Wednesday, April 01, 2015

N. K. Traver's "Duplicity," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Duplicity by N. K. Traver.

The entry begins:
Oh man, here’s where I confess that if the actor’s not on Teen Wolf or already cast in a movie adapted from a book, I probably don’t know his/her name. Luckily I have Google to save me….

For Brandon, I would cast Callan McAuliffe. He would pull off the bad boy look easily with dyed black hair and a scowl. Not only that, but he’d clean up very nicely to play Brandon’s preppy mirror reflection. And he has a nice nose.

For Emma, I’d have to say Anna...[read on]
Visit N. K. Traver's website.

The Page 69 Test: Duplicity.

Writers Read: N. K. Traver.

My Book, The Movie: Duplicity.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Alexis Landau reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Alexis Landau, author of The Empire of the Senses.

Her entry begins:
I recently finished Rachel Cusk’s novel Outline and I found it startling original and refreshing in its view of what it means to be an artist and a mother. Her language is piercing, astringent, and truthful; it feels as if one is drinking from a clear limpid stream, gulping down her wisdom and observations of the world. Cusk observes others with such acuity and wit, especially commenting on how people reveal almost anything about themselves if one sits quietly and listens, how narcissistic we all are despite facades of empathy or interest in others, and how the responsibility of being an artist as well as a mother can both drain a woman of her most vital resources while at the same time...[read on]
About The Empire of the Senses, from the publisher:
A sweeping, gorgeously written debut: a novel of duty to family and country, the dictates of passion, and blood ties unraveling in the charged political climate of Berlin between the world wars.

Lev Perlmutter, an assimilated, cultured German Jew, enlists to fight in World War I, leaving behind his gentile wife, Josephine, and their children, Franz and Vicki. Moving between Lev’s and Josephine’s points of view, the first part of the novel focuses on Lev’s experiences on the Eastern Front—both in war and in love—which render his life at home a pale aftermath by comparison. The second part of the novel takes us to Berlin, 1927–28. Now young adults, the Perlmutter children grapple with their own questions: Franz, drawn into the Nazi brown shirt movement, struggles with his unexpressed homosexuality; Vicki, seduced by the Jazz Age and everything new, bobs her hair and falls in love with a young man who wants to take her to Palestine.

Unlike many historical novels of its kind, The Empire of the Senses is not about the Holocaust but about the juxtaposition of events that led to it, and about why it was unimaginable to ordinary people like Lev and his wife. Plotted with meticulous precision and populated with characters who feel and dream to the fullest, it holds us rapt as the tides of cultural loss and ethnic hatred come to coexist with those of love, passion, and the power of the human spirit.
Visit Alexis Landau's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Empire of the Senses.

Writers Read: Alexis Landau.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Lydia Kang's "Catalyst"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Catalyst by Lydia Kang.

About the book, from the publisher:
For fans of Uglies and The Maze Runner comes a complex, thrill-filled love story that will make you question exactly what it means to be human

In the past year Zel lost her father, the boy she loves, her safety, and any future she might have imagined for herself. Now she, her sister, and the band of genetic outcasts they’ve come to call their family are forced on the run when their safe house is attacked by men with neural guns. But on the way to a rumored haven in Chicago, Zel hears something–a whisper from Cy, the boy who traded himself for her sister’s safety. And when she veers off plan in order to search for him, what she finds is not what she expected. There’s more to their genetic mutations than they ever imagined…aspects that make them wonder if they might be accepted by the outside world after all.
Learn more about the book and author at Lydia Kang's website, blog, Facebook page and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Control.

The Page 69 Test: Catalyst.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top Southern Gothic books

Jamie Kornegay lives in the Mississippi Delta, where he moved in 2006 to establish an independent bookstore, TurnRow Book Co. Before that he was a bookseller, events coordinator, and radio show producer at the famous Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi. He studied creative fiction under Barry Hannah at the University of Mississippi.

Kornegay's new novel is Soil.

At Publishers Weekly the author tagged his ten best Southern Gothic books, including:
Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor

I was first introduced to the notion of Southern Gothic in college when I read O’Connor’s story “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” Hazel Motes, the backwoods thinker of O’Connor’s only novel, is a darker and weirder anti-hero than another Gothic mainstay, Ignatius J. Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces. Motes rides into town with a raw, wily anger that he appoints to an atheist street ministry, creating memorable sparks and dark comedy as he subjects a host of motley side characters to his blustering philosophy.
Read about another entry on the list.

Follow Jamie Kornegay on Twitter.

