Friday, November 17, 2017

Rachel Neumeier's "Winter of Ice and Iron," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Winter of Ice and Iron by Rachel Neumeier.

The entry begins:
Kehera Elin Raëhema – Caitlin Stasey. Kehera would need to be portrayed as a responsible, kind, somewhat serious, girl-next-door young woman; definitely not as a glamorous beauty queen. Caitlin Stasey did a great job as Ellie in Tomorrow, When the War Began – I’m sure she could play an excellent Kehera.

Eilisè – Ingvild Deila. Kehera’s friend as well as her servant, Eilisè takes her duty to her mistress very seriously. The affection between them draws Eilisè into exile with Kehera when duty alone couldn’t have compelled her to go. I think Ingvild Deila would be wonderful for this role.

Tirovay Elin Raëhema – Colin Ford. Tiro, Kehera’s younger brother, shares the Elin character. Like his sister, he’s serious, responsible, and kind. He also has to grow up very fast in this story. He would need to be played by someone who could show the rapid shift of a boy into a man. At 21, Colin Ford is....[read on]
Visit Rachel Neumeier's website.

My Book, The Movie: Winter of Ice and Iron.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five of the best books to take you on a trip to the medieval Middle East

S. A. Chakraborty's new novel is The City of Brass. At Tor.com she tagged five books "to take you beyond One Thousand and One Nights and on a trip to the medieval Middle East," including:
The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones

A historical fantasy set in eighth-century Baghdad, The Desert of Souls is a delightful adventure in the spirit of Sherlock Holmes; pairing a military captain and scholar with the very real Caliph Harun al-Rashid and his wazir, Jafar al-Barmaki—the same Abbasid-era figures who made their way into 1001 Nights. As someone rather immersed (alright, obsessed) with the history and folklore of this era, I loved the way Jones brought this world alive and got a kick out of all the “Easter eggs” within—Jafar’s future downfall, in particular!
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Michael Stanley's "Dying to Live"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Dying to Live: A Detective Kubu Mystery (Volume 6) by Michael Stanley.

About the book, from the publisher:
A Bushman is discovered dead near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Africa. Although the man looks old enough to have died of natural causes, the police suspect foul play, and the body is sent to Gaborone for an autopsy. Pathologist Ian MacGregor confirms the cause of death as a broken neck, but is greatly puzzled by the man’s physiology. Although he’s obviously very old, his internal organs look remarkably young. He calls in Assistant Superintendent David “Kubu” Bengu. When the Bushman’s corpse is stolen from the morgue, suddenly the case takes on a new dimension.
Learn more about the book and authors at Michael Stanley's website.

Read: Michael Stanley's top ten African crime novels.

The Page 69 Test: Deadly Harvest.

My Book, The Movie: Dying to Live.

The Page 69 Test: Dying to Live.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Eight YA must-reads with awesome origin stories

Sona Charaipotra is a New York City-based writer and editor with more than a decade’s worth of experience in print and online media. At the BN Teen blog she tagged eight YA must-reads with awesome inspirations and backstories, including:
Bone Gap, by Laura Ruby

Ruby’s Printz winner is eerie and atmospheric, and a little spooky too. When you hear the origin story of the tale, you’ll understand why. She credits the genesis of the mythology and magical realism-filled novel to life on her father’s farm, an old article about a missing boy that her father-in-law gave her, and the cornfields of Illinois. “Even in your car, you feel buried in the cornstalks, hidden in them, hidden by them,” she has said about driving though the region while doing school visits. “I could have sworn I saw the cornstalks walking. I’ve always felt that nature itself is magical and wanted to get that on the page. When I started writing I was just trying to capture the magic of this particular place, this certain landscape, that feeling of being neither here nor there that I had when I was driving through those fields.”
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Lynne Constantine reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Lynne Constantine, part of the duo writing as Liv Constantine, author of The Last Mrs. Parrish: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
I usually have a few books going at a time: one or two non-fictions (one usually pertaining to writing craft), and a novel. Currently, I’m reading Emma in the Night, a psychological thriller written by Wendy Walker, an author who also lives in Connecticut. I enjoy reading fiction in all genres, but lately have focused more on psychological thrillers since that’s what I write. One reason is that I believe it’s important to know what others in your genre are writing. The other reason is that...[read on]
About The Last Mrs. Parrish, from the publisher:
The mesmerizing debut about a coolly manipulative woman and a wealthy "golden couple," from a stunning new voice in psychological suspense.

Some women get everything. Some women get everything they deserve.

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive ... if she didn't have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.
Visit Liv Constantine's website and Lynne Constantine's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Lynne Constantine & Greyson.

Writers Read: Lynne Constantine.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Stephen R. Bown's "Island of the Blue Foxes"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on the World's Greatest Scientific Expedition by Stephen R. Bown.

