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July 10, 2009 Newsletter July 10, 2009
Greetings from ThrillerFest
Meeting friends at ThrillerFest. From left to right: Jeff Ayers, Lisa Gardner, Carol Fitzgerald, Robert Dugoni and Meg Ruley

Meeting friends at ThrillerFest. From left to right: Jeff Ayers, Lisa Gardner, Carol Fitzgerald, Robert Dugoni and Meg Ruley


Some people spend their summers at the beach or on vacation. I spend most of July each summer at book conferences --- my version of tourism business-style. Right now I am at ThrillerFest, the International Thriller Writers Association’s conference, then on to the American Library Association convention tonight and Romance Writers of America next Wednesday, followed by Comic-Con the following week. Getting out to hear from authors, publishers, readers and librarians gives me an excellent opportunity to hear not only about upcoming and recently published books, but also trends and ideas.

Wednesday and Thursday at ThrillerFest were CraftFest events, which are designed for both published and unpublished authors to learn more about the craft and the business of writing. The “faculty” for these events is bestselling and established authors. Thus I sat in on programs taught by Lee Child (Developing a Series Character), Steve Berry (The Six Cs of Story), Gayle Lynds (The Setup), Lisa Gardner (Successful Rewriting), Eric Van Lustbader (Thriller Hold’em: The First 100 Pages), Robert Dugoni (Catching an Agent’s Attention), Heather Graham (Chill Me, Thrill Me, Fulfill Me), David Hewson (Why Authors Need the Left Brain Too), James Rollins (Motivation and Pacing) and Joan Johnston (Love is Murder), which I left thinking more about how a book is written. Sessions like these make me a more informed reader.

For instance, as I had read Gardner’s THE NEIGHBOR last weekend, it was interesting to hear her talk about how she meticulously plots her books to drive the action using color-coded cards plucking or moving what drives the story or calms down the action. Steve Berry made me think about never using an adverb again!

There are things that authors look back on and wish that they had done differently, particularly with series characters. Child specifically talked about Reacher’s French mom as not really being important now, but was there at the beginning thinking he would attract a French audience with this. Dugoni said there were two characters he killed off in his first book who he would love to have back now. The theme I heard again and again --- it’s not just the writing; it’s the rewriting and the editing. And hearing Heather Graham working with authors who were pitching agents during the AgentFest portion of ThrillerFest was interesting as I wondered who in that room we would be reading in the years to come.

My son Greg was back at ThrillerFest for the third year shooting photos. (He shot the picture that appears in the opener). And Erin Quinn, our Project Director, was with me as well. Wednesday we had lunch (very spur of the moment) with Daniel Levin, a debut author with a book called THE LAST EMBER coming on August 6th. I anticipate that we will look back in years to come and say, "Remember when we met Daniel at ThrillerFest?" We also saw other debut authors, including Glenn Cooper, author of SECRET OF THE SEVENTH SON (July 28th), Craig Larsen, author of MANIA (October 6th) and John Thompson, author of ARMAGEDDON CONSPIRACY, and I got to talk to Keith Raffel about his upcoming book SMASHER that I enjoyed last weekend. I also saw veteran friends like Joseph Finder, Kate White and too many others to mention. The Thursday night cocktail party was like homecoming! I also met R.J. Ellory, whose book, A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS (September 3rd), is getting some very strong buzz.

Speaking of thriller writers, this week we have two Suspense/Thriller authors who we are starting features for. The first is Christopher Reich, who many of you may remember from RULES OF DECEPTION last year. Dr. Jonathan Ransom, his lead character, is back in RULES OF VENGEANCE, and, if possible, I think this is even a stronger book. We have 10 copies 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, July 17th.

The second author is John Gilstrap, whose new novel NO MERCY is now available in stores. The book, which is about a specialist in covert rescues, has been getting some terrific praise from fellow thriller writers such as Harlan Coben, Tess Gerritsen and Joseph Finder. We have 10 copies 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, July 17th.

Next Wednesday night I will be in Washington, DC for the annual literacy signing, which is a Romance Writers of America event. More than 500 authors will be there signing books with the proceeds going to ProLiteracy Worldwide. The event will be held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, which is the conference hotel. You can find more details about this event and a list of participating authors here: Literacy Autographing | Romance Writers of America. What an opportunity to not only meet authors, buy books and get them signed, but also make a contribution to a literacy charity.

In this week’s Beach Bag contest, we are spotlighting a collection of four titles from Vanguard Press:
THE COMPASS by Tammy Kling and John Spencer Ellis, DIAMONDHEAD by Patrick Robinson, DOMESTIC AFFAIRS by Eileen Goudge and THE SHIMMER by David Morrell (also saw him at ThrillerFest). With these books you will find some great reading material that you’ll want to both read and share. Picture yourself reading at the beach with three friends sharing books! We will be bringing you our advance readers’ comments on THE SHIMMER next week, and so far we received a lot of positive responses.

This week we are sharing the feedback we received from our advance readers of THE FIXER UPPER by Mary Kay Andrews, KILLING RED by Henry Perez and HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE by Dorothy Howell. Click on the authors’ names above to read their responses.

I am flying to Chicago on Friday night, which, from the forecast, will be what I call the troika of possible delays --- Friday night/summer/thunderstorms. Over the years I have avoided this troika whenever possible, but this time the dice rolled this way so I could attend as many events as possible. I see lots of cheese and crackers at the Continental lounge in my future. In Chicago, my hotel has an amazing pool. I have a rather busy schedule there, but I hope to clock some pool time! Chicago is one of my favorite cities. I enjoy walking the streets, and I have taken the architecture tour on the river twice and loved it. Getting immersed into a city is a favorite thing for me.

In my suitcase I have a number of books written by authors who I plan to see in Chicago, so I can read up in advance. I also have three knitting projects --- two that need me to “count and pay attention” and one that is easy for during panels. Oh, and swim fins, buoys and my waterproof headset. You know, lest I EVER be lacking something to do!

Have a great week...happy reading. Enjoy being outside for me, who will be seeing the inside of many convention hotels and facilities.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to David Morrell, Author of THE SHIMMER
Though perhaps best known as the creator of Rambo, David Morrell has written over 30 works of fiction and nonfiction, including THE SPY WHO CAME FOR CHRISTMAS, SCAVENGER, CREEPERS and THE SUCCESSFUL NOVELIST. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Morrell discusses the real-life inspirations behind the unusual visual phenomena that take place in his latest book, THE SHIMMER, and elaborates on one of its smaller themes of media sensationalism. He also describes how he worked his fascination with actor James Dean into the story, explains how he overcomes bouts of writer’s block, and reveals how screenwriter Stirling Silliphant prompted him to jumpstart his writing career.

THE SHIMMER by David Morrell (Thriller)
In New York Times bestselling author David Morrell’s new novel, bizarre phenomena draw hundreds of people to a remote Texas town, including a Santa Fe police officer and his wife who find themselves plunged into violence and bloodshed that quickly spiral out of control. But has the military known about --- and exploited --- these inexplicable phenomena for decades, thus unleashing forces they may not be able to control? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of THE SHIMMER.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SHIMMER.
Click here to read our interview with David Morrell.

Author Talk: Hyatt Bass, Author of THE EMBERS
In this interview, feature film director/screenwriter Hyatt Bass discusses the inspiration behind her debut novel, THE EMBERS, and explains how it evolved from its origins as a screenplay to a book. She also muses on what initially drew her to writing fiction, and names some of the novels and their authors who helped influence her own work.

THE EMBERS by Hyatt Bass (Fiction)
In THE EMBERS, first-time author Hyatt Bass introduces readers to a family completely destroyed and reconstructed after the jolting tragedy that rocked it nearly 15 years earlier. Accomplished storytelling and apt characterizations mark this notable debut novel. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read a review of THE EMBERS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE EMBERS.

Click here to read an interview with Hyatt Bass.

Our Summer Beach Bag Contest: Spotlight This Week on a Collection of Titles from Vanguard Press
Whether your "beach" is on sand, your backyard deck or a grassy meadow in the country, the summer months mean it's time for "beach reading." is celebrating the lazy days of summer reading with our Fifth Annual Beach Bag of Books feature and contests.

During select weeks from May 22nd through September 4th, a different title or collection of titles will be featured with a contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with the featured book(s) and summertime essentials. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the featured book(s) to additional winners.

This week we’re spotlighting a collection of four titles from Vanguard Press: THE COMPASS by Tammy Kling and John Spencer Ellis, DIAMONDHEAD by Patrick Robinson, DOMESTIC AFFAIRS by Eileen Goudge and THE SHIMMER by David Morrell. In a pink patterned beach bag, winners will find a red-and-pink striped beach towel, a translucent blue pitcher with four matching glasses, a bottle of H2O+ Grapefruit-Bergamot Shower & Bath Treatment, H2O+ Natural Spring Antibacterial Hand Soap, a Banana Boat 50SPF sunscreen stick and an inflatable inner tube for floating while reading, as well as a copy of THE COMPASS, DIAMONDHEAD, DOMESTIC AFFAIRS and THE SHIMMER. We have five to give away, as well as five additional prizes of copies of THE COMPASS, DIAMONDHEAD, DOMESTIC AFFAIRS and THE SHIMMER.

To enter, fill out this form and answer ONE of the following questions by Thursday, July 16th at 11:59PM.

Question for THE COMPASS:
What is the temperature of the desert in which Jonathan Taylor finds himself?

You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

Question for DIAMONDHEAD:
What is a “Diamondhead”?

You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

What band are Abigail and Vaughn listening to in the car?

You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

Question for THE SHIMMER:
What kind of vehicle does the assailant steal in the parking garage?

You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

THE COMPASS by Tammy Kling and John Spencer Ellis (Fiction)
THE COMPASS is a life-transforming novel that will guide you on a journey of self-discovery. New York Times bestselling author Brian Tracy raves: “THE COMPASS will take you from where you are now to that place you've been destined to reach. It will help you achieve your goals and dreams."

-Read more about
Tammy Kling, John Spencer Ellis and THE COMPASS here.

DIAMONDHEAD by Patrick Robinson (Thriller)
When Navy SEAL Mack Bedford’s fellow officers are brutally killed by Iraqi insurgents using a cruel new weapon, he avenges their murders and gets himself into more trouble. But when Mack is asked to help assassinate a powerful French politician, he finds himself agreeing. His reward is a chance at survival for both his son and his hometown.

-Read more about Patrick Robinson and DIAMONDHEAD here.

DOMESTIC AFFAIRS by Eileen Goudge (Fiction)
“Rosie and Abigail are like family,” Ina Merriweather used to say. That is, until the day Ina abruptly cast out her housekeeper, Rosie, and daughter Abigail. Abigail felt deeply betrayed, especially by Ina’s daughter Lila, who was her closest friend. Only Lila’s twin brother Vaughn, with whom Abigail had been exploring the joys and heartaches of first love, showed any compassion. Now, 25 years later, an old score is about to be settled...and an old love rekindled. Reviewed by Colleen Quinn.

-Read more about Eileen Goudge and DOMESTIC AFFAIRS here.

THE SHIMMER by David Morrell (Thriller)
In New York Times bestselling author David Morrell’s new novel, bizarre phenomena draw hundreds of people to a remote Texas town, including a Santa Fe police officer and his wife who find themselves plunged into violence and bloodshed that quickly spiral out of control. But has the military known about --- and exploited --- these inexplicable phenomena for decades, thus unleashing forces they may not be able to control? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Read more about David Morrell and THE SHIMMER here.

Click here to read all the details of our Summer Beach Bag Contest.

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Christopher Reich, Author of RULES OF VENGEANCE
Christopher Reich is the New York Times bestselling author of many acclaimed novels, including THE PATRIOTS CLUB, which won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel in 2006. In RULES OF VENGEANCE, Reich’s highly anticipated sequel to RULES OF DECEPTION, Dr. Jonathan Ransom finds himself at the center of a deadly game of nations in which only one will emerge victorious and truth is the ultimate victim. RULES OF VENGEANCE will be available in stores on August 4th.

We have 10 advance copies of RULES OF VENGEANCE 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, July 17th.

-Click here to read Christopher Reich’s bio.
-Visit Christopher Reich’s official website,

Months after foiling an attack on a commercial jetliner, Doctors Without Borders physician Jonathan Ransom is working under an assumed name in a remote corner of Africa, while his newly revealed spy wife, Emma, desperate to escape the wrath of Division, the secret American intelligence agency she betrayed, has vanished into the netherworld of international espionage. Both look forward to sharing a stolen weekend in London --- until an ambush on a convoy of limousines turns their romantic rendezvous into a terrorist bloodbath.

Click here to read more about Christopher Reich and RULES OF VENGEANCE.

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: John Gilstrap, Author of NO MERCY
John Gilstrap is the acclaimed author of six thrillers, and his novels have been translated into more than 20 languages. He has also adapted several books for film, including Thomas Harris’s RED DRAGON (uncredited). In NO MERCY, Gilstrap’s new novel now available in stores, a specialist in covert rescues finds himself the target of someone who wants to control a devastating secret.

We have 10 advance copies of NO MERCY 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, July 17th.

-Click here to read John Gilstrap’s bio.
-Visit John Gilstrap’s official website,

More about NO MERCY:
Deep inside the dangerous world of rescue operations, one anonymous hero pays no ransom, takes no prisoners, and breaks every rule. Meet Jonathan NO MERCY. New York Times bestselling author John Gilstrap delivers a page-turning, action-packed thriller filled with “rocket-paced suspense.” --Jeffery Deaver

Click here to read more about John Gilstrap and NO MERCY.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Karin Slaughter, Author of UNDONE

Karin Slaughter is the New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including BEYOND REACH and A FAINT COLD FEAR, which was named an International Book of the Month selection. In UNDONE, her new thriller releasing on July 14th, Slaughter weaves together the moving, powerful human stories of characters as real as they are complex and unforgettable.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from UNDONE.
-Click here to read Karin Slaughter’s bio.
-Click here to see Karin Slaughter's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for Karin Slaughter and UNDONE.
-Visit Karin Slaughter’s official website,

-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about UNDONE:
In the trauma center of Atlanta’s busiest hospital, Sara Linton treats the poor, wounded and unlucky --- and finds refuge from the tragedy that rocked her life in rural Grant County. But in an instant, Sara is thrust into a frantic police investigation that will take her right back to Grant County. In UNDONE, three unforgettable characters from Karin Slaughter’s bestselling novels FAITHLESS and FRACTURED collide for the first time, entering an electrifying race against the clock.


Click here to read more about Karin Slaughter and UNDONE.

Featured Historical Fiction Author: Jeanne Kalogridis, Author of THE DEVIL'S QUEEN

Jeanne Kalogridis is the author of many critically acclaimed titles, including THE BORGIA BRIDE and I, MONA LISA. In her new historical fiction book, THE DEVIL’S QUEEN: A Novel of Catherine de Medici, Kalogridis crafts an intriguing tale about one of the most infamous queens in history. THE DEVIL’S QUEEN will be available in stores on July 21st.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE DEVIL'S QUEEN.
-Click here to read Jeanne Kalogridis’s bio.
-Click here to see Jeanne Kalogridis's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE DEVIL'S QUEEN.
-Visit Jeanne Kalogridis’s official website,
-Click here to see our finished copy winners.

From Jeanne Kalogridis, the bestselling author of I, MONA LISA and THE BORGIA BRIDE, comes a new novel that tells the passionate story of a queen who loved not wisely...but all too well.

Confidante of Nostradamus, scheming mother-in-law to Mary, Queen of Scots, and architect of the bloody St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, Catherine de Medici is one of the most maligned monarchs in history. In her latest historical fiction, Jeanne Kalogridis tells Catherine’s story --- that of a tender young girl, destined to be a pawn in Machiavellian games.


Click here to read more about Jeanne Kalogridis and THE DEVIL'S QUEEN.

Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Tana French, Author of THE LIKENESS, Now Available in Paperback
In her award-winning debut novel, IN THE WOODS, Tana French demonstrated that she has an uncanny ability to draw disparate elements from her characters' past into the present. THE LIKENESS, which is now available in paperback, continues this theme, though in a totally different manner. With her richly nuanced characters and deep psychological insight, Tana French explores themes of self-invention, deception and the ways truth can emerge from even the most convincing disguises.

-Click here to read a review of THE LIKENESS.
-Click here to read a third excerpt from THE LIKENESS.
-Click here to read Tana French’s bio.
-Click here to see Tana French's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE LIKENESS.
-Visit Tana French's official website,
-Click here to listen to a podcast in which Tana French discusses her first title, IN THE WOODS.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about THE LIKENESS:
Six months after the events of IN THE WOODS, Detective Cassie Maddox is still trying to recover. She’s transferred out of the Murder squad and started a relationship with Detective Sam O’Neill, but she’s too badly shaken to make any commitment either to him or to her career. Then Sam calls her to the scene of his new case: a young woman found stabbed to death in a small town outside Dublin.

The dead girl’s ID says her name is Lexie Madison --- the identity Cassie used, years ago, as an undercover detective. And she looks exactly like Cassie.

Click here to read more about Tana French and THE LIKENESS.

Special Contest: Win a Copy of LOVING A LOST LORD by Mary Jo Putney
We are celebrating the release of LOVING A LOST LORD --- the first title in Mary Jo Putney’s new historical romance series --- with a special contest. 10 readers will have the opportunity to each win one finished copy of LOVING A LOST LORD, which is now available in stores. Readers who answer a question correctly by reading an excerpt from the book will be automatically entered to win.

Enter between now and Monday, August 10th by filling out the form found here.

New York Times bestselling author Mary Jo Putney finally returns to her passionate voice --- historical romance! LOVING A LOST LORD is the first book in a dazzling new series about lifelong friends who are both noble...and notorious.

“Intoxicating, romantic and utterly ravishing…” --Eloisa James

“The enchanting first Lost Lords novel confirms bestseller Putney as a major force in historical romance.” --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

-Click here to read more about LOVING A LOST LORD.
-Click here to read an excerpt from LOVING A LOST LORD.

Click here for more details about the contest and how to enter.

Now in Stores: SKELLIG: 10th-Anniversary Edition, by David Almond
SKELLIG: 10th-Anniversary Edition by David Almond (Fiction)
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of David Almond’s Printz Honor-winning modern classic.

Ten-year-old Michael was looking forward to moving into a new house. But things are now going wrong, and Michael feels helpless. When Michael discovers an unfamiliar being in his garage, the only person he can confide in is his new friend, Mina. Together they carry the creature out into the light, and Michael’s world changes forever…

Click here to read more about SKELLIG: 10th-Anniversary Edition.

Coming to Theaters on July 15th: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
In case you hadn't already marked your calendars and begun your countdown, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hits the big screen on July 15th. The sixth installment of the epic good-vs.-evil saga promises plenty of magic, mystery, heart-pounding adventure and hair-raising suspense, not to mention some long-sought answers to dark secrets, raging teenage hormones and a jaw-dropping, gasp-worthy ending.

-Click here to visit the film’s official website.
-Click here for more details about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

What's New This Month on

With more than 2,600 discussion guides now available, continues to be the leading place for book clubs to find all the resources they need on the web.

Our Blog continues to be a big hit among our readers. Throughout the month we are sharing postings from regular contributors --- including authors, librarians, book club facilitators, booksellers and experts in the publishing industry --- as well as special guests. The latest blog can be found here, and here are quick links to some recent posts:

-Jonathan Tel: Photographs and Fiction
-Reading and Discussing Nonfiction
-Reading and Discussing Nonfiction Part II
-Monica McInerney: Writers and Readers
-Book Clubs in the News
-You Tell Us: What Authors Would You Like to Hear From?

The following guides are now available on

THE AIR WE BREATHE by Andrea Barrett: Andrea Barrett masterfully sets this luminous novel in a historical period of great progress in science and medicine --- even in the art of war.
THE BEIJING OF POSSIBILITIES by Jonathan Tel: A surreally realistic chronicle of life in modern-day Beijing, featuring figures from a modern-day Monkey King to a Ming Dynasty princess posting her first online profile.
THE BEST OF TIMES by Penny Vincenzi: Penny Vincenzi delivers another brilliantly crafted page-turner centered on one devastating moment that will change lives forever.
BORDER SONGS by Jim Lynch: By the acclaimed author of THE HIGHEST TIDE, a novel about a distinctive community straddling the largely invisible boundary between Washington state and British Columbia.
BRODECK by Philippe Claudel: Winner of the 2007 Prix Goncourt des Lycéens, BRODECK is a lyrically dramatic account of a terrifying murder in a small town and the tortured soul chosen to tell the tale.
CHERI AND THE LAST OF CHERI (Movie Tie-in Edition) by Colette: CHERI, now a major motion picture starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Kathy Bates, is one of the most honest, sensual and poignant breakup stories ever written.
THE CROWNING GLORY OF CALLA LILY PONDER by Rebecca Wells: The long-awaited new novel from Rebecca Wells, New York Times bestselling author of DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD.
THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Bart Yates: Award-winning author Bart Yates’s powerful and evocative novel of family, friendship...and the dual-edged nature of fame and talent.
A FATAL WALTZ: A Novel of Suspense by Tasha Alexander: Lady Emily Ashton reluctantly agrees to attend a party at the sprawling English country estate of a man she finds odious. But the despised Lord Fortescue is not to be her greatest problem.
THE GARDEN OF LAST DAYS by Andre Dubus III: In his stunning follow-up to the #1 bestselling HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG, Andre Dubus draws us into the lives of three deeply flawed, driven people whose paths intersect on a September night in Florida.
A GOOD INDIAN WIFE by Anne Cherian: First-time novelist Anne Cherian explores how immigrants, caught between two worlds, have to learn to overcome their own suspicions of others in order to find themselves.
HAPPINESS KEY by Emilie Richards: Meet four women who think they have nothing in common except the oyster shell road that runs between their ramshackle beach cottages on a spit of land called Happiness Key.
THE HOUSE AT SUGAR BEACH: In Search of a Lost African Childhood by Helene Cooper: Helene Cooper’s bestselling memoir is an account of her family's flight from Liberia, and her return 20 years later to find a foster sister left behind.
IMPOSSIBLE by Nancy Werlin: A beautifully wrought modern fairy tale from master storyteller and award-winning author Nancy Werlin.
LIME TREE CAN'T BEAR ORANGE by Amanda Smyth: Raised in the tropics of Tobago by an aunt she loves and an uncle she fears, Celia has never felt that she belonged. When her uncle does something unforgivable, she escapes to the bustling capital city.
LOOKING FOR SALVATION AT THE DAIRY QUEEN by Susan Gregg Gilmore: An entertaining and touching novel about one small-town girl's search for her place in a much bigger world and finding that it was right where she began.
THE OUTLANDER by Gil Adamson: An intoxicating debut novel reminiscent of early Cormac McCarthy, about a young murderess’s desperate journey into the 1903 wilderness.
THE PAINTED FROM SHANGHAI by Jennifer Cody Epstein: “[An] engrossing story of a woman forced to choose between following her heart and pursuing her art.” --Library Journal
PHARMAKON by Dirk Wittenborn: PHARMAKON is a classic American epic about family, ambition and the price we are willing to pay for happiness.
A PRAGMATIST AND HIS FREE SPIRIT: The Half-Century Romance of Hu Shi & Edith Clifford Williams by Susan Chan Egan and Chih-p'ing Chou: This is an “East meets West” story, portraying the unconventional love of a Chinese civil rights activist and an American avant-garde artist.
THE SECRETS OF JIN-SHEI by Alma Alexander: In an ancient kingdom, eight young women are bound together by Jin-shei: a vow of lifelong sisterhood --- a promise that is everlasting, a bond that cannot be broken, whatever the cost.
SOMEONE KNOWS MY NAME by Lawrence Hill: Kidnapped from Africa as a child, Aminata Diallo is enslaved in South Carolina but escapes during the chaos of the Revolutionary War.
SWIMMING by Nicola Keegan: A spectacular debut about the rise of an Olympic champion --- a novel about competition, the hunger for victory, and a young girl with an unsinkable spirit.
TROUBLE by Kate Christensen: A tragicomedy of marriage and friendship from Kate Christensen, the acclaimed author of THE GREAT MAN, winner of the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award.
THE ZOOKEEPER'S WIFE: A War Story by Diane Ackerman: After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antoninia Zabinski managed to save over 300 people from Nazi racism by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages.

Please note that these titles, for which we already had the guides when they appeared in hardcover, are now available in paperback:

OFF SEASON by Anne Rivers Siddons
POPE JOAN by Donna Woolfolk Cross

We have the following new guides for Christian book groups:

by Barbara Blakey: In the fall of 1961, the world goes crazy --- and takes a young girl with it.
CERTAIN JEOPARDY by Captain Jeff Struecker, with Alton Gansky: CERTAIN JEOPARDY is an immersing and pulsating fictional account of what really happens at every level of a stealth engagement.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF WILD: Is Your Faith Too Tame? by Debbie Alsdorf: Join Debbie Alsdorf as she coaches you into the exhilarating process of developing as a woman of God.
ESSIE IN PROGRESS by Marjorie Presten: Told with a unique wit and a genuine Southern sensibility, Essie in Progress is a stirring story about realizing the life God has in store for you.
THE FRONTIERSMAN'S DAUGHTER by Laura Frantz: This epic novel gives you a glimpse into the simple yet daring lives of the pioneers who first crossed the Appalachians.
HALLIE'S HEART by Shelly Beach: Winner of a Christy Award in 2008, an eccentric antique dealer and her 15-year-old niece struggle to find healing in this Mitford-type novel.
AN IRISHWOMAN'S TALE by Patti Lacy: Far away from her Irish home, Mary Freeman begins to adapt to life in Midwest America, but family turmoil and her own haunting memories threaten to ruin her future.
LOVE'S FIRST LIGHT by Jamie Carie: Christophé, the Count of St. Laurent, has lost his entire family to the blood-soaked French Revolution and must flee to an ancient castle along the southern border of France to survive.
MORNINGSONG by Shelly Beach: In this highly-anticipated follow-up to the Christy Award-winning HALLIE'S HEART, a terrifying accident on the shores of Lake Michigan forces a woman to pick up the pieces of her life.
WHAT THE BAYOU SAW by Patti Lacy: Patti Lacy's second novel exposes the life of Sally, set amid the shadows of prejudice in Louisiana.


Click here to visit

This Week's Reviews
SWIMSUIT by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Thriller)
A breathtakingly beautiful supermodel disappears from a swimsuit photo shoot at the most glamorous hotel in Hawaii. Only hours after she goes missing, Kim McDaniels's parents receive a terrifying phone call. Ex-cop Ben Hawkins, now a reporter for the L.A. Times, gets the McDaniels assignment. All the while, the killer sets the stage for his next production. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SWIMSUIT.

THE APOSTLE by Brad Thor (Political Thriller)
Every politician has a secret. And when the daughter of a politically-connected family is kidnapped abroad, America's new president will agree to anything --- even a deadly and ill-advised rescue plan --- in order to keep his secret hidden. Brad Thor follows up THE LAST PATRIOT with another riveting political thriller. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE DOOMSDAY KEY by James Rollins (Thriller)
Sigma Force Commander Gray Pierce is called into action to stop a conspiracy that threatens the world’s food supply. Aided by Monk Kokkalis, fellow Sigma operative and best friend, along with two women from his past, Pierce races against time to avert a horrifying plot that will unleash a centuries-old prophesy of destruction and doom. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

THE CASTAWAYS by Elin Hilderbrand (Fiction)
Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoys’ closest friends for what will be revealed. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

HOW SHALL I TELL THE DOG?: And Other Final Musings by Miles Kington (Memoir)
Prolific author, humor columnist and jazz reviewer Miles Kington has penned his final book in the form of a series of letters to his long-time agent and friend, Gillian Coleridge. Miles had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and decided that perhaps there was a book to be written about his experiences. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

COMMENCEMENT by J. Courtney Sullivan (Fiction)
J. Courney Sullivan’s outstanding debut novel is a tender story of friendship, a witty take on liberal arts colleges, and a fascinating portrait of the first generation of women who have all the opportunities in the world, but no clear idea about what to choose. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

WARBREAKER by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy)
A God King, two princesses, a shadowy swordsman, and a reluctant god and hero collide in a web of politics, magic and religion as two neighboring nations find themselves on the precipice of war. WARBREAKER is another fine entry in Brandon Sanderson’s growing catalog of work. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

VANILLA RIDE: A Hap and Leonard Novel by Joe R. Lansdale (Thriller)
When an old friend asks Leonard Pine to rescue his daughter from an abusive, no-good drug dealer, he gladly agrees and, of course, invites best friend Hap Collins along for the fun. Even though the dealer may be lowly, he is on the bottom rung of the Dixie Mafia, and when Hap and Leonard come calling, the Mafia feels a little payback is in order. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE DEVIL’S COMPANY by David Liss (Historical Thriller)
David Liss’s fifth novel is another historical thriller set in 1722 London and features one of his recurring characters: ex-boxer and master of disguise Benjamin Weaver. Weaver gets involved in a treacherous web of deceit when he is blackmailed by a mysterious figure into stealing important documents from a well-known British company. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

IN THE KITCHEN by Monica Ali (Fiction)
The executive chef of a busy restaurant dreams of starting an establishment of his own, when tragedy strikes one of his co-workers. This shocking event causes a chain reaction that changes Gabriel’s life from a positive outlook to one of despair. Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton.

A DATE YOU CAN'T REFUSE by Harley Jane Kozak (Mystery)
When Wollie Shelley accepts a job coaching European visitors in American-style social graces for a media training company, she also takes a position with the FBI spying on that same company. However, Wollie is woefully unsuited to life as an undercover double agent, which makes for both hilarious and frightening situations --- as well as a delightful read. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THE BEIJING OF POSSIBILITIES by Jonathan Tel (Fiction/Short Stories)
Blending humor with carefully observed details of life in Beijing, Jonathan Tel’s short stories offer a rich and entertaining guide to the city and its many and varied inhabitants --- from a modern-day Monkey King to an equally contemporary indentured servant, from a boy tasting his first cotton candy to a Ming Dynasty princess posting her first online profile. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE BEIJING OF POSSIBILITIES.
-Click here to read Jonathan Tel’s blog post, “Photographs and Fiction.”

FRAGMENT by Warren Fahy (Thriller)
Evolutionary science, spine-tingling horror and reality television collide in Warren Fahy’s FRAGMENT, a terrific debut novel that illustrates how scientists’ dream discovery quickly devolves into their worst nightmare on the world’s most secluded island. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Read this week's reviews here.

Poll, Question and Word of Mouth


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Word of Mouth:

Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have three great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of THE BEST OF TIMES by Penny Vincenzi, JERICHO’S FALL by Stephen L. Carter and SACRED HEARTS by Sarah Dunant. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on July 31st to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.


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Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by July 31, 2009 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE BEST OF TIMES by Penny Vincenzi, BLACK HILLS by Nora Roberts, THE DEFECTOR by Daniel Silva, LABOR DAY by Joyce Maynard and TWENTIES GIRL by Sophie Kinsella. Raina from Gardner, NY was last month's newsletter winner. She won THE ANGEL’S GAME by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, THE BOURNE DECEPTION by Eric Van Lustbader, THE FIXER UPPER by Mary Kay Andrews, KILLER SUMMER by Ridley Pearson and THE STRAIN by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.

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