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Friday, February 4, 2011

February 4, 2011

The following interviews, reviews and features began running on the website on Friday, February 4th.

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


THESE THINGS HIDDEN by Heather Gudenkauf

THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE by Heather Gudenkauf

EXPOSURE by Therese Fowler

LOVING FRANK by Nancy Horan

LABYRINTH by Kate Mosse

SEPULCHRE by Kate Mosse

Reviews and Excerpts

THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X by Keigo Higashino (Psychological Thriller)

Yasuko thought she had finally escaped her abusive ex-husband. Then he showed up looking for money and ends up dead on her floor. Her neighbor, a math teacher named Ishigami, offers to help with the cover-up. But then his old friend, Dr. Manubu Yukawa, is brought in on the case, and an epic battle of wits ensues --- with Yukawa facing his most clever opponent yet. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X.

IT’S ALL RELATIVE: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine: A Memoir by Wade Rouse (Memoir)

In his latest memoir, viewing family life through the prism of the holidays, Wade Rouse helps us laugh and cry along with him as we recall our own family moments, happy or grim, transcendent or mundane. With a matchless comic voice, tempered by real humanity, he reminds us that our lives, for better or worse, are inescapably rooted in family. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

-Click here to read an excerpt from IT'S ALL RELATIVE.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for IT'S ALL RELATIVE.

-Visit Wade Rouse's official website,

THE WINTER GHOSTS by Kate Mosse (Mystery)

Freddie Watson is grieving the loss of his beloved brother, a British soldier killed in action during World War I. He takes solace and a much-needed rest in a quiet French mountain village. It is there that he finds himself immersed in an ancient tragedy and a heartbreaking mystery that is centuries old and may still haunt the mountains outside Tarascon. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE WINTER GHOSTS.

-Visit Kate Mosse's official website,

THE WEIRD SISTERS by Eleanor Brown (Fiction)

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father speaks almost entirely in verse and has named his three girls after famous Shakespearean women. Under the guise of caring for their mother, the sisters come home to bury their secrets --- and each is horrified to find the others there. But soon they discover that the things they’ve been running from might offer more than they expected. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE WEIRD SISTERS.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE WEIRD SISTERS.

FADEAWAY GIRL by Martha Grimes (Mystery)

In this suspenseful sequel to BELLE RUIN, Emma Graham continues investigating the disappearance of a baby from the Belle Ruin Hotel more than 20 years before. And when the child’s father shows up, it makes her even more determined to learn the truth. But then a mysterious drifter arrives at the Hotel Paradise, ingratiating himself with everyone there. Everyone, that is, except Emma. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

THE LAST DAYS OF PTOLEMY GREY by Walter Mosley (Fiction)

Ptolemy Grey is a 91-year-old man suffering from dementia, living all alone in a cluttered, bug-invested apartment in a tough LA neighborhood when a 17-year-old girl without a family enters his life. Award-winning author Walter Mosley has written a novel about the possibility of finding dignity, love and redemption even in the final days of a long life. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

ELECTRIC BARRACUDA by Tim Dorsey (Fiction)

Serge Storms, that loveable thermonuclear vigilante, has been leaving corpses throughout the Sunshine State for over a decade. The authorities have begun to notice, so they send a task force to track him down. To up the ante, Serge decides to resurrect his travel-tips website with a themed vacation: Experience Florida though the eyes of a fugitive. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

TOUGH WITHOUT A GUN: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart byStefan Kanfer (Biography)

What is it about Humphrey Bogart that has captured our collective imagination for so long? In this definitive biography, Stefan Kanfer answers that question, along the way illuminating the private man Bogart was and shining the spotlight on some of his great performances. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

GIDEON’S WAR by Howard Gordon (Thriller)

Gideon Davis is a peacemaker whose negotiating skills have gained him respect around the globe. After Earl Parker, a politically-connected family friend, requests Gideon to accompany him to Southeast Asia to return a rogue agent to Washington, D.C., Gideon is torn between loyalty to his country and to his family. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE A NUT: Essays and Observations by Jill Kargman (Essays/Humor)

Jill Kargman is a mother, wife and writer living in New York City, a life that includes camping in a one-bedroom apartment, battling Momzillas, and coming to terms with her desire for gay men. In this entertaining collection, Kargman shares her unique insights as she zips around the city with three kids in tow, tackling issues with sharp wit and outrageous humor. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE GOOD DAUGHTER: A Memoir of My Mother's Hidden Life by Jasmin Darznik (Memoir)

Jasmin Darznik, shocked when she finds a wedding photo of her mother, Lili, with a mystery man, reveals the winding journey of a new and tenuous acquaintance with her mother in this touching memoir that casts new light on Lili's shocking life in Iran before she immigrated to America. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

THE TUDOR SECRET by C.W. Gortner (Historical Mystery)

Born an orphan, Brendan Prescott may not be aware of his personal history, but he does know his place in the household. Brought to court in the summer of 1553 to be squire to Lord Dudley’s oldest son Robert, he stumbles upon a secret that must remain hidden or bring the fall of the Tudor reign in England. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

THIS GLITTERING WORLD by T. Greenwood (Fiction)

An adjunct history professor feels trapped by his life choices but sees a way out when chance involves him in a Flagstaff hate crime. Events lead the teacher to secretly investigate the brutal death of an American Indian as he attempts to sort out his life and change his future. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

THE IMPALER by Gregory Funaro (Thriller)

The crimes are barbaric. The victims are found in remote areas, impaled on wooden stakes. There is no evidence. Just a message on one broken body: “I have returned.” FBI Agent Sam Markham's last investigation ended with a serial killer's death and a promotion. But now, no one is safe. And as the clues slip into place, Sam will cross the line from hunter to hunted. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Author Talk

Kate Mosse

The co-founder and honorary director of the Orange Prize for Fiction, British author Kate Mosse returns to the literary scene herself with THE WINTER GHOSTS, which tells the story of a traumatized World War I veteran who crosses paths with a mysterious woman in the Pyrenees mountains and unearths an almost-forgotten mystery --- and a past that is, perhaps, more haunted than his own. In this interview, Mosse reflects on the remote region of France that inspired her latest novel, elaborating on its ancient beauty and the tragic story she stumbled upon while researching another book. She also speculates on the differences between heroes and heroines, muses on the merits of ghost stories, and explains why she always keeps her eye on the present when writing about the past.

Eleanor Brown

Eleanor Brown is stunning audiences with her debut novel, THE WEIRD SISTERS, a quirky coming-of-age tale about three incredibly bookish sisters (who don’t happen to like each other very much) who return home to lick wounds and bury secrets, only to find that each of the others is already there --- and might have more to offer than any of them ever expected. In this interview, Brown talks about the evolution of the story that became this book, elaborating on its intriguing title and why she decided to name her heroines after some of Shakespeare’s most famous female characters. She also reflects on her own struggles with sisterhood --- and how the Andreas girls are a bit like her --- shares her thoughts on the birth order theory, and reveals why the Bard played such a big role in her first stab at a novel.

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: 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

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.

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 an 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.

-Visit Paula McLain's official website,

New in Paperback

February’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE POSTMISTRESS, Sarah Blake’s spellbinding story of two women who deliver the news to a small town in Massachusetts during the darkest hours of World War II; Robert B. Parker’s SPLIT IMAGE, a Jesse Stone novel that finds the Paradise police chief teaming up with private eye Sunny Randall to solve the murder of a high-ranking crime figure; HUSH by Kate White, in which a recently divorced marketing consultant has a one-night-stand with a colleague --- and wakes up to find his throat slashed and herself a suspect for murder; THINK TWICE, Lisa Scottoline’s terrifying tale of a woman who finds herself buried alive by her identical twin; THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON, Jerome Charyn’s literary masterpiece about the inner world of one of the greatest American poets; and MAKING TOAST, Roger Rosenblatt’s heart-wrenching account of how he and his wife helped raise their grandchildren after losing their daughter to heart failure at the age of 38.

-Click here to see our New in Paperback feature for February.

Books into Movies

The Oscars are right around the corner, and in honor of the occasion, February’s Books into Movies feature is spotlighting three must-see films that will help you get ready for the red carpet.

First up is The Eagle, an action-packed rendering of Rosemary Sutcliff’s THE EAGLE OF THE NINTH. Travel back in time to the heyday of the Roman Empire and join a young warrior named Marcus as he sets out with his slave, Esca, to investigate the disappearance of his father --- the famed commander of the Ninth Legion. If you’re in the mood for something a bit more contemporary, I Am Number Four will be exploding onto the big screen on February 18th. This highly anticipated film version of the sci-fi novel of the same name by James Frey and Jobie Hughes (aka Pittacus Lore) follows a fugitive teen with extraordinary talents --- and an incredible destiny that is guaranteed to blow the minds of book-loving film fanatics everywhere. But if you’d rather watch a thriller with a psychological twist, there’s Unknown, a mind-boggling flick based on OUT OF MY HEAD, Didier van Cauwelaert’s book about a man who wakes up from a car wreck and discovers that someone has stolen his identity.

But February is also a month for love and romance, so if you’d rather stay at home with your sweetheart, then don’t miss this month’s DVD releases, which include It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Let Me In, Never Let Me Go and Tamara Drewe.

-Click here for details about February's films.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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