About the book, from the publisher:
The story of the world’s largest, longest, and best financed scientific expedition of all time, triumphantly successful, gruesomely tragic, and never before fully told

The immense 18th-century scientific journey, variously known as the Second Kamchatka Expedition or the Great Northern Expedition, from St. Petersburg across Siberia to the coast of North America, involved over 3,000 people and cost Peter the Great over one-sixth of his empire’s annual revenue. Until now recorded only in academic works, this 10-year venture, led by the legendary Danish captain Vitus Bering and including scientists, artists, mariners, soldiers, and laborers, discovered Alaska, opened the Pacific fur trade, and led to fame, shipwreck, and “one of the most tragic and ghastly trials of suffering in the annals of maritime and arctic history.”
Learn more about the book and author at Stephen R. Bown's website and Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: The Last Viking.

The Page 99 Test: White Eskimo.

My Book, The Movie: Island of the Blue Foxes.

Writers Read: Stephen R. Bown.

The Page 99 Test: Island of the Blue Foxes.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top talking animals in books

Pajtim Statovci is the award-winning author of the debut novel My Cat Yugoslavia. One of his top ten talking animals in books, as shared at the Guardian:
Pig Tales by Marie Darrieussecq

A young woman in her 20s lands a job at perfume counter. Soon after that, she understands that she’s expected to have sex with male customers. Then she starts gradually transforming into a sow. Darrieussecq’s debut novel – Truismes in the original French – was a massive success on publication in 1996. It offers one of the most distinctive and unique transformation stories of our time and explores questions of sexuality, identity and gender with much-needed insight and superb creativity.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Pg. 69: Kali Wallace's "The Memory Trees"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace.

About the book, from the publisher:
A darkly magical novel about a mysterious family legacy, the bonds of sisterhood, and the strange and powerful ways we are shaped by the places we call home, from the critically acclaimed author of Shallow Graves.

For the first eight years of her life, an unusual apple orchard in Vermont is Sorrow Lovegood's whole world. The land has been passed down through generations of brave, resilient women, and while their offbeat habits may be ridiculed by other townspeople—especially their neighbors, the Abrams family—Sorrow and her family take pride in its odd history.

Then one winter night, an unthinkable tragedy changes everything. In the aftermath, Sorrow is sent to Miami to live with her father, away from the only home she’s ever known.

Now sixteen, Sorrow's memories of her life in Vermont are maddeningly hazy. She returns to the orchard for the summer, determined to learn more about her troubled childhood and the family she left eight years ago. But it soon becomes clear that some of her questions have difficult—even dangerous—answers. And there may be a price to pay for asking.
Visit Kali Wallace's website.

Writers Read: Kali Wallace.

The Page 69 Test: The Memory Trees.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Jake Burt reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jake Burt, author of Greetings from Witness Protection!.

His entry begins:
Like most authors, I have a TBR pile that's in danger of toppling over and crushing me; if nobody hears from me in a few weeks, look under the mound of kidlit in my basement. I know it's a wonderful problem to have, and it's one I frequently exacerbate by interrupting the natural progression whenever a book by a favorite author comes out. That's what just happened to me - a gigantic meteor slammed into my good readerly intentions, forcing me to put everything else on hold until I finished Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage.

Like so many readers, I fell in love with Lyra Belacqua from the first pages of The Golden Compass, and I've harbored as vested an interest in her well being as one can for a fictional character ever since. I named my cat after her. I tried to name my daughter after her, but...[read on]
About Greetings from Witness Protection!, from the publisher:
Nicki Demere is an orphan and a pickpocket. She also happens to be the U.S. Marshals’ best bet to keep a family alive....

The marshals are looking for the perfect girl to join a mother, father, and son on the run from the nation’s most notorious criminals. After all, the bad guys are searching for a family with one kid, not two, and adding a streetwise girl who knows a little something about hiding things may be just what the marshals need.

Nicki swears she can keep the Trevor family safe, but to do so she’ll have to dodge hitmen, cyberbullies, and the specter of standardized testing, all while maintaining her marshal-mandated B-minus average. As she barely balances the responsibilities of her new identity, Nicki learns that the biggest threats to her family’s security might not lurk on the road from New York to North Carolina, but rather in her own past.

Jake Burt's debut middle-grade novel Greetings from Witness Protection! is as funny as it is poignant.
Visit Jake Burt's website.

The Page 69 Test: Greetings from Witness Protection!.

Writers Read: Jake Burt.

--Marshal Zeringue

Gary Blackwood's "Bucket's List," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Bucket's List by Gary Blackwood.

http://severnhouse.com/author/Gary+Blackwood/9664The entry begins:
To be honest, I cringe a bit at the thought of any of my books being filmed.  I’ve seen far too many failed attempts to adapt novels to the big screen (nonfiction usually fares a bit better).  With a few exceptions—Dances With Wolves comes to mind, and Blade Runner—the movie doesn’t do justice to its source, and perhaps can’t.  The two are just such different animals.

For one thing, novels are open to interpretation.  They invite—require, in fact—the participation of the reader; when we read one, we picture the characters and the settings for ourselves (with a little help from the author).  But movies are so literal; you’re stuck with actors (and their interpretations) and locations that are chosen for you.

So, assuming I got an offer I couldn’t refuse, who would I choose to stick an audience with in the role of Inspector Field?  Well, if I’d written the book a decade or two ago, my hands down choice would have been Bob Hoskins; he has that essential ability to play both menacing and funny.  And if I could resurrect an actor from the past, Sir Ralph Richardson would do nicely.  Picking someone from the current crop of box-office draws...[read on]
Learn more about Bucket's List.

My Book, The Movie: Bucket's List.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten numbers-obsessed sci-fi & fantasy stories for math nerds

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 SFF stories in "which math isn’t just a spice, it’s the main course," including:
Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson

Entire sections of this doorstopper novel read like the coolest, most entertaining math or computer science textbook you’ll ever encounter. Considering the entire plot hinges on ideas involving cryptography, programming, chemistry, and physics—not to mention spycraft—that’s not too surprising. You don’t need to hold any advanced degrees to read and enjoy this modern classic, but you do need to pay attention as Stephenson breaks down these concepts in-between two timelines, one an espionage thriller set during World War II, and the other a conspiracy drama set in the 1990s; together they an epic story about codebreaking, spies, data havens, and technology that was pretty cutting-edge when the book was published and has dated little in the decades since.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Pg. 69: Ellen Crosby's "The Vineyard Victims"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Vineyard Victims: A Wine Country Mystery by Ellen Crosby.

About the book, from the publisher:
The death of a former presidential candidate in a fiery car crash at her Virginia vineyard has ties to a thirty year-old murder, as well as to Lucie Montgomery’s own near fatal accident ten years ago, as she searches for a killer who now may be stalking her.

When Jamison Vaughn—billionaire real estate mogul, Virginia vineyard owner, and unsuccessful U.S. presidential candidate—drives his gold SUV into a stone pillar at the entrance to Montgomery Estate Vineyard, Lucie Montgomery is certain the crash was deliberate. But everyone else in Atoka, Virginia is equally sure that Jamie must have lost control of his car on a rain-slicked country road. In spite of being saddled with massive campaign debts from the recent election, Jamie is seemingly the man with the perfect life. What possible reason could he have for committing suicide ... or was it murder?

Before long Lucie uncovers a connection between Jamie and some of his old friends—an elite group of academics—and the brutal murder thirty years ago of a brilliant PhD student. Although a handyman is on death row for the crime, Lucie soon suspects someone else is guilty. But the investigation into the two deaths throws Lucie a curve ball when someone from her own past becomes involved, forcing her to confront old demons. Now the race to solve the mystery behind the two deaths becomes intensely personal as Lucie realizes someone wants her silenced ... for good.
Visit Ellen Crosby's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Vineyard Victims.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Valerie Constantine reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Valerie Constantine, part of the duo writing as Liv Constantine, author of The Last Mrs. Parrish: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
I usually have a few books going at the same time and always make at least one of them non-fiction. I just finished Year of the Fat Night: The Falstaff Diaries by stage actor Antony Sher. It is the recounting of the year he spent preparing for the role of Falstaff for the stage production of Henry IV Parts I and 2 for the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford. These are two of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and...[read on]
About The Last Mrs. Parrish, from the publisher:
The mesmerizing debut about a coolly manipulative woman and a wealthy "golden couple," from a stunning new voice in psychological suspense.

Some women get everything. Some women get everything they deserve.

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive ... if she didn't have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.
Visit Liv Constantine's website and Valerie Constantine's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Valerie Constantine & Zorba.

Writers Read: Valerie Constantine.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Kelley Fanto Deetz's "Bound to the Fire"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Bound to the Fire: How Virginia's Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine by Kelley Fanto Deetz.

About the book, from the publisher:
In grocery store aisles and kitchens across the country, smiling images of "Aunt Jemima" and other historical and fictional black cooks can be found on various food products and in advertising. Although these images are sanitized and romanticized in American popular culture, they represent the untold stories of enslaved men and women who had a significant impact on the nation's culinary and hospitality traditions even as they were forced to prepare food for their oppressors.

Kelley Fanto Deetz draws upon archaeological evidence, cookbooks, plantation records, and folklore to present a nuanced study of the lives of enslaved plantation cooks from colonial times through emancipation and beyond. She reveals how these men and women were literally "bound to the fire" as they lived and worked in the sweltering and often fetid conditions of plantation house kitchens. These highly skilled cooks drew upon skills and ingredients brought with them from their African homelands to create complex, labor-intensive dishes such as oyster stew, gumbo, and fried fish. However, their white owners overwhelmingly received the credit for their creations.

