Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Twenty top books by writers who experienced something few others have

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Reads blog he tagged twenty books by people who know what they’re talking about, including:
Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea, by Steve Callahan

The title says it all. While competing in a race across the Atlantic Ocean in 1981, Callahan got caught in a storm and lost his boat. Luckily, he managed to grab his emergency kit and get into the six-person raft he’d taken along as a precaution. For the next 76 days he drifted on the ocean, teaching himself how to catch fish, make repairs, and generally stay alive. If you’ve ever drifted during a stressful meeting and wondered what it might be like to be lost at sea, Callahan’s epic memoir will tell you.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Pg. 99: Laurie Gwen Shapiro's "The Stowaway"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Stowaway: A Young Man's Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica by Laurie Gwen Shapiro.

About the book, from the publisher:
The spectacular, true story of a scrappy teenager from New York’s Lower East Side who stowed away on the Roaring Twenties’ most remarkable feat of science and daring: an expedition to Antarctica.

It was 1928: a time of illicit booze, of Gatsby and Babe Ruth, of freewheeling fun. The Great War was over and American optimism was higher than the stock market. What better moment to launch an expedition to Antarctica, the planet’s final frontier? This was the moon landing before the 1960s. Everyone wanted to join the adventure. Rockefellers and Vanderbilts begged to be taken along as mess boys, and newspapers across the globe covered the planning’s every stage.

The night before the expedition’s flagship launched, Billy Gawronski—a skinny, first generation New York City high schooler desperate to escape a dreary future in the family upholstery business—jumped into the Hudson River and snuck aboard.

Could he get away with it?

From the grimy streets of New York’s Lower East Side to the rowdy dance halls of sultry Francophone Tahiti, all the way to Antarctica’s blinding white and deadly freeze, Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s The Stowaway takes you on the unforgettable voyage of a gutsy young stowaway who became an international celebrity, a mascot for an up-by-your bootstraps age.
Visit Laurie Gwen Shapiro's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Stowaway.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Alafair Burke's "The Wife"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Wife: A Novel of Psychological Suspense by Alafair Burke.

About the book, from the publisher:
When Angela met Jason Powell while catering a dinner party in East Hampton, she assumed their romance would be a short-lived fling, like so many relationships between locals and summer visitors. To her surprise, Jason, a brilliant economics professor at NYU, had other plans, and they married the following summer. For Angela, the marriage turned out to be a chance to reboot her life. She and her son were finally able to move out of her mother’s home to Manhattan, where no one knew about her tragic past.

Six years later, thanks to a bestselling book and a growing media career, Jason has become a cultural lightning rod, placing Angela near the spotlight she worked so carefully to avoid. When a college intern makes an accusation against Jason, and another woman, Kerry Lynch, comes forward with an even more troubling allegation, their perfect life begins to unravel. Jason insists he is innocent, and Angela believes him. But when Kerry disappears, Angela is forced to take a closer look at the man she married. And when she is asked to defend Jason in court, she realizes that her loyalty to her husband could unearth old secrets.

This much-anticipated follow-up to Burke’s Edgar-nominated The Ex asks how far a wife will go to protect the man she loves: Will she stand by his side, even if he drags her down with him?
Visit Alafair Burke's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dead Connection.

The Page 69 Test: Angel’s Tip.

The Page 69 Test: 212.

The Page 69 Test: All Day and a Night.

The Page 69 Test: The Ex.

The Page 69 Test: The Wife.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Dara Horn reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Dara Horn, author of Eternal Life: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
When friends heard I was writing a novel about a woman who can’t die, they would often recommend books to me that had some connection to immortality. I refused to read any of them while I was writing; I was too nervous about losing confidence in my own work. Now that my book is finished and there’s nothing I can do to change it, I’ve gone back to those recommendations to see what other writers had in mind. My favorite of these was The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara.

