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Friday, September 17, 2010

September 17, 2010

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on Friday, September 17th.

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

THE TRINITY SIX by Charles Cumming
SEABISCUIT by Laura Hillenbrand
FREEDOM by Jonathan Franzen
TROUBLEMAKER by Janet Evanovich and Alex Evanovich

Reviews and Excerpts

HER DAUGHTER’S DREAM by Francine Rivers (Historical Fiction)

Growing up isn’t easy for Carolyn Arundel. Tensions form when her grandmother moves in to care for the household, and Carolyn believes she’s to blame. She tries to find herself in college, but reemerges more lost than ever. And when she returns home to raise her own daughter, she discovers how repetitive history can be. Now it’s up to May Flower Dawn to heal old wounds, or a wall might separate the women in her family forever. Reviewed by Melanie Smith and excerpted.
here to read an excerpt of HER DAUGHTER'S DREAM.

-Visit Francine Rivers’s official website,

A SECRET KEPT by Tatiana de Rosnay (Fiction)

A birthday celebration results in near tragedy when an old family secret surfaces. It is so shocking that the young woman driving spirals out of control and into a short fugue. But the real shock comes later, when she remembers what it was that sent her off the road. Reviewed by Kate Ayers and excerpted.

-Click here to read an excerpt of A SECRET KEPT.

EARLY WARNING by Michael Walsh (Thriller)

"All Enemies Foreign And Domestic" is the National Security Agency's motto. The NSA's most lethal weapon is back. Code-named Devlin, he operates in the darkest recesses of the US government. When international cyber-terrorists allow a deadly and cunning band of radical insurgents to breach the highest levels of national security, Devlin must take down an enemy bent on destroying America --- an enemy more violent and ruthless than the world has ever known. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.

-Click here to read an excerpt of EARLY WARNING

WICKED APPETITE by Janet Evanovich (Urban Fantasy)

Life in Marblehead, Massachusetts has been pleasantly predictable. That is, until Diesel shows up. In the hope of hunting down relics representing the Seven Deadly Sins, Diesel latches on to pastry chef Lizzy Tucker and charms his way through Salem --- only to be thwarted by his criminal mastermind cousin. Caught in a race against time, Diesel and Lizzy soon find out that more isn’t always better, as they battle Wulf and the first of the deadly sins. Reviewed by Roz Shea and excerpted.

-Click here to read an excerpt of WICKED APPETITE.

BLUE NUDE by Elizabeth Rosner (Fiction)

Danzig, Margot and Merav couldn’t be more different: Danzig and Margot’s father was a Nazi official, and Merav’s grandmother survived the Holocaust. Yet their worlds collide when Merav models for Danzig’s art students. Although Danzig hasn’t produced a painting in years, Merav might just be the muse he’s been looking for --- if only Merav can open herself up to the horrors of his haunted past. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

JUSTICE: What’s the Right Thing to Do? by Michael J. Sandel (Philosophy)

Justice isn’t just a spectator sport for Michael J. Sandel. In this acclaimed book based on his legendary Harvard course, Sandel offers a rare education in thinking through the complicated issues and controversies of today. A lucid and engaging guide for those yearning for a more thoughtful public discourse, JUSTICE addresses the big questions of political philosophy --- and challenges readers to question their convictions along the way. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

- Click here to watch episodes of Justice, Harvard's philosophy course with Michael Sandel.

LOST EMPIRE: A Fargo Adventure, by Clive Cussler with Grant Blackwood
(Thriller/Action & Adventure)

While scuba diving in Tanzania, Sam and Remi Fargo find a relic from a long-lost Confederate ship. Yet when an anomaly sends them on an unexpected chase, they discover that they’re not alone in the hunt. As it turns out, Mexico’s ultranationalist ruling party is set on securing the artifact for themselves. Propelled on a transcontinental chase, the Fargos must outsmart their ruthless opponents…or pay the price of certain death. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson (History)

The mass movement of American blacks from the segregated south to northern cities between 1915 and 1970 is one of the most significant migrations in American history, arguably as important as the earlier settlement of the American west. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson has examined this human tidal wave in both personal and scholarly terms in a book that challenges much of the conventional wisdom on the subject. Reviewed by Robert Finn.

PRETTY LITTLE THINGS by Jilliane Hoffman (Thriller)
No one notices when 13-year-old Lainey Emerson goes missing --- except FDLE Special Agent Bobby Dees. Haunted by the unsolved disappearance of his own daughter, Dees follows his initial hunch until a string of instant messages leads him to believe that Lainey has been abducted by an online predator. As Agent Dees soon discovers, she isn’t the only victim, and this faceless monster will stop at nothing to keep him on his trail.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE WATERS RISING by Sheri S. Tepper (Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy)

Following an apocalypse called the “Big Kill,” humanity has been blasted back to the Middle Ages. But the mysterious rising of the sea and a looming conspiracy against one kingdom’s traditions prove that we can’t escape our past, even if we forget it. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz.

ESPERANZA by Trish J. MacGregor (Supernatural Thriller/Fantasy)

Tess Livingston and Ian Ritter are caught in a struggle between the living and the dead in a South American city high in the Andes Mountains. Fate brought them together to fight a mystical battle to save a city from ghosts that can possess the living to experience life once more. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

THE PROPHECY by Chris Kuzneski (Thriller)

Jonathan Payne and David Jones, former Special Forces operatives and best friends, are drawn into a battle surrounding the discovery of a centuries-old message. After a mysterious woman is gunned down while talking to Payne and Jones on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, the hunt for the assassin begins. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

THE CARETAKER OF LORNE FIELD by Dave Zeltserman (Horror)

Jack Durkin is the ninth generation of Durkins who have weeded Lorne Field for nearly 300 years. Though he and his wife Lydia long to leave, Jack must wait until his son has come of age to tend the field on his own. If the field is left untended, a horrific monster called an Aukowie will grow --- a monster capable of taking over America in just two weeks. Or so it’s said… Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Author Talk

Francine Rivers
Prolific author Francine Rivers is moving American readers yet again with
HER DAUGHTER’S DREAM, the heart-wrenching sequel to HER MOTHER’S HOPE that follows Carolyn Arundel as she struggles to heal the wounds that ripped her family apart during the Cold War, only to find herself facing the same difficulties with her own daughter, May Flower Dawn. In this interview, Rivers discusses the generational conflicts that played themselves out in her own household, elaborating on the difficulty of writing a family drama and the challenge of exploring real-life issues in a fictional setting. She also offers insight into the ways in which faith can help heal unresolved trauma and reveals what men can learn from reading a book about mother-daughter relationships.

Tatiana de Rosnay
Much to the delight of American readers, bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay is returning with her second English-language novel,
A SECRET KEPT, which follows the trials and tribulations of Parisian architect Antoine Rey after his sister unveils a haunting truth about their mother’s past. In this interview, de Rosnay discusses her fascination with family secrets and the appeal of stepping outside the bounds of conventional literary genres. She also reveals what inspired her to mix a masculine hero with a motorcycle-riding, female mortician, shares some of her favorite books and authors, and sheds light on the quirks --- and perks --- of being a writer who is half French and half English.

Elizabeth Rosner
Elizabeth Rosner is an award-winning poet and bestselling author whose most recent novel,
BLUE NUDE (now available in paperback), follows the relationship between a once-prominent German painter and his Israeli-born art model, who also happens to be the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor. In this interview, Rosner discusses the techniques that help her find inspiration for her books, going into detail about how she managed to connect with her German characters given her own family history and revealing why art became a useful tool for connecting her two protagonists. She also addresses the differences between writing her first and second novels, shares her thoughts on happy endings, and speculates on the similarities between poetry and prose.

Writing on her own for the first time since 2004’s BET ME, bestselling author Jennifer Crusie pays homage to Henry James with her latest novel, MAYBE THIS TIME, which follows heroine Andie Miller as she tries to sever ties with her ex-husband, only to wind up in a haunted house with her jealous fiancé, two delinquent children and a truly horrible housekeeper. In this interview with’s Sarah Rachel Egelman, Crusie discusses the challenge of taking a solo stab at THE TURN OF THE SCREW, elaborating on the differences between her book and James’s novella, and the difficulty of writing ghost stories. She also speculates on the existence of supernatural powers, muses on the importance of communities and familial relationships, and sheds light on why the state of Ohio is the best place to set a novel.

Michael Walsh
Picking up where he left off with HOSTILE INTENT, Michael Walsh is back in action with
EARLY WARNING, the second installment in the Devlin series that follows a top-secret NSA operative as he tries to track down a ring of radical insurgents who will stop at nothing short of destroying the United States. In this interview with’s Joe Hartlaub, Walsh addresses the social and political issues that inspired his latest novel, elaborating on the possibility of a terrorist attack in Times Square and the ethical dilemmas that face contemporary journalists. He also muses on the importance of Western philosophy, offers advice to the federal government, and unveils his future plans for the mysterious and elusive Devlin.

ROOM by Emma Donoghue (September 13th)

I was three chapters into ROOM when I knew it was going to be a Bets On pick. While the story and its premise are disturbing and raw --- a young woman has been kidnapped, and during her captivity has borne a child who she is trying to raise with as normal a life as possible --- I could not tear myself away from the pages. I had to find out what was going to happen to Jack and Ma, as well as Old Nick. The voice of Jack, the five-year-old boy who is at the heart of ROOM, is unforgettable. He’s innocent and sharp as well as endearing. Picturing him in the 11 x 11 world that he has come to know as home will break your heart, but reading his words will remind you that joy can be found even in the midst of devastating sadness. And there are moments when Jack’s view of the world will just make you smile and even laugh.

I will not be alone in selecting ROOM for special notice and attention. Praise for this book has been coming from all over since we heard about it before Book Expo America in May. And that makes me smile.

And beyond the words, the packaging for this book is perfect; the crayon-lettered title captures the tone and feel so perfectly. You can picture Jack’s mom working with him to form them, looking over his shoulder and encouraging him. It will remind you of the simple joys of childhood and the times when happiness can be delivered in small bites.

-Click here to read a review of ROOM.
-Click here to read an author talk with Emma Donoghue.
-Click here to see all the titles we're betting you'll love.

Growing up isn't easy for little Carolyn Arundel. With her mother, Hildemara, quarantined to her room with tuberculosis, Carolyn forms a special bond with her momma, Marta, who moves in to care for the household. But as tensions between Hildie and Marta escalate, Carolyn believes she is to blame. When Hildie returns to work and Marta leaves, Carolyn and her brother grow up as latchkey kids in a world gripped by the fear of the Cold War.
-Click here to read an excerpt from HER DAUGHTER'S DREAM.
-Click here to read a review of HER DAUGHTER'S DREAM.
-Click here to read an author talk with Francine Rivers.
-Click here to read Francine Rivers's bio.
-Click here to see Francine Rivers's backlist.
-Click here to read more about HER DAUGHTER'S DREAM.

Andie Miller is ready to move on in life. She wants to marry her fiancé and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband, North Archer. But when Andie tries to gain closure with him, he asks one final favor of her before they go their separate ways forever. A very distant cousin of his has died and left North as the guardian of two orphans who have driven out three nannies already, and things are getting worse. He needs a very special person to take care of the situation and he knows Andie can handle anything.
-Click here to read a third excerpt from MAYBE THIS TIME.
-Click here to read a review of MAYBE THIS TIME.
-Click here to read an interview with Jennifer Crusie.
-Click here to read Jennifer Crusie's bio.
-Click here to see Jennifer Crusie's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise of MAYBE THIS TIME.
-Click here to read more about MAYBE THIS TIME.

It all began with a simple seaside vacation, a brother and sister recapturing their childhood. Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanie’s birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island, where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach. It had been too long, Antoine thought, since they’d returned to the island - over 30 years, since their mother died and the family holidays ceased. But the island’s haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories; it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last island summer. When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car.
-Click here to read a third excerpt from MAYBE THIS TIME.
-Click here to read a review of MAYBE NEXT TIME.
-Click here to read an author talk with Tatiana de Rosnay.
-Click here to read Tatiana de Rosnay's bio.
-Click here to see Tatiana de Rosnay's backlist.
-Click here to read more about A SECRET KEPT.

DON'T CRY by Beverly Barton (Romantic Suspense)
The crime scenes are horrifying: the victims arranged with deliberate care, posed to appear alive despite their agonized last moments and the shocking nature of their deaths. Chattanooga grief counselor Audrey Sherrod moonlights for the local police. It’s clear to her, and to Special Agent J.D. Cass, that the murders are the work of a deranged serial killer. At first, the only link is the victims’ similar physical appearance. But then another connection emerges, tying them to a long-ago series of horrifying crimes Audrey hoped would never resurface --- crimes that hit all too close to home. Each grisly new discovery proves the past has not been forgotten, and the worst is yet to come. Audrey went looking for the truth and she’s about to find it…and it will be more twisted and more terrifying than she ever imagined.
-Click here to read a third excerpt from DON'T CRY.
-Click here to watch a book trailer for DON'T CRY.
-Click here to watch an interview with Beverly Barton.
-Click here to read Beverly Barton's bio.
-Click here to see Beverly Barton's backlist.
-Click here to read more about DON'T CRY.

EARLY WARNING by Michael Walsh (Political Thriller)
The NSA’s most lethal weapon is back. Code-named Devlin, he operates in the darkest recesses of the US government. When international cyber-terrorists allow a deadly and cunning band of radical insurgents to breach the highest levels of national security, Devlin must take down an enemy bent on destroying America --- an enemy more violent and ruthless than the world has ever known.
-Click here to read a third excerpt from EARLY WARNING.
-Click here to read a review of EARLY WARNING.
-Click here to read an interview with Michael Walsh.
-Click here to watch a book trailer for EARLY WARNING.
-Click here to read Michael Walsh's bio.
-Click here to see Michael Walsh's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for EARLY WARNING.
-Click here to read more about EARLY WARNING.

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