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Friday, January 23, 2009

January 23, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on beginning Friday, January 23rd:

Also mentioned in the Bookrepor Newsletter Opener, which can be read here:

CUTTING FOR STONE by Abraham Verghese
THE TENNIS PARTNER by Abraham Verghese
PRAYERS FOR SALE by Sandra Dallas
THE LAST TEMPLAR by Raymond Khoury

Reviews and Excerpts:
THE TREASURE by Iris Johansen (Historical Romance)
New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen returns with her first historical romance in a decade, a new novel of passion and exotic adventure that leads two unlikely and unforgettable treasure hunters on a perilous journey --- and into the heart of one of the most captivating mysteries of all time. Reviewed by Hillary Wagy and excerpted.

AGINCOURT by Bernard Cornwell (Historical Fiction)
One of the most dramatic victories in British history, the battle of Agincourt --- immortalized by Shakespeare in Henry V --- pitted undermanned and overwhelmed English forces against a French army determined to keep their crown out of Henry's hands. Here Bernard Cornwell resurrects the legend of the battle and the "band of brothers" who fought it on October 25, 1415. Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds and excerpted.
-Click here to read an excerpt of AGINCOURT.

BLACK OPS: A Presidential Agent Novel, by W. E. B. Griffin (Political Thriller)
The first disturbing reports reached Delta Force Lieutenant Colonel Charley Castillo in the form of backchannel messages concerning covert U.S. intelligence assets working for a variety of agencies suddenly gone missing and then inexplicably found dying. Or dead. Castillo finds the information both infuriating and fascinating, particularly after a recent experience with two CIA traitors whose own deaths were swift and suspicious. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

Tiffany Baker bursts onto the literary scene with her terrific debut, which blends murder, magic and dark family secrets in a larger-than-life story. THE LITTLE GIANT OF ABERDEEN COUNTY finds loveliness and meaning in the most unusual guises --- and it marks the advent of a unique new talent. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

A FACE AT THE WINDOW: A Home Repair is Homicide Mystery by Sarah Graves (Mystery)
Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree's eternal home repairs on her ancient money pit Maine island home are interrupted when the little girl she is caring for is kidnapped. She knows who is behind it, but no one quite believes her, which leaves Jake to play detective while pulling her into some heart-thumpingly suspenseful situations. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

NEVER TELL A LIE by Hallie Ephron (Suspense)
In preparation for the birth of their first child, Ivy and David hold a yard sale to clean out the junk they’d inherited with the old Victorian house they'd bought three years before. And who should show up but Melinda White, a former high school classmate of David and Ivy's. Little does Ivy know that this strange encounter is only the beginning of a hellish nightmare of deceit and betrayal. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

BRIGHT FUTURES: A Lew Fonesca Mystery by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Mystery)
Award-winning mystery writer Stuart Kaminsky has a varied stable of sleuths stretching from Moscow to Los Angeles, with stops in between. Investigator Lew Fonesca toils in sunny Florida still piecing back the parts of his life shattered by the death of his wife. In BRIGHT FUTURES, the sixth novel in this series, he takes on a client accused of murder only to discover that the case is not what it appears to be. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

VOLUNTARY MADNESS: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin by Norah Vincent (Memoir)
Suffering from severe depression after her 18 months living disguised as a man, Norah Vincent felt she was a danger to herself. On the advice of her psychologist she committed herself to a mental institution. Out of this raw and overwhelming experience came the idea for her next book. She decided to get healthy and to study the effect of treatment on the depressed and insane “in the bin,” as she calls it. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

SOMEWHERE TOWARDS THE END: A Memoir by Diana Athill (Memoir)
Aging is not necessarily depressing. Or boring. Or the end of pleasure. This bulletin from the last chapters of life, by a celebrated nonagenarian memoirist and editor, is not only honest and brave (she doesn’t evade painful memories or regrets) but also overflows with passion, profundity and wit. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

THE PIANO TEACHER by Janice Y. K. Lee (Fiction)
The growing season may be far off, but 2009 is already providing a bumper crop of outstanding books by first-time novelists. THE PIANO TEACHER, the debut novel of former Elle editor Janice Y. K. Lee, is no exception. It's a blistering portrait of Hong Kong during and after World War II as well as a gutsy exploration of the often dangerous and damaging choices made by individuals during wartime. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS follows the lives of eight students who gather in Lillian’s Restaurant every Monday night for cooking class. It soon becomes clear, however, that each one seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. Debut author Erica Bauermeister whips up a feast of tastes, smells, textures and memories through the characters she profiles. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE SUICIDE COLLECTORS by David Oppegaard (Thriller)
The Despair has plagued the earth for five years. Most of the world’s population has inexplicably died by its own hand, and the few survivors struggle to remain alive. A mysterious, shadowy group called the Collectors has emerged, inevitably appearing to remove the bodies of the dead. But in the crumbling state of Florida, a man named Norman takes an unprecedented stand against the Collectors, propelling him on a journey across North America. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

4th Annual Valentine’s Day Contest – Books to Fall in Love With
The countdown to Valentine's Day is on! Stuck on what to buy your Valentine? Our featured titles have the bookish answer. From January 23rd through February 6th, readers will have the chance to win one of our five Valentine's Day baskets. They are filled with one copy of each of our featured books. Whether you are looking for a humorous tale, a heartwarming love story or an escape into the world of paranormal romance, our Valentine's Day suggestions are sure to satisfy whatever you're craving to give on this holiday.

