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Friday, August 26, 2011

The titles below are discussed in the August 26th Newsletter Opener, which can be read here:

THORN IN MY SIDE by Karin Slaugher

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

Reviews and Excerpts

THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Fiction)
A mesmerizing, moving and elegantly written debut novel, THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
-Click here to read an excerpt.

FLASH AND BONES by Kathy Reichs (Thriller)
Just as 200,000 fans are pouring into town for Race Week, a body is found in a barrel of asphalt next to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The next day, a NASCAR crew member comes to Temperance Brennan’s office at the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner to share a devastating story. Twelve years earlier, Wayne Gamble’s sister, Cindi, disappeared, along with her boyfriend. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

THE MOST DANGEROUS THING by Laura Lippman (Psychological Thriller)
Years ago, they were all the best of friends. As time passed and circumstances changed, they grew apart, became adults with families of their own, and began to forget about the past --- and the terrible lie they all shared. But now Gordon has died, and the others are thrown together for the first time in years. And then the revelations start. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Psychological Thriller)
Chief detective Carl Mørck used to be one of Copenhagen's best homicide detectives. Now Carl has been selected to run Department Q, a new special investigations division that turns out to be a department of one. But when his colleagues snicker about the time he's wasting trying to find a missing politician who vanished five years earlier, Carl may have the last laugh --- and redeem himself in the process. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
-Click here to read an excerpt.

THE CUT by George Pelecanos (Thriller)
THE CUT is the first book in a series starring recent Iraqi vet-turned-private-investigator Spero Lucas, who recovers stolen property for the clients of a defense attorney for a 40% cut. But he comes upon a web of corruption that even the enticement of the cut cannot top. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

UNMEASURED STRENGTH by Lauren Manning (Memoir)
She had a big job on Wall Street, a loving husband and an infant son, and a confidence born of intelligence and beauty. But on 9/11, good fortune was no match for catastrophe. When a wall of flame at the World Trade Center burned more than 80 percent of her body, Lauren Manning began a 10-year journey of survival and rebirth that tested her almost beyond human endurance. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

THE MEASURE OF THE MAGIC: Legends of Shannara by Terry Brooks (Fantasy)
For 500 years, the survivors of the Great Wars lived peacefully in a valley sanctuary shielded by powerful magic from the blighted and dangerous outside world. But the enchanted barriers have crumbled, the borders have been breached by predators, and the threat of annihilation looms large once more. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

THICK AS THIEVES by Peter Spiegelman (Thriller)
Ex-CIA agent Carr is the reluctant leader of an elite crew planning a robbery of such extraordinary proportions that it will leave them all set for life. Diamonds, money-laundering and extortion go into a timed-to-the-minute scheme that unfurls across South America, Miami and Grand Cayman Island. But soon Carr will discover that few of his crew are what they seem to be, and even his own past might be built on a lie. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME by Donald Ray Pollock (Suspense)
Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME follows a cast of compelling and bizarre characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s --- from a tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific whose wife is dying of cancer, to a husband-and-wife team of serial kill­ers, to a spider-handling preacher and his crippled virtuoso-guitar-playing sidekick. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

YOSSARIAN SLEPT HERE: When Joseph Heller Was Dad, the Apthorp Was Home, and Life Was a Catch-22 by Erica Heller (Memoir)
Erica Heller’s sometimes scarifying, but often hilarious, memoir of life as Joseph Heller’s daughter provides some of the brushstrokes and shading to complete Tracy Daugherty’s more comprehensive portrait in his new Heller biography, JUST ONE CATCH. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

THE WOODCUTTER by Reginald Hill (Mystery)
There was a mysterious period in Wolf Hadda’s youth when he disappeared from home and was known to his employers as the Woodcutter. And now the Woodcutter is back, looking for the truth --- and revenge. Can prison psychiatrist Alva Ozigbo intervene before his pursuit of vengeance takes him to a place from which he can never come back? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

TONY AND SUSAN by Austin Wright (Thriller)
Susan Morrow divorced her aspiring author husband, Edward Sheffield, many years ago, and has long settled into her imperfect yet comfortable marriage with her surgeon husband and their children. When Edward asks her for a favor, she discovers if critiquing her ex-husband's novel manuscript can change her life --- and, if so, if it's for better or for worse. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

A DECADE OF HOPE: Stories of Grief and Endurance from 9/11 Families and Friends by Dennis Smith with Deirdre Smith (Current Events)
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Often, the most overlooked stories are that of the 9/11 first responders, their families, and the victims' families over the past decade. Dennis Smith addresses this important topic in a series of interviews with the heroes and families of those most affected. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott

SILENT ENEMY by Thomas W. Young (Thriller)
Four years after the events of THE MULLAH’S STORM, jihadists strike the Afghan National Police training center in Kabul, killing many and wounding others. The injured are loaded onto a C-5 Galaxy bound for Germany, but once airborne, the commander, Major Michael Parson, receives a message. The jihadists have placed bombs on some planes leaving Afghanistan, and the Galaxy is one of them. If Parson tries to descend, the bomb will go off. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.


Now Available in Paperback
THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE SKY by Marian Keyes (Fiction)
Marian Keyes's inimitable blend of rollicking humor, effervescent prose, and captivating stories that deal with real-life issues have won readers around the globe. Reminiscent of the blockbuster movie Love, Actually, her new novel, THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE SKY, features seven neighbors whose lives become entangled when a sassy and prescient spirit descends on 66 Star Street to radically transform at least one person's life in the Dublin town house. With the comic appeal of Nick Hornby's novels and delicious drama akin to Jane Green, THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE SKY will keep readers guessing, laughing, gasping, and in tears until the very last page.

-Click here to read a review.

Now in Stores
UNSAID by Neil Abramson (Fiction)
UNSAID is told from the perspective of Helena Colden, a veterinarian who has just died of breast cancer. Helena is forced to witness the rapid emotional deterioration of her husband, David. With Helena's passing, David, a successful Manhattan attorney, loses the only connection that made his life full. He tries to carry on the life that Helena had created for them, but he is too grief-stricken, too angry, and too quickly reabsorbed into the demands of his career. Helena's animals likewise struggle with the loss of their understanding and compassionate human companion. Because of Helena, David becomes involved in a court case to save the life of a chimpanzee that may hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of animals' consciousness. Through this case, all the threads of Helena's life entwine and explode --- unexpectedly, painfully, beautifully.


Fall Preview Feature and Contest
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've been spotlighting a different title and offering a contest to win one of three copies of the book. Check the site until Wednesday, August 31st to see the featured book and enter to win. We've also been 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 29th at noon ET.


Author Spotlight/Historical Fiction
THE BALLAD OF TOM DOOLEY by Sharyn McCrumb (Historical Fiction)
What began as a fictional re-telling of the historical account of one of the most famous mountain ballads of all time became an astonishing revelation of the real culprit responsible for the murder of Laura Foster.

"Hang down your head, Tom Dooley…" The folk song, made famous by the Kingston Trio, recounts a tragedy in the North Carolina mountains after the Civil War. Laura Foster, a simple country girl, was murdered and her lover, Tom Dula, was hanged for the crime. The sensational elements in the case attracted national attention: a man and his beautiful, married lover accused of murdering the other-woman; the former governor of North Carolina spearheading the defense; and a noble gesture from the prisoner on the eve of his execution, saving the woman he really loved.

-Click here to read a second excerpt.
-Click here to read Sharyn McCrumb’s bio.

Author Spotlight/Mystery Mayhem
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.

-Click here to read a third excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to read William Kent Krueger’s bio.
-Click here to see the 20 winners selected to read and comment on the book.


Young Adult Books You Want to Read
CLEOPATRA'S MOON by Vicky Alvear Shecter (Historical Fiction)
For anyone who desires a different experience or who tires of pointless romance, I highly suggest CLEOPATRA'S MOON as an entertaining read that stands apart. This is historical fiction that delivers cerebral images while centering on a strong heroine with modern feminist ideals and unusual strength of character. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

THE MARGRAVE: Relic Master, Book Four by Catherine Fisher (Fantasy)
Galen and Raffi's quest has brought them to the Pits of Maar. There, below the surface of the world, in the deepest darkness, a most evil thing is waiting for them to come. THE MARGRAVE is the startling conclusion to Catherine Fisher's Relic Master series, where the travelers must confront knowledge about the origins of their world and the truth about themselves. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

INGENUE by Jillian Larkin (Historical Romance)
Gloria and Jerome arrive in New York City and begin searching for work in any and all nightclubs. Both have music in their veins --- Jerome is a talented piano player, and Gloria is a budding singer. But the year is 1924, and life isn't easy for a biracial couple, especially when they are running from both the law and the mob. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE BABYSITTER MURDERS by Janet Ruth Young (Fiction)
Everyone has weird thoughts sometimes. But for 17-year-old Dani Solomon, strange thoughts have taken over her life. She loves Alex, the little boy she babysits, more than anything. But one day, she has a vision of murdering him that's so gruesome, she can't get it out of her mind. She confesses her thoughts to keep him safe, which sets off a media frenzy. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

Click here to read the full newsletter.