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Friday, February 11, 2011

February 11, 2011

The following interviews, reviews and features began running on the website on Friday, February 11th.

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

EVERGREEN by Belva Plain

THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner

YOU CAN'T STOP ME by Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens

THE ROGUE CREW: A Tale of Redwall by Brian Jacques

Reviews and Excerpts

HEARTWOOD by Belva Plain (Fiction)

Belva Plain's final novel is a moving story layered in psychological reflection, which has more depth than any simple drama or ordinary work of fiction. This is a book that delves deeply into the psychology of older parents and their adult children, presenting a striking image of one mother's deep-seated need for perfection and impulse to manage her family long past the time when she should stop. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

-Click here to read an excerpt from HEARTWOOD.

RADIO SHANGRI-LA: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth by Lisa Napoli (Travel/Memoir)

Lisa Napoli was dissatisfied with her life and her work as a radio journalist. But then a stranger gave her the chance to move to Bhutan, a Himalayan kingdom said to be one of the happiest places on earth. There, she created a new home for herself and discovered that the world is a beautiful place --- and how to appreciate life for the adventure that it is. Reviewed byBarbara Bamberger Scott.

-Click here to read an excerpt from RADIO SHANGRI-LA.

THE ILLUMINATION by Kevin Brockmeier (Fiction)

No doubt there are those who dismiss the notion that it’s possible to write a lyrical novel on the subject of human pain. But perhaps they will change their minds after reading Kevin Brockmeier’s gorgeous new work about how we suffer and how we love. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE ILLUMINATION

THE SECRET SOLDIER by Alex Berenson (Thriller)

A mysterious call puts ex-CIA agent John Wells in touch with the king of Saudi Arabia, who informs Wells that people are plotting against him and that Wells is the only one he can trust. A reluctant Wells goes undercover, but one thing soon becomes clear: More is at stake than the fall of a monarch --- this may be the first of a final fight between America and Islam. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

FATAL ERROR by J.A. Jance (Mystery)

Ali Reynolds thinks her biggest challenge will be surviving the Arizona Police Academy as the only female over 40. But then Brenda Riley, an old colleague, shows up with a missing fiancé who turns out to be a recently murdered cyber-sociopath. As the police focus on Brenda, Ali is drawn into a web of online intrigue that could lead to a real-life fatal error. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

I THINK I LOVE YOU by Allison Pearson (Fiction)

1974, Wales. Petra and her best friend, Sharon, are obsessed with David Cassidy and The Ultimate David Cassidy Quiz, a contest whose winners get to meet him. 1998, London. Petra finds a letter in her mother’s closet declaring her the winner. Twenty-four years later and 20 pounds heavier, the girls take their free trip to Vegas to meet their teen idol, middle age be damned. Reviewed by Hannah Gómez.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for I THINK I LOVE YOU.

BEING POLITE TO HITLER by Robb Forman Dew (Fiction)

After spending her life teaching and raising her family, at 51, Agnes Scofield is weary of the routine it has become. But the Scofields are full of fire, and Agnes can no more ignore them than step down as matriarch. Despite her new freedom, though, Agnes becomes even more entangled in the family web --- and is amazed to see her life grow instead. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

BREACH OF TRUST by David Ellis (Legal Thriller)

On the night his family died, Jason Kolarich was waiting for a call from an informant named Ernesto Ramirez. The call never came, and when Kolarich tries to find out who killed him, he gets caught in an FBI probe of a corrupt governor. Ramirez’s murder was only the beginning. And exposing the breach of trust could turn into the fight of his life. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

WORLD’S GREATEST SLEUTH!: A Holmes on the Range Mystery by Steve Hockensmith (Historical Mystery)

The Amlingmeyer brothers --- Big Red and Old Red --- return for another installment of Steve Hockensmith’s Holmes on the Range Mystery series. The year is 1893, and the down-on-their-luck cowboys and wannabe detectives are summoned to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago to take part in the World’s Greatest Sleuth competition. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE THINGS THAT NEED DOING: A Memoir by Sean Manning (Memoir)

In THE THINGS THAT NEED DOING, Sean Manning travels as observer and companion through a tortuous but soul-strengthening series of medical and emotional challenges that besiege his dying mother during a year spent in the hospital. His thoughts and revelations are as surprising and inspiring as they are humanly sad. Reviewed by Pauline Finch.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE THINGS THAT NEED DOING.

A TIGER IN THE KITCHEN: A Memoir of Food and Family by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan (Memoir)

When Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, shuttling back and forth from New York City to the Asian island of Singapore, embarks on a year-long journey to learn from her "aunties" how to create the dishes of her homeland and her childhood, she grows not only as a cook, but also as a person. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

EYES OF THE INNOCENT by Brad Parks (Mystery)

When a house fire kills two boys in Newark, New Jersey, investigative reporter Carter Ross turns their mother’s woeful tale into a front-page feature. But Akilah Harris isn’t what she seems. And neither is the fire. Soon, a city councilman is missing, launching Carter into a world of house-flipping and political corruption, as he searches for the figure behind it all. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SHORTCUT MAN by p. g. sturges (Thriller)

When people need a problem fixed fast in the City of Angels, they call Dick Henry, a “shortcut man” who knows that the best answers aren’t always legal. But when Henry gets an assignment from a porn producer, things get a lot more complicated. Now he has to finish the job and avoid being killed --- and figure out what to do with a long-legged vixen named Lynette. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

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. Recently we gave readers the chance to win one of our five Valentine's Day prize packages, which included one copy of each of our featured books and some delicious gourmet chocolate from Godiva. Thanks to all who entered the contest and told us which character in a book they would want to share a Valentine moment with. Click here to see our winners and their responses.

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: The 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

Paperback Spotlight and Contest

THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTERS by Randy Susan Meyers (Fiction)
Lulu and Merry's childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu's 10th birthday, their father drives them into a nightmare. She had been warned never to let her father in, but when he shows up drunk, he's impossible to ignore. He bullies his way past Lulu, who then listens in horror as her parents struggle. She runs for help, but discovers upon her return that he's murdered her mother, stabbed her five-year-old sister, and tried, unsuccessfully, to kill himself. For 30 years, the sisters try to make sense of what happened. One spends her life pretending their father is dead, while the other feels compelled --- by fear, by duty --- to keep him close.

-Click here to read more about THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTERS.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTERS.

-Click here to read critical praise for THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTERS.

-Click here to read Randy Susan Meyers's bio.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight

NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU by Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens (Thriller)

The first video arrives by email. An unidentifed man. A naked woman. Her scream caught in a freeze-frame. The producers of TV’s “Crime Seen!” can’t believe what they’re witnessing --- an all-out sadist “auditioning” for a starring role in reality television. And if he doesn’t get it, he’ll kill again. To meet the demented demands of the self-proclaimed “Don Juan,” former sheriff and TV host J.C. Harrow has no choice but to spotlight him along with another ruthless maniac who has captivated millions of viewers. Now two killers are locked in a bloodthirsty competition. For fame. For notoriety. For victims.

-Click here to read an excerpt from NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

-Click here to read critical praise for NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

-Click here to read Max Allan Collins's bio.

-Click here to read Matthew Clemens's bio.

-Click here to read more about NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

-Visit Max Allan Collins's official website,

One to Watch Author Spotlight

THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain (Fiction)

A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, THE PARIS WIFE captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet 28-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness --- until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group --- the fabled “Lost Generation”--- that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, THE PARIS WIFE is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from THE PARIS WIFE.

-Click here to read critical praise for THE PARIS WIFE.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE PARIS WIFE.

-Click here to read Paula McLain's bio.

-Click here to see Paula McLain's backlist.

-Click here to read more about THE PARIS WIFE.

-Visit Paula McLain's official website,

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

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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