Monday, July 16, 2018

Pg. 99: Randi Hutter Epstein's "Aroused"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything by Randi Hutter Epstein.

About the book, from the publisher:
A guided tour through the strange science of hormones and the age-old quest to control them.

Metabolism, behavior, sleep, mood swings, the immune system, fighting, fleeing, puberty, and sex: these are just a few of the things our bodies control with hormones. Armed with a healthy dose of wit and curiosity, medical journalist Randi Hutter Epstein takes us on a journey through the unusual history of these potent chemicals from a basement filled with jarred nineteenth-century brains to a twenty-first-century hormone clinic in Los Angeles.

Brimming with fascinating anecdotes, illuminating new medical research, and humorous details, Aroused introduces the leading scientists who made life-changing discoveries about the hormone imbalances that ail us, as well as the charlatans who used those discoveries to peddle false remedies. Epstein exposes the humanity at the heart of hormone science with her rich cast of characters, including a 1920s doctor promoting vasectomies as a way to boost libido, a female medical student who discovered a pregnancy hormone in the 1940s, and a mother who collected pituitaries, a brain gland, from cadavers as a source of growth hormone to treat her son. Along the way, Epstein explores the functions of hormones such as leptin, oxytocin, estrogen, and testosterone, demystifying the science of endocrinology.

A fascinating look at the history and science of some of medicine’s most important discoveries, Aroused reveals the shocking history of hormones through the back rooms, basements, and labs where endocrinology began.
Visit Randi Hutter Epstein's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Randi Hutter Epstein, Ellie and Dexter.

The Page 99 Test: Aroused.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top books based on true crimes

Megan Abbott's new novel is Give Me Your Hand. One of her six favorite books based on true crimes, as shared at The Week magazine:
Legs by William Kennedy

The master novelist of the demimonde takes on the violent death and gaudy life of gangster Jack "Legs" Diamond in this dazzling tale. Particular attention is devoted to the wild and woolly love triangle involving Legs, his wife, and his showgirl mistress. "How boring it is," the narrator opines, "not to fire machine guns."
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 15, 2018

What is Scott Reintgen reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Scott Reintgen, author of Nyxia Unleashed.

His entry begins:
I've actually just returned from the beach and thankfully I got a lot of reading done. The first book I tackled was The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin. It's a breathtaking and brutal world that centers around the concept of fifth seasons-- or regular apocalyptic events that threaten to wipe out humanity. Jemisin's world building is transcendent. I'm...[read on]
About Nyxia Unleashed, from the publisher:
Emmett Atwater thought Babel’s game sounded easy. Get points. Get paid. Go home. But it didn’t take long for him to learn that Babel’s competition was full of broken promises, none darker or more damaging than the last one.

Now Emmett and the rest of the Genesis spaceship survivors must rally and forge their own path through a new world. Their mission from Babel is simple: extract nyxia, the most valuable material in the universe, and play nice with the indigenous Adamite population.

But Emmett and the others quickly realize they are caught between two powerful forces-Babel and the Adamites-with clashing desires. Will the Genesis team make it out alive before it’s too late?
Visit Scott Reintgen's website.

The Page 69 Test: Nyxia.

Writers Read: Scott Reintgen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Rob Hart's "Potter's Field"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Potter's Field by Rob Hart.

About the book, from the publisher:
The final book in Rob Hart's acclaimed Ash McKenna series shows that Ash can go home again...but it might cost him everything.

Amateur private investigator Ash McKenna is home. After more than a year on the road he's ready to face the demons he ran away from in New York City. And he’s decided what he wants to do with his life: Become a private investigator, for real. Licensed and everything. No more working as a thug for hire. But within moments of stepping off the plane, Ginny Tonic, the drag queen crime lord who once employed him―and then tried to have him killed―asks to see him.

One of her newest drag queen soldiers has gone missing, and Ginny suspects she’s been ensnared by the burgeoning heroin scene on Staten Island. Ginny wants Ash to find her. Because he’s the best, and because he knows Staten Island, his home borough. Ash is hesitant―but Ginny’s offer of $10,000 is enough to get him on his feet. And the thought of a lost kid and a bereft family is too much for him to bear.

He accepts, and quickly learns there’s something much bigger at play. Some very dangerous people are vying for control of the heroin trade on Staten Island, which is recording the highest rate of overdose deaths in the city. As Ash navigates deadly terrain, he find his most dangerous adversary might be his own past. Because those demons he ran away from have been waiting for him to come back.
Visit Rob Hart's website.

My Book, The Movie: Potter's Field.

