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Friday, March 5, 2010

March 5, 2010

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, March 5th.

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

HOW TO NEVER LOOK FAT AGAIN: Over 1,000 Ways to Dress Thinner – Without Dieting! By Charla Krupp
HOW NOT TO LOOK OLD by Charla Krupp
THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett
LITTLE BEE by Chris Cleave
HELL GATE by Linda Fairstein
THE MIDDLE PLACE by Kelly Corrigan

Reviews and Excerpts
ONE GOOD DOG by Susan Wilson (Fiction)

Adam is a ruthless self-made millionaire married to an icy socialite living a picture-perfect existence that includes a teen princess daughter. He is sentenced to community service following an outburst at the office and meets the adorable Chance, who teaches him about survival and what matters. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

HOUSE RULES by Jodi Picoult (Fiction)
In HOUSE RULES, Jodi Picoult creates her most interesting character to date: Jacob Hunt, a highly-functioning 18-year-old afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome. Jacob and his family are pushed to the limit when he is accused of murdering his social skills tutor. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

SPLIT IMAGE: A Jesse Stone Novel by Robert B. Parker (Mystery)
When a mob soldier is found murdered in the trunk of a car, Jesse Stone confronts both a potential mob war and his own personal demons in this ninth novel featuring the Paradise, Massachusetts police chief, courtesy of the late, great Robert B. Parker. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

HUSH by Kate White (Thriller)
In Kate White’s first stand-alone thriller, newly single Lake Warren has a night of wild and wanton sex with a hot doctor. But what should have been a good time turns deadly when Lake awakens to find the good doctor dead in his bed and the murderer hot on her heels. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

LIFT by Kelly Corrigan (Self Help/Inspiration)
Written as a letter to her children, Kelly Corrigan's LIFT is a tender, intimate and robust portrait of risk and love. Here, Corrigan weaves together three true and unforgettable stories of adults willing to experience emotional hazards in exchange for the gratifications of raising children. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

SECRETS OF EDEN by Chris Bohjalian (Fiction)
After the apparent murder-suicide of a local couple, four inhabitants of a small Vermont town struggle to make sense of the senseless tragedy, especially when it becomes clear that there’s more to the story than originally thought. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

THE WILD ZONE by Joy Fielding (Thriller)
Two brothers and their friend are out one night at their favorite South Beach bar and decide to make a bet on who can be the first to seduce a mysterious-looking young woman drinking by herself. Little do they know that their harmless bet is about to take on a life of its own, a life full of deadly consequences for all concerned. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Epic storyteller Frank Delaney’s latest novel is a heartbreaking tale involving two Irish families: the MacCarthys (hardworking farmers) and the Kellys (a ruthless politician and his kin). They clash and they mesh during the upheaval of Ireland’s tough 1932 election with tragic results. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THE LAST SURGEON by Michael Palmer (Medical Thriller)
Both Dr. Nick Garrity and psych nurse Jillian Coates have reason to believe that there is more to the losses each has suffered than the authorities are willing to investigate. The mysterious disappearance of a Marine sergeant who saved Nick’s life and the apparent suicide of Jillian’s sister, Belle, bring them together and set them on a thrill ride that doesn’t stop until the mystery is solved. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

THE INFINITIES by John Banville (Psychological Thriller)
Adam Godley, a renowned theoretical mathematician, is dying. His family gathers at his bedside, but they are not alone in their vigil. Around them hovers a family of mischievous immortals. As old Adam’s days on earth run down, these unearthly beings start to stir up trouble, to sometimes wildly unintended effect. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

THE FOURTH ASSASSIN: An Omar Yussef Mystery by Matt Beynon Rees (Mystery)
Arriving to visit his son in a heavily Palestinian area of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Omar Yussef discovers the beheaded body of one of the boy’s roommates. When his son is arrested as a suspect, Yussef must prove the boy’s innocence. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

A STAIN ON THE SILENCE by Andrew Taylor (Psychological Thriller)
What if a childless man in his 40s discovers that he has a daughter, the result of an affair 25 years earlier? What if the daughter is pregnant? And what if she’s on the run for murder? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub

GHOSTS & LIGHTNING by Trevor Byrne (Fiction)
Set in contemporary Dublin and the surrounding countryside, GHOSTS & LIGHTNING is a picaresque account of Denny Cullen's life after he is called back home to attend his mother's funeral. Denny --- a sweet-natured but disillusioned young man who feels powerless in the face of death, dope and the dole queue --- is the steadiest in a cast of unstable characters. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

Author Interview
Susan Wilson
Susan Wilson is the author of six works of fiction, including SUMMER HARBOR, THE FORTUNE TELLER'S DAUGHTER, BEAUTY and the newly released ONE GOOD DOG. In this interview with's Alexis Burling, Wilson discusses how the plot of her latest novel evolved from its earliest inception as a tale of redemption to its finished product as a "story about a dog" and elaborates on how her main character, Adam, grew over the course of the book. She also describes her family's real-life canine companions who helped shape her writing and reflects on how the novel's theme of second chances applied to her own life and career.

Author Talk
Jodi Picoult
In her latest novel, HOUSE RULES, Jodi Picoult examines the faults of the justice system regarding its treatment of the mentally and socially handicapped through the plight of a single mother whose son --- a teenage boy with Asperger’s Syndrome --- is accused of murder. In this interview, Picoult discusses her personal inspiration behind this captivating storyline and explains why she always has been drawn to themes of ethics and morality in her work. She also reflects on how her writing style has grown over the course of her career and describes the premise of her next book, SING YOU HOME, which explores the clash between religion and one’s sexual orientation.

Books into Movies
The films spotlighted in this month’s Books into Movies Feature include:
Green Zone
Alice in Wonderland
“The Pacific”
The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo
Repo Men
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
How to Train Your Dragon
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
Where the Wild Things Are
The Stoning of Soraya M.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
The Men Who Stare at Goats
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Up in the Air

New in Paperback
March’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, the sequel to the international publishing sensation THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by the late Stieg Larsson; JUST TAKE MY HEART, a stand-alone thriller from Mary Higgins Clark, and CURSED, daughter Carol Higgins Clark’s 12th Regan Reilly mystery; GONE TOMORROW, the 13th installment in the Jack Reacher series that finds Lee Child’s protagonist making a choice that triggers an electrifying chain of events; LIFE SENTENCES, Laura Lippman’s novel that centers on a successful memoirist who uncovers dark secrets about a childhood she thought she knew; THE SIGN by Raymond Khoury, a provocative thriller set at the intersection of science, religion and history in which a sign in the heavens may unleash hell on earth; TWENTIES GIRL, a laugh-out-loud novel from Sophie Kinsella that is also a deeply moving testament to the transcendent bonds of friendship and family; and a number of baseball-themed books --- most notably THE YANKEE YEARS by Joe Torre --- that are re-releasing just in time for the start of the Major League season.

Spotlight on YA Books Perfect for Adults
As you may or may not know, our company, The Book Report Network, has a number of websites about books and authors in addition to Last month, shared a few adult novels on, our site for young adult readers, that we thought would have definite appeal to a teen audience. In the spirit of sharing, we are now spotlighting a selection of titles from that we believe are great reads that you might enjoy. This new feature will be updated monthly.

ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL by Nora Raleigh Baskin
CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins
CHAINS by Laurie Halse Anderson
THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher
TRICKS by Ellen Hopkins
WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED by Judy Blundell
WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead
WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
YOU CAN’T STOP ME by Max Allan Collins
Small-town sheriff J.C. Harrow made headlines when he apprehended a would-be presidential assassin --- only to come home that night and find his wife and son brutally murdered. This tragic twist of fate launched his career as the host of reality TV’s smash-hit, "Crime Seen!" But while media star Harrow tracks down dangerous criminals coast to coast --- with the help of viewers’ tips --- a killer with a twisted agenda is making his own bloody path to fame.
- Click here to read an excerpt from YOU CAN’T STOP ME.
- Click here to read Max Allan Collins’s bio.
- Click here to read more about YOU CAN’T STOP ME.

Historical Fiction Author Spotlight
HER MOTHER’S HOPE by Francine Rivers
Near the turn of the 20th century, fiery Marta leaves Switzerland determined to find life on her own terms. Her journey takes her through Europe and finally lands her with children and husband in tow in the central valley of California. Marta’s experiences convince her that only the strong survive. Hildie, Marta’s oldest daughter, has a heart to serve others, and her calling as a nurse during World War II gives her independence, if not the respect of her mother.
- Click here to read a second excerpt from HER MOTHER’S HOPE.

One to Watch Author Spotlight
What if the old maid of Amherst wasn't an old maid after all? Her older brother, Austin, spoke of Emily as his "wild sister." Jerome Charyn, continuing his exploration of American history through fiction, has written a startling novel about Emily Dickinson in her own voice, with all its characteristic modulations that he learned from her letters and poems. Along the way, Charyn introduces us to members of Emily's inner circle, both real and imagined, who helped shape the legendary poet.
- Click here to read a review of THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON.
- Click here to read Jerome Charyn's bio.
- Click here to see Jerome Charyn's backlist.

ONE AMAZING THING by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Late afternoon in a passport and visa office in an unnamed American city, where only nine people remain. When an earthquake rips through the afternoon lull, trapping them together, their focus first jolts to their collective struggle to survive. There’s little food. The office begins to flood. As the psychological and emotional stress becomes nearly too much for them to bear, one of them suggests that each tell a personal tale, “one amazing thing” from their lives, which they have never told anyone before. As their surprising stories of romance, marriage, family, political upheaval, and self-discovery unfold against the urgency of their life-or-death circumstances, the novel proves the transcendent power of stories and the meaningfulness of human expression itself.
- Click here to view Advance Reader Comments about ONE AMAZING THING.

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