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Friday, December 17, 2010

December 17, 2010

The following interviews, reviews and features began running on the website on Friday, December 17th.

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





THE KIDNAPPING by Charles Todd

ORIGINAL SIN: A Sally Sin Adventure by Beth McMullen

FRANCE/NORWAY: France's Last Liner/Norway's First Mega Cruise Ship by John Maxtone-Graham

Reviews and Excerpts

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARK TWAIN: The Complete and Authoritative Edition, Volume 1, edited by Harriet Elinor Smith and other editors of the Mark Twain Project (Autobiography)

After dozens of false starts, Mark Twain finally devised his “Final (and Right) Plan” for the story of his life. He wanted his thoughts to range freely --- and remain unpublished for 100 years. 2010 marks the centennial of Twain’s death. In celebration of this milestone, the editors of this book are offering his uncensored autobiography exactly as he left it. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and excerpted.

CRESCENT DAWN: A Dirk Pitt Novel by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler (Thriller/Action & Adventure)

In A.D. 327, a Roman galley barely escapes a pirate attack with its extraordinary cargo. In 1916, a British warship erupts in flames in the middle of the North Sea. In the present day, important mosques in Turkey and Egypt are being wracked by explosions. Does anything tie them together? NUMA director Dirk Pitt is about to find out. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT: Book Thirteen of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy)

The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One’s prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unraveling, and the armies of the Shadow are boiling out of the Blight. The sun has begun to set upon the Third Age. Perrin Aybara is hunted by specters of his past, while Matrim Cauthon prepares for the most difficult challenge of his life. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

HOLLYWOOD HILLS by Joseph Wambaugh (Mystery)

Everyone's dreams are just within reach --- the only problem is, it’s Hollywood. A circle of teenage burglars dubbed The Bling Ring has been robbing Hollywood celebutants. When a pair of drug-addled copycats stumbles on an art dealer’s heist, they set off an epic disaster. For LAPD veteran “Hollywood Nate” Weiss, it all amounts to a deadly situation. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

AS ALWAYS, JULIA: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto edited by Joan Reardon (Letters & Correspondence)

When Julia Child wrote a fan letter to Bernard DeVoto after reading his Harper's article on knives, she received a letter from his wife, Avis. This correspondence was just the beginning of a life-long pen pal friendship filled with joy and support --- that would ultimately provide lucky readers with this fascinating and revealing collection of letters. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

FRANK: THE VOICE by James Kaplan (Biography)

Despite Frank Sinatra’s mammoth fame, the man himself has remained an enigma. But James Kaplan recreates his life in glistening detail, with the story of Sinatra’s journey from the streets of Hoboken, to his fall from celebrity, to his Oscar-winning return. Readers will feel what it was like to be Ol’ Blue Eyes --- as man, as musician, as tortured genius. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

COLONEL ROOSEVELT by Edmund Morris (Biography)

This biography by Edmond Morris is the completion of a trilogy that will stand as definitive as Theodore Roosevelt himself. Packed with more adventure, drama and tragedy than a novel, it recounts the last decade of perhaps the most amazing life in American history. What other president has written 40 books, hunted lions and survived an assassin’s bullet? Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

CRAZY by William Peter Blatty (Fiction)
New York, 1941: Joey El Bueno is just a smart-aleck kid when he first meets Jane Bent, a freckle-faced girl with red pigtails and yellow smiley-face barrettes who seems to know him better than he knows himself. A magical afternoon at the movies, watching Cary Grant in Gunga Din, is the beginning of a puzzling friendship that soon leaves Joey baffled and bewildered. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

DANIEL by Henning Mankell (Historical Mystery)

In the 1870s, Hans Bengler arrives in Cape Town with one desire: to discover an insect and name it after himself. Instead, he impulsively adopts an orphan, christens him Daniel and brings him back to Sweden. But Daniel is haunted by visions of his murdered parents calling him to Africa. The only way back is by sea --- so he decides to learn to walk on water. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

THE MEMORY CHALET by Tony Judt (Memoir/Essays)

In the two years preceding his death from ALS, historian Tony Judt produced this volume of more than two dozen essays --- insightful, reflective, caustic, humorous --- that range over the course of a vital, productive, if too brief, life. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

MR. HOOLIGAN by Ian Vasquez (Mystery)

Riley James was small-time --- a money-runner for the Monsanto Brothers, the real players in Belize City. Then a slip in judgment left two men dead…and put Riley in the Mansantos’ debt forever. But now, years later, he is a pro and wants out for good. A deal with the Monsantos is Riley’s last chance to get back to even --- a place he hasn’t been since he was a kid. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

NIGHTS OF THE RED MOON by Milton T. Burton (Mystery)

For Sheriff Bo Handel, keeping Caddo County in line is easy. But when the body of the local minister’s wife is dumped on the church’s front, Bo suddenly has his hands full. Finding her killer won’t be easy…and when he discovers that she was a drug addict and having an affair with the worst man in town, the days of his past become a distant memory. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

CORRAG by Susan Fletcher (Historical Fiction)

CORRAG is a story of the slaughter of innocents in one event history names the Massacre of Glencoe, which tells of one woman who was tried and convicted of practicing witchcraft. Based on actual events, an herbalist named Corrag has become a legend that survives three centuries after her death in the local folklore and tales of the Scottish Highlands. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

CHASING THE SUN: The Epic Story of the Star That Gives Us Life by Richard Cohen (History)

"Please take your chairs. It is time for blastoff." With this fitting sentiment, Richard Cohen's historical account begins, centering on one star that makes all earthly life possible. We depend upon it for our comfort and subsistence, and it guides and inspires us. Cohen pays homage to the Sun's importance in this elegant and insightful historical account, sharing evidence and deductions on why our Sun has meant so much. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.'s Book of the Year...and the Series of the Decade

THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST, the third volume in Stieg Larsson’s international bestselling Millennium series, is’s Book of the Year. This is just as much a celebration of the book as it is Larsson’s trilogy, which includes THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE. There was no denying the series’ global impact upon the release of THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST. A copy of one of Larsson’s books seemed to be everywhere you turned --- in cafés, trains, buses, airports, pools, parks, and so on.

We hope you enjoy this special feature and tribute to the crusading journalist and his cyberhacking sidekick who have captivated readers and book lovers all over the globe. Here you will find information about all three novels, as well as the special deluxe boxed set, including reviews, reading guides, the official film trailers, and links to articles and information of interest to fans of the series.

In honor of this special feature, we are giving away three boxed sets of The Millennium Trilogy. All you have to do is take our Millennium Series Survey, answering a few questions to share your thoughts on the series, and you are automatically entered in the random drawing to win one of three boxed sets.

-Click here to take the survey.

-Click here to see our special feature on for The Millennium Trilogy.

What to Give, What to Get knows that readers crave ideas for gift-giving --- and getting --- at the holidays. With this in mind, we’re offering a What to Give, What to Get Guide with “Reader Perfect” suggestions in 14 categories. We have book ideas for everyone on your holiday list. And while you're looking for gifts for others, may we suggest you jot down notes for books YOU want?

Let the shopping begin!

Holiday Cheer Daily Contest

The holiday season is upon us! At, this means it's time for us to share the spirit of the season with you with our Holiday Cheer Contest and Feature. This year, we will spotlight a different title or two on select days from November 22nd through December 23rd, so you will have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter. We also will be sending a special daily newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here. Some days may feature special bonus prizes, including gourmet treats, holiday items, or even some of Carol Fitzgerald’s Bets On picks from this year.

-Click here to enter today's contest.

-Click here to see this year's featured titles.

-Click here to receive our special newsletter announcing each day's prize book. Holiday Author Blogs

Between now and New Year's Day, 50 authors will be sharing their favorite memories of giving or receiving a book at the holidays.

You can read Homer Hickam's post, A Coalwood Christmas, now.

The following authors have recently shared their stories:

Heidi W. Durrow: A Double Celebration

Debbie Macomber: Christmas and Books

Raymond Khoury: Thousands of Miles Away, Only a Book Apart

Mary Jane Clark: "It Begins With a P and Ends With a T"

Stephanie O'Dea on Making a Difference

Holly McQueen on Camouflaged Christmas Miracles

M.L. Malcolm on Fake Trees and Real Writers

C.J. Box: Christmas Uncles

Margaret George: The Ebenezer Scrooge Fan Club

Wade Rouse: Father Christmas

Elizabeth Rosner: Books That Saved Me

Kelly Simmons on Being Spoiled

-Click here to subscribe to the Holiday Author Blogs.

Author Interviews of 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, we invite you to take a look at the author interviews that were featured throughout the year on This is a great way to catch up on the discussions you may have missed --- and to re-read what some of your favorite authors had to say about their books.

-Click here to see our roundup of 2010 interviews.'s Favorite Books of 2010 Staff Picks

Before ringing in the new year, we at The Book Report Network reflect on some of our favorite books published for the first time in 2010. Though it was difficult to narrow down, each staff member chose up to five books that he or she enjoyed the most this year. Take a look and see if any of our selections match yours --- and which titles you may want to consider reading in the future.

-Click here to see our 2010 staff picks. Reviewer Picks

Recently, we asked our reviewers to provide us with a list of some of their favorite books from 2010. Included is a mix of fiction and nonfiction titles, all published this year. Take a moment to read these varied lists of titles and see if you agree with their selections! Please note that due to personal and professional commitments, some reviewers were not able to participate in this feature.

-Click here to see our 2010 reviewer picks.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight

WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS by Dean Koontz (Thriller)

In the late summer of a long ago year, a killer arrived in a small city. His name was Alton Turner Blackwood, and in the space of a few months he brutally murdered four families. His savage spree ended only when he himself was killed by the last survivor of the last family, a 14-year-old boy.

Half a continent away and two decades later, someone is murdering families again, recreating in detail Blackwood’s crimes. Homicide detective John Calvino is certain that his own family --- his wife and three children --- will be targets in the fourth crime, just as his parents and sisters were victims on that distant night when he was 14 and killed their slayer.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS.

-Click here to watch a trailer for WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS.

-Click here to read Dean Koontz's bio.

-Click here to see Dean Koontz's backlist.

-Click here to read more about WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS.

-Visit Dean Koontz's official website,

-Click here to see the winners of the ARC mailing contest.

Young Adult Books You Won't Want to Miss

VIRALS by Kathy Reichs (Mystery/Thriller)

The niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, Tory is the leader of a band of teenage “sci-philes.” But when they’re exposed to a canine parvovirus, their lives are changed forever. Now they must use their new gifts to solve a suddenly hot cold-case --- if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent.

VIXEN by Jillian Larkin (Historical Romance)

In this first installment of a new series set in the dangerous and exciting world of Chicago’s Prohibition-era speakeasies, an aspiring singer named Gloria embarks on a series of clandestine adventures, ultimately leading her into the arms of a black pianist. Meanwhile, Lorraine is hurt by her best friend’s secrecy and plans on ruining the reputation of Gloria’s country cousin, Clara. But nothing is as it appears: Clara hides a secret life of her own, and Lorraine is getting the attention she craves from all the wrong places.

PATHFINDER by Orson Scott Card (Science Fiction)

Rigg has been well trained in his special skill of seeing paths from people’s pasts. What he couldn’t see, though, was the trouble he would find himself in after people learned he could be a future king. Following paths won’t help Rigg this time as he struggles to learn his destiny.

FIXING DELILAH by Sarah Ockler (Fiction)

Delilah Hannaford’s life is falling apart. A compromising picture of her is posted on her school’s website, and none of her friends will talk to her anymore. Her grades are falling, she’s just been caught shoplifting, and her grandmother has died. As she, her mother, and her aunt work to clear and repair the family home, Delilah begins to uncover her family’s secrets. Will Delilah find the answers she needs to fix her life?

HUSH by Eishes Chayil (Fiction)

Inside the closed community of Borough Park, the Chassidim way of life is determined by an ancient script --- and abuse has never been a part of it. But when Gittel learns that her best friend has been abused by one of her own family members, she is forced to remain silent --- and begins to question everything she was raised to believe.

-Click here to see all the young adult books you won't want to miss.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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