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Friday, April 15, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

The following interviews, reviews and features began running on the website on Friday, April 15th.

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

UNSAID by Neil Abramson
THE SOLDIER’S WIFE by Margaret Leroy
KNIT YOUR OWN DOG by Joanna Osborne and Sally Muir

SAVE ME by Lisa Scottoline (Fiction)
When Rose McKenna volunteers for lunch duty at her daughter's school, she finds herself with an impossible choice during a sudden emergency. Her actions ultimately endanger every relationship in her treasured family. The suspense ratchets up in a rapid-paced plot centered on love and consequences. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

CHASING FIRE by Nora Roberts (Romantic Suspense)
Rowan Tripp has smoke jumping in her blood. Her father is a Missoula, Montana legend, and she's been fighting fires since her 18th birthday. This year's rookie crop of jumpers is one of the strongest ever --- and hotshot Gulliver Curry is one of the best. But when a dark presence lashes out at Rowan, she knows she shouldn’t complicate things with Gull. Reviewed by Hillary Wagy.

ONE WAS A SOLDIER: A Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Romantic Suspense)
On a warm September evening in the Millers Kill community center, five veterans sit down in rickety chairs to try to make sense of their experiences in Iraq. What they will find is murder, conspiracy, and the unbreakable ties that bind them to one another and their small Adirondack town. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read a review of ONE WAS A SOLDIER.
-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,

SWIM BACK TO ME by Ann Packer
(Fiction/Short Stories)
In this emotional collection, characters are shattered and remade by loss. A wife struggles to make sense of her husband’s disappearance; a mother mourns her teenage son through his favorite music; and a woman reflects on the year her family collapsed. SWIM BACK TO ME is framed by two unforgettable linked narratives that express the transformation of a single family over the course of a lifetime. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read a review of SWIM BACK TO ME.
-Click here to read an excerpt from SWIM BACK TO ME.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for SWIM BACK TO ME.

MINDING BEN by Victoria Brown (Fiction)
Debut novelist Victoria Brown draws on her own experience to give us a vibrant page-turner starring 16-year-old Grace, who moves from Trinidad to New York. As a live-in nanny, Grace endures humiliation and unrelenting demands during the week and helps a poverty-stricken mother on the weekends. Her story is both sorrowful and hopeful --- but most of all, it is unforgettable. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.
What should be a relaxing weekend at the Jersey Shore for private investigator Regan Reilly, her husband and her parents turns out to be anything but, as she must track down missing starlet Cleo Paradise; tries to prevent a successful event planner, Hayley Patton, from murdering her wayward boyfriend; and deals with a quirky cast of characters who all have their own private agendas. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.
-Click here to read an excerpt from MOBBED.

THE TIGER’S WIFE by Téa Obreht (Fiction)
A charitable young doctor searches for answers behind her grandfather's sudden death and disappearance in a hostile city, within an area of the Balkans ravaged by a long war. THE TIGER'S WIFE is fascinating, a tale of old family legends, made serious and visceral by some stunning impressions of violence and war. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE TIGER’S WIFE.

Teeny Templeton believes that her life is finally on track. She’s getting married, baking her own wedding cake, and leaving her troubled past behind. But then she finds her fiancé playing naked badminton with gorgeous babes. Needless to say, the wedding is off! When he’s found dead a few days later, all fingers point to Teeny, and now she must try to clear her name. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.
-Click here to read an excerpt from GONE WITH A HANDSOMER MAN.
-Visit Michael Lee West’s official website,

HYBRIDS by Whitley Strieber
(Science Fiction/Thriller)
They look like us but are smarter, faster, stronger and fear nothing. They are also hell-bent on destroying us. These human/alien hybrids are plotting the demise of the entire human race, and only one of their own stands between them and the end of humanity as we know it. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE SCHOOL OF NIGHT by Louis Bayard (Historical Mystery)
An Elizabethan scholar is hired to recover a stolen letter possibly written by Sir Walter Raleigh. What he finds appears to be a treasure map, with more than historical value. It could lead to unimaginable wealth. Or it could lead to his own death. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THE BIG SCRUM: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football by John J. Miller (Sports History)
In THE BIG SCRUM, John J. Miller discusses how Teddy Roosevelt became a vocal advocate of American football. A longtime fan, Roosevelt fought to preserve the game, even as he understood the need for reform. During the early years of the 20th century, many leaders wanted to outlaw the incredibly violent, sometimes deadly sport, but Roosevelt established the NCAA in order to transform football and thus keep it alive. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

Jonathan Coe’s darkly comic ninth novel traces the improbable journey of Maxwell Sim, a lonely man searching for human connection in his company-owned Prius, in a world that has substituted instant communication for emotional engagement. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE TERRIBLE PRIVACY OF MAXWELL SIM.

ALTAR OF BONES by Philip Carter (Thriller)
“They didn’t have to kill him…He never drank from the altar of bones.” Cryptic dying words from a murdered homeless woman in present-day San Francisco unlock a decades-buried secret that changed history. Now a pair of ruthless assassins are sent to cut the few living "loose ends." Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Lily Berry is having a crisis or two. But she finds a way to reinvent herself via her passion for Jane Austen novels. She travels to England for a Jane Austen literary festival, where she comes upon people whose longing to live in a novel equals her own. But despite theMansfield Park reenactments, real-life problems follow her wherever she goes. Reviewed by Kathleen M. Purcell.
Ann Packer, the bestselling author of THE DIVE FROM CLAUSEN’S PIER and SONGS WITHOUT WORDS, has written her second collection of stories, SWIM BACK TO ME. Framed by two linked narratives that express the transformation of a single family over the course of a lifetime, her tales reveal the moral predicaments that define our social and emotional lives, and the ways in which loss both shatters and remakes us. In this interview, Packer further explains her emotional themes and her decision to write about the turning point years of adolescence. She also discusses her highly literate family, her Bay Area roots, and how plot, character, setting and voice all come to her at once.
Mother’s Day is a time to recognize the woman who raised and nurtured us. Why not brighten her special day with some great books? From April 15th through May 2nd, readers will have the chance to win one of our 10 Mother’s Day gift baskets. Each basket is filled with a selection of 12 books from our 24 featured titles, giving Mom a book to read each month and making Mother’s Day truly a yearlong celebration. Also included are a variety of gifts to treat her: a rather large Godiva chocolate bar, a collection of body products from Crabtree & Evelyn, Tazo Tea, and a 4x6 picture frame.

With books that are moving, uplifting, humorous and informative, look no further than for the perfect gift for Mom.
-Click here to see our featured titles.

Mother's Day Author Blogs
Here at, Mother’s Day will be a month-long celebration with the help of some of our author friends and their mothers. During the next few weeks, we will be featuring daily blog posts from authors, including Luanne Rice, Elizabeth Noble, Chelsea Cain, Sarah Addison Allen, and more! We launch our series with none other than Mary Higgins Clark and her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark, who share some of the secrets behind their collaborations. Click here to read their post!

Reading these pieces will give you a new understanding and insight into the role Mom played as authors got their start or followed into the literary world. We suggest you bookmark this page or set up an RSS feed so you can read these pieces every day!

Paperback Spotlight
In the small southern China town of Chin-kiang, in the last days of the 19th century, two young girls bump heads and become thick as thieves. Willow is the only child of a destitute family. Pearl is the headstrong daughter of Christian missionaries --- and will grow up to become Pearl S. Buck, Nobel Prize-winning writer and activist. This unlikely pair becomes lifelong friends, confiding their beliefs and dreams, experiencing love and motherhood, and eventually facing civil war and exile. PEARL OF CHINA brings new color to the remarkable life of Pearl S. Buck, illuminated by the sweep of history and an intimate, unforgettable friendship.

-Click here to read a review of PEARL OF CHINA.
-Click here to read an excerpt from PEARL OF CHINA.
-Click here to read critical praise for PEARL OF CHINA.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for PEARL OF CHINA.
-Click here to read Anchee Min’s bio.
From New York Times bestselling author Sandra Dallas comes THE BRIDE'S HOUSE, a novel about the secrets and passions of three generations of women who have all lived in the same Victorian home.

It’s 1880, and for unassuming 17-year-old Nealie Bent, the Bride’s House is a fairy tale come to life. It seems as if it is being built precisely for her and Will Spaulding, the man she is convinced she will marry. But life doesn’t go according to plan, and Nealie finds herself in the Bride’s House pregnant --- and married to another. For Pearl, growing up in the Bride’s House is akin to being raised in a mausoleum. Her father has fashioned the house into a shrine to the woman he loved, resisting all forms of change. When the enterprising young Frank Curry comes along and asks for Pearl’s hand in marriage, her father sabotages the union. But he underestimates the lengths to which the women in the Bride’s House will go for love. Susan is the latest in the line of strong and willful women in the Bride’s House. She’s proud of the women who came before her, but the Bride’s House hides secrets that will force her to question what she wants and who she loves.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from THE BRIDE'S HOUSE.
-Click here to read Sandra Dallas’s bio.
-Click here to see Sandra Dallas’s backlist.
-Visit Sandra Dallas’s official website,
-Click here to see the winners of THE BRIDE'S HOUSE.
Beverly Barton is back with DEAD BY MORNING, a book loaded with her trademark suspense and romance as two security officials race to uncover the clues that could lead them to the serial killer terrorizing their offices.

He begins his work just before dawn, wielding a knife with the precision of a surgeon. Cunning and meticulous, he's always in control. Mercy is not an option. Maleah Purdue is tough, outspoken, and completely dedicated to her work at the Powell Security Agency. But her fearless exterior shatters when a madman begins killing her colleagues one by one, mimicking a notorious serial killer already behind bars. Working alongside top profiler Derek Lawrence, Maleah will do anything to find the murderer, even if it means playing a psychopath's twisted mind games. No one connected to the Agency is safe. No one is beyond suspicion. For as Maleah and Derek piece together the clues, they uncover a chilling legacy of lies and brutal vengeance --- and a killer who has been hiding in plain sight all along.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from DEAD BY MORNING.
-Click here to read Beverly Barton’s bio.
-Click here to see Beverly Barton’s backlist.
-Visit Beverly Barton’s official website,
-Click here to see the winners of DEAD BY MORNING.
In DISTURBED, the latest pulse-pounding thriller from Kevin O'Brien, a newlywed tries to adjust to her new, affluent neighborhood only to learn that a brutal killer is lurking around, stalking his victims.

The houses in Willow Tree Court are sleek and modern--the kind designed to harbor happy families and laughing children. No one would guess the secrets that lurk beyond the neat lawns and beautiful facades. Molly Dennehy is trying to fit in to her new surroundings, though her neighbors are clearly loyal to her husband's ex-wife. But that's the least of Molly's worries. Her stepson's school has been rocked by a brutal slaying, and a psychopath known as the Cul-de-Sac Killer is murdering families in Seattle homes. Homes just like Molly's. With each passing day, Molly grows more convinced that someone is watching her family, someone consumed with rage and vengeance. On this quiet road, a nightmare has been unleashed, and the trail of terror will lead right to her door.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from DISTURBED.
-Click here to read critical praise for DISTURBED.
-Click here to read Kevin O’Brien’s bio.
-Click here to see Kevin O’Brien’s backlist.
-Visit Kevin O’Brien’s official website,
-Click here to see the winners of DISTURBED.
April’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes Kathryn Stockett’s wildly popular bestseller THE HELP, a deeply moving story of race, class and the meaning of family that unfolds during one of the most tumultuous time periods in American history; WORTH DYING FOR, a Jack Reacher thriller that finds Lee Child’s hero unable to let go of the unsolved, decades-old case of a missing child; ICE COLD by Tess Gerritsen, which follows homicide cop Jane Rizzoli’s investigation into the presumed death of her close friend, medical examiner Maura Isles; MINI SHOPAHOLIC, Sophie Kinsella's follow-up to SHOPAHOLIC & BABY, which marks the return of Becky Brandon, whose two-year-old daughter, Minnie, is already addicted to shopping; SHATTERED, a romantic suspense from Karen Robards aboutthe cold-case disappearance of a baby girl that turns attorney Lisa Grant’s life upside down; and THE SWIMMING POOL by Holly LeCraw, an intricate novel of passion, deception, and the secrets that keep families together and tear them apart.

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