Tuesday, August 30, 2016

"The Perfect Girl"

New from William Morrow: The Perfect Girl: A Novel by Gilly Macmillan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same.

Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead.

In the aftermath, everyone—police, family, Zoe's former solicitor, and Zoe herself—tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see.

Unfolding over a span of twenty-four hours through three compelling narratives, The Perfect Girl is gripping, surprising, and emotionally complex—a richly layered look at loyalty, second chances, and the way secrets unravel us all.
Visit Gilly Macmillan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 29, 2016

"The Courage Test"

New from Feiwel & Friends: The Courage Test by James Preller.

About the book, from the publisher:

Will has no choice. His father drags him along on a wilderness adventure in the footsteps of legendary explorers Lewis and Clark--whether he likes it or not. All the while, Will senses that something about this trip isn't quite right.

Along the journey, Will meets fascinating strangers and experiences new thrills, including mountain cliffs, whitewater rapids, and a heart-hammering bear encounter.

It is a journey into the soul of America's past, and the meaning of family in the future. In the end, Will must face his own, life-changing test of courage.

A father-and-son journey along the Lewis and Clark Trail--from Fort Mandan to the shining sea--offers readers a genre-bending blend of American history, thrilling action, and personal discovery.
Visit James Preller's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Fall.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Liking Ike"

New from Oxford University Press: Liking Ike: Eisenhower, Advertising, and the Rise of Celebrity Politics by David Haven Blake.

About the book, from the publisher:

Liking Ike reveals the prominent role that celebrities and advertising agencies played in Dwight Eisenhower's presidency. Guided by Madison Avenue executives and television pioneers, Eisenhower cultivated famous supporters as a way of building the broad-based support that had eluded Republicans for twenty years. While we often think of John F. Kennedy and his Rat Pack entourage as the beginning of presidential glamour in the United States, celebrities from Ethel Merman and Irving Berlin to Jimmy Stewart and Helen Hayes regularly appeared in Eisenhower's campaigns. Ike's political career was so saturated with stardom that opponents from the right and left accused him of being a glamour candidate.

Author David Haven Blake tells the story of how Madison Avenue executives strategically brought celebrities into the political process. Based on original interviews and long neglected archival materials, Liking Ike explores the changing dynamics of celebrity politics as Americans adjusted to the television age. By the 1920s, entertainers were routinely drawing publicity to their favorite candidates, but with the rise of television and mass advertising, political advisers began to professionalize the way that celebrities brought attention to presidential campaigns. In meetings, memos, and television scripts, they charted a strategy for leavening political programming with celebrity interviews, musical performances, and elaborate television spectaculars.

Commentators worried about the seemingly superficial values that television had introduced to political campaigns, and writers, filmmakers, and fellow politicians criticized the influence of glamour and publicity. But despite these complaints, Eisenhower's legacy would live on in the subsequent careers of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan-and, ultimately, provide a template for the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama, John McCain, Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton.
Visit David Haven Blake's website.

My Book, The Movie: Liking Ike.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Last True Love Story"

New from Margaret K. McElderry Books: The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the critically acclaimed author of The Gospel of Winter and the coauthor of All American Boys comes a cool, contemplative spin on hot summer nights and the classic teen love story as two teens embark on a cross-country journey of the heart and soul.

The point of living is learning how to love.

That’s what Gpa says. To Hendrix and Corrina, both seventeen but otherwise alike only in their loneliness, that sounds like another line from a pop song that tries to promise kids that life doesn’t actually suck. Okay, so: love. Sure.

The thing about Corrina—her adoptive parents are suffocating, trying to mold her into someone acceptable, predictable, like them. She’s a musician, itching for any chance to escape, become the person she really wants to be. Whoever that is.

And Hendrix, he’s cool. Kind of a poet. But also kind of lost. His dad is dead and his mom is married to her job. Gpa is his only real family, but he’s fading fast from Alzheimer’s. Looking for any way to help the man who raised him, Hendrix has made Gpa an impossible promise—that he’ll get him back east to the hill where he first kissed his wife, before his illness wipes away all memory of her.

