10/18/2010 02:02 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Book Review Roundup: Werewolves, Traitors, Robbers And A Jackass

"Our Kind Of Traitor" By John LeCarre
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Inevitably it is also about loyalty, honesty and bravery, and their often crucial roles in traitorous acts. The deliberately ambiguous first words of the title invite us to look carefully at the characters, both present and absent, involved in a plot inspired by a little noticed but deeply troubling news item (included at the end of the novel)."

"The Summoning Fire" by David Michael
Seattle Pi

"This is a story of horror and pain -- and not for the weak at heart. It is graphic and sometimes cruel but always with an underlying theme. It is set in a time and place where all hell has broken loose literally. The Princes of hell have created an exit from that very place, many of them being destroyed in the process, leaving the Old Man as he is called, as the leader. He is a Prince of darkness, but refuses to be named, as true names have power. He is cruel and callous and his visage is more then horrible -- it creates both fascination and fear."

"Dogfight, A Love Story" By Matt Burgess

The New York Times

"Alfredo Batista, the 19-year-old drug-dealing hero of Matt Burgess's scorching first novel, "Dogfight, a Love Story," is about to have the most nail-biting weekend of his life. It's June 2002, and in the next 24 hours, Alfredo's older brother, Tariq, released from prison, will arrive at his family's apartment in Queens, where Alfredo lives with Isabel, who was Tariq's girlfriend when he was incarcerated, but who is now seven months pregnant with Alfredo's child."

"It's A Book" By Lane Smith
The New York Times

"Those of us for whom books are a faith in themselves -- who find the notion that pixels, however ordered, could be any kind of substitute for the experience of reading in a chair with the strange thing spread open on our lap -- will love this book. Though it will surely draw a laugh from kids, it will give even more pleasure to parents who have been trying to make loudly the point that Smith's book makes softly: that the virtues of a book are independent of any bells, whistles or animation it might be made to contain. That two-page spread of the jackass simply reading is the key moment in the story, and one of the nicest sequences in recent picture books."

"MOURNING DIARY: October 26, 1977 -- September 15, 1979" By Roland Barthes
The New York Times

"What the world didn't know was that Barthes, the day after his mother's death on Oct. 25, 1977, began keeping a diary of his suffering, written mostly in ink on small individual slips of paper. Those slips have now been gathered up by Barthes's longtime translator, Richard Howard, and ushered into print."

"The Great American Stickup" by Robert Scheer
The Los Angeles Times

"Remarkably, Scheer is capable of making sense of something that Victorian thinker Thomas Carlyle rightfully called "the dismal science," that is, the workings of the economy. And he is not only willing but downright eager to name names, including such now-dubious gurus as Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers and Alan Greenspan, among others. Without sacrificing the subtleties and nuances of his subject, Scheer (along with his sons Christopher and Joshua Scheer) leads us briskly through the policy-making of the last three presidents and their advisors and argues that Democrats and Republicans share the blame."

"Nightshade" by Andrea Cremer

The Los Angeles Times

"Although "Nightshade" is likely to be devoured by Twi-hards, there's a lot more to enjoy about this new series debut from young adult author Andrea Cremer than weak-kneed romanticism and its similarities to the vampires-and-werewolves blockbuster. A fantastical mash-up of religious warriors and witch hunts, of feminist will and societal oppression, "Nightshade" is historical fiction -- with a modern, pop culture twist. An intelligent reimagining of the past played out in the present with shape-shifting werewolves residing in Vail, Colo., "Nightshade" is a book for well-read hopeless romantics who like their heroines conflicted, their love interests smoldering and their passions triangulated and torrid, yet unfulfilled."