Tuesday, July 23, 2019

"The Birthday Girl"

New from Dutton: The Birthday Girl: A Novel by Melissa de la Cruz.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the thrilling, suspenseful new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz, all of Ellie de Florent-Stinson’s secrets come to light in one eventful evening full of twists, turns, and surprises.

Before she became a glamorous fashion designer, Ellie de Florent-Stinson was a trailer-park teen about to turn sixteen. But a night of birthday celebration doesn’t go exactly as planned and descends into a night she’ll never be able to forget.

Now, on the cusp of her fortieth birthday, it appears Ellie has everything she ever wanted: a handsome husband; an accomplished, college-age stepdaughter; a beautiful ten-year-old girl; adorable and rambunctious six-year-old twin boys; lush, well-appointed homes in Los Angeles, Park City, and Palm Springs; a thriving career; and a dazzling circle of friends.

Except everything is not quite as perfect as it looks on the outside—Ellie is keeping many secrets. And hiding those skeletons has a cost, and it all comes to a head the night of her fabulous birthday party in the desert—where everyone who matters in her life shows up, invited or not. Old and new friends and frenemies, stepdaughters and business partners, ex-wives and ex-husbands congregate, and the glittering facade of Ellie’s life begins to crumble.

Beautifully paced and full of surprises, The Birthday Girl is an enthralling tale of a life lived in shadow and its unavoidable consequences.
Visit Melissa de la Cruz's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 22, 2019

"Because You're Mine"

New from St. Martin's Griffin: Because You're Mine: A Novel by Rea Frey.

About the book, from the publisher:

Single mother Lee has the daily routine down to a science: shower in six minutes. Cut food into perfect squares. Never leave her on-the-spectrum son Mason in someone else’s care. She’ll do anything—anything—to keep his carefully constructed world from falling apart. Do anything to keep him safe.

But when her best friend Grace convinces her she needs a small break from motherhood to recharge her batteries, Lee gives in to a weekend trip. Surely a long weekend away from home won’t hurt?
Noah, Mason’s handsome, bright, charismatic tutor—the first man in ages Lee’s even noticed—is more than happy to stay with him.

Forty-eight hours later, someone is dead.

But not all is as it seems. Noah may be more than who he claims to be. Grace has a secret—one that will destroy Lee. Lee has secrets of her own that she will do anything to keep hidden.
As the dominoes begin to fall and the past comes to light, perhaps it's no mystery someone is gone after all…

Because You're Mine is a breathtaking novel of domestic drama and suspense.
Visit Rea Frey's website.

My Book, The Movie: Not Her Daughter.

The Page 69 Test: Not Her Daughter.

Writers Read: Rea Frey (September 2018).

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Ghosts of Eden Park"

New from Crown: The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America by Karen Abbott.

About the book, from the publisher:

The epic true crime story of the most successful bootlegger in American history and the murder that shocked the nation, from the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

In the early days of Prohibition, long before Al Capone became a household name, a German immigrant named George Remus quits practicing law and starts trafficking whiskey. Within two years he’s a multi-millionaire. The press calls him “King of the Bootleggers,” writing breathless stories about the Gatsby-esque events he and his glamorous second wife, Imogene, host at their Cincinnati mansion, with party favors ranging from diamond jewelry for the men to brand-new cars for the women. By the summer of 1921, Remus owns 35 percent of all the liquor in the United States.

Pioneering prosecutor Mabel Walker Willebrandt is determined to bring him down. Willebrandt’s bosses at the Justice Department hired her right out of law school, assuming she’d pose no real threat to the cozy relationship they maintain with Remus. Eager to prove them wrong, she dispatches her best investigator, Franklin Dodge, to look into his empire. It’s a decision with deadly consequences. With the fledgling FBI on the case, Remus is quickly imprisoned for violating the Volstead Act. Her husband behind bars, Imogene begins an affair with Dodge. Together, they plot to ruin Remus, sparking a bitter feud that soon reaches the highest levels of government–and that can only end in murder.

Combining deep historical research with novelistic flair, The Ghosts of Eden Park is the unforgettable, stranger-than-fiction story of a rags-to-riches entrepreneur and a long-forgotten heroine, of the excesses and absurdities of the Jazz Age, and of the infinite human capacity to deceive.
Visit Karen Abbott's website.