The Page 69 Test: Soil.

Writers Read: Jamie Kornegay.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Ian Millhiser's "Injustices"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted by Ian Millhiser.

About the book, from the publisher:
Few American institutions have inflicted greater suffering on ordinary people than the Supreme Court of the United States. Since its inception, the justices of the Supreme Court have shaped a nation where children toiled in coal mines, where Americans could be forced into camps because of their race, and where a woman could be sterilized against her will by state law. The Court was the midwife of Jim Crow, the right hand of union busters, and the dead hand of the Confederacy. Nor is the modern Court a vast improvement, with its incursions on voting rights and its willingness to place elections for sale.

In this powerful indictment of a venerated institution, Ian Millhiser tells the history of the Supreme Court through the eyes of the everyday people who have suffered the most from it. America ratified three constitutional amendments to provide equal rights to freed slaves, but the justices spent thirty years largely dismantling these amendments. Then they spent the next forty years rewriting them into a shield for the wealthy and the powerful. In the Warren era and the few years following it, progressive justices restored the Constitution’s promises of equality, free speech, and fair justice for the accused. But, Millhiser contends, that was an historic accident. Indeed, if it weren’t for several unpredictable events, Brown v. Board of Education could have gone the other way.

In Injustices, Millhiser argues that the Supreme Court has seized power for itself that rightfully belongs to the people’s elected representatives, and has bent the arc of American history away from justice.
Learn more about Injustices at the publisher's website; follow Ian Millhiser on Twitter.

The Page 99 Test: Injustices.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What is Douglas Nicholas reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Douglas Nicholas, author of Throne of Darkness.

His entry begins:
Heart-Beast by Tanith Lee. This was one of the most effortlessly beautiful books I've read. A somber werewolf tale that has the dimension and gravity of an ancient legend, written in wonderfully poetic language, it's also gripping, frightening, and moment after moment hinting at vaster realities just behind the text. There is a striking visual image or turn of speech on every page. Read it in sips, because you want to...[read on]
About Throne of Darkness, from the publisher:
Perfect for fans of Game of Thrones, this novel from acclaimed author Douglas Nicholas continues the gripping dark fantasy series that Kirkus Reviews describes as “a more profound Harry Potter for adults.”

It’s 1215 in northwest England—the eve of the signing of the Magna Carta—and mystical Irish queen Maeve and her unlikely band of warriors must protect the region from a chilling fate. Word of a threat reaches the Northern barons: King John has plotted to import an African sorcerer and his sinister clan of blacksmiths, whose unearthly powers may spell destruction for the entire kingdom. Along with her lover, Jack, her gifted niece, Nemain, and Nemain’s newlywed husband, Hob (whose hidden talents will soon be revealed), Maeve must overcome a supernatural threat unlike any she’s seen before.

With his characteristic blend of historical adventure and intoxicating mythological elements, Nicholas once again “goes for the throat…with brilliant writing and whip-smart plotting” (New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry). This is a richly woven tale that will leave you hungry for more.
Visit Douglas Nicholas's website.

The Page 69 Test: Throne of Darkness.

Writers Read: Douglas Nicholas.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Kate Quinn's "Lady of the Eternal City"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Lady of the Eternal City by Kate Quinn.

About the book, from the publisher:
Elegant, secretive Sabina may be Empress of Rome, but she still stands poised on a knife’s edge. She must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Rome’s brilliant and sinister Emperor; and battered warrior Vix, who is her first love. But Sabina is guardian of a deadly secret: Vix’s beautiful son Antinous has become the Emperor’s latest obsession.

Empress and Emperor, father and son will spin in a deadly dance of passion, betrayal, conspiracy, and war. As tragedy sends Hadrian spiraling into madness, Vix and Sabina form a last desperate pact to save the Empire. But ultimately, the fate of Rome lies with an untried girl, a spirited redhead who may just be the next Lady of the Eternal City...
Learn more about the book and author at Kate Quinn's website and blog.

Coffee with a Canine: Kate Quinn and Caesar.

My Book, The Movie: Empress of the Seven Hills.

The Page 69 Test: The Serpent and the Pearl.

The Page 69 Test: The Lion and the Rose.

Writers Read: Kate Quinn (June 2014).

The Page 69 Test: Lady of the Eternal City.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top twins in children's books

Francesca Haig's new book is The Fire Sermon.