One hot July night, Hendrix and Corrina decide to risk everything. They steal a car, spring Gpa from his assisted living facility, stuff Old Humper the dog into the back seat, and take off on a cross-country odyssey from LA to NY. With their parents, Gpa’s doctors, and the police all hot on their heels, Hendrix and Corrina set off to discover for themselves if what Gpa says is true—that the only stories that last are love stories.
Learn more about the book and author at Brendan Kiely's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: The Gospel of Winter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 28, 2016

"Blue Madonna"

New from Soho Crime: Blue Madonna by James R. Benn.

About the book, from the publisher:

Billy Boyle, US Army detective and ex-Boston cop, faces his toughest investigation yet: infiltrating enemy lines in France as the Allies invade Normandy.

It’s late May 1944. Captain Billy Boyle is court-martialed on spurious charges of black market dealings. Stripped of his officer’s rank, reduced to private, and sentenced to three months’ hard labor, Billy is given an opportunity: he can avoid his punishment if he goes behind enemy lines to rescue a high-value Allied soldier.

A secret chamber and tunnels, once used by escaping Huguenots in the 17th century, has since been taken over by the Allies. But this “safe house” on the outskirts of Chaumont turns out to be anything but—two downed airmen, one Canadian and the other American, have been murdered.

Billy is flown in as part of a three-man team on June 5, 1944, the night before the Normandy invasion, and must solve the mystery of who is behind the murders before then leading a group escape back to England, with both the Germans and a killer hot on their heels.
Learn more about the Billy Boyle WWII Mystery Series at James R. Benn's website.

The Page 99 Test: The First Wave.

The Page 69 Test: Evil for Evil.

The Page 69 Test: Rag and Bone.

My Book, The Movie: Death's Door.

Writers Read: James R. Benn (September 2015).

The Page 69 Test: The White Ghost.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Haydn's Sunrise, Beethoven's Shadow"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Haydn's Sunrise, Beethoven's Shadow: Audiovisual Culture and the Emergence of Musical Romanticism by Deirdre Loughridge.

About the book, from the publisher:

The years between roughly 1760 and 1810, a period stretching from the rise of Joseph Haydn’s career to the height of Ludwig van Beethoven’s, are often viewed as a golden age for musical culture, when audiences started to revel in the sounds of the concert hall. But the latter half of the eighteenth century also saw proliferating optical technologies—including magnifying instruments, magic lanterns, peepshows, and shadow-plays—that offered new performance tools, fostered musical innovation, and shaped the very idea of “pure” music. Haydn’s Sunrise, Beethoven’s Shadow is a fascinating exploration of the early romantic blending of sight and sound as encountered in popular science, street entertainments, opera, and music criticism.

Deirdre Loughridge reveals that allusions in musical writings to optical technologies reflect their spread from fairgrounds and laboratories into public consciousness and a range of discourses, including that of music. She demonstrates how concrete points of intersection—composers’ treatments of telescopes and peepshows in opera, for instance, or a shadow-play performance of a ballad—could then fuel new modes of listening that aimed to extend the senses. An illuminating look at romantic musical practices and aesthetics, this book yields surprising relations between the past and present and offers insight into our own contemporary audiovisual culture.
Visit Deirdre Loughridge's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Off Season"

New from Montlake Romance: The Off Season by Colleen Thompson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Winter winds off the Atlantic have turned the tourist mecca of Seaside Creek, New Jersey, into a ghost town. Dr. Christina Paxton, however, is growing accustomed to living with ghosts. Recently widowed, the emergency room physician has returned to the shore with her young daughter, house-sitting a sprawling beachside Victorian home. One night, her two-year-old calls her by a name that makes Christina’s blood run cold and sends her thoughts spiraling back thirty years.

Deeply unnerved, and certain someone else is in the house, she flees with her child into the cold night, only to come face-to-face with Chief Harris Bowers, a former classmate with whom Christina has a complicated history. Now divorced, Harris hopes to mend their past, but Christina is wary of being played for a fool again. As threats emerge, Christina and her small family find themselves in grave danger. It seems there is no one she can put her trust in—least of all herself.
Visit Colleen Thompson's website and follow her on Twiiter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 27, 2016

"Watched"

New from Wendy Lamb Books: Watched by Marina Budhos.

About the book, from the publisher:

Marina Budhos’s extraordinary and timely novel examines what it’s like to grow up under surveillance, something many Americans experience and most Muslim Americans know.

Naeem is far from the “model teen.” Moving fast in his immigrant neighborhood in Queens is the only way he can outrun the eyes of his hardworking Bangladeshi parents and their gossipy neighbors. Even worse, they’re not the only ones watching. Cameras on poles. Mosques infiltrated. Everyone knows: Be careful what you say and who you say it to. Anyone might be a watcher.

Naeem thinks he can charm his way through anything, until his mistakes catch up with him and the cops offer a dark deal. Naeem sees a way to be a hero—a protector—like the guys in his brother’s comic books. Yet what is a hero? What is a traitor? And where does Naeem belong?

Acclaimed author Marina Budhos delivers a riveting story that’s as vivid and involving as today’s headlines.
Visit Marina Budhos's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Breath of Earth"

New from Harper Voyager: Breath of Earth by Beth Cato.

About the book, from the publisher:

After the earth’s power under her city is suddenly left unprotected, a young geomancer must rely on her unique magic to survive in this fresh fantasy standalone from the author of the acclaimed The Clockwork Dagger.

In an alternate 1906, the United States and Japan have forged a powerful confederation— the Unified Pacific—in an attempt to dominate the world. Their first target is a vulnerable China. In San Francisco, headstrong secretary Ingrid Carmichael is assisting a group of powerful geomancer wardens who have no idea of the depth of her own talent—or that she is the only woman to possess such skills.

When assassins kill the wardens, Ingrid and her mentor are protected by her incredible magic. But the pair is far from safe. Without its full force of guardian geomancers, the city is on the brink of a cataclysmic earthquake that will expose the earth’s power to masterminds determined to control the energy for their own dark ends. The danger escalates when Chinese refugees, preparing to fight the encroaching American and Japanese forces, fracture the uneasy alliance between the Pacific allies, transforming San Francisco into a veritable powder keg. And the slightest tremor will set it off....

Forced on the run, Ingrid makes some shocking discoveries about herself. Her already considerable magic has grown even more fearsome . . . and she may be the fulcrum on which the balance of world power rests.
Visit Beth Cato's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Clockwork Dagger.

My Book, The Movie: The Clockwork Crown.

Writers Read: Beth Cato (August 2015).

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 26, 2016

"Teacher: Two Years in the Mississippi Delta"

New from the University Press of Mississippi: Teacher: Two Years in the Mississippi Delta by Michael Copperman.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Michael Copperman left Stanford University for the Mississippi Delta in 2002, he imagined he would lift underprivileged children from the narrow horizons of rural poverty. Well-meaning but naive, the Asian American from the West Coast soon lost his bearings in a world divided between black and white. He had no idea how to manage a classroom or help children navigate the considerable challenges they faced. In trying to help students, he often found he couldn't afford to give what they required--sometimes, with heartbreaking consequences. His desperate efforts to save child after child were misguided but sincere. He offered children the best invitations to success he could manage. But he still felt like an outsider who was failing the children and himself.

Teach For America has for a decade been the nation's largest employer of recent college graduates but has come under increasing criticism in recent years even as it has grown exponentially. This memoir considers the distance between the idealism of the organization's creed that "One day, all children will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education" and what it actually means to teach in America's poorest and most troubled public schools.

Copperman's memoir vividly captures his disorientation in the divided world of the Delta, even as the author marvels at the wit and resilience of the children in his classroom. To them, he is at once an authority figure and a stranger minority than even they are--a lone Asian, an outsider among outsiders. His journey is of great relevance to teachers, administrators, and parents longing for quality education in America. His frank story shows that the solutions for impoverished schools are far from simple.
Visit Michael Copperman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue