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Friday, April 22, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

The following interviews, reviews and features began running on the website on Friday, April 22nd.

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

SISTER by Rosamund Lupton
WAR by Sebastian Junger
THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Sean King and Michelle Maxwell return in their most shocking case yet. Their search for the truth behind the mysterious person labeled the “6th Man” by the U.S. government results in a high-stakes struggle where the relentless needs of national security run up against the absolute limits of the human mind. Reviewed by Ray Palen and excerpted.

EVE is the first book in a new trilogy by Iris Johansen, and the 11th Eve Duncan novel. As a forensic sculptor, Eve’s mission is to bring closure to families who have experienced the agony of a missing child. Her work is driven by the fact that her own daughter was kidnapped years ago. But now, a name from the past resurfaces. Could he be the missing piece to the puzzle that has haunted Eve for years? Reviewed by Judy Gigstad and excerpted.
-Click here to read an excerpt from EVE.

Bosnian immigrant Danny Hansen is a vigilante priest living in America, exacting punishment when justice and the law fall short. Renee Gilmore is an addict rescued from life on the streets by a mysterious lawyer. After Renee’s rescuer disappears, her search to find his killer brings her and Danny together. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

Julia Child is best known --- and best loved --- for her cooking. But before that, she and husband Paul were members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in the Far East during World War II. During the 1950s, they were even caught up in the McCarthy Red spy hunt. A COVERT AFFAIR provides a fascinating portrait not only of Child, but of a tumultuous time in American history. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

Colorado caterer Goldy Schulz cooks up big trouble when she tries to help her longtime friend and fellow chef Yolanda Garcia. When Yolanda’s rental house is destroyed by arson, and a cop-turned-PI is shot dead --- his house also set on fire --- Goldy must swap her chef’s hat for a sleuthing cap and step up to the investigation. It’s crunch time to find the killer, before he finds her. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

Late one night, Commissario Guido Brunetti is called away from dinner to investigate the death of a widow in her apartment. Though there are some signs of a struggle, the medical examiner rules that she died of a heart attack. It seems there is nothing for Brunetti to investigate. But he can’t shake the feeling that something, or someone, may have triggered her heart attack. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Annie Darling, owner of the Death on Demand mystery bookstore, is none too pleased when her newest employee, Pat Merridew, fails to show up to work on the day when her help is sorely needed. But it turns out she has an excuse that no one can refute --- she's dead! Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

Karen Russell’s debut novel takes readers to the swamps of the Florida Everglades, where Ava Bigtree’s family owns a gator-wrestling theme park called Swamplandia! The park is swiftly being swallowed up by a fearsome and sophisticated competitor. With a recently deceased mother, distracted sister, dreamy scholar brother, and AWOL father, it’s up to 13-year-old Ava to manage 98 gators and the vast, inscrutable landscape of her own grief. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for SWAMPLANDIA!

In 1982, Raymond Feist launched himself into the world of fantasy with the publication of MAGICIAN. With that novel, he successfully began one of the most praised and enjoyed series of modern fantasy, The Riftwar Cycle. 29 years and 26 books later, Feist gives us A KINGDOM BESIEGED, the next installment in the massive arc in the worlds of Midkemia and Kelewan and the initial volume of the Chaoswar Saga. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

Vincent van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a revolver in the summer of 1890. He died two days later, at the age of 37, largely unknown despite having completed over 2,000 works of art that would later achieve worldwide notoriety. Carol Wallace navigates the mysteries surrounding his death --- painting a well-researched portrait of van Gogh’s final days. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

In the French Pyrenees, a young married couple is buried under a flash avalanche while skiing. Miraculously, they dig their way out from under the snow --- only to discover the world has been overtaken by an eerie and absolute silence. As the couple begins to witness unsettling events, they are forced to con­front a frightening truth about the silent land they now inhabit. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

THE CONFESSION OF KATHERINE HOWARD by Suzannah Dunn (Historical Fiction)
Henry VIII’s fifth wife is the star --- and the victim --- in this racy retelling of Tudor history. Narrated by the teenage queen’s best friend, THE CONFESSION OF KATHERINE HOWARD puts a sexy modern spin on the intimate dynamics of 16th-century girls and boys. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

Struggling to find his feet back in Ireland, drug specialist Mike Mulcahy is plunged into unfamiliar territory when the daughter of a politician suffers a horrific sex attack. Mulcahy becomes convinced there is more to it, especially when he discovers that a crucifix was used to torture the victim. As more young women are attacked and murdered, Mulcahy hurtles ever closer to the monstrous killer known only as The Priest. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Bestselling author Julia Spencer-Fleming’s novels involve faith, murder and plenty of suspense. Her seventh in a series about Clare Fergusson, Russ Van Alstyne and other inhabitants of a small Adirondack town, ONE WAS A SOLDIER also explores the problems veterans of the current Iraq war face when they reenter society. In this interview with’s Norah Piehl, Spencer-Fleming discusses the evolution of her risk-taking protagonists and how they continue to surprise her. She also reveals the hefty research she conducted for her latest mystery and the dynamics of tension and passion at work in her books.

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.

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 Elizabeth Noble, Chelsea Cain, Sarah Addison Allen, and more! 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.
-Click here to set up an RSS feed.

Paperback Spotlight
Winner of the New England Book Award for Fiction and a New York Times Editors' Choice, Lily King's masterful third novel received glowing critical praise upon its initial publication and is poised to make an even bigger splash in paperback.

Gardiner Amory is a New England WASP who's beginning to feel the cracks in his empire. Nixon is being impeached, his wife is leaving him, and his worldview is rapidly becoming outdated. His daughter, Daley, has spent the first 11 years of her life negotiating her parents' conflicting worlds: the liberal, socially committed realm of her mother and the conservative, decadent, liquor-soaked life of her father. But when they divorce, and Gardiner's basest impulses are unleashed, the chasm quickly widens and Daley is stretched thinly across it.

-Click here to read an excerpt from FATHER OF THE RAIN.
-Click here to read critical praise for FATHER OF THE RAIN.
-Click here to read Lily King’s bio.
-Click here to see Lily King’s backlist.

To celebrate the release or FATHER OF THE RAIN, we are giving 20 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. All you have to do is fill out this form by Friday, April 29th at noon ET.

Brianna Karp entered the workforce at age 10, supporting her mother and sister throughout her teen years in Southern California. Although her young life was scarred by violence and abuse, Karp stayed focused on her dream of a steady job and a home of her own. By age 22 her dream became reality. Karp loved her job as an executive assistant and signed the lease on a tiny cottage near the beach. And then the Great Recession hit. Karp, like millions of others, lost her job. In the six months between the day she was laid off and the day she was forced out onto the street, Karp scrambled for temp work and filed hundreds of job applications, only to find all doors closed. When she inherited a 30-foot travel trailer after her father's suicide, Karp parked it in a WalMart parking lot and began to blog about her search for work and a way back.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE GIRL’S GUIDE TO HOMELESSNESS.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE GIRL’S GUIDE TO HOMELESSNESS.
-Click here to visit the book’s official website.
-Click here to read Brianna Karp’s bio.

To celebrate the release of THE GIRL'S GUIDE TO HOMELESSNESS, we are giving 20 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. All you have to do is fill out this form by Friday, April 29th at noon ET.

Women's Fiction Author Spotlight
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 third 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.

DISTURBED by Kevin O'Brien (Suspense/Thriller)
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 third 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.

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight
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.

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.

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