One entry from her list of the greatest twins in children’s books, as shared at the Guardian:
Claude and Eustace Wooster, in PG Wodehouse’s The Inimitable Jeeves

Claude and Eustace are the literary precursors of Rowling’s Weasley twins. They create chaos at every turn, and inevitably drag with them their hapless cousin, Bertie Wooster. Even when Claude and Eustace are supposed to be studying in the countryside, they do a sideline in taking bets on the sermon times of the local clergy. Usually partners in crime, their mistake is to compete for the love of the same woman, a division that Bertie’s brilliant butler, Jeeves, is able to exploit in order to outwit them once and for all.
Read about another entry on the list.

Claude and Eustace Wooster are among John Mullan's ten best identical twins in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Stephanie Kegan's "Golden State," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Golden State by Stephanie Kegan.

The entry begins:
Because a girl can dream, here is who I’d like to cast in the film of my novel Golden State:

The protagonist and narrator of my novel is Natalie Askedalh, a 48-year old wife, mother and third teacher. A tall red-head, Natalie leads an ordinary suburban life until she turns on the news one night and sees her brother arrested by the FBI for being a terrorist mastermind. Okay, this role is easy is to cast—my actress is redheaded, the right age and just won the academy award. In my dream, Julianne Moore plays Natalie.

Natalie’s husband Eric is an attorney and former college football player. He’s a quiet, steady man who doesn’t want his wife involved in trying to help her brother. I’m going to give the part to Alec...[read on]
Visit Stephanie Kegan's website.

The Page 69 Test: Golden State.

My Book, The Movie: Golden State.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pg. 99: Abigail Swingen's "Competing Visions of Empire"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire by Abigail L. Swingen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Abigail L. Swingen’s insightful study provides a new framework for understanding the origins of the British Empire while exploring how England’s original imperial designs influenced contemporary English politics and debates about labor, economy, and overseas trade. Focusing on the ideological connections between the growth of unfree labor in the English colonies, particularly the use of enslaved Africans, and the development of British imperialism during the early modern period, the author examines the overlapping, often competing agendas of planters, merchants, privateers, colonial officials, and imperial authorities in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Learn more about Competing Visions of Empire at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Competing Visions of Empire.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Amy Scheibe reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Amy Scheibe, author of A Fireproof Home for the Bride.

Her entry begins:
I try to juggle multiple books, typically one for pleasure, one for parenting, and one for research. Since I am currently digging into history for the next novel, I’m traveling back in time to Mein Kampf by you-know-who. The writing is dull as dirt, but in order for me to better understand what led up to the de-personification of an entire race/religion, I need to crack inside the creepy little mind of Mr. Hitler. I have just finished Erik Larson’s In the Garden of the Beasts, which is required reading about 1933 Nazi Germany, especially if you want to understand what is happening in the center of Iraq...[read on]
About A Fireproof Home for the Bride, from the publisher:
Emmaline Nelson and her sister Birdie grow up in the hard, cold rural Lutheran world of strict parents, strict milking times, and strict morals. Marriage is preordained, the groom practically predestined. Though it's 1958, southern Minnesota did not see changing roles for women on the horizon. Caught in a time bubble between a world war and the ferment of the 1960's, Emmy doesn't see that she has any say in her life, any choices at all. Only when Emmy's fiancé shows his true colors and forces himself on her does she find the courage to act--falling instead for a forbidden Catholic boy, a boy whose family seems warm and encouraging after the sere Nelson farm life. Not only moving to town and breaking free from her engagement but getting a job on the local newspaper begins to open Emmy's eyes. She discovers that the KKK is not only active in the Midwest but that her family is involved, and her sense of the firm rules she grew up under--and their effect--changes completely. Amy Scheibe's A FIREPROOF HOME FOR THE BRIDE has the charm of detail that will drop readers into its time and place: the home economics class lecture on cuts of meat, the group date to the diner, the small-town movie theater popcorn for a penny. It also has a love story--the wrong love giving way to the right--and most of all the pull of a great main character whose self-discovery sweeps the plot forward.
Visit Amy Scheibe's website and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: A Fireproof Home for the Bride.

Writers Read: Amy Scheibe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Douglas Nicholas's "Throne of Darkness"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Throne of Darkness: A Novel by Douglas Nicholas.

About the book, from the publisher:
Perfect for fans of Game of Thrones, this novel from acclaimed author Douglas Nicholas continues the gripping dark fantasy series that Kirkus Reviews describes as “a more profound Harry Potter for adults.”

It’s 1215 in northwest England—the eve of the signing of the Magna Carta—and mystical Irish queen Maeve and her unlikely band of warriors must protect the region from a chilling fate. Word of a threat reaches the Northern barons: King John has plotted to import an African sorcerer and his sinister clan of blacksmiths, whose unearthly powers may spell destruction for the entire kingdom. Along with her lover, Jack, her gifted niece, Nemain, and Nemain’s newlywed husband, Hob (whose hidden talents will soon be revealed), Maeve must overcome a supernatural threat unlike any she’s seen before.

With his characteristic blend of historical adventure and intoxicating mythological elements, Nicholas once again “goes for the throat…with brilliant writing and whip-smart plotting” (New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry). This is a richly woven tale that will leave you hungry for more.
Visit Douglas Nicholas's website.

The Page 69 Test: Throne of Darkness.

--Marshal Zeringue

Hanif Kureishi's 6 favorite books

Hanif Kureishi is a British playwright, novelist, and film writer whose celebrated screenplays include My Beautiful Laundrette. His latest novel is The Last Word.

One of Kureishi's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
To Sir, With Love by E.R. Braithwaite

Maybe the first book to deal with what it meant to be black in postwar Britain. An ex-serviceman from British Guiana begins work as a teacher at a school in London's East End and has to negotiate not only the prejudice of his peers but also the scorn of his pupils. He slowly gains respect and motivates his despondent class. A heroic book, guided by the integrity and heroism of one man.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Matthew Parker & Danny

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Matthew Parker & Danny.

The author, on Danny's contribution to his writing:
If it’s one of those rare moments when the writing is flowing, it can be annoying if Danny comes in and makes those doleful ‘Please take me out’ eyes. He lives for his trips out. That said, a brisk walk in the fresh air is always very good thinking time....[read on]
About Parker's latest book, Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born, from the publisher:
Amid the lush beauty of Jamaica's northern coast lies the true story of Ian Fleming's iconic creation: James Bond.

For two months every year, from 1946 to his death eighteen years later, Ian Fleming lived at Goldeneye, the house he built on a point of high land overlooking a small white sand beach on Jamaica’s stunning north coast. All the James Bond novels and stories were written here. This book explores the huge influence of Jamaica on the creation of Fleming’s iconic post-war hero. The island was for Fleming part retreat from the world, part tangible representation of his own values, and part exotic fantasy. It will examine his Jamaican friendships—his extraordinary circle included Errol Flynn, the Oliviers, international politicians and British royalty, as well as his close neighbor Noel Coward—and trace his changing relationship with Ann Charteris (and hers with Jamaica) and the emergence of Blanche Blackwell as his Jamaican soulmate. Goldeneye also compares the real Jamaica of the 1950s during the build-up to independence with the island’s portrayal in the Bond books, to shine a light on the attitude of the likes of Fleming and Coward to the dramatic end of the British Empire.
Visit Matthew Parker's website.

The Page 99 Test: Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born.

Coffee with a Canine: Matthew Parker & Danny.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Skip Horack's "The Other Joseph," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Other Joseph by Skip Horack.

The entry begins:
The main character of my novel The Other Joseph is a nine-fingered, 29-year-old, Gulf of Mexico oil rig worker named Roy Joseph, and though I’d of course love to see him brought to life in a movie someday, I can’t claim have had a particular actor in mind while creating him. For one, I don’t suppose there are too many nine-fingered Southern sorts in Hollywood . . . and most twenty-something actors are still playing high school kids on the screen. So there’s that too.

But then—just the other day, actually—someone pointed out certain similarities between the plot of my novel and that of...[read on]
Visit Skip Horack's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Other Joseph.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Hallie Ephron reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Hallie Ephron, author of Night Night, Sleep Tight.

Her entry begins:
I just finished savoring Tara Ison's Reeling Through Life: How I Learned to Live, Love and Die at the Movies.

Ms. Ison is a self proclaimed “child of the movies, a movie freak, a film junkie, a cineaste.” Her book is perfect for the similarly afflicted. I grew up, as she did, in movie-obsessed Southern California, my parents were screenwriters, and I think my "reality" came more from the movies than from real life, too.

Reeling is part literary memoir and part a cavalcade of those movies that moved her and taught her essential life lessons like...[read on]
About Night Night, Sleep Tight, from the publisher:
From the award-winning author of There Was an Old Woman comes a riveting tale of domestic noir, infused with old Hollywood folklore and glamour, set in a town rife with egotism and backstabbing and where fame and infamy are often interchangeable.

Los Angeles 1986: When Deirdre Unger arrived in Beverly Hills to help her bitter, disappointed father sell his dilapidated house, she discovers his lifeless body floating face down in the swimming pool. At first, Deirdre assumes her father’s death was a tragic accident. But the longer she stays in town, the more she suspects that it is merely the third act in a story that has long been in the making.

The sudden re-surfacing of Deirdre’s childhood best friend Joelen Nichol—daughter of the legendary star Elenor “Bunny” Nichol—seems like more than a coincidence. Back in 1958, Joelen confessed to killing her movie star mother’s boyfriend. Deirdre happened to be at the Nichols house the night of the murder—which was also the night she suffered a personal tragedy of her own. Could all of these events be connected?

Her search to find answers forces Deirdre to confront a truth she has long refused to believe: beneath the slick veneer of Beverly Hills lie secrets that someone will kill to keep buried.
Learn more about the book and author at Hallie Ephron's website and blog.

See Ephron's top ten books for a good laugh and ten best books for a good cry.

The Page 69 Test: Never Tell A Lie.

My Book, The Movie: There Was an Old Woman.

Writers Read: Hallie Ephron.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Elisa Ludwig's "Pretty Wanted"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Pretty Wanted by Elisa Ludwig.

About the book, from the publisher:
Pretty Wanted is Elisa Ludwig’s rollicking finale to the Pretty Crooked trilogy, a series filled with moxie, romance, and heart that’s perfect for fans of Ally Carter or Sara Shepard.

When Willa skipped probation and hit the California highway to find her mom, she discovered a dark family secret: Joanne Fox is not who she says she is—and neither is Willa. Now Willa and her hot partner in crime, Aidan, must race to St. Louis, Missouri, where they hope to find answers about Willa’s past. But uncovering the truth requires solving a decades-old murder case. Unfortunately, the perps are still out there ... and willing to do whatever it takes to keep the case cold.

Willa’s only hope is to find the truth before it finds her first.
Visit Elisa Ludwig's website.

The Page 69 Test: Pretty Sly.

My Book, The Movie: Pretty Sly.

The Page 69 Test: Pretty Wanted.

--Marshal Zeringue

S.J. Watson's 6 best books

S.J. Watson is the author of Before I Go To Sleep and Second Life.

One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
Oryx And Crake by Margaret Atwood

I’m a big fan of Atwood, particularly her speculative fiction. This serves as a warning, made all the more chilling by how many of the things described have happened since.
Read about another entry on the list.

Oryx and Crake is among James Dawson’s list of ten ways in which writers have established barriers to love just for the sake of a great story, Torie Bosch's top twelve great pandemic novels, Annalee Newitz's top ten works of fiction that might change the way you look at nature and Liz Jensen's top 10 environmental disaster stories.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Ann Twinam's "Purchasing Whiteness"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Purchasing Whiteness: Pardos, Mulattos, and the Quest for Social Mobility in the Spanish Indies by Ann Twinam.

About the book, from the publisher:
The colonization of Spanish America resulted in the mixing of Natives, Europeans, and Africans and the subsequent creation of a casta system that discriminated against them. Members of mixed races could, however, free themselves from such burdensome restrictions through the purchase of a gracias al sacar—a royal exemption that provided the privileges of Whiteness. For more than a century, the whitening gracias al sacar has fascinated historians. Even while the documents remained elusive, scholars continually mentioned the potential to acquire Whiteness as a provocative marker of the historic differences between Anglo and Latin American treatments of race. Purchasing Whiteness explores the fascinating details of 40 cases of whitening petitions, tracking thousands of pages of ensuing conversations as petitioners, royal officials, and local elites disputed not only whether the state should grant full whiteness to deserving individuals, but whether selective prejudices against the castas should cease.

Purchasing Whiteness contextualizes the history of the gracias al sacar within the broader framework of three centuries of mixed race efforts to end discrimination. It identifies those historic variables that structured the potential for mobility as Africans moved from slavery to freedom, mixed with Natives and Whites, and transformed later generations into vassals worthy of royal favor. By examining this history of pardo and mulatto mobility, the author provides striking insight into those uniquely characteristic and deeply embedded pathways through which the Hispanic world negotiated processes of inclusion and exclusion.
Learn more about Purchasing Whiteness at the Stanford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Purchasing Whiteness.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 28, 2015

What is Kit Alloway reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Kit Alloway, author of Dreamfire.

Her entry begins:
I finally got around to reading A Great and Terrible Beauty recently, which is a story about four Victorian girls who revive an ancient cult. I really enjoyed the feminist elements of it, the way the girls embraced themselves apart from their relationships to...[read on]
About Dreamfire, from the publisher:
Unlike most 17-year-olds, Joshlyn Weaver has a sacred duty. She's the celebrated daughter of the dream walkers, a secret society whose members enter the Dream universe we all share and battle nightmares. If they fail, the emotional turmoil in the Dream could boil over and release nightmares into the World.

Despite Josh's reputation as a dream walking prodigy, she's haunted by her mistakes. A lapse in judgment and the death of someone she loved have shaken her confidence. Now she's been assigned an apprentice, a boy whose steady gaze sees right through her, and she's almost as afraid of getting close to him as she is of getting him killed.

But when strangers with impossible powers begin appearing in the Dream, it isn't just Will that Josh has to protect--it's the whole World.

Experience the dangers of the dream world in Dreamfire, a riveting, young adult debut novel by Kit Alloway.
Visit Kit Alloway's website.

Writers Read: Kit Alloway.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Alexis Landau's "The Empire of the Senses"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Empire of the Senses: A Novel by Alexis Landau.

About the book, from the publisher:
A sweeping, gorgeously written debut: a novel of duty to family and country, the dictates of passion, and blood ties unraveling in the charged political climate of Berlin between the world wars.

Lev Perlmutter, an assimilated, cultured German Jew, enlists to fight in World War I, leaving behind his gentile wife, Josephine, and their children, Franz and Vicki. Moving between Lev’s and Josephine’s points of view, the first part of the novel focuses on Lev’s experiences on the Eastern Front—both in war and in love—which render his life at home a pale aftermath by comparison. The second part of the novel takes us to Berlin, 1927–28. Now young adults, the Perlmutter children grapple with their own questions: Franz, drawn into the Nazi brown shirt movement, struggles with his unexpressed homosexuality; Vicki, seduced by the Jazz Age and everything new, bobs her hair and falls in love with a young man who wants to take her to Palestine.

Unlike many historical novels of its kind, The Empire of the Senses is not about the Holocaust but about the juxtaposition of events that led to it, and about why it was unimaginable to ordinary people like Lev and his wife. Plotted with meticulous precision and populated with characters who feel and dream to the fullest, it holds us rapt as the tides of cultural loss and ethnic hatred come to coexist with those of love, passion, and the power of the human spirit.
Visit Alexis Landau's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Empire of the Senses.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five of the best funny YA zombie novels

Rachel Paxton-Gillilan is a freelance writer and semi-professional nerd.

At the B & N Teen Blog she tagged five of the funniest YA zombie novels, including:
Zombie Queen of Newbury High, by Amanda Ashby

Mia—the Supernatural-watching, Buffy-loving BFF of your dreams—is finally living out her nerd girl dreams when the super-hot football captain asks her to prom. But when the evil cheerleading goddess tries to make some moves on Mia’s new man, Mia attempts a love potion that accidentally unleashes a zombie virus instead. Her new zombie horde treats her like a queen, and everything looks like it might be okay, until an ultra-handsome zombie hunter informs her the zombies are just fattening her up. This funny look at the zombie apocalypse will charm your paranormal socks off.
Read about another entry on the list.

Writers Read: Amanda Ashby (March 2009).

--Marshal Zeringue

Stacey Lee's "Under a Painted Sky," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee.

The entry begins:
Sammy: Katie Leung. Katie is known for her first role as Harry Potter's first girlfriend. She has a sweet aura about her. I would love to see her play tough.

Annamae: Zoe Saldana. I love her no-nonsense vibe.

West: Liam Hemsworth. He does...[read on]
Visit Stacey Lee's website.

Writers Read: Stacey Lee.

My Book, The Movie: Under a Painted Sky.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 27, 2015

What is Susan Crawford reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Susan Crawford, author of The Pocket Wife. 

Her entry begins:
I’m currently reading Lori Lansens’ The Wife’s Tale, and I picked it up because it sounded so Chaucer. I liked the premise – Mary’s husband leaves her on the eve of their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and she must step outside her comfort zone to find out why. Ironically, it is most likely Mary’s refusal to explore the world beyond her rigid and extremely limiting boundaries that has brought about her husband's departure – to think, he tells her in a letter. The main character is obese, but it could really be...[read on]
About The Pocket Wife, from the publisher:
A stylish psychological thriller with the compelling intrigue of The Silent Wife and Turn of Mind and the white-knuckle pacing of Before I Go to Sleep—in which a woman suffering from bipolar disorder cannot remember if she murdered her friend.

Dana Catrell is shocked when her neighbor Celia is brutally murdered. To Dana’s horror, she was the last person to see Celia alive. Suffering from mania, the result of her bipolar disorder, she has troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia’s death.

Her husband’s odd behavior and the probing of Detective Jack Moss create further complications as she searches for answers. The closer she comes to piecing together the shards of her broken memory, the more Dana falls apart. Is there a murderer lurking inside her . . . or is there one out there in the shadows of reality, waiting to strike again?

A story of marriage, murder, and madness, The Pocket Wife explores the world through the foggy lens of a woman on the edge.
Visit Susan Crawford's website.

Writers Read: Susan Crawford.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Cindy L. Rodriguez's "When Reason Breaks"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez.

About the book, from the publisher:
A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz's English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson's poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.

In an emotionally taut novel that is equal parts literary and commercial, with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls fighting for their lives.
Visit Cindy L. Rodriguez's website.

The Page 69 Test: When Reason Breaks.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top treasure hunts in fiction

Jane Alexander is a novelist and short story writer. Her debut novel is The Last Treasure Hunt. One of the author's top ten treasure hunts in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On the surface, the anniversary treasure hunts that Amy sets for husband Nick are a romantic tradition, a celebration of shared memories. In reality, they’re a series of impossible tests: how well does he know his wife? Nowhere near well enough, as it turns out when Amy goes missing on their fifth anniversary – leaving behind a trail of clues that are carefully plotted to draw Nick into a larger, more sinister plot. In a novel of parallel narratives that double back on themselves, Amy’s clues are similarly slippery, loaded with double meanings; shared jokes become secret weapons in this story of love curdling into hate.
Read about another entry on the list.

Gone Girl made Fanny Blake's list of five top books about revenge, Monique Alice's list of six great fictional evil geniuses, Jeff Somers's lists of six books that’ll make you glad you’re single and five books with an outstanding standalone scene that can be read on its own, Lucie Whitehouse's ten top list of psychological suspense novels with marriages at their heart and Kathryn Williams's list of eight of fiction’s craziest unreliable narrators.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Paul Sullivan's "The Thin Green Line"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Thin Green Line: The Money Secrets of the Super Wealthy by Paul Sullivan.

About the book, from the publisher:
The “Wealth Matters” columnist of The New York Times reveals the habits, worldviews, and practices that lead to true wealth—and why it’s more important to be “wealthy” than “rich.”

For the better part of the past decade, Paul Sullivan has written about and lived among some of the wealthiest people in America. He has learned how they save, spend, and invest their money; how they work and rest; how they use their wealth to give their children educational advantages but not strip them of motivation. He has also seen how they make horrendous mistakes. Firsthand, Sullivan knows why some people, even “rich” people, never find true wealth, and why other people, even those who have far less are much wealthier.

Sullivan is part of the “The One Percent” today, but he came from far humbler roots, starting life in the bottom twenty-five percent. This personal book shows how others can make better financial decisions—and come to terms with what money means to them. It lays out how they can avoid the pitfalls around saving, spending and giving their money away and think differently about wealth to lead more secure and less stressful lives. An essential complement to all of the financial advice available, this unique guide is a welcome antidote to the idea that wealth is a number on a bank statement.
Visit Paul Sullivan's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Thin Green Line.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pg. 69: Kit Alloway's "Dreamfire"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Dreamfire by Kit Alloway.

About the book, from the publisher:
Unlike most 17-year-olds, Joshlyn Weaver has a sacred duty. She's the celebrated daughter of the dream walkers, a secret society whose members enter the Dream universe we all share and battle nightmares. If they fail, the emotional turmoil in the Dream could boil over and release nightmares into the World.

Despite Josh's reputation as a dream walking prodigy, she's haunted by her mistakes. A lapse in judgment and the death of someone she loved have shaken her confidence. Now she's been assigned an apprentice, a boy whose steady gaze sees right through her, and she's almost as afraid of getting close to him as she is of getting him killed.

But when strangers with impossible powers begin appearing in the Dream, it isn't just Will that Josh has to protect--it's the whole World.

Experience the dangers of the dream world in Dreamfire, a riveting, young adult debut novel by Kit Alloway.
Visit Kit Alloway's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dreamfire.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Michelle Falkoff reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Michelle Falkoff, author of Playlist for the Dead.

Her entry begins:
These days, I’m alternating between “adult” fiction (is that really a thing?) and Young Adult fiction written by members of my debut group, the Fearless Fifteeners. I read pretty broadly across genres, so I’ll highlights some recent favorites in a few categories.

Literary:

Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You tells the story of a marriage between a white woman and a Chinese-American man, alternating between the 1950s, when they met, and the 1970s, when one of their children has gone missing. The discussion of race is complicated and sophisticated and so very welcome, and Ng moves between voices in a way that looks effortless but...[read on]
About Playlist for the Dead, from the publisher:
Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Spectacular Now.

There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, Sam's best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you'll understand. To figure out what happened, Sam has to rely on the playlist and his own memory. But the more he listens, the more he realizes that his memory isn't as reliable as he thought. And it might only be by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he'll finally be able to piece together his best friend's story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.

Playlist for the Dead is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, what it feels like to outgrow a friendship that's always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself. But above all, it's about finding hope when hope seems like the hardest thing to find.
Visit Michelle Falkoff's website.

Writers Read: Michelle Falkoff.

--Marshal Zeringue

Jeannette de Beauvoir's "Asylum," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Asylum by Jeannette de Beauvoir.

The entry begins:
This is really difficult, as I don't work with visuals much, at least in terms of people. (I do it far more with places: in this series, for example, it's important to me to give readers a real sense of the neighborhoods and ambiance of Montréal.) I guess I'd be drawn to a Diane Lane sort of actor: someone who comes across as fairly ordinary but finds resources inside herself that she didn't know about. The same could be said for Kristin Scott Thomas. And I realize that in mentioning both those names I'm rather dating myself! Okay: if Michelle...[read on]
Visit Jeannette de Beauvoir's website.

Writers Read: Jeannette de Beauvoir.

My Book, The Movie: Asylum.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Judith Claire Mitchell & Josie

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Judith Claire Mitchell & Josie.

The author, on Josie's best quality:
She’s a genius. I’ll give you an example. Once, she came downstairs where I was watching TV and began barking. I thought she was asking to go outside, and I reminded her that she’d just gone out a few minutes before and she was not going out again. She thought about what had transpired, then trotted into the adjacent bathroom and gazed into the toilet. Then she looked at me. She did this twice more—looked into the toilet, looked back at me—until the light dawned. “Do you want water?” I asked. She recognized the word “water” and cocked her head, the universal Westie sign for “Hallelujah, you finally got it, you dolt.” We went upstairs and sure enough, there wasn’t a drop of water in her bowl. Now, is that brilliant or...[read on]
About A Reunion of Ghosts, from the publisher:
Three wickedly funny sisters.

One family's extraordinary legacy.

A single suicide note that spans a century...

Meet the Alter sisters: Lady, Vee, and Delph. These three mordantly witty, complex women share their family's apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side. They love each other fiercely, but being an Alter isn't easy. Bad luck is in their genes, passed down through the generations. Yet no matter what curves life throws at these siblings—and it's hurled plenty—they always have a wisecrack, and one another.

In the waning days of 1999, the trio decides it's time to close the circle of the Alter curse. But first, as the world counts down to the dawn of a new millennium, Lady, Vee, and Delph must write the final chapter of a saga lifetimes in the making—one that is inexorably intertwined with that of the twentieth century itself. Unspooling threads of history, personal memory, and family lore, they weave a mesmerizing account of their lives that stretches back decades to their great-grandfather, a brilliant scientist whose professional triumph became the sinister legacy that defines them.

Funny, heartbreaking, and utterly original, A Reunion of Ghosts is a magnificent novel about three unforgettable women bound to each other, and to their remarkable family, through the blessings and the burdens bestowed by blood.
Visit Judith Claire Mitchell's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Judith Claire Mitchell & Josie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books that use amnesia effectively

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and We Are Not Good People from Pocket/Gallery. He has published over thirty short stories as well.

At B & N Reads Somers tagged five books that use amnesia effectively, including:
The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum

After all this time, and so many movies and reboots of those movies, it’s easy to boil Jason Bourne down to the image of Matt Damon performing some fairly improbable stunts, but let’s not forget that Ludlum expertly used amnesia as a way to propel the plot of his classic spy novel, not merely to play tricks with the reader. This is another book that plays with identity, using a character who assumes several throughout his life and the story itself, and it uses the lack of memory as a way of exploring how much of who we are is where we’ve been. One of the great things about how amnesia is handled in this book is the way Ludlum ensures that Bourne’s adversaries don’t always realize he’s lost his memory for most of the story, using the condition to create tension instead of covering plot holes.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue