Friday, October 31, 2014

Mary Elizabeth Summer's "Trust Me, I’m Lying," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer.

The entry begins:
I would like to go on record as saying that I know next to nothing about celebrity actors, especially teen stars. But I have been putting some thought into this lately, as I just yesterday signed a contract granting ABC Family the option rights to  Trust Me, I'm Lying. Going based on still-photo-looks alone, (I have no idea if these kids have any acting ability), I would dream cast  Trust Me, I'm Lying as follows:

Natasha Calis for Julep. Natasha has the right overall look, plus (from her IMDb picture, at least), it looks like she has a caginess to her that she keeps on the down-low. Haley Pulos and Elizabeth Gillies might also work for Julep.

Tyler is a tougher one to conjure up a casting for. He's so all-American, with mahogany hair, an athletic physique, and a charismatic smile that screams future politician. David...[read on]
Visit Mary Elizabeth Summer's website.

The Page 69 Test: Trust Me, I'm Lying.

Writers Read: Mary Elizabeth Summer.

My Book, The Movie: Trust Me, I'm Lying.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ten top imaginary friends in fiction

A.F. Harrold is an English poet. He writes and performs for adults and children, in cabaret and in schools, in bars and in basements, in fields and indoors. His books include Fizzlebert Stump and the Bearded Boy. One of the author's top ten imaginary friends in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
The Policemen, from Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman

Another choice some people won’t agree with, but I let the post-death Elvira in, why be afraid to take the same step in the opposite direction? It’s a puzzle this book, and it would be a shame to attempt to unpick it for anyone who’s not yet had the joy of swimming in its paradoxical, philosophical, intoxicating waters. It’s sometimes been called a grown-up Alice In Wonderland and that seems close enough. It’s a great treat for the enquiring teenager (or any) mind, especially an enquiring mind not in search of anything specific. It’s a book that should be read twice, at least. And you’ll never look at a bicycle the same again.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Third Policeman is among William Fotheringham's top ten cycling novels and Michael Foley's top ten books that best express the absurdity of the human condition.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Cara Caddoo's "Envisioning Freedom: Cinema and the Building of Modern Black Life"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Envisioning Freedom: Cinema and the Building of Modern Black Life by Cara Caddoo.

About the book, from the publisher:
Viewing turn-of-the century African American history through the lens of cinema, Envisioning Freedom examines the forgotten history of early black film exhibition during the era of mass migration and Jim Crow. By embracing the new medium of moving pictures at the turn of the twentieth century, black Americans forged a collective—if fraught—culture of freedom.

In Cara Caddoo’s perspective-changing study, African Americans emerge as pioneers of cinema from the 1890s to the 1920s. Across the South and Midwest, moving pictures presented in churches, lodges, and schools raised money and created shared social experiences for black urban communities. As migrants moved northward, bound for Chicago and New York, cinema moved with them. Along these routes, ministers and reformers, preaching messages of racial uplift, used moving pictures as an enticement to attract followers.

But as it gained popularity, black cinema also became controversial. Facing a losing competition with movie houses, once-supportive ministers denounced the evils of the “colored theater.” Onscreen images sparked arguments over black identity and the meaning of freedom. In 1910, when boxing champion Jack Johnson became the world’s first black movie star, representation in film vaulted to the center of black concerns about racial progress. Black leaders demanded self-representation and an end to cinematic mischaracterizations which, they charged, violated the civil rights of African Americans. In 1915, these ideas both led to the creation of an industry that produced “race films” by and for black audiences and sparked the first mass black protest movement of the twentieth century.
Learn more about Envisioning Freedom at the Harvard University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Envisioning Freedom.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top southern gothic YA novels

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Dahlia Adler tagged five great southern gothic Young Adult novels, including:
Beware the Wild, by Natalie C. Parker

The idea of being so deeply immersed in a world you can practically taste the glowing swamp water might not sound particularly delicious, but trust me: in this case, it absolutely is. Parker’s debut is rife with gorgeous atmospheric detail that pairs perfectly with this twisted tale of a swamp that swallows those who get too close and spits out replacements, confusing the lives of the couple in the town of Sticks, Louisiana, who know the truth but may not be able to do anything to stop it.
Read about another book on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Beware the Wild.

