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Friday, May 27, 2011

The following interviews, reviews and features began running on the website on Friday, May 20th.

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

THE LONG GOODBYE by Meghan O'Rourke
HALF A LIFE by Darin Strauss
BURIED SECRETS by Joseph Finder

A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF by Lawrence Block (Mystery)
Bestselling author Lawrence Block brings back his greatest character, alcoholic ex-cop Matthew Scudder, in this 17th book of the series. It’s the early 1980s, and Scudder is approaching his first year of sobriety when he has to find out if a fellow AA member was killed as he tried to make amends for his behavior while drinking. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

FRANKENSTEIN: THE DEAD TOWN by Dean Koontz (Thriller)
The war against humanity is raging. As the small town of Rainbow Falls, Montana, comes under siege, scattered survivors band together to weather the onslaught of the creatures set loose upon the world. As they ready for battle against overwhelming odds, they will learn the full scope of Victor Frankenstein’s nihilistic plan to remake the future --- and the terrifying reach of his shadowy, powerful supporters. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

DOC by Mary Doria Russell (Historical Fiction)
The year is 1878: the peak of the Texas cattle trade. The place is Dodge City, Kansas: a saloon-filled cow town where violence is routine. When the burned body of a mixed-blood boy is discovered, his death shocks a part-time policeman named Wyatt Earp, and is a matter of strangely personal importance to Doc Holliday, the frail 26-year-old dentist. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

SILVER SPARROW by Tayari Jones (Fiction)
Have you ever wondered what life would be like growing up in a family of bigamists? The situation seems unthinkable, but it happens. I’m not referring to a strange polygamist cult with unusual beliefs and an alternate lifestyle. I’m speaking of ordinary folks just like you and me, except that they live in secret and hide from the ones they love. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

A SINGULAR WOMAN: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother by Janny Scott (Biography)
During the presidential campaign of 2008, Barack Obama introduced himself as "the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas." A SINGULAR WOMAN is the definitive biography of that white woman from Kansas, who has finally emerged from the shadows and taken her rightful place in history. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

IF YOU ASK ME (AND OF COURSE YOU WON’T) by Betty White (Memoir)
Drawing from a lifetime of lessons learned, seven-time Emmy winner Betty White's wit and wisdom take center stage as she tackles topics like friendship, romantic love, aging, television, love for animals, and the brave new world of celebrity. Longtime fans and new fans alike will relish Betty's candid take on everything from her rumored crush on Robert Redford to her beauty regimen. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

A JANE AUSTEN EDUCATION: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz (Literary Criticism/Memoir)
Distinguished critic William Deresiewicz’s new book is both an informative introduction to the novels of Jane Austen and a lively exploration of how those novels helped him make the transition to full adulthood. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

THOSE IN PERIL by Wilbur Smith (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
While Hazel Bannock, heir to the Bannock Oil Corporation, is cruising the Indian Ocean, her yacht is hijacked by Somalian pirates and her daughter is kidnapped. The pirates demand a crippling ransom, and complicated political and diplomatic sensitivities render the major powers incapable of intervening. Hazel calls on Hector Cross, the man behind Cross Bow Security, to rescue her daughter. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

UNTIL TUESDAY: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan with Bret Witter (Memoir)
A veteran returning from Iraq feels such despair that he begins to welcome death --- until he finds a miracle in a Golden Retriever who needs the man as much as the man needs him. In this stunning memoir, retired Army Capt. Luis Montalvan describes an incredible journey of healing and friendship. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

KISS HER GOODBYE by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Mystery)
Private eye Mike Hammer’s old mentor on the New York police force has committed suicide, but Hammer knows that Inspector Doolan would never have killed himself. When a woman is murdered practically on the funeral home’s doorstep, Hammer is drawn into the hunt for a cache of Nazi diamonds, and for the mysterious beauty who had been close to Doolan in his final days. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE ARRIVALS by Meg Mitchell Moore (Fiction)
The tranquil peace of a Vermont couple’s retirement is disrupted when their three grown-up children return home, each bringing with them their own set of troubles. Ginny and William find themselves consumed again by the chaos of parenthood --- only this time around, their son and daughters are facing adult problems. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

A CONFLICT OF INTEREST by Adam Mitzner (Legal Thriller)
Michael Ohlig --- a mysterious and nearly mythic figure in Miller family history --- presents criminal defense attorney Alex Miller with a surprising request: to represent him in a high-profile criminal investigation. As the facts come out, shocking secrets are revealed that threaten everything Alex believes in --- about the law, his family and himself. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

In 1993, Lawrence Block was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. Certainly his long-standing series about P.I. Matthew Scudder and gentleman burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr helped earn him such a prestigious title. One of America’s most acclaimed crime writers, Block pleases his longtime fans with the release of A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF, a noir book that finds Scudder facing his demons against the backdrop of 1980s New York City.’s Tom Callahan, a longtime fan himself, speaks with Block in this interview about bringing back characters and filling in the gaps of Scudder’s interesting life. He also discusses re-releasing older works as eBooks, writing under various pen names, and pushing the envelope, in more ways than one.

