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Friday, January 28, 2011

January 28, 2011

The following interviews, reviews and features began running on the website on Friday, January 28th.

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

SHELTER ME by Juliette Fay

THREE CUPS OF TEA: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin




Reviews and Excerpts

SENSELESS by Mary Burton (Romantic Suspense)
After serving 10 years in prison for a crime she doesn’t remember committing, Eva Rayburn returns to her Alexandria, Virginia home. She works three jobs and tries to maintain a low profile, but trouble comes knocking after burned bodies pile up. All the victims have a connection to Eva. Reviewed by Donna Volkennant.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SENSELESS.

PRAYERS AND LIES by Sherri Wood Emmons (Fiction)

Every year, Bethany and her family spend the summer in West Virginia’s Coal River Valley. And when she meets her cousin Reana Mae, they strike up a friendship that saves them both. But as Bethany grows older, she realizes that life there isn’t as simple as it seems. Dark secrets come to light --- and they could shatter lives, faith, and the bond she thought would last forever. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PRAYERS AND LIES.

DELIRIOUS by Daniel Palmer (Psychological Thriller)

One day, Charlie Giles is an up-and-coming electronics star. The next, he's a suspect for murder, as his old employers are picked off one by one. As his company is wrenched from his control, Charlie watches his life unravel. With nowhere to go, he turns to his schizophrenic brother, who uncovers dark family secrets that lie at the heart of the unfolding terror. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DELIRIOUS.

MERCILESS by Mary Burton (Romantic Suspense)
Each skeleton is flawless --- gleaming white and perfectly preserved, a testament to his skill. Every scrap of flesh has been removed to reveal the glistening bone beneath. And the collection is growing. When bleached human bones are identified as belonging to a former patient of Dr. James Dixon, Detective Malcolm Kier suspects the worst. Dixon was recently acquitted of attempted murder, thanks to defense attorney Angie Carlson. But as the body count rises, Kier is convinced that Angie is now the target of a brutal, brilliant psychopath. Angie is no stranger to the dark side of human nature. But nothing has prepared her for the decades-long legacy of madness and murder about to be revealed --- or a killer ready to claim her as his ultimate trophy... Reviewed by Donna Volkennant.

LITTLE PRINCES: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan (Memoir)

So as not to seem self-indulgent, Conor Grennan started his trip around the world by volunteering at an orphanage in Nepal. There, he met the mother of two of the wards and learned the terrible truth: that many had been taken from their homes by child traffickers. What happened next changed his life --- and those of countless others --- forever. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

-Click here to read an excerpt from LITTLE PRINCES.

-Click here to watch Conor Grennan talk about LITTLE PRINCES.

-Click here to read an essay in which Conor Grennan discusses why he wrote LITTLE PRINCES.

THE RED GARDEN by Alice Hoffman (Fiction)

A transforming glimpse of small-town America, THE RED GARDEN introduces us to Blackwell, Massachusetts --- and 300 years of passion, secrets and redemption. Presenting a web of tales where characters are defined by fate as well as their own actions, Hoffman weaves a world around a mysterious garden --- where only red plants grow, and where truth lies for those who look. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE RED GARDEN.

TICK TOCK by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Thriller)

When horrifying crimes rip through New York City, Detective Michael Bennett is called from his family vacation, leaving them open to attack. He enlists the help of a former colleague, FBI Agent Emily Parker, and his feelings for her grow --- as his relationship with his nanny takes an unexpected turn. But soon, a new crime leads to a shocking discovery, exposing the enormity of the killer’s plan. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from TICK TOCK.

J. D. SALINGER: A Life by Kenneth Slawenski (Biography)

One of the most mysterious figures in literary history, J. D. Salinger eluded fans and journalists for most of his life. Filled with new facts gleaned from countless sources, Kenneth Slawenski’s book captures Salinger’s unforgettable story in full --- uncovering details on everything from his first marriage, to the commitment to Eastern religion that dictated the rest of his life. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

-Click here to read an excerpt from J. D. SALINGER.

THE BOOK OF TOMORROW by Cecelia Ahern (Fiction)

In a modern gothic dusted with a liberal amount of magic, a diary that can prophesy 16-year-old Tamara Goodwin's future shakes up her present after she and her mother must leave their luxurious life to rough it in a gatehouse in the remote Irish countryside. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THESE THINGS HIDDEN by Heather Gudenkauf (Fiction)

When the once-perfect Allison Glenn gets sent to prison, her sister Brynn faces rumors every day. She’s the only one who knows what happened, and when Allison is released, their secrets are focused on one small boy. If revealed, they could destroy them all --- his adoptive mother, the girl who tried to save him, and the two sisters who hold the key to everything. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

THE CYPRESS HOUSE by Michael Koryta (Thriller)

Arlen Wagner has seen it before: a trace of smoke in the eye that’s a sign of imminent death. When he sees it on a train in Florida, he escapes with a young man --- only to get stranded at a boarding house that’s in the path of a hurricane. But a much deadlier force controls the country. And if they stay too long, they might not leave. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE ANATOMY OF GHOSTS by Andrew Taylor (Historical Mystery)

In the frigid winter of 18th-century Cambridge, a woman dies, a man goes mad, and the university guards its secrets. A bookseller fallen on hard times is sent to find out the truth of what happened that evil, sinister night. Could it really have been a ghost? Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY by Hannah Pittard (Fiction)

Sixteen-year-old Nora Lindell is missing. And the neighborhood boys get caught in the current of her absence. As time passes, the mystery of her disappearance grows. More eager to imagine Nora’s fate than scrutinize their own, the boys sleepwalk into adulthood, pining for a girl --- and a life --- that no longer exists, except in their imaginations. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

Author Talk

Simon Lelic

A part-time businessman and a first-time author, Simon Lelic has stunned audiences with A THOUSAND CUTS, a harrowing debut (now available in paperback) that follows Detective Inspector Lucia May as she tries to unlock the truth behind a terrible school shooting, in which a recently hired history teacher slays three students and a colleague before choosing to end his own life. In this interview, Lelic explains why he decided to write about a brutal event in such an unconventional way, elaborating on the newspaper article that inspired the book and how his feelings about classroom tragedies have changed since writing it. He also talks about its unusual title, reveals how he got inside the head of his female protagonist, and reflects on the hurdles he faced as a debut novelist.

Author Interviews

Sherri Wood Emmons

First-time author Sherri Wood Emmons is captivating readers with PRAYERS AND LIES, her haunting debut that follows a small-town girl’s journey into adulthood --- and her gradual discovery of several unimaginable secrets that, once disclosed, threaten to shatter lives, destroy faith, and break bonds that she thought would last forever. In this interview with’s Bronwyn Miller, Emmons talks about the childhood memories that inspired the book, going into detail about her desire to write a novel set in West Virginia and the character who eventually became Reana Mae. She also discusses the challenge of writing from a young girl’s perspective, reflects on the difficulty of addressing child abuse as a mother, and muses on the coming-of-age novel that, when she was a teenager, made her feel more like an author and less like an odd duck.

Daniel Palmer

A songwriting techie and a first-time novelist, Daniel Palmer is the author of DELIRIOUS, a stunning debut that follows the sudden demise of an up-and-coming electronics star, who finds himself wanted for murder when someone starts eliminating his former employers --- and his only hope for salvation is his schizophrenic brother. In this interview with’s Joe Hartlaub, Palmer sheds light on some of the things that inspired DELIRIOUS, reflecting on his unconventional protagonist and the similarities between Charlie Giles and himself. He also speculates on what sort of gadgets the future has in store for us, reveals why he can never listen to The White Stripes the same way again, and explains why, more often than not, crafting a well-written story is just like coming up with a really good song.

Mary Burton

An ex-marketing whiz and a Southern girl at heart, Mary Burton is the critically acclaimed author of SENSELESS, a romantic suspense that follows homicide detective Deacon Garrison and the ill-fated Eva Rayburn, a mysterious woman who was implicated in a death at her sorority, only to find her hometown ravaged by murder 10 years later --- and every victim is linked to her. In this interview with’s Donna Volkennant, Burton talks about the strange things --- and weird phrases --- that sparked her novel, elaborating on how she manages to create such riveting characters and why she chose Alexandria as a setting. She also reveals how she unwinds after writing about dark and sensitive subjects, speculates on the similarities between baking and being an author, and gives readers a few hints about what they can expect in MERCILESS, the insta-sequel to SENSELESS that is now in stores.

Books to Fall in Love With

The countdown to Valentine's Day is on! Stuck on what to buy your Valentine? Our featured titles have the bookish answer. From January 21st through February 4th, readers will have the chance to win one of our five Valentine's Day prizes. They are filled with one copy of each of our featured books, as well as some delicious gourmet chocolate from Godiva --- including a heart-shaped box of truffles, heart-shaped lollipop and a chocolate-covered strawberry bar. Whether you are looking for humorous tales, heartwarming love stories, page-turning mysteries or classic works of literature, our Valentine's Day suggestions are sure to satisfy whatever you’re craving to give on this holiday.

Our featured Valentine's Day titles are:

BRAVA, VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani

EVERY ZOMBIE EATS SOMEBODY SOMETIME: A Book of Zombie Love Songs by Michael P. Spradlin and illustrated by Jeff Weigel

MARRYING DAISY BELLAMY: Lake Shore Chronicles #8 by Susan Wiggs

THE PERFECT MISTRESS by Victoria Alexander

PICTURES OF YOU by Caroline Leavitt

WILD MAN CREEK: Virgin Rivers Series #2 by Robyn Carr

Sneak Peek: An Early Look at an Upcoming Book

FRENCH LESSONS by Ellen Sussman (Fiction)

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 FRENCH LESSONS --- a story of three strangers whose lives intersect one day along the streets of Paris --- which releases in July 2011. We have 25 specially formatted early reader editions of Ellen Sussman's novel to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and share their comments about it.

How much can your life change in just 24 hours? Three Americans --- a heartbroken and pregnant young woman, a neglected ex-pat housewife, and the handsome, middle-aged husband of a powerhouse film star --- each spend a stormy day crisscrossing the city with three separate French tutors in this charming story of love and yearning. As they wander the avenues of Paris, exploring the language and rediscovering the pieces of themselves that have been missing, the city begins to work its magic on each of them, and at the end of the day, none will be left untouched.

-Click here to read an excerpt from FRENCH LESSONS.

-Click here to read all the details about our Sneak Peek Feature and Contest. Bets On

DEEP DOWN TRUE by Juliette Fay (Fiction)

Readers may remember Juliette Fay from her debut novel, SHELTER ME, which was one of my early Bets On selections. She returns with a new Bets On selection this week, DEEP DOWN TRUE.

Here, Dana Stellgarten is newly divorced and still a bit jangled about it. She has two kids with divided lives, shuffling between their mom and dad, a niece who shows up on her doorstep in all her Goth glory to clock some time with her, and enough drama in her life to make a woman get a job for some sanity as well as a paycheck. As she is thrown into the new work and dating worlds, Dana sorts through her life and starts to define herself beyond being a wife and a mother.

The book has strong, likable characters who are vividly portrayed, a storyline that really moves, and some great, deep-down honesty as Dana figures out who she really is. I also love that she volunteers for something called Comfort Food, delivering meals to those who are ill; it’s a plotline nicely woven into the story that gives it even more heart and allows us to see Dana’s inner core right from the start.

-Click here to read a review of DEEP DOWN TRUE.

A THOUSAND CUTS by Simon Lelic (Fiction)

Bullying is the topic du jour these days. But we have not seen a story quite like what I read in A THOUSAND CUTS by Simon Lelic.

Here’s the line that drew me in: Samuel Szajkowski, a history teacher, walks into a school assembly and turns an ordinary day into a memorable one as he pulls a gun and kills three students and a co-worker before turning the gun on himself. You never thought of bullying quite like this. It’s one of those books where the story unfolds and unfolds, and it gets better and better with each plot twist. It’s tight, makes you think, and when you’re finished, you will realize how well done it was. And it will give you pause to think about just how deeply the cuts of bullying run these days.

It was released in hardcover last March and is now out in paperback with a striking cover.

-Click here to read a review of A THOUSAND CUTS.

-Click here to read an author talk with Simon Lelic.

-Click here to see all the titles we're betting you'll love.

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight

SENSELESS by Mary Burton (Romantic Suspense)

The vicious burns scarring the victims’ flesh reveal the agony of their last moments. Each woman was branded with a star, then stabbed through the heart. With every death, a vengeful killer finds a brief, blissful moment of calm. But soon it’s time for the bloodshed to start again…

Ten years ago, Eva Rayburn and her sorority sisters were celebrating the end of the school year. That party turned into a nightmare Eva can’t forget. Now she’s trying to start over in her Virginia hometown, but a new nightmare has begun. Every victim is linked to her. And Detective Deacon Garrison isn’t sure whether this mysterious woman needs investigating --- or protecting…

-Click here to read a review of SENSELESS.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SENSELESS.

-Click here to read an interview with Mary Burton.

-Click here to read Mary Burton's bio.

-Click here to see Mary Burton's backlist.

-Click here to read critical praise for SENSELESS.

-Click here to read more about SENSELESS.

-Visit Mary Burton's official website,

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

One to Watch Author Spotlight

PRAYERS AND LIES by Sherri Wood Emmons (Fiction)

When 7-year-old Bethany meets her 6-year-old cousin Reana Mae, it’s the beginning of a kinship of misfits that saves both from a bone-deep loneliness. Every summer, Bethany and her family leave Indianapolis for West Virginia’s Coal River Valley. For Bethany’s mother, the trips are a reminder of the coalmines and grinding poverty of her childhood, of a place she’d hoped to escape. But her loving relatives, and Bethany’s friendship with Reana Mae, keep them coming back.

But as Bethany grows older, she realizes that life in this small, close-knit community is not as simple as she once thought…that the riverside cabins that hold so much of her family’s history also teem with scandalous whispers…and that those closest to her harbor unimaginable secrets.

-Click here to read a review of PRAYERS AND LIES.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PRAYERS AND LIES.

-Click here to read an interview with Sherri Wood Emmons.

-Click here to read Sherri Wood Emmons's bio.

-Click here to read critical praise for PRAYERS AND LIES.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for PRAYERS AND LIES.

-Click here to read more about PRAYERS AND LIES.

-Visit Sherri Wood Emmons's official website,

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

Debut Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight

DELIRIOUS by Daniel Palmer (Psychological Thriller)

Charlie Giles is at the top of his game. An electronics superstar, he’s sold his startup company to a giant Boston firm, where he’s now a senior director. With his dog, Monte, at his side, Charlie is treated like a VIP everywhere he goes.

Then one day, everything in Charlie’s neatly ordered world starts to go terrifyingly wrong. His prestigious job and his inventions are wrenched away from him. His family is targeted, and his former employers are dying gruesomely, picked off one by one. Every sign, every shred of evidence, points to Charlie as a cold-blooded killer. And soon Charlie is unable to tell whether he’s succumbed to the pressures of work and become the architect of his own destruction, or whether he’s the victim of a relentless, diabolical attack.

-Click here to read a review of DELIRIOUS.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DELIRIOUS.

-Click here to read an interview with Daniel Palmer.

-Click here to read Daniel Palmer's bio.

-Click here to read critical praise for DELIRIOUS.

-Click here to read more about DELIRIOUS.

-Visit Daniel Palmer's official website,

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

Young Adult Books You Won't Want to Miss

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.

Here are our latest featured titles:

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis (Science Fiction/Thriller)

The spaceship Godspeed is on a 300-year journey across the stars to form a new settlement on Earth-Centauri. Amy has been cryogenically frozen with her parents to awake once the journey is completed, but something has gone wrong and she's awoken 50 years too soon. Someone is deliberately unplugging the cryogenic containers, and it's up to Amy to find out what's happening before the killer strikes again.

JUMPSTART THE WORLD by Catherine Ryan Hyde (Fiction)

When Elle must move into her own apartment at age 15, she is filled with rage at the situation. She is definitely not looking for friends or a love interest. Yet she makes such an emotional connection with Frank, her nice neighbor, that she finds herself developing a crush on him. Needless to say, her world is rocked when she discovers that he's transgender.

THE LAST FULL MEASURE by Ann Rinaldi (Historical Fiction)

Tacy is facing the biggest challenges of her young life as the armies of the North and South collide in her hometown of Gettysburg. Not only is she desperately worried for her older brothers and father, who are out on the battlefield, she’s confused about her other brother, David. David used to be her friend, but now he’s always angry and downright mean. Life will never be the same for those who manage to survive one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

THE LOST GATE by Orson Scott Card (Urban Fantasy)

Orson Scott Card gave readers a brave, young hero with Andrew “Ender” Wiggin. Now he’s back with a new protagonist, Danny North, in a brilliant, original fantasy novel --- the first installment in his Mither Mages series --- that will appeal to teens and adults alike.

THE RUNNING DREAM by Wendelin Van Draanen (Fiction)

Sixteen-year-old Jessica lives to run, and the track team is her second family. So when a tragic bus accident leaves her with an amputated leg, her entire world screeches to a painful dead end. But with the help of her friends and a hidden strength discovered deep within, she just may find the courage --- and the means --- to run again.

SAPPHIQUE by Catherine Fisher (Fantasy)

In this thrilling sequel to INCARCERON, Finn is struggling to fit into the outside world as the long-lost Prince Giles. When another claimant emerges, Finn’s identity is cast into doubt. Incarceron, the prison, also has plans of its own and has built a body to finally escape and take control of the Outside.

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

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