The Page 69 Test: Sin in the Second City.

The Page 99 Test: American Rose.

The Page 99 Test: Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Dragon Republic"

New from Harper Voyager: The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang.

About the book, from the publisher:

The war is over.

The war has just begun.


Three times throughout its history, Nikan has fought for its survival in the bloody Poppy Wars. Though the third battle has just ended, shaman and warrior Rin cannot forget the atrocity she committed to save her people. Now she is on the run from her guilt, the opium addiction that holds her like a vice, and the murderous commands of the fiery Phoenix—the vengeful god who has blessed Rin with her fearsome power.

Though she does not want to live, she refuses to die until she avenges the traitorous Empress who betrayed Rin’s homeland to its enemies. Her only hope is to join forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who plots to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new republic.

But neither the Empress nor the Dragon Warlord are what they seem. The more Rin witnesses, the more she fears her love for Nikan will force her to use the Phoenix’s deadly power once more.

Because there is nothing Rin won’t sacrifice to save her country ... and exact her vengeance.
Visit R. F. Kuang's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Poppy War.

Writers Read: R. F. Kuang (May 2018).

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 21, 2019

"The Inn"

New from Little, Brown and Company: The Inn by James Patterson with Candice Fox.

About the book, from the publisher:

James Patterson’s strongest team since the Women’s Murder Club are the first responders when their seafront town is targeted by vicious criminals.

The Inn at Gloucester stands alone on the rocky shoreline. Its seclusion suits former Boston police detective Bill Robinson, novice owner and innkeeper. As long as the dozen residents pay their rent, Robinson doesn’t ask any questions. Neither does Sheriff Clayton Spears, who lives on the second floor.

Then Mitchell Cline arrives, with a deadly new way of doing business. His crew of local killers break laws, deal drugs, and bring violence to the doors of the Inn. That’s when Robinson realizes, with the help of journalist Susan Solie, that leaving the city is no escape from the reality of evil — or the responsibility for action.

Teaming up with Sheriff Spears and two fearless residents — Army veteran Nick Jones and groundskeeper Effie Johnson — Robinson begins a risky defense. The solitary inhabitants of the Inn will have to learn, before time runs out, that their only choice is between standing together — or dying alone.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Land Wars"

New from Stanford University Press: Land Wars: The Story of China's Agrarian Revolution by Brian J. DeMare.

About the book, from the publisher:

Mao Zedong's land reform campaigns comprise a critical moment in modern Chinese history, and were crucial to the rise of the CCP. In Land Wars, Brian DeMare draws on new archival research to offer an updated and comprehensive history of this attempt to fundamentally transform the countryside. Across this vast terrain loyal Maoists dispersed, intending to categorize poor farmers into prescribed social classes, and instigate a revolution that would redistribute the land. To achieve socialist utopia, the Communists imposed and performed a harsh script of peasant liberation through fierce class struggle. While many accounts of the campaigns give false credence to this narrative, DeMare argues that the reality was much more complex and brutal than is commonly understood—while many villagers prospered, there were families torn apart and countless deaths. Uniquely weaving narrative and historical accounts, DeMare powerfully highlights the often devastating role of fiction in determining history. This corrective retelling ultimately sheds new light on the contemporary legacy of land reform, a legacy fraught with inequality and resentment, but also hope.
--Marshal Zeringue

"A Fire Sparkling"

New from Lake Union: A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the USA Today bestselling author of A Curve in the Road comes a spellbinding novel about one woman’s love, loss, and courage during wartime.

After a crushing betrayal by the man she loves, Gillian Gibbons flees to her family home for a much-needed escape, but when she finds an old photograph of her grandmother in the arms of a Nazi officer, Gillian’s life gets even more complicated. Rattled by the discovery, Gillian attempts to unravel the truth behind the photos, setting her off on an epic journey through the past…

1939. England is on the brink of war as Vivian Hughes falls in love with a handsome British official, but when bombs begin to fall and Vivian’s happy life is destroyed in the blitz, she will do whatever it takes to protect those she loves…

As Gillian learns more about her grandmother’s past, the old photo begins to make more sense. But for every question answered, a new one takes its place. Faced with a truth that is not at all what she expected, Gillian attempts to shine a light not only on the mysteries of her family’s past but also on her own future.

