Saturday, May 25, 2019

Five monumental works to honor D-Day

At the B&N Reads blog Ross Johnson tagged five monumental works to honor the 75th anniversary of D-Day (June 6, 1944), including:
The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (Liberation Trilogy, Volume 3), by Rick Atkinson

In the final volume of Rick Atkinson’s sprawling trilogy documenting Allied efforts to liberate Europe from the Nazis, D-Day is just the beginning—though his account of the campaign is riveting. Having already covered the Allied push through North Africa and Italy in earlier volumes, the author here turns his attention to the battle for Western Europe. This final stage of the war saw the Normandy landings, the liberation of Paris, the disastrous Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge, and the final move into Germany itself—each of those representing powerful and traumatic moments in history. Atkinson utilizes extensive research and never-before-available source materials to tell the story of the final months World War II.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: S. C. Megale's "This Is Not a Love Scene"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: This Is Not a Love Scene: A Novel by S. C. Megale.

About the book, from the publisher:
Funny, emotional, and refreshingly honest, S.C. Megale’s This is Not a Love Scene is for anyone who can relate to feeling different while navigating the terrifying and thrilling waters of first love.

Lights, camera—all Maeve needs is action. But at eighteen, a rare form of muscular dystrophy usually stands in the way of romance. She's got her friends, her humor, and a passion for filmmaking to keep her focus off consistent rejection...and the hot older guy starring in her senior film project.

Tall, bearded, and always swaying, Cole Stone is everything Maeve can't be. And she likes it. Between takes, their chemistry is shockingly electric.

Suddenly, Maeve gets a taste of typical teenage dating life, but girls in wheelchairs don’t get the hot guy—right? Cole’s attention challenges everything she once believed about her self-image and hopes for love. But figuring this out, both emotionally and physically, won't be easy for either of them. Maeve must choose between what she needs and what she wants, while Cole has a tendency to avoid decisions altogether. And the future might not wait for either.
Visit S.C. Megale's website.

My Book, The Movie: This Is Not a Love Scene.

Writers Reads: S. C. Megale.

The Page 69 Test: This Is Not a Love Scene.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Jacqueline West reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jacqueline West, author of Last Things.

Her entry begins:
The book that my husband and I are currently reading aloud to each other during car rides is Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal. It’s ridiculously readable; the book is arranged both chronologically and thematically, so the narrative really flows, and it’s got interviews with everyone: Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Guns N’Roses, Slayer, Metallica, Pantera, Trent Reznor. I’d recommend it to anyone who has ever...[read on]
About Last Things, from the publisher:
New York Times–bestselling author Jacqueline West captivates readers with a dark, hypnotic story about the cost of talent—and the evil that lurks just out of sight. Fans of Holly Black and Victoria Schwab will be mesmerized by this gorgeous, magnetic novel.

High school senior Anders Thorson is unusually gifted. His band, Last Things, is legendary in their northern Minnesota hometown. With guitar skills that would amaze even if he weren’t only eighteen, Anders is the focus of head-turning admiration. And Thea Malcom, a newcomer to the insular town, is one of his admirers. Thea seems to turn up everywhere Anders goes: gigs at the local coffeehouse, guitar lessons, even in the woods near Anders’s home.

When strange things start happening to Anders, blame immediately falls on Thea. But is she trying to hurt him? Or save him? Can he trust a girl who doesn’t seem to know the difference between dreams and reality? And how much are they both willing to sacrifice to get what they want?

Told from Anders’s and Thea’s dual points of view, this exquisitely crafted novel is full of unexpected twists and is for fans of Holly Black’s The Darkest Part of the Forest and Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood.
Learn more about the book and author at Jacqueline West's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Jacqueline West and Brom Bones (July 2011).

Coffee with a Canine: Jacqueline West and Brom Bones (July 2013).

The Page 69 Test: The Books of Elsewhere, Volume Four: The Strangers.

The Page 69 Test: Last Things.

Writers Read: Jacqueline West.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 24, 2019

Eleven essential summer romance novels

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners and best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The #1 international bestselling coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced fifteen New York Times bestselling novels.

Their latest novel is The Unhoneymooners.