The Page 69 Test: Potter's Field.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten fantasy novels starring books, readers, & amazing libraries

At Unbound Worlds Matt Staggs tagged ten "fantasy novels that bibliophiles will love," including:
The Lost Plot
Genevieve Cogman

Scattered across the multiverse are infinite editions of every book you’ve ever read, each subtly different from the other. Finding them is the job of the daring librarians of the Invisible Library. In The Lost Plot, Librarian Irene and her assistant Kai are dispatched to Prohibition-era New York where they’re caught in the crossfire of warring mobsters, dragons, and Fair Folk.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Pg. 99: John M. Coggeshall's "Liberia, South Carolina"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Liberia, South Carolina: An African American Appalachian Community by John M. Coggeshall.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 2007, while researching mountain culture in upstate South Carolina, anthropologist John M. Coggeshall stumbled upon the small community of Liberia in the Blue Ridge foothills. There he met Mable Owens Clarke and her family, the remaining members of a small African American community still living on land obtained immediately after the Civil War. This intimate history tells the story of five generations of the Owens family and their friends and neighbors, chronicling their struggles through slavery, Reconstruction, the Jim Crow era, and the desegregation of the state. Through hours of interviews with Mable and her relatives, as well as friends and neighbors, Coggeshall presents an ethnographic history that allows members of a largely ignored community to speak and record their own history for the first time. This story sheds new light on the African American experience in Appalachia, and in it Coggeshall documents the community’s 150-year history of resistance to white oppression, while offering a new way to understand the symbolic relationship between residents and the land they occupy, tying together family, memory, and narratives to explain this connection.
Learn more about Liberia, South Carolina at The University of North Carolina Press website.

My Book, The Movie: Liberia, South Carolina.

The Page 99 Test: Liberia, South Carolina.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sibel Hodge's "Into the Darkness," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Into the Darkness by Sibel Hodge.

The entry begins:
When I'm writing a novel I see the scene playing out in my head exactly like a movie so I always have a visual of my characters. Of course, I'd love every book of mine to star the fantastic Tom Hardy if they were ever made into films, and for Into the Darkness, I think he would play an amazing Mitchell, ex-SAS operative who is searching for his missing goddaughter. He may be a little young for the role, though, so as a second I'd choose Ray Winston. It's a gritty British thriller so they would both be perfect.

For Mitchell's opposite, Detective Sergeant Carter, who is a maverick and someone very disillusioned with the police force, I'd choose...[read on]
Visit Sibel Hodge's website.

My Book, The Movie: Untouchable.

My Book, The Movie: Into the Darkness.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top alt-history World War II novels

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 ten "of the most ambitious, imaginative, and flat-out cool speculative takes on a World War II that never actually happened," including:
V-S Day, by Allen Steele

Steele’s big idea is elegant in its simplicity—and plausibility. This novel is set in the same universe as the author’s The Tranquility Alternative, in which the space race began in the 1940s between Germany and the U.S. instead of the 1960s between the U.S. and Russia. In 1941, Hitler issues a historic order: work on the V2 Rocket is to cease, and work on an orbital spacecraft capable of attacking the United States directly is to begin. When spy networks get word of this new plan to President Roosevelt, he sees just one reasonable response: begin work on his own spacecraft to counteract the Nazi plan. The desperate race to dominate space has a profound effect on the future of humanity in general, but in the meantime, Steele delivers a tense and exciting alternate history that really could have happened.
Read about another entry on the list.

My Book, The Movie: V-S Day.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 13, 2018

What is Gail Carriger reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Gail Carriger, author of Competence.

Her entry begins:
I recently finished two books, pretty different from each other, and here they are.

Truth in the Dark by Amy Lane

This is a charming twisted retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and a real tear-jerker. It's as if Lane took Robin McKinley's Beauty and combined it with The Song of Achilles. There's an element of the Hunchback of Notre Dame thrown in there for good measure. If you're a fan of alternate fairy stories, true love at all costs, and the ultimate melodrama of self-sacrifice then...[read on]
About Competence, from the publisher:
From New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger comes the delightful sequel to Imprudence.

Accidentally abandoned!

All alone in Singapore, proper Miss Primrose Tunstell must steal helium to save her airship, the Spotted Custard, in a scheme involving a lovesick werecat and a fake fish tail.

When she uncovers rumors of a new kind of vampire, Prim and the Custard crew embark on a mission to Peru. There, they encounter airship pirates and strange atmospheric phenomena, and are mistaken for representatives of the Spanish Inquisition. Forced into extreme subterfuge (and some rather ridiculous outfits) Prim must also answer three of life’s most challenging questions:

Can the perfect book club give a man back his soul?

Will her brother ever stop wearing his idiotic velvet fez?

And can the amount of lard in Christmas pudding save an entire species?
Learn more about the book and author at Gail Carriger's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Soulless.

The Page 69 Test: Changeless.

The Page 69 Test: Waistcoats & Weaponry.

The Page 69 Test: Prudence.

My Book, The Movie: Prudence.

The Page 69 Test: Manners & Mutiny.

Writers Read: Gail Carriger.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Alex White's "A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White.

About the book, from the publisher:
Furious and fun, the first book in this bold, new science fiction adventure series follows a crew of outcasts as they try to find a legendary ship that just might be the key to saving themselves-and the universe.

Boots Elsworth was a famous treasure hunter in another life, but now she’s washed up. She makes her meager living faking salvage legends and selling them to the highest bidder, but this time she got something real–the story of the Harrow, a famous warship, capable of untold destruction.

Nilah Brio is the top driver in the Pan Galactic Racing Federation and the darling of the racing world–until she witnesses Mother murder a fellow racer. Framed for the murder and on the hunt to clear her name, Nilah has only one lead: the killer also hunts Boots.

On the wrong side of the law, the two women board a smuggler’s ship that will take them on a quest for fame, for riches, and for justice.
Visit Alex White's website.

My Book, The Movie: A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.

The Page 69 Test: A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top novels dealing with time travel

Prentis Rollins has over twenty years of experience working as a writer and artist in the comics industry. The Furnace is his debut full-length graphic novel.

One of his five top novels dealing with time travel, as shared at Tor.com:
11/22/63

11/22/63 by Stephen King is a more recent (2011) time travel story, one of the strongest in decades. In it, Jake Epping, an English teacher, uses a time portal to travel back to 1958 (the only year the portal opens onto), in an attempt to prevent the assassination of John Kennedy. The time portal is a naturally-occurring phenomenon (likened at one point to a bubble floating in ginger ale)—there’s no question of the user having to do anything but step into it; this tale is very much in the brute force camp. King’s initial description of Epping’s experience of 1958 is one of the most evocative pieces of writing I know of—you are transported, via King’s prose, as surely as Epping is. But King’s ultimate slap-down of the “everything would be fine if only JFK had lived” school of thought is what makes the book significant, and deeply haunting.
Read about another entry on the list.

11/22/63 is among Peter May's six best books and Molly Driscoll's top six novels that explore a slightly alternate version of very familiar events.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Pg. 99: Loka Ashwood's "For-Profit Democracy"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: For-Profit Democracy: Why the Government Is Losing the Trust of Rural America by Loka Ashwood.

About the book, from the publisher:
A fascinating sociological assessment of the damaging effects of the for-profit partnership between government and corporation on rural Americans

Why is government distrust rampant, especially in the rural United States? This book offers a simple explanation: corporations and the government together dispossess rural people of their prosperity, and even their property. Based on four years of fieldwork, this eye-opening assessment by sociologist Loka Ashwood plays out in a mixed-race Georgia community that hosted the first nuclear power reactors sanctioned by the government in three decades. This work serves as an explanatory mirror of prominent trends in current American politics. Churches become havens for redemption, poaching a means of retribution, guns a tool of self-defense, and nuclear power a faltering solution to global warming as governance strays from democratic principles. In the absence of hope or trust in rulers, rural racial tensions fester and divide. The book tells of the rebellion that unfolds as the rights of corporations supersede the rights of humans.
Visit Loka Ashwood's website.

Writers Read: Loka Ashwood.

The Page 99 Test: For-Profit Democracy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sheena Kamal's "It All Falls Down," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: It All Falls Down: A Novel by Sheena Kamal.

The entry begins:
I don't write to actors, but sometimes it's fun to let my mind wander in that direction. Every now and then I get asked who I would cast as my main character, Nora Watts. The truth is, I don't know who could play Nora. I would absolutely love for an intrepid producer to take a chance on an indigenous actor for this part--and there are a few names that kick around in my mind--but it can be tough when you write a character of mixed-heritage.

The other important characters are much easier. I'd love to see Nora's love interest, Jon Brazuca, played by Vancouver actor Ryan Reynolds. Deadpool fame aside, he was in a fantastic movie called Buried where it was just him in...[read on]
Visit Sheena Kamal's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Lost Ones.

My Book, The Movie: It All Falls Down.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about self-reinvention

Liese O'Halloran Schwarz grew up in Washington, DC after an early childhood overseas. She attended Harvard University and then medical school at University of Virginia. While in medical school, she won the Henfield/Transatlantic Review Prize and also published her first novel, Near Canaan.

The newly released The Possible World is her second novel.

One of the author's top ten books about self-reinvention, as shared at the Guardian:
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (2014)

The riveting saga of Ursula Todd, who is born and dies in 1910 and is then reborn again and again into the same life, things going a little bit differently each time. She carries memories forward, and as the world marches through one war and then into another, the reader wonders if she will be able to budge the course of history. It is a masterpiece. I strongly recommend the audiobook; the narrator Fenella Woolgar’s performance is a tour de force of its own.
Read about another entry on the list.

Life After Life is among Caitlin Kleinschmidt tagged twelve moving novels of the Second World War, Jenny Shank's top five innovative novels that mess with chronology, Dell Villa's top twelve books from 2013 to give your mom, and Judith Mackrell's five best young fictional heroines in coming-of-age novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is James Brydon reading?

Featured at Writers Read: James Brydon, author of The Moment Before Drowning.

His entry begins:
Isaac Babel’s Red Cavalry is without doubt the most striking, original and haunting book I’ve read recently. These interlinked yet fragmentary stories from the Soviet-Polish war present, as one of the narrators puts it, “a chronicle of […] humdrum evil doings” from a conflict steeped in violence: beheadings, slit throats, the numberless and nameless dead strewing the battlefields.

The book’s shifting narrators correspond to different sides of Babel’s character. There is the bespectacled, intellectual journalist horrified by the slaughter, but also a Bolshevik taking pleasure in the protracted killing of his master, who he tramples to death for over an hour. Babel unsettlingly interrogates the moral values we ascribe to acts of violence. When the journalist is incapable of shooting a soldier whose...[read on]
About The Moment Before Drowning, from the publisher:
December 1959: A furious anticolonial war rages in Algeria. Captain Jacques le Garrec, a former detective and French Resistance hero, returns to France in disgrace. Traumatized after two years of working in the army intelligence services, he’s now accused of a brutal crime.

As le Garrec awaits trial in the tiny Breton town where he grew up, he is asked to look into a disturbing and unsolved murder committed the previous winter. A local teenage girl was killed and her bizarrely mutilated body was left displayed on the heathland in a way that no one could understand.

Le Garrec’s investigations draw him into the dark past of the town, still haunted by memories of the German occupation. As he tries to reconstruct the events of the murder, the violence of this crime and his recollections of Algeria intertwine, threatening to submerge him.
Learn more about The Moment Before Drowning at the Akashic Books website.

The Page 69 Test: The Moment Before Drowning.

Writers Read: James Brydon.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Pg. 69: Kimberly McCreight's "The Collide"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Collide by Kimberly McCreight.

About the book, from the publisher:
KEEP YOUR ENEMIES CLOSE.

Wylie is finally out of the detention center, but that doesn’t mean she’s safe. As much as she wants to forget everything that's happened and return to her normal life, Wylie knows that true freedom means discovering, once and for all, who is hunting the girls who are Outliers—and why.

Armed with only a few clues and a handful of trusted allies, Wylie sets out to separate fact from fiction. But soon she is unearthing long-buried secrets and finds herself entangled in a conspiracy that is much bigger and more dangerous than she ever could have imagined. Worse yet, the nearer Wylie gets to discovering the truth, the closer her enemies get to silencing her and the other girls. This time, maybe forever.

In the explosive conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight’s Outliers series, Wylie learns that when danger lurks in unexpected places, fighting for who and what you believe in can matter even more than you realized ... and that trusting yourself might be the one thing that saves you.
Visit Kimberly McCreight's website.

The Page 69 Test: Reconstructing Amelia.

The Page 69 Test: The Scattering.

The Page 69 Test: The Collide.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Danielle Banas & Cooper

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Danielle Banas & Cooper.

The author, on Cooper's impact on her writing:
Cooper loves to snuggle. Cooper also loves to snuggle on my lap while I’m trying to write, so then I have to move my laptop onto the arm of the couch and turn awkwardly to type while he’s sleeping – then my back starts to hurt. So he definitely hinders more than helps, but I still gave him a shout-out on the acknowledgments page of my book. If nothing else, he’s...[read on]
About Danielle Banas's The Supervillain and Me, from the publisher:
Never trust a guy in spandex.

In Abby Hamilton’s world, superheroes do more than just stop crime and save cats stuck in trees—they also drink milk straight from the carton and hog the television remote. Abby’s older brother moonlights as the famous Red Comet, but without powers of her own, following in his footsteps has never crossed her mind.

That is, until the city’s newest vigilante comes bursting into her life.

After saving Abby from an attempted mugging, Morriston’s fledgling supervillain Iron Phantom convinces her that he’s not as evil as everyone says, and that their city is under a vicious new threat. As Abby follows him deeper into their city’s darkest secrets, she comes to learn that heroes can’t always be trusted, and sometimes it’s the good guys who wear black.

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, The Supervillain and Me is a hilarious, sweet, and action-packed novel by debut author Danielle Banas that proves no one is perfect, not even superheroes.
Visit Danielle Banas's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Danielle Banas & Cooper.

--Marshal Zeringue

Fifteen of the most evil mothers in literature

At Entertainment Weekly Dana Schwartz tagged fifteen of the most evil moms in literature, including:
Daisy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Did you forget that Daisy had a baby? Exactly.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Great Gatsby appears among Brian Boone's six "beloved classic novels whose authors nearly cursed with a terrible title," four books that changed C.K. Stead, Jeff Somers's seven most disastrous parties in fiction, four books that changed Jodi Picoult, Joseph Connolly's top ten novels about style, Nick Lake’s ten favorite fictional tricksters and tellers of untruths in books, the Independent's list of the fifteen best opening lines in literature, Molly Schoemann-McCann's list of five of the lamest girlfriends in fiction, Honeysuckle Weeks's six best books, Elizabeth Wilhide's nine illustrious houses in fiction, Suzette Field's top ten literary party hosts, Robert McCrums's ten best closing lines in literature, Molly Driscoll's ten best literary lessons about love, Jim Lehrer's six favorite 20th century novels, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best clocks in literature and ten of the best misdirected messages, Tad Friend's seven best novels about WASPs, Kate Atkinson's top ten novels, Garrett Peck's best books about Prohibition, Robert McCrum's top ten books for Obama officials, Jackie Collins' six best books, and John Krasinski's six best books, and is on the American Book Review's list of the 100 best last lines from novels. Gatsby's Jordan Baker is Josh Sorokach's biggest fictional literary crush.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Jeff Love's "The Black Circle"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Black Circle: A Life of Alexandre Kojeve by Jeff Love.

About the book, from the publisher:
Alexandre Kojève (1902–1968) was an important and provocative thinker. Born in Russia, he spent most of his life in France. His interpretation of Hegel and his notorious declaration that history had come to an end exerted great influence on French thinkers and writers such as Raymond Aron, Georges Bataille, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jacques Lacan, and Raymond Queneau. An unorthodox Marxist, he was a critic of Martin Heidegger and interlocutor of Leo Strauss who played a significant role in establishing the European Economic Community; a polyglot with many unusual interests, he wrote works, mostly unpublished in his lifetime, on quantum physics, the problem of the infinite, Buddhism, atheism, and Vassily Kandinsky’s paintings.

