Thursday, December 31, 2020

"Crown of Bones"

New from Entangled Publishing: Crown of Bones by A. K. Wilder.

About the book, from the publisher:

Raise. Your. Phantom.

In a world on the brink of the next Great Dying, no amount of training can prepare us for what is to come...

A young heir will raise the most powerful phantom in all of Baiseen.

A dangerous High Savant will do anything to control the nine realms.

A mysterious and deadly Mar race will steal children into the sea.

And a handsome guide with far too many secrets will make me fall in love.

My name is Ash. A lowly scribe meant to observe and record. And yet I think I’m destined to surprise us all.
Visit A. K. Wilder's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Heiress"

New from William Morrow: The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh by Molly Greeley.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this gorgeously written and spellbinding historical novel based on Pride and Prejudice, the author of The Clergyman’s Wife combines the knowing eye of Jane Austen with the eroticism and Gothic intrigue of Sarah Waters to reimagine the life of the mysterious Anne de Bourgh.

As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.

After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: what if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without?

In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge—leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune ... and her life.

An extraordinary tale of one woman’s liberation, The Heiress reveals both the darkness and light in Austen’s world, with wit, sensuality, and a deeply compassionate understanding of the human heart.
Visit Molly Greeley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Other Mother"

New from St. Martin's Press: The Other Mother: A Novel by Matthew Dicks.

About the book, from the publisher:

The one he loves most, is the one he knows least.

Thirteen-year-old Michael Parsons is dealing with a lot. His father's sudden death; his mother's new husband, Glen, who he loathes; his two younger siblings, who he looks after more and more now that his mother works extra shifts.

And then one day, Michael wakes up and his mother is gone. In her place is an exact, duplicate mother. The 'other mother'. No one else seems to notice the real version is missing. His brother, his sister, and even Glen act as if everything's normal. But Michael knows in his heart that this mother is not his. And he begins to panic.

What follows is a big-hearted coming-of-age story of a boy struggling with an unusual disorder that poses unparalleled challenges—but also, as he discovers, offers him unique opportunities.
Visit Matthew Dicks' website and Facebook page.

Writers Read: Matthew Dicks (September 2010).

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Matthew Dicks & Kaleigh.

The Page 69 Test: Unexpectedly, Milo.

My Book, The Movie: Unexpectedly, Milo.

The Page 69 Test: Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend.

Writers Read: Matthew Dicks (September 2012).

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

"An Accusation"

New from Lake Union: An Accusation: A Novel by Wendy James.

About the book, from the publisher:

A shocking crime draws accused and accuser into a complex web of secrets and lies in a twisting novel of suspense by the bestselling author of The Golden Child.

When eighteen-year-old Ellie Canning is discovered wandering the countryside, dazed and traumatized, she tells a harrowing story of abduction, captivity, and escape. An overnight symbol of survival and empowerment, Ellie enthralls an outraged nation.

Then authorities zero in on an unlikely suspect: high school teacher Suzannah Wells, identified by Ellie as the woman who kept her drugged and bound in a basement. The evidence against Suzannah is damning—vilified by the media, Suzannah’s only defense is that not a single word Ellie says is true. Suzannah has no reason to lie. But then again, neither does Ellie.

The nightmare spins out of control as disturbing details about Suzannah’s past emerge, and the court of public opinion wants blood. Even those closest to Suzannah begin to doubt her. But how innocent is she? How innocent is Ellie? And which one has more to hide?
Visit Wendy James's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Glimpsed"

New from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Glimpsed by G.F. Miller.

About the book, from the publisher:

Perfect for fans of Geekerella and Jenn Bennett, this charming, sparkly rom-com follows a wish-granting teen forced to question if she’s really doing good—and if she has the power to make her own dreams come true.

Charity is a fairy godmother. She doesn’t wear a poofy dress or go around waving a wand, but she does make sure the deepest desires of the student population at Jack London High School come true. And she knows what they want even better than they do because she can glimpse their perfect futures.

But when Charity fulfills a glimpse that gets Vindhya crowned homecoming queen, it ends in disaster. Suddenly, every wish Charity has ever granted is called into question. Has she really been helping people? Where do these glimpses come from, anyway? What if she’s not getting the whole picture?

Making this existential crisis way worse is Noah—the adorkable and (in Charity’s opinion) diabolical ex of one of her past clients—who blames her for sabotaging his prom plans and claims her interventions are doing more harm than good. He demands that she stop granting wishes and help him get his girl back. At first, Charity has no choice but to play along. But soon, Noah becomes an unexpected ally in getting to the bottom of the glimpses. Before long, Charity dares to call him her friend…and even starts to wish he were something more. But can the fairy godmother ever get the happily ever after?
Visit G.F. Miller's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"A Splendid Ruin"

New from Lake Union: A Splendid Ruin: A Novel by Megan Chance.

About the book, from the publisher:

A mesmerizing novel of dark family secrets and a young woman’s rise and revenge set against the backdrop of the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

The eve of destruction. After her mother’s death, penniless May Kimble lives a lonely life until an aunt she didn’t know existed summons her to San Francisco. There she’s welcomed into the wealthy Sullivan family and their social circle.

Initially overwhelmed by the opulence of her new life, May soon senses that dark mysteries lurk in the shadows of the Sullivan mansion. Her glamorous cousin often disappears in the night. Her aunt wanders about in a laudanum fog. And a maid keeps hinting that May is in danger. Trapped by betrayal, madness, and murder, May stands to lose everything, including her freedom, at the hands of those she trusts most.

Then, on an early April morning, San Francisco comes tumbling down. Out of the smoldering ruins, May embarks on a harrowing road to reclaim what is hers. This tragic twist of fate, along with the help of an intrepid and charismatic journalist, puts vengeance within May’s reach. But will she take it?
Visit Megan Chance's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

"Better Luck Next Time"

New from Custom House: Better Luck Next Time by Julia Claiborne Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:

The eagerly anticipated second novel from the bestselling author of Be Frank with Me, a charming story of endings, new beginnings, and the complexities and complications of friendship and love, set in late 1930s Reno.

It’s 1938 and women seeking a quick, no-questions split from their husbands head to the “divorce capital of the world,” Reno, Nevada. There’s one catch: they have to wait six-weeks to become “residents.” Many of these wealthy, soon-to-be divorcees flock to the Flying Leap, a dude ranch that caters to their every need.

Twenty-four-year-old Ward spent one year at Yale before his family lost everything in the Great Depression; now he’s earning an honest living as a ranch hand at the Flying Leap. Admired for his dashing good looks—“Cary Grant in cowboy boots”—Ward thinks he’s got the Flying Leap’s clients all figured out. But two new guests are about to upend everything he thinks he knows: Nina, a St Louis heiress and amateur pilot back for her third divorce, and Emily, whose bravest moment in life was leaving her cheating husband back in San Francisco and driving herself to Reno.

A novel about divorce, marriage, and everything that comes in between (money, class, ambition, and opportunity), Better Luck Next Time is a hilarious yet poignant examination of the ways friendship can save us, love can destroy us, and the family we create can be stronger than the family we come from.
Follow Julia Claiborne Johnson on Facebook and Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Confessions of a Curious Bookseller"

New from Lake Union: Confessions of a Curious Bookseller: A Novel by Elizabeth Green.

About the book, from the publisher:

A heartening and uproariously funny novel of high hopes, bad choices, book love, and one woman’s best—and worst—intentions.

Without question, Fawn Birchill knows that her used bookstore is the heart of West Philadelphia, a cornerstone of culture for a community that, for the past twenty years, has found the quirkiness absolutely charming. When an amicable young indie bookseller invades her block, Fawn is convinced that his cushy couches, impressive selection, coffee bar, and knowledgeable staff are a neighborhood blight. Misguided yet blindly resilient, Fawn readies for battle.

But as she wages her war, Fawn is forced to reflect on a few unavoidable truths: the tribulations of online dating, a strained relationship with her family, and a devoted if not always law-abiding intern—not to mention what to do about a pen pal with whom she hasn’t been entirely honest and the litany of repairs her aging store requires.

Through emails, journal entries, combative online reviews, texts, and tweets, Fawn plans her next move. Now it’s time for her to dig deep and use every trick at her disposal if she’s to reclaim her beloved business—and her life.
Visit Elizabeth Green's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Colonyside"

New from Harper Voyager: Colonyside by Michael Mammay.

About the book, from the publisher:

A military hero is coming out of disgrace—straight into the line of fire…

Carl Butler was once a decorated colonel. Now he’s a disgraced recluse, hoping to live out the rest of his life on a backwater planet where no one cares about his “crimes” and everyone leaves him alone.

It’s never that easy.

A CEO’s daughter has gone missing and he thinks Butler is the only one who can find her. The government is only too happy to appease him. Butler isn’t so sure, but he knows the pain of losing a daughter, so he reluctantly signs on. Soon he’s on a military ship heading for a newly-formed colony where the dangerous jungle lurks just outside the domes where settlers live.

Paired with Mac, Ganos, and a government-assigned aide named Fader, Butler dives head-first into what should be an open and shut case. Then someone tries to blow him up. Faced with an incompetent local governor, a hamstrung military, and corporations playing fast and loose with the laws, Butler finds himself in familiar territory. He’s got nobody to trust but himself, but that’s where he works best. He’ll fight to get to the bottom of the mystery, but this time, he might not live to solve it.
Visit Michael Mammay's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 28, 2020

"Pickard County Atlas"

New from MCD: Pickard County Atlas: A Novel by Chris Harding Thornton.

About the book, from the publisher:

Small-town secrets loom large in this spellbinding debut about the aftershocks of crime and trauma that shake a Nebraskan town.

In a dusty town in Nebraska’s rugged sandhills, weary sheriff’s deputy Harley Jensen patrols the streets at night, on the lookout for something—anything—out of the ordinary. It’s July 1978, and the heat is making people ornery, restless. That and the Reddick family patriarch has decided, decades after authorities ended the search for his murdered boy’s body, to lay a headstone. Instead of bringing closure, this decision is the spark that threatens to set Pickard County ablaze.

On a fateful night after the memorial service, Harley tails the youngest Reddick and town miscreant, Paul, through the abandoned farms and homes outside their run-down town. The pursuit puts Harley in the path of Pam Reddick, a restless young woman looking for escape, bent on cutting the ties of motherhood and marriage. Filled with desperate frustration, Pam is drawn to Harley’s dark history, not unlike that of her husband, Rick—a man raised in the wreckage of a brother’s violent death and a mother’s hardened fury.

Unfolding over six tense days, Pickard County Atlas sets Harley and the Reddicks on a collision course—propelling them toward an incendiary moment that will either redeem or end them. Engrossing, darkly funny, and real, Chris Harding Thornton’s debut rings with authenticity and a nuanced sense of place even as it hums with menace, introducing an astonishing new voice in suspense.
Visit Chris Harding Thornton's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Fatal Divisions"

New from Severn House: Fatal Divisions by Claire Booth.

About the book, from the publisher:

Family secrets and internal police politics cause trouble for Sheriff Hank Worth and his Chief Deputy Sheila Turley in this compelling mystery.

Hank Worth has always been committed to his job as Branson sheriff, so getting him to take a break is difficult. But to everyone's surprise he agrees to take time off after a grueling case and visit a friend in Columbia, Missouri, leaving Chief Deputy Sheila Turley in charge. She quickly launches reforms that create an uproar, and things deteriorate even further when an elderly man is found brutally murdered in his home.

As Sheila struggles for control of the investigation and her insubordinate deputies, Hank is not relaxing as promised. His Aunt Fin is worried her husband is responsible for the disappearance of one of his employees, and Hank agrees to investigate.

The search for the missing woman leads to a tangle of deceit that Hank is determined to unravel . . . no matter the impact on his family.
Visit Claire Booth's website.

My Book, The Movie: Another Man's Ground.

The Page 69 Test: Another Man's Ground.

My Book, The Movie: A Deadly Turn.

The Page 69 Test: A Deadly Turn. 

Writers Read: Claire Booth (March 2019).

--Marshal Zeringue

"Outlawed"

New from Bloomsbury USA: Outlawed by Anna North.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.

The day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada's life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows.

She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she's willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all.

