Saturday, February 24, 2018

Coffee with a canine: Leslie Connor & Atticus and Broomis

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Leslie Connor & Atticus and Broomis.

The author, on her dogs' names and nicknames:
We landed on the name Broomis after a few other names including, Pancake, Chickpea, and Sun Bear, failed somehow. (I know. What were we thinking?) Broomis was the name of a “roly-poly” bear in an old children’s song—spelled Brumus, actually—but we changed that because our guy is the color of broom straw. Atticus was named by his foster-family. We thought he’d been through enough changes in his young life already (picked up running in the wilds of Kentucky…) so we kept it. We like it, but he’s really more of a Scout.

Aliases? You bet. Nicknames happen endlessly at our house. Broomis is also known as: Broo, Broo-bacah-soda crackah...[read on]
About Connor's new novel for kids, The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle:
Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason’s best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family’s orchard. An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can’t understand why Lieutenant Baird won’t believe the story Mason has told about that day.

Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood, so they create an underground club space for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He’s desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin, and eventually, Benny.

But will anyone believe him?
Visit Leslie Connor's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Leslie Connor & Atticus and Broomis.

--Marshal Zeringue

Twelve of the best sci-fi & fantasy film novelizations

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog he tagged twelve essential sci-fi & fantasy film novelizations, including:
The Shape of Water, by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

What sets The Shape of Water apart is that it’s less a novelization than a parallel project, written in conjunction with the film, and co-written by the film’s writer and director. Add in the fact that the story is inspired by and an homage to a totally different film (1954’s The Creature from the Black Lagoon), and you’ve got a multi-layered timeline of inspiration and novelization that’s timey-wimey enough to confuse Doctor Who. All that matters is that del Toro has crafted a fantastic story that gets a much deeper treatment in the written version, making it the perfect companion to a day at the movies.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Lisa Black's "Perish"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Perish: A Gardiner and Renner Novel #3 by Lisa Black.

About the book, from the publisher:
Bestselling author Lisa Black takes readers on a nailbiting journey to the dark side of justice as forensic expert Maggie Gardiner discovers troubling new details about her colleague Jack Renner, a homicide detective with a brutal approach to law and order...

The scene of the crime is lavish but gruesome. In a luxurious mansion on the outskirts of Cleveland, a woman’s body lies gutted in a pool of blood on the marble floor. The victim is Joanna Moorehouse, founder of Sterling Financial. The killer could be any one of her associates.

Maggie knows that to crack the case, she and Jack will have to infiltrate the cutthroat world of high-stakes finance. But the offices of Sterling Financial seethe with potential suspects, every employee hellbent on making a killing. When another officer uncovers disturbing evidence in a series of unrelated murders, the investigation takes a surprising detour.

Only Maggie recognizes the blood-soaked handiwork of a killer who has committed the most heinous of crimes—and will continue killing until he is stopped. Burdened with unbearable secrets, Maggie must make an agonizing choice, while her conscience keeps telling her: she’s next.
Learn more about the book and author at Lisa Black's website.

The Page 69 Test: That Darkness.

My Book, The Movie: Unpunished.

The Page 69 Test: Unpunished.

My Book, The Movie: Perish.

Writers Read: Lisa Black.

The Page 69 Test: Perish.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Anne Raeff reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Anne Raeff, author of Winter Kept Us Warm.

Her entry begins:
Although I am an active reader of novels and short stories, I think that, though I have not written poetry since I was an adolescent it has had more influence on my writing than prose. In fact my recent novel, Winter Kept Us Warm is in some ways a tribute to two poems, Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach" and Eliot's "The Wasteland," from which the title of the book is taken. I believe that good writing is at its core poetic and that writers have an obligation to beauty and to language. We must care about every word, every image, and our prose must contain its own meter and rhythm. I read poetry so that I never forget this beauty, and, I hope, so that poetry fills the pages of my prose.

When my wife, Lori Ostlund, and I first got together twenty-six years ago, we often stayed up until dawn reading our favorite poems to each other. We read some of them like Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach," and T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men" over and over and never tired of them. In December, 2017 we decided that poetry needs to be part of our daily life again, so we reinstated this tradition, though now we have a more staid approach and read for about twenty minutes every night before going to sleep. So far Lori has been doing the reading and has also taken on the responsibility of choosing the poetry, asking for suggestions from friends and other writers. Unlike in the early days of our relationship when we jumped from one poet to another, we are now reading complete books, lingering with each volume for a few nights. So far we have been focusing on contemporary work. We have read Louise Glück's A Village Life...[read on]
About Winter Kept Us Warm, from the publisher:
A bold and haunting novel that sets love against the brutality of WWII and post-war life

Ulli is a young woman, half-English and half-German, squatting in a dismal, empty Berlin apartment, one year after the war has ended. She’s scraping together a living as an interpreter between Berlin-based GIs and the wide-eyed local girls eager to meet them. One night, Ulli meets two American soldiers: Leo, handsome and ambitious and desperate to escape his small town upbringing; and intellectual, asthmatic Isaac, whose refugee parents had fled Russia and then Paris for New York.

Winter Kept Us Warm follows Ulli, Leo, and Isaac through the next six decades of their lives—from Berlin to post-war Manhattan, 1960s Los Angeles, and Morocco. A marriage. Two children. And yet, only one parent. At the core of this novel is the mystery of how this came to be; not a chronological narrative, we explore the dark corners and lantern slides of these characters’ lives, revealing in pieces and fragments what became of their long ago love triangle set against the brutality of post-war living.

Winter Kept Us Warm is an evocative story of family, strained by the cruelty of war and its generational repercussions. A novel of the heart, filled to the brim with unforgettable characters stitching together the deep threads of love, friendship, loyalty, and, of course, loss.
Visit Anne Raeff's website.

Writers Read: Anne Raeff.

Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 23, 2018

Jonathan Hyde's six best books

Jonathan Hyde is an Australian actor known for film roles Titanic, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Anaconda, Jumanji, The Mummy, and as Eldritch Palmer in the FX TV series The Strain. One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
CROSSING to SAFETY by Wallace Stegner

I found this jotted down in my Filofax last year so got a copy. It’s the story of two academic couples, one couple privileged and the other struggling. They all have crosses to bear at some point and I found their stoicism remarkable. It made me weep.
Read about another entry on the list.

Crossing to Safety is among J. Courtney Sullivan's six favorite books about marriage, Simon Winchester's five top novels on U.S. frontier social history, and Lan Samantha Chang's five best list of novels on friendship.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Benjamin F. Alexander's "The New Deal's Forest Army"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The New Deal's Forest Army: How the Civilian Conservation Corps Worked by Benjamin F. Alexander.

About the book, from the publisher:
Propelled by the unprecedented poverty of the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established an array of massive public works programs designed to provide direct relief to America’s poor and unemployed. The New Deal’s most tangible legacy may be the Civilian Conservation Corps’s network of parks, national forests, scenic roadways, and picnic shelters that still mark the country’s landscape. CCC enrollees, most of them unmarried young men, lived in camps run by the Army and worked hard for wages (most of which they had to send home to their families) to preserve America’s natural treasures.

In The New Deal’s Forest Army, Benjamin F. Alexander chronicles how the corps came about, the process applicants went through to get in, and what jobs they actually did. He also explains how the camps and the work sites were run, how enrollees spent their leisure time, and how World War II brought the CCC to its end. Connecting the story of the CCC with the Roosevelt administration’s larger initiatives, Alexander describes how FDR’s policies constituted a mixed blessing for African Americans who, even while singled out for harsh treatment, benefited enough from the New Deal to become an increasingly strong part of the electorate behind the Democratic Party.

The CCC was the only large-scale employment program whose existence FDR foreshadowed in speeches during the 1932 campaign—and the dearest to his heart throughout the decade that it lasted. Alexander reveals how the work itself left a lasting imprint on the country’s terrain as the enrollees planted trees, fought forest fires, landscaped public parks, restored historic battlegrounds, and constructed dams and terraces to prevent floods. A uniquely detailed exploration of life in the CCC, The New Deal’s Forest Army compellingly demonstrates how one New Deal program changed America and gave birth to both contemporary forestry and the modern environmental movement.
Learn more about The New Deal's Forest Army at the Johns Hopkins University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The New Deal's Forest Army.

--Marshal Zeringue

Brian E. Crim's "Our Germans, the movie"

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Our Germans: Project Paperclip and the National Security State by Brian E. Crim.

The entry begins:
The incomparable Wernher von Braun, Disney legend and skilled self-promoter, had two movies made about him while he was still alive. One was a glowing biopic called I Aim for the Stars (1960) starring Curd Jürgens. The film completely sanitized the SS Major’s past and portrayed von Braun as the great idealist the Cold War national security state hoped the American public would accept. Humorist Mort Sahl did not buy it and recommended a more appropriate title, I Aim for the Stars ... but sometimes I hit London. East German cinema produced a more negative portrayal of “America’s rocket baron” entitled Die gefrorene Blitze (Frozen Lightning) (1967), which was actually more accurate despite its obvious propagandizing. My ideal Wernher von Braun is Michael...[read on]
Learn more about Our Germans at the Johns Hopkins University Press website.

My Book, The Movie: Our Germans.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books celebrating influential women in history

At B&N Reads Jen Harper tagged ten top "historical fiction books about some awesome women through the ages," including:
Circling the Sun, by Paula McLain

From the author of The Paris Wife comes another riveting read for historical fiction lovers. Paula McLain has crafted a compelling story about real-life female aviator and author Beryl Markham in 1920s colonial Kenya. Following an unconventional upbringing by her father and the native tribe who share his estate, the bold and fearless Beryl goes on to become a horse trainer—during a time when there were no female horse trainers—and later the first professional female pilot and a record-setting flyer. Beryl also finds herself tangled in a love triangle with hunter Denys Finch Hatton and writer Karen Blixen in this rich and passionate tale.
Read about another entry on the list.

Circling the Sun is among Nicole Hill's six fictional femmes who fatally fractured the glass ceiling.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 22, 2018

What is Jane Lindskold reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jane Lindskold, author of Asphodel.

Her entry begins:
Lately, my reading has been mostly fiction. I just finished Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen. Although this book has been frequently compared both to Dune (because of the element precognition plays in the plot) and to Brin’s “Uplift” books (because most of the characters are “uplifted” animals), I felt that Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard has a strong identity of its own. The “Fant” and their culture are well-designed, and the aversion felt for them by the “furred” races is later revealed to have deep and sinister roots. I would definitely...[read on]
About Asphodel, from the author:
Prison or Refuge?

Nameless in a doorless tower graced with seven windows, she is imprisoned. Who is her jailer? What is her crime?

After she discovers the secret of the seven windows, the nameless one, accompanied by two impossible companions, sets forth on fantastical journeys of exploration. But, for the nameless one, learning her name may not be a welcome revelation, and the identity of her jailer will rock the foundations of a tower that has come to be as much refuge as prison.
Visit Jane Lindskold's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Thirteen Orphans.

The Page 69 Test: Five Odd Honors.

The Page 69 Test: Artemis Awakening.

The Page 69 Test: Artemis Invaded.

My Book, The Movie: Artemis Invaded.

Writers Read: Jane Lindskold.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Meg Gardiner's "Into the Black Nowhere"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Into the Black Nowhere: An UNSUB Novel by Meg Gardiner.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this exhilarating thriller inspired by real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix faces off against a charming, merciless serial killer.

In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.

Caitlin and the FBI’s serial crime unit discover the first victim’s body in the woods. She’s laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest’s darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style–posed like Snow White awaiting her prince’s kiss.

To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind. How is he selecting these women? Working with a legendary FBI profiler, Caitlin searches for a homology–that elusive point where character and action come together. She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy–dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy. Caitlin’s profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people’s trust. But with only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders, the police allow him to escape. As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.
Learn more about the book and author at Meg Gardiner's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Dirty Secrets Club.

The Page 69 Test: The Memory Collector.

My Book, The Movie: Meg Gardiner's Evan Delaney series.

The Page 69 Test: The Liar's Lullaby.

My Book, The Movie: Meg Gardiner's Jo Beckett series.

The Page 69 Test: The Nightmare Thief.

The Page 69 Test: Ransom River.

The Page 69 Test: The Shadow Tracer.

The Page 69 Test: Phantom Instinct.

The Page 69 Test: UNSUB.

The Page 69 Test: Into the Black Nowhere.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Sam Rosenfeld's "The Polarizers"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Polarizers: Postwar Architects of Our Partisan Era by Sam Rosenfeld.

About the book, from the publisher:
Even in this most partisan and dysfunctional of eras, we can all agree on one thing: Washington is broken. Politicians take increasingly inflexible and extreme positions, leading to gridlock, partisan warfare, and the sense that our seats of government are nothing but cesspools of hypocrisy, childishness, and waste. The shocking reality, though, is that modern polarization was a deliberate project carried out by Democratic and Republican activists.

In The Polarizers, Sam Rosenfeld details why bipartisanship was seen as a problem in the postwar period and how polarization was then cast as the solution. Republicans and Democrats feared that they were becoming too similar, and that a mushy consensus imperiled their agendas and even American democracy itself. Thus began a deliberate move to match ideology with party label—with the toxic results we now endure. Rosenfeld reveals the specific politicians, intellectuals, and operatives who worked together to heighten partisan discord, showing that our system today is not (solely) a product of gradual structural shifts but of deliberate actions motivated by specific agendas. Rosenfeld reveals that the story of Washington’s transformation is both significantly institutional and driven by grassroots influences on both the left and the right.

The Polarizers brilliantly challenges and overturns our conventional narrative about partisanship, but perhaps most importantly, it points us toward a new consensus: if we deliberately created today’s dysfunctional environment, we can deliberately change it.
Visit Sam Rosenfeld's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Polarizers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten books about cheating

Jamie Quatro's debut novel is Fire Sermon. One of the author's ten top books about cheating, as shared with the Guardian:
The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante (2002)

I read this on vacation one summer, in a single sitting, paralysed with the exquisite literary sickness that comes from the combination of aesthetic appreciation on the one hand, and recognition of oneself on the other. An account of a woman’s mental unravelling after her husband leaves her for a much younger woman, the book’s power is in its fearless, closeup details (I can’t think of a more painful animal death scene) and in the ways the narrative subtly implicates the reader: given a certain set of horrific circumstances, I, too, might be capable of this psychic fury.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Joanne Serling's "Good Neighbors," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Good Neighbors by Joanne Serling.

The entry begins:
Good Neighbors explores the world of four suburban families who consider themselves “like family,” yet know very little about one another. When one of the couples, Paige and Gene Edwards, adopts a four-year-old girl from Russia, the group’s morality and loyalty are soon called into question. Are the Edwards unkind to their new daughter? Or is she a difficult child with hidden destructive tendencies?

The story is told in the first person by neighbor Nicole Westerhof, an insightful observer who is nonetheless insecure and highly anxious. She continually waffles about whether the Edwards deserve her friendship, or her suspicion. I have always considered Amanda Peet the perfect actor to play Nicole; she has incredible emotional range and can appear both likeable and emotionally unsteady, two essential qualities for this role. I’d love to see Peter...[read on]
Visit Joanne Serling's website.

Writers Read: Joanne Serling.

My Book, The Movie: Good Neighbors.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Geoff Herbach reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Geoff Herbach, author of Hooper.

His entry begins:
I usually read three books at a time (actually, listen to one, read one e-book, and read one in paper). Right now I'm listening to Hannah Tinti's The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley. I love crime books and this is a really cool one. The life of Samuel's daughter, Loo, is opened up through these series of stories about the different bullet scars on her father's body. It's beautifully written and...[read on]
About Hooper, from the publisher:
From Geoff Herbach, the critically acclaimed author of the Stupid Fast series, comes a compelling new YA novel about basketball, prejudice, privilege, and family, perfect for fans of Jordan Sonnenblick, Andrew Smith, and Matt de la Peña.

For Adam Reed, basketball is a passport. Adam’s basketball skills have taken him from an orphanage in Poland to a loving adoptive mother in Minnesota. When he’s tapped to play on a select AAU team along with some of the best players in the state, it just confirms that basketball is his ticket to the good life: to new friendships, to the girl of his dreams, to a better future.

But life is more complicated off the court. When an incident with the police threatens to break apart the bonds Adam’s finally formed after a lifetime of struggle, he must make an impossible choice between his new family and the sport that’s given him everything.
Visit Geoff Herbach's website.

Writers Read: Geoff Herbach.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Rachel Lyon's "Self-Portrait with Boy"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Self-Portrait with Boy: A Novel by Rachel Lyon.

About the book, from the publisher:
A compulsively readable and electrifying debut about an ambitious young female artist who accidentally photographs a boy falling to his death—an image that could jumpstart her career, but would also devastate her most intimate friendship.

Lu Rile is a relentlessly focused young photographer struggling to make ends meet. Working three jobs, responsible for her aging father, and worrying that the crumbling warehouse she lives in is being sold to developers, she is at a point of desperation. One day, in the background of a self-portrait, Lu accidentally captures on film a boy falling past her window to his death. The photograph turns out to be startlingly gorgeous, the best work of art she’s ever made. It’s an image that could change her life…if she lets it.

But the decision to show the photograph is not easy. The boy is her neighbors’ son, and the tragedy brings all the building’s residents together. It especially unites Lu with his beautiful grieving mother, Kate. As the two forge an intense bond based on sympathy, loneliness, and budding attraction, Lu feels increasingly unsettled and guilty, torn between equally fierce desires: to use the photograph to advance her career, and to protect a woman she has come to love.

Set in early 90s Brooklyn on the brink of gentrification, Self-Portrait with Boy is a provocative commentary about the emotional dues that must be paid on the road to success, a powerful exploration of the complex terrain of female friendship, and a brilliant debut from novelist Rachel Lyon.
Visit Rachel Lyon's website.

The Page 69 Test: Self-Portrait with Boy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top Vancouver crime novels

Sam Wiebe's novel Last of the Independents won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize and an Arthur Ellis Award, and was nominated for a Shamus award. His second novel, Invisible Dead, was published by Random House Canada and Quercus USA. His short stories have appeared in Thuglit, Spinetingler, and subTerrain, and he was the 2016 Vancouver Public Library Writer in Residence. He lives in Vancouver.

At at The Strand Magazine he tagged ten "books that reflect some essential aspects of both Vancouver and crime fiction," including:
Eyes Like Mine [US title: The Lost Ones] by Sheena Kamal is a thriller that follows Nora Watts, a down-on-her-luck legal assistant who gave up her daughter for adoption years ago. When the adoptive parents tell her that her daughter has disappeared, Nora can’t help but involve herself in the case. Kamal’s strong-willed, funny, ass-kicking protagonist is the book’s greatest asset. Fans of thrillers will devour this, but there are also some great subtle character moments.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Lost Ones.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Elizabeth Crook's "The Which Way Tree," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Which Way Tree by Elizabeth Crook.

The entry begins:
A very early draft of The Which Way Tree found its way to Robert Duvall and I was flabbergasted when he offered to buy the option. I was so nervous the first time I talked to him on the phone I had to take beta blockers to get through it. We conferred about who should write the script, and I suggested my good friend Stephen Harrigan, who already knew the story since he had previously helped me brainstorm through the plot. He’s an award-winning screenwriter as well as journalist and novelist, so I knew he’d be the best at this.

But as it turned out, Steve was busy and said he could only take part if I would co-write the script with him. I didn’t have any experience with scripts, having never written one, and in fact having never read one, so I had a steep learning curve in front of me. But it was fun. Bob Duvall is terrific. We finished each draft, sent it to him and his partners, and...[read on]
Visit Elizabeth Crook's website.

The Page 69 Test: Monday, Monday.

The Page 69 Test: The Which Way Tree.

My Book, The Movie: The Which Way Tree.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Steven Parlato reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Steven Parlato, author of The Precious Dreadful.

His entry begins:
As a college English professor, much of my reading focuses on student work in my four classes each semester. Thousands of pages range from, well, awful, to sometimes remarkable in form and content. Reading in support of students becoming deeper thinkers and polished communicators is both exhausting and inspirational.

During the academic year, much of my reading is also rooted in the classroom, from essays by the likes of Nicholas Kristof to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. That play’s a particular favorite; I've played both the fickle lover, Demetrius, and that famous ass, Nick Bottom. I love introducing it to students, winning them over to Shakespeare.

A new addition to my 200-level lit class, Studies in Young Adult Fiction, was Angie Thomas's excellent The Hate U Give. Its focus on the murder of Blacks by police was handled with an unflinching truth and sense of fairness that impressed. Thomas spotlighted our...[read on]
About The Precious Dreadful, from the publisher:
Combining romance and humor with elements of the paranormal, this is a profound novel about one teenage girl’s decision to redefine her life in the wake of supernatural events.

Teddi Alder is just trying to figure out her life.

When she joins SUMMERTEENS, a library writing group, she’s only looking to keep herself busy, not go digging around in her subconscious. But as she writes, disturbing memories of her lost childhood friend Corey bubble to the surface, and Teddi begins to question everything: her friendship with her BFF Willa, how much her mom really knows, and even her own memories. Teddi fears she’s losing her grip on reality—as evidenced by that mysterious ghost-girl who emerges from the park pool one night, the one who won’t leave Teddi alone. To top it all off, she finds herself juggling two guys with potential, a quirky new boy named Joy and her handsome barista crush Aidan, who has some issues of his own.

As the summer unfolds, Teddi is determined to get to the bottom of everything—her feelings, the mysterious ghost-girl, and the memories of Corey that refuse to be ignored.
Visit Steven Parlato's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Precious Dreadful.

Writers Read: Steven Parlato.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven YA novels on the journey to college from high school

At the BN Teen blog, Madeline Moore tagged seven YA novels that take on the journey from high school to college, including:
American Panda, by Gloria Chao

Mei is a seventeen-year-old Asian American girl attending MIT, majoring in biology, and on track to become a highly paid doctor. By her parents’ standard she’s successful, and that means she should be happy—right? Except Mei secretly prefers ballet slippers to bedpans, and dreams of owning a dance studio, not a doctorate. So it seems she must make a choice: her parent’s happiness, or her own. American Panda gives me feels similar to those I imagine I’d experience on hugging a panda: heartfelt and humorous. It’s a stunning exploration of identity, as Mei’s experiences her first year of independence in the modern world while trying to live a life defined by respect for ancient Taiwanese tradition. Throughout the novel Mei walks a line between wanting to be her parent’s perfect daughter and having the heart to fight for her right to be happy. Chao’s story of accepting and loving who you are is incredibly important, and I hope many other teens will find solace and strength in Mei.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: American Panda.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Dawn Chatty's "Syria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Syria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State by Dawn Chatty.

About the book, from the publisher:
The dispossession and forced migration of nearly 50 per cent of Syria's population has produced the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. This new book places the current displacement within the context of the widespread migrations that have indelibly marked the region throughout the last 150 years. Syria itself has harbored millions from its neighboring lands, and Syrian society has been shaped by these diasporas. Dawn Chatty explores how modern Syria came to be a refuge state, focusing first on the major forced migrations into Syria of Circassians, Armenians, Kurds, Palestinians, and Iraqis. Drawing heavily on individual narratives and stories of integration, adaptation, and compromise, she shows that a local cosmopolitanism came to be seen as intrinsic to Syrian society. She examines the current outflow of people from Syria to neighboring states as individuals and families seek survival with dignity, arguing that though the future remains uncertain, the resilience and strength of Syrian society both displaced internally within Syria and externally across borders bodes well for successful return and reintegration. If there is any hope to be found in the Syrian civil war, it is in this history.
Learn more about Syria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Syria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 19, 2018

What is Jennifer Brown reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jennifer Brown, author of Break Us.

Her entry begins:
Right now I am reading a crazy amount of YA and middle grade books, and they have all been really great. But there is one that stands out as the book that had me completely engrossed and will stay with me forever: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson.

Nine-year old Mary allegedly killed an infant while babysitting with her mother and was sent to “baby jail.” Now, six years later, she is living in a group home, trying to put together the pieces of her life, when she discovers that she herself is pregnant.

Mary has been tight-lipped about what happened the night of the baby’s death, but the court has decided that...[read on]
About Break Us, from the publisher:
Fans of Pretty Little Liars, look no further for your new favorite chilling mystery: the Shade Me series by New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Brown. This last book in a popular trilogy is a nail-biting, not-to-be-missed finale that will leave readers breathless.

Nikki Kill doesn’t see the world in black and white. Her synesthesia shades everything in view, transforming numbers, words, and emotions into colorful clues. Which means she’s a dangerous commodity to anyone with something to hide.

Nikki has already taken on the Hollises—one of L.A.’s most powerful families—for murdering her half sister, Peyton. However, Nikki’s next steps are clouded by the gray of uncertainty. Before she knows it, Nikki is on the trail of a cold case that couldn’t be any more personal—the death of her mother.

But when the web of lies and secrets she uncovers leads back to the people who have tried to silence her, Nikki must pursue the sunbeam gold of justice, or everything—including her life—will be lost.
Learn more about the book and author at Jennifer Brown's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Jennifer Brown & Ursula and Aragorn.

My Book, The Movie: Life on Mars.

The Page 69 Test: Shade Me.

The Page 69 Test: Dare You.

Writers Read: Jennifer Brown.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Laura Lippman's "Sunburn"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Sunburn: A Novel by Laura Lippman.

About the book, from the publisher:
New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman returns with a superb novel of psychological suspense about a pair of lovers with the best intentions and the worst luck: two people locked in a passionate yet uncompromising game of cat and mouse. But instead of rules, this game has dark secrets, forbidden desires, inevitable betrayals—and cold-blooded murder.

One is playing a long game. But which one?

They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through. Yet she stays and he stays—drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other—dangerous, even lethal, secrets.

Then someone dies. Was it an accident, or part of a plan? By now, Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other’s lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away—or even if they want to. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth, or will it ultimately destroy them?

Something—or someone—has to give.

Which one will it be?

Inspired by James M. Cain’s masterpieces The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, and Mildred Pierce, Sunburn is a tantalizing modern noir from the incomparable Laura Lippman.
Visit Laura Lippman's website.

The Page 69 Test: Another Thing to Fall.

The Page 69 Test: What the Dead Know.

The Page 69 Test/Page 99 Test: Life Sentences.

The Page 69 Test: I'd Know You Anywhere.

The Page 69 Test: The Most Dangerous Thing.

The Page 69 Test: Hush Hush.

The Page 69 Test: Wilde Lake.

My Book, the Movie: Wilde Lake.

The Page 69 Test: Sunburn.

--Marshal Zeringue

Melita M. Garza's "They Came to Toil," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: They Came to Toil: Newspaper Representations of Mexicans and Immigrants in the Great Depression by Melita M. Garza.

The entry begins:
Since the key dramatic tension revolves around how three competing U.S. news organizations with distinctive editorial voices covered Mexican immigration in the early 1930s, the casting of the three editors and publishers is most critical.

I would cast Mexican actor Adan Canto (Designated Survivor’s Aaron Shore) as Ignacio Lozano, publisher of La Prensa, then the most important Spanish-language publication in the United States. Canto would bring the enterprising immigrant’s sensibility to the part. I’d cast Gary Oldman as William Randolph Hearst, who during the early Great Depression owned the biggest newspaper chain in the United States, and who wrote numerous anti-immigrant editorials that were published in many of his newspapers, including the San Antonio Light. Hugh Jackman would appear as...[read on]
Learn more about They Came to Toil at the University of Texas Press website.

The Page 99 Test: They Came to Toil.

My Book, The Movie: They Came to Toil.

--Marshal Zeringue

Melba Pattillo Beals's 6 favorite books

Melba Pattillo Beals was one of nine African-American high school students to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Under protection of the 101st Airborne Division of the Army, dispatched by President Eisenhower, she and eight other African-American youths integrated the previously all-white Central High School. She has written two new books about the experience, I Will Not Fear and March Forward, Girl.

One of Beals's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Beloved by Toni Morrison

Reading Toni Morrison made me question whether I was really a writer. Her characters are so well drawn that a reader has no doubt about their identities and motives, and she uses them to create deep drama. Morrison's story about an ex-slave haunted by the ghost of the child she murdered is not for the fainthearted and requires deep concentration. But it compels you to stick with it until the end.
Read about another entry on the list.

Beloved also appears on Sarah Porter's list of five favorite books featuring psychological hauntings, Matthew Fellion and Katherine Inglis' list of ten books that were subject to silencing or censorship, Jeff Somers's list of ten fictional characters based on real people, Christopher Barzak's top five list of books about magical families, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's ten top list of wartime love stories, Judith Claire Mitchell's list of ten of the best (unconventional) ghosts in literature, Kelly Link's list of four books that changed her, a list of four books that changed Libby Gleeson, The Telegraph's list of the 15 most depressing books, Elif Shafak's top five list of fictional mothers, Charlie Jane Anders's list of ten great books you didn't know were science fiction or fantasy, Peter Dimock's top ten list of books that challenge what we think we know as "history", Stuart Evers's top ten list of homes in literature, David W. Blight's list of five outstanding novels on the Civil War era, John Mullan's list of ten of the best births in literature, Kit Whitfield's top ten list of genre-defying novels, and at the top of one list of contenders for the title of the single best work of American fiction published in the last twenty-five years.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Coffee with a canine: Rebecca Ross & Sierra

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Rebecca Ross & Sierra.

The author, on how Sierra got her name:
My husband and I were trying to think of a good name for her when I randomly thought of the Sierra Nevadas. And I was like, oh, Sierra is the perfect name for her. She doesn't have an alias but she has accumulated a few...[read on]
About Ross's The Queen Rising, from the publisher:
Grave Mercy meets Red Queen in this epic debut fantasy, inspired by Renaissance France, about an outcast who finds herself bound to a disgraced lord and entangled in his plot to overthrow the current king.

Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron. Growing up in Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her. While some are born with a talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she chose knowledge. However, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, she reluctantly accepts. But there is much more to his story, for there is a dangerous plot to overthrow the king of Maevana—the rival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

And now, with war brewing, Brienna must choose which side she will remain loyal to: passion or blood.
Visit Rebecca Ross's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Queen's Rising.

Coffee with a Canine: Rebecca Ross & Sierra.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Joanne Serling reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Joanne Serling, author of Good Neighbors: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
For most of my life, I’ve been a dedicated fiction reader, devouring novels at the rate of one per week with the occasional New Yorker story thrown in. But for the last six months, I’ve been on a nonfiction jag. It started with Boys of my Youth by Jo Ann Beard, a series of interconnected essays that read like short stories. Each one blew me away with their emotional depth and beauty. (And they were funny!) I then ...[read on]
About Good Neighbors, from the publisher:
A searing portrait of suburbia, friendship, and family strained by a devotion to false appearances.

In an idyllic suburb, four young families quickly form a neighborhood clique, their friendships based on little more than the ages of their children and a shared sense of camaraderie. When one of the couples, Paige and Gene Edwards, adopt a four-year-old girl from Russia, the group’s loyalty and morality is soon called into question. Are the Edwards unkind to their new daughter? Or is she a difficult child with hidden destructive tendencies?

As the seams of the group friendship slowly unravel, neighbor Nicole Westerhof finds herself drawn further into the life of the adopted girl, forcing Nicole to re-examine the deceptive nature of her own family ties, and her complicity in the events unfolding around her.
Visit Joanne Serling's website.

Writers Read: Joanne Serling.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven YA novels with undercover agents

At the BN Teen blog, Jenny Kawecki tagged seven YA titles with undercover spies, including:
You Don’t Know My Name, by Kristen Orlando

The daughter of two operatives, Reagan has spent her entire life preparing to be a Black Angel like her parents. But shifting identities and practicing martial arts gets old, and Reagan secretly dreams of living a normal life and becoming a doctor. Falling in love with the boy next door feels like the push she needs to turn that dream into a reality. But when her parents are abducted, Reagan will need every ounce of her training to rescue them. Bonus: Once you finish speed-reading this fast-paced thriller, you can pick up its recently released sequel, You Won’t Know I’m Gone.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Mark Newman's "Black Nationalism in American History"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Black Nationalism in American History: From the Nineteenth Century to the Million Man March by Mark Newman.

About the book, from the publisher:
This analytical introduction assesses contrasting definitions of black nationalism in America, thereby providing an overview of its development and varied manifestations across two centuries. Its aim is to evaluate historiographical debates and synthesize a broad range of scholarship, much of it published since the beginning of the new millennium. However, unlike some of that work, this book offers a critical perspective that avoids advocacy or condemnation of black nationalism by examining major black nationalist thinkers, leaders and organizations as well as discussing some lesser-known groups and figures, the nature of black nationalism's appeal and the position of women in and their contributions to black nationalism.
Mark Newman is a Reader in History at the University of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is the author of the award-winning Getting Right with God: Southern Baptists and Desegregation, 1945-1995 (2001) and Divine Agitators: The Delta Ministry and Civil Rights in Mississippi (2004).

Learn more about Black Nationalism in American History at the Edinburgh University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Black Nationalism in American History.

--Marshal Zeringue