Focusing on enslaved cooks at Virginia plantations including Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and George Washington's Mount Vernon, Deetz restores these forgotten figures to their rightful place in American and Southern history. Bound to the Fire not only uncovers their rich and complex stories and illuminates their role in plantation culture, but it celebrates their living legacy with the recipes that they created and passed down to future generations.
Learn more about Bound to the Fire at Kelley Fanto Deetz's website.

My Book, The Movie: Bound to the Fire.

The Page 99 Test: Bound to the Fire.

--Marshal Zeringue

Andy Weir's six favorite science fiction books

Andy Weir is the author of The Martian and its follow-up, Artemis, a heist story set in a city on the moon. One of his six favorite science fiction books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks

A fantastic look at what a post-scarcity society might look like. There's no hunger, no disease, no war — just benevolent computers that take care of humanity and other beings. How could there be conflict or struggle in such a world? Well, Banks is a genius and spins one hell of a story about what happens when the Culture meets a spacefaring alien race with far less enlightened views. And it doesn't go how you think it would.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 13, 2017

Michael Stanley's "Dying to Live," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Dying to Live: A Detective Kubu Mystery (Volume 6) by Michael Stanley.

The entry begins:
David “Kubu” Bengu is a large man, which gave rise to his nickname.  “Kubu” means hippo in his native language of Setswana.  Our first choice for an American-made film would be Forest Whitaker, who has all the right credentials, including an Academy Award for his role as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland.  If we could turn the clock back a bit, James Earl Jones would fit the part perfectly.  Both of these actors have bulk, presence, and can be subtly funny.

Kubu’s boss, the irascible but soft-hearted Jacob Mabaku, would be a great role for...[read on]
Learn more about the book and authors at Michael Stanley's website.

Read: Michael Stanley's top ten African crime novels.

The Page 69 Test: Deadly Harvest.

My Book, The Movie: Dying to Live.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Kali Wallace reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Kali Wallace, author of The Memory Trees.

Her entry begins:
These days I find myself usually reading more than one book at a time, most often some thick, meaty nonfiction that takes me weeks to finish alongside several pieces of fiction.

On the fiction side of things, I just finished a pair of novellas by Sarah Gailey, River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow. In the late 19th century, the U.S. government came up with a plan to import hippopotamuses into Louisiana swamps to breed for meat. The plan was real, but it was never carried out in real life. In a stunning example of "I am so jealous I didn't think of that" creativity, Gailey imagines that the infamous and utterly terrible Hippo Plan was enacted, and the result is...[read on]
About The Memory Trees, from the publisher:
A darkly magical novel about a mysterious family legacy, the bonds of sisterhood, and the strange and powerful ways we are shaped by the places we call home, from the critically acclaimed author of Shallow Graves.

For the first eight years of her life, an unusual apple orchard in Vermont is Sorrow Lovegood's whole world. The land has been passed down through generations of brave, resilient women, and while their offbeat habits may be ridiculed by other townspeople—especially their neighbors, the Abrams family—Sorrow and her family take pride in its odd history.

Then one winter night, an unthinkable tragedy changes everything. In the aftermath, Sorrow is sent to Miami to live with her father, away from the only home she’s ever known.

Now sixteen, Sorrow's memories of her life in Vermont are maddeningly hazy. She returns to the orchard for the summer, determined to learn more about her troubled childhood and the family she left eight years ago. But it soon becomes clear that some of her questions have difficult—even dangerous—answers. And there may be a price to pay for asking.
Visit Kali Wallace's website.

Writers Read: Kali Wallace.

--Marshal Zeringue

Fifty top magic-rich romance novels

At B&N Reads Amanda Diehl tagged fifty top magical romance novels, including:
Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal

Jane Austen meets magic in the start to the whimsically romantic Glamourist Histories series. Jane Ellsworth has the power to use glamour and when she finds out her sister’s suitor is manipulating her for her dowry, she refuses to stand idly by. The magic is interesting and the setting will be familiar to many historical romance fans. If you prefer a more subdued romance, this is a series that just keeps getting better and better. (The covers also look beautiful on any bookshelf.)
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Jake Burt's "Greetings from Witness Protection!"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Greetings from Witness Protection! by Jake Burt.

About the book, from the publisher:
Nicki Demere is an orphan and a pickpocket. She also happens to be the U.S. Marshals’ best bet to keep a family alive....

The marshals are looking for the perfect girl to join a mother, father, and son on the run from the nation’s most notorious criminals. After all, the bad guys are searching for a family with one kid, not two, and adding a streetwise girl who knows a little something about hiding things may be just what the marshals need.

Nicki swears she can keep the Trevor family safe, but to do so she’ll have to dodge hitmen, cyberbullies, and the specter of standardized testing, all while maintaining her marshal-mandated B-minus average. As she barely balances the responsibilities of her new identity, Nicki learns that the biggest threats to her family’s security might not lurk on the road from New York to North Carolina, but rather in her own past.

