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Friday, March 25, 2011

March 25, 2011

The following interviews, reviews and features began running on the website on Friday, March 25th.

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

I SHALL WANT by Julia Spencer-Fleming

IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER by Julia Spencer-Fleming

SILENT MERCY by Linda Fairstein


Reviews and Excerpts

NIGHT ROAD by Kristin Hannah (Fiction)

For 18 years, Jude Farraday has put the needs of her twins, Zach and Mia, before her own. And it shows. Then Lexi, a former foster child, befriends Mia --- and when Zach falls in love with her, the three become inseparable. Jude now struggles to keep her kids on track. And on a hot summer’s night, her worst fears are realized. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from NIGHT ROAD.

-Visit Kristin Hannah's official website,

LIVE WIRE by Harlan Coben (Thriller)

When ex-tennis star Suzze T and her husband, Lex, receive a Facebook post regarding the paternity of their unborn child, Lex runs off. Myron Bolitar finds him, along with his sister-in-law, who abandoned his family years ago. Now Myron must locate his missing brother and face the lies that led to the estrangement --- including the ones he himself told. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from LIVE WIRE.

THE SATURDAY BIG TENT WEDDING PARTY: The New No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel by Alexander McCall Smith (Mystery)

When two cows are killed at a remote cattle post south of Gaborone, Precious Ramotswe is asked to investigate. It’s an intriguing case with plenty of suspects --- including her client. But on top of that, she’s being haunted by a vision of her dear white van, and one of Mr. J.L.B Matekoni’s apprentices has run away. Naturally it’s up to her to sort things out. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SATURDAY BIG TENT WEDDING PARTY.

THE PEACH KEEPER by Sarah Addison Allen (Fiction)

Walls of Water, North Carolina is a small town with secrets that run deep. The only thing that may run deeper than its hidden mysteries is the friendship among a few of the town’s women, some of whom have bonds that go back farther than anyone imagined. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE PEACH KEEPER.

A LESSON IN SECRETS: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear (Mystery)

In 1932, Maisie Dobbs’s career takes an exciting turn when she’s handed an undercover assignment. She’s sent to Cambridge to monitor unpatriotic activities at a private college. And when the founder is murdered, it seems linked to those under her surveillance. As she tries to unravel this web, she’ll discover truths about Britain’s past --- and find herself facing British Nazis. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

UNFAMILIAR FISHES by Sarah Vowell (History)

Many think 1776 is the defining year of American history. But in UNFAMILIAR FISHES, Sarah Vowell argues that 1898 is just as important. In a fit of imperialism, the U.S. became a superpower almost overnight, annexing Puerto Rico, Guam and Hawaii. With clever insights, Vowell sets out to discover the enigmatic history of the 50th state. In doing so, she finds America. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

WHEN THE THRILL IS GONE: A Leonid McGill Mystery by Walter Mosley (Mystery)

While confronting serious problems in his personal life, New York City private eye Leonid McGill takes on a case involving the wife of a billionaire who is convinced that her husband killed his previous two wives and that she’s next. Nothing is as it seems in this third installment of award-winning novelist Walter Mosley’s series. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

-Click here to read an excerpt from WHEN THE THRILL IS GONE.

COLD WIND: A Joe Pickett Novel by C. J. Box (Thriller)

When Earl Alden is found dangling from a wind turbine, his wife, Missy, is arrested. Missy is Joe Pickett’s mother-in-law, and the signs point to her being guilty as sin. But then things happen that make him wonder if Earl’s death is what it appears to be. Now he’s caught between the sheriff and his wife. Whichever way it goes, it won’t be good. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD: New and Selected Stories by E. L. Doctorow (Fiction/Short Stories)

In a collection that might have been titled “American Misfits,” the masterly E.L. Doctorow portrays an assortment of troubled people struggling to make sense of their lives in a society that exalts individualism over community. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

EVERY DAY BY THE SUN: A Memoir of the Faulkners of Mississippi by Dean Faulkner Wells (Memoir)

In EVERY DAY BY THE SUN, Dean Faulkner Wells recounts the story of the Faulkners of Mississippi, whose legacy includes three never-convicted murderers and one of the most important American novelists of the 20th century. From the 1920s to Faulkner’s death in 1962, this memoir explores the changing culture of Oxford, Mississippi, and offers an indelible portrait of a national treasure. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

THE BONE YARD: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass (Mystery)

When a Florida forensic analyst asks Bill Brockton, a researcher on human decomposition, to investigate her sister’s death, he gets more than he bargained for. Bones turn up in the panhandle, leading them to ruins of a reformatory, where they find several shallow graves. They soon discover that the ghosts of the past can have a deadly effect on the present. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

COME AND FIND ME by Hallie Ephron (Suspense)

Reformed hacker Diana Highsmith hasn’t been out of her house since her husband’s death. But Diana isn’t completely cut off, as she helps run an Internet security company from home. Then her sister goes missing, and Diana is forced to brave the outside world. She soon uncovers a web of deceit and betrayal that threatens not only her sister's life, but also her own. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

RODIN’S DEBUTANTE by Ward Just (Historical Fiction)

Instead of letting his wife commission a bust from Rodin, Tom Ogdin endows a boys’ school --- a decision that will impact a young sculptor named Lee Goodell. As Lee reflects on his time at Ogden’s school, he meets an old friend who was the victim of a crime she can’t remember. Her assault marks the end of Lee’s boyhood --- and the beginning of a life-altering epiphany. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

DRINKING WITH MISS DUTCHIE: A Memoir by Ed Breslin (Memoir)

Ed Breslin's memoir about the dramatic changes one puppy brought to his life is not a typical dog book. Rather, it’s the heartfelt eulogy to a black Lab who taught her owner the importance of self respect and living in the moment, and in so doing helped him turn around his muddled, addicted life. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

Author Interviews

Sarah Addison Allen

Sarah Addison Allen is a native of North Carolina and the author of THE PEACH KEEPER, which follows the unlikely friendship between Willa Jackson, a once-prominent woman, and Paxton Osgood, a wealthy do-gooder who finds herself in need of Willa’s help when the restoration of the Jackson family home unearths the skeleton of a notorious traveling salesman. In this interview with’s Amy Gwiazdowski, Allen talks about the people and places that inspired her latest novel, elaborating on Appalachian culture and the unusual beauty of North Carolina’s Transylvania County. She also speculates on the relationship between preoccupations with food and people’s personalities, reflects on the nature of Southern superstitions, and hints at a sequel to one of her earlier successes. Bets On

BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys (Historical Fiction)

BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys is a young adult book that deserves attention from readers. It’s the story of a little-spoken-about series of events that occurred in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, where Stalin exiled people from those countries to Siberia during World War II. The war ended, but they stayed prisoners for 15 years. More than 20 million people were killed during these years, 14.5 million of whom were starved to death. It’s brilliant, and I was enveloped in the story from the first page. The strong characters and vivid descriptions give evidence to the impeccable research that Ruta did. (She even spent time in a simulated camp, which was a life-changing experience for her.)

I had the pleasure of meeting Ruta in New York last fall, where she talked about the story of her own family that led her to write the book. Although it’s a novel, the emotion that fuels the core of it is very real. While much is known and has been written about the Holocaust, little has been written about the tragedy in Siberia. BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY illuminates this bleak, ugly mark on humanity and will give you pause.

-Click here to read a review of BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY.

-Click here to read Ruta Sepetys's bio.

-Click here to watch Ruta Sepetys talk about BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY.

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

Sneak Peek: An Early Look at an Upcoming Book

THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Thriller)

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 KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES by Jussi Adler-Olsen --- the suspenseful tale of a down-on-his luck detective trying to heat-up a cold case from one of Denmark’s leading authors --- 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 KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES, the first installment of Jussi Adler-Olsen’s international bestselling Department Q series, features the deeply flawed detective Carl Mørck. Carl used to be a good homicide detective --- one of Copenhagen’s best. Then a bullet almost took his life. Two of his colleagues weren’t so lucky, and Carl, who didn’t draw his weapon, blames himself.

So a promotion is the last thing Carl expects.

But it all becomes clear when he sees his new office in the basement. Carl’s been selected to run department Q, a new special investigations division that turns out to be a department of one. With a stack of Copenhagen’s coldest cases to keep him company, Carl has been put out to pasture. He’s as surprised as anyone when a case actually captures his interest. A missing politician vanished without a trace five years earlier. The world assumes she’s dead. His colleagues snicker about the time he’s wasting. But Carl may have the last laugh, and redeem himself in the process.

Because she isn’t dead…yet.

-Click here to read more about THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES.

-Click here to read Jossi Adler-Olsen's bio.

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

Paperback Spotlight

THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake (Fiction)

Sarah Blake's THE POSTMISTRESS was one of the breakout hits of 2010, telling the story of three women separated by an ocean yet linked by the events leading to America's involvement in World War II. Now this bestseller is available in paperback!

It is 1940. Iris James is the postmistress and spinster of Franklin, Massachusetts, a small town on Cape Cod. She firmly believes that her job is to deliver and keep people’s secrets, to pass along the news of love and sorrow that letters carry. Yet one day Iris does the unthinkable: she slips a letter into her pocket. And then she does something even worse --- she reads the letter, then doesn’t deliver it.

Meanwhile, Frankie Bard broadcasts from overseas with Edward R. Murrow. Her dispatches beg listeners to pay heed as the Nazis bomb London nightly. Most of the townspeople of Franklin think the war can't touch them. But both Iris and Frankie know better...

-Click here to read a review of THE POSTMISTRESS.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE POSTMISTRESS.

-Click here to read critical praise for THE POSTMISTRESS.

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

-Click here to read our interview with Sarah Blake.

-Click here to read Sarah Blake's bio.

-Click here to read more about THE POSTMISTRESS

-Click here to see the winners of THE POSTMISTRESS Paperback Contest.

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight

ONE WAS A SOLDIER by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Romantic Suspense)

The Rev. Clare Fergusson wants to forget the things she saw as a combat helicopter pilot and concentrate on her relationship with Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne. MP Eric McCrea needs to control the explosive anger threatening his job as a police officer. Will Ellis, high school track star, faces the reality of life as a double amputee. Orthopedist Trip Stillman is denying the extent of his traumatic brain injury. And bookkeeper Tally McNabb wrestles with guilt over the in-country affair that may derail her marriage. But coming home is harder than it looks. One vet will struggle with drugs and alcohol. One will lose his family and friends. One will die. Since their first meeting, Russ and Clare’s bond has been tried, torn, and forged by adversity. But when he rules the veteran’s death a suicide, she violently rejects his verdict, drawing the surviving vets into an unorthodox investigation that threatens jobs, relationships, and her own future with Russ.

-Click here to read an excerpt from ONE WAS A SOLDIER.

-Click here to read critical praise for ONE WAS A SOLDIER.

-Click here to read Julia Spencer-Fleming's bio.

-Click here to see Julia Spencer-Fleming's backlist.

-Click here to read more about ONE WAS A SOLDIER.

-Visit Julia Spencer-Fleming's official website,

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 a third 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,

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

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 a third 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,

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

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 a third 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.

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

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 review of THE PEACH KEEPER.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE PEACH KEEPER.

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

-Click here to read an interview with Sarah Addison Allen.

-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.

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:

BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys (Historical Fiction)
It's 1941, and Lina is just like any other 15-year-old Lithuanian girl. That is, until Soviet officers barge into her home. Separated from her father, Lina, her mother and her brother travel north on a crowded train to a camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here, under Stalin's orders, they are forced to dig for beets --- and fight for their lives --- under the cruelest conditions. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
-Click here to read an excerpt from BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY.
-Click here to watch Ruta Sepetys talk about BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY.

LOST & FOUND: THREE written and illustrated by Shaun Tan (Fiction/Illustrated Short Stories)
The Lost Thing won Best Animated Short at this year's Academy Awards. This huge honor coincides with the release of LOST & FOUND, a collection of Shaun Tan's early picture books that includes the story on which the film is based, along with THE RED TREE and THE RABBITS. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

TO TIMBUKTU: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story written by Casey Scieszka and illustrated by Steven Weinberg (Memoir)
Two young adults meet while studying abroad in Morocco. They fall in love and decide to travel some more... and their adventures begin. For the next year-and-a-half, they teach English in China, wander Southeast Asia, and do research in Mali. TO TIMBUKTU is a fully illustrated chronicle of their illuminating time abroad --- and what they learned there. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

WORDS IN THE DUST by Trent Reedy (Fiction)
A quiet, severely disfigured Afghan girl experiences a promising vision of her nation's future when American troops occupy her desert village and arrange surgery for her cleft lip. Based on an enlightening true story, WORDS IN THE DUST tells of a shy 13-year-old and how much her life changes because of the simple kindness of a few concerned American soldiers. Reviewed by Melanie Smith and excerpted.
-Click here to read an excerpt from WORDS IN THE DUST.
-Click here to watch Trent Reedy talk about WORDS IN THE DUST.

-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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