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August 7, 2009 Newsletter August 7, 2009
Your Ideas, Lots of Good Reading and Kicking Back

My question last week about what incoming college freshmen are reading yielded some terrific feedback from our readers, which I supplemented with some information from publishers and posted in a blog here. They are broken down both by school and by book title, with a thanks to Cristina Costales on our staff who compiled this information for me. Thank you to all who sent suggestions, and I love that many of you have chosen to read the books that your kids are reading along with them.

My second question about what contemporary books you think should be classics has yielded the following so far: THE HELP, THE BOOK THIEF, THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE, THE KITE RUNNER, THE PRINCE OF TIDES, COLD MOUNTAIN and the Harry Potter series, many with multiple mentions. Keep your suggestions coming, perhaps looking at some of the college reading titles for ideas. Send to me at

We have a terrific lineup for you this week. First up is Christopher Reich's new one, which Joe Hartlaub raves about. "My favorite element of RULES OF VENGEANCE is the ending, whereby Reich manages to raise more questions than are answered, sets up as many future volumes of this series as he might wish to write, and yet provides a satisfying conclusion that makes the book complete in and of itself. That is smart, intelligent and thoroughly entertaining storytelling, which is what you will find in RULES OF VENGEANCE from first page to last." I do agree. Reich really has something going with this series. Ransom is a terrific protagonist.

When I read THE SIEGE back in April, I immediately wrote Stephen White with my congratulations. This book and his earlier work, KILL ME, are among my favorite thrillers. Again reviewed by Joe Hartlaub, he says this about Stephen: "He is among the best of our contemporary authors laboring in any genre, combining plot, characterization, and excellent, solid storytelling to make each of his works not so much a novel as an event.... THE SIEGE includes everything one could possibly want, whether you agree, disagree or sympathize with the general and diverse worldview of the characters." By the way, you may want to note that in a review of Joe's he once questioned whether Sam Purdy could have a bigger role in a White book, and in this book that moment is delivered. Over lunch in Denver back in January, Stephen said he had taken Joe's thought to heart when he read that comment.

Alexis Burling is spot-on in her review of Jonathan Tropper's THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, when she says, "Enough with the incessant Nick Hornby and Tom Perrotta comparisons made by members of the media (including this sheepish reviewer, I'm afraid). Jonathan Tropper is his own writer --- and his books deserve an honor and distinction all their own. His special blend of wry humor, pitch-perfect dialogue and on-the-mark pacing make for a wickedly amusing read that encourages, if not induces, cackling (literally) on the subway, at the café, or in that cozy armchair in the den." Back in June I sat in the hammock reading this and laughed so hard that I was glad the neighbors were sawing and hammering so they would not hear me and wonder why I was laughing to myself!

Our Beach Bag of Books contest this week (the final one of the year) includes four terrific beach reads --- and some beach goodies. It's been fun to hear from the winners about how they are enjoying their prizes. Our advance readers very much enjoyed THE DEVIL'S QUEEN by Jeanne Kalogridis; you may read their responses here. We also received Henry Perez's responses to readers' questions for KILLING RED, which you may read here.

Also, this week our Books Into Movies feature has been updated. With Julie & Julia and The Time Traveler's Wife coming out this week and next respectively, there's a lot of great movie/book tie-in action going on. As always, we urge you to read first, then watch. See our complete Books Into Movies and Books Into Movies Now on DVD here.

When I was at BEA in June, I heard Ben Mezrich talk about his book THE ACCIDENTAL BILLIONAIRES: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal. As he had written BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions, which was made into a movie called 21, which I enjoyed, I definitely was intrigued. Okay, I confess I saw the movie, but did not read the book. Mezrich's speech was conversational and fun, and made me want to read the book. (Lest you think this always works, trust me that sometimes people talk and I do NOT want to read the book.)

Also, since I started in the mid-'90s I have had a seat at the table watching many online companies come and go. MANY! I have heard ideas, plans and pitches that just made zip sense to me since I could not figure out WHY people would care about them --- and make them a habit. The success of Facebook has intrigued me since I have watched the site evolve. It's really a simple concept that worked easily and delivered a connection that people wanted. Thus reading THE ACCIDENTAL BILLIONAIRES has been interesting. While the title is titillating and meeting girls was a part of this scheme as well as money, genius and betrayal, another factor played in here --- a sense of entitlement. It was interesting to see how this spirit played into the story on the Harvard campus.

Quick reminder to those of you with teens or kids in your households or who have grandchildren, library patrons or friends. We have surveys running right now on and The 2009 Reader Survey is open until August 31st, and 775 teens will have the chance to win one of the 27 titles being given away if they complete the survey. The 2009 Reader Survey is open until September 15th, and 1,000 readers will have the chance to read one of 24 titles being given away.

This weekend I have NO plans for the first time in more than a month, so it's time for me to go look at my stacks and pluck a couple of books out. After reading Joe Hartlaub's review of THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE by Stieg Larsson last week, which will debut on the Times list at #1 next week, first up is THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO since I have not read it. While I am a big reader and read quickly, I often miss books I know I should have read. And I get guilty! I know, pretty silly. Oh, and for the record, Cory loved THE FILM CLUB and I think he has more for his personal movie list now.

It's not a book, but to get you in the mood for summer, here is Paul Simon singing his rendition of "Surfer Girl" from the Tribute to Brian Wilson DVD. Thanks to Jesse Kornbluth for sending this for what he calls "milk and cookies" this morning. Love the way he finds gems like this. And on that note...happy weekend and happy reading.

Carol Fitzgerald (


Click here to read the Blog. Talks to Christopher Reich, Author of RULES OF VENGEANCE

RULES OF VENGEANCE is the second installment in Christopher Reich's series starring mountain-climbing, Doctors Without Borders surgeon Jonathan Ransom (following 2008’s RULES OF DECEPTION). In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Reich describes creating Ransom's character as an exercise in wishful thinking and names some of the authors who have influenced the mystery elements in this thriller. He also shares his thoughts on what he perceives to be the largest global crisis today, thinks back to what he might have done differently earlier in his writing career, and hints at what's in store for his hero in the next book, RULES OF ATTACK.

RULES OF VENGEANCE by Christopher Reich (Thriller)
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. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of RULES OF VENGEANCE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from

Click here to read our interview with Christopher Reich. Talks to John Gilstrap, Author of NO MERCY
John Gilstrap's latest book, NO MERCY, is the first installment in a new series featuring Jonathan Grave, a freelance covert operative with a conscience. In this interview with's L. Dean Murphy, Gilstrap explains the inspiration behind his main character and gives insight into the way Grave’s less-than-perfect upbringing influences present-day choices. He also discusses his writing process, shares his thoughts on the average American's attitude toward the armed forces, and offers advice to aspiring writers.

NO MERCY by John Gilstrap (Thriller)
As a freelance specialist in covert rescues, Jonathan Grave has to work outside the law to get things done --- especially in highly sensitive hostage situations. But when an Indiana college student is abducted, and Jonathan’s meticulous plan explodes into a deadly shooting spree, the local authorities are out for blood --- and they’re not alone. Someone wants to control a devastating secret and is willing to capture, torture and kill anyone to get it. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

-Click here to read a review of NO MERCY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from NO MERCY.

Click here to read our interview with John Gilstrap.

Our Summer Beach Bag Contest: Spotlight This Week on Great Summer Titles from HarperCollins Publishers
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 HarperCollins Publishers, including THE CONDITION by Jennifer Haigh, DO DEAD PEOPLE WALK THEIR DOGS?: Questions You’d Ask a Medium If You Had the Chance by Concetta Bertoldi, JENNIFER JOHNSON IS SICK OF BEING SINGLE by Heather McElhatton and THE SEAMSTRESS by Frances de Pontes Peebles. In a green floral-patterned bag, winners will find a two-toned green towel, tie-dye flip-flops, a bottle of H20+ Apricot-Peche Shower and Bath Treatment, colorful reusable ice cubes to add flair to summer drinks, orange-flavored Tic