Saturday, February 25, 2017

Six top Shakespearean SFF retellings

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, Kelly Anderson tagged six top Shakespearean sci-fi & fantasy retellings, including:
The Dream of Perpetual Motion, by Dexter Palmer

It’s not surprising to find that The Tempest, the weirdest and most experimental of Shakespeare’s plays, has inspired a lot of SFF-nal takes. In this one, the play is retold aboard a zeppelin, floating forever above a vast modern city, holding a single prisoner—the greeting card writer Harold Winslow. He spends his time writing his memoirs, with only the voice of the woman he loved, Miranda, for company. Oh, and also the cryogenically frozen body of her father Prospero. In this isolated atmosphere, Harold tells us the story of his life. This one madly mixes genres, from steampunk, to alt-history, to postmodernism, all crammed into one very sad, very weird zeppelin. Approach it like the novel of ideas and experimentation it is and you might find yourself lost in its potential.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Daniel Lowe reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Daniel Lowe, author of All That's Left to Tell: A Novel.

His entry begins:
Last night (I suppose Ironically), I finished reading Stewart O’Nan’s Last Night at the Lobster. It unfurls like a bolt of cloth—there are few, if any, seams in the novel, and it takes place in a single snowy afternoon and evening at a Red Lobster restaurant in New England. The characters are familiar not because they’re necessarily like people we meet, but because O’Nan infuses them with such credibility that you never question their actions or reactions in the novel. What he does, I think, is incredibly difficult—write a novel about a closing restaurant and mostly working class characters that includes no great crisis or event. And yet, by the final scenes, the subtle gestures of Manny and Jackie as they say goodbye are quietly moving, and the magnitude of Manny's many losses is...[read on]
About All That's Left to Tell, from the publisher:
Every night, Marc Laurent, an American taken hostage in Pakistan, is bound and blindfolded. And every night, a woman he knows only as Josephine visits his cell. At first, her questions are mercenary: is there anyone back home who will pay the ransom? But when Marc can offer no name, she asks him a question about his daughter that is even more terrifying than his captivity. And so begins a strange yet increasingly comforting ritual, in which Josephine and Marc tell each other stories. As these stories build upon one another, a father and daughter start to find their way toward understanding each other again.
Learn more about All That’s Left to Tell.

Writers Read: Daniel Lowe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five of the best books about trolls

Chris Sharp's first novel, The Elementalists, introduced a dark YA series and was called one of the “Overlooked Books of 2014”, by Slate. His new novel is Cold Counsel.

One of Sharp's five top books about trolls, as shared at Tor.com:
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

I almost skipped this one as it seemed too obvious—to be honest, it was the Rankin Bass cartoon version more than the book itself that so profoundly spoke to early me—but to omit it would be inauthentic to my trollish thinking. Three Stone trolls, Tom, Bert, and William Huggins, capture and discuss the eating of our fourteen heroes after a botched burglary attempt. These trolls are once again pretty dumb, but they make quick work of what are supposed to be an elite collection of dwarves who are only saved by the last minute cleverness of the Wandering Wizard. (The aforementioned savagery and greater fantasy world context for the trolls in this one showed me, and us all, the scope of what trolls, at their brutish best, could be. They had names, clothes, personalities, and a cave full of ancient booty. There was a treasure trove of unexplored myth there as well.)
Read about another entry on the list.

The Hobbit appears on Charlie Jane Anders's list of top novels that are marred by a fatal flaw, Julie Kagawa's top ten list of dragons in fiction, Rebecca Jane Stokes's list of seven favorite fictional shopaholics, Derek Landy's top ten list of villains in children's books, and John Mullan's lists of ten of the best beards in literature and ten of the best riddles in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Frances Brody's "A Death in the Dales"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: A Death in the Dales: A Kate Shackleton Mystery (Volume 7) by Frances Brody.

About the book, from the publisher:
A murder most foul

When the landlord of a Yorkshire tavern is killed in plain sight, Freda Simonson, the only witness to the crime, becomes plagued with guilt, believing the wrong man has been convicted. Following her death, it seems that the truth will never be uncovered in the peaceful village of Langcliffe...

A village of secrets

But it just so happens that Freda’s nephew is courting the renowned amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton, who decides to holiday in Langcliffe with her indomitable teenage niece, Harriet. When Harriet strikes up a friendship with a local girl whose young brother is missing, the search leads Kate to uncover another suspicious death, not to mention an illicit affair.

The case of a lifetime

As the present mysteries merge with the past’s mistakes, Kate is thrust into the secrets that Freda left behind and realizes that this courageous woman has entrusted her with solving a murder from beyond the grave. It soon becomes clear to her that nothing in Langcliffe is quite as it appears, and with a murderer on the loose and an ever-growing roster of suspects, this isn’t the holiday Kate was expecting...
Learn more about the book and author at Frances Brody's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dying in the Wool.

The Page 69 Test: A Woman Unknown.

The Page 69 Test: Murder on a Summer's Day.

The Page 69 Test: Death of an Avid Reader.

The Page 69 Test: A Death in the Dales.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 24, 2017

Pg. 99: Alex Preda's "Noise"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Noise: Living and Trading in Electronic Finance by Alex Preda.

About the book, from the publisher:
We often think of finance as a glamorous world, a place where investment bankers amass huge profits in gleaming downtown skyscrapers. There’s another side to finance, though—the millions of amateurs who log on to their computers every day to make their own trades. The shocking truth, however, is that less than 2% of these amateur traders make a consistent profit. Why, then, do they do it?

In Noise, Alex Preda explores the world of the people who trade even when by all measures they would be better off not trading. Based on firsthand observations, interviews with traders and brokers, and on international direct trading experience, Preda’s fascinating ethnography investigates how ordinary people take up financial trading, how they form communities of their own behind their computer screens, and how electronic finance encourages them to trade more and more frequently. Along the way, Preda finds the answer to the paradox of amateur trading—the traders aren’t so much seeking monetary rewards in the financial markets, rather the trading itself helps them to fulfill their own personal goals and aspirations.
Learn more about Noise: Living and Trading in Electronic Finance at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Noise: Living and Trading in Electronic Finance.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Sheryl Scarborough reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Sheryl Scarborough, author of To Catch a Killer.

Her entry begins:
When I’m drafting a book I can’t read a lot. One reason is because of time constraints and exhaustion and the other is because I’m a bit of a mimic and I tend to glom onto a voice I especially like. Once I’m done with a draft, the book-diet is over and I become a glutton for all the books.

I recently finished the sequel to To Catch a Killer and I’m in search of something new to submit to my editor, so I’ve recently read (back-to-back) Seriously Wicked, by Tina Connolly about the challenges of trying to manage high school while being raised by a seriously wicked...[read on]
About To Catch a Killer, from the publisher:
In To Catch a Killer, a contemporary mystery by debut author Sheryl Scarborough, a teenage girl uses forensic science to solve the cold-case murder of her mother.

Erin Blake has one of those names. A name that, like Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart, is inextricably linked to a grisly crime. As a toddler, Erin survived for three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case—which remains unsolved—fascinated a nation. Her father's identity unknown, Erin was taken in by her mother's best friend and has become a relatively normal teen in spite of the looming questions about her past.

Fourteen years later, Erin is once again at the center of a brutal homicide when she finds the body of her biology teacher. When questioned by the police, Erin tells almost the whole truth, but never voices her suspicions that her mother's killer has struck again in order to protect the casework she's secretly doing on her own.

Inspired by her uncle, an FBI agent, Erin has ramped up her forensic hobby into a full-blown cold-case investigation. This new murder makes her certain she's close to the truth, but when all the evidence starts to point the authorities straight to Erin, she turns to her longtime crush (and fellow suspect) Journey Michaels to help her crack the case before it's too late.
Visit Sheryl Scarborough's website.

My Book, The Movie: To Catch a Killer.

The Page 69 Test: To Catch a Killer.

Writers Read: Sheryl Scarborough.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten seemingly unrelated books that actually complement each other very well

At the B&N Reads blog Jeff Somers tagged "five pairs of books that have nothing to do with each other—and yet have everything to do with each other," [spoilers] including:
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding & The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

Both of these novels involve children being pitted against each other, but they are dark mirror reflections of each other in many ways. Golding’s children turn to violence and ritualistic murder because of their natures; left unsupervised by society, they become animals. Collins’ teenagers are forced to fight by society—and, in fact, ultimately resist and drive a revolution against it, asserting their better natures over the lure of violence. Reading them both, it’s easy to imagine dropping the kids from District 11 onto the Lord of the Flies island, and within weeks having set up a functioning democracy and gotten to work building a fleet of ships so they can go conquer the world.
Read about another entry on the list.

Lord of the Flies is on Brian Conaghan's list of ten favorite teen books about male friendship, Gillian Philip’s top ten list of islands in children's fiction, Janet Davey’s top ten list of schoolchildren in fiction, Frank Rich's ten top books list, Non Pratt's top ten list of toxic friendships in literature, Francesca Haig's top ten list of the greatest twins in children’s books, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick list of thirteen favorite, occasionally-banned, YA novels, Matt Kraus's list of six famous books with extremely faithful film adaptations, Michael Hogan's list of the ten best fictional evil children, Danny Wallace's six best books list, Gemma Malley's top ten list of dystopian novels for teenagers, AbeBooks' list of 20 books of shattered childhoods and is one of the top ten works of literature according to Stephen King. It appears on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best pigs in literature, ten of the best pairs of glasses in literature, and ten of the best horrid children in literature, Katharine Quarmby's top ten list of disability stories, and William Skidelsky's list of ten of the best accounts of being marooned in literature. It is a book that made a difference to Isla Fisher and is one of Suzi Quatro's six best books.

The Hunger Games also appears on Jeff Somers's top five list of dystopian societies that might actually function and top eight list of revolutionary SF/F novels, P.C. Cast’s top ten list of all-time favorite reads for fantasy fans, Keith Yatsuhashi's list of five gateway books that opened the door for him to specific genres, Catherine Doyle's top ten list of doomed romances in YA fiction, Ryan Britt's list of six of the best Scout Finches -- "headstrong, stalwart, and true" young characters -- from science fiction and fantasy, Natasha Carthew's top ten list of revenge reads, Anna Bradley ten best list of literary quotes in a crisis, Laura Jarratt's top ten list of YA thrillers with sisters, Tina Connolly's top five list of books where the girl saves the boy, Sarah Alderson's top ten list of feminist icons in children's and teen books, Jonathan Meres's top ten list of books that are so unfair, SF Said's top ten list of unlikely heroes, Rebecca Jane Stokes's top ten list of fictional families you could probably abide during holiday season and top eight list of books perfect for reality TV fiends, Chrissie Gruebel's list of favorite fictional fashion icons, Lucy Christopher's top ten list of literary woods, Robert McCrum's list of the ten best books with teenage narrators, Sophie McKenzie's top ten list of teen thrillers, Gregg Olsen's top ten list of deadly YA books, Annalee Newitz's list of ten great American dystopias, Philip Webb's top ten list of pulse-racing adventure books, Charlie Higson's top ten list of fantasy books for children, and Megan Wasson's list of five fantasy series geared towards teens that adults will love too.

--Marshal Zeringue

Lucinda Rosenfeld's "Class," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Class by Lucinda Rosenfeld.

The entry begins:
Jennifer Connelly as conflicted late-life mother and hunger charity fundraiser Karen Kipple.

Rihanna as Karen's best mom friend, Louise Bailey.

Mark Ruffalo as Karen's housing lawyer husband, Matt McClelland.

Ewan McGregor as...[read on]
My Book, The Movie: The Pretty One.

My Book, The Movie: Class.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pg. 69: William L. Myers Jr.'s "A Criminal Defense"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: A Criminal Defense by William L. Myers Jr.

About the book, from the publisher:
Losing the trial of his life could mean losing everything.

When a young reporter is found dead and a prominent Philadelphia businessman is accused of her murder, Mick McFarland finds himself involved in the case of his life. The defendant, David Hanson, is Mick’s best friend, and the victim, a TV news reporter, had reached out to Mick for legal help only hours before her death.

Mick’s played both sides of Philadelphia’s courtrooms. As a top-shelf defense attorney and former prosecutor, he knows all the tricks of the trade. And he’ll need every one of them to win.

But as the trial progresses, he’s disturbed by developments that confirm his deepest fears. This trial, one that already hits too close to home, may jeopardize his firm, his family—everything. Now Mick’s only way out is to mastermind the most brilliant defense he’s ever spun, one that may cross every legal and moral boundary.
The Page 69 Test: A Criminal Defense.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Renée Rosen reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Renée Rosen, author of Windy City Blues.

Her entry begins:
Lately a few books have really knocked my socks off so let me share them with you.

The One Man by Andrew Gross

I devoured this book because it’s simply impossible to put down. Set against the grim backdrop of Auschwitz during WWII, this is a historical thriller told in stunning detail with characters that will have you fully vested in their journey. Writing about the Holocaust would be a monumental challenge for any author and Gross traverses this difficult subject and material with...[read on]
About Windy City Blues, from the publisher:
The bestselling author of White Collar Girl and What the Lady Wants explores one woman’s journey of self-discovery set against the backdrop of a musical and social revolution.

In the middle of the twentieth century, the music of the Mississippi Delta arrived in Chicago, drawing the attention of entrepreneurs like the Chess brothers. Their label, Chess Records, helped shape that music into the Chicago Blues, the soundtrack for a transformative era in American History.

But, for Leeba Groski, Chess Records was just where she worked…

Leeba doesn’t exactly fit in, but her passion for music is not lost on her neighbor, Leonard Chess, who offers her a job at his new record company. What begins as answering phones and filing becomes much more as Leeba comes into her own as a songwriter and befriends performers like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry and Etta James. But she also finds love with a black blues guitarist named Red Dupree.

With their relationship unwelcome in segregated Chicago and the two of them shunned by Leeba’s Orthodox Jewish family, Leeba and Red soon find themselves in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement and they discover that, in times of struggle, music can bring people together.
Visit Renée Rosen's website, blog, and Facebook page.

The Page 99 Test: Every Crooked Pot.

My Book, The Movie: Dollface.

The Page 69 Test: Dollface.

The Page 69 Test: What the Lady Wants.

My Book, The Movie: What the Lady Wants.

Writers Read: Renée Rosen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top Hollywood novels

Tim Walker is a freelance journalist and author based in London. From 2012 to 2016 he was the Los Angeles correspondent for The Independent. Walker's first novel, Completion, was published in 2014 and longlisted for the Impac Dublin Literary Award. His new novel is Smoke Over Malibu.

One of Walker's top ten Hollywood novels, as shared at the Guardian:
American Dream Machine by Matthew Specktor (2013)

Specktor is Hollywood royalty, the son of legendary Hollywood agent Fred Specktor. He plainly drew on that experience for his second novel, in which screenwriter Nate Rosenwald narrates the rise and fall of his father, super-agent Beau Rosenwald, against the backdrop of the New Hollywood and the blockbuster era that followed. The book’s prologue is especially memorable: Nate comes across a young and not-yet-famous George Clooney, puking into a pot plant at a beloved industry eatery on the Sunset Strip.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: American Dream Machine.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Amy Adamczyk's "Cross-National Public Opinion about Homosexuality"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Cross-National Public Opinion about Homosexuality: Examining Attitudes across the Globe by Amy Adamczyk.

About the book, from the publisher:
Public opinion about homosexuality varies substantially around the world. While residents in some nations have embraced gay rights as human rights, people in many other countries find homosexuality unacceptable. What creates such big differences in attitudes? This book shows that cross-national differences in opinion can be explained by the strength of democratic institutions, the level of economic development, and the religious context of the places where people live. Amy Adamczyk uses survey data from almost ninety societies, case studies of various countries, content analysis of newspaper articles, and in-depth interviews to examine how demographic and individual characteristics influence acceptance of homosexuality.
Visit Amy Adamczyk's website.

The Page 99 Test: Cross-National Public Opinion about Homosexuality.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Pg. 69: Susan Rivers's "The Second Mrs. Hockaday"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers.

About The Second Mrs. Hockaday, from the publisher:
"All I had known for certain when I came around the hen house that first evening in July and saw my husband trudging into the yard after lifetimes spent away from us, a borrowed bag in his hand and the shadow of grief on his face, was that he had to be protected at all costs from knowing what had happened in his absence. I did not believe he could survive it.”

When Major Gryffth Hockaday is called to the front lines of the Civil War, his new bride is left to care for her husband’s three-hundred-acre farm and infant son. Placidia, a mere teenager herself living far from her family and completely unprepared to run a farm or raise a child, must endure the darkest days of the war on her own. By the time Major Hockaday returns two years later, Placidia is bound for jail, accused of having borne a child in his absence and murdering it. What really transpired in the two years he was away?

Inspired by a true incident, this saga conjures the era with uncanny immediacy. Amid the desperation of wartime, Placidia sees the social order of her Southern homeland unravel as her views on race and family are transformed. A love story, a story of racial divide, and a story of the South as it fell in the war, The Second Mrs. Hockaday reveals how that generation—and the next—began to see their world anew.
Visit Susan Rivers's website.

Writers Read: Susan Rivers.

The Page 69 Test: The Second Mrs. Hockaday.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is S. A. Bodeen reading?

Featured at Writers Read: S. A. Bodeen, author of Found.

Her entry begins:
I’ve always felt the pull to read books that weren’t meant for me. So when my agent sent me an advanced reader copy of another client’s forthcoming book, I sat right down with it, even though he had sent it for my husband and daughter. Let me explain. My husband manages a national wildlife refuge. My youngest daughter is a fan of the television show Pretty Little Liars. What non-fiction book could possibly combine those two? Odd Birds by Ian Harding. The author, a star of the show, is...[read on]
About Found, from the publisher:
Have the Robinsons found a way off the island?

Sarah Robinson and her family intended to have a vacation adventure aboard a boat but ended up stranded on a remote and mysterious island. Along with unusual, weird creatures, they met the “Curator,” a strange boy who may be an ... alien. And then they met Cash, a girl who may hold the key to why Shipwreck Island has been kept a secret for so long.

Is there treasure? And will the people hunting for treasure rescue the castaways? The Robinsons have only one chance to escape. Will they be trapped on Shipwreck Island forever?
Visit S.A. Bodeen's website.

Writers Read: S.A. Bodeen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sara Flannery Murphy's "The Possessions," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Possessions: A Novel by Sara Flannery Murphy.

The entry begins:
Maybe there are authors out there who aren’t interested in their novels’ theoretical movie adaptations. I’m definitely not one of them; I love playing the casting game during the writing process.

Mia Wasikowska would be a great Eurydice. She makes even quiet, repressed personalities feel multilayered. She also has a subtle dark side that I appreciate. Many of her roles are girls and women who switch from observers to participants: Alice, Jane Eyre, Edith in Crimson Peak, India in Stoker. That’s a quality I see in Edie as well.

I can imagine Eva Green as Sylvia. She’d capture the intensity and inherent mystery that Sylvia needs as a character who’s...[read on]
Visit Sara Flannery Murphy's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Possessions.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books to inspire you to make tomorrow better

At the B & N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Kameron Hurley tagged five books to inspire you to build a better future, including:
Too Like Lightning, by Ada Palmer

The future, like the past, is a foreign country. Or, at least, it should be. And Palmer – herself an accomplished historian – pulls out all the stops here in this incredibly rich far-future utopia designed to be as strange to us here in the 21st century as it would be to someone in the 1500’s (and it is!). Gender distinctions in this society have no real parallel to our own, and most of the world is aligned into polyamorous families and globe-spanning clans. This is a carefully designed utopia, one that could, however, unravel in the hands of a young boy who seems to have the ability to bring inanimate objects to life. Like The Female Man, this is a dense read that may take you some time to get into, but the reward of discovering what it does to your own thoughts and assumptions is well worth it.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Too Like the Lightning.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pg. 99: Cathal Nolan's "The Allure of Battle"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Allure of Battle: A History of How Wars Have Been Won and Lost by Cathal Nolan.

About the book, from the publisher:
History has tended to measure war's winners and losers in terms of its major engagements, battles in which the result was so clear-cut that they could be considered "decisive." Cannae, Konigsberg, Austerlitz, Midway, Agincourt-all resonate in the literature of war and in our imaginations as tide-turning. But these legendary battles may or may not have determined the final outcome of the wars in which they were fought. Nor has the "genius" of the so-called Great Captains - from Alexander the Great to Frederick the Great and Napoleon - play a major role. Wars are decided in other ways.

Cathal J. Nolan's The Allure of Battle systematically and engrossingly examines the great battles, tracing what he calls "short-war thinking," the hope that victory might be swift and wars brief. As he proves persuasively, however, such has almost never been the case. Even the major engagements have mainly contributed to victory or defeat by accelerating the erosion of the other side's defences. Massive conflicts, the so-called "people's wars," beginning with Napoleon and continuing until 1945, have consisted of and been determined by prolonged stalemate and attrition, industrial wars in which the determining factor has been not military but matériel.

Nolan's masterful book places battles squarely and mercilessly within the context of the wider conflict in which they took place. In the process it help corrects a distorted view of battle's role in war, replacing popular images of the "battles of annihilation" with somber appreciation of the commitments and human sacrifices made throughout centuries of war particularly among the Great Powers. Accessible, provocative, exhaustive, and illuminating, The Allure of Battle will spark fresh debate about the history and conduct of warfare.
Learn more about The Allure of Battle at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Allure of Battle.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Susan Rivers reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Susan Rivers, author of The Second Mrs. Hockaday.

Her entry begins:
I'm about halfway through Arthur and Barbara Gelb's biography of Eugene O'Neill, By Woman Possessed, which is confirming my unscientific theory that all great geniuses are screwed-up human beings incapable of healthy relationships. I've read other material about O'Neill, but nothing that focused so fully on his flawed marriages and his indifference --even cruelty -- toward his children, all stemming from the pathological bond he shared with his morphine-addicted mother.

Years ago, when I was a playwright, I was invited to the Eugene O'Neill Theater Festival in Connecticut. The festival's connection to the dramatist wasn't stressed to any degree, so it was almost by accident that I stumbled on the O'Neill family's cottage in New London. The one volunteer on site that afternoon let me wander through the house on my own, and for a writer who considers Long Day's Journey Into Night to be the most powerfully affecting American play ever written, it was...[read on]
About The Second Mrs. Hockaday, from the publisher:
"All I had known for certain when I came around the hen house that first evening in July and saw my husband trudging into the yard after lifetimes spent away from us, a borrowed bag in his hand and the shadow of grief on his face, was that he had to be protected at all costs from knowing what had happened in his absence. I did not believe he could survive it.”

When Major Gryffth Hockaday is called to the front lines of the Civil War, his new bride is left to care for her husband’s three-hundred-acre farm and infant son. Placidia, a mere teenager herself living far from her family and completely unprepared to run a farm or raise a child, must endure the darkest days of the war on her own. By the time Major Hockaday returns two years later, Placidia is bound for jail, accused of having borne a child in his absence and murdering it. What really transpired in the two years he was away?

Inspired by a true incident, this saga conjures the era with uncanny immediacy. Amid the desperation of wartime, Placidia sees the social order of her Southern homeland unravel as her views on race and family are transformed. A love story, a story of racial divide, and a story of the South as it fell in the war, The Second Mrs. Hockaday reveals how that generation—and the next—began to see their world anew.
Visit Susan Rivers's website.

Writers Read: Susan Rivers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Sheryl Scarborough's "To Catch a Killer"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough.

About the book, from the publisher:
In To Catch a Killer, a contemporary mystery by debut author Sheryl Scarborough, a teenage girl uses forensic science to solve the cold-case murder of her mother.

Erin Blake has one of those names. A name that, like Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart, is inextricably linked to a grisly crime. As a toddler, Erin survived for three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case—which remains unsolved—fascinated a nation. Her father's identity unknown, Erin was taken in by her mother's best friend and has become a relatively normal teen in spite of the looming questions about her past.

Fourteen years later, Erin is once again at the center of a brutal homicide when she finds the body of her biology teacher. When questioned by the police, Erin tells almost the whole truth, but never voices her suspicions that her mother's killer has struck again in order to protect the casework she's secretly doing on her own.

Inspired by her uncle, an FBI agent, Erin has ramped up her forensic hobby into a full-blown cold-case investigation. This new murder makes her certain she's close to the truth, but when all the evidence starts to point the authorities straight to Erin, she turns to her longtime crush (and fellow suspect) Journey Michaels to help her crack the case before it's too late.
Visit Sheryl Scarborough's website.

My Book, The Movie: To Catch a Killer.

The Page 69 Test: To Catch a Killer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six of the most deceptive marriages in fiction

At the B&N Reads blog Jeff Somers tagged the six most deceptive marriages in fiction, including:
Almost Missed You, by Jessica Strawser

Strawser’s debut novel is one of those perfectly-plotted, fast-paced thrillers that quickly establishes an idyllic life, only to tear it down with gleeful intensity. Violet and her husband Finn were “meant to be.” and are annoyingly happy on their first family vacation with toddler son Bear. Then Finn leaves Violet on the beach, takes Bear, and leaves, without explanation, and forces Violet’s best friend, Caitlin, to assist him with the application of a little blackmail. Violet is sent spinning down a rabbit hole of revelations and secrets that expose her ideal marriage to be much darker and more complex than she could have imagined. If you’ve ever had a moment of happiness in your relationship and wondered how you got to be so lucky, Strawser’s book will make you pause and wonder if maybe you aren’t as happy as you think.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 20, 2017

What is Dan Gutman reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Dan Gutman, author of Ms. Joni Is a Phony!.

His entry begins:
This has nothing to do with my new book Ms. Joni Is a Phony!, but right now I'm reading A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn. I didn't take a single history class in college (Psych major), but have become a history buff since then and I've put a lot of history in my books (such as Flashback Four: The Lincoln Project). So I thought it might be a good idea to sit down and actually...[read on]
About Ms. Joni Is a Phony!, from the publisher:
In this seventh book in the new My Weirdest School series, it’s picture day at Ella Mentry School! This year, Mr. Klutz has hired a weird photographer, Ms. Joni. She keeps saying “fabulous,” and she wants to turn A.J. into a supermodel. But what happens when the Picture Day Zombie makes an appearance? Run for your lives!

Perfect for reluctant readers and word lovers alike, Dan Gutman’s hugely popular My Weird School chapter book series has something for everyone. Don’t miss the hilarious adventures of A.J. and the gang.
Visit Dan Gutman's website.

Writers Read: Dan Gutman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about the immigrant experience

Abeer Y. Hoque is a writer, photographer, and editor. Her new book is Olive Witch: A Memoir.

One of the author's ten essential books about the immigrant experience, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel by Anya Ulinich

Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel is Russian American author and illustrator Anya Ulinich’s second book, a graphic novel about love and immigration and relationships. Almost every aspect of the protagonist’s life rang like a bell in my head, from the awkward growing up, to being new in America, to the foibles of writing and online dating. Ulinich is hilarious and sharp and her illustrations are bold and sweetly drawn. Her book presents the immigrant experience as well as that of returning home, as impossible as that is, in pitch perfect funny prose and evocative, warm art. “Now you know that no one ever truly arrives.”
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Lara Elena Donnelly's "Amberlough," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly.

The entry begins:
Amberlough: The Movie. Or, as has been suggested by several people, the BBC miniseries. (Someone even said it should be made into a Broadway musical!) At any rate: the media adaptation!

In a perfect world, I’d pop in my time machine, grab RuPaul circa 2005 for Aristide, then power back to the 50s and snatch Damn Yankees-era Gwen Verdon to play Cordelia. The role of Cyril DePaul would be played by my high school boyfriend’s older brother, a stage actor you’ve probably never heard of.

But as you may have noticed, we don’t live in a perfect world, and time travel isn’t really an option. So in a slightly-less-than-perfect-but-certainly-better-than-the-reality world, in which Amberlough is made into a movie, I’ve got some more viable options.

Once upon a time, I thought Baz Luhrmann was the natural choice to direct Amberlough, but I’m not sure he’d do justice to the heavier parts of the story. I recently....[read on]
Visit Lara Elena Donnelly's website.

My Book, The Movie: Amberlough.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Shobita Parthasarathy's "Patent Politics"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe by Shobita Parthasarathy.

About the book, from the publisher:
Over the past thirty years, the world’s patent systems have experienced pressure from civil society like never before. From farmers to patient advocates, new voices are arguing that patents impact public health, economic inequality, morality—and democracy. These challenges, to domains that we usually consider technical and legal, may seem surprising. But in Patent Politics, Shobita Parthasarathy argues that patent systems have always been deeply political and social.

To demonstrate this, Parthasarathy takes readers through a particularly fierce and prolonged set of controversies over patents on life forms linked to important advances in biology and agriculture and potentially life-saving medicines. Comparing battles over patents on animals, human embryonic stem cells, human genes, and plants in the United States and Europe, she shows how political culture, ideology, and history shape patent system politics. Clashes over whose voices and which values matter in the patent system, as well as what counts as knowledge and whose expertise is important, look quite different in these two places. And through these debates, the United States and Europe are developing very different approaches to patent and innovation governance. Not just the first comprehensive look at the controversies swirling around biotechnology patents, Patent Politics is also the first in-depth analysis of the political underpinnings and implications of modern patent systems, and provides a timely analysis of how we can reform these systems around the world to maximize the public interest.
Visit Shobita Parthasarathy's website, and learn more about Patent Politics at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Patent Politics.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pg. 69: Amy Fellner Dominy's "Die For You"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Die For You by Amy Fellner Dominy.

About the book, from the publisher:
Theirs was the perfect love story.

After Emma Lorde’s parents’ divorce forces her to move halfway across the state of Arizona to live with her father, Emma must face her senior year in a new school knowing absolutely no one.

Then she meets Dillon Hobbs and something just clicks.

Dillon introduces Emma to friends she can call her own. He provides a refuge from the chaos of her past and the security of a commitment that he promises will last forever. And because circumstances of her messy life forced Emma to put aside her dream of pursuing archaeology, Dillon creates a blueprint for a future together.

He saves her, over and over, by loving her more than she thought anyone ever would.

But just when everything seems picture-perfect, Emma is offered an opportunity that will upend the future they’ve planned. Uncertainty grows, and fear spirals into something darker.

Now Dillon is the one who needs saving.

But how much do you sacrifice for the one you love? What if saving Dillon means losing herself?
Visit Amy Fellner Dominy's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Amy Fellner Dominy & Riley.

The Page 69 Test: Die For You.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Jacqueline Carey reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jacqueline Carey, author of Miranda and Caliban.

Her entry begins:
Last summer, I traveled to Iceland, one of the countries featured in my current read, Eric Weiner’s The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World. Honestly, Iceland wasn’t really on my radar—the trip came about because it was on a friend’s bucket list. But it was fantastic, and it piqued my curiosity as to why this small, chilly island nation that’s largely benighted during the winter months consistently ranks high on the World Database of Happiness.

With a decade of experience as a foreign correspondent for NPR, Weiner is a concise, engaging writer, humorous and wry and keenly observant. He’s a skilled researcher. Despite a healthy dose of skepticism leavening his prose, he appears to have a...[read on]
About Miranda and Caliban, from the publisher:
A lovely girl grows up in isolation where her father, a powerful magus, has spirited them to in order to keep them safe.

We all know the tale of Prospero's quest for revenge, but what of Miranda? Or Caliban, the so-called savage Prospero chained to his will?

In this incredible retelling of the fantastical tale, Jacqueline Carey shows readers the other side of the coin—the dutiful and tenderhearted Miranda, who loves her father but is terribly lonely. And Caliban, the strange and feral boy Prospero has bewitched to serve him. The two find solace and companionship in each other as Prospero weaves his magic and dreams of revenge.

Always under Prospero’s jealous eye, Miranda and Caliban battle the dark, unknowable forces that bind them to the island even as the pangs of adolescence create a new awareness of each other and their doomed relationship.

Miranda and Caliban is bestselling fantasy author Jacqueline Carey’s gorgeous retelling of The Tempest. With hypnotic prose and a wild imagination, Carey explores the themes of twisted love and unchecked power that lie at the heart of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, while serving up a fresh take on the play's iconic characters.
Visit Jacqueline Carey's website.

Writers Read: Jacqueline Carey.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top alt-Londons in fantasy

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Jeff Somers tagged ten favorite alternate Londons in fantasy. One title on the list:
Smoke, by Dan Vyleta

Vyleta’s Victorian England setting looks deceptively like the one that actually existed, with one very big difference: impure thoughts and evil doings cause you to leak black “smoke” as a visual symbol of sin. As a result, the upper classes maintain power by demonstrating a lack of smoke, thus establishing their moral superiority over everyone else. There’s a mystery to the phenomenon, which is relatively recent, and half the fun is tracing how smoke has altered life in this alt-London.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue