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Friday, October 29, 2010

October 29, 2010

The following interviews, reviews and features began running on on Friday, October 29th.

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

EVERGREEN by Belva Plain
HEARTWOOD by Belva Plain
THINK TWICE by Lisa Scottoline
LADY KILLER by Lisa Scottoline
LIFE by Keith Richards
WAKING EVIL by Kylie Brant
WAKING THE DEAD by Kylie Brant

SARAH’S KEY by Tatiana de Rosnay (Fiction)

Two gripping stories intersect over time, sharing one incredible connection. One is of a 10-year-old girl named Sarah in occupied Paris in 1942 --- taken from her apartment with her parents by the French police during a raid of Jewish homes during a black period of French history known as Vel’ d’Hiv’. The other is of an American journalist living in Paris in 2002 who begins to investigate the roundup and stumbles upon a decades-old web of deceit that connects her to young Sarah. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller and excerpted.

-Click here to read and excerpt from SARAH'S KEY.

THE CONFESSION by John Grisham (Legal Thriller)

For every innocent sent to prison, there’s a guilty man outside. Travis Boyette is one of them. He raped and strangled a cheerleader, then watched as police and prosecutors sent football star Donté Drumm to death row. Now it’s nine years later, and Donté is days away from execution. For the first time in his life, Boyette decides to do what’s right. But how can a criminal convince lawyers, judges and politicians that they have the wrong guy? Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman and excerpted.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE CONFESSION.

COMING BACK: A Sharon McCone Mystery by Marcia Muller (Mystery)

Five months after a shot to the head resulted in her suffering from locked-in syndrome, Sharon McCone is slowly regaining some semblance of normalcy. Her words are starting to make sense, she’s learning to walk again, and some of her former spunk is beginning to surface. Will she be up to the task of returning to her place as the head of McCone Investigations? Even those closest to her have their doubts. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

-Visit Marcia Muller's official website,

THE CHARMING QUIRKS OF OTHERS: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel by Alexander McCall Smith (Mystery)

When the local boys’ school starts seeking a new headmaster, Isabel is called in to sort out a tricky situation: The board has three final candidates, but received an anonymous letter with some serious allegations. And when Isabel starts looking into it, what she discovers about all three candidates is surprising…but not nearly as revealing as what she finds out about herself and the father of her son. Reviewed by Roz Shea and excerpted.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE CHARMING QUIRKS OF OTHERS.

THE TRUE MEMOIRS OF LITTLE K by Adrienne Sharp (Historical Fiction)

Everything was not beautiful at the ballet as imperial Russia went up in flames, giving violent birth to the Soviet Union. This engrossing historical novel --- from the author of WHITE SWAN, BLACK SWAN --- is framed as the reminiscences of legendary ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska, notorious mistress of the Romanovs…including the last, doomed tsar. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman and excerpt.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE TRUE MEMOIRS OF LITTLE K.

MY NEST ISN'T EMPTY, IT JUST HAS MORE CLOSET SPACE: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Scottoline Serritella (Humor/Essays)

Following on the heels of WHY MY THIRD HUSBAND WILL BE A DOG is another humorous, honest and heartfelt look at everyday life through the eyes of bestselling author Lisa Scottoline and her daughter, Francesca Scottoline Serritella. MY NEST ISN'T EMPTY, IT JUST HAS MORE CLOSET SPACE is filled with stories of these two strong, independent women and their adventures. And, thankfully, we get to read more about that now-famous octogenarian, Mother Mary, matriarch of the Scottoline clan. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

BY NIGHTFALL by Michael Cunningham (Fiction)

Michael Cunningham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of THE HOURS, returns with his first novel in five years. At the heart of BY NIGHTFALL is a trio of conflicted characters in modern-day New York City: an art dealer, his wife, and her troubled and drug-addicted younger brother who is staying with them temporarily. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE SPIDER’S WEB: A Wind River Mystery by Margaret Coel (Mystery)

When Arapaho Ned Windsong is shot to death, his fiancée Marcy is the only witness. She identifies two troublemakers, but Ned's family thinks that Marcy was responsible. Convinced of Marcy’s innocence, Vicky Holden agrees to represent her --- and finds herself at odds with her own people, even Father John O’Malley. But when the accused men are found dead, both of them realize they’re caught in a web of lies woven by a master. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

ON THE LINE: A Bill Smith/Lydia Chin Novel by S.J. Rozan (Mystery)

When a modified voice informs P.I. Bill Smith that his occasional partner, Lydia Chin, has been kidnapped, he is immediately sent on a high-stakes chase. In order to keep her alive, he has to play the kidnapper’s elaborate game. But when the first move sends him to a corpse, Bill finds himself running from the police. Can he stay ahead of the cops and uncover the key to his tormentor’s identity before it’s too late? Reviewed by Roz Shea.

DANGEROUS TO KNOW by Tasha Alexander (Historical Mystery)

In the days of Monet, the body of a young woman is found savagely mutilated. Could it be that Jack the Ripper has left London in favor of the French countryside? Lady Emily Hargreaves and her husband, Colin, think it may be someone else, and they set out to prove it. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

DRIVING ON THE RIM by Thomas McGuane (Fiction)

In countless, very funny scenes, Thomas McGuane's endearingly clueless hero struggles to make sense of his world --- and of himself. The novel's picaresque format, sprawling topics and unusually detached narrative style give it an old-fashioned feel, but its ironic self-commentary marks it as undeniably contemporary. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

BOOK OF SHADOWS by Alexandra Sokoloff (Thriller)

When a wealthy college girl is found ritualistically murdered, Boston PD’s rising star Adam Garrett and his partner Carl Landauer catch a case that could make their careers. All evidence points towards another student, so the partners make an arrest. But Garrett’s case turns upside down when a practicing witch insists that the perpetrator is still at large. According to her visions, other teens are being sacrificed…and a powerful demon is being summoned. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

MONSTER HUNTER VENDETTA by Larry Correia (Science Fiction/Horror)

When last we left Owen Zastava Pitt, he was blasting away with the forces of Monster Hunter International to defeat Lord Machada and stop his nefarious plot to bring the Old Ones to Earth. In MONSTER HUNTER VENDETTA, the warriors are back to save us all again. The Old Ones still seek to enter our reality, but they have a new leader: a necromancer named Shadow Man who does some very interesting things with zombies. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

Tatiana de Rosnay is a favorite and the author of A SECRET KEPT and SARAH’S KEY, the international bestseller about a 10-year-old girl who was brutally abducted by the French police during the 1942 Vel’ d’Hiv roundup and the daring Parisian journalist who rediscovers her story 60 years later. In this interview, de Rosnay discusses the events that inspired her US debut novel, elaborating on how places and houses hold memories and the importance of breaking the silence surrounding historical taboos. She also explains why her book is different from other works of fiction on similar subjects, talks about what it was like to return to her native tongue after years of writing in French, and reveals how she likes to spend her time --- when she isn’t thinking about ideas for her next bestseller.
-Click here to read a review of SARAH'S KEY.

I read THE WAVE by Susan Casey about a month ago when it first came out, and thus I am a tad late selecting it as a Bets On. I was not thinking about it for this distinction, but then I realized that I consistently am bringing this book up in conversation when I talk about what I am reading with booksellers, librarians, friends, and okay, just about everyone I come in contact with. What’s been interesting is how this book about waves and where they come from and big wave surfing has led to passionate conversations with folks I never thought would love it, as in people like me who are not going to be jumping on a surfboard any time soon.

It got me to thinking why this book works. All of us love waves at the beach; there is something magical about the way they rush towards us in huge swells one day and then the next appear as ripples. The ocean is unpredictable, which is one of its charms; when I am at the beach, I know no two days ever will be alike, as a day at the beach depends on how the waves behave. Susan’s writing makes the science behind the waves --- and the power of the wind to influence their shapes and size --- read like a page-turner instead of a clinical documentary that you are lost five minutes into it. And of course, the action takes on a whole new tone when we read about the watermen, the big wave surfers who crave these waves to ride and explore. This is not casual surfing, but rather what she writes about are pilgrimages to find the best waves and the ways to conquer them. These adventures are handled deftly by Susan, who clearly understands the magic of these moments and respects them. This is a book that shows respect for the power of the water and those who seek it out. After reading it, I recommend watching two DVDs about surfing: Riding Giants and Step into Liquid. Each will mean a lot more to you after reading THE WAVE.
-Click here to read a review of THE WAVE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE WAVE.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE WAVE.

No one knows the patterns and nuances of communication like forensic linguist Macy Reid. She is also an expert on kidnapping, having experienced firsthand the stark terror of being abducted when she was a child. So she is the perfect investigator to be called in when a Denver tycoon's eleven-year-old daughter is abducted --- for the second time.
-Click here to read an excerpt from DEADLY INTENT.
-Click here to read Kylie Brant's bio.
-Click here to see Kylie Brant's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for DEADLY INTENT.
-Click here to read more about DEADLY INTENT.

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a 10-year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah.
-Click here to read a review of SARAH'S KEY.
-Click here to read a third excerpt from SARAH'S KEY.
-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 critical praise for SARAH'S KEY.
-Click here to read more about SARAH'S KEY.
-Click here to see the winners of the ARC mailing contest.

The first victim is attacked in her home. Tied to her bed. Forced to watch every unspeakable act of cruelty --- but unable to scream. The second murder is even more twisted. Signed, sealed, and delivered with a message for the police, stuffed in the victim’s throat. A fractured nursery rhyme that ends with a warning: “There will be more.” For detective Jack Murphy, it’s more than a threat. It’s a personal invitation to play. And no one plays rougher than Jack. Especially when the killer’s pawns are the people he loves…
-Click here to read a second excerpt from THE CRUELEST CUT.
-Click here to read Rick Reed's bio.
-Click here to see Rick Reed's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE CRUELEST CUT.
-Click here to read more about THE CRUELEST CUT.
-Click here to see the winners of the ARC mailing contest.
-Visit Rick Reed's official website,

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 Throughout the year, features adult books on, our site for young adult readers, that we think will have definite appeal to a teen audience. In the spirit of sharing, we are now spotlighting a selection of titles each month from that we believe are great reads that you might enjoy.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi Alpers finds Alexandrine Paradis’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession.

FORGE by Laurie Halse Anderson (Historical Fiction)

The Patriot Army was shaped by the desperate circumstances at Valley Forge, where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. But as an escaped slave passing for a freedman, Curzon must face the fear of discovery along with the hardships of being a soldier. And then there’s Isabel --- who’s there against her will. Can she and Curzon sort out the tangled threads of friendship and find the path to true freedom?

In hopes of reinstating their family in their grandmother's will, sisters Norrie, Jane and Sassy write out confessions of their transgressions. Their letters are sometimes hilarious and at other times heartbreaking --- but always riveting --- in Natalie Standiford’s absorbing new novel.

Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord offers a warm-hearted, humorous and thoughtful look at what it means to belong --- and how lucky we feel when we do. TOUCH BLUE, sure as certain, will touch your heart.
-Click here to see all the young adult books you won't want to miss.

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