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Friday, July 30, 2010

July 30, 2010

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, July 30th.

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

THE PERFECT LOVE SONG by Patty Callahan Henry
STOLEN by Lucy Christopher

Reviews and Excerpts
STAR ISLAND by Carl Hiaasen (Fiction)
Meet 22-year-old Cherry Pye, a pop star who is about to attempt a comeback from her latest drug-and-alcohol disaster. Now meet Cherry again: in the person of her “undercover stunt double,” Ann DeLusia. Ann portrays Cherry whenever the singer is too “indisposed” to go out in public. And it is Ann-mistaken-for-Cherry who is kidnapped from a South Beach hotel by obsessed paparazzo Bang Abbott. Reviewed by Roz Shea.
- Click here to read an excerpt from STAR ISLAND.

THE ISLAND by Elin Hilderbrand (Fiction)
Birdie Cousins has planned a getaway with her daughter Chess just before Chess's upcoming marriage. When Chess abruptly breaks off the wedding and her fiancé shockingly dies in a rock climbing accident, it leaves Chess feeling guilty and deeply depressed. Birdie convinces her younger daughter Tate and her own sister India to join them on Tuckernuck Island for the month of July. Secrets and intrigue soon make their way to the surface. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

AS HUSBANDS GO by Susan Isaacs (Fiction)
When Susie B. Anthony Rabinowitz Gersten's wonderful husband is found stabbed to death in a prostitute's apartment, all hell breaks out --- instigated by Susie herself, whose disbelief in the circumstances will not let her rest until she discovers the truth about her tragedy. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

DAMAGED: A Maggie O'Dell Novel by Alex Kava (Thriller)
On Pensacola Beach, the Coast Guard prepares for a Category 5 hurricane that has entered the Gulf of Mexico. When the air crew patrols the waterways, they spot a huge fishing cooler about a mile offshore. Upon opening the cooler, they’re shocked by what they find: body parts tightly wrapped in plastic. Though she is putting herself in the projected path of the hurricane, Special Agent Maggie O’Dell is sent to investigate. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SHADOW ZONE by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen (Thriller)
While mapping the ancient underwater city of Marinth in the Atlantic Ocean, submersible designer Hannah Bryson makes a shocking discovery: she may have finally uncovered the truth about the once-glorious city’s mysterious demise. With her unexpected new findings, Hannah realizes that the ancient city’s explosive secret could have dire consequences for the modern-day world. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

KINGS OF THE EARTH by Jon Clinch (Fiction)
Vernon, Audie and Creed Proctor are brothers who eek out a living on their rundown dairy farm in upstate New York. The three unmarried siblings share chores, meals and the same filthy bed. When one dies in his sleep, the other two become suspects in his murder. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

THE SCARLET CONTESSA: A Novel of the Italian Renaissance by Jeanne Kalogridis (Historical Fiction)
Caterina Sforza is the daughter of the Duke of Milan and a woman who likes having her way. When marriage takes her to Rome, she has plans for not only riches but also power. Willing to fight her own battles and political struggles, Caterina’s shocking behavior makes her a woman not to be trifled with. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

MEMORY WALL: Stories by Anthony Doerr (Fiction/Short Stories)
Set on four continents, Anthony Doerr's new stories are about memory, the source of meaning and coherence in our lives, the fragile thread that connects us to ourselves and to others. Every hour, says Doerr, all over the globe, an infinite number of memories disappear. Yet at the same time children, surveying territory that is entirely new to them, push back the darkness, form fresh memories, and remake the world. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

An archaeologist journeys to Kenya to join a prestigious dig for prehuman fossils, but when a colleague is murdered, she must testify in an African court against a Maasai warrior. The outcome of the case will determine race relations in 1960s Kenya and endanger future use of the fossil-rich gorge for archaeological discovery. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

HUNT AMONG THE KILLERS OF MEN by Gabriel Hunt, as told to David J. Schow (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
The warlord’s men came to New York to preserve a terrible secret --- and left a dead body in their wake. Now Gabriel Hunt is on their trail, a path that will take him to the treacherous alleyways and rooftops of Shanghai and a showdown with a madman out to resurrect a deadly figure from China’s past. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

BUDDHA’S ORPHANS by Samrat Upadhyay (Fiction)
BUDDHA’S ORPHANS uses Nepal's political upheavals of the past century as a backdrop to the story of an orphan boy, Raja, and the girl he is fated to love, Nilu, a daughter of privilege. Their love story scandalizes both families and takes readers through time and across the globe, through the loss of and search for children, and through several generations. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

Author Talks

Carl Hiaasen
Carl Hiaasen has made a name for himself publishing timely, biting satires like NATURE GIRL, FLUSH and SKINNY DIP. His latest work of fiction, STAR ISLAND, takes jabs at celebrity and media culture through the story of a 22-year-old celebutante whose “undercover stunt double” is kidnapped by an obsessive paparazzo. In this interview, Hiaasen explains what inspired this quirky plot and reflects on the importance of sympathizing with even the sleaziest characters he’s created. He also gives his two cents on the rabid popularity of tabloid news and shares a humorous personal experience on the red carpet.

Beach Bag of Books
Whether your "beach" is on sand, your backyard deck, or a grassy meadow in the country, the summer months mean it's time for "beach reading." is celebrating the lazy days of summer reading with our Sixth Annual feature and contests.

During select weeks from May 28th through September 3rd, we will highlight a different book or collection of books from these featured titles with a contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with the featured book(s) and summertime essentials. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the featured book(s) to additional winners.

Our current featured Beach Bag title is:
- RUNNING SCARED by Lisa Jackson

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
From city to city, one man walks the streets, carefully choosing his victims. Mercilessly, he cuts their throats. And with each kill, he leaves his chilling trademark, honed to razor-sharp perfection over decades of practice. But now, reporter Alex Chapa is tracking the story, following the lead of a murdered colleague --- and getting dangerously close to the most elusive serial killer in decades. When the next victim surfaces bearing the unmistakable calling card, Alex realizes no one is safe from this psychopath’s murderous rage. For the killer has set his sights on Alex and those he loves --- and only their blood will satisfy him…
- Click here to read a third excerpt from MOURN THE LIVING.'s Sneak Peak

At, we have the opportunity to read many great books well in advance of their release dates. Now, with our Sneak Peek Feature/Contest, we are offering our readers the chance to preview select early picks --- and share feedback on them. We know that readers champion books that they love, and we want you to be part of the excitement of upcoming releases as early as possible.

Our latest Sneak Peek Feature spotlights THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X, a literary thriller by Japanese bestselling author Keigo Higashino, which releases for the first time in the U.S. in February 2011. We have 50 specially formatted early reader editions to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and share their comments about it. We really want to hear what you have to say about THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X, so if you will be able to read and comment on the book by the first week in September, please enter this contest. If not, we plan to have more opportunities like this in the future.

A mother. A daughter. A murder that never should have happened…but did. When two professors insert themselves into the equation, the question becomes: How far will one go for love and the other for the truth?

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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