Our featured Valentine's Day titles are:

NIGHT’S PLEASURE by Amanda Ashley
Savanah Gentry's life was much simpler as a reporter for the local newspaper --- before her father's sudden death bequeathed her the family trade --- vampire hunting. Entrusted with a legacy, Savannah enters a mysterious new world that puts everyone she cares for in danger... including the seductive Vampire, Rane.

Rane Cordova has always been alone, half hating himself for his dark gift yet savoring its extraordinary power. But one look at Savanah fills him with the need to take everything she has to give, and carry her to heights of unimagined ecstasy. He never intended their relationship to go this far, and now she's in incredible danger: a relentless enemy is determined to eliminate Rane and all of his kind. Desire casts a dark spell, but will their love be enough to save them...

ONE TRUE THEORY OF LOVE by Laura Fitzgerald
Since the love of her life betrayed her, Meg has had a hard time putting into practice her Hokey-Pokey Theory of Life, which demands that you put your whole self in. What's the point of opening yourself up if your heart comes back a little more broken each time? These days, Meg and her nine-year-old son Henry are taking on the world in their own lively way, and it's enough.

Then Meg unexpectedly finds love in the form of an exotically handsome Iranian-American who befriends her and Henry over a game of chess in a coffee shop. When Meg takes another leap of faith, she begins to discover that in order to heal you have to hurt, but most of all you have to live your life and put your whole self in.

VERY VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani
In this luscious, contemporary family saga, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of exquisite wedding shoes since 1903, is one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village. The company is on the verge of financial collapse. It falls to thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli, the talented and determined apprentice to her grandmother, the master artisan Teodora Angelini, to bring the family's old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century and save the company from ruin.

While juggling a budding romance with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother to learn new techniques and seek one-of-a-kind materials for building a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals. There, in Tuscany, Naples, and on the Isle of Capri, a family secret is revealed as Valentine discovers her artistic voice and much more, turning her life and the family business upside down in ways she never expected.

VERY VALENTINE is a sumptuous treat, a journey of dreams fulfilled, a celebration of love and loss filled with Trigiani's trademark heart and humor.

Jason F. Wright's THE WEDNESDAY LETTERS is a heartwarming novel that begins with an extraordinary promise: a husband will write his new bride a love letter every week of their married lives. Thirty-nine years later, Jack and Laurel Cooper pass on, and it's not long before their adult children stumble upon a trunk filled with the Wednesday Letters and begin to read. They learn of previously undisclosed joys and pains in their parents' marriage, but in the letters they also find clues to a family secret that will bring the Cooper children face-to-face with a life-changing moment of truth.

THE WEDNESDAY LETTERS is a story with huge heart that speaks to family, hope and the importance of forgiveness. Readers across the country have not only embraced the book, they've been inspired to write their own Wednesday Letters to loved ones.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
LETHAL LEGACY by Linda Fairstein (Suspense)
When Assistant District Attorney Alex Cooper is summoned to Tina Barr’s apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, she finds a neighbor convinced that the young woman was assaulted. But the terrified victim, a conservator of rare books and maps, refuses to cooperate with investigators. Then another woman is found murdered in that same apartment with an extremely valuable book, believed to have been stolen. As Alex pursues the murderer, she is drawn into the strange and privileged world of the Hunt family, major benefactors of the New York Public Library and passionate rare book collectors.
-Click here to read an excerpt from LETHAL LEGACY.

FINAL BREATH by Kevin O'Brien (Suspense)
At first the deaths seem random: a young Portland couple brutally murdered in a game gone awry, a Chicago oman who plummeted to her death from an office building, an aspiring screenwriter asphyxiated in his New York apartment . . . but the macabre souvenirs television reporter Sydney Jordan receives reveal the connection is both personal and terrifying.
-Click here to read Advance Reader Comments for FINAL BREATH.

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight
WICKED GAME by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush (Romantic Suspense)
Twenty years ago, wild-child Jessie Brentwood vanished from St. Elizabeth’s high school. Most in Jessie’s tight circle of friends believed she simply ran away. Few suspected Jessie was hiding a shocking secret --- one that brought her into the crosshairs of a vicious killer. Two decades pass before a body is unearthed on school grounds and Jessie’s old friends reunite to talk. Most are sure the body is Jessie’s and the mystery of what happened to her has finally been solved. But soon, Jessie’s friends each begin to die in horrible, freak accidents that defy explanation.
-Click here to read a third excerpt from WICKED GAME.

One to Watch Author Spotlight

TWO RIVERS by T. Greenwood (Fiction)
A haunting new novel set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and civil rights movement is an examination of the power of grief, and the importance of forgiveness.
-Click here to read Advance Reader Comments for TWO RIVERS.

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