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Friday, April 9, 2010

April 9, 2010

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, April 9th.

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

LIVE TO TELL by Lisa Gardner
THE DOCTOR’S WIFE by Elizabeth Brundage
A STRANGER LIKE YOU by Elizabeth Brundage
BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver

Reviews and Excerpts
THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU by Elizabeth Berg (Fiction)
Elizabeth Berg composes a cast of characters headed to their 40th high school reunion in THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU, an emotionally rich novel that will speak to baby boomers and others contemplating the passage of time. Berg deftly weaves together stories of roads taken and not taken, choices made and opportunities missed, and the possibilities of second chances. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU.

IMPERFECT BIRDS by Anne Lamott (Fiction)
Seventeen-year-old Rosie Ferguson is smart, athletic and beautiful. But there are disturbing signs that the well-adjusted teenage life Rosie claims to be leading is a sham, and that her mother’s hopes for her to remain immune from the world’s darker impulses are dashed. Slowly and painfully, Rosie’s parents are forced to confront the fact that their daughter has been lying to them --- and that her deceptions have profound consequences on them all. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

THE BLACK CAT: A Richard Jury Mystery by Martha Grimes (Mystery)
Three months have passed since Richard Jury was left bereft and guilt-ridden after his lover's tragic auto accident, and he is now more wary than ever. He is deeply suspicious when requested on a case far out of his jurisdiction in an outlying village where a young woman has been murdered behind the local pub. The only witness is the establishment's black cat, who gives neither crook nor clue as to the girl's identity or her killer's. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST by Deanna Raybourn (Historical Fiction)
Writer Theodora Lestrange sets out on an adventure to the eerie land of Transylvania, where she experiences horrific things thought only to exist in fairy tales. But will she also find a fairy tale love with the mesmerizing and mysterious Count Andrei Dragulescu? Reviewed by Amie Taylor.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST.

ANGELOLOGY by Danielle Trussoni (Thriller)
The great battle between Heaven and Earth still rages on, with dark angels living among us. The Fallen Ones are ethereal inhuman creatures whose power is altogether astonishing and terrifying. Their descendants, the Nephilim, are hybrids of angels and humans who populate the Earth, living in disguise and seeking perfection and domination. Angelologists now work to recover a celestial artifact that, in the wrong hands, will either salvage or doom mankind. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

ETERNAL ON THE WATER by Joseph Monninger (Fiction)
From the day Cobb and Mary meet kayaking on Maine's Allagash River and fall deeply in love, the two approach life with the same sense of adventure they use to conquer the river's treacherous rapids. But rivers do not let go so easily...and neither does their love. So when Mary's life takes the cruelest turn, she vows to face those rough waters on her own terms. Reviewed by Jamie Layton.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for ETERNAL ON THE WATER.

NOWHERE TO RUN: A Joe Pickett Novel by C. J. Box (Thriller)
Joe Pickett is in his last week as the temporary game warden in the town of Baggs, Wyoming, but there have been strange things going on in the mountains, and his conscience won't let him leave without checking them out. When he'd first saddled up, he'd thought of this as his last patrol. What he hadn't known was just how accurate that thought might turn out to be. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE EXECUTOR by Jesse Kellerman (Thriller)
Recently kicked out of their shared apartment by his girlfriend, perpetual graduate student Joseph Geist is desperate for some source of income. He searches the local newspaper and answers a curious ad. How is he to know that what seems to be the best decision of his life is the one that seals his fate? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL by Mary Sharratt (Historical Fiction)
Bess Southers is a cunning woman sought out by people in her poor community to heal them and their animals. When accusations arise that she and members of her family have powers and use them for evil, the call of witch goes out and the hunt begins. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

THE SOLITUDE OF PRIME NUMBERS by Paolo Giordano (Fiction)
Alice and Mattia are misfits who seem destined to be alone. When they meet as teenagers, they recognize in each other a kindred, damaged spirit. But Mattia accepts a research position that takes him thousands of miles away, and the two are forced to separate. Then a chance occurrence reunites them and forces a lifetime of concealed emotion to the surface. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

CONTESTED WILL: Who Wrote Shakespeare? by James Shapiro (History)
The literary controversy over whether or not William Shakespeare of Stratford really wrote those 37 classic plays is still with us. Renowned Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro has his own opinion (he thinks Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare), but he is more interested in exploring the battle itself. Who are these doubters? Why do they think as they do? How believable are their arguments? What does it all matter anyway? Reviewed by Robert Finn.

FROM AWAY by David Carkeet (Mystery)
Denny Braintree, a wisecracking loner devoted to model trains, finds himself stranded in late-winter Vermont. His night at the hotel begins with promise, but then his prospective one-night stand walks out on him. Leaving town, Denny is mistaken for Homer Dumpling, a popular native son who mysteriously disappeared from town three years earlier. Instead of correcting the mistake, Denny dons his new identity, and it’s a good thing he does --- the woman he had hoped to sleep with has turned up dead, and Denny is the chief suspect. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

SWEATER QUEST: My Year of Knitting Dangerously by Adrienne Martini (Memoir)
Knitting is both a practical and an aesthetic art with its own set of terminology and tools, its own history and (pardon the pun) a close-knit community. In SWEATER QUEST, author Adrienne Martini documents her year of working on a notoriously difficult sweater pattern and, in doing so, explores why she and so many others enjoy knitting. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

SLOW FIRE by Ken Mercer (Mystery)
One morning, Will Magowan --- once a highly decorated LAPD narcotics detective --- opens his mail and finds a mysterious job offer to become the police chief of Haydenville, a tiny town in rural Northern California. Out of options, Will accepts the job. After moving to Haydenville, he discovers that the once postcard-perfect town is being corrupted by a criminal influence that threatens to destroy it. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Author Talks
Anne Lamott
Anne Lamott’s latest novel, IMPERFECT BIRDS, examines such themes as destructive teenage behavior, the difficulties of communicating truth between parents and their children, and the fragile bonds of familial relationships --- as seen from the perspective of the troubled Ferguson family first introduced in ROSIE and its follow-up, CROOKED LITTLE HEART. In this interview, Lamott discusses why she chose to revisit Elizabeth and Rosie during this critical time in their lives, and sheds light on the motivations behind their questionable behavior. She also explains how she drew on her experiences with troubled teens --- as well as her own relationship with her son --- to better understand her characters, shares advice for families dealing with similar hardships, and reflects on what may lie ahead for Rosie in the future.

Danielle Trussoni
In this interview, Danielle Trussoni --- author of the acclaimed memoir FALLING THROUGH THE EARTH --- describes the slow evolution of her debut work of fiction, ANGELOLOGY, and discusses the research she performed on theology, historical periods and various religious orders to pen this novel about an ancient conflict between a secret society and the nefarious descendents of angels and humans. She also shares her thoughts on the antagonistic separation between science and religion, explains how living abroad has influenced her writing, and hints at what’s in store for her main character in the book’s sequel.

Joseph Monninger

Joseph Monninger’s reverence of the outdoors is especially apparent in his latest novel, ETERNAL ON THE WATER, which chronicles a moving and tragic love story set amidst the trails of Henry David Thoreau’s legendary journey along the Allagash Waterway. In this interview, Monninger discusses how his personal surroundings and day-to-day life have helped to create the natural imagery and metaphors utilized in the book, and gives some insight into how his characters approach life and their relationship to one another. He also shares his thoughts on the coexistence of nature and technology, as well as the transcendentalist belief in living simply, and explains how he hopes his work will affect his readers.

Young Adult 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 In February, 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.

Here are this month’s selections:
BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver
FEVER CRUMB by Philip Reeve
OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon M. Draper
SPLIT by Swati Avasthi
TANGLED by Carolyn Mackler

Fantasy Author Spotlight
Georgina Kincaid has formidable powers. Immortality, seduction, shape-shifting into any human form she desires, walking in heels that would cripple mere mortals --- all child’s play to a succubus like her.
- Click here to read a second excerpt from SUCCUBUS SHADOWS.

Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight
WHITER THAN SNOW by Sandra Dallas
WHITER THAN SNOW opens in 1920, on a spring afternoon in Swandyke, a small town near Colorado’s Tenmile Range. Just moments after four o’clock, a large split of snow separates from Jubilee Mountain high above the tiny hamlet and hurtles down the rocky slope, enveloping everything in its path including nine young children who are walking home from school. But only four children survive.
- Click here to view Advance Reader Comments for WHITER THAN SNOW.

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