Jake Burt's debut middle-grade novel Greetings from Witness Protection! is as funny as it is poignant.
Visit Jake Burt's website.

The Page 69 Test: Greetings from Witness Protection!.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Ten of the best Cold War noir novels

At Literary Hub, John Lawton tagged ten top Cold War noir novels, including:
Ian Fleming, From Russia With Love (1957)

Occasionally, perhaps often, a Bond film improves on a Bond book. More often they just ignore everything but the title. The film of Goldfinger, for example, neatly circumvents the impossibility of making off with the loot from Fort Knox by introducing an atom bomb—“I prefer to think of it as a device.” From Russia with Love is probably one of the least changed in the transition to film. Swap SMERSH for SPECTRE, but the Orient Express and the thoroughly captivating, thoroughly wicked Rosa Kleb remain as stars.
Read about another entry on the list.

From Russia with Love also made Sinclair McKay's five best list of books on ciphers and codebreakers during World War II and after, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best housekeepers in literature, ten of the best chess games in fiction, ten of the best punch-ups in fiction, and ten of the best breakfasts in literature, and a list of eleven presidents' favorite books. It is on Keith Jeffery's five best list of books on Britain's Secret Service and Samuel Muston's ten best list of spy novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Todd Merer reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Todd Merer, author of The Extraditionist (A Benn Bluestone Thriller).

His entry begins:
I like mysteries and thrillers with strong, eccentric lead characters who are loners and who straddle the bright line between law and criminality. I also love historical nonfiction, particularly about the Civil War. The following are next up on my reading list (I’m a fast reader, so within a month I’ll be drawing up another list):

December 6th by Martin Cruz Smith

Fatherland by Robert Harris

Dirty White Boys by Stephen Hunter

The Counterfeit...[read on]
About The Extraditionist, from the publisher:
When the world’s most notorious cartel bosses get arrested, they call Benn Bluestone. A drug lawyer sharp enough to exploit loopholes in the system, Bluestone loves the money, the women, the action that come with his career…but working between the lines of justice and crime has taken its toll, and he desperately wants out. He’s convinced himself that only an insanely rich client can guarantee him a lavish retirement.

When the New Year begins with three promising cases, Bluestone thinks he’s hit pay dirt. But then the cases link dangerously together—and to his own past. Does the mysterious drug kingpin Sombra hold the key to Bluestone’s ambitions? Or does the key open a door that could bring the entire federal justice system to a screeching halt and net Bluestone a life in jail without parole?
Learn more about The Extraditionist.

My Book, The Movie: The Extraditionist.

Writers Read: Todd Merer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Helen Fry's "The London Cage"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The London Cage: The Secret History of Britain's World War II Interrogation Centre by Helen Fry.

About the book, from the publisher:
The first complete account of the fiercely guarded secrets of London’s clandestine interrogation center, operated by the British Secret Service from 1940 to 1948
Behind the locked doors of three mansions in London’s exclusive Kensington Palace Gardens neighborhood, the British Secret Service established a highly secret prison in 1940: the London Cage. Here recalcitrant German prisoners of war were subjected to “special intelligence treatment.” The stakes were high: the war’s outcome could hinge on obtaining information German prisoners were determined to withhold. After the war, high-ranking Nazi war criminals were housed in the Cage, revamped as an important center for investigating German war crimes.

This riveting book reveals the full details of operations at the London Cage and subsequent efforts to hide them. Helen Fry’s extraordinary original research uncovers the grim picture of prisoners’ daily lives and of systemic Soviet-style mistreatment. The author also provides sensational evidence to counter official denials concerning the use of “truth drugs” and “enhanced interrogation” techniques. Bringing dark secrets to light, this groundbreaking book at last provides an objective and complete history of the London Cage.
Visit Helen Fry's website.

The Page 99 Test: The London Cage.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven top sleuthing teens in YA fiction

At the BN Teen Blog Dahlia Adler tagged seven favorite YA sleuthing teens, including:
Fake ID, by Lamar Giles

You might think you know Nick Pearson, but that’s not even his real name. That’s what happens when you’re in the Witness Protection Program; you get a whole new identity that’s supposed to keep you safe, even when your father stays up to his old tricks. This time, Nick feels good about where he’s at, especially thanks to his new friend Eli Cruz. Then Eli turns up dead, and Nick knows it’s not the suicide the police are claiming, especially since before he died, Eli had been trying to draw Nick in to his own investigation on shady dealings. Nick’s not the only one who suspects there’s more to the story, either. He’s supposed to be staying under the radar, but with Eli’s hot sister, Reya, every bit as suspicious as he is, getting on the case is just too difficult for Nick to resist. The question is, will he make it out alive?
Read about another entry on the list.

Fake ID is among Dahlia Adler's seven awesome diverse YA thrillers and Sarah Skilton's top eight YA books with villainous parents.

My Book, The Movie: Fake ID by Lamar Giles.

The Page 69 Test: Fake ID.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Nose in a book: Ivy Pochoda

Who: Ivy Pochoda

What: Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda

When: November 2017

Where: The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles

Photo credit: Justin Nowell

Visit Ivy Pochoda's website.

The Page 69 Test: Wonder Valley.

--Marshal Zeringue

Dave Connis's "The Temptation of Adam," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Temptation of Adam: A Novel by Dave Connis.

About the book, from the publisher:
Adam Hawthorne is fine. Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists. But Adam is fine. When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel. Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.
His dreamcast begins:
Adam Hawthorne: Finn Wolfhard, Mike from Stranger Things, but give him a few more years.

Addy Hawthorne: Maia Mitchell (with shorter hair).

Dez Coulter: Alani Simone. She's...[read on]
Visit Dave Connis's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Temptation of Adam.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Helen Benedict's "Wolf Season"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Wolf Season by Helen Benedict.

About the book, from the publisher:
After a hurricane devastates a small town in upstate New York, the lives of three women and their young children are irrevocably changed. Rin, an Iraq War veteran, tries to protect her blind daughter and the three wolves under her care. Naema, a widowed doctor who fled Iraq with her wounded son, faces life-threatening injuries. Beth, who is raising a troubled son, waits out her marine husband’s deployment in Afghanistan, equally afraid of him coming home and of him never returning at all. As they struggle to maintain their humanity and find hope, their war-torn lives collide in a way that will affect their entire community.
Learn more about Helen Benedict and her work at her official website.

My Book, The Movie: Sand Queen.

The Page 69 Test: Sand Queen.

The Page 69 Test: Wolf Season.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten of the best non-fiction books about London

At the Guardian, Kathryn Hughes tagged the ten best non-fiction books about London. One title on the list:
[2016]’s This Is London: Life and Death in the World City by Ben Judah is an epic account of London as a place where global migrants come to scratch a subsistence living or, occasionally, spend a shady fortune. We are far, far beyond the Windrush generation here. Arabs, Afghans, Nigerians, Poles, Romanians and Russians pour out their stories – often terrifying, mostly sad, occasionally funny – while Judah writes it all down in compulsive, shocking detail. We’re back in Mayhew’s London, but now watercress sellers and mudlarks have been replaced by sleepy Africans catching the early morning night bus to their office cleaning jobs four zones over on the other side of town.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 10, 2017

What is Stephen R. Bown reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Stephen R. Bown, author of Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on the World's Greatest Scientific Expedition.

His entry begins:
Right now I’m reading the memoir of the man who spent 23 years backpacking around the world visiting every country and region on the planet. It is called The World’s Most Travelled Man: A Twenty-Three Year Odyssey to and Through Every Country on the Planet, written by Mike Spencer Bown. Mike is my brother, so many of his incredible stories are familiar to me from talks over the years. He didn’t start out with a plan to visit everywhere, he began as most travellers do, exploring different countries out of curiosity and a sense of adventure. But Mike continued beyond the natural time for travel one has in their 20s: he and his then girlfriend ran a gardening accoutrement business out of Bali in the 1990s and he continued travelling around Asia during the off seasons. For the past ten years, however, Mike has...[read on]
About Island of the Blue Foxes, from the publisher:
The story of the world’s largest, longest, and best financed scientific expedition of all time, triumphantly successful, gruesomely tragic, and never before fully told

The immense 18th-century scientific journey, variously known as the Second Kamchatka Expedition or the Great Northern Expedition, from St. Petersburg across Siberia to the coast of North America, involved over 3,000 people and cost Peter the Great over one-sixth of his empire’s annual revenue. Until now recorded only in academic works, this 10-year venture, led by the legendary Danish captain Vitus Bering and including scientists, artists, mariners, soldiers, and laborers, discovered Alaska, opened the Pacific fur trade, and led to fame, shipwreck, and “one of the most tragic and ghastly trials of suffering in the annals of maritime and arctic history.”
Learn more about the book and author at Stephen R. Bown's website and Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: The Last Viking.

The Page 99 Test: White Eskimo.

My Book, The Movie: Island of the Blue Foxes.

Writers Read: Stephen R. Bown.

--Marshal Zeringue

Todd Merer's "The Extraditionist," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Extraditionist (A Benn Bluestone Thriller) by Todd Merer.

The entry begins:
In my mind’s eye, when creating characters I view him or her as someone I’ve seen before. Even if I’ve only seen that someone via films. If I were to dream cast The Extraditionist, here are the actors I would love to see in the movie (note that some of my favorite movies are quite old, so my casting spans the decades of Hollywood history).

BENN BLUESTONE.   Bryan Cranston/Robert Mitchum/Robert Ryan
LAURA ASTORQUIZA.   Monica Bellucci
FELIPE MONDRAGON.   Claude Raines
KANDI KAUFFMAN.   Amy...[read on]
Learn more about The Extraditionist.

