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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

November 25, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, November 25th.

The titles below are discussed in the Newsletter Opener, which can be read

NOVEL DESINATIONS by Shannon McKenna and Joni Rendon
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
The Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz

Reviews and Excerpts

PIRATE LATITUDES by Michael Crichton (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
PIRATE LATITUDES was discovered on one of Michael Crichton's computers following his untimely death in 2008. Written in 2006, it is everything a pirate adventure novel should be as it swashes and buckles its way through the Caribbean in the mid-17th century at the height of piracy on the high seas. Reviewed by Roz Shea and excerpted.
- Click
here to read an excerpt from PIRATE LATITUDES.

NO LESS THAN VICTORY: A Novel of World War II, by Jeff Shaara (Historical Fiction)
World War II has ravaged Europe under the onslaught of Hitler's forces, but his grip is weakening. Allied troops have begun to press him back, leading him to undertake desperate measures. Author Jeff Shaara takes up the final installment of his World War II trilogy (following THE RISING TIDE and THE STEEL WAVE) and brings to a close one of the most harrowing moments the world has known. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard and excerpted.
- Click
here to read an excerpt from NO LESS THAN VICTORY.

THE DARKNESS by Jason Pinter (Thriller)
A young man is found murdered, his bones crushed nearly to dust before his body was dumped into New York’s East River. In New York there are hundreds of murders a year, but this one is different. Someone is sending a message. And shockingly, the victim has ties to Henry Parker’s brother, Stephen Gaines, recently murdered by an elusive drug lord known only as the Fury. Reviewed by Joe Harlaub and excerpted.
- Click
here to read an excerpt from THE DARKNESS.

HOLLYWOOD MOON by Joseph Wambaugh (Mystery)
Officer “Hollywood” Nate Weiss (who appeared in HOLLYWOOD STATION and HOLLYWOOD CROWS) is back with more drama from the LAPD, this time dealing with a string of attacks on women. The police know that, if they don’t stop the guy soon, they could have a murder on their hands. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer (Social Science)
Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between omnivore and vegetarian. But on the brink of fatherhood --- facing the prospect of having to make dietary choices on a child's behalf --- his casual questioning took on an urgency. His quest for answers ultimately required him to visit factory farms in the middle of the night and probe some of his most primal instincts about right and wrong. Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol.

LONDON BOULEVARD by Ken Bruen (Mystery)
Irish mystery writer Ken Bruen puts a dark twist on the classic noir story Sunset Boulevard. A small-time Southeast London con is released from jail after serving three years for a crime he can’t remember committing and becomes involved with a stage star well past her prime, as well as assorted dangerous people from his past. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

MERRY, MERRY GHOST by Carolyn Hart (Mystery)
In this charming sequel to GHOST AT WORK, the dearly departed spirit of Bailey Ruth receives another rescue assignment. To Bailey Ruth's joy, her earthly sojourn is in her hometown at the height of the Christmas festivities. Her mission: to protect a vulnerable orphan while also solving a murder mystery. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, by Gail Collins (History)
WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED begins in 1960, when most American women had to get their husbands' permission to apply for a credit card. It ends in 2008 with Hillary Clinton's historic presidential campaign. This was a time of cataclysmic change, when, after 400 years, expectations about the lives of American women were smashed in just a generation. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

CHANGING MY MIND: Occasional Essays, by Zadie Smith (Essays/Criticism)
n addition to her considerable talents as a novelist, Zadie Smith has been quietly assembling an impressive body of literary and cultural criticism over the past several years. Those pieces have been collected in this volume, a showcase for the workings of a first-class mind and a writer of lucid prose. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

RAYMOND CARVER: A Writer’s Life, by Carol Sklenicka (Biography)
When Raymond Carver died at age 50, readers lost a distinctive voice in its prime. Carver was, the Times of London said, "the Chekhov of middle America." Carol Sklenicka's exhaustively researched biography presents a striking portrait of Carver as a man as well as the talented writer. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

DEATH MESSAGE by Mark Billingham (Thriller)
Delivering the "death message." That's what cops call those harrowing moments when they must tell someone that a loved one has been killed. Now Detective Investigator Tom Thorne is receiving messages of his own: photographs of murder victims sent to his cell phone. Who are the victims? Who is sending the photographs? And why is he sending them to Tom Thorne? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE BOY FROM BABY HOUSE 10: From the Nightmare of a Russian Orphanage to a New Life in America, by Alan Philps and John Lahutsky (Memoir)
A smart and engaging little boy afflicted with cerebral palsy, abandoned by his mother and locked away in the Russian orphanage system, escapes his fate by reaching out to the world in this powerful and moving true-life story. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

The holiday season is upon us! At, this means it's time for us to share the spirit of the season with you with our Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest. While you are searching for the perfect gifts, we want to remind you that books make affordable, personal and wonderful gifts for EVERYONE on your list --- and are a nice way to treat yourself as well!