In The Black Circle, Jeff Love reinterprets Kojève’s works, showing him to be an essential thinker who challenged modern society and its valuation of individuality, self-interest, and freedom from death. Emphasizing Kojève’s neglected Russian roots, The Black Circle puts him in the context of the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Russian debates over the proper ends of human life. Love explores notions of perfection, freedom, and finality in Kojève’s account of Hegel and his neglected later works, clarifying Kojève’s emancipatory thinking and the meaning of the oft-misinterpreted “end of history.” Combining intellectual history, close textual analysis, and philosophy, The Black Circle reveals Kojève’s thought as a profound critique of capitalist individualism and a timely meditation on human freedom.
Learn more about The Black Circle at the Columbia University Press website.

My Book, The Movie: The Black Circle.

The Page 99 Test: The Black Circle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What is J.D. Horn reading?

Featured at Writers Read: J.D. Horn, author of The Book of the Unwinding (Witches of New Orleans).

His entry begins:
Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann

The unsolved murder of director William Desmond Taylor lies at the center of this epic recounting of the early days of Hollywood. I have a couple of ideas for stories involving the early and golden ages of Hollywood knocking around in my head, so for me this complex well-researched, and perfectly paced book lies between leisure reading and research. If you’re interested in true crime, this one is...[read on]
About The Book of the Unwinding, from the publisher:
With their magic diminishing, warring factions of New Orleans witches desperately search for the Book of the Unwinding—a legendary grimoire, hidden by spells, that holds the key to unimaginable powers. As a ruthless struggle erupts in a maelstrom of malevolent magic, psychic Nathalie Boudreau finds her destiny intertwined with that of an exiled witch.

Her name is Alice Marin, a vulnerable young woman trapped in a realm of illusion. Only Nathalie can free her, but first she must come to understand and master her own extraordinary abilities.

Now, in a world where betrayals have become the order of the day, it will fall to two women to restore rightful balance amid terrifying chaos.
Visit J.D. Horn's website.

Coffee with a Canine: J.D. Horn & Kirby.

Writers Read: J.D. Horn.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Gale Massey's "The Girl from Blind River"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Girl From Blind River by Gale Massey.

About The Girl From Blind River, from the publisher:
Everyone says the Elders family are nothing but cheats, thieves, and convicts—a fact nineteen-year old Jamie Elders has been trying desperately to escape. She may have the natural talent of a poker savant, but her dreams of going pro and getting the hell out of the tiny town of Blind River, New York are going nowhere fast. Especially once she lands in a huge pile of debt to her uncle Loyal.

At Loyal’s beck and call until her debt is repaid, Jamie can’t easily walk away—not with her younger brother Toby left at his mercy. So when Loyal demands Jamie’s help cleaning up a mess late one night, she has no choice but to agree. But disposing of a dead man and covering up his connection to the town’s most powerful judge goes beyond family duty. When it comes out that the victim was a beloved athlete and Loyal pins the murder on Toby, only Jamie can save him. But with a dogged detective on her trail and her own future at stake, she’ll have to decide: embrace her inner criminal, or defy it—and face the consequences.
Visit Gale Massey's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Girl From Blind River.

Writers Read: Gale Massey.

The Page 69 Test: The Girl From Blind River.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top enduring American mysteries explored in novels

At Unbound Worlds Matt Staggs tagged "five of the nation’s weirdest mysteries and novels that reference them," including:
Journal of a UFO Investigator
David Halperin

In the summer of 1947, townsfolk in Roswell, New Mexico reported the discovery of what appeared to be the wreckage of some sort of space craft. The government response was confusing, to say the least. Military personnel released a statement to the local press indicating they had recovered a flying disc of some sort. Later, they claimed that what had crashed in Roswell was a perfectly ordinary weather balloon. Needless to say, people have been arguing about what really happened ever since.

David Halperin’s Journey of a UFO Investigator is the story of a troubled teenage boy who constructs an elaborate fantasy life around the UFO craze of the 1960s. As he becomes more strongly enmeshed in his world of Roswell, Men in Black, and Unidentified Flying Saucers, the lines between real and unreal begin to blur.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Journal of a UFO Investigator.

--Marshal Zeringue

Rob Hart's "Potter's Field," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Potter's Field by Rob Hart.

The entry begins:
Swear to truth, I have never really considered who would play Ash. I’m going to say Adam Driver. He looks like he can hold his own in a brawl, and I think he’s a fantastic, interesting actor. He can find that balance between stoicism and heart and vulnerability that I think is important to Ash. He’s a little old for it—he’s in his mid-30s and Ash is in his mid-20s, but that’s not a deal breaker for me.

Or, if you want to make things interesting, race-flip it and cast...[read on]
Visit Rob Hart's website.

My Book, The Movie: Potter's Field by Rob Hart.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 09, 2018

What is Loka Ashwood reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Loka Ashwood, author of For-Profit Democracy: Why the Government Is Losing the Trust of Rural America.

Her entry begins:
While I grew up in the Midwest, I have spent the bulk of the last ten years of my life doing research or living in the South. Accordingly, I thought it high time early this year to invest myself more heavily in its lauded literature. I started with Jean Toomer’s Cane, as good of a place as I could begin, although little did I know it at the time. I then moved on to William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, but...[read on]
About For-Profit Democracy, from the publisher:
A fascinating sociological assessment of the damaging effects of the for-profit partnership between government and corporation on rural Americans

Why is government distrust rampant, especially in the rural United States? This book offers a simple explanation: corporations and the government together dispossess rural people of their prosperity, and even their property. Based on four years of fieldwork, this eye-opening assessment by sociologist Loka Ashwood plays out in a mixed-race Georgia community that hosted the first nuclear power reactors sanctioned by the government in three decades. This work serves as an explanatory mirror of prominent trends in current American politics. Churches become havens for redemption, poaching a means of retribution, guns a tool of self-defense, and nuclear power a faltering solution to global warming as governance strays from democratic principles. In the absence of hope or trust in rulers, rural racial tensions fester and divide. The book tells of the rebellion that unfolds as the rights of corporations supersede the rights of humans.
Visit Loka Ashwood's website.

Writers Read: Loka Ashwood.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Paul Thomas Chamberlin's "The Cold War’s Killing Fields"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Cold War's Killing Fields: Rethinking the Long Peace by Paul Thomas Chamberlin.

About the book, from the publisher:
A brilliant young historian offers a vital, comprehensive international military history of the Cold War in which he views the decade-long superpower struggles as one of the three great conflicts of the twentieth century alongside the two World Wars, and reveals how bloody the "Long Peace" actually was.

In this sweeping, deeply researched book, Paul Thomas Chamberlin boldly argues that the Cold War, long viewed as a mostly peaceful, if tense, diplomatic standoff between democracy and communism, was actually a part of a vast, deadly conflict that killed millions on battlegrounds across the postcolonial world. For half a century, as an uneasy peace hung over Europe, ferocious proxy wars raged in the Cold War’s killing fields, resulting in more than fourteen million dead—victims who remain largely forgotten and all but lost to history.

A superb work of scholarship illustrated with four maps, The Cold War’s Killing Fields is the first global military history of this superpower conflict and the first full accounting of its devastating impact. More than previous armed conflicts, the wars of the post-1945 era ravaged civilians across vast stretches of territory, from Korea and Vietnam to Bangladesh and Afghanistan to Iraq and Lebanon. Chamberlin provides an understanding of this sweeping history from the ground up and offers a moving portrait of human suffering, capturing the voices of those who experienced the brutal warfare.

Chamberlin reframes this era in global history and explores in detail the numerous battles fought to prevent nuclear war, bolster the strategic hegemony of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., and determine the fate of societies throughout the Third World.
Learn more about The Cold War's Killing Fields at the publisher's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Global Offensive.

The Page 99 Test: The Cold War's Killing Fields.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven truly badass female thriller protagonists

Cristina Alger's new novel is The Banker's Wife. At CrimeReads she tagged seven truly badass female protagonists in thrillers, including:
Follow Her Home, by Steph Cha

Cha’s edgy debut introduced us to Juniper Song, an amateur sleuth who takes us into L.A.’s darkest corners. With a fully realized voice and a razor-sharp wit, Juniper Song is a heroine that you want to follow. Cha defts blends mystery, thriller and noir into one fantastic series, all featuring this unforgettable heroine.
Read about another entry on the list.

My Book, The Movie: Follow Her Home.

The Page 69 Test: Follow Her Home.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Margaret Bradham Thornton's "A Theory Of Love"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: A Theory of Love by Margaret Bradham Thornton.

About A Theory of Love, from the publisher:
A follow-up to her successful debut Charleston and set in the world’s most glamorous landscapes, this moving new love story from Margaret Bradham Thornton draws on a metaphor of entanglement theory to ask: when two people collide, are they forever attached no matter where they are?

Helen Gibbs, a British journalist on assignment on the west coast of Mexico, meets Christopher Delavaux, an intriguing half-French, half-American lawyer-turned-financier who has come alone to surf. Living lives that never stop moving, from their first encounter in Bermeja to marriage in London and travels to such places as Saint-Tropez, Tangier, and Santa Clara, Helen and Christopher must decide how much they exist for themselves and how much they exist for each other.

In an effort to build his firm, Christopher leads a life full of speed and ambition with little time for Helen and even less when he suspects his business partner of illegal activity. Helen, a reluctant voyeur to Christopher’s world of power and position, searches far and wide for reporting work that will “take a bite out of her soul”—refugees in Calais, a mountain climber in Chamonix, an orphaned circus performer in Cuba. A Theory of Love captures the ambivalence at the center of human experience: does one reside in the familiar comforts of solitude or dare to open one’s heart and risk having it broken? Set in some of the most picturesque places in the world, this novel questions what it means to love someone and leaves us wondering—can nothing save us but a fall?
Visit Margaret Bradham Thornton's website.

Writers Read: Margaret Bradham Thornton.

The Page 69 Test: A Theory of Love.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 08, 2018

What is Gale Massey reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Gale Massey, author of The Girl From Blind River.

Her entry begins:
I was recently blown away by Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing. The tone and lyricism in her storytelling, the strength with which she takes on the truth of our country’s history of racism is urgent and...[read on]
About The Girl From Blind River, from the publisher:
Everyone says the Elders family are nothing but cheats, thieves, and convicts—a fact nineteen-year old Jamie Elders has been trying desperately to escape. She may have the natural talent of a poker savant, but her dreams of going pro and getting the hell out of the tiny town of Blind River, New York are going nowhere fast. Especially once she lands in a huge pile of debt to her uncle Loyal.

At Loyal’s beck and call until her debt is repaid, Jamie can’t easily walk away—not with her younger brother Toby left at his mercy. So when Loyal demands Jamie’s help cleaning up a mess late one night, she has no choice but to agree. But disposing of a dead man and covering up his connection to the town’s most powerful judge goes beyond family duty. When it comes out that the victim was a beloved athlete and Loyal pins the murder on Toby, only Jamie can save him. But with a dogged detective on her trail and her own future at stake, she’ll have to decide: embrace her inner criminal, or defy it—and face the consequences.
Visit Gale Massey's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Girl From Blind River.

Writers Read: Gale Massey.

--Marshal Zeringue

Jeff Love's "The Black Circle," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Black Circle: A Life of Alexandre Kojeve by Jeff Love.

The entry begins:
Despite the title, my book is more about Kojève's thought than his life. Yet, I must admit that Kojève had quite an interesting life with some cinematic qualities. Born in Moscow in 1902, he fled Russia in 1920 (after being arrested by the secret police and other adventures) to Germany where he studied philosophy, oriental religions, Chinese and Tibetan and experienced the volatile life of Berlin. He moved to Paris in 1926 living off an inheritance enhanced by astute investments (he made a considerable sum from La vache qui rit). After he exhausted his inheritance in 1931, he tried to...[read on]
Learn more about The Black Circle at the Columbia University Press website.

My Book, The Movie: The Black Circle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five disturbingly good tales of cannibalism

At Unbound Worlds Matt Staggs tagged five "lip-smacking stories of forbidden hunger," including:
The Hunger
Alma Katsu

The story of the Donner Party doesn’t exactly make for great dinner time conversation already, and in The Hunger, author Alma Katsu drizzles this already harrowing tale in a thick, meaty sauce of supernatural horror. When the novel catches up with the Donner Party wagon train, the ill-fated travelers are already facing hard times. They’re running out of food, and tempers are getting white-hot. Little do they know that a fate worse than starvation awaits them in the snow.
Read about another entry on the list.

My Book, The Movie: The Hunger.

The Page 69 Test: The Hunger.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Pg. 99: John Reeves's "The Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee: The Forgotten Case against an American Icon by John Reeves.

About the book, from the publisher:
History has been kind to Robert E. Lee. Woodrow Wilson believed General Lee was a “model to men who would be morally great.” Douglas Southall Freeman, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his four-volume biography of Lee, described his subject as “one of a small company of great men in whom there is no inconsistency to be explained, no enigma to be solved.” Winston Churchill called him “one of the noblest Americans who ever lived.” Until recently, there was even a stained glass window devoted to Lee's life at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

Immediately after the Civil War, however, many northerners believed Lee should be hanged for treason and war crimes. Americans will be surprised to learn that in June of 1865 Robert E. Lee was indicted for treason by a Norfolk, Virginia grand jury. In his instructions to the grand jury, Judge John C. Underwood described treason as “wholesale murder,” and declared that the instigators of the rebellion had “hands dripping with the blood of slaughtered innocents.” In early 1866, Lee decided against visiting friends while in Washington, D.C. for a congressional hearing, because he was conscious of being perceived as a “monster” by citizens of the nation’s capital. Yet somehow, roughly fifty years after his trip to Washington, Lee had been transformed into a venerable American hero, who was highly regarded by southerners and northerners alike. Almost a century after Appomattox, Dwight D. Eisenhower had Lee’s portrait on the wall of his White House office.

The Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee tells the story of the forgotten legal and moral case that was made against the Confederate general after the Civil War. The actual indictment went missing for 72 years. Over the past 150 years, the indictment against Lee after the war has both literally and figuratively disappeared from our national consciousness. In this book, Civil War historian John Reeves illuminates the incredible turnaround in attitudes towards the defeated general by examining the evolving case against him from 1865 to 1870 and beyond.
Learn more about The Last Indictment of Robert E. Lee at the Rowman & Littlefield website, and visit John Reeves's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Christopher Ruocchio's "Empire of Silence"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio.

About the book, from the publisher:
Hadrian Marlowe, a man revered as a hero and despised as a murderer, chronicles his tale in the galaxy-spanning debut of the Sun Eater series, merging the best of space opera and epic fantasy.

It was not his war.

The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives—even the Emperor himself—against Imperial orders.

But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.

On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe starts down a path that can only end in fire. He flees his father and a future as a torturer only to be left stranded on a strange, backwater world.

Forced to fight as a gladiator and navigate the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, Hadrian must fight a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.
Follow Christopher Ruocchio on Twitter.

Writers Read: Christopher Ruocchio.

My Book, The Movie: Empire of Silence.

The Page 69 Test: Empire of Silence.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top SFF books exploring sibling relationships

Sam Hawke is a fantasy writer who grew up and still lives in Canberra, Australia, where she and her husband are currently raising two small ninjas and two idiot dogs. Her new novel is City of Lies.

One of the author's five top SFF books exploring sibling relationships, as shared at Tor.com:
False Hearts by Laura Lam

Conjoint twins Taema and Tila are the protagonists of Laura Lam’s near future thriller, False Hearts. The twins were physically separated at age sixteen, when they fled a cult that banned modern medicine in order to get medical assistance for their failing (single) heart. Now living apart from her sister and in very different worlds, Taema is suddenly thrust into a world of danger when Tila shows up on her doorstep, covered in blood and accused of murder.

The narrative is told in alternating perspectives each chapter from the twins, and their differences in nature are explored both in flashbacks to their youth, when secrets were impossible, and the modern day, where Tila has become involved in a very deadly underground world, and Taema must impersonate her sister to save her life. Their closeness and distance is a crucial part of the narrative as Taema yearns to understand who her sister has become, but also fears what she finds.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 06, 2018

What is Steve Toutonghi reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Steve Toutonghi, author of Side Life.

His entry begins:
Plum Rains by Andromeda Romano-Lax

In literature, androids are often used to illuminate vectors of social oppression and unjust habits of judgment. Plum Rains reflects on those themes, but its near future story-line also uses the distinction between life and pseudo-life to explore identity and memory and the ways that time can fortify a refuge until it serves as a cell. Full of interesting ideas and closely researched settings, the book connects to larger social dynamics while delivering a lovely, immersive story with...[read on]
About Side Life, from the publisher:
Vin, a down-on-his-luck young tech entrepreneur forced out of the software company he started, takes a job house-sitting an ultra-modern Seattle mansion whose owner has gone missing. There he discovers a secret basement lab with an array of computers and three large, smooth caskets. Inside one he finds a woman in a state of suspended animation. There is also a dog-eared notebook filled with circuit diagrams, beautiful and intricate drawings of body parts, and pages of code.

When Vin decides to climb into one of the caskets to see what happens, his reality begins to unravel, and he finds himself on a terrifying journey that asks fundamental questions about reality, free will, and the meaning of a human life.
Visit Steve Toutonghi's website.

Learn about Steve Toutonghi's six top books that expand our mental horizons.

Writers Read: Steve Toutonghi.

--Marshal Zeringue

Alex White's "A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White.

The entry begins:
I am sad/happy to say that A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe would cost many millions of dollars to produce as a film. Sad, because that makes it a difficult prospect. Happy, because that means I'd probably get a ton of money for the rights, and become a nerd legend.

My book has two powerful female leads: Nilah Brio, the queen of the race track and Boots Elsworth, a salty con artist.

For Nilah Brio, I'd pick Zendaya or Zazie Beetz, because both of them could easily represent the posh coldness and razor sharp with Nilah can deliver. Nilah is young at the start of the book, 18 or 19, highly-competitive and mean as hell. She's close to claiming the Driver's Crown in the Pan-Galactic Racing Federation, and her monomaniacal focus is the only thing that can deliver such a victory. We'd need an actor with a lot of intensity.

For Boots Elsworth, I'd like to see...[read on]
Visit Alex White's website.

My Book, The Movie: A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten books to take you someplace you’ve likely never been

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 Reads blog he tagged ten books to read instead of taking a vacation this summer, including:
Sag Harbor, by Colson Whitehead

Not every amazing vacation spot is overseas, but not every New Yorker (or every American) can just jet out to the Hamptons every summer. If you are one of the many who can’t, check out Whitehead’s brilliant 2009 novel, which explores deep issues of race, culture, and capitalism while also introducing you to an intimate view of high-rolling Long Island you might not get anywhere else. You might not be able to afford the summer-long vacation the kids in this novel experience (without parental supervision, too), but you’ll definitely want to move the Hamptons up on your must-see list.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Pg. 99: Samuel Kline Cohn, Jr.'s "Epidemics"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Epidemics: Hate and Compassion from the Plague of Athens to AIDS by Samuel Kline Cohn, Jr.

About the book, from the publisher:
By investigating thousands of descriptions of epidemics reaching back before the fifth-century-BCE Plague of Athens to the distrust and violence that erupted with Ebola in 2014, Epidemics challenges a dominant hypothesis in the study of epidemics, that invariably across time and space, epidemics provoked hatred, blaming of the "other", and victimizing bearers of epidemic diseases, particularly when diseases were mysterious, without known cures or preventive measures, as with AIDS during the last two decades of the twentieth century.

However, scholars and public intellectuals, especially post-AIDS, have missed a fundamental aspect of the history of epidemics. Instead of sparking hatred and blame, this study traces epidemics' socio-psychological consequences across time and discovers a radically different picture: that epidemic diseases have more often unified societies across class, race, ethnicity, and religion, spurring self-sacrifice and compassion.
Learn more about Epidemics at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Epidemics.

--Marshal Zeringue

Twelve teen novels with positively imperfect stories about sex

Kelly deVos's new novel is Fat Girl on a Plane.

At PopSugar she tagged twelve sex-positive YA novels, including:
You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Adina and Tovah Seigel are twin sisters who are almost total opposites. Adina is a rebellious viola prodigy completely devoted to her music while Tovah is a student overachiever who steadfastly maintains the family's Jewish traditions. Also, one twin tests positive for Huntington's disease and the other does not. This is a sister story that tugs at your heartstrings, but the sex positive aspect of the book is found in Adina's romance with her viola teacher. She is very confident in her attraction to him, and their relationship is very sex positive. You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone is great example of how a book can have a sex positive attitude in its back pocket, helping teens to see sex positivity as a fundamental part of day-to-day life.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue