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Monday, August 15, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

The titles below are discussed in the August 12th Newsletter Opener, which can be read here:

THE HELP by Kathryn StockettLET'S TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME by Gail Caldwell 
THE LINCOLN LAWYER by Michael Connelly 

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

THE ACCIDENT by Linwood Barclay (Thriller)
A typical American community descends into darkness, as an ordinary man is swept into one of the most violent mysteries of modern life. Pursued by mysterious killers and confronted by threats from neighbors he thought he knew, Glen must take his own desperate measures and go to terrifying new places in himself to avenge his wife and protect his child. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
-Click here to read an excerpt.

DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND by Lisa Unger (Thriller)
After giving up his post at the Hollows Police Department, Jones Cooper is at loose ends. He’s having trouble facing a horrible event from his past and finding a second act. Then, on a brisk October morning, he has a visitor. Eloise Montgomery, the psychic who plays a key role in FRAGILE, comes to him with predictions about his future --- some of which are dire. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
-Click here to read an excerpt.

THE MAGICIAN KING by Lev Grossman (Fantasy)
THE MAGICIANS took the fantasy world by storm when it released in 2009. Now, in THE MAGICIAN KING, author Lev Grossman takes us back to Fillory, where the Brakebills graduates have fled the sorrows of the mundane world, only to face terrifying new challenges. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz.

DROP BY DROP by Keith Raffel (Thriller)
Stanford professor Sam Rockman suffers the crushing loss of his wife in a bombing at San Francisco Airport. Casting about to find meaning in the ruins of his life, he accepts an offer to come to Washington, D.C. to work for the Senate Intelligence Committee. What Sam wants out of his stint in D.C. is revenge for the death of his wife. What he gets is danger and betrayal. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY by Danielle Steel (Fiction)
It's anything but a Happy Birthday for Valerie Wyatt, queen of gracious entertaining; April Wyatt, Valerie's daughter and top-notch restaurateur; and Jack Adams, retired NFL star. But after their lives intersect in a shocking way, happiness may be just around the corner. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

A DEATH IN SUMMER by Benjamin Black (Mystery)
On a sweltering summer afternoon, newspaper tycoon Richard Jewell --- known to his many enemies as Diamond Dick --- is discovered with his head blown off by a shotgun blast. But is it suicide or murder? For help with the investigation, Detective Inspector Hackett calls in his old friend Quirke, who has unusual access to Dublin's elite. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

A SMALL HOTEL by Robert Olen Butler (Fiction)
Set in contemporary New Orleans but working its way back in time, A SMALL HOTEL chronicles the relationship between Michael and Kelly Hays, who have decided to separate after 24 years of marriage. Rather than go to court on the day they are to finalize their divorce, Kelly drives to the hotel where they fell in love some 25 years earlier, and where she now finds herself about to make a decision that will forever affect her. Reviewed by Joni Kretzmer.

MY LUCKY LIFE IN AND OUT OF SHOW BUSINESS will be appreciated by every generation of reader, from baby-boomers who recall when Rob Petrie became a household name, to all those still enchanted by Bert's "Chim Chim Cher-ee." This is a lively, heartwarming memoir of a performer who still thinks of himself as a "simple song-and-dance man," but who is, in every sense of the word, a classic entertainer. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

THE THREE OF US: Growing Up with Tammy and George by Georgette Jones (Memoir)
THE THREE OF US is an honest and heartfelt look into the life of a broken family living in the glare of the public spotlight. Like so many of her generation, Georgette Jones had to make sense of loving two parents who couldn't love each other. With never-before-told stories about George Jones and Tammy Wynette, it recounts Tammy's descent into prescription pill addiction, her dependence on her fifth husband, George Richey, and her untimely death at the age of 55. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

THREAT WARNING by John Gilstrap (Thriller)
The first victims are random. Ordinary citizens, fired upon at rush hour by unseen assassins. Caught in the crossfire of one of the attacks, rescue specialist Jonathan Grave spies a gunman getting away --- with a mother and her young son as hostages. To free them, Grave and his team must enter the dark heart of a nationwide conspiracy. Their search reaches all the way to the highest levels of power. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

In HAILEY'S WAR, West Point dropout Hailey Cain had defied a powerful mobster to protect a pregnant teenager and child. At the heart of this thrilling novel is a complex case of stolen identity, ruthless motives and violent crime that puts Hailey back on the road, with her old friend Warchild by her side, to reclaim her name and chase down the murderer who has taken it. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

BLOODLINE by Mark Billingham (Thriller)
The past is coming back to haunt the people of London: a murderer is targeting the children of victims of Raymond Garvey, an infamous serial killer from London's past. When Murder Squad veteran Detective Tom Thorne is called into what seems like, for once, an ordinary domestic murder, he thinks he's caught a break. But when a mysterious sliver of bloodstained X-ray that was found clutched in the victim's fist is replicated at other crime scenes around the city, Thorne realizes this is not a simple case. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Fall is almost upon us, which is known as the biggest season of the year for books! The titles that come out in fall often become holiday gifts, and many are blockbusters. Here are some publisher picks that we know people will be talking about. Each day we will spotlight a different title and offer a contest to win one of three copies of the book. Check the site each day to see the featured book and enter to win. We also will be sending a special daily newsletter to announce each day's title, which you can sign up for here.

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, August 15th 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.'s Sneak Peek
BOND GIRL by Erin Duffy

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 BOND GIRL by Erin Duffy --- a novel of one hardworking, young bond trader's adventures on Wall Street --- which releases in January 2012. We have 100 specially formatted early reader editions to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and share their comments about it. We really want to hear what you have to say about BOND GIRL, so if you will have time to read it and answer some questions by Monday, September 19th, please enter this contest. If not, we plan to have more opportunities like this in the future.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Erin Duffy’s bio.

NORTHWEST ANGLE by William Kent Krueger (Mystery) 
With his family caught in the crosshairs of a group of brutal killers, detective Cork O’Connor must solve the murder of a young girl in the latest installment of William Kent Krueger’s unforgettable New York Times bestselling series. During a houseboat vacation on the remote Lake of the Woods, a violent gale sweeps through unexpectedly, stranding Cork and his daughter, Jenny, on a devastated island where the wind has ushered in a force far darker and more deadly than any storm. Amid the wreckage, Cork and Jenny discover an old trapper’s cabin where they find the body of a teenage girl.

We have 20 copies of NORTHWEST ANGLE, which will be in stores August 30th, to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, August 19th at noon ET.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read William Kent Krueger’s bio.
Author Spotlight/One-to-Watch
THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Fiction)
The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it's been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.

Now 18 and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them.

We have 20 copies of THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS, which will be in stores August 23rd, to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, August 12th at noon ET.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to see the reading group guide.
-Click here to read Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s bio.

COMING UP FOR AIR by Patti Callahan Henry (Fiction) Ellie Calvin is caught in a dying marriage, and she knows this. With her beloved daughter away at college and a growing gap between her and her husband --- between her reality and the woman she wants to be --- she doesn’t quite seem to fit into her own life. But everything changes after her controlling mother, Lillian, passes away. Ellie’s world turns upside down when she sees her ex-boyfriend, Hutch, at her mother’s funeral and learns that he is in charge of a documentary that involved Lillian before her death. He wants answers to questions that Ellie is not sure she can face, until, in the painful midst of going through her mother’s things, she discovers a hidden diary --- and a window onto stories buried long ago.

-Click here to read a third excerpt.

-Click here to read Patti Callahan Henry’s bio.

Paperback SpotlightREDEEMING LOVE by Francine Rivers (Historical Fiction)
California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep. Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. 

Then she meets Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything. Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw.

A powerful retelling of the story of Gomer and Hosea, REDEEMING LOVE is a life-changing story of unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Francine Rivers’s bio.

One of the most highly anticipated films of the summer, The Help, is now in theaters. Based on the widely-read and deeply moving novel by Kathryn Stockett, the story is set at the dawn of the Civil Rights movement, as three Mississippi women are about to take one extraordinary step that will put them all at risk.

Also gracing the big screen this month is Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the seventh film in the Apes legacy. Still derived from the original novel by Pierre Boulle, this new offering is a precursor set in present-day San Francisco, where experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and, eventually, all-out war. Conan the Barbarian is also reviving a legacy. Robert E. Howard originally published his Conan stories in 1954, and the movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger was released back in 1982. Now, Conan the Barbarian sees a personal vendetta for the fierce Cimmerian warrior turning into an epic battle.

On a different note, One Day --- from the novel of the same name by David Nicholls --- is a story about the nature of love and life itself. Beginning on July 15, 1988, the movie follows two characters for the next two decades, as key moments of their relationship are experienced over several July 15ths.

Another story about one's personal outlook on life --- The Hedgehog, based on Muriel Barbery's THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG --- is about a serious 11-year-old girl who has decided to kill herself on her 12th birthday...until she meets some kindred spirits in her very own building.

As for small-screen happenings, two popular television shows based on books are currently airing their second seasons. "Rizzoli & Isles" on TNT brings to life Tess Gerritsen's beloved characters, Detective Jane Rizzoli and Medical Examiner Maura Isles --- complete opposites and good friends who solve crimes together. And ABC Family has brought back "Pretty Little Liars", inspired by Sara Shepard's young adult series. The "little liars" are actually four estranged friends whose darkest secrets are about to unravel.

Available on DVD this month are six films worth your time and attention, whether for the first or second time: The ConspiratorJane EyreMars Needs MomsPriestSomething Borrowed and Soul Surfer.

New in Paperback
Weeks of: August 1stAugust 8thAugust 15thAugust 22ndAugust 29th

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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