From November 13th through January 4th, we will spotlight a different title or collection of titles, and readers will have the chance to win one of five holiday baskets filled with winter-themed items as well as a copy of the featured book(s).

This week, we’re spotlighting a collection of holiday tales from Kensington Books: CHRISTMAS AT SEA PINES COTTAGE by Sally Smith O'Rourke; KISSING SANTA CLAUS by Donna Kauffman, Jill Shalvis and HelenKay Dimon; SANTA IN A STETSON by Janet Dailey; SNOW ANGELS by Fern Michaels, Marie Bostwick, Janna McMahan and Rosalind Noonan; A WEE CHRISTMAS HOMICIDE: A Liss MacCrimmon Mystery by Kaitlyn Dunnett; and YULE BE MINE by Lori Foster.

CHRISTMAS AT SEA PINES COTTAGE by Sally Smith O'Rourke (Romance)
From the author of THE MAN WHO LOVED JANE AUSTEN and THE MAIDENSTONE LIGHTHOUSE comes a heartwarming, unforgettable novel set on the ruggedly beautiful island of Cape Fear in the Carolinas, where a man determined to retreat from the world discovers the redemptive power of unexpected love. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

KISSING SANTA CLAUS by Donna Kauffman, Jill Shalvis and HelenKay Dimon (Romance Anthology)
USA Today bestselling author Donna Kauffman headlines this Christmas anthology --- with two sizzling contemporary authors: USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis and HelenKay Dimon --- as three hot humbugs find holiday magic where they least expect it.

SANTA IN A STETSON by Janet Dailey (Romance)
Though Diana Palmer left the bright lights of the big city behind for New Mexico, she misses the excitement now that Christmas is coming. But she’s about to find out that the joys of the season are just as big in the Land of Enchantment…and just as romantic.

A WEE CHRISTMAS HOMICIDE: A Liss MacCrimmon Mystery, by Kaitlyn Dunnett (Mystery)
Kaitlyn Dunnett’s third Liss MacCrimmon mystery has the part-time sleuth tracking another killer --- after the season’s hottest toy leads to murder --- and coping with not one, but two attentive males.

YULE BE MINE by Lori Foster (Romance/Short Stories)
Sparkling days, crackling fires, long steamy nights…Christmas is all about making memories. In four delicious tales of seduction and romance, New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster brings you all the pleasures of the season…and then some.


Need ideas for holiday gift-giving (and getting)? Check out these "reader perfect" suggestions in 13 categories. There's something for everyone on your list. Let the shopping begin!

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
WATCHLIST: A Serial Thriller by Jeffery Deaver and Others (Thriller)
From International Thriller Writers comes WATCHLIST: two powerful novellas featuring the same thrilling cast of characters in one major suspenseful package. THE CHOPIN MANUSCRIPT and THE COPPER BRACELET are collaborations of some of the world’s greatest thriller writers, including Lee Child, Joseph Finder, Lisa Scottoline, and Jeffery Deaver, who conceived the characters and set the plots in motion. The other authors each wrote a chapter and Deaver then completed what he started, bringing both novellas to their startling conclusions.

- Click here to read Jeffery Deaver's bio.
- Click
here to see Jeffery Deaver’s backlist.
- Click
here to read more about the contributing writers to WATCHLIST.
- Click
here to read more about WATCHLIST

Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight
THE PIANO TEACHER by Janice Y.K. Lee (Fiction)
Set in Hong Kong during the outbreak of World War II, and its aftermath ten years later, THE PIANO TEACHER alternates between the lives of two vastly different women whose destinies are linked by the events of the war.
here to read a second excerpt from THE PIANO TEACHER.

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