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Friday, March 11, 2011

March 11, 2011

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

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

VICTIM SIX by Gregg Olsen

BREAKING NIGHT: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray

THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett

TRINITY SIX by Charles Cumming

Reviews and Excerpts

SILENT MERCY by Linda Fairstein (Legal Thriller)

In the middle of the night, Prosecutor Alexandra Cooper is called to a church in Harlem. A woman’s decapitated body has been left burning on the steps. Three days later, a second is found in Little Italy. As Alex mines Manhattan’s houses of worship in search of a connection, she uncovers a terrible truth that puts her in the path of danger. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

LOVE YOU MORE: A D. D. Warren Novel by Lisa Gardner (Thriller)

State trooper Tessa Leoni says she shot her husband in self-defense and has the bruises to prove it. For Detective D. D. Warren, it should be a clear-cut case. But their six-year-old daughter is missing. As Warren’s investigation turns into a statewide search, the clock starts ticking for Tessa. For her, the worst has yet to happen. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from LOVE YOU MORE.

-Click here to enter our giveaway for LOVE YOU MORE.

SATORI by Don Winslow (Thriller)

It’s 1951, and the Korean War is raging. Nicholai Hel is a master of hoda korosu --- or "naked kill" --- and he’s acutely attuned to danger. He’s spent the last three years in solitary confinement, but now the CIA needs him. The Americans are willing to offer Hel freedom, money and a neutral passport, but only if he kills the Soviet commissioner to China. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan by Jeff Greenfield (History)

History turns on a dime, and nowhere is this truer than in American politics. In THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED, Jeff Greenfield takes three dramatic narratives and shows how easily their outcomes might have changed. From assassinations to presidential debates, Greenfield depicts realistic scenarios that are remarkably plausible. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

ONE ROUGH MAN: A Pike Logan Thriller by Brad Taylor (Thriller)

They call it the Taskforce. Commissioned at the highest level, their existence is as essential as it is illegal. Pike Logan was their best operator --- until a tragedy altered everything. He knows what no one wants to admit: The real threat to America is posed by one or two men, and their attack is days away. These men will cross paths with Pike Logan. And Pike has nothing to lose. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE DARK SIDE OF INNOCENCE: Growing Up Bipolar by Terri Cheney (Memoir)

As a young girl, Terri Cheney’s life looked perfect. She was pretty and smart, with a father who doted on her. But starting with her first suicide attempt at seven, it was clear that something was wrong --- although there wasn’t a name for it yet. Throughout Terri’s chaotic early years, nothing was certain but this: Whatever was wrong with her must remain a secret. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE PHILOSOPHICAL BREAKFAST CLUB: Four Remarkable Friends Who Transformed Science and Changed the World by Laura J. Snyder (Science)

The roots of modern science can be traced to one group's transformation of nearly every scientific field in the 19th century. In the tradition of Sir Francis Bacon, four young academics at Cambridge --- each to become an inventor and luminary in his own right --- make a pact over breakfast and devote their lives to ensuring that science becomes a serious, well-awarded discipline. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

MY FATHER’S FORTUNE: A Life by Michael Frayn (Memoir)

Like Tommy Frayn, most of us “move lightly over the earth,” leaving traces of our presence only in the hearts and minds of our loved ones who remain behind. In this tender, witty memoir, his son Michael explores a father’s quirky legacy. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

RED WOLF by Liza Marklund (Mystery)

In the dead of winter, a journalist is murdered in the Swedish town of Lulea. Crime reporter Annika Bengtzon thinks the killing is linked to a decades-old attack on an air base. Against her boss’s orders, Annika continues to investigate --- and more shocking murders follow. Soon, she is caught in a spiral of violence, centered on a communist group called The Beasts. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

AUTUMN: THE CITY by David Moody (Fantasy/Thriller)

A disease that kills almost instantly, and indiscriminately, has ravaged a British city leaving few alive. Small groups of survivors hide in abandoned buildings around the city, venturing out only for the necessities, when they begin to notice a strange occurrence among the dead --- they seem to be re-animating. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

HOME TO WOEFIELD by Susan Juby (Fiction)

A well-intentioned New Yorker full of ideals, Prudence Burns just inherited Woefield Farm --- 30 acres of scrubland and a half-sheared sheep. But the bank is about to foreclose, so Prudence must turn things around. And fortunately, she'll have help from her banjo-playing foreman, her reclusive neighbor, and an 11-year-old with prize-winning chickens. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for HOME TO WOEFIELD.

Sneak Peek: An Early Look at an Upcoming Book

THE KINGDOM OF CHILDHOOD by Rebecca Coleman (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 THE KINGDOM OF CHILDHOOD by Rebecca Coleman --- about a teenager and a teacher who find comfort in each other until their relationship edges toward dangerous territory --- which releases in October. We have 50 specially formatted early reader editions to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and share their comments about it.

THE KINGDOM OF CHILDHOOD is the story of a boy and a woman: 16-year-old Zach Patterson, uprooted and struggling to reconcile his knowledge of his mother's extramarital affair, and Judy McFarland, a kindergarten teacher watching her family unravel before her eyes. Thrown together to organize a fundraiser for their failing private school and bonded by loneliness, they begin an affair that at first thrills, then corrupts each of them. Judy sees in Zach the elements of a young man she loved as a child, but what Zach does not realize is that their relationship is --- for Judy --- only the latest in a lifetime of disturbing secrets. As the walls close in, Zach finds himself needing to disentangle himself from premature adulthood. But the lines between adult and child have blurred, and life and sanity are unraveling faster and further than anyone could ever have imagined.

-Click here to read more about THE KINGDOM OF CHILDHOOD.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE KINGDOM OF CHILDHOOD.

-Click here to read Rebecca Coleman's bio.

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

One to Watch Author Spotlight

MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS by Rae Meadows (Fiction)

Samantha is lost in the joys of new motherhood --- the softness of her eight-month-old daughter's skin, the lovely weight of her child in her arms --- but in trading her artistic dreams to care for her child, Sam worries she's lost something of herself. And she is still mourning another loss: her mother, Iris, died just one year ago. When a box of Iris's belongings arrives on Sam's doorstep, she discovers links to pieces of her family history but is puzzled by much of the information the box contains. She learns that her grandmother Violet left New York City as an 11-year-old girl, traveling by herself to the Midwest in search of a better life. But what was Violet's real reason for leaving? And how could she have made that trip alone at such a tender age?

-Click here to read an excerpt from MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.

-Click here to read critical praise for MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.

-Click here to read Rae Meadows's bio.

-Click here to see Rae Meadows's backlist.

-Click here to read more about MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.

-Visit Rae Meadows's official website,

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight

CLOSER THAN BLOOD by Gregg Olsen (Thriller)

The first time was easy. No one ever suspected the victim had been murdered. The crime long buried, the dark passions guiding the killer's hand are still alive. But the need for revenge cannot be denied. Only one person can stop the killing. Only one person can identify the killer. Only one person knows the face of death --- is as close as the face in the mirror…

-Click here to read an excerpt from CLOSER THAN BLOOD.

-Click here to read critical praise for CLOSER THAN BLOOD.

-Click here to read Gregg Olsen's bio.

-Click here to see Gregg Olsen's backlist.

-Click here to read more about CLOSER THAN BLOOD.

-Visit Gregg Olsen's official website,

Southern Writers Author Spotlight

THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST by Anna Jean Mayhew (Fiction)

On a scorching day in August 1954, 13-year-old Jubie Watts leaves Charlotte, North Carolina, with her family for a Florida vacation. Crammed into the Packard along with Jubie are her three siblings, her mother, and the family’s black maid, Mary Luther. For as long as Jubie can remember, Mary has been there --- cooking, cleaning, compensating for her father’s rages and her mother’s benign neglect, and loving Jubie unconditionally. Bright and curious, Jubie takes note of the anti-integration signs they pass, and of the racial tension that builds as they journey further south. But she could never have predicted the shocking turn their trip will take. Now, in the wake of tragedy, Jubie must confront her parents’ failings and limitations, decide where her own convictions lie, and make the tumultuous leap to independence…

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST.

-Click here to read critical praise for THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST.

-Click here to read Anna Jean Mayhew's bio.

-Click here to read more about THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST.

Women's Fiction Author Spotlight

THE PEACH KEEPER by Sarah Addison Allen (Fiction)

It’s the dubious distinction of 30-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam --- built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home --- has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate --- socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood --- of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from THE PEACH KEEPER.

-Click here to read critical praise for THE PEACH KEEPER.

-Click here to read Sarah Addison Allen's bio.

-Click here to see Sarah Addison Allen's backlist.

-Click here to read more about THE PEACH KEEPER.

-Visit Sarah Addison Allen's official website,

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

One to Watch Author Spotlight

TIGER HILLS by Sarita Mandanna (Fiction)

As the first girl born to the Nachimada family in over 60 years, the beautiful Devi is the object of adoration of her entire family. Strong-willed and confident, she befriends the shy Devanna, a young boy whose mother has died under tragic circumstances. The two quickly become inseparable, until Devi meets Machu the tiger killer, a hunter of great repute, and a man of much honor and pride. Soon, they fall deeply in love, an attraction that drives a wedge between Devi and Devanna. It is this tangled relationship between the three that leads to a devastating tragedy --- an event that changes their fates forever and has unforeseen and far-reaching consequences for generations to come.

-Click here to read an excerpt from TIGER HILLS.

-Click here to read critical praise for TIGER HILLS.

-Click here to read Sarita Mandanna's bio.

-Click here to read more about TIGER HILLS.

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

Books into Movies

Spring is right around the corner. And to celebrate the start of a new season,'s Books into Movies feature is spotlighting 11 flicks that are guaranteed to remedy the rest of your winter blues.

If the prospect of warmer weather has put you in the mood for an adventure, then you're in luck, because March promises to be an action-packed month for movie-loving bibliophiles. While The Adjustment Bureau is a suspense-filled thriller based on Philip K. Dick's short story "The Adjustment Team," Kill the Irishman is a cinematic rendering of Rick Porrello's nonfiction account of a Celtic hero who took on the Italian-American Mafia.

And that's only the beginning. Watch Robert De Niro transform from an unsuccessful writer to the perfect version of himself in Limitless, or follow charismatic bad boy Matthew McConaughey as he takes on the role of Mickey Haller in the highly anticipated adaptation of Michael Connelly's THE LINCOLN LAWYER. Or, if you're looking for something the whole family can enjoy, there's always Mars Needs Moms --- which follows the outer space exploits of a nine-year-old boy whose mom has been kidnapped by Martians --- and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, the latest on-screen installment of Jeff Kinney's hilarious series.

But if none of these films suits your fancy, March is also going to be a month of misguided love, gripping dramas and, of course, timeless classics. Rediscover your inner beauty with Beastly, the edgy romance based on Alex Finn's ultra-modern retelling of "Beauty and the Beast," or enter a world of true love and terrible horror in Red Riding Hood. While Brontë fans everywhere should be on the lookout for Hollywood's latest take on JANE EYRE, anyone interested in a moving drama of the Middle East should check out Miral --- the heart-wrenching story of a real-life Palestinian woman who started an orphanage in Jerusalem in the wake of the post-World War II partition --- and Desert Flower, which recounts the courageous tale of Somalian supermodel Waris Dirie.

For those of you who would rather relish the start of spring at home, our Books into Movies on DVD feature is spotlighting Hemingway's Garden of Eden, Fair Game, Love & Other Drugs and Tangled so you can enjoy the perfect combination of book-based flicks from the comfort of your own couch.

-Click here for more details about March's films.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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