Summer is upon us! At, this means it's time for us to share some great summer book picks with our Summer Reading Contest and Feature. We will be spotlighting a different title or two on select days from Tuesday, May 31st through Tuesday, July 26th, so you will have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book(s) and enter. You can take a look at all our featured titles here. We also will be sending a special daily newsletter to announce the day's title(s). Some days may even feature special bonus prizes, including beach items, a beach tote stocked with goodies, and additional books. Our first prize book will be announced on Tuesday, May 31st at noon ET.

Father’s Day is a time to celebrate the men in our lives who have raised and inspired us. Why not show him your appreciation by inspiring him with a great book? From May 27th through June 13th, readers will have the chance to win one of our five Father’s Day Backpacks. Each hunter green backpack is filled with a copy of our seven featured titles, keeping dad busy through the rest of the year. Also included are a red-striped beach towel and a pack of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

Our featured Father’s Day titles are:
-THE COUNCIL OF DADS: A Story of Family, Friendship & Learning How to Live by Bruce Feiler
-THE DELTA SOLUTION: An International Thriller by Patrick Robinson
-FORCED TO KILL (audio version) written by Andrew Peterson, narrated by Dick Hill
-MATTERHORN: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes
-MURDER ONE by Robert Dugoni
-OPERATION MINCEMEAT: How a Dead Man and Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory by Ben Macintyre
-TO BE PERFECTLY HONEST: One Man’s Year of Almost Living Truthfully Could Change Your Life. No Lie. by Phil Callaway

Women's Fiction Author Spotlight
SUMMER RENTAL by Mary Kay Andrews (Fiction)
Ellis, Julia and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves, in their mid-30s, at the crossroads of life and love. Ellis, recently fired from a job she gave everything to, is rudderless and now beginning to question the choices she's made over the past decade of her life. Julia --- whose caustic wit covers up her wounds --- has a man who loves her and is offering her the world, but she can't hide from how deeply insecure she feels about her looks, her brains, her life. And Dorie has just been shockingly betrayed by the man she loved and trusted the most in the world…though this is just the tip of the iceberg of her problems and secrets. A month in North Carolina's Outer Banks is just what each of them needs.

-Click here to read a second excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to read Mary Kay Andrews’s bio.
-Click here to see Mary Kay Andrews’s backlist.
-Visit Mary Kay Andrews’s official website,
-Click here to see the 20 winners selected to read and comment on SUMMER RENTAL.

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight
WICKED LIES by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush (Romantic Suspense)
For two years, Justice Turnbull has paced his room at Halo Valley Security Hospital, planning to escape. Justice has a mission --- one that began with a vicious murder two decades ago. And there are so many others who must be sent back to the hell that spawned them…

Laura Adderley didn’t plan to get pregnant by her soon-to-be ex-husband, though she’ll do anything to protect her baby. But now reporter Harrison Frost is asking questions about the mysterious group of women who live at Siren Song lodge. Harrison hasn’t figured out Laura’s connection to the story yet. But Justice knows. And he is coming…

All her life, Laura has been able to sense approaching evil. But that won’t stop a psychopath bent on destroying her. Justice has been unleashed, and this time, there will be no place safe to hide...

-Click here to read a third excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to watch a special trailer.
-Read bios of Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush.
-Read the backlists of Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush.
-Visit the official websites of Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush.
-Click here to see the 20 winners selected to read and comment on WICKED LIES.

Paperback Spotlight

FRAGILE by Lisa Unger (Mystery)
Everybody knows everybody in The Hollows, a quaint, charming town outside of New York City. It’s a place where neighbors keep an eye on one another’s kids, where people say hello in the grocery store, and where high school cliques and antics are never quite forgotten. As a child, Maggie found living under the microscope of small-town life stifling. But as a wife and mother, she has happily returned to The Hollows’s insular embrace. As a psychologist, her knowledge of family histories provides powerful insights into her patients’ lives. So when the girlfriend of her teenage son, Rick, disappears, Maggie’s intuitive gift proves useful to the case --- and also dangerous.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read a third excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise
-Click here to read Lisa Unger’s bio.
-Click here to see Lisa Unger’s backlist.
-Visit Lisa Unger’s official website,

Special Contest
When THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN --- Garth Stein's novel about Enzo and his owners --- was published in 2008, readers immediately fell in love with Enzo, and the book has been a New York Times bestseller ever since. That's because, once people finish reading the novel, they want to tell everybody about it. Now the whole family can read about Enzo together --- RACING IN THE RAIN: My Life as a Dog is now available in an edition for junior readers.

Consider this site your “Enzo pit stop” with information about the books as well as a special RACING IN THE RAIN contest, where your family can win a chat with Garth Stein, signed books and “I Heart Enzo” T-shirts and “Go Enzo” baseball caps from the Enzo Store.

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