maureen smith


This June we’re celebrating the books that bring light to the reason that Pride Month exists. Read on for 8 YA books with extraordinary LGBTQ voices that crawled into our hearts and didn’t leave.

1. Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights: An unflinching look into the history of the Gay Rights movement, starting with the Stonewall riots in 1969, which triggered an explosive demand for gay rights. 

2. Hold Me Closer: Irresistible, hilarious Tiny Cooper (from Will Grayson, Will Grayson) takes center stage in his own story, written as the most fantastic musical ever produced!

3. Grasshopper Jungle: Austin has equally deep feelings for his best friend and his girlfriend in Andrew Smith’s intense, complex Printz Honor book. 

4. I’ll Give You the Sun: You’ll fall for Jude as he vividly describes falling for the charismatic boy next door in Jandy Nelson’s Printz Award winner.

5. Vast Fields of Ordinary: Experiencing both true love with a mysterious new boy and unforeseen tragedy in one summer, Dade’s story is hopeful and heartbreaking at the same time. 

6. Everything Leads to You: Talented set designer Emi hasn’t been able to design a love life that’s more than make-believe – until a mysterious letter leads her to Ava. 

7. On the Count of Three: Nina, Avery, and Mel haven’t been apart since age 11, but when Nina comes back from a summer in California, she’s an outsider – because Avery and Mel have started dating. A bittersweet, honest look at first love and changing friendships.

8. My Most Excellent Year: When T.C. falls in love with pretty, sassy Al, it feels black and white – but for his best friend Augie, who’s drawn to a boy, it’s not so clear…even if its obvious to his family and friends. 

What would you add to this list? 

A relaxed snapshot of Ian Brady, Myra Hindley, and Myra’s sister Maureen. Though undated, the exterior of the house indicates this photograph was taken while Hindley and Brady were active serial killers, preying on young children throughout the Manchester area.

Maureen Smith would later assist in the arrest of Hindley and Brady after her husband witnessed Ian kill a teenage boy with an axe.

Did the trailer for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children movie have you waiting on the edge of your seat for September 30, 2016? These nine peculiar, eerie, wacky reads will help to tide you over until you can see Miss Peregrine’s world come to life on the big screen.

1. The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox 

Did someone say eerie setting with a creepy history? When Katherine and her siblings move into Scotland’s ancient Rookskill Castle, they’re met with strange noises and bumps in the night.

2. Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

This is a story about a hero, a villain, and a liar–but who is who? Not knowing what these three teenagers are up to would set anyone on edge.

3. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

When Austin and Robbie accidentally unleash an unstoppable army of giant praying mantises, they accidentally bring about the end of the world. Talk about a weird day.

4. The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine B. Howe

When Wes encounters the mysterious Annie at a seance, he’s drawn into a romance that definitely transcends the ordinary.

5. Half Bad by Sally Green 

In a world where witches live among humans, Nathan is wanted by no one, and hunted by everyone.

6. Control by Lydia Kang

 In a future world where those with special powers are cast aside as mistakes, one group of extraordinary outcasts will prove that they can be heroes.

7. Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff 

Clementine Devore spent ten years trapped in a cellar, pinned down by willow roots, kept alive by magic. Now she’s out and determined to figure out who put her in that cellar–and why.

8. Blythewood by Carol Goodman 

When Ava gets accepted to Blythewood, she prepared herself for many things–for instance, class differences and family secrets. But she wasn’t quite as prepared for the magic she finds and sinister forces she’ll have to confront.

9. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson 

Starting at a new school? Tough. Trying to solve a series of strange murders that may have been carried out by a man that only you can see? Tougher.
Edgar Ramirez, Darren Criss to Star in Ryan Murphy’s ‘Versace: American Crime Story’ on FX
Edgar Ramirez and Darren Criss are the first stars to officially sign onto Ryan Murphy’s “Versace: American Crime Story,” Variety has learned.
By Elizabeth Wagmeister, Cynthia Littleton

Edgar Ramirez and Darren Criss are the first stars to officially sign onto Ryan Murphy’s “Versace: American Crime Story,” Variety has learned.

“Versace” will mark the third installment of FX’s “American Crime Story” anthology, following the award-winning “People V. O.J. Simpson” and the upcoming second season that will revolve around the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“Versace” will explore the murder of Gianni Versace, who was killed on the steps of his home in Miami Beach by serial murderer Andrew Cunanan, who killed five people that year and then killed himself on a house boat, eight days after killing Versace.

Ramirez will play Gianni Versace, and Criss will play Andrew Cunanan.

For Ramirez, the project marks the Venezuelan actor’s big foray into American television. His recent credits in the film world include Jennifer Lawrence’s “Joy” and Emily Blunt’s “Girl on the Train.” For Criss, the series marks a reunion for the “Glee” alum and Murphy. He also appeared in a few episodes of Murphy’s “American Horror Story.”

No other casting has been announced at this point. Despite tabloid rumors, Murphy told Variety earlier this year that Lady Gaga will not play Donatella Versace, telling us, “When you’re going to do a show like Versace, it’s a five-month commitment, it’s a very big show, we’re shooting it all over the world. So I just don’t think with her schedule, I knew that it would never had worked. But I would love to work with her on something in the future.”

The Versace-centric season will be based on the book “Vulgar Favors” by Vanity Fair writer Maureen Orth. Tom Rob Smith will write various episodes and serve as executive producer with Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, and Brad Falchuk. Fox 21 will produce.

“Versace” begins production next month, but is not expected to air until 2018. “Katrina” — which recently cast Annette Bening — will also air in 2018, but before the “Versace” season.

Ramirez is repped by CAA, Jill Littman of Impression Entertainment Group and attorney Bob Wallerstein of Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof + Fishman.

Criss is repped by CAA, Ricky Rollins of Hyphenate Creative Management and Adam Kaller at  Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman L.L.P.

Patti Smith Reveals Her Solitary Soul In The ’M Train’

Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Patti Smith’s new novel, M Train:

“In Patti Smith’s new memoir, the M Train is a Magical Mystery line that only she rides, her snaking Mental trains of thought carrying her far off into Memoryland, as well as into reveries on subjects as wide-ranging as her passionate appetite for detective stories, and her surprising membership in an elite scientific society devoted to the subject of continental drift.”

Photo: Maud Bernos

Fresh Air’s book critic Maureen Corrigan writes:

“I think, at bottom, Purity is really about Franzen’s aesthetic desire to spin out lots and lots of stories, to experiment with his craft — which is a fine endeavor, but leaves the reader feeling simultaneously overwhelmed, yet curiously empty by the end of this long packed novel. You’ve got to be a Dickens to be able to command a cavalcade of stories and characters without numbing your audience. Some contemporary novelists like, say, Zadie Smith, David Mitchell and Donna Tartt have pulled it off; but, despite the Dickensian echoes of his heroine’s name, Franzen can’t meet such great expectations in Purity.”

"Any Way You Want It," by Maureen Smith

So sorry to leave you for a week, dear readers. It was spring break for this reviewer, which meant reading trashy paperbacks on the beach instead of the uncomfortable couch in my apartment, which faces a window with a view of what is predicted to be five inches … of snow. Balls.

So it’s back to your regularly scheduled programming, which in itself is actually pretty irregular. It’s a man’s bookshelf, romance novel enthusiasts. Publishing houses are still “Old Boy’s Clubs,” and more men review books by men than the other way around. And these are women still making 91 cents to ever man’s $1. You’d think the only thing women can do for work most men can’t is offer sex for money!

… What the fuck is “sugar daddy dating?”

It appears kids these days can create online profiles that hook them up with rich old dudes who give them presents for their … company.  And by “company” I mean blow jays.

“But wait,” you say to yourself, “Isn’t that prostitution?” And I honestly can’t tell you. Not being a sex worker myself, I don’t have a real grasp on what constitutes what in that world.

If you trust “The Tyra Banks Show” (which I do with my life), most of these women are being gifted with jewelry and expensive handbags simply for their friendship, which leads me to believe that I need better friends. Or at least friends with six-packs who want to eat me out on my kitchen counter and fuck me in bathroom stalls at exclusive parties in Chicago.

Enter Zandra Kennedy of 2012 novel “Any Way You Want It,” by Maureen Smith. Zandra “loves to laugh, she loves to sing, and she does everything,” including run the top “escort service” in Illinois. Which I guess is saying something for Lincoln’s home state?

She’s not exactly a Madam, though: “Companionship” is the bottom line for the men who enlist Zandra’s company for dates to various society functions and the like. These men are usually exceptionally good looking in their own right, and probably wouldn’t need to pay for any date, one who ends up on her back or otherwise. But I digress.

Zandra’s success is both a testament to and a success compared to her hard-knock childhood. Her dad smacked her mother around for years before she hanged herself, and since Zandra’s cut all ties to him. As a child and young adult, she found refuge with her neighbors, the Brands, who have twin sons who became akin to Zandra’s protective older brothers.

Except my older brother is too busy playing Call Of Duty to want to bang me. … WHICH I’M NOT SAYING IS A BAD THING, JESUS!

Remington (seriously) Brand has been in love with Zandra FOR-EVER, and only wants her to open her heart to him and derp derp derp happily forever after. He’s an ex-Navy SEAL, so he’s got the endurance to go “all night, all night/every night.”

You asked for this when you named your novel after a GD Journey song, Smith.

After a one-night stand in the Caribbean, Zandra plans to just go back to doing her own thang on her own. Problem is, Daddy Doucher is back and plans to run for mayor of Chicago. If his fellow candidates find out his daughter runs a brothel (which she doesn’t, but doesn’t make her “escort service” seem any less sketchy), he’ll be out on his ass. Zandra refuses to shut down shop, because she’s the HBIC, but her father isn’t any less emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive.

One said fellow candidate, the incumbent mayor, already knows about Zandra’s business, but needs concrete evidence to slam her dad. After leaving the Navy, Remy started a security/private investigation business-operation thing, and is hired to check out the legitimacy of Zandra’s clientele. Remy already knows that one of Zandra’s escorts has slept with a client, seeing as that client was Remy’s brother, who is now married to said escort. Whoops.

“Checking out” Zandra’s operation becomes hooking up with her on the reg, jet setting to Paris to have sex in a sex museum, of all places, and kinda-sorta dating, I guess?

Like most romance novels, Zandra’s reasoning behind not DATING-dating Remy is about as flawed as the idea of running a sex-free escort service. She’s known the Brand family forever, and from chapter one – the Caribbean wedding of Remy’s brother and Zandra’s former escort – interactions with the Brands show that EVERYONE KNOWS REMY IS IN LOVE WITH ZANDRA AND HAS BEEN FOR METAPHORICALLY EVER. So any notions of “ruining their friendship” are already shot.

Then they have sex, then they have sex AGAIN, then they have sex on a couch, standing up, in public, BDSM-style … it’s all really excellent. Superb reading. You can pretty much just skip everything but the sex, actually, and feel pretty excellent about your choice. It’s not like you’re adding this to your Facebook “Favorite Reads” list.

Then they start doing couple-y things like holding hands and double dating with the newlyweds, and it’s just like shut up, you’re together, stop being a bitch, Zandra. But you forgive her a smidge because of Remy’s spying.

Then some other stuff happens and everyone’s all, “Oh, no! Keeping secrets/beating my family/running an escort service has totally backfired! How did I not see this coming?!” It wraps up pretty quickly, as most of the novel is taken up with scenes of cunnilingus and anal. And really, isn’t that the way we really want it?