My Book, The Movie: Beware the Wild.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Susan McBride's "Very Bad Things"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Very Bad Things by Susan McBride.

About the book, from the publisher:
A dark, moody, boarding-school murder mystery teens won’t be able to put down.

Katie never thought she’d be the girl with the popular boyfriend. She also never thought he would cheat on her—but the proof is in the photo that people at their boarding school can’t stop talking about. Mark swears he doesn’t remember anything. But Rose, the girl in the photo, is missing, and Mark is in big trouble. Because it looks like Rose isn’t just gone . . . she’s dead.

Maybe Mark was stupid, but that doesn’t mean he’s a killer.

Katie needs to find out what really happened, and her digging turns up more than she bargained for, not just about Mark but about someone she loves like a sister: Tessa, her best friend. At Whitney Prep, it’s easy to keep secrets . . . especially the cold-blooded kind.
Learn more about the book and author at Susan McBride's website.

The Page 69 Test: Little Black Dress.

Writers Read: Susan McBride.

The Page 69 Test: Very Bad Things.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Twelve first-rate horror books for sleepless nights

At KQED Rick Kleffel tagged twelve high-quality horror books for sleepless nights, including:
Last Days
by Adam Nevill
St. Martin’s Griffin

Kyle Freeman is an indie filmmaker on his last legs, looking to make a breakthrough, and pay his bills, with The Temple of Last Days, a documentary about a cult that self-destructed in the Arizona desert in 1975. This proves to be a bad idea for Kyle, but a truly terrorizing experience for readers of Adam Nevill’s Last Days. If you’re looking for a big, beefy horror novel that is consummately well written and extremely creepy, look no further; Last Days will keep you awake through the night reading, and then for many thereafter, remembering.

As Kyle investigates the origins of the cult, he finds it reaches farther into the past than he imagined. But when he talks to survivors of that night, his life takes a turn for the worse as he begins to experience nights even less restful than readers can expect.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Barton A. Myers's "Rebels against the Confederacy"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Rebels against the Confederacy: North Carolina's Unionists by Barton A. Myers.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this groundbreaking study, Barton A. Myers analyzes the secret world of hundreds of white and black Southern Unionists as they struggled for survival in a new Confederate world, resisted the imposition of Confederate military and civil authority, began a diffuse underground movement to destroy the Confederacy, joined the United States Army as soldiers, and waged a series of violent guerrilla battles at the local level against other Southerners. Myers also details the work of Confederates as they struggled to build a new nation at the local level and maintain control over manpower, labor, agricultural, and financial resources, which Southern Unionists possessed. The story is not solely one of triumph over adversity but also one of persecution and, ultimately, erasure of these dissidents by the postwar South's Lost Cause mythologizers.
Learn more about Rebels against the Confederacy at the Cambridge University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Rebels against the Confederacy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Natalie C. Parker's "Beware the Wild," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker.

The entry begins:
One thing I have learned from this process is that I have no future as a casting agent. This was a true, capital ‘c,’ Challenge. I started off pondering which actors might capture the qualities and idiosyncrasies of each character. Actors must have nuance, after all. But it gathering a sense of nuance from photographs turns out to be a near impossible job, so I shifted tactics...

This dream cast was selected based on the following criteria:
Faces. They must have them!
See #1.
First up! The siblings.

The premise of Beware the Wild is this: there is a mysterious swamp in the middle of Sticks, Louisiana. One day, a boy goes in and doesn’t return. Instead, a girl climbs out of the swamp and takes his place. The only one to remember that the boy ever existed is his baby sister, Sterling.