Featuring an irresistibly no-nonsense, courageous, and determined heroine, Outlawed dusts off the myth of the old West and reignites the glimmering promise of the frontier with an entirely new set of feminist stakes. Anna North has crafted a pulse-racing, page-turning saga about the search for hope in the wake of death, and for truth in a climate of small-mindedness and fear.
Learn more about the book and author at Anna North's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Life and Death of Sophie Stark.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 27, 2020

"The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss"

New from Amulet Books: The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss by Amy Noelle Parks.

About the book, from the publisher:

A debut YA rom-com about smart girls, love-struck boys, and quantum theory

Seventeen-year-old Evie Beckham has always been too occupied with her love of math and frequent battles with anxiety to want to date. Besides, she’s always found the idea of kissing to be kind of weird. But by senior year, thanks to therapy and her friends, she’s feeling braver than before. Maybe even brave enough to enter the national math and physics competition or flirt back with the new boy. Meanwhile, Evie’s best friend, Caleb Covic, has always been a little in love with her. So he’s horrified when he is forced to witness Evie’s meet-cute with the new guy. Desperate, Caleb uses an online forum to capture Evie’s interest—and it goes a little too well. Now Evie wonders how she went from avoiding romance to having to choose between two—or is it three?—boys.
Visit Amy Noelle Parks's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Our Darkest Night"

New from William Morrow: Our Darkest Night: A Novel of Italy and the Second World War by Jennifer Robson.

About the book, from the publisher:

To survive the Holocaust, a young Jewish woman must pose as a Christian farmer’s wife in this unforgettable novel from USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Robson—a story of terror, hope, love, and sacrifice, inspired by true events, that vividly evokes the most perilous days of World War II.

It is the autumn of 1943, and life is becoming increasingly perilous for Italian Jews like the Mazin family. With Nazi Germany now occupying most of her beloved homeland, and the threat of imprisonment and deportation growing ever more certain, Antonina Mazin has but one hope to survive—to leave Venice and her beloved parents and hide in the countryside with a man she has only just met.

Nico Gerardi was studying for the priesthood until circumstances forced him to leave the seminary to run his family’s farm. A moral and just man, he could not stand by when the fascists and Nazis began taking innocent lives. Rather than risk a perilous escape across the mountains, Nina will pose as his new bride. And to keep her safe and protect secrets of his own, Nico and Nina must convince prying eyes they are happily married and in love.

But farm life is not easy for a cultured city girl who dreams of becoming a doctor like her father, and Nico’s provincial neighbors are wary of this soft and educated woman they do not know. Even worse, their distrust is shared by a local Nazi official with a vendetta against Nico. The more he learns of Nina, the more his suspicions grow—and with them his determination to exact revenge.

As Nina and Nico come to know each other, their feelings deepen, transforming their relationship into much more than a charade. Yet both fear that every passing day brings them closer to being torn apart...
Visit Jennifer Robson's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Jennifer Robson & Ellie.

My Book, The Movie: After the War Is Over.

The Page 69 Test: After the War Is Over.

Writers Read: Jennifer Robson (February 2016).

My Book, The Movie: Moonlight Over Paris.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Good Doctor of Warsaw"

New from Pegasus Books: The Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford.

About the book, from the publisher:

Set in the ghettos of wartime Warsaw, this is a sweeping, poignant, and heartbreaking novel inspired by the true story of one doctor who was determined to protect two hundred Jewish orphans from extermination.

Deeply in love and about to marry, students Misha and Sophia flee a Warsaw under Nazi occupation for a chance at freedom. Forced to return to the Warsaw ghetto, they help Misha's mentor, Dr Janusz Korczak, care for the two hundred children in his orphanage. As Korczak struggles to uphold the rights of even the smallest child in the face of unimaginable conditions, he becomes a beacon of hope for the thousands who live behind the walls.

As the noose tightens around the ghetto, Misha and Sophia are torn from one another, forcing them to face their worst fears alone. They can only hope to find each other again one day . . .

Meanwhile, refusing to leave the children unprotected, Korczak must confront a terrible darkness.
Visit Elisabeth Gifford's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Sea House.

My Book, The Movie: The Sea House.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 26, 2020

"Monsters Among Us"

New from Crown Books for Young Readers: Monsters Among Us by Monica Rodden.

About the book, from the publisher:

Fans of Sadie and You will be riveted by this compulsively readable new thriller about a survivor of dating violence who uses her newfound awareness of everyday evil to hunt for a killer.

When Catherine Ellers returns home after her first semester at college, she is seeking refuge from a night she can barely piece together, dreads remembering, and refuses to talk about. She tries to get back to normal, but just days later the murder of someone close to her tears away any illusion of safety.

Catherine feels driven to face both violent events head on in hopes of finding the perpetrators and bringing them to justice with the help of her childhood friend, Henry. Then a stranger from college arrives with her lost coat, missing driver’s license–and details to help fill in the gaps in her memory that could be the key to solving both mysteries. But who is Andrew Worthington and why is he offering to help her? And what other dangerous obsessions is her sleepy town hiding?

Surrounded by secrets and lies, Catherine must unravel the truth–before this wolf in sheep’s clothing strikes again.
Visit Monica Rodden's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Push"

New from Pamela Dorman Books: The Push: A Novel by Ashley Audrain.

About the book, from the publisher:

A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family–and a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for–and everything she feared

Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had.

But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter–she doesn’t behave like most children do.

Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining things. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.

Then their son Sam is born–and with him, Blythe has the blissful connection she’d always imagined with her child. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth.

The Push is a tour de force you will read in a sitting, an utterly immersive novel that will challenge everything you think you know about motherhood, about what we owe our children, and what it feels like when women are not believed.
Visit Ashley Audrain's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Death in the Great Dismal"

New from Severn House: Death in the Great Dismal by Eleanor Kuhns.

About the book, from the publisher:

Finding themselves in a slave community hidden within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will Rees and his wife Lydia get caught up in a dangerous murder case where no one trusts them.

September 1800, Maine. Will Rees is beseeched by Tobias, an old friend abducted by slave catchers years before, to travel south to Virginia to help transport his pregnant wife, Ruth, back north. Though he's reluctant, Will's wife Lydia convinces him to go . . . on the condition she accompanies them.

Upon arriving in a small community of absconded slaves hiding within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will and Lydia are met with distrust. Tensions are high and a fight breaks out between Tobias and Scipio, a philanderer with a bounty on his head known for conning men out of money. The following day Scipio is found dead - shot in the back.

Stuck within the hostile Great Dismal and with slave catchers on the prowl, Will and Lydia find themselves caught up in their most dangerous case yet.
Learn more about the book and author at Eleanor Kuhns's blog and Facebook page.

Coffee with a Canine: Eleanor Kuhns & Shelby.

My Book, The Movie: Death of a Dyer.

The Page 69 Test: Death of a Dyer.

The Page 69 Test: Death in Salem.

The Page 69 Test: The Devil's Cold Dish.

Writers Read: Eleanor Kuhns (June 2016).

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 25, 2020

"Persephone Station"

New from Gallery / Saga Press: Persephone Station by Stina Leicht.

About the book, from the publisher:

Hugo award–nominated author Stina Leicht has created a take on space opera for fans of The Mandalorian and Cowboy Bebop in this high-stakes adventure.

Persephone Station, a seemingly backwater planet that has largely been ignored by the United Republic of Worlds becomes the focus for the Serrao-Orlov Corporation as the planet has a few secrets the corporation tenaciously wants to exploit.

Rosie—owner of Monk’s Bar, in the corporate town of West Brynner, caters to wannabe criminals and rich Earther tourists, of a sort, at the front bar. However, exactly two types of people drank at Monk’s back bar: members of a rather exclusive criminal class and those who sought to employ them.

Angel—ex-marine and head of a semi-organized band of beneficent criminals, wayward assassins, and washed up mercenaries with a penchant for doing the honorable thing is asked to perform a job for Rosie. What this job reveals will effect Persephone and put Angel and her squad up against an army. Despite the odds, they are rearing for a fight with the Serrao-Orlov Corporation. For Angel, she knows that once honor is lost, there is no regaining it. That doesn’t mean she can’t damned well try.
Visit Stina Leicht's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 24, 2020

"The Mystery of Mrs. Christie"

New from Sourcebooks Landmark: The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict.

About the book, from the publisher:

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room returns with a thrilling reconstruction of one of the most notorious events in literary history: Agatha Christie's mysterious 11-day disappearance in 1926.

In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car — strange for a frigid night. Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.

The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark historical fiction exploration into the shadows of the past, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such murky historical mysteries.

What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?

Agatha Christie novels have withstood the test of time, due in no small part to Christie's masterful storytelling and clever mind that may never be matched, but Agatha Christie's untold history offers perhaps her greatest mystery of all.
Visit Marie Benedict's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Last to See Her"

New from MIRA: The Last to See Her: A Novel by Courtney Evan Tate.

About the book, from the publisher:

A woman disappears into the dark city night…

Gen is on the verge of a divorce from her cheating husband. When her sister, Meg, has a convention to attend in the Big Apple, she invites Gen along to celebrate her newly found freedom. But the perfect sisters’ getaway quickly goes awry when a tipsy Gen defiantly throws her wedding ring off the hotel room’s balcony. Then, wanting some fresh air, she decides to take a late-evening walk alone and vanishes without a trace.

The investigation that follows uncovers secrets—and betrayals—between sisters and spouses that will twist the truth in on itself until nothing is clear.

What really happened to Gen and who, besides Meg, was the last to see her?
Visit Courtney Cole's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Unplugged"

New from Balzer + Bray: Unplugged by Gordon Korman.

About the book, from the publisher:

From New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman comes a hilarious middle grade novel about a group of kids forced to “unplug” at a wellness camp—where they instead find intrigue, adventure, and a whole lot of chaos. Perfect for fans of Korman’s The Unteachables and Masterminds series, as well as Carl Hiaasen’s eco mysteries.

As the son of the world’s most famous tech billionaire, spoiled Jett Baranov has always gotten what he wanted. So when his father’s private jet drops him in the middle of a place called the Oasis, Jett can’t believe it. He’s forced to hand over his cell phone, eat grainy veggie patties, and participate in wholesome activities with the other kids whom he has absolutely no interest in hanging out with.

As the weeks go on, Jett starts to get used to the unplugged life and even bonds with the other kids over their discovery of a baby-lizard-turned-pet, Needles. But he can’t help noticing that the adults at the Oasis are acting really strange. Could it be all those suspicious “meditation” sessions?

Jett is determined to get to the bottom of things, but can he convince the other kids that he is no longer just a spoiled brat making trouble?
Visit Gordon Korman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

"Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder"

New from Park Row Books: Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg.

About the book, from the publisher:

The letter was short. A name, a time, a place.

Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder plunges readers into the heart of London, to the secret tunnels that exist far beneath the city streets. There, a mysterious group of detectives recruited for Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries use their cunning and gadgets to solve crimes that have stumped Scotland Yard.

Late one night in April 1958, a filing assistant at Miss Brickett’s receives a letter of warning, detailing a name, a time, and a place. She goes to investigate but finds the room empty. At the stroke of midnight, she is murdered by a killer she can’t see—her death the only sign she wasn’t alone. It becomes chillingly clear that the person responsible must also work for Miss Brickett’s, making everyone a suspect.

Marion Lane, a first-year Inquirer-in-training, finds herself drawn ever deeper into the investigation. When her friend and colleague is framed for the crime, to clear his name she must sort through the hidden alliances at Miss Brickett’s and secrets dating back to WWII. Masterful, clever and deliciously suspenseful, Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder is a fresh take on the Agatha Christie-style locked-room murder mystery, with an exciting new heroine detective.
Visit T.A. Willberg's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Happily Ever Afters"

New from Balzer + Bray: Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant.

About the book, from the publisher:

Jane the Virgin meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this charming debut romantic comedy filled with Black Girl Magic. Perfect for fans of Mary H. K. Choi and Nicola Yoon, with crossover appeal for readers of Jasmine Guillory and Talia Hibbert romances.

Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She’s rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. The only place she’s a true leading lady is in her own writing—in the swoony love stories she shares only with Caroline, her best friend and #1 devoted reader.

When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she’s excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just...gone. Fortunately, Caroline has a solution: Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own. And she’s ready with a list of romance novel-inspired steps to a happily ever after. Nico, the brooding artist who looks like he walked out of one of Tessa’s stories, is cast as the perfect Prince Charming.

But as Tessa checks off each item off Caroline’s list, she gets further and further away from herself. She risks losing everything she cares about—including the surprising bond she develops with sweet Sam, who lives across the street. She’s well on her way to having her own real-life love story, but is it the one she wants, after all?
Visit Elise Bryant's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Shipwrecked: Coastal Disasters and the Making of the American Beach"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Shipwrecked: Coastal Disasters and the Making of the American Beach by Jamin Wells.

About the book, from the publisher:

Reframing the American story from the vantage point of the nation's watery edges, Jamin Wells shows that disasters have not only bedeviled the American beach--they created it. Though the American beach is now one of the most commercialized, contested, and engineered places on the planet, few people visited it or called it home at the beginning of the nineteenth century. By the twentieth century, the American beach had become the summer encampment of presidents, a common destination for millions of citizens, and the site of rapidly growing beachfront communities. Shipwrecked tells the story of this epic transformation, arguing that coastal shipwrecks themselves changed how Americans viewed, used, and inhabited the shoreline.

Drawing on a broad range of archival material--including logbooks, court cases, personal papers, government records, and cultural ephemera--Wells examines how shipwrecks laid the groundwork for the beach tourism industry that would transform the American beach from coastal frontier to oceanfront playspace, spur substantial state and private investment alongshore, reshape popular ideas about the coast, and turn the beach into a touchstone of the American experience.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

"Black Buck"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour.

About the book, from the publisher:

For fans of Sorry to Bother You and The Wolf of Wall Street—a crackling, satirical debut novel about a young man given a shot at stardom as the lone Black salesman at a mysterious, cult-like, and wildly successful startup where nothing is as it seems.

There’s nothing like a Black salesman on a mission.

An unambitious twenty-two-year-old, Darren lives in a Bed-Stuy brownstone with his mother, who wants nothing more than to see him live up to his potential as the valedictorian of Bronx Science. But Darren is content working at Starbucks in the lobby of a Midtown office building, hanging out with his girlfriend, Soraya, and eating his mother’s home-cooked meals. All that changes when a chance encounter with Rhett Daniels, the silver-tongued CEO of Sumwun, NYC’s hottest tech startup, results in an exclusive invitation for Darren to join an elite sales team on the thirty-sixth floor.

After enduring a “hell week” of training, Darren, the only Black person in the company, reimagines himself as “Buck,” a ruthless salesman unrecognizable to his friends and family. But when things turn tragic at home and Buck feels he’s hit rock bottom, he begins to hatch a plan to help young people of color infiltrate America’s sales force, setting off a chain of events that forever changes the game.

Black Buck is a hilarious, razor-sharp skewering of America’s workforce; it is a propulsive, crackling debut that explores ambition and race, and makes way for a necessary new vision of the American dream.
Visit Mateo Askaripour's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Debauched, Desperate, Deranged"

New from Oxford University Press: Debauched, Desperate, Deranged: Women Who Killed, London 1674-1913 by Carolyn A. Conley.

About the book, from the publisher:

Contemporary studies have concluded that women are far less likely to kill than men and that when women do kill, they do so within the family. Debauched, Desperate, Deranged: Women Who Killed, London 1674-1913 examines the evolution of this pattern in the over 1400 trials in which women were prosecuted for homicide in London from the late seventeenth century until just before the First World War. Which deaths were considered homicides and in what circumstances women were culpable illustrates profound changes in the prevailing assumptions about women. The outcomes of trials and the portrayals of these women in the press illuminate changes in perceptions of women's status and their physical and mental limitations. Debauched, Desperate, Deranged breaks new ground in existing studies of gender and homicide, using a long time frame to discern which trends are brief anomalies and which represent significant change or continuity.

Debauched, Desperate, Deranged is the first empirical, quantitatively as well as qualitatively based study of women and homicide from the seventeenth century to the twentieth. It presents new and significant conclusions on changing incidence of maternal homicides and the remarkable constancy of spousal homicides.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 21, 2020

"Nick"

New from Little, Brown and Company: Nick by Michael Farris Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

Before Nick Carraway moved to West Egg and into Gatsby's periphery, he was at the center of a very different story-one taking place along the trenches and deep within the tunnels of World War I.

Floundering in the wake of the destruction he witnessed firsthand, Nick delays his return home, hoping to escape the questions he cannot answer about the horrors of war. Instead, he embarks on a transcontinental redemptive journey that takes him from a whirlwind Paris romance-doomed from the very beginning-to the dizzying frenzy of New Orleans, rife with its own flavor of debauchery and violence.

An epic portrait of a truly singular era and a sweeping, romantic story of self-discovery, this rich and imaginative novel breathes new life into a character that many know but few have pondered deeply. Charged with enough alcohol, heartbreak, and profound yearning to paralyze even the heartiest of golden age scribes, Nick reveals the man behind the narrator who has captivated readers for decades.
Learn more about the book and author at Michael Farris Smith's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Rivers.

The Page 69 Test: Blackwood.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Roman and Jewel"

New from Inkyard Press: Roman and Jewel by Dana L. Davis.

About the book, from the publisher:

If Romeo and Juliet got the Hamilton treatment…who would play the leads? This vividly funny, honest, and charming romantic novel by Dana L. Davis is the story of a girl who thinks she has what it takes…and the world thinks so, too.

Jerzie Jhames will do anything to land the lead role in Broadway’s hottest new show, Roman and Jewel, a Romeo and Juliet inspired hip-hopera featuring a diverse cast and modern twists on the play. But her hopes are crushed when she learns mega-star Cinny won the lead…and Jerzie is her understudy.

Falling for male lead Zeppelin Reid is a terrible idea—especially once Jerzie learns Cinny wants him for herself. Star-crossed love always ends badly. But when a video of Jerzie and Zepp practicing goes viral and the entire world weighs in on who should play Jewel, Jerzie learns that while the price of fame is high, friendship, family, and love are priceless.
Visit Dana L. Davis's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 20, 2020

"Being Evil"

New from Oxford University Press: Being Evil: A Philosophical Perspective by Luke Russell.

About the book, from the publisher:

We regularly encounter appalling wrongdoing, with the media offering a depressing parade of violent assault, rape, and murder. Yet sometimes even the cynical and world-weary amongst us are taken aback. Sometimes we confront a crime so terrible, so horrendous, so deeply wrong, that we reach for the word 'evil'. The 9/11 terrorist attacks were not merely wrong, but evil. A serial killer who tortures their victims is not merely a bad person. They are evil. And as the Holocaust showed us, we must remain vigilant against the threat of evil. But what exactly is it? If we use the word 'evil', are we buying into a naive Manichean worldview, in which two cosmic forces of good and evil are pitted against one another? Are we guilty of demonizing our enemies? How does 'evil' go beyond what is merely bad or wrong?

This book explores the answers that philosophers have offered to these questions. Luke Russell discusses why some philosophers think that evil is a myth or a fantasy, while others think that evil is real, and is a concept that plays an important role in contemporary secular morality. Along the way he asks whether evil is always horrific and incomprehensible, or if it can be banal. Considering if there is a special psychological hallmark that sets the evildoers apart from the rest of us, Russell also engages with ongoing discussions over psychopathy and empathy, analysing the psychology behind evildoing.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Not Dark Yet"

Coming March 16, 2021 from William Morrow: Not Dark Yet (Inspector Banks Novels: Volume Number 27) by Peter Robinson.

About the book, from the publisher:

>One of the world's greatest suspense writers returns with the 27th novel featuring the legendary detective Alan Banks in the mystery series Stephen King calls “the best now on the market.”

When property developer Connor Clive Blaydon is found dead, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks and his Yorkshire team dive into the investigation. As luck would have it, someone had installed a cache of spy-cams all around his luxurious home. The team hope that they’ll find answers—and the culprit—among the video recordings.

Instead of discovering Connor’s murderer, however, the grainy and blurred footage reveals another crime: a brutal rape. If they can discover the woman’s identity, it could lead to more than justice for the victim; it could change everything the police think they know about Connor and why anyone would want him dead.

Meanwhile, tensions are rising between Banks and his friend, Zelda. A super recognizer—able to recognize faces significantly better than most people—Zelda is determined to bring the men who abused her to justice. But stirring up the murky waters of the past will put her in far greater danger than ever before, and Banks worries that he won’t be able to stop her from plunging too deep before it’s too late.
Visit Peter Robinson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Threader Origins"

Coming soon from DAW: Threader Origins by Gerald Brandt.

About the book, from the publisher:

This first book of a new sci-fi series introduces an alternate earth where powerful Threads have the power to alter reality as we know it.

Pulled from his world by an experiment gone wrong, Darwin Lloyd is one of the few that can see the Threads—quantum strings that can be manipulated to change or control reality. On an alternate Earth ravaged by war, Darwin is torn between the Qabal and SafeHaven, his only goal to find a way back home and stop the same fate from happening in his time line.

Threads—thought of as a gift from the machine he helped his father create—and Threaders are both loved and hated, treated as gods by some and as criminals by others. Out of his element, Darwin must learn how to control the Threads and possibly join the hated Qabal to find the path back to his dad.

But Thread use comes at a price. Follow the possibilities and probabilities too far and the human mind shatters, leaving the Threader a mindless, drooling husk. Yet the Thread’s pull is almost irresistible, and a constant battle for those that can see them.

In this strange new world, Darwin discovers what he could never find on his own: friends, family, love, a mother he lost years before, and a younger sister he never had.
Visit Gerald Brandt's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Operative.

Writers Read: Gerald Brandt (January 2017).

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 19, 2020

"I Don't Like the Blues"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: I Don't Like the Blues: Race, Place, and the Backbeat of Black Life by B. Brian Foster.

About the book, from the publisher:

How do you love and not like the same thing at the same time? This was the riddle that met Mississippi writer B. Brian Foster when he returned to his home state to learn about Black culture and found himself hearing about the blues. One moment, Black Mississippians would say they knew and appreciated the blues. The next, they would say they didn’t like it. For five years, Foster listened and asked: “How?” “Why not?” “Will it ever change?” This is the story of the answers to his questions.

In this illuminating work, Foster takes us where not many blues writers and scholars have gone: into the homes, memories, speculative visions, and lifeworlds of Black folks in contemporary Mississippi to hear what they have to say about the blues and all that has come about since their forebears first sang them. In so doing, Foster urges us to think differently about race, place, and community development and models a different way of hearing the sounds of Black life, a method that he calls listening for the backbeat.
Visit B. Brian Foster's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Sweet Water"

New from Thomas & Mercer: Sweet Water by Cara Reinard.

About the book, from the publisher:

What did her son do in the woods last night? Does a mother really want to know?

It’s what Sarah Ellsworth dreamed of. Marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Martin. Living in a historic mansion in Pennsylvania’s most exclusive borough. And Finn, a teenage son with so much promise. Until…A call for help in the middle of the night leads Sarah and Martin to the woods, where they find Finn, injured, dazed, and weeping near his girlfriend’s dead body. Convinced he’s innocent, Sarah and Martin agree to protect their son at any cost and not report the crime.

But there are things Sarah finds hard to reconcile: a cover-up by Martin’s family that’s so unnervingly cold-blooded. Finn’s lies to the authorities are too comfortable, too proficient, not to arouse her suspicions. Even the secrets of the old house she lives in seem to be connected to the incident. As each troubling event unfolds, Sarah must decide how far she’ll go to save her perfect life.
Visit Cara Reinard's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 18, 2020

"Sun Ra’s Chicago"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Sun Ra’s Chicago: Afrofuturism and the City by William Sites.

About the book, from the publisher:

Sun Ra (1914–93) was one of the most wildly prolific and unfailingly eccentric figures in the history of music. Renowned for extravagant performances in which his Arkestra appeared in neo-Egyptian garb, the keyboardist and bandleader also espoused an interstellar cosmology that claimed the planet Saturn as his true home. In Sun Ra’s Chicago, William Sites brings this visionary musician back to earth—specifically to the city’s South Side, where from 1946 to 1961 he lived and relaunched his career. The postwar South Side was a hotbed of unorthodox religious and cultural activism: Afrocentric philosophies flourished, storefront prophets sold “dream-book bibles,” and Elijah Muhammad was building the Nation of Islam. It was also an unruly musical crossroads where the man then known as Sonny Blount drew from an array of intellectual and musical sources—from radical nationalism, revisionist Christianity, and science fiction to jazz, blues, Latin dance music, and pop exotica—to construct a philosophy and performance style that imagined a new identity and future for African Americans. Sun Ra’s Chicago shows that late twentieth-century Afrofuturism emerged from a deep, utopian engagement with the city—and that by excavating the postwar black experience of Sun Ra’s South Side milieu, we can come to see the possibilities of urban life in new ways.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Fatal Flying Affair"

New from Thomas & Mercer: The Fatal Flying Affair (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery) by T E Kinsey.

About the book, from the publisher:

August 1911. Emily Hardcastle and her inimitable lady’s maid Florence Armstrong are enjoying a fine summer until Harry, Lady H’s brother, turns up out of the blue with a mystery for them to solve.

A routine parachute test at a local aeroplane factory has gone horribly wrong—with pilot Dickie Dupree plummeting to his death. Harry is certain there is more to this ‘tragic accident’ than meets the eye, having discovered that someone at the airfield is leaking top secret intelligence to foreign rivals.

In between strolls to the Dog & Duck and planning for the annual village show, the daring duo dust off the Crime Board and go undercover at Bristol Aviation. With international powers investing heavily in aeronautics, the stakes are high—sky high—and the suspects soon mount up.

Can Lady Hardcastle find the culprit before someone else falls down dead?
Visit T E Kinsey's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 17, 2020

"The Shogun's Silver Telescope"

New from Oxford University Press: The Shogun's Silver Telescope: God, Art, and Money in the English Quest for Japan, 1600-1625 by Timon Screech.

About the book, from the publisher:

The East India Company, founded in London in 1600, was a spice trading organisation. But its governors soon began to think bigger. After a decade, they started to plan voyages to more fabulous places, notably India and Japan. India had cotton cloth, while Japan had silver, and crucially was cold in winter. England's main export was woollen cloth (which will not sell in hot places), so the Company envisaged adding to its spice-runs, sailings back and forth to Japan, exchanging wool for silver. This could be done quickly, over the top of Russia, as maps suggested. Maps also made Japan twenty times too large, the size of India in fact. Knowing the Spanish and Portuguese had preceded them, the Company prepared a special present for its first extended sailing. In the end this missed India, but got to Japan, in 1613. The Shogun was presented with a silver telescope in the name of King James. It was the first telescope ever to leave Europe and the first made as a presentation item. Before this voyage had even returned, the Company dispatched another, under the New Year's Gift with an equally stunning cargo: almost 100 oil paintings. Not yet able to go over Russia, these would be given and sold to the India and the Japanese courts.

This book looks at formation of the Company, but mostly asks the meaning of these two extraordinary cargoes. What were they supposed to mean, and what effect did they have on quizzical Asian rulers?
--Marshal Zeringue

"Nights When Nothing Happened"

New from Riverhead Books: Nights When Nothing Happened: A Novel by Simon Han.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the outside, the Chengs seem like so-called model immigrants. Once Patty landed a tech job near Dallas, she and Liang grew secure enough to have a second child, and to send for their first from his grandparents back in China. Isn’t this what they sacrificed so much for? But then little Annabel begins to sleepwalk at night, putting into motion a string of misunderstandings that not only threaten to set their community against them but force to the surface the secrets that have made them fear one another. How can a man make peace with the terrors of his past? How can a child regain trust in unconditional love? How can a family stop burying its history and forge a way through it, to a more honest intimacy?

Nights When Nothing Happened is gripping storytelling immersed in the crosscurrents that have reshaped the American landscape, from a prodigious new literary talent.
Visit Simon Han's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Idols of ISIS"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Idols of ISIS: From Assyria to the Internet by Aaron Tugendhaft.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 2015, the Islamic State released a video of men smashing sculptures in Iraq’s Mosul Museum as part of a mission to cleanse the world of idolatry. This book unpacks three key facets of that event: the status and power of images, the political importance of museums, and the efficacy of videos in furthering an ideological agenda through the internet.

Beginning with the Islamic State’s claim that the smashed objects were idols of the “age of ignorance,” Aaron Tugendhaft questions whether there can be any political life without idolatry. He then explores the various roles Mesopotamian sculpture has played in European imperial competition, the development of artistic modernism, and the formation of Iraqi national identity, showing how this history reverberates in the choice of the Mosul Museum as performance stage. Finally, he compares the Islamic State’s production of images to the ways in which images circulated in ancient Assyria and asks how digitization has transformed politics in the age of social media. An elegant and accessibly written introduction to the complexities of such events, The Idols of ISIS is ideal for students and readers seeking a richer cultural perspective than the media usually provides.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

"Watch Her"

New from Kensington Books: Watch Her: A Hester Thursby Mystery #3 by Edwin Hill.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the third intelligently dark suspense novel by two-time Agatha Award-nominated author Edwin Hill, Harvard librarian Hester Thursby becomes enmeshed with a powerful Boston family desperate to keep their deepest secrets from coming to light...

While attending a gala at Prescott University's lavish new campus, Hester Thursby and fellow guest, Detective Angela White, are called to the home of the college's owners, Tucker and Jennifer Matson. Jennifer claims that someone broke into Pinebank, their secluded mansion on the banks of Jamaica Pond. The more Hester and Angela investigate, the less they believe Jennifer's story, leaving Hester to wonder why she would lie.

When Hester is asked by the college's general manager to locate some missing alumni, she employs her research skills on the family and their for-profit university. Between financial transgressions, a long-ago tragedy, and rumors of infidelity, it's clear that the Matsons aren't immune to scandal or mishap. But when one of the missing students turns up dead, the mystery takes on new urgency.

Hester is edging closer to the truth, but as a decades-old secret collides with new lies, a killer grows more determined to keep the past buried with the dead....
Learn more about the book and author at Edwin Hill’s web site.

My Book, The Movie: Little Comfort.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Just Our Luck"

New from Random House Books for Young Readers: Just Our Luck by Julia Walton.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the author of Words on Bathroom Walls–now a major motion picture–comes a romance in the spirit of Dear Evan Hansen about overcoming anxiety–and about finding love and friendship in unlikely places.

Bad luck follows lies.” That was the first rule for life that Leo’s Greek grandmother, Yia Yia, gave him before she died. But Leo’s anxiety just caused a fight at school, and though he didn’t lie, he wasn’t exactly honest about how it all went down–how he went down. Now Leo’s father thinks a self-defense class is exactly what his son needs to “man up.”

Leave the Paros family alone.” That was Yia Yia’s second rule for life. But who does Leo see sitting at the front desk of the local gym? Evey Paros, whose family supposedly cursed Leo’s with bad luck. Seeing that Leo is desperate to enroll in anything but self-defense class, Evey cuts him a deal: she’ll secretly enroll him in hot yoga instead–for a price. But what could the brilliant, ruthless, forbidden Evey Paros want from Leo?

Sharp, honest, and compulsively readable, Just Our Luck is as funny as it is heartwarming. Readers will root for Leo as he takes charge of his own destiny.
Visit Julia Walton's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Experimental Games"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Experimental Games: Critique, Play, and Design in the Age of Gamification by Patrick Jagoda.

About the book, from the publisher:

In our unprecedentedly networked world, games have come to occupy an important space in many of our everyday lives. Digital games alone engage an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide as of 2020, and other forms of gaming, such as board games, role playing, escape rooms, and puzzles, command an ever-expanding audience. At the same time, “gamification”—the application of game mechanics to traditionally nongame spheres, such as personal health and fitness, shopping, habit tracking, and more—has imposed unprecedented levels of competition, repetition, and quantification on daily life.

Drawing from his own experience as a game designer, Patrick Jagoda argues that games need not be synonymous with gamification. He studies experimental games that intervene in the neoliberal project from the inside out, examining a broad variety of mainstream and independent games, including StarCraft, Candy Crush Saga, Stardew Valley, Dys4ia, Braid, and Undertale. Beyond a diagnosis of gamification, Jagoda imagines ways that games can be experimental—not only in the sense of problem solving, but also the more nuanced notion of problem making that embraces the complexities of our digital present. The result is a game-changing book on the sociopolitical potential of this form of mass entertainment.
Visit Patrick Jagoda's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

"The Chanel Sisters"

New from Graydon House: The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little.

About the book, from the publisher:

A novel of survival, love, loss, triumph—and the sisters who changed fashion forever

Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel know they’re destined for something better. Abandoned by their family at a young age, they’ve grown up under the guidance of nuns preparing them for simple lives as the wives of tradesmen or shopkeepers. At night, their secret stash of romantic novels and magazine cutouts beneath the floorboards are all they have to keep their dreams of the future alive.

The walls of the convent can’t shield them forever, and when they’re finally of age, the Chanel sisters set out together with a fierce determination to prove themselves worthy to a society that has never accepted them. Their journey propels them out of poverty and to the stylish caf├ęs of Moulins, the dazzling performance halls of Vichy—and to a small hat shop on the rue Cambon in Paris, where a boutique business takes hold and expands to the glamorous French resort towns.

But the sisters’ lives are again thrown into turmoil when World War I breaks out, forcing them to make irrevocable choices, and they’ll have to gather the courage to fashion their own places in the world, even if apart from each other.
Visit Judithe Little's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Abusive Policies"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Abusive Policies: How the American Child Welfare System Lost Its Way by Mical Raz.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the early 1970s, a new wave of public service announcements urged parents to “help end an American tradition” of child abuse. The message, relayed repeatedly over television and radio, urged abusive parents to seek help. Support groups for parents, including Parents Anonymous, proliferated across the country to deal with the seemingly burgeoning crisis. At the same time, an ever-increasing number of abused children were reported to child welfare agencies, due in part to an expansion of mandatory reporting laws and the creation of reporting hotlines across the nation. Here, Mical Raz examines this history of child abuse policy and charts how it changed since the late 1960s, specifically taking into account the frequency with which agencies removed African American children from their homes and placed them in foster care. Highlighting the rise of Parents Anonymous and connecting their activism to the sexual abuse moral panic that swept the country in the 1980s, Raz argues that these panics and policies—as well as biased viewpoints regarding race, class, and gender—played a powerful role shaping perceptions of child abuse. These perceptions were often directly at odds with the available data and disproportionately targeted poor African American families above others.
Mical Raz is Charles E. and Dale L. Phelps Professor in Public Policy and Health at the University of Rochester. She is author of The Lobotomy Letters: The Making of American Psychosurgery and What's Wrong with the Poor?: Psychiatry, Race, and the War on Poverty.

The Page 99 Test: What's Wrong with the Poor?.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 14, 2020

"Part of the Family"

Coming January 26, 2021 from The Borough Press: Part of the Family by Charlotte Philby.

About the book, from the publisher:

On the surface, Anna Witherall has the perfect life. Married to her university boyfriend David, she has an enviable job, beautiful home, and gorgeous three-year-old twin daughters, Stella and Rose. Their competent and capable nanny, Maria, is practically part of the family.

But beneath the veneer of success and happiness, Anna is hiding a dark secret, one that threatens to unravel everything she has worked so hard to create. Only one thing is certain: to protect her children, she must betray them.
Visit Charlotte Philby's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Leave No Trace"

New from Kensington Books: Leave No Trace by Sara Driscoll.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the fifth F.B.I. K-9 novel, Sara Driscoll weaves together fast-paced suspense and the fascinating world of law enforcement canines, as Meg Jennings and her search-and-rescue dog, Hawk, are heading south, where it's hunting season. But this time the prey is human.
FBI handler Meg Jennings and her search-and-rescue K-9 partner are heading south where it's hunting season. But this time the prey is human.


One arrow through the heart could be a tragic hunting accident. A second one, within days, looks more like a crime. That's when Meg Jennings and Brian Foster of the FBI's Forensic Canine Unit head to Georgia to investigate. With their dogs Hawk and Lacey, Meg and Brian are enlisted to follow the scent of a killer. At first, nothing seems to connect the two victims-a county commissioner and State Patrol officer. But the blood sport around the southern town of Blue Ridge is just beginning.

As the body count rises, the compound bow killer becomes even more elusive, appearing and vanishing like a ghost. However, with each new slaying Meg is beginning to suspect the grim design that's escalating in the shadows. At its heart, a tragic event that reaches back nearly two centuries in Georgia's history is now turning Blue Ridge into a hunting ground. But as Meg gets closer to solving the puzzle, the closer she is to stepping into the crosshairs of an elusive murderer with deadly aim, and motives as deep and dark as the woods...
Learn more about the FBI K-9 Novels.

Coffee with a Canine: M. Ann Vanderlaan & her dogs.

The Page 69 Test: Lone Wolf.

The Page 69 Test: Storm Rising.

The Page 69 Test: No Man's Land.

--Marshal Zeringue