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Friday, July 1, 2011

The titles below are discussed in the July 1st Newsletter Opener, which can be read here:

SUMMER RENTAL by Mary Kay Andrews
FOLLY BEACH by Dorothea Benton Frank
THE WEIRD SISTERS by Eleanor Brown
IRON HOUSE by John Hart
SMOKIN’ SEVENTEEN by Janet Evanovich
FALLEN by Karin Slaughter
THEN CAME YOU by Jennifer Weiner

The following are reviews, excerpts, interviews and features that currently appear on the homepage:

THE SOLDIER’S WIFE by Margaret Leroy (Historical Fiction)
For fans of historical romance, there can be no more exciting tale than the tender love story told in THE SOLDIER’S WIFE, set on the island of Guernsey during the summer of 1940 and spanning the following five years. This place of beauty and contemplation becomes a safe haven for a while, within a continent that is already being ravaged by war. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

SUNSET BRIDGE by Emilie Richards (Fiction)
Former socialite Tracy Deloche has nothing to her name but five ramshackle beach cottages and the unlikely friendships she's formed with her tenants. But as a tropical storm brews, the wind carries surprises and secrets over the bridge to Happiness Key. Now, more than ever, five friends will discover just how much they need one another. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE BELLS by Richard Harvell (Fiction)
Moses Froben was born in a belfry high in the Swiss Alps where his deaf mother served as the keeper of the loudest bells in the land. Shaped by the bells’ glorious music, Moses possessed an extraordinary gift for sound. When he is cast out of his village as a boy, with only his ears to guide him, Moses discovers his singing voice. It is this gift, however, that will cause his greatest misfortune. Reviewed by Usha Rao.

NOW YOU SEE HER by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Thriller)
A successful lawyer and loving mother, Nina Bloom would do anything to protect the life she's built in New York --- including lying to everyone, even her daughter, about her past. But when an innocent man is framed for murder, she knows that she can't let him pay for the real killer's crimes. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

UNTOLD STORY by Monica Ali (Fiction)
As what-if novels go, this sensitive thriller --- a highly marketable offering from a Booker Prize-shortlisted author --- is a bombshell...a blonde bombshell. It features a royal personage with a strong resemblance to Diana, Princess of Wales, who fakes her own death and takes up ordinary life in small-town America. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

THE KINGDOM: A Fargo Adventure by Clive Cussler with Grant Blackwood(Thriller/Action & Adventure)
On a journey that takes them to Tibet, Nepal, Bulgaria, India and China, Sam and Remi Fargo find themselves embroiled with black-market fossils, a centuries-old puzzle chest, the ancient Tibetan kingdom of Mustang, a balloon aircraft, and a skeleton that could turn human evolution on its head. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

LONG GONE by Alafair Burke (Thriller)
After a layoff, Alice Humphrey finally lands her dream job managing a new art gallery in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking District. Everything is perfect until the morning Alice arrives at work to find the space stripped bare and the owner’s dead body on the floor. Overnight, Alice’s dream job has vanished, and she finds herself at the center of police attention with nothing to prove her innocence. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

BREAKING SILENCE by Linda Castillo (Thriller)
The Slabaugh family are model Amish farmers, but when the parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, the autopsy indicates foul play. Who would want to make orphans of the Slabaughs' children? Having grown up Amish, Kate is determined to bring the killer to justice. She searches for the link between the mounting Amish crimes and uncovers a dark secret at work beneath the placid surface of this idyllic community. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

TIGERLILY’S ORCHIDS by Ruth Rendell (Psychological Thriller)
When Stuart Font decides to throw a housewarming party in his new flat, he invites all the people in his building. As it turns out, the party will be one everybody remembers. Living in a townhouse opposite Stuart’s building, in reclusive isolation, is a young, beautiful Asian woman known as Tigerlily. As though from some strange urban fairy tale, she emerges infrequently to exert a terrible spell. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

BRIGHT’S PASSAGE by Josh Ritter (Fiction)
Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter’s debut novel tells the story of Henry Bright, a World War I veteran and West Virginia farmer, fleeing the demons of his wartime experience and the wrath of a vengeful enemy. Though not without its flaws, BRIGHT’S PASSAGE is a promising start on a transition into a new artistic field. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

KINDRED SPIRITS by Sarah Strohmeyer (Fiction)
When Lynne passes away, she leaves behind one simple request: that her old friends sort through her belongings. Reluctantly, three women reunite to rummage through her closets. Buried deep within Lynne's lingerie drawer is an envelope addressed to them. Inside, they find a letter that reveals a shocking secret, and a final wish that will send them on a life-changing journey. Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton.

BLOOD OF THE REICH by William Dietrich (Thriller)
With World War II about to explode across Europe, SS Officer Kurt Raeder leads a team to Tibet to discover an energy source to help the Nazis conquer the world. Standing in his way is wealthy American zoologist Benjamin Hood. Decades later, Rominy Pickett is the key to saving the world from the ultimate evil forces. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

FROM BARCELONA, WITH LOVE by Elizabeth Adler (Romantic Suspense)
Adventure follows Mac Reilly and Sunny Alvarez wherever they travel --- St. Tropez, Paris, Monte Carlo, Barcelona --- but their desire for each other always leads them back into each other’s arms and Mac’s Malibu beach house. Their lifestyle is casual, their friends internationally celebrated, their love passionate. Make FROM BARCELONA, WITH LOVE your summer indulgence. Reviewed by Hillary Wagy.

PIE TOWN by Lynne Hinton (Fiction)
Pie Town, New Mexico, was once legendary for its extraordinary pies. But it's been a while since these desserts graced the local diner. The townspeople like to think of themselves as family, especially when it comes to caring for a disabled boy being raised by his grandparents. But Pie Town's fortunes are about to take a major turn --- due to the arrival of a new priest and a young hitchhiker Trina, who some townsfolk just know is trouble. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

THE MAP OF TIME by Felix J. Palma (Historical Fantasy)
Three love stories set in Victorian England are held together by one person: H.G. Wells and his book, THE TIME MACHINE. Wells is called upon to investigate and help perpetuate incidents of time travel. But he finds himself pondering questions about the future and whether it’s possible to change not only the future but also our lives in the process. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

THE BEGINNERS by Rebecca Wolff (Fiction)
Theo and Raquel Motherwell are the only newcomers to the sleepy town of Wick in 15-year-old Ginger Pritt's memory. Hampered by a lingering innocence while her best friend becomes embroiled with boys, Ginger is attracted to the worldliness and sophistication of this dashing couple. But the Motherwells may be more than they seem. As Ginger's imagination takes up the seductive mystery of their past, she also draws closer to her town's dark history. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

Author Margaret Leroy’s latest work, THE SOLDIER’S WIFE, is a story of love and fear that takes place on the island of Guernsey --- off the coast of Normandy --- as World War II draws near. When the Occupation turns brutal, Vivienne de la Mare, who is wrapped up in a love affair, must decide if she is willing to risk her personal happiness for the life of a stranger.’s Melanie Smith spoke with Leroy about her inspiration for the novel in this interview, and how her family history, motherhood and social work helped inform the narrative. She also talks about falling in love with Guernsey and imagining what it was like growing up in wartime.

Emilie Richards is the author of over 60 novels, which is quite a staggering feat. Her Happiness Key series began in 2009 and concludes with SUNSET BRIDGE. Now, more than ever, the five female friends of Happiness Key, Florida, will discover just how much they need one another.’s Sarah Rachel Egelman spoke with Richards about her characters, and the joy she felt when creating and developing them. She also reveals her writing process, which has recently changed gears, and how relationships, friendships and motherhood function in this book and in others.

THE BELLS is Richard Harvell’s debut novel, the story of a boy named Moses who finds refuge in a monastery's choir and becomes its star singer, when he falls under the power of a man who will do anything to preserve his angelic voice forever. In this interview, Harvell talks about his fascination with and careful research of operas, castratos, monks, choirs and the 18th century --- all of which function heavily in THE BELLS. He also discusses fatherhood and masculinity, and how he transforms what might be considered the norm in his book, and offers a sneak peek at his next research-heavy project.

Summer is upon us! At, this means it's time for us to share some great summer book picks with our Summer Reading Contests and Features. We will be spotlighting a different title or two on select days from Tuesday, May 31st through Wednesday, July 27th, so you will have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book(s) and enter. Some days may even feature special bonus prizes, including beach items, a beach tote stocked with goodies, and additional books. We also will be sending a special daily newsletter to announce the day's title(s), which you can sign up for here.

Our next prize book will be announced on Tuesday, July 5th at noon ET.

-Click here to see this year's featured titles.
-Click here to receive our special newsletter announcing each day’s prize book.

THE SOLDIER'S WIFE by Margaret Leroy (Historical Fiction)
When we think about war, we think about everything in black and white. There are two sides. One is good, and the other is evil. There are allies and enemies, and never should the two meet. Or so we think. But THE SOLDIER'S WIFE throws all that to the wind. Author Margaret Leroy places Vivienne de la Mare in a challenging situation. She is at home on the island of Guernsey with her two young daughters and her elderly mother-in-law as her husband is off fighting the Germans. Rumors of war are swirling around, though life for the moment is safe. Some residents of Guernsey are evacuating to England while others continue living their lives at home in peace, or in as much peace as one can have when war is everywhere.

-Click here to read more of Carol Fitzgerald's thoughts about THE SOLDIER'S WIFE.

TURN OF MIND by Alice LaPlante (Fiction)
A stunning first novel, both literary and thriller, about a retired orthopedic surgeon with dementia, TURN OF MIND has already received worldwide attention. With unmatched patience and a pulsating intensity, Alice LaPlante brings us deep into a brilliant woman’s deteriorating mind, where the impossibility of recognizing reality can be both a blessing and a curse.

As the book opens, Dr. Jennifer White’s best friend, Amanda, who lived down the block, has been killed, and four fingers surgically removed from her hand. Dr. White is the prime suspect, and she herself doesn’t know whether she did it. Told in White’s own voice, fractured and eloquent, a picture emerges of the surprisingly intimate, complex alliance between these life-long friends --- two proud, forceful women who were at times each other’s most formidable adversaries.

As the investigation into the murder deepens and White’s relationships with her live-in caretaker and two grown children intensify, a chilling question lingers: Is White’s shattered memory preventing her from revealing the truth or helping her to hide it?

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to read Alice LaPlante’s bio.
-Click here to see the 20 winners selected to read and comment.

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight
NEVER KNOWING by Chevy Stevens (Thriller)
From the acclaimed author of STILL MISSING comes a psychological thriller about one woman’s search into her past and the deadly truth she uncovers. All her life, Sara Gallagher has wondered about her birth parents. As an adopted child with two sisters who were born naturally to her parents, Sara did not have an ideal home life. The question of why she was given up for adoption has always haunted her. Finally, she is ready to take steps and find closure. But some questions are better left unanswered.

-Click here to read a third excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to read Chevy Stevens’s bio.
-Click here to see Chevy Stevens’s backlist.
-Visit Chevy Stevens’s official website,
-Click here to see the 20 winners selected to read and comment.

YOU'RE NEXT by Gregg Hurwitz (Thriller)
Mike Wingate, abandoned by his father at four and raised in foster care, is finally living the life he always dreamed of --- he’s happily married with a precocious eight-year-old daughter, and his construction company is about to finish a “green” housing development that will secure a solid future for them all.

But then something from his own past, a past he doesn’t even remember, comes back to visit terror upon him and his family. Shady characters begin threatening Mike, and when he reports them, the police seem more interested in Mike’s murky past than in protecting him.

Now, with Mike, his wife Annabel and daughter Kat suddenly under attack from all sides, Mike turns to Shep, a dangerous man --- and Mike’s only true friend --- from his childhood days in foster care. Together they will do whatever it takes to protect Mike’s family against the hidden men behind the terrifying warning, “You’re Next.”

-Click here to read a third excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to read Gregg Hurwitz’s bio.
-Click here to see Gregg Hurwitz’s backlist.
-Visit Gregg Hurwitz’s official website,
-Click here to see the 20 winners selected to read and comment.

THE CANARY LIST by Sigmund Brouwer (Suspense)
Protected by the dark of night, Jaimie Piper runs. But is anywhere safe when Evil is hunting you?

She’s just a 12-year-old girl, bumped around between foster homes and relegated to school classes for challenged kids, those lagging in their test scores or with behavioral issues. But her real problem is that she can sense something the other kids can’t --- something dark. Something compelling her to run for her life.

All Crockett Grey wants is to mark the anniversary of his daughter’s death alone. But when his student Jaimie comes to him, terrified, her need for protection collides with his grief, and a tangled web of bizarre events sends them both spiraling toward destruction.

Crockett’s one hope of getting his life back is to uncover the mysterious secrets of Jaimie’s past and her strange gift. It isn’t long before his discoveries lead him to a darker conspiracy, secrets guarded by the highest seat of power in the world --- the Vatican.

-Click here to read more.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Sigmund Brouwer’s bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for Sigmund Brouwer.

Summer is now in full swing, and the final Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2, will soon sweep you away. In this epic ending, the battle between good and evil in the wizarding world will escalate into all-out war. The stakes have never been higher, as Harry draws closer to a climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort. You won’t want to miss a second of it!

But if you’re still plowing through the books and need to shield your eyes from this finale, there are plenty of other films that will up your heart rate. The First Avenger: Captain America is an action-packed, fantastical adventure where good must also prevail. Cowboys & Aliens is a true nail-biter --- a stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into a hard desert town that lives in fear. And in Good Neighbors, a serial killer stalks a Montreal neighborhood in 1995.

Several multicultural films will also take you back in time, to lands you may never have seen.Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, based on the acclaimed book by Lisa See, brings us to 19th-century China, where seven-year-old girls Snow Flower and Lily are bound together for eternity. Sarah’s Key, an adaptation of Tatiana de Rosnay’s novel of the same name, begins in Paris in 1942 when 10-year-old Sarah is taken by the French police simply for being Jewish. Life, Above All takes place in a dust-ridden village near Johannesburg, where a rumor destroys 12-year-old Chandra’s family. And The Devil’s Double tells the true story of Iraqi army lieutenant Latif Yahia, who was ordered to become the body double to Saddam's son, the notorious "Black Prince."

If you're looking for some lighthearted summer fun instead, Monte Carlo, starring Selena Gomez, leads three women on a quest for international romance and a hunt for a stolen necklace worth a million bucks. And of course, let’s not forget that, on July 15th, Winnie the Pooh and friends return to the big screen for the first time in over 35 years. In Winnie the Pooh, Owl sends the whole gang --- Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Kanga, Roo and Eeyore --- on a wild adventure to save Christopher Robin from an imaginary culprit. All Pooh wanted to do was find some hunny, but it looks like it's going to be a very busy, perhaps even blustery, day instead!

Our Books into Movies on DVD feature is currently spotlighting four films: Desert Flower, Limitless, The Lincoln Lawyer and Miral. So in case you missed these movies the first time, you can now enjoy them from the comfort of your own home.

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