This gorgeously written multigenerational saga is a heart-wrenching yet hopeful examination of one woman’s struggle to survive, perfect for fans of The Nightingale and Beneath a Scarlet Sky.
Visit Julianne MacLean's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 20, 2019

"An Unsettled Grave"

New from Kensington Books: An Unsettled Grave by Bernard Schaffer.

About the book, from the publisher:

“There’s a thousand scavengers in these woods.”

Before being promoted to detective, Carrie Santero was given a rare glimpse into the mind of a killer. Through her mentor, Jacob Rein—a seasoned manhunter whose gift for plumbing the depths of madness nearly drove him over the brink—she was able to help capture one of the most depraved serial killers in the country. Now, the discovery of a small human foot buried in the Pennsylvania woods will lead her to a decades-old cold case—and the darkest secrets of her mentor’s youth.

“Nobody trusts an animal that tries to eat its own kind.”

Thirty years ago, a young girl went missing. A police officer was murdered. Another committed suicide. The lives of everyone involved would never be the same. For three agonizing decades, Jacob Rein has yearned for the truth. But when Detective Carrie Santero begins digging up new evidence, she discovers some answers come with shattering consequences.
Visit Bernard Schaffer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Rubble Music"

New from Indiana University Press: Rubble Music: Occupying the Ruins of Postwar Berlin, 1945-1950 by Abby Anderton.

About the book, from the publisher:

As the seat of Hitler’s government, Berlin was the most frequently targeted city in Germany for Allied bombing campaigns during World War II. Air raids shelled celebrated monuments, left homes uninhabitable, and reduced much of the city to nothing but rubble. After the war’s end, this apocalyptic landscape captured the imagination of artists, filmmakers, and writers, who used the ruins to engage with themes of alienation, disillusionment, and moral ambiguity. In Rubble Music, Abby Anderton explores the classical music culture of postwar Berlin, analyzing archival documents, period sources, and musical scores to identify the sound of civilian suffering after urban catastrophe. Anderton reveals how rubble functioned as a literal, figurative, psychological, and sonic element by examining the resonances of trauma heard in the German musical repertoire after 1945. With detailed explorations of reconstituted orchestral ensembles, opera companies, and radio stations, as well as analyses of performances and compositions that were beyond the reach of the Allied occupiers, Anderton demonstrates how German musicians worked through, cleared away, or built over the debris and devastation of the war.
--Marshal Zeringue

"That's What Frenemies Are For"

New from Ballantine Books: That's What Frenemies Are For: A Novel by Sophie Littlefield and Lauren Gershell.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this razor-sharp novel for fans of When Life Gives You Lululemons, a Manhattan socialite turns her spin instructor into a fitness superstar to impress her friends. But can she keep her little project under control? Or has she created a monster?

Julia Summers seems to have it all: a sprawling Upper East Side apartment, a successful husband, and two adorable children attending the best private school in the city. She relishes wielding influence over her well-heeled girlfriends . . . but her star appears to be fading. That’s why, when stranded in Manhattan for the summer as her entire crowd flees to the Hamptons, Julia is on the hunt for the next big thing that will make her the envy of her friends and put her back on top.

Enter Flame, the new boutique gym in her neighborhood. Seductive and transformative, Flame’s spin classes are exactly what Julia needs—and demure, na├»ve instructor Tatum is her ticket in. But rebranding Tatum as a trendy guru proves hard work, and Julia’s triumphant comeback at summer’s end doesn’t quite go as planned. Tatum begins to grasp just how much power her newfound stardom holds, and when things suddenly get ugly, Julia realizes she’s in way over her head.

Julia’s life is already spiraling out of control when her husband is arrested for fraud and bribery. As her so-called friends turn their backs on her, and Tatum pursues her own agenda, Julia is forced to rethink everything she knew about her world to reclaim her perfect life. But does she even want it back? Witty and incisive, Sophie Littlefield and Lauren Gershell’s That’s What Frenemies Are For provides an engrossing glimpse into the cutthroat moms’ club of the Upper East Side.
--Marshal Zeringue