At Publishers Weekly the authors tagged eleven favorite summer romance novels, including:
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

If you love women’s fiction, and want your brain and heart to be hijacked for a leisurely summer day, this is the book to get. This is the story of Emma, who loses her husband Jesse in a tragic accident. When she moves home in an attempt to move on from her loss, she runs into an old friend, Sam, and over time the two begin to fall in love. By now you’ve probably guessed that Jesse returns, but although we were scared to read this story because we like our hearts and don’t want to have them broken, we were delighted with how TJR carefully crafted the triangle. This book was everything we wanted it to be; both heartbreaking and delightful in equal, exquisite ways.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Martine Bailey’s "The Almanack," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Almanack by Martine Bailey.

The entry begins:
My heroine Tabitha was a courtesan in London, and is sharp-witted, light-fingered and bold, a shrewd handler of people, and charming when she wants to be. To play her I had in mind Crystal Laity’s performance as harlot Margaret Vosper in Poldark, a mix of intelligence and physical allure.

Tabitha’s love interest is rakeish poet Nat Starling, a Cambridge University drop-out, obsessed with time. His creativity mixes with bouts of stupidity and drunkenness. No apologies for casting Aidan Turner (Ross Poldark) as the intense, long-haired writer.

Joshua Saxton is Tabitha’s devoted old flame, now a widower and the dogged village constable. Rugged Alex O’Loughlin would be ideal (convict Will Bryant in mini-series Mary Bryant).

Joshua’s daughter Jennet leads the younger generation: still girlish at 15, her pursuit of romance and superstition leads her into danger. I’d love a young Christina...[read on]
Visit Martine Bailey's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: An Appetite for Violets.

The Page 69 Test: An Appetite for Violets.

My Book, The Movie: A Taste for Nightshade.

My Book, The Movie: The Almanack.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Candy Gunther Brown's "Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public Schools"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public Schools: Reforming Secular Education or Reestablishing Religion? by Candy Gunther Brown.

About the book, from the publisher:
Yoga and mindfulness activities, with roots in Asian traditions such as Hinduism or Buddhism, have been brought into growing numbers of public schools since the 1970s. While they are commonly assumed to be secular educational tools, Candy Gunther Brown asks whether religion is truly left out of the equation in the context of public-school curricula. An expert witness in four legal challenges, Brown scrutinized unpublished trial records, informant interviews, and legal precedents, as well as insider documents, some revealing promoters of “Vedic victory” or “stealth Buddhism” for public-school children. The legal challenges are fruitful cases for Brown’s analysis of the concepts of religious and secular.

While notions of what makes something religious or secular are crucial to those who study religion, they have special significance in the realm of public and legal norms. They affect how people experience their lives, raise their children, and navigate educational systems. The question of religion in public education, Brown shows, is no longer a matter of jurisprudence focused largely on the establishment of a Protestant Bible or nonsectarian prayer. Instead, it now reflects an increasingly diverse American religious landscape. Reconceptualizing secularization as transparency and religious voluntarism, Brown argues for an opt-in model for public-school programs.
Learn more about Debating Yoga and Mindfulness at the University of North Carolina Press website. Follow Candy Gunther Brown on Facebook and Twitter.

The Page 99 Test: The Healing Gods.

The Page 99 Test: Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public Schools.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Seven complex twin sets in recent science fiction & fantasy

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog, Nicole Hill tagged seven fascinating stories of sci-fi and fantasy twins, including:
False Hearts, by Laura Lam

After reading this indomitable thriller, I think you’ll agree with me in saying there are not enough conjoined-twin narratives in the world today. Admittedly, the sister protagonists at the heart of this novel, Tila and Taema, are formerly conjoined twins. But even a decade after the surgery that separated them, and the subsequent splintering of their lives, their bond remains unique—strong enough, certainly, to endure infiltration by an underground crime syndicate. When free-spirited Tila is accused of murder, reliable Taema is thrust into a world of secrets, danger, and terrifying dream-like drugs as she fights to save her sister’s neck.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Susan Shapiro Barash reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Susan Shapiro Barash, author of (writing as Susannah Marren) A Palm Beach Wife: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
I'm happiest when I read a few books at the same time. For fiction my style is to read a classic at the same time that I'm reading new fiction.I've just read Liane Moriarty's Nine Perfect Strangers concurrently with Anthony Trollope's Dr. Thorne and I'm about to begin Drawing Home by Jamie Brenner and at the same time will...[read on]
About A Palm Beach Wife, from the publisher:
For readers of Elin Hilderbrand, Susannah Marren's A Palm Beach Wife is a delicious and irresistible commercial novel set among the high society galas and gossip of Palm Beach.

Amid the glamour and galas and parties of Palm Beach, Faith knows that image often counts as much if not more than reality. She glides effortlessly among the highest of the high society so perfectly that you would never suspect she wasn’t born to this. But it wasn’t always so; though she hides it well, Faith has fought hard for the wonderful life she has, for her loving, successful husband, for her daughter’s future.

In this town of secrets and gossip and rumors, Faith has kept a desperate grip on everything she holds so dear, built from so little. And yet even she—the only one who knows just how far she has to fall—never suspects from which direction, or how many directions all at once, betrayal will come.
Visit Susan Shapiro Barash's website.

My Book, The Movie: A Palm Beach Wife.

The Page 69 Test: A Palm Beach Wife.

Writers Read: Susan Shapiro Barash.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about angry women

Katie Lowe is a writer living in Worcester, UK, whose debut novel The Furies is set to be published by Harperfiction (UK), St Martin's Press (US) and eight other territories worldwide.

A graduate of the University of Birmingham, Lowe has a BA(Hons) in English and an MPhil in Literature & Modernity. She is set to return to Birmingham in 2019 to complete a PhD in English Literature, with her thesis on female rage in literary modernism and the #MeToo era.

At the Guardian Lowe tagged ten favorite books about angry women, including:
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

A novel of two halves. The first is the story of a marriage from the perspective of Lotto, the husband – a failed actor turned playwright, generally beloved despite his flaws. The second, though, is the same marriage seen through the eyes of his wife, Mathilde: the “strong woman” behind the “great” man, who positively seethes with rage as she quietly manipulates both Lotto and the people around him to ensure their success. It’s a quiet, subtle anger, made stunning by Groff’s elegant, lyrical prose.
Read about another entry on the list.

Fates and Furies is among Jeff Somers's ten novels that teach you something about marriage and six of President Obama's favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Erin Gough's "Amelia Westlake Was Never Here"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Amelia Westlake Was Never Here by Erin Gough.

About the book, from the publisher:
A fiercely funny, queer romantic comedy about two girls who can’t stand each other, but join forces in a grand feminist plan to expose harassment and inequality at their elite private school.

Harriet Price is the perfect student: smart, dutiful, over-achieving. Will Everhart is a troublemaker who’s never met an injustice she didn’t fight. When their swim coach’s inappropriate behavior is swept under the rug, the unlikely duo reluctantly team up to expose his misdeeds, pulling provocative pranks and creating the instantly legendary Amelia Westlake–an imaginary student who helps right the many wrongs of their privileged institution. But as tensions burn throughout their school–who is Amelia Westlake?–and between Harriet and Will, how long can they keep their secret? How far will they go to make a difference? And when will they realize they’re falling for each other?

Award-winning author Erin Gough’s Amelia Westlake Was Never Here is a funny, smart, and all-too-timely story of girls fighting back against power and privilege–and finding love while they’re at it.
Visit Erin Gough's website.

The Page 69 Test: Amelia Westlake Was Never Here.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Pg. 99: Carolyn J. Dean's "The Moral Witness"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Moral Witness: Trials and Testimony after Genocide by Carolyn J. Dean.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Moral Witness is the first cultural history of the "witness to genocide" in the West. Carolyn J. Dean shows how the witness became a protagonist of twentieth-century moral culture by tracing the emergence of this figure in courtroom battles from the 1920s to the 1960s—covering the Armenian genocide, the Ukrainian pogroms, the Soviet Gulag, and the trial of Adolf Eichmann. In these trials, witness testimonies differentiated the crime of genocide from war crimes and began to form our understanding of modern political and cultural murder.

By the turn of the twentieth century, the "witness to genocide" became a pervasive icon of suffering humanity and a symbol of western moral conscience. Dean sheds new light on the recent global focus on survivors' trauma. Only by placing the moral witness in a longer historical trajectory, she demonstrates, can we understand how the stories we tell about survivor testimony have shaped both our past and contemporary moral culture.
Learn more about The Moral Witness at the Cornell University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Moral Witness.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Erica Bauermeister reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Erica Bauermeister, author of The Scent Keeper.

Her entry begins:
I am an eclectic reader, mixing together research for new books, audio books that keep me company while traveling, and books I read for pleasure. Here’s a sampling of what’s crossed my path recently:

The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It…Every Time by Maria Konnikova

How do you con someone? You find the core belief they never want to give up: I’m handsome. The world is a generous place. People are honest. In many ways a con artist is simply a more careful reader than most of us, able to see things we keep hidden and take advantage of weaknesses we don’t want to admit. Maria Konnikova’s book is a thorough, entertaining look into...[read on]
About The Scent Keeper, from the publisher:
Erica Bauermeister, the national bestselling author of The School of Essential Ingredients, presents a moving and evocative coming-of-age novel about childhood stories, families lost and found, and how a fragrance conjures memories capable of shaping the course of our lives.

Emmeline lives an enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them. As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world--a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and imagination.

Lyrical and immersive, The Scent Keeper explores the provocative beauty of scent, the way it can reveal hidden truths, lead us to the person we seek, and even help us find our way back home.
Learn more about the book and author at Erica Bauermeister's website.

The Page 69 Test: The School of Essential Ingredients.

The Page 69 Test: The Lost Art of Mixing.

Writers Read: Erica Bauermeister.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Jacqueline West's "Last Things"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Last Things by Jacqueline West.

About the book, from the publisher:
New York Times–bestselling author Jacqueline West captivates readers with a dark, hypnotic story about the cost of talent—and the evil that lurks just out of sight. Fans of Holly Black and Victoria Schwab will be mesmerized by this gorgeous, magnetic novel.

High school senior Anders Thorson is unusually gifted. His band, Last Things, is legendary in their northern Minnesota hometown. With guitar skills that would amaze even if he weren’t only eighteen, Anders is the focus of head-turning admiration. And Thea Malcom, a newcomer to the insular town, is one of his admirers. Thea seems to turn up everywhere Anders goes: gigs at the local coffeehouse, guitar lessons, even in the woods near Anders’s home.

When strange things start happening to Anders, blame immediately falls on Thea. But is she trying to hurt him? Or save him? Can he trust a girl who doesn’t seem to know the difference between dreams and reality? And how much are they both willing to sacrifice to get what they want?

Told from Anders’s and Thea’s dual points of view, this exquisitely crafted novel is full of unexpected twists and is for fans of Holly Black’s The Darkest Part of the Forest and Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood.
Learn more about the book and author at Jacqueline West's website.

Writers Read: Jacqueline West (July 2011).

Coffee with a Canine: Jacqueline West and Brom Bones (July 2011).

Coffee with a Canine: Jacqueline West and Brom Bones (July 2013).

The Page 69 Test: The Books of Elsewhere, Volume Four: The Strangers.

The Page 69 Test: Last Things.

--Marshal Zeringue

Fifteen top books to read about the abortion debate

At The Oprah Magazine Michelle Darrisaw tagged fifteen books to read about the abortion debate. One title on the list:
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Nathaniel Hawthorne's A Scarlet Letter or The Handmaid's Tale may come to mind when reading Hillary Jordan's sci-fi novel. A young girl and a married preacher have an affair that results in an unwanted pregnancy. After aborting the child, the woman's punishment is that her body is tinted crimson for 16 years, rather than donning the scarlet red letter of Hawthorne's classic historical fiction book.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: When She Woke.

My Book, The Movie: When She Woke.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Pg. 99: Andrew Yeo's "Asia's Regional Architecture"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Asia's Regional Architecture: Alliances and Institutions in the Pacific Century by Andrew Yeo.

About the book, from the publisher:
During the Cold War, the U.S. built a series of alliances with Asian nations to erect a bulwark against the spread of communism and provide security to the region. Despite pressure to end bilateral alliances in the post-Cold War world, they persist to this day, even as new multilateral institutions have sprung up around them. The resulting architecture may aggravate rivalries as the U.S., China, and others compete for influence. However, Andrew Yeo demonstrates how Asia's complex array of bilateral and multilateral agreements may ultimately bring greater stability and order to a region fraught with underlying tensions.

Asia's Regional Architecture transcends traditional international relations models. It investigates change and continuity in Asia through the lens of historical institutionalism. Refuting claims regarding the demise of the liberal international order, Yeo reveals how overlapping institutions can promote regional governance and reduce uncertainty in a global context. In addition to considering established institutions such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, he discusses newer regional arrangements including the East Asia Summit, Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the Belt and Road Initiative. This book has important implications for how policymakers think about institutional design and regionalism in Asia and beyond.
Learn more about Asia's Regional Architecture at the Stanford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Asia's Regional Architecture.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top new books for the 50th anniversary of Stonewall

At the B&N Reads blog Ross Johnson tagged six new books to honor the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, including:
Stonewall: The Definitive Story of the LGBTQ Rights Uprising that Changed America, by Martin Duberman

Professor Martin Duberman isn’t only renowned for his works of historical analysis, he is also a gay activist with roots in the modern movement stretching back to the Stonewall era, making him an ideal choice to pen this comprehensive, one-volume history of the uprising. In order to bring focus to the complex and chaotic weeks and months surrounding the event, Duberman focuses on six diverse individuals—from the buttoned-up PhD Foster Gunnison, Jr. to the riotous Sylvia Rivera, a genderqueer Latina drag queen—offering a necessary reminder that the thousands of people involved in the events of those nights came from many different backgrounds. Duberman recreates the atmosphere of a wild and uncertain time through their shared stories, from the days leading up to Stonewall to the first gay pride march in 1970.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is S. C. Megale reading?

Featured at Writers Reads: S. C. Megale, author of This Is Not a Love Scene: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
Grasp your phone or desktop firmly over what I am about to tell you. I'm a student at the University of Virginia and have not read a work of fiction for pleasure since reading Clifford the Big Red Dog in the library and crying because I love this and I'm tired and the coffee store closed and I have to read hundreds of pages of Suetonius and Oceanography. I'm a History major. A lot of primary sources. What I'm immensely proud of, though, is my collection of books at home. When Borders Bookstore closed, I purchased a shelf off their store floor. That shelf, now a relic, is my pride and joy, holding over a hundred of the coolest, rarest, most valued books. Among the library of that shelf are: signed Hunger Games, Harry Potter, John Green, John Grisham, David Baldacci, Divergent...[read on]
About This Is Not a Love Scene, from the publisher:
Funny, emotional, and refreshingly honest, S.C. Megale’s This is Not a Love Scene is for anyone who can relate to feeling different while navigating the terrifying and thrilling waters of first love.

Lights, camera—all Maeve needs is action. But at eighteen, a rare form of muscular dystrophy usually stands in the way of romance. She's got her friends, her humor, and a passion for filmmaking to keep her focus off consistent rejection...and the hot older guy starring in her senior film project.

Tall, bearded, and always swaying, Cole Stone is everything Maeve can't be. And she likes it. Between takes, their chemistry is shockingly electric.

Suddenly, Maeve gets a taste of typical teenage dating life, but girls in wheelchairs don’t get the hot guy—right? Cole’s attention challenges everything she once believed about her self-image and hopes for love. But figuring this out, both emotionally and physically, won't be easy for either of them. Maeve must choose between what she needs and what she wants, while Cole has a tendency to avoid decisions altogether. And the future might not wait for either.
Visit S.C. Megale's website.

My Book, The Movie: This Is Not a Love Scene.

Writers Reads: S. C. Megale.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Susannah Marren's "A Palm Beach Wife"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: A Palm Beach Wife: A Novel by Susannah Marren.

About the book, from the publisher:
For readers of Elin Hilderbrand, Susannah Marren's A Palm Beach Wife is a delicious and irresistible commercial novel set among the high society galas and gossip of Palm Beach.

Amid the glamour and galas and parties of Palm Beach, Faith knows that image often counts as much if not more than reality. She glides effortlessly among the highest of the high society so perfectly that you would never suspect she wasn’t born to this. But it wasn’t always so; though she hides it well, Faith has fought hard for the wonderful life she has, for her loving, successful husband, for her daughter’s future.

In this town of secrets and gossip and rumors, Faith has kept a desperate grip on everything she holds so dear, built from so little. And yet even she—the only one who knows just how far she has to fall—never suspects from which direction, or how many directions all at once, betrayal will come.
Visit Susan Shapiro Barash's website.

My Book, The Movie: A Palm Beach Wife.

The Page 69 Test: A Palm Beach Wife.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 20, 2019

Six top fantasy series for fans of "Game of Thrones"

Emily Temple is a senior editor at Lit Hub. Her first novel, The Lightness, will be published by William Morrow in 2020. At LitHub she tagged six epic fantasy series for fans of Game of Thrones, including:
Fonda Lee, the Green Bone Saga

But maybe a backlist of 40 books is a little intimidating, and you’d rather get into a series on the ground floor. In that case, get on board with Fonda Lee’s Jade City, the first book in her Green Bone Saga, which won the 2018 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. Again, you’ve got contentious siblings, rival clans, and a bustling city that everyone wants to control. But those who need quasi-medieval settings for their epic fantasy should look elsewhere—Lee’s world is refreshing in its modernity. (Don’t worry, there is still lots of magic and also revenge killings.) The second book in the series, Jade War, is coming out this summer, so once you finish, you’ll only have a few short weeks of yearning before you get your sequel fix.
Read about another entry on the list.

Jade City is among R.F. Kuang's five top East Asian SFF novels by East Asian authors.

The Page 69 Test: Jade City.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Melanie Benjamin reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Melanie Benjamin, author of Mistress of the Ritz: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
I just finished Henry, Himself by Stewart O’Nan. This is the third book in a trilogy about a Pittsburgh family; the other two books are Wish You Were Here and emily, Alone. I love these books; they’re quiet, but layered, and each family member is exquisitely drawn; you get the perspective of all of them, from the youngest grandchild to the matriarch and patriarch – even the family dog! But it’s O’Nan’s compassionate portrayal of...[read on]
About Mistress of the Ritz, from the publisher:
A captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II—while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor walk through its famous doors to be welcomed and pampered by Blanche Auzello and her husband, Claude, the hotel’s director. The Auzellos are the mistress and master of the Ritz, allowing the glamour and glitz to take their minds off their troubled marriage, and off the secrets that they keep from their guests—and each other.

Until June 1940, when the German army sweeps into Paris, setting up headquarters at the Ritz. Suddenly, with the likes of Hermann Goëring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality. One that entails even more secrets and lies. One that may destroy the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For in order to survive—and strike a blow against their Nazi “guests”—Blanche and Claude must spin a web of deceit that ensnares everything and everyone they cherish.

But one secret is shared between Blanche and Claude alone—the secret that, in the end, threatens to imperil both of their lives, and to bring down the legendary Ritz itself.

Based on true events, Mistress of the Ritz is a taut tale of suspense wrapped up in a love story for the ages, the inspiring story of a woman and a man who discover the best in each other amid the turbulence of war.
Learn more about the book and author at Melanie Benjamin's website.

The Page 69 Test: Alice I Have Been.

The Page 69 Test: The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb.

My Book, The Movie: The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb.

The Page 69 Test: The Aviator's Wife.

The Page 69 Test: The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

The Page 69 Test: The Girls in the Picture.

Writers Read: Melanie Benjamin.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Bruce Beehler's "Natural Encounters"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Natural Encounters: Biking, Hiking, and Birding Through the Seasons by Bruce M. Beehler.

About the book, from the publisher:
A twelve-month excursion through nature’s seasons as recounted by a lifetime naturalist

In this “personal encyclopedia of nature’s seasons,” lifetime naturalist Bruce Beehler reflects on his three decades of encountering nature in Washington, D.C. The author takes the reader on a year-long journey through the seasons as he describes the wildlife seen and special natural places savored in his travels up and down the Potomac River and other localities in the eastern and central United States. Some of these experiences are as familiar as observing ducks on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., or as unexpected as collecting fifty-million-year-old fossils on a Potomac beach.

Beyond our nation’s capital, Beehler describes trips to nature’s most beautiful green spaces up and down the East Coast that, he says, should be on every nature lover’s bucket list. Combining diary entries, riffs on natural subjects, field trips, photographs, and beautiful half-tone wash drawings, this book shows how many outdoor adventures are out there waiting in one’s own backyard. The author inspires the reader to embrace nature to achieve a more peaceful existence.
Visit Bruce Beehler's website.

The Page 99 Test: Natural Encounters.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six notable books on the Red Scare

David Maraniss is a New York Times best-selling author, fellow of the Society of American Historians, and visiting distinguished professor at Vanderbilt University. He has been affiliated with the Washington Post for more than forty years as an editor and writer, and twice won Pulitzer Prizes at the newspaper. In 1993 he received the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his coverage of Bill Clinton, and in 2007 he was part of a team that won a Pulitzer for coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting. He was also a Pulitzer finalist three other times, including for one of his books, They Marched Into Sunlight. He has won many other major writing awards, including the George Polk Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize, the Anthony Lukas Book Prize, and the Frankfurt eBook Award.

A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father is his twelfth book.

At The Week magazine Maraniss shared his six favorite books on the Red Scare, including:
High Noon by Glenn Frankel (2017).

Frankel takes readers inside the making of the classic 1952 Western about a sheriff who stands alone when his town's citizens are paralyzed by fear. Made during the height of Red Scare hysteria, the movie starred Gary Cooper, who despite his own anti-Communist views refused to disparage a screenwriter called before HUAC and blacklisted.
Read about another entry on the list.

High Noon is among Jeff Somers's top ten books that reveal secret histories.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Clark Thomas Carlton's "The Prophet of the Termite God," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Prophet of the Termite God: Book Two of the Antasy Series by Clark Thomas Carlton.

The entry begins:
Notice for my book when it was an indie came about through its optioning by a pair of successful Hollywood screenwriters working with film producer Lawrence Bender. The studios, especially Sony, were interested but they wanted to know why my book hadn’t been acquired yet by a publisher. Well, as William Goldman told us, nobody knows anything, and that opportunity could come around again now that the Antasy series has been released through Harper Voyager.

The ideal directors for my first book Prophets of the Ghost Ants and its sequel, Prophet of the Termite God are Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro. The third sequel should be directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. These are three of our greatest living directors and each of them has made masterpieces. All of them are from Mexico and all would understand my themes about race, religion and caste. Mr. del Toro is as fascinated by insects as I am and Mr. Cuarón made the best of all the Harry Potter movies, The Prisoner of Azkaban which was also the most visual. I’d be thrilled if Peter Jackson was interested in my novels, but I don’t know that he’d want to make another epic trilogy. Since the setting is in a micro-world, all of the acting would...[read on]
Visit Clark Thomas Carlton's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Prophet of the Termite God.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Mary Miller's "Biloxi"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Biloxi by Mary Miller.

About the book, from the publisher:
Mary Miller seizes the mantle of southern literature with Biloxi, a tender, gritty tale of middle age and the unexpected turns a life can take.

Building on her critically acclaimed novel The Last Days of California and her biting collection Always Happy Hour, Miller transports readers to this delightfully wry, unapologetic corner of the south—Biloxi, Mississippi, home to sixty-three-year-old Louis McDonald, Jr.

Louis has been forlorn since his wife of thirty-seven years left him, his father passed, and he impulsively retired from his job in anticipation of an inheritance check that may not come. These days he watches reality television and tries to avoid his ex-wife and daughter, benefiting from the charity of his former brother-in-law, Frank, who religiously brings over his Chili’s leftovers and always stays for a beer.

Yet the past is no predictor of Louis’s future. On a routine trip to Walgreens to pick up his diabetes medication, he stops at a sign advertising free dogs and meets Harry Davidson, a man who claims to have more than a dozen canines on offer, but offers only one: an overweight mixed breed named Layla. Without any rational explanation, Louis feels compelled to take the dog home, and the two become inseparable. Louis, more than anyone, is dumbfounded to find himself in love—bursting into song with improvised jingles, exploring new locales, and reevaluating what he once considered the fixed horizons of his life.

With her “sociologist’s eye for the mundane and revealing” (Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books), Miller populates the Gulf Coast with Ann Beattie-like characters. A strangely heartwarming tale of loneliness, masculinity, and the limitations of each, Biloxi confirms Miller’s position as one of our most gifted and perceptive writers.
Visit Mary Miller's website.

The Page 69 Test: Biloxi.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven books to make you wonder if your best friend is a murderer

S. R. Masters is originally from the West Midlands in the UK. His debut novel is a coming-of-age murder mystery, The Killer You Know, about a group of childhood friends returning home for a reunion only to discover the friend that joked about being a serial killer when he grew up might actually have become one.

At CrimeReads Masters tagged seven thrillers that capture some of the darker aspects of tight-knit friendship groups. One title on the list:
Dare Me, by Megan Abbott

While you can choose your friends, that choice can often be limited by your situation—especially when you are young. Dare Me is a haunting and immersive tale about a very particular group of friends: a high school cheerleading squad. Tense and tight and driven by character, this book follows one squad’s finely balanced dynamic being thrown by the arrival of a new coach. It bottles the intense seriousness and claustrophobia of being young perfectly.
Read about another entry on the list.

Dare Me is among Jessica Knoll's top ten thrillers, Brian Boone's fifty most essential high school stories, Julie Buntin's twelve books that totally get female friendship, L.S. Hilton's top ten female-fronted thrillers, Megan Reynolds's top ten books you must read if you loved Gone Girl, Anna Fitzpatrick's four top horror stories set in the real universe of girlhood and Adam Sternbergh's six notable crime novels that double as great literature.

--Marshal Zeringue