For Sterling Saucier, I’ve chosen Georgie Henley of The Chronicles of Narnia fame. Not only are her eyes naturally blue-ish, but I think she has a stubborn jaw.

For her brother, Phineas, I’ve selected...[read on]
Visit Natalie C. Parker's website.

The Page 69 Test: Beware the Wild.

My Book, The Movie: Beware the Wild.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Mary Elizabeth Summer reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Mary Elizabeth Summer, author of Trust Me, I'm Lying.

Her entry begins:
Being a debut author, I've been gorging myself on other 2014 debut-author books this year. The one I'm currently (re)reading is Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones. Similarly to Trust Me, I'm Lying, it features a girl con artist as the protagonist, but there the similarity ends. Illusive takes place in a near future world where a virus has decimated the population, and the vaccine that saved the remainder has left a small percentage of people with supernatural abilities, like levitation, telepathy, and invisibility. There's so much to...[read on]
About Trust Me, I'm Lying, from the publisher:
Fans of Ally Carter's Heist Society novels will love this teen mystery/thriller with sarcastic wit, a hint of romance, and Ocean’s Eleven–inspired action.

Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.

But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.
Visit Mary Elizabeth Summer's website.

The Page 69 Test: Trust Me, I'm Lying.

Writers Read: Mary Elizabeth Summer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ten of the trickiest Halloween books out this fall

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Dell Villa tagged ten new chilling children’s books to read on Halloween, including:
Bramble and Maggie Spooky Season, by Jessie Haas and Allison Friend (Illustrator)

Bramble, an affable, spirited horse, and Maggie, her steadfast owner, are the best of friends, and Spooky Season is their third adventure together. Fall is full of fun, but there are also some frights! Will they be able to work together to trick-or-treat safely through the night? Bramble and Maggie’s is a warm and wonderful tale of teamwork and courage.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Juliet Marillier's "The Caller"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Caller by Juliet Marillier.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the final book in this gripping, romantic fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Robin McKinley, Kristin Cashore, and Shannon Hale, Neryn’s band of rebels reach their climactic confrontation with the king. The stunning conclusion to the story that began with Shadowfell and Raven Flight is full of romance, intrigue, magic, and adventure.

Just one year ago, Neryn had nothing but a canny skill she barely understood and a faint dream that the legendary rebel base of Shadowfell might be real. Now she is the rebels’ secret weapon, and their greatest hope for survival, in the fast-approaching ambush of King Keldec at Summerfort.

The fate of Alban itself is in her hands. But to be ready for the bloody battle that lies ahead, Neryn must first seek out two more fey Guardians to receive their tutelage. Meanwhile, her beloved, Flint, has been pushed to his breaking point as a spy in the king’s court—and is arousing suspicion in all the wrong quarters.

At stake lies freedom for the people of Alban, a life free from hiding for the Good Folk—and a chance for Flint and Neryn to finally be together.
Learn more about the book and author at Juliet Marillier's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Juliet Marillier & Pippa, Gretel, and Sara.

The Page 69 Test: The Caller.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top new thought-provoking nonfiction books

At TimeOut New York Tiffany Gibert tagged ten new thought-provoking nonfiction books, including:
No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes by Anand Gopal

A Taliban commander. A warlord. A village housewife. These are the three people whose lives journalist Gopal chronicles in his account of the Afghan war, weaving together the intimacy of their stories with a larger narrative of mistakes and misconduct during this ongoing international conflict.
Read about another book on the list.

Learn more about No Good Men Among the Living.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Kurt Lampe's "The Birth of Hedonism"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Birth of Hedonism: The Cyrenaic Philosophers and Pleasure as a Way of Life by Kurt Lampe.

About the book, from the publisher:
According to Xenophon, Socrates tried to persuade his associate Aristippus to moderate his excessive indulgence in wine, women, and food, arguing that only hard work can bring happiness. Aristippus wasn’t convinced. Instead, he and his followers espoused the most radical form of hedonism in ancient Western philosophy. Before the rise of the better known but comparatively ascetic Epicureans, the Cyrenaics pursued a way of life in which moments of pleasure, particularly bodily pleasure, held the highest value. In The Birth of Hedonism, Kurt Lampe provides the most comprehensive account in any language of Cyrenaic ideas and behavior, revolutionizing the understanding of this neglected but important school of philosophy.

The Birth of Hedonism thoroughly and sympathetically reconstructs the doctrines and practices of the Cyrenaics, who were active between the fourth and third centuries BCE. The book examines not only Aristippus and the mainstream Cyrenaics, but also Hegesias, Anniceris, and Theodorus. Contrary to recent scholarship, the book shows that the Cyrenaics, despite giving primary value to discrete pleasurable experiences, accepted the dominant Greek philosophical belief that life-long happiness and the virtues that sustain it are the principal concerns of ethics. The book also offers the first in-depth effort to understand Theodorus’s atheism and Hegesias’s pessimism, both of which are extremely unusual in ancient Greek philosophy and which raise the interesting question of hedonism’s relationship to pessimism and atheism. Finally, the book explores the “new Cyrenaicism” of the nineteenth-century writer and classicist Walter Pater, who drew out the enduring philosophical interest of Cyrenaic hedonism more than any other modern thinker.
Learn more about The Birth of Hedonism at the Princeton University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Birth of Hedonism.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 27, 2014

Top ten songs in YA novels

At the Guardian, Ema O'Connor tagged ten "of the most rockin’ songs mentioned in the most rockin’ books," including:
“Asleep” by The Smiths in The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

After experiencing two deaths very close to him, 15 year-old Charlie became a bit of a recluse. But when he meets wild-riding seniors Patrick and Sam, this begins to change. With music helping to draw the friends together, this song plays a large role when Charlie gives to to Patrick as a Christmas present. “Asleep” perfectly captures the melancholy feeling of this YA classic.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is on Lauren Passell's list of the best Manic Pixie Dream Girls in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Susan McBride reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Susan McBride, author of Very Bad Things.

Her entry begins:
I normally don’t read two books at once, but I’m doing that now.

First, I’ve got Lisa Wingate’s The Prayer Box on my Android. So it goes with me to doctors’ appointments and anywhere I’ll be sitting for a while, twiddling my thumbs and waiting. It’s about a woman named Tandy whose life has come apart at the seams. She has two kids, and she’s recently run from an abusive marriage. So she’s trying to lie low, pick up some cash, and rebuild her messed-up life from scratch. In the process, she becomes the caretaker of a dead woman’s house. She finds scads of letters this woman wrote to God, asking all sorts of questions and trying to figure out her own confusing life. I’ve never really read Christian fiction before, but I met Lisa a few years back at the Southern Indie Booksellers convention and I figured it was about time I checked out her bestselling fiction. I’ve definitely been sucked into the story, which...[read on]
About Very Bad Things, from the publisher:
A dark, moody, boarding-school murder mystery teens won’t be able to put down.

Katie never thought she’d be the girl with the popular boyfriend. She also never thought he would cheat on her—but the proof is in the photo that people at their boarding school can’t stop talking about. Mark swears he doesn’t remember anything. But Rose, the girl in the photo, is missing, and Mark is in big trouble. Because it looks like Rose isn’t just gone . . . she’s dead.

Maybe Mark was stupid, but that doesn’t mean he’s a killer.

Katie needs to find out what really happened, and her digging turns up more than she bargained for, not just about Mark but about someone she loves like a sister: Tessa, her best friend. At Whitney Prep, it’s easy to keep secrets . . . especially the cold-blooded kind.
Learn more about the book and author at Susan McBride's website.

The Page 69 Test: Little Black Dress.

Writers Read: Susan McBride.

--Marshal Zeringue

Charlie Lovett's "First Impressions," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen by Charlie Lovett.

The entry begins:
OK, I have to be honest here. My wife, Janice, and I have been casting this movie ever since she read an early draft of my new novel First Impressions. The book is subtitled A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen, so it’s pretty clear where one of the casting challenges lies, but we first attacked the modern story, and I think we came up with some pretty exciting casting.

The book has two story lines, one involving a friendship between Jane Austen and an aging cleric in 1796 and the other set in the present day featuring young Sophie Collingwood. Sophie is freshly out of Oxford, dislikes her father, and loves her uncle Bertram, who has been her mentor in the world of old books. When he turns up dead, her world is turned upside down. What will excite moviegoers about the casting of Sophie’s family is that it will reunite three British actors who worked together as university students as Cambridge. Hugh Laurie will play the crotchety Mr. Collingwood, Emma...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Charlie Lovett's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Bookman's Tale.

My Book, The Movie: The Bookman's Tale.

Writers Read: Charlie Lovett.

The Page 69 Test: First Impressions.

My Book, The Movie: First Impressions.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Yona Zeldis McDonough & Willa and Holden

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Yona Zeldis McDonough & Willa and Holden.

The author's response to a question about dogs in her new novel:
There is indeed a Pom in You Were Meant for Me. His name is Fluff and he’s a bit of a bad boy: snapping, snarling, chewing on slippers etc. The fiancé of the character who owns him wants to get rid of him but they manage to come to an understanding that accommodates both man and...[read on]
About You Were Meant For Me, from the publisher:
What do you do when you have to give up the person you love most?

Thirty-five-year-old Miranda is not an impulsive person. She’s been at Domestic Goddess magazine for eight years, she has great friends, and she’s finally moving on after a breakup. Having a baby isn’t even on her radar—until the day she discovers an abandoned newborn on the platform of a Brooklyn subway station. Rushing the little girl to the closest police station, Miranda hopes and prays she’ll be all right and that a loving family will step forward to take her.

Yet Miranda can’t seem to get the baby off her mind and keeps coming up with excuses to go check on her, until finally a family court judge asks whether she’d like to be the baby’s foster parent—maybe even adopt her. To her own surprise, Miranda jumps at the chance. But nothing could have prepared her for the ecstasy of new-mother love—or the heartbreak she faces when the baby’s father surfaces….
Learn more about the author and her work at Yona Zeldis McDonough's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Yona Zeldis McDonough & Queenie, Willa and Holden (October 2012).

Coffee with a Canine: Yona Zeldis McDonough & Willa and Holden (September 2013).

The Page 69 Test: You Were Meant For Me.

Writers Read: Yona Zeldis McDonough.

My Book, The Movie: You Were Meant for Me.

Coffee with a Canine: Yona Zeldis McDonough & Willa and Holden.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Gillian Anderson's 6 favorite books

Gillian Anderson is an award-winning film, television, and theatre actress whose credits include the roles of Special Agent Dana Scully in FOX Television's long-running and critically-acclaimed drama series, The X-Files, ill-fated socialite Lily Bart in Terence Davies' masterpiece The House of Mirth (2000), and Lady Dedlock in the very successful BBC production of Charles Dickens' Bleak House.

Her first novel, with Jeff Rovin, is the science fiction thriller A Vision of Fire.

One of Anderson's six favorite books, as shared with The Week magazine:
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

A young Irish immigrant begins working in the kitchen of a Southern plantation. As an indentured servant, she straddles two worlds: the world of her white master and mistress, and that of her adoptive slave family. A unique and unforgettable novel.
Read about another book on the list.

Learn about the books that made a difference to Gillian Anderson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Andrew Needham's "Power Lines"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Power Lines: Phoenix and the Making of the Modern Southwest by Andrew Needham.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1940, Phoenix was a small, agricultural city of sixty-five thousand, and the Navajo Reservation was an open landscape of scattered sheepherders. Forty years later, Phoenix had blossomed into a metropolis of 1.5 million people and the territory of the Navajo Nation was home to two of the largest strip mines in the world. Five coal-burning power plants surrounded the reservation, generating electricity for export to Phoenix, Los Angeles, and other cities. Exploring the postwar developments of these two very different landscapes, Power Lines tells the story of the far-reaching environmental and social inequalities of metropolitan growth, and the roots of the contemporary coal-fueled climate change crisis.

Andrew Needham explains how inexpensive electricity became a requirement for modern life in Phoenix—driving assembly lines and cooling the oppressive heat. Navajo officials initially hoped energy development would improve their lands too, but as ash piles marked their landscape, air pollution filled the skies, and almost half of Navajo households remained without electricity, many Navajos came to view power lines as a sign of their subordination in the Southwest. Drawing together urban, environmental, and American Indian history, Needham demonstrates how power lines created unequal connections between distant landscapes and how environmental changes associated with suburbanization reached far beyond the metropolitan frontier. Needham also offers a new account of postwar inequality, arguing that residents of the metropolitan periphery suffered similar patterns of marginalization as those faced in America’s inner cities.

Telling how coal from Indian lands became the fuel of modernity in the Southwest, Power Lines explores the dramatic effects that this energy system has had on the people and environment of the region.
Learn more about Power Lines at the Princeton University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Power Lines.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Mary Elizabeth Summer's "Trust Me, I’m Lying"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer.

About the book, from the publisher:
Fans of Ally Carter's Heist Society novels will love this teen mystery/thriller with sarcastic wit, a hint of romance, and Ocean’s Eleven–inspired action.

Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.

But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.
Visit Mary Elizabeth Summer's website.

The Page 69 Test: Trust Me, I'm Lying.

--Marshal Zeringue

Four top urban fantasy series

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Ella Cosmo tagged four urban fantasy series you should be reading, including:
The Jane Yellowrock series, by Faith Hunter

Set largely in a fictional version of New Orleans, Hunter’s series does an excellent job of making the city as important as the characters. Hunter’s New Orleans is one filled with spicy étouffée, the rhythmic beat of jazz music, the fragrant smell of night-blooming jasmine…and vampires. Lots and lots of sexy, bloodsucking vampires. Which is why New Orleans is the perfect place for Jane Yellowrock, a mercenary with a talent for hunting “vamps,” as she likes to call them. Jane is a skinwalker, a gift of her Native American heritage and a legacy she grapples with throughout the series. In the first book, Skinwalker, Hunter introduces readers to giant mountain lion “Beast,” with whom Jane uneasily shares her body and spirit. Beast has her own personality and beliefs, and the relationship between the two characters is one of the story’s most compelling aspects.
Learn about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Black Arts (Jane Yellowrock Series #7).

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 25, 2014

What is Karen Miller reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Karen Miller, author of The Falcon Throne.

Part of her entry:
When it comes to new fiction (or at least fiction that's new to me!), [my] recent trip gave me a chance to enjoy books I've not read before. One of them was Joe Abercrombie's new novel, Half a King, which I enjoyed enormously. Abercrombie's work is always good, vivid and engaging, but I was particularly taken with this adventure. I was especially impressed with how he used our world's Viking history to inform his imaginary world. I believe there are more books to come in this tale, and I'm really...[read on]
About The Falcon Throne, from the publisher:
NO ONE IS INNOCENT. EVERY CROWN IS TARNISHED.

A royal child, believed dead, sets his eyes on regaining his father's stolen throne.

A bastard lord, uprising against his tyrant cousin, sheds more blood than he bargained for.

A duke's widow, defending her daughter, defies the ambitious lord who'd control them both.

And two brothers, divided by ambition, will learn the true meaning of treachery.

All of this will come to pass, and the only certainty is that nothing will remain as it once was. As royal houses rise and fall, empires are reborn and friends become enemies, it becomes clear that much will be demanded of those who follow the path to power.
Learn more about the author and her work at Karen Miller's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Falcon Throne.

The Page 69 Test: The Falcon Throne.

Writers Read: Karen Miller.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Kara Cooney's "The Woman Who Would Be King"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut's Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Kara Cooney.

About the book, from the publisher:
An engrossing biography of the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt and the story of her audacious rise to power.

Hatshepsut—the daughter of a general who usurped Egypt's throne and a mother with ties to the previous dynasty—was born into a privileged position in the royal household, and she was expected to bear the sons who would legitimize the reign of her father’s family. Her failure to produce a male heir was ultimately the twist of fate that paved the way for her improbable rule as a cross-dressing king. At just over twenty, Hatshepsut ascended to the rank of pharaoh in an elaborate coronation ceremony that set the tone for her spectacular reign as co-regent with Thutmose III, the infant king whose mother Hatshepsut out-maneuvered for a seat on the throne. Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays in the veil of piety and sexual reinvention. Just as women today face obstacles from a society that equates authority with masculinity, Hatshepsut shrewdly operated the levers of power to emerge as Egypt's second female pharaoh.

Hatshepsut successfully negotiated a path from the royal nursery to the very pinnacle of authority, and her reign saw one of Ancient Egypt’s most prolific building periods. Scholars have long speculated as to why her monuments were destroyed within a few decades of her death, all but erasing evidence of her unprecedented rule. Constructing a rich narrative history using the artifacts that remain, noted Egyptologist Kara Cooney offers a remarkable interpretation of how Hatshepsut rapidly but methodically consolidated power—and why she fell from public favor just as quickly. The Woman Who Would Be King traces the unconventional life of an almost-forgotten pharaoh and explores our complicated reactions to women in power.
Visit Kara Cooney's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Woman Who Would Be King.

--Marshal Zeringue

Bob Odenkirk's 6 favorite books

Actor, director, and comedy sketch writer Bob Odenkirk was a prominent co-star on AMC's Breaking Bad. His new book of comic essays is A Load of Hooey.

One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Dog of the South by Charles Portis

A hilarious narrator goes on a loony mission to catch up with his runaway wife, following the trail of credit card receipts she leaves from Arkansas to Belize. He's driven by resentment and pettiness — and yet he is also clearly entertained by the world around him. This is, to me, a very American voice.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Peter Watts's "Echopraxia," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Echopraxia by Peter Watts.

The entry begins:
Let's start behind the camera. It's almost tempting to nominate Shane Carruth for Director— after Primer and Upstream Color, don't you want to see what he could do with a budget of more than $8.67?— but given that Echopraxia seems to have left about half its readers confused, we might not want a director whose claim to fame is that his first movie took three viewings to understand. I've got nothing against challenging one's audience, but there can be too much of a good thing.

David Fincher, maybe— the man has a real way with mood, he's received more than his fair share of rave reviews, and bad direction was definitely not one of Alien 3's many faults. Fight Club was brilliant. Also, after The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Fincher could probably get Trent Reznor back on board for soundtrack duties, which would be a bonus. I'd green-light Fincher in a second. He'd be the safe choice.

But if I didn’t want to play it safe, I'd risk the whole wad on Steven Soderburgh. He's shown a deft and subtle hand at first-contact scenarios (yeah, Solaris tanked commercially, but I liked it better than Tarkovsky's version). Contagion proves that he knows how to do Science right, which is almost unheard-of in Hollywood. And he was executive producer on what was, if not the best movie based on a Philip K. Dick novel, certainly the most Dickish movie based on a Philip K. Dick novel. I'd be fascinated to see what Soderburgh could do with Echopraxia.

Prometheus alumni need not apply. Sorry Ridley.

Screenplay? That would be me. Not because I've...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Peter Watts's website.

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--Marshal Zeringue