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Friday, August 19, 2011

The title below is discussed in the August 19th Newsletter Opener, which can be read here:


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

Reviews and Excerpts

COMING UP FOR AIR by Patti Callahan Henry (Fiction)
After the sudden loss of her formidable mother, Lillian, Ellie discovers the late woman’s diary, which opens up a whole side to her mother she never knew. She decides to return to the summer house in coastal Alabama where Lillian spent the summer of 1961, in the hopes of learning more about her mother and, perhaps, find some closure for herself. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.
-Click here to read an excerpt.

VICTORY AND HONOR: An Honor Bound Novel by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV (Thriller/Action & Adventure)
Wars come to an end. But then new ones begin. Just weeks after Hitler's suicide, Cletus Frade and his colleagues in the OSS find themselves up to their necks in battles every bit as fierce as the ones that just ended. One slip and everyone becomes a casualty of war. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

BACK OF BEYOND by C.J. Box (Thriller)
Cody Hoyt, while a brilliant cop, is an alcoholic struggling with two months of sobriety when his mentor and AA sponsor is found burned to death in a remote mountain cabin. When clues found at the scene link the murderer to an outfitter leading tourists on a wilderness trip into the remote corners of Yellowstone National Park --- a pack trip that includes his son --- Cody is desperate to get on their trail and stop the killer. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

ACCEPTABLE LOSS: A William Monk Novel by Anne Perry (Historical Mystery)
This latest installment in Anne Perry’s Victorian crime series finds Commander William Monk returning to a dangerous case that he thought he had left behind. High-stakes murder, conspiracy and dark secrets abound, and no one involved will escape unharmed. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE IDEAL MAN by Julie Garwood (Romantic Suspense)
While jogging in a park nearby, Dr. Ellie Sullivan witnesses the shooting of an FBI agent in pursuit of wanted criminals, a couple identified as the Landrys. The only person to see the shooter's face, Ellie is suddenly at the center of a criminal investigation. Agent Max Daniels takes over the case --- he’s definitely not the ideal man Ellie always imagined, yet she's attracted to him in a way she can't explain. Reviewed by Hillary Wagy.

YOU DON’T SWEAT MUCH FOR A FAT GIRL: Observations on Life from the Shallow End of the Pool by Celia Rivenbark (Humor/Essays)
From the bestselling, award-winning author of YOU CAN'T DRINK ALL DAY IF YOU DON'T START IN THE MORNING comes another collection of hilarious observations. Celia Rivenbark cracks up while getting her downward facing dog on, pines for a world in which every mom gets to behave like Betty Draper, and wonders why everybody is so excited about the Science Fair when there aren't even any rides. Reviewed by Kathleen M. Purcell.

BYE BYE, BABY by Max Allan Collins (Historical Mystery)
It’s 1962, and Twentieth Century Fox is threatening to fire Marilyn Monroe. The blond goddess hires Nate Heller to tap her phone so she will have a record of their calls in case they take her to court. When Heller starts listening, he uncovers far more than nasty conversations. Not long after Heller signs on, Marilyn winds up dead of a convenient overdose, and he investigates all who might be responsible. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

COURAGE BEYOND THE GAME: The Freddie Steinmark Story by Jim Dent (Biography)
Despite the pronouncement by many coaches that he was too small to play football at the college level, Freddie Steinmark was a tenacious competitor who vowed to start every game as a varsity Longhorn. Tragically, bone cancer took Freddie off the field when nothing else could. With this moving story, Jim Dent once again brings readers to cheers and tears with a truly American tale of resolution and bravery in the face of the worst odds. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

BECOMING MARIE ANTOINETTE by Juliet Grey (Historical Fiction)
Maria Antonia learns at a very young age she will be marrying the Dauphin of France, Louis Auguste, and she makes an attempt to learn everything she can but knows it will be hard to win over the French court. Unsure but willing, Maria Antonia becomes Marie Antoinette. However, when she has trouble winning over the one person who matters to her, her faith falters. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

THIRTEEN MILLION DOLLAR POP: A Frank Behr Novel by David Levien (Thriller)
Frank Behr is rocked by a burst of automatic weapons fire as an attempt is made on his client. And though he is celebrated for his heroism, Behr can’t help but investigate what happened in that garage --- and why the Indianapolis cops seem to be burying the incident. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

STEALING MONA LISA by Carson Morton (Historical Fiction)
One-hundred years ago, the Mona Lisa went missing from the Louvre. In this re-imagining of how it happened, charming con artist Valfierno recruits a grateful painter, a streetwise femme fatale, a disgruntled museum worker and a wayward American to pull off the heist of a lifetime. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THE LITTLE WOMEN LETTERS by Gabrielle Donnelly (Fiction)
THE LITTLE WOMEN LETTERS explores the imagined lives of Jo March’s descendants --- three sisters who are both thoroughly modern and thoroughly March. This novel will speak to anyone who has ever fought with a sister, fallen in love with a fabulous pair of shoes, or wondered what on earth life had in store for her. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DANDELION: A Flower Shop Mystery by Kate Collins (Mystery)
Flower shop owner Abby Knight does not believe rumors that Vlad Serban, friend and employee of Abby's fiancé Marco, is a vampire. But how to explain that Vlad is from Romania, has prominent canines, likes bizarre plants such as bloodwort and Dracula orchid, and dresses entirely in black? When a local woman is found dead, her body drained of blood, the stakes become life and death. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

Author Interview
Patti Callahan Henry
Patti Callahan Henry is not only a married mother of three, but also a New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including BETWEEN THE TIDES and DRIFTWOOD SUMMER. Hailed as a fresh new voice in southern fiction (though she is originally from Philadelphia), her latest book, COMING UP FOR AIR, is about a house on the coast of Alabama --- a place that reveals the truth and changes the lives of Ellie Calvin and her loved ones.’s Bronwyn Miller spoke with Patti about the generation gaps between her characters and how she balanced several storylines in different time periods, such as the early days of the Civil Rights movement. She divulges her organic writing style, how motherhood has influenced her work and also kept her grounded in the “metaphorical dirt of real life,” and why her books appeal to so many avid readers of southern fiction.

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 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 22nd 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 enter the contest.
-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Erin Duffy’s bio.

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.

We have 20 copies of THE BALLAD OF TOM DOOLEY, which will be in stores September 13th, 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 26th at noon ET.

-Click here to read an 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 second 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.

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.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to see the reading group guide.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to read Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s bio.
-Click here to see the 20 winners selected to read and comment on the book.

Paperback Spotlight
by Tana French

Tana French's IN THE WOODS and THE LIKENESS captivated readers by introducing them to her unique, character-driven style. Her singular skill at creating richly drawn, complex worlds makes her novels not mere whodunits but brilliant and satisfying novels about memory, identity, loss, and what defines us as humans. With FAITHFUL PLACE, the highly praised third novel about the Dublin Murder squad, French takes readers into the mind of Frank Mackey, the hotheaded mastermind of THE LIKENESS, as he wrestles with his own past and the family, the lover and the neighborhood he thought he'd left behind for good.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to read Tana French’s bio.

Click here to read the full newsletter.