It’s a book so strange, and so strangely accomplished, that I hesitate to recommend it to anyone but the most open-minded readers, because I have learned the hard way through my own novels that many readers cannot handle books where the protagonist is the villain. For casual readers who expect entertainment and uplift, an unlikeable narrator is off-putting; a reprehensible one is confounding enough to send them back to the person who recommended the book (or worse, to some online review forum), ranting about how revolting it is and how they will never again blah blah blah. The fact that you’re reading a book blog suggests that you’re above that sort of thing, so I’m just going to say this flat out: The People in the Trees is...[read on]
About Eternal Life, from the publisher:
What would it really mean to live forever? Rachel is a woman with a problem: she can’t die. Her recent troubles—widowhood, a failing business, an unemployed middle-aged son—are only the latest in a litany spanning dozens of countries, scores of marriages, and hundreds of children. In the 2,000 years since she made a spiritual bargain to save the life of her first son back in Roman-occupied Jerusalem, she’s tried everything to free herself, and only one other person in the world understands: a man she once loved passionately, who has been stalking her through the centuries, convinced they belong together forever.But as the twenty-first century begins and her children and grandchildren—consumed with immortality in their own ways, from the frontiers of digital currency to genetic engineering—develop new technologies that could change her fate and theirs, Rachel knows she must find a way out. Gripping, hilarious, and profoundly moving, Eternal Life celebrates the bonds between generations, the power of faith, the purpose of death, and the reasons for being alive.
Learn more about the author and her work at Dara Horn's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 99 Test: The World to Come.

The Page 99 Test: All Other Nights.

The Page 69 Test: A Guide for the Perplexed.

The Page 69 Test: Eternal Life.

Writers Read: Dara Horn.

--Marshal Zeringue

Neel Mukherjee's six favorite books

Neel Mukherjee's new novel is A State of Freedom.

One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald

The penultimate of this great writer's last four miraculous novels, Angels defies summary. Set at Cambridge University in the early 20th century, it is about the unsaid, the unseen, the unsayable; about the birth of quantum physics; about love; about reason versus the irrational — and all delivered in just over 160 pages.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Gate of Angels is among Sam Munson's eight must-read college novels and John Mullan's best angels in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 22, 2018

Pg. 69: Jody Gehrman's "Watch Me"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Watch Me: A Gripping Psychological Thriller by Jody Gehrman.

About the book, from the publisher:
For fans of dark and twisty psychological thrillers, Watch Me is a riveting novel of suspense about how far obsession can go.

Kate Youngblood is disappearing. Muddling through her late 30s as a creative writing professor at Blackwood college, she’s dangerously close to never being noticed again. The follow-up novel to her successful debut tanked. Her husband left her for a woman ten years younger. She’s always been bright, beautiful, independent and a little wild, but now her glow is starting to vanish. She’s heading into an age where her eyes are less blue, her charm worn out, and soon no one will ever truly look at her, want to know her, again.

Except one.

Sam Grist is Kate’s most promising student. An unflinching writer with razor-sharp clarity who gravitates towards dark themes and twisted plots, his raw talent is something Kate wants to nurture into literary success. But he’s not there solely to be the best writer. He’s been watching her. Wanting her. Working his way to her for years.

As Sam slowly makes his way into Kate’s life, they enter a deadly web of dangerous lies and forbidden desire. But how far will his fixation go? And how far will she allow it?

A gripping novel exploring intense obsession and illicit attraction, Jody Gehrman introduces a world where what you desire most may be the most dangerous thing of all.
Visit Jody Gehrman's website.

Writers Read: Jody Gehrman.

The Page 69 Test: Watch Me.

--Marshal Zeringue

Randall Silvis's "Walking the Bones," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Walking the Bones by Randall Silvis.

The entry begins:
Walking the Bones is a sequel to the bestselling Two Days Gone and a recipient of a starred review from Publishers Weekly; its cast includes a male and female protagonist, and no fewer than four potential serial murderers, all of whom get a lot of screen time.

The role of Sergeant Ryan DeMarco, the troubled Pennsylvania State Trooper with a noble heart and a haunted past, requires a young Tommy Lee Jones type, such as Josh Brolin. Brolin’s understated portrayal of Frank Chambers in Labor Day could easily be grafted onto Ryan DeMarco. Add a badge and a healthy measure of laconic sarcasm, and you have Ryan DeMarco 2.0.

DeMarco’s partner, Trooper Jayme Matson, displays great strength, intelligence, and beauty: either Claire Danes or...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Randall Silvis's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Boy Who Shoots Crows.

My Book, The Movie: The Boy Who Shoots Crows.

My Book, The Movie: Only the Rain.

The Page 69 Test: Only the Rain.

Writers Read: Randall Silvis.

My Book, The Movie: Walking the Bones.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Lynne Vallone's "Big and Small"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Big and Small: A Cultural History of Extraordinary Bodies by Lynne Vallone.

About the book, from the publisher:
A groundbreaking work that explores human size as a distinctive cultural marker in Western thought

Author, scholar, and editor Lynne Vallone has an international reputation in the field of child studies. In this analytical tour-de-force, she explores bodily size difference—particularly unusual bodies, big and small—as an overlooked yet crucial marker that informs human identity and culture.

Exploring miniaturism, giganticism, obesity, and the lived experiences of actual big and small people, Vallone boldly addresses the uncomfortable implications of using physical measures to judge normalcy, goodness, gender identity, and beauty. This wide-ranging work surveys the lives and contexts of both real and imagined persons with extraordinary bodies from the seventeenth century to the present day through close examinations of art, literature, folklore, and cultural practices, as well as scientific and pseudo-scientific discourses. Generously illustrated and written in a lively and accessible style, Vallone’s provocative study encourages readers to look with care at extraordinary bodies and the cultures that created, depicted, loved, and dominated them.
Learn more about Big and Small at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Big and Small.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five addicting & appealing Prohibition-era romances

At B&N Reads Amanda Diehl tagged five favorite Prohibition-era romances, including:
It Stings So Sweet, by Stephanie Draven

For a bit of variety and a more erotic take on a historically-set romance, It Stings So Sweet is a wonderful book with three heroines finding romance. Nora is a socialite, desperate to revive her marriage before it heads to ruin. Silent film actress Clara falls for a mysterious WWI pilot, who is surprisingly adventurous in the bedroom. Sophie is part of the working class and feels she will always stay there, until her wealthy boss and heir to a grand family fortune takes an interest in her. With three stories, It Stings So Sweet will appeal to all types of romance lovers.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 21, 2018

What is James Anderson reading?

Featured at Writers Read: James Anderson, author of Lullaby Road: A Novel.

His entry begins:
My taste in reading is extremely varied, everything from biographies, philosophy, neuroscience, physics, history, as well as fiction, nonfiction and a fair amount of poetry. Right now I am reading the newest from someone I feel is one of our most gifted novelists—Steve Yarbrough—The Unmade World. Yarbrough’s stories are complex, as are his characters, and his ability to elevate a seemingly conversational style into a quite extraordinary intricate use of language. Every page of a Yarbrough novel is...[read on]
About Lullaby Road, from the publisher:
Winter has come to Route 117, a remote road through the high desert of Utah trafficked only by eccentrics, fugitives, and those looking to escape the world. Local truck driver Ben Jones, still in mourning over a heartbreaking loss, is just trying to get through another season of treacherous roads and sudden snowfall without an accident. But then he finds a mute Hispanic child who has been abandoned at a seedy truck stop along his route, far from civilization and bearing a note that simply reads “Please Ben. Watch my son. His name is Juan” And then at the bottom, a few more hastily scribbled words. “Bad Trouble. Tell no one.”.

Despite deep misgivings, and without any hint of who this child is or the grave danger he’s facing, Ben takes the child with him in his truck and sets out into an environment that is as dangerous as it is beautiful and silent. From that moment forward, nothing will ever be the same. Not for Ben. Not for the child. And not for anyone along the seemingly empty stretch of road known as Route 117.
Visit James Anderson's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Never-Open Desert Diner.

The Page 69 Test: Lullaby Road.

Writers Read: James Anderson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Four top novels for crime lovers

Joseph Knox's new novel is Sirens.

One of four top books for crime lovers he tagged at the Waterstones blog:
Black and Blue
Ian Rankin

What a writer, what a series, what a book. Black and Blue is the 8th Rebus novel, Rankin’s favourite of his own works, and a great starting point for new readers overwhelmed by a large backlist. I remember reading it so clearly, in the boozy drizzle of a Mancunian winter. Absolutely freezing cold with a broken boiler and not a penny to my name, wrapped in a bed sheet, watching my breath in the air, TEARING through the pages.

Rankin tells a serial killer story here like no other and, in a move that perhaps predicted and ensured his longevity, absolutely never takes the obvious, easy route. Sometimes cinematic is a word which, when applied to novels, can feel belittling. In this case it seems only fitting. As we race through four intersecting plotlines, as Rebus’s own past and temper catches up with him, and as he begins to get some sense of quite what he’s up against, the book becomes thrilling in a very special way. It feels vital and new, forcing itself into the back of your brain like a bullet to the head.
Read about another entry on the list.

Euan Ferguson called Black and Blue, the eighth Rebus novel, Rankin's finest book and put John Rebus on his list of the ten best fictional sleuths; it is one of the ten most popular Scottish novels of the last 50 years.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Dara Horn's "Eternal Life"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Eternal Life: A Novel by Dara Horn.

About the book, from the publisher:
What would it really mean to live forever? Rachel is a woman with a problem: she can’t die. Her recent troubles—widowhood, a failing business, an unemployed middle-aged son—are only the latest in a litany spanning dozens of countries, scores of marriages, and hundreds of children. In the 2,000 years since she made a spiritual bargain to save the life of her first son back in Roman-occupied Jerusalem, she’s tried everything to free herself, and only one other person in the world understands: a man she once loved passionately, who has been stalking her through the centuries, convinced they belong together forever.But as the twenty-first century begins and her children and grandchildren—consumed with immortality in their own ways, from the frontiers of digital currency to genetic engineering—develop new technologies that could change her fate and theirs, Rachel knows she must find a way out. Gripping, hilarious, and profoundly moving, Eternal Life celebrates the bonds between generations, the power of faith, the purpose of death, and the reasons for being alive.
Learn more about the author and her work at Dara Horn's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 99 Test: The World to Come.

The Page 99 Test: All Other Nights.

The Page 69 Test: A Guide for the Perplexed.

The Page 69 Test: Eternal Life.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 20, 2018

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

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

The author, on Kirby's favorite outdoor destination:
We live half the year in San Francisco, and Kirby adores Huntington Park on Nob Hill. It's a small park, but there's usually a dog or twelve to meet there. Every Friday evening from 5 to 7, people bring wine or beer and gather in the park with the dogs for "Yappy Hour." Some of the people who come aren't in the position to have a dog, so...[read on]
About J.D. Horn's The King of Bones and Ashes, from the publisher:
Magic is seeping out of the world, leaving the witches who’ve relied on it for countless centuries increasingly hopeless. While some see an inevitable end of their era, others are courting madness—willing to sacrifice former allies, friends, and family to retain the power they covet. While the other witches watch their reality unravel, young Alice Marin is using magic’s waning days to delve into the mystery of numerous disappearances in the occult circles of New Orleans. Alice disappeared once, too—caged in an asylum by blood relatives. Recently freed, she fears her family may be more involved with the growing crisis than she ever dared imagine.

Yet the more she seeks the truth about her family’s troubled history, the more she realizes her already-fragile psyche may be at risk. Discovering the cause of the vanishings, though, could be the only way to escape her mother’s reach while determining the future of all witches.
Visit J.D. Horn's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Michael J. Ryan's "A Taste for the Beautiful"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: A Taste for the Beautiful: The Evolution of Attraction by Michael J. Ryan.

About the book, from the publisher:
From one of the world's leading authorities on animal behavior, the astonishing story of how the female brain drives the evolution of beauty in animals and humans

Darwin developed the theory of sexual selection to explain why the animal world abounds in stunning beauty, from the brilliant colors of butterflies and fishes to the songs of birds and frogs. He argued that animals have “a taste for the beautiful” that drives their potential mates to evolve features that make them more sexually attractive and reproductively successful. But if Darwin explained why sexual beauty evolved in animals, he struggled to understand how. In A Taste for the Beautiful, Michael Ryan, one of the world’s leading authorities on animal behavior, tells the remarkable story of how he and other scientists have taken up where Darwin left off and transformed our understanding of sexual selection, shedding new light on human behavior in the process.

