know-where her mother lives, but Matt has an address for Caroline’s sister near by and with any luck, he will be home in time for dinner.

However, as Matt tries to track down his wife’s mother, he discovers that Caroline, upon leaving Marissa, has led a life increasingly plagued by impulse and irrationality. This mysterious life only grows more inexplicable with each new lead Matt gains and door he enters. As hours turn into days and Caroline’s trail takes Matt from Wisconsin to Minnesota, Illinois, and beyond in search of the cradle, Matt makes a discovery that will change Marissa’s life forever, and he faces a decision that will challenge everything he has ever known.

ABOUT THE AUTHORPatrick Somerville

Patrick Somerville grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, went to college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and later earned his MFA from Cornell University. He has taught creative writing and English at Cornell, Northwestern University, Auburn State Correctional Facility, and The Graham School in Chicago.

His first book of stories, TROUBLE, was published in September of 2006 (Vintage) and named 2006’s Best Book by a Chicago Author by Time Out Chicago, and his first novel, THE CRADLE, was published by Little, Brown in March of 2009. His writing has appeared in One Story, Epoch, GQ, Esquire, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. Patrick was selected as the winner of the 2009 21st Century Award, given annually by the Chicago Public Library.

He lives with his wife in Chicago, and is currently the Blattner Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Northwestern University.

Never Land-Midwest Connections

May 21, 2010


There are two reasons for flying. The first is just to get somewhere. The second has nothing to do with destination.

W. Scott Olsen

Never Land is a heartfelt and thoughtful and smart examination of what’s for some of us ‘the necessity and the reach of flying,’ and of what happens when you mix America and the air and an airplane. Scott Olsen with an engaging sweetness and acuity of observation deftly combines a sense of history and a sense of place with an introduction to the gratifications of flying a small plane, and the ways in which, when we’re doing something so fully that it seems like it’s its own reward, our definition of who and where we are can gloriously enlarge itself.”
—Jim Shepard, author of Like You’d Understand, Anyway

According to W. Scott Olsen, there are two reasons for flying. The first is just to get somewhere. The second has nothing to do with destination. It is this second reason, expressing our deepest curiosity and our longings for infinity, grace, and clarity, that Never Land explores. At once frankly philosophical and engagingly practical, the book combines accounts of touring in the air, the history of flight, the sensations of flying, and the technical acts and facts of navigating, piloting, lifting off, and landing.

As it brings together many views on flight, Never Land also chronicles Olsen’s own personal journey—his experiences and the shift in his perspective as he goes from green beginner to seasoned pilot. Whether reflecting on airmail delivery, plotting routes from above, interviewing veterans, learning aerobatic moves, or encountering history in the making, Olsen makes the feel of flying a reality for his earthbound readers. Albeit a personal narrative, his book is ultimately a celebration of aviation that brings to bear the intellectual precision, emotional passion, exhilarating risk, and incalculable reward behind the human desire to fly.WScottOlsen_NeverLand-highres-cropped


W. Scott Olsen is a professor of English at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. He is editor in chief of the literary journalAscent; the author of several books, includingAt Speed: Traveling the Long Road between Two Points (Nebraska 2006) and Hard Air: Adventures from the Edge of Flying (available in a Bison Books edition); and the editor of many anthologies.

How High the Moon-Midwest Connections

May 12, 2010

Kring Cover

A Novel
Sandra Kring

“In this one, Sandra Kring hangs the moon.” — Sandra Dallas, author ofTallgrass

“Flat-out endearing….It’s about love, life, and the beautiful music we hear in our hearts if we pause, just for a moment, to listen. — Cathy Lamb, author of Julia’s Chocolates

In this tender novel set in 1955 Mill Town, Wisconsin, Sandra Kring explores the complicated bond between mothers and daughters, the pressure to conform, and the meaning of friendship and family.

Ten-year-old Isabella “Teaspoon” Marlene has been a handful ever since her mother, Catty, dumped her with an old boyfriend and ran off to Hollywood. Teaspoon fights, fibs, never stops singing, and is as unpredictable and fearless as a puppy off its leash. Still, Teddy Favors, a man who has taken his share of kicks, is determined to raise her right.

Teaspoon wants to be better for Teddy—even if that means agreeing to take part in a do-gooder mentorship program and being paired up with Brenda Bloom, the beautiful reigning Sweetheart of Mill Town. Against all odds, as the summer passes, this unlikely duo discover a special friendship as they face personal challenges, determined to follow their hearts instead of convention.

It’s while Brenda and Teaspoon are putting together the grandest show the Starlight Theater has ever seen that Catty returns to Mill Town, shattering illusions and testing loyalties. But by the final curtain call, one determined little girl shows an entire town the healing that can happen when you let your heart take center stage.

ABOUT THE AUTHORNew Kring Photo 06

Sandra Kring lives in Wisconsin. Her debut novel, Carry Me Home, was a BookSense Notable Pick and a 2005 Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Award nominee. The Book of Bright Ideas was a 2006 Target Bookmarked™ selection and was named to the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age list in 2007.  Her third novelThank You for All Things was a Midwest Connections Pick in 2oo8.

Halcyon Crane-Midwest Connections

May 11, 2010


This thrilling modern ghost story will keep you reading straight through to the surprising end!


A Novel

Wendy Webb

THE TALE OF HALCYON CRANE is a wonderful gothic complete with ghosts and witches, graveyards and dreams.  It whisks the reader up and into its magic from the first page. Captivating and haunting, this debut proves Wendy Webb is a very gifted storyteller.”
—M.J. Rose, author of The Memorist and The Reincarnationist

When a mysterious letter lands in Hallie James’s mailbox, her life is upended. Hallie was raised by her loving father, having been told her mother died in a fire decades earlier. But it turns out that her mother, Madlyn, was alive until very recently. Why would Hallie’s father have taken her away from Madlyn? What really happened to her family thirty years ago?

In search of answers, Hallie travels to the place where her mother lived, a remote island in the middle of the Great Lakes. The stiff islanders fix her first with icy stares and then unabashed amazement as they recognize why she looks so familiar, and Hallie quickly realizes her family’s dark secrets are enmeshed in the history of this strange place. But not everyone greets her with such a chilly reception—a coffee-shop owner and the family’s lawyer both warm to Hallie, and the possibility of romance blooms. And then there’s the grand Victorian house bequeathed to her—maybe it’s the eerie atmosphere or maybe it’s the prim, elderly maid who used to work for her mother, but Hallie just can’t shake the feeling that strange things are starting to happen.

In THE TALE OF HALCYON CRANE, Wendy Webb has created a haunting story full of delicious thrills, vibrant characters, and family secrets.

ABOUT THE AUTHORWendyWebb[steveburmeister]

Wendy Webb is editor in chief of Duluth-Superior magazine. A journalist with two decades of experience, she grew up in St. Louis Park, MN, and now lives in Duluth.  This is her first novel.

Wendy grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota (also the home town of directors Joel and Ethan Coen and comedian-turned-politician Al Franken). She attended the University of Minnesota, graduating with a degree in political science. After spending some time living abroad, Wendy settled into a job in Washington, D.C., where she was lucky enough to work on Capitol Hill for a senator from her state. Home was calling, though, and after a few years in D.C., she moved back to Minnesota and decided to try a career using what she felt was her most marketable skill — writing. She got an internship at City Pages, an arts and entertainment weekly in Minneapolis, and never looked back. During the past 20 years or so, she has written for most of the major publications in the Twin Cities. She lives in the Lake Superior port city of Duluth, where she has been the editor-in-chief of a lifestyle monthly magazine.

When she’s not writing, she and her mate, photographer Steve Burmeister, and son Ben enjoy spending time at their cabin in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, walking their 130-pound Alaskan Malamute named Tundra, and visiting with family and friends in Minneapolis.  She is currently at work on her next novel.

Shoot To Thrill-Midwest Connections

May 8, 2010

Shoot to Thrill - low

P.J. Tracy

*Starred Review* “With murders around the country being posted on the Web by killers who leave no online trail, the FBI is reduced to asking civilian hackers for help. None is more qualified than Monkeewrench Sofware: the unconventional unit of cyber investigators led by ponytailed Harley Davidson, whose Minneapolis mansion houses his eccentric but super-efficient team: eyelash-batting belle, Annie; exercise-addicted Roadrunner; and Grace MacBride, the object of MPD detective Leo Magozzi’s affection. With straitlaced FBI Special Agent John Smith as their liaison and, with Magozzi and partner Gino Rolseth working the local scene, the group starts its 24/7 efforts. Are the murders real or simply enactments? Will federal regulations thwart Monkeewrench, or will Smith (who’s facing retirement) bend the rules? What is the connection of a drunken ex-judge to this murderous spree? In the fifth Monkeewrench novel, the mother-daughter team of P. J. and Traci Lambrecht really hits its stride: a chilling premise; a supremely appealing cast of evolving characters; and dialogue that is brisk, witty, and authentic. Humor and humanity mix in this top-notch mystery, the best in the series.” –Michele Leber, Booklist

“In the enjoyable fifth Monkeewrench thriller (after Snow Blind) from Tracy, the mother-daughter writing team of Patricia J. and Traci Lambrecht, special agent John Smith of the FBI’s cyber crimes unit seeks the help of cybersleuths Grace MacBride, Annie Belinsky, and their geeky associates—as well as Minneapolis, Minn., homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth—in solving a horrifying string of murders filmed for the Web. The Monkeewrench team must create a program that can separate staged death scenes from the real thing. The first death they scrutinize appears to be the drowning murder of a Minneapolis drag queen. A stabbing, two shootings, and a strangulation are among subsequent killings that occur in other cities across the country. They catch a break when the eighth victim, a Medford, Ore., waitress, survives a stabbing. Newcomers will have no trouble getting into the story, and everyone will appreciate the likable characters.” — Publishers Weekly

It begins with a floater.

It’s eighty-five degrees in the shade when Minneapolis detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth pull into the MPD parking garage. They’re driving a tricked-out Caddy, repossessed from a low-level drug dealer. It’s not a Beemer or a Mercedes, but it’s got GPS, air conditioning, and electric seats with more positions than the Kama Sutra.

But things are heating up inside the station house, too. The bomb squad’s off to investigate another suspicious package at the mall, and kids are beating the crap out of each other and posting it on YouTube. And before Leo and Gino can wish for a straight-on homicide, the call comes in: a floater.

Soon they’re humping it along a derelict stretch of the Mississippi River, beyond the green places where families picnic and admire the views. They can see her — she looks like a bride in her white formal gown-face down, dead in the water. And so it begins.
Across town, Grace McBride’s Monkeewrench crew-the computer geeks who made a fortune on games, now helping the cops with anticrime software-has been recruited by the FBI to investigate a series of murder videos posted on the Web. It’s not long before Rolseth, Magozzi, and Monkeewrench discover the frightening link between the unlucky bride and the latest, most horrific use of the Internet yet. Using their skills to scour the Net in search of the perpetrator, the team must race against the clock to stop a killer in his tracks . . . before it’s too late.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)TRACY C Pamela Stege-cropped 8x10

P.J. Tracy is the pseudonym of mother-daughter writing duo P.J. and Traci Lambrecht, winners of the Anthony, Barry, Gumshoe, and Minnesota Book Awards. Their first four novels, Monkeewrench,Live Bait, Dead Run, and Snow Blind have become national and international bestsellers.

P.J. Lambrecht is a college dropout with one of the largest collections of sweatpants in the world. She was raised in an upper-middle class family of very nice people, and turned to writing to escape the hardships of such a life. She had her first short story published in The Saturday Evening Post when Traci was eight, still mercifully oblivious to her mother’s plans to eventually trick her into joining the family business. She has been a moderately successfully free-lance writer ever since, although she has absolutely no qualifications for such a profession, except a penchant for lying.

Traci Lambrecht spent most of her childhood riding and showing horses. She graduated with a Russian Studies major from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where she also studied voice. Her aspirations of becoming a spy were dashed when the Cold War ended, so she instead attempted briefly and unsuccessfully to import Eastern European folk art. She began writing to finance her annoying habits of travel and singing in rock bands, and much to her mother’s relief, finally realized that the written word was her true calling. They have been writing together ever since.

Gravel Riding

May 6, 2010

I love to ride the gravel roads around Northfield. I usually have them to myself.  The occasional turkey or fox might be out there. There are a lot of good hills to climb…..and descend. My Kona Jake the Snake is a great bike for this type of riding.  Wider tires and the woodchipper handle bar make gravel pretty fun.

Jake the Snake


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