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  • Tara Sonin 5:00 pm on 2018/02/09 Permalink
    Tags: 11/22/63, abraham lincoln vampire hunter, all american girl, american queen, american wife, , , brad meltzer, , , , dolley, eighteen acres, ellen feldman, eugene burdock, executive orders, failsafe, frost/nixon, , harvey wheeler, , it can’t happen here, jailbird, , jenn marie thorne, joe klein, , , leader of the free world, , lucy, , , mount vernon love story, mrs. President, nicole wallace, peter morgan, , primary colors, , seth grahams-smith, , sinclair lewis, stephen carter, , , the impeachment of abraham lincoln, , the plot against america, , the wrong side of right, , wide awake   

    25 Fictional Presidents 

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    President’s Day is around the corner, so we compiled a list of 25 fictional presidents for you to read about! If watching the news bums you out, but political intrigue does not, these books are for you.

    Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
    This haunting novel centers around the true story of Lincoln’s son, who died during his Presidency. While President Lincoln visits the gravesite of his son, the ghosts who have clung to life narrate a deeply moving, complex thread of tales.

    11/22/63, by Stephen King
    This political sci-fi is about a man who travels back in time with one goal—to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. While the President does not “officially” appear in the story, the entire plot centers around Jake Epping managing to stop Lee Harvey Oswald…but will his actions have the opposite impact on American history than he hopes?

    American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld
    Loosely based on Laura Bush, this novel stars Alice, a small-town girl who grows up to marry a future President. Follow Alice in her courtship by a dazzling Republican man she finds herself unable to stay away from…but once they enter the White House, she realizes she disagrees with in ways they may be unable to reconcile.

    Jailbird, by Kurt Vonnegut
    Watergate gets even more insidious in this story, told from the perspective of a fictional co-conspirator in the Nixon Administration cover-up. Wry and humorous, but also dark and revealing of the jagged edges of human nature, Vonnegut’s anti-hero shares the story from his perspective years later, after serving his time for the crime.

    Dolley, by Rita Mae Brown
    Dolley Madison was the fourth first lady in American history, and this novel explores her fictional diary. Being the wife of one of America’s founders was both glamorous, full of fashion and parties…and horrendous, as her husband ushers the country into war.

    Primary Colors, by Joe Klein
    Originally published anonymously, this novel takes readers behind the political curtain of presidential campaigns. Based on Bill Clinton’s rise to the presidency, told from the perspective of a lower-level aide, every moment is rife with drama on the verge of scandal.

    Eighteen Acres, by Nicolle Wallace
    Nicole Wallace is a former Communications Director of the White House (and current political pundit) and wrote a novel imagining the first woman president as she weathers a re-election campaign, an infidelity scandal, and an international blunder.

    American Queen, by Sierra Simone
    Now for a very different kind of novel, this erotic romance imagines a completely fictional scenario in which a girl finds herself in love with two men: they just happen to be the President of the United States…and the Vice President of the United States. Confused? Once you meet Greer, Embry and Maxen in this reimagining of Camelot, you’ll be in love.

    The President is Missing, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
    This book isn’t even available yet, but it’s totally pre-order worthy…because it’s the first novel written by a former President! Bill Clinton teamed up with James Patterson to write a political thriller about what happens when a President vanishes without a trace.

    Failsafe, by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler
    Published in 1962, when tensions between Russia and the US were at an all-time high, this speculative novel imagines a scenario in which American bombers take control of the nuclear weapons and decide to put an end to the conflict once and for all…and the President must act before Russia engages them in all-out war.

    The Dead Zone, by Stephen King
    Stephen King returns to the list with this bestselling speculative novel about a man who wakes up from a coma with the mysterious ability to see people’s futures. But this becomes a problem when he has a vision of a man running for President…and it’s disastrous. Does he intervene to prevent it from coming true?

    Executive Orders, by Tom Clancy
    The worst has occurred: the President, the cabinet, and most of congress is dead. That leaves the VP, Jack Ryan, in charge. President Ryan must govern without a government all the while trying to figure out who is responsible. Riveting and with twists that will leave you breathless, fans of Designated Survivor will love this novel.

    The Inner Circle, by Brad Meltzer
    An adventure of presidential proportions begins when an archivist and his one-time crush find a mysterious dictionary that belonged to the first president, George Washington. They must race against the clock to decipher the meaning of the dictionary, and, once a man ends up dead, hope they don’t end up suffering the same fate.

    The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, by Stephen L. Carter
    This fascinating novel imagines a world where Lincoln did not die, and instead lived to face the consequences of the Civil War…namely, an impeachment trial for a breach of executive powers. When one of Lincoln’s lawyers is murdered, a young black woman working for his defense team must unravel the mystery.

    Mount Vernon Love Story, by Mary Higgins Clark
    Mystery master Mary Higgins Clark wrote an historical novel about George Washington! Did you know that many people believe Washington, despite being married to Martha, was in love with someone else? Higgins Clark is not one of them; she writes the love story between America’s FIRST first-couple as one of mutual respect, admiration, and affection.

    Lucy, by Ellen Feldman
    In contrast, this novel is about a president who was in love with someone who wasn’t his wife. Before he was President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt loved Lucy Mercer…Eleanor’s social secretary. Through polio, a world war, and two presidential terms, despite his promises to Eleanor, Franklin and Lucy remain connected. Heartbreaking, romantic, and beautiful.

    Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, by Seth Grahame-Smith
    Presidents go paranormal in this fun novel that reveals the true story behind our 16th President. Abraham Lincoln was a vampire hunter, hell-bent on vengeance against the creatures responsible for his mother’s death.

    Mr. President, by Katy Evans
    Matt and Charlotte have known one another since they were kids. He was the son of a President, and vowed never to follow in his father’s footsteps…except now he has, bringing Charlotte along for the ride. The problem? Charlotte loves him, but knows she can never love a President. This erotic romance novel sizzles with political steam.

    The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth
    An Alternative history where FDR loses the 1940 election to isolationist Charles Lindbergh…who strikes a deal with Hitler to stay out of his way. But tensions rise, along with anti-Semintism, and the consequences are seen through the eyes of one boy.

    It Can’t Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis
    This book was written during the Great Depression, but the subject matter is still relevant today. Featuring another character who unseats Franklin Delano Roosevelt from the Presidency, this novel details the dangers of populist rhetoric with a President who halts progress on all fronts and holds his enemies captive.

    Frost/Nixon, by Peter Morgan
    This play dramatizes the epic showdown between journalist David Frost and President Nixon, in which the former tries to get the latter to confess to his crimes. (You can watch the movie, too!)

    Crooked, by Austin Grossman
    Grossman’s reinvention of Tricky Dick as the inheritor of a presidency imbued with magical powers—a man consistently distrusted and marginalized by the people who could have prepared him for the battles to come—is thoroughly enjoyable. Most importantly, it offers up an idea of a president who has more than a veto up his or her sleeves. Certainly a little black magic would be very welcome in today’s unsettled world.

    All American Girl, by Meg Cabot
    One of my favorite YA novels featuring regular-girl Sam Madison, who saves the president from an assassination attempt. Sam is in love with her older sister’s boyfriend, but as she spends more time with the President’s son—the only person who seems to understand the downsides to her newfound fame—she starts to question both her choice, and whether she could love the kid who lives in the White House.

    The Wrong Side of Right, by Jenn Marie Thorne
    Kate has never known her father, but when her mother dies, he reveals himself: a powerful politician vying for the White House. Suddenly, Kate is embroiled in the world of politics, a new family, and a dangerous first-love…all the while grieving for her mom, and the life she once loved.

    Wide Awake, by David Levithan
    This speculative novel stars the first gay, Jewish President…whose election is promptly declared invalid by a governor of a crucial state. Jimmy and Duncan, a teen couple, decide to lend their support by joining the protests to support him.

    What novels featuring fictionalized presidents do you love?

    The post 25 Fictional Presidents appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • BN Editors 2:52 pm on 2015/06/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , , brad meltzer, brad thor, , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    The Biggest Books of the Summer 

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    This summer brings a fresh crop of brand-new books, including a creepy thriller by the king of creepy thrillers, the return of an author we’ve loved since childhood, and what might be the most anticipated novel of the century. Throw them in your beach bag, bring them on your road trip, or just use them to make your lunch hour awesome.

    Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee
    The release of a follow-up to American classic To Kill a Mockingbird promises to be the book event not just of the year, but of the 21st century so far. In this sequel of sorts—set 20 years after but actually written before Harper Lee’s debut—we meet an adult Scout Finch, whose visit to her hometown and to father Atticus Finch, literature’s most beloved lawyer, takes place against the shifting backdrop of 1950s America.

    Finders, Keepers, by Stephen King
    In this follow-up to last year’s Mr. Mercedes, King revisits the themes of obsession, inspiration, and the dangerous bond between an author and his fans that drove previous masterpiece Misery. Retired detective and Mr. Mercedes hero Bill Hodges is back, now attempting to save a young reader in possession of some very valuable notebooks: they’re filled with the unpublished writing of an iconic author, killed by a deranged fan who’s fresh out of prison and coming to claim them.

    Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari
    Ansari goes deep with his comic look at contemporary dating and relationships, with the help of a crack team of social scientists and findings culled from interviews held around the world. The result is a sharp, insightful marriage of humor writing and Ansari’s illuminating findings on dating, wedlock, and love. This is the most fun you’ll ever have reading a science book.

    In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume
    Blume’s first novel in 17 years is set in the 1950s Elizabeth, New Jersey, of her youth, inspired by a trio of three real-life plane crashes that happened there within a terrifying three-month span. She paints a portrait of a town under siege, drawing in the stories of the doomed, the grieving, and the helpless bystanders. Despite the dark subject matter, Blume writes with a light, engaging touch, making you care for her characters even as you hold your breath waiting to see how they’ll be caught up in the next crash.

    The Girl in the Spider’s Web, by David Lagercrantz
    Eleven years after the death of series creator Stieg Larsson, Lagercrantz is continuing the twisted story of damaged hacker extraordinaire (and avenging angel) Lisbeth Salander. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is back as well, in a pitch-black page-turner that takes readers by the throat from page one. Despite constant peril and vastly different agendas, the two rekindle their incendiary partnership when Blomkvist receives a news tip too hot to resist.

    The First Confessor, by Terry Goodkind
    In this prequel to Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, a heroine rises from the ashes of her former life. Magda Searus is the wife of a powerful leader, protected by her husband’s status and his gifts. But when he unexpectedly commits suicide, she refuses to give up on finding out why—and learns, on her journey, the true nature of the darkness overtaking her people.

    The Marriage of Opposites, by Alice Hoffman
    Hoffman takes as her subject the headstrong young woman who will become the mother of impressionist painter Camille Pissarro. Rachel belongs to a rigidly tradition-bound immigrant Jewish community on the lush island of St. Martin. At her mother’s command, teenaged Rachel marries a widower, becoming stepmother to three children. But when he dies, and his handsome nephew arrives to settle his affairs, she jumps headfirst into a scandalous affair with wide-reaching consequences, for both herself and the famous son who will be born of her remarriage.

    Circling the Sun, by Paula McLain
    In her follow-up to bestseller The Paris Wife, McLain breathes life into another fascinating 1920s woman: Beryl Markham, an adventurous aviatrix and horse trainer. Emerging from a bleak childhood, Markham grows into a powerful, unconventional figure in a vibrant British community in Kenya. McLain explores the adventures and love triangles of a woman who was way ahead of her time.

    The Nature of the Beast, by Louise Penny
    When a little boy with a penchant for telling tall tales goes missing, it’s up to Inspector Armand Gamache to figure out which of his wild stories was true, and how it ties into his disappearance. Guilt, sorrow, and an evil with deep roots thread together to enrich an increasingly twisted mystery. This is Penny’s 11th book following Inspector Gamache, whose retirement to the tiny town of Three Pines hasn’t made him any less of a magnet for intrigue.

    The President’s Shadow, by Brad Meltzer
    In Meltzer’s third Culper Ring book, inspired by a laymen spy organization founded at the behest of George Washington, the present-day first lady finds a severed arm in the most unlikely of places: the White House rose garden. The president turns to the Ring for help, despite his complicated relationship with one of its members, Beecher White. White takes the case when he learns the mysterious limb may have a link to his own father’s death, many years prior. If you can’t make it to D.C. this summer to see the sights, visit its shady underbelly with this well-researched page turner.

    Code of Conduct, by Brad Thor
    Thor’s latest military thriller finds counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath on a high-stakes, globe-trotting mission involving an untouchable organization that operates outside the law; four seconds of game-changing tape that can imperil everything; and an assignment that turns into a deadly personal war.

    Independence Day, by Brad Coes
    The fifth book in thriller writer Ben Coes’ Dewey Andreas series, Independence Day finds the disgraced Andreas, still grieving the loss of his fiancée, emerging from his hometown retreat to neutralize a perilous new threat: Russian hacker Cloud, who has both a nuclear weapon and a vendetta against the U.S. Against orders, Andreas goes rogue to join the investigation, and soon discovers a vast political plot set to endanger the western world—and he’s got three days to stop it.

    Second Life, by S.J. Watson
    Recovering alcoholic Julia has fought her way to a happy life: nice house, wealthy husband, adopted son. But the killing of her sister sets off a dangerous obsession with finding her murderer, one that draws her deep into her sister’s life, full of irresistible dark corners that have the power to destroy her.

    X Is For…, by Sue Grafton
    In the 24th installment of Grafton’s perennially bestselling Kinsey Millhone series, named for the trickiest letter in the alphabet, private investigator Millhone goes head to head with a serial killer. This isn’t a whodunit, but rather a nail-biting race against time, as Millhone tries to build a case that will get him locked away…and keep her out of his clutches.

    Shop the Bookstore >
  • Jeff Somers 8:11 pm on 2015/06/09 Permalink
    Tags: brad meltzer, , , the highest office, the president's shadow,   

    Brad Meltzer’s The President’s Shadow is This Summer’s The Da Vinci Code 

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    The phenomenal success of books like The Da Vinci Code proves that readers everywhere love seeing events, people, and concepts we read about in school brought to thrilling life and connected to our modern day. Brad Meltzer’s Culper Ring series has the same bones as The Da Vinci Code—riddles and conspiracies hidden in plain sight, a love of history, and a wildly re-imagined backstory to some of the world’s most famous items and events. But Meltzer brings a level of sophistication to his Culper Ring series that enhances their impact and makes for novels that satisfy as thrillers, as conspiracy tales, and as character studies. Meltzer continues his winning streak with The President’s Shadow, the third in his Culper Ring series about an ancient organization founded by George Washington to protect the presidency—and once again he finds the perfect balance between historic puzzles, tense thriller setpieces, and surprising character interactions.

    The History is Solid
    Meltzer does his research and writes historical thrillers that are rooted in reality. The Culper Ring that Meltzer’s hero archivist Beecher White is a member of really did exist, and really was founded by George Washington, and many of the events and objects that factor into the story are similarly real or based on reality. This is important because Meltzer doesn’t hold back on his plotting—The President’s Shadow involves severed arms, a top-secret military experiment, a secret guild of assassins founded by none other than John Wilkes Booth, and the return of Nico, the insane man who believes it’s his destiny to be the fifth successful presidential assassin in American history. The rock-solid, fact-checkable foundation anchors a plot that seems poised to boil over into chaos at any time.

    The Human Touch
    While The President’s Shadow can be read cold without having read the first two books, it definitely helps if you understand the history between these characters. That’s because, unlike in historical thrillers that focus too much on the puzzles and historical details to the detriment of the characters, Meltzer offers us flesh-and-blood people who have emotional reactions to events and each other, who lie and betray each other, and who stand up for each other. Beecher White’s semi-antagonistic relationship with President Orson Wallace is a great example: White suspects Wallace of a terrible crime committed in his youth, but he also saved Wallace’s life, and the mutual distrust between the leader of the free world and a man dedicated to protecting the office, if not the individual, gives the story a powerful sense of depth.