Drawing on cutting-edge work in neuroscience and evolutionary biology, as well as his own important studies of the tiny TĂșngara frog deep in the jungles of Panama, Ryan explores the key questions: Why do animals perceive certain traits as beautiful and others not? Do animals have an inherent sexual aesthetic and, if so, where is it rooted? Ryan argues that the answers to these questions lie in the brain—particularly of females, who act as biological puppeteers, spurring the development of beautiful traits in males. This theory of how sexual beauty evolves explains its astonishing diversity and provides new insights about the degree to which our own perception of beauty resembles that of other animals.

Vividly written and filled with fascinating stories, A Taste for the Beautiful will change how you think about beauty and attraction.
Learn more about A Taste for the Beautiful at the Princeton University Press website. 

The Page 99 Test: A Taste for the Beautiful.

--Marshal Zeringue

Graham McTavish's six best books

Graham McTavish is a Scottish television, and film actor best known for his roles as Dougal Mackenzie in the popular TV series Outlander, as Dwalin in the The Hobbit trilogy, and as the Saint of Killers in AMC's series Preacher. One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy

A hard read but a masterpiece. I've got a high tolerance for descriptions of violence but there were moments when I had to put this down.

It's set in the American West about guys going around scalping Indians.
Read about another entry on the list.

Blood Meridian is one authority's pick for the Great Texas novel; it is among ShortList's roundup of literature's forty greatest villains, Brian Boone's five great novels that will probably never be made into movies, Sarah Porter's five best books with unusual demons and devils, Chet Williamson's top ten novels about deranged killers, Callan Wink's ten best books set in the American West, Simon Sebag Montefiore's six favorite books, Richard Kadrey's five books about awful, awful people, Jason Sizemore's top five books that will entertain and drop you into the depths of despair, Robert Allison's top ten novels of desert war, Alexandra Silverman's top fourteen wrathful stories, James Franco's six favorite books, Philipp Meyer's five best books that explain America, Peter Murphy's top ten literary preachers, David Vann's six favorite books, Robert Olmstead's six favorite books, Michael Crummey's top ten literary feuds, Philip Connors's top ten wilderness books, six books that made a difference to Kazuo Ishiguro, Clive Sinclair's top 10 westerns, Maile Meloy's six best books, and David Foster Wallace's five direly underappreciated post-1960 U.S. novels. It appears on the New York Times list of the best American fiction of the last 25 years and among the top ten works of literature according to Stephen King.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Brian Freeman reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Brian Freeman, author of The Voice Inside (Frost Easton Series #2).

From his entry:
What have I been reading in the nonfiction world recently? It’s a mix, from the upcoming book Bringing Columbia Home about the 2003 space shuttle disaster to Walter Isaacson’s biography of Leonardo da Vinci and Doris Goodwin’s biography of Lyndon Johnson. I’m a big fan of historians like...[read on]
About The Voice Inside, from the publisher:
One cop’s lie has set a killer free.

Four years after serial killer Rudy Cutter was sent away for life, San Francisco homicide inspector Frost Easton uncovers a terrible lie: his closest friend planted false evidence to put Cutter behind bars. When he’s forced to reveal the truth, his sister’s killer is back on the streets.

Desperate to take Cutter down again, the detective finds a new ally in Eden Shay. She wrote a book about Cutter and knows more about him than anyone. And she’s terrified. Because for four years, Cutter has been nursing revenge day after stolen day.

Staying ahead of the game of a killer who’s determined to strike again is not going to be easy. Not when Frost is battling his own demons. Not when the game is becoming so personal. And not when the killer’s next move is unlike anything Frost expected.
Visit Brian Freeman's official website, and follow the author's new radio show.

The Page 69 Test: Stripped.

My Book, The Movie: Stripped.

The Page 69 Test: Stalked.

My Book, The Movie: Spilled Blood.

The Page 69 Test: The Cold Nowhere.

My Book, The Movie: Season of Fear.

Writers Read: Brian Freeman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 19, 2018

Five top books about kickass warrior women

One of "five books starring women who are ready to kick ass and take names," as shared at the Tor Teen blog:
Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

This retelling of the legend of Spartacus tells the story of a young woman who dares to rebel against the seemingly all-powerful Roman Empire. Sold into slavery after her people are conquered, Attia finds herself bonding with Xanthus, the preeminent gladiator who entertains the people of Rome. That bond will spark a rebellion.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: James Anderson's "Lullaby Road"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Lullaby Road: A Novel by James Anderson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Winter has come to Route 117, a remote road through the high desert of Utah trafficked only by eccentrics, fugitives, and those looking to escape the world. Local truck driver Ben Jones, still in mourning over a heartbreaking loss, is just trying to get through another season of treacherous roads and sudden snowfall without an accident. But then he finds a mute Hispanic child who has been abandoned at a seedy truck stop along his route, far from civilization and bearing a note that simply reads “Please Ben. Watch my son. His name is Juan” And then at the bottom, a few more hastily scribbled words. “Bad Trouble. Tell no one.”.

Despite deep misgivings, and without any hint of who this child is or the grave danger he’s facing, Ben takes the child with him in his truck and sets out into an environment that is as dangerous as it is beautiful and silent. From that moment forward, nothing will ever be the same. Not for Ben. Not for the child. And not for anyone along the seemingly empty stretch of road known as Route 117.
Visit James Anderson's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Never-Open Desert Diner.

The Page 69 Test: Lullaby Road.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ellie Alexander's "Another One Bites the Crust," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Another One Bites the Crust: A Bakeshop Mystery (Volume 7) by Ellie Alexander.

The entry begins:
One of my favorite things about writing a series is getting to develop the characters over time. Not just the lead heroine, but also the supporting cast. In the 7th installment of the Bakeshop Mysteries, Another One Bites the Crust, one of the secondary characters, Lance, gets to take center stage. Lance is the artistic director at my fictional version of the real-life Oregon Shakespeare Festival in the charming hamlet of Ashland, Oregon. Lance has a penchant for dramatics. He and Juliet (aka Jules) have become fast friends and sleuthing partners over the course of the series. He tends to take a flippant approach to murder. However, in this book that changes when he becomes the prime suspect.

Jules and Lance have such a natural rapport and witty chemistry that I would love to see them fleshed out on the screen.

In my mind Lance can be played by none other than Robbie Williams. He’s debonair, devilishly handsome, impish, a singer (why yes, of course he would belt out Oklahoma at random), and can pull off an ascot. He and Jennifer...[read on]
Visit Ellie Alexander's website.

My Book, The Movie: Fudge and Jury.

The Page 69 Test: Fudge and Jury.

The Page 69 Test: Death on Tap.

My Book, The Movie: Another One Bites the Crust.

--Marshal Zeringue

Twenty-one books for dog and cat lovers

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Reads blog he tagged twenty-one books for dog and cat lovers, including:
Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson

Warning: if you love dogs and you’ve never read this one, be prepared to feel things. The classic story of a faithful pup who spends his life defending and helping his beloved family, only for tragedy to occur, is heart-wrenching. It will make you want to give your own dog friend an extra hug and be happy you won’t have to make any terrible decisions regarding them any time soon. At the same time, the book reminds dog lovers exactly why they are considered to be man’s best friend.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 18, 2018

What is Jody Gehrman reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jody Gehrman, author of Watch Me: A Gripping Psychological Thriller.

Her entry begins:
Early this morning I finished A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis. When I say “early this morning” I mean 3 a.m. This was one of those books I devoured in one sitting, something I don’t get to do very often these days. I’ve been plagued by a cold and indulged myself with a lazy day of reading.

As it turns out, this is the perfect book to curl up with on a cold, wintry day. It won an Edgar Award for Best YA Mystery, and with good reason. It takes place in the 1800s in a couple of different insane asylums, one in Boston and another in rural Ohio. Madness, incest, rape—it’s full of dark subjects—but somehow it’s not the slightest bit depressing and it’s compulsively readable. The characters are vivid, the setting richly detailed, and the...[read on]
About Watch Me, from the publisher:
For fans of dark and twisty psychological thrillers, Watch Me is a riveting novel of suspense about how far obsession can go.

Kate Youngblood is disappearing. Muddling through her late 30s as a creative writing professor at Blackwood college, she’s dangerously close to never being noticed again. The follow-up novel to her successful debut tanked. Her husband left her for a woman ten years younger. She’s always been bright, beautiful, independent and a little wild, but now her glow is starting to vanish. She’s heading into an age where her eyes are less blue, her charm worn out, and soon no one will ever truly look at her, want to know her, again.

Except one.

Sam Grist is Kate’s most promising student. An unflinching writer with razor-sharp clarity who gravitates towards dark themes and twisted plots, his raw talent is something Kate wants to nurture into literary success. But he’s not there solely to be the best writer. He’s been watching her. Wanting her. Working his way to her for years.

As Sam slowly makes his way into Kate’s life, they enter a deadly web of dangerous lies and forbidden desire. But how far will his fixation go? And how far will she allow it?

A gripping novel exploring intense obsession and illicit attraction, Jody Gehrman introduces a world where what you desire most may be the most dangerous thing of all.
Visit Jody Gehrman's website.

Writers Read: Jody Gehrman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Karen Rose Smith's "Murder with Lemon Tea Cakes"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Murder with Lemon Tea Cakes: A Daisy's Tea Garden Mystery #1 by Karen Rose Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
In an old Victorian in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Amish country, Daisy Swanson and her aunt Iris serve soups, scones, and soothing teas to tourists and locals—but a murder in their garden has them in hot water...

Daisy, a widowed mom of two teenagers, is used to feeling protective—so when Iris started dating the wealthy and not-quite-divorced Harvey Fitz, she worried . . . especially after his bitter ex stormed in and caused a scene at the party Daisy’s Tea Garden was catering. Then there was the gossip she overheard about Harvey’s grown children being cut out of his will. Daisy didn’t want her aunt to wind up with a broken heart—but she never expected Iris to wind up a suspect in Harvey’s murder.

Now the apple bread and orange pekoe is on the back burner while the cops treat the shop like a crime scene—and Daisy hopes that Jonas Groft, a former detective from Philadelphia, can help her clear her aunt’s name and bag the real killer before things boil over...
Visit Karen Rose Smith's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Karen Rose Smith & Hope and Riley.

The Page 69 Test: Staged to Death.

The Page 69 Test: Murder with Lemon Tea Cakes.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top conspiracy theories in fiction

James Miller's new novel is UnAmerican Activities. At the Guardian, he tagged ten novels that "explore conspiracy theories both 'real' and fictional, showing how history blends with fiction and speculation can supplement fact." One entry on the list:
Libra by Don DeLillo (1988)

The image of heat and light is woven through DeLillo’s fictional account of JFK’s assassination, standing for the sheer volume of material about the event, the overwhelming, dazzling accumulation of information. At one point a character asks: “What are they holding back? How much more is there?” still searching for that final detail that will explain what happened. DeLillo’s novel dramatises the extent to which a surplus of information does not always lead to clarity or understanding.
Read about another title on the list.

Libra is among Allen Barra's five essential JFK assassination books and Joseph Finder's five best books on political conspiracy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Kenny Fries's "In the Province of the Gods"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: In the Province of the Gods by Kenny Fries.

About the book, from the publisher:
A beguiling adventure in Japan

Kenny Fries embarks on a journey of profound self-discovery as a disabled foreigner in Japan, a society historically hostile to difference. As he visits gardens, experiences Noh and butoh, and meets artists and scholars, he also discovers disabled gods, one-eyed samurai, blind chanting priests, and A-bomb survivors. When he is diagnosed as HIV positive, all his assumptions about Japan, the body, and mortality are shaken, and he must find a way to reenter life on new terms.
Visit Kenny Fries's website.

The Page 99 Test: In the Province of the Gods.

--Marshal Zeringue