My Book, The Movie: The Extraditionist.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Cathy Gere's "Pain, Pleasure, and the Greater Good"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Pain, Pleasure, and the Greater Good: From the Panopticon to the Skinner Box and Beyond by Cathy Gere.

About the book, from the publisher:
How should we weigh the costs and benefits of scientific research on humans? Is it right that a small group of people should suffer in order that a larger number can live better, healthier lives? Or is an individual truly sovereign, unable to be plotted as part of such a calculation?

These are questions that have bedeviled scientists, doctors, and ethicists for decades, and in Pain, Pleasure, and the Greater Good, Cathy Gere presents the gripping story of how we have addressed them over time. Today, we are horrified at the idea that a medical experiment could be performed on someone without consent. But, as Gere shows, that represents a relatively recent shift: for more than two centuries, from the birth of utilitarianism in the eighteenth century, the doctrine of the greater good held sway. If a researcher believed his work would benefit humanity, then inflicting pain, or even death, on unwitting or captive subjects was considered ethically acceptable. It was only in the wake of World War II, and the revelations of Nazi medical atrocities, that public and medical opinion began to change, culminating in the National Research Act of 1974, which mandated informed consent. Showing that utilitarianism is based in the idea that humans are motivated only by pain and pleasure, Gere cautions that that greater good thinking is on the upswing again today and that the lesson of history is in imminent danger of being lost.

Rooted in the experiences of real people, and with major consequences for how we think about ourselves and our rights, Pain, Pleasure, and the Greater Good is a dazzling, ambitious history.
Learn more about Pain, Pleasure, and the Greater Good at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism.

Writers Read: Cathy Gere.

The Page 99 Test: Pain, Pleasure, and the Greater Good.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books about the joys of cooking

Sarah Skilton is the author of Bruised, a martial arts drama for young adults; and High and Dry, a hardboiled teen mystery. At the B&N Reads blog she tagged five top books about cooking and eating, including:
The Kitchen Daughter, by Jael McHenry

Ginny is 26 and lives at home with her parents, where she can escape the anxiety she feels in crowds. But after her parents die, her Asperger’s syndrome requires comforting rituals, and she finds deep satisfaction in cooking. The recipes she selects call forth the ghosts of their creators, including her beloved Nonna. In this ghost story and cold-case mystery, Ginny’s layered narration will draw you in, while the meals she prepares will inspire you to plunder your relatives’ recipe books for family gems.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 09, 2017

What is Casey Daniels reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Casey Daniels, author of Smoke and Mirrors.

One book she tagged:
A Brilliant Death

Coming-of-age meets murder mystery.  The novel is set in southern Ohio in a town of hard-scrabble, hard-working folks, and follows the adventures of two boys who are eager to find out more about one of their mothers, a woman who supposedly drowned in the river years before.  The author is Edgar-nominated Robin Yocum and I picked up the book because Robin and I did an event together and I wanted to be familiar with his work.  I’m glad I did.  The book is...[read on]
About Smoke and Mirrors, from the publisher:
Introducing museum curator and amateur sleuth Miss Evie Barnum in the first of a deliciously quirky new historical mystery series.

Evie Barnum is in charge of her brother's museum, a place teeming with scientific specimens and wonders, including Jeffrey, the Lizard Man. When an old friend shows up and begs for her help, but is then found dead in front of the exhibit of the Feejee Mermaid, suspicion for the murder falls on Jeffrey, and Evie becomes determined to solve the mystery of her friend's murder.
Visit Casey Daniels's website.

Writers Read: Casey Daniels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Ivy Pochoda's "Wonder Valley"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Wonder Valley: A Novel by Ivy Pochoda.

About the book, from the publisher:
When a teen runs away from his father’s mysterious commune, he sets in motion a domino effect that will connect six characters desperate for hope and love, set across the sun-bleached canvas of Los Angeles.

From the acclaimed author of Visitation Street, a visionary portrait of contemporary Los Angeles in all its facets, from the Mojave Desert to the Pacific, from the 110 to Skid Row.

During a typically crowded morning commute, a naked runner is dodging between the stalled cars.  The strange sight makes the local news and captures the imaginations of a stunning cast of misfits and lost souls.
There's Ren, just out of juvie, who travels to LA in search of his mother. There's Owen and James, teenage twins who live in a desert commune, where their father, a self-proclaimed healer, holds a powerful sway over his disciples. There's Britt, who shows up at the commune harboring a dark secret. There's Tony, a bored and unhappy lawyer who is inspired by the runner. And there's Blake, a drifter hiding in the desert, doing his best to fight off his most violent instincts.  Their lives will all intertwine and come crashing together in a shocking way, one that could only happen in this enchanting, dangerous city.

Wonder Valley is a swirling mix of angst, violence, heartache, and yearning—a masterpiece by a writer on the rise.
Learn more about the book and author at Ivy Pochoda's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Art of Disappearing.

Writers Read: Ivy Pochoda.

The Page 69 Test: Wonder Valley.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten books about royal families

Deborah Cadbury's latest book is Queen Victoria's Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe. One of the author's ten top books about royal families, as shared at the Guardian:
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory (2009)

In her series of historical novels, The Cousins’ War, Gregory unfolds the power struggles of the York and Lancaster dynasties through the eyes of its key women, starting here with Elisabeth Woodville. The conflicting ambitions of Elisabeth, Anne Neville and Margaret Beaufort prove to be a compelling vehicle with which to explore the complexities of the Wars of the Roses.
Read about another book on the list.

The White Queen is among five books Amy Wilkinson recommended Kate Middleton should read while waiting to give birth and Amanda Donohoe's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Kevin Carrico's "The Great Han"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Great Han: Race, Nationalism, and Tradition in China Today by Kevin Carrico.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Great Han is an ethnographic study of the Han Clothing Movement, a neotraditionalist and racial nationalist movement that has emerged in China since 2001. Participants come together both online and in person in cities across China to revitalize their utopian vision of the authentic “Great Han” and corresponding “real China” through pseudotraditional ethnic dress, reinvented Confucian ritual, and anti-foreign sentiment. Analyzing the movement’s ideas and practices, this book argues that the vision of a pure, perfectly ordered, ethnically homogeneous, and secure society is in fact a fantasy constructed in response to the challenging realities of the present. Yet this national imaginary is reproduced precisely through its own perpetual elusiveness. The Great Han is a pioneering analysis of Han identity, nationalism, and social movements in a rapidly changing China.
Learn more about The Great Han at the University of California Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Great Han.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Ten retold tales featuring figures from classic Victorian horror

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, Meghan Ball tagged ten retold tales featuring the figures of classic Victorian horror, including:
A Night in the Lonesome October, by Roger Zelazny

This is the crown jewel of retold classics, the standard by which all others should be measured. Zelazny’s short novel is pitch perfect in every way and is obviously tailor made for fall reading (too bad we just missed recommending it for Halloween). In 31 chapters, one for each day of the month, Snuff the dog draws us into a deadly Game between openers and closers trying to bring about the end of the world via monsters from the Lovecraftian mythos. Snuff’s master is an urbane gentleman named Jack, who carries with him a very special knife. The other players include a foreign vampire count, a mad Russian monk, a sinister vicar, Sherlock Holmes, and an odd man named Larry Talbot who has a certain…full moon affliction. This novel is a true delight, and, increasingly, a hidden gem worth rediscovering (even though it won a Hugo, it has gone in and out of print). I go back to it it every October, one chapter per night, and it’s always a highlight of my reading year. The mystery is laid out slowly, keeping you guessing, even when all the clues are in plain sight. If you want the gold standard of Victorian literature mash ups, this is it.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Cathy Gere reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Cathy Gere, author of Pain, Pleasure, and the Greater Good: From the Panopticon to the Skinner Box and Beyond.

Her entry begins:
I just finished Collecting the World by historian of science James Delbourgo, about Hans Sloane, the eighteenth-century physician whose vast assembly of botanical and cultural wonders from all over the globe was the seed from which the British Museum sprouted. My father was keeper of one of the departments of the British Museum, and I grew up in Hans Sloane’s old neighborhood in London, so for me the book holds a double personal significance. I found it a fantastic read, full of hilarious insights into how bizarre and quirky much of the Enlightenment drive towards universal knowledge turned out to...[read on]
About Pain, Pleasure, and the Greater Good, from the publisher:
How should we weigh the costs and benefits of scientific research on humans? Is it right that a small group of people should suffer in order that a larger number can live better, healthier lives? Or is an individual truly sovereign, unable to be plotted as part of such a calculation?

These are questions that have bedeviled scientists, doctors, and ethicists for decades, and in Pain, Pleasure, and the Greater Good, Cathy Gere presents the gripping story of how we have addressed them over time. Today, we are horrified at the idea that a medical experiment could be performed on someone without consent. But, as Gere shows, that represents a relatively recent shift: for more than two centuries, from the birth of utilitarianism in the eighteenth century, the doctrine of the greater good held sway. If a researcher believed his work would benefit humanity, then inflicting pain, or even death, on unwitting or captive subjects was considered ethically acceptable. It was only in the wake of World War II, and the revelations of Nazi medical atrocities, that public and medical opinion began to change, culminating in the National Research Act of 1974, which mandated informed consent. Showing that utilitarianism is based in the idea that humans are motivated only by pain and pleasure, Gere cautions that that greater good thinking is on the upswing again today and that the lesson of history is in imminent danger of being lost.

Rooted in the experiences of real people, and with major consequences for how we think about ourselves and our rights, Pain, Pleasure, and the Greater Good is a dazzling, ambitious history.
Learn more about Pain, Pleasure, and the Greater Good at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism.

Writers Read: Cathy Gere.

--Marshal Zeringue