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Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, December 11th.

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


Reviews and Excerpts
THE CHRISTMAS SECRET by Donna VanLiere (Fiction)
When Christine Eisley saves the life of a woman who works in Wilson’s department store, the owner of Wilson’s wants to find her and thank her, but Christine has disappeared. He sets his grandson, Jason, to the task of finding the mysterious “Christy.” Jason, an accountant by trade who has lost his job to downsizing, thinks he is “above” working at Wilson’s. Soon, he discovers that this new task gives him more than he bargains for. Reviewed by Susan Miura and excerpted.
- Click here to read Donna VanLiere’s holiday blog post, “Donna VanLiere on CHARLOTTE'S WEB.”

THE DISCIPLE by Stephen Coonts (Thriller)
In this new novel by New York Times bestselling author Stephen Coonts, Iran is weeks away from acquiring nuclear weapons and has every intention of using them to strike first. Only Tommy Carmellini and Jake Grafton can stop a nuclear nightmare. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.
- Click here to read Stephen Coonts’s holiday blog post, “Christmas Memories.”

CLEAVING: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession by Julie Powell (Memoir)
Julie Powell thought cooking her way through Julia Child's MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING was the craziest thing she'd ever do --- until she embarked on the voyage recounted in her new memoir. CLEAVING is both messy and mouthwatering --- kind of like the butchery she practices. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

WISHIN’ AND HOPIN’: A Christmas Story by Wally Lamb
WISHIN’ AND HOPIN’, an affable holiday novel from the author of the bestsellers SHE’S COME UNDONE and THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED, is about a 10-year-old boy in 1964 who is navigating the pitfalls and pleasures his suburban Connecticut life affords him. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

STONES INTO SCHOOLS: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Greg Mortenson (Current Events)
In THREE CUPS OF TEA, Greg Mortenson floated the startling idea that it is better for the impoverished peoples of Pakistan and Afghanistan to build schools for them than to drop bombs on them. Now, STONES INTO SCHOOLS carries forward the heartening story of his nonprofit and non-governmental Central Asia Institute as it spreads its crusade for women’s education over a wider area. Reviewed by Robert Finn.

WAR DANCES by Sherman Alexie (Fiction/Short Stories)
Sherman Alexie delivers a heartbreaking, hilarious collection of stories that explores the precarious balance between self-preservation and external responsibility in art, family and the world at large. With unparalleled insight into the minds of artists, laborers, fathers, husbands and sons, Alexie populates his stories with ordinary men on the brink of exceptional change. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

LAST WORDS by George Carlin with Tony Hendra (Memoir)
Over the last 15 years of his life, George Carlin enlisted friend and fellow comic Tony Hendra to help him assemble what they jokingly referred to as a “sortabiography.” Now Hendra has brought to fruition LAST WORDS, an engaging memoir of Carlin’s life in show business and a serious examination of the art of comedy. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

BRYANT & MAY ON THE LOOSE: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery by Christopher Fowler (Mystery)
The Peculiar Crimes Unit is no more. After years of defying the odds and infuriating their embarrassed superiors, detectives Arthur Bryant and John May have at last crossed the line. While Bryant takes to his bed, his bathrobe and his esoteric books, the rest of the team take to the streets looking for new careers --- leading one of them to stumble upon a gruesome murder. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE MORNING SHOW MURDERS by Al Roker and Dick Lochte (Mystery)
Billy Blessing, a successful restaurateur and cooking segment host on “Wake Up, America!,” is basking in the glow of his success until the night his executive producer and general nemesis, Rudy Gallagher, is murdered with poisoned food from Billy's restaurant. Now Billy is the prime suspect. Unless he can sort this mess out, he stands to lose his job, his restaurant and, most importantly, his freedom. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

WORMWOOD, NEVADA by David Oppegaard
(Science Fiction/Thriller)
After six years of marriage, Tyler and Anna Mayfield decide it’s time to leave their Nebraska home and start a new life. Tyler accepts a teaching job in Wormwood, Nevada, a desert town with an odd assortment of characters. Things in their new home change from strange to dangerous after a meteorite lands in the middle of a parking lot. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

THE LAST FOUNDING FATHER: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness by Harlow Giles Unger (Biography)
Harlow Giles Unger reveals the dominant political figure of a generation. A fierce fighter in four critical Revolutionary War battles and a courageous survivor of Valley Forge and a near-fatal wound at the Battle of Trenton, James Monroe (1751-1831) went on to become America’s first full-time politician, dedicating his life to securing America’s national and international durability. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

Need ideas for holiday gift-giving (and getting)? Check out these "reader perfect" suggestions in 14 categories. There's something for everyone on your list. Let the shopping begin!

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 six wonderful inspirational titles: HER INHERITANCE FOREVER: Texas: Star of Destiny, Book 2 by Lyn Cote, LEAH’S CHOICE: Pleasant Valley, Book One by Marta Perry, A LINEAGE OF GRACE by Francine Rivers, THE MOMENT BETWEEN by Nicole Baart, PRAYERS FOR SALE by Sandra Dallas and STRAY AFFECTIONS by Charlene Ann Baumbich.

HER INHERITANCE FOREVER: Texas: Star of Destiny, Book 2 by Lyn Cote (Historical Romance)
The second book in the Texas: Star of Destiny series by Lyn Cote, HER INHERITANCE FOREVER is an unforgettable story of faith, duty, destiny and love that unites a proud Tejano lady and an American cowboy in a time of great upheaval in the West.

LEAH’S CHOICE: Pleasant Valley, Book One by Marta Perry (Historical Romance)
All of Pleasant Valley seems to think the newcomer from Lancaster County is the perfect match for Leah Beiler, a teacher in their small town. But Daniel Glick’s past haunts him. Though he cannot miss the beauty in Leah’s bright eyes and patient ways, he also sees a reminder of his pain-filled marriage. Leah, too, has a burden to bear.

A LINEAGE OF GRACE by Francine Rivers (Historical Fiction)
In this compilation of the five books in the bestselling Lineage of Grace series by Francine Rivers, we meet the five women whom God chose --- Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary. Each was faced with extraordinary --- even scandalous --- challenges. Each took great personal risk to fulfill her calling. Each was destined to play a key role in the lineage of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World.

THE MOMENT BETWEEN by Nicole Baart (Fiction)
Abigail Bennett was completely in control of her life until tragedy pushed her to the brink of something she’s never experienced: Obsession. Now she’s given up everything she’s ever worked for to chase down the object of that obsession.

PRAYERS FOR SALE by Sandra Dallas (Fiction)
In 1936, two women form a friendship in the Colorado mining town of Middle Swan. Hennie Comfort is 86, and reluctantly facing a move to live with her daughter in Iowa. But in the meantime, she shares her amazing life stories with a newcomer, 17-year-old bride Nit Spindle. The result: a warm and luminous patchwork quilt of a book that readers will not soon forget.

STRAY AFFECTIONS by Charlene Ann Baumbich (Fiction)
The last thing Cassandra Higgins expects out of her Sunday is to be mesmerized at a collectors’ convention by a snowglobe. She’s enjoying some mommy time, with husband Ken at home tending their brood of four young boys, when she’s utterly charmed by the one-of-a kind globe containing figures of three dogs and a little girl with hair the color of her own. It sparks long-dormant memories for Cassie, of her beloved Grandpa Wonky, the stray she rescued as a child, and the painful roots of her combative relationship with her mother.

Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight
NOT MY DAUGHTER by Barbara Delinsky (Fiction)
On Sale January 5, 2010
Barbara Delinsky explores the bonds between mothers and daughters in this topical, explosive novel as a high school principal struggles with the news that her daughter and friends are pregnant.
- Click here to read Barbara Delinsky’s bio.
- Click here to read more about NOT MY DAUGHTER.

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.
-Click here to read a review of THE PIANO TEACHER.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
BURN by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy (Suspense)
The past Janeal thought had burned away is rising from the ashes.

Years ago, the Gypsy Kumpania where Janeal Mikkado lived was attacked by outsiders. With her best friend about to be consumed by a fire, Janeal had two options: try to save her friend --- at serious risk to her own life --- or disappear with the million dollars that she had just discovered...

But the past is quickly coming back to haunt her. Both the best friend and the boyfriend that she was sure were dead have reappeared in her life, as has someone who knows about the money. There's a debt to be paid for the money she found, but there's an even greater debt she must face--and if the chaff isn't burned from her own heart, it will consume her.
- Click here to read Ted Dekker’s bio.
- Click here to read Erin Healy’s bio.
- Click here to read more about BURN.

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 a second excerpt from WATCHLIST.

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight
DYING SCREAM by Mary Burton
Mary Burton takes readers down the horrific path of an affluent family’s dark past where well-hidden secrets unveil a series of grisly crimes, forcing a widow and a detective to explore a twisted, forbidden love that someone will kill for, again and again.
- Click here to read an excerpt from DYING SCREAM.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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