    The Pacing is Spot-On
    Where a lot of historical thrillers in the vein of The Da Vinci Code rocket along a story that simply pushes the protagonists from discovery to discovery, Meltzer is more patient. The President’s Shadow opens with a stunning image: the First Lady of the United States, engaged in some therapeutic gardening on the White House grounds, discovers a severed arm clutching a totem that links directly to her husbands semi-nemesis Beecher White—but then Meltzer takes his time unveiling the rest of the story, giving us the history of Beecher’s father and his mysterious death (somehow linked to the severed arm) and of several other characters, each pursuing, it seems, a separate thread.

    Masterful Misdirection
    One of Meltzer’s great talents is lulling the reader into a false sense of security and comprehension. As you read The President’s Shadow there are several moments during which the solution to the riddles seem obvious—but as you soon realize, you’re being set up. The true solution to the mystery of the buried arms, the true motivation of every player, and the identity of the ultimate antagonist are surprising—but delightful, because they fit perfectly with the clues, just not in the way you may have expected. When twists comes out of nowhere, they’re frustrating. When they are supported by evidence in the story, they’re thrilling.

    The Final Reveal
    Without giving anything away, you’ll want to read to the last page of The President’s Shadow for the final twist that puts a wholly different spin on the rest of the book. It’s not a cheap surprise; it’s something that bubbles under all of the Culper Ring novels. It’s pretty shocking, and it’s also pretty genius. While other historical thrillers keep their thrills and puzzles securely in the past, Meltzer does them all one better, realizing that all conspiracies and puzzles have to be created in the present before they can become history.

    Shop All Fiction >
  • Joel Cunningham 5:00 pm on 2014/06/05 Permalink
    Tags: brad meltzer, cassandra clare, city of heavenly fire, dangerous creatures, , , , , kami garcia, , maggie steifvater, margaret stohl, , , the fifth assassin, , the target, , , , , , wicked lovely   

    What to Read Next if You Liked We Were Liars, The Vacationers, City of Heavenly Fire, Dangerous Creatures, or The Target 

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    photo[5]The Target, by David Baldacci, is another breathless installment in his ongoing series of novels starring a steely government assassin. This time, he is taking his orders from the president himself, and carrying them out could have political implications that will change the world. If you’re looking for another author whose work will get your pulse pounding, try Brad Meltzer. His latest, The Fifth Assassin, focuses on an investigation into a serial killer recreating the crimes of history’s most famous killers–men who succeeded at ending the lives of presidents.

    City of Heavenly Fire, by Cassandra Clare, is the last book in the epic Mortal Instruments series, which revealed a hidden world of demon-fighting chosen ones living among us. If your aching for another dose of supernatural romance and suspense (and you’ve already read Clare’s spin-off series, naturally), try Wicked Lovely, by Melissa Marr. A girl who has always been able to see faeries discovers that the Faerie King wants her to be his Summer Queen—at the cost of everything she holds dear. All five books in the series are out, so you won’t need to torture yourself waiting for the next volume.

    Dangerous Creatures, by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, is a spin-off of the mega-popular Beautiful Creatures quartet, but if you’ve already devoured it and are looking for another enthralling supernatural YA romance, you can’t miss with The Raven Boys, by Maggie Steifvater. The first of another four-book series, the story blends Welsh myth and mystery with an achingly tender teen romance.

    I can’t say too much about We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart, lest I spoil the deliciously twisted surprises it offers, but here’s a taste: the members of a wealthy family gather each summer on a private island. Until the summer everything goes wrong. Discovering what happened involves unraveling a twisted web of lies and deceit, which is not unlike the task facing readers of The Basic Eight, by Daniel “Lemony Snicket” Handler—the only thing you can count on about this wickedly lurid, first-person account of the misdeeds of an elite group of the members of an exclusive high school clique is that you can’t trust a word the narrator is saying.

    There’s nothing like a family get-together to re-ignite long-simmering tensions or bring dark secrets to light, as the titular family in The Vacationers, by Emma Straub, discovers during a two-week jaunt to an idyllic island getaway that turns into a disaster. If you’re looking for a hilarious take on close-quarters family tension, This is Where I leave You, by Jonathan Tropper, pulls together the four scattered siblings of the dysfunctional Foxman family, who come together to sit Shiva for their deceased father. It’s funnier than it sounds.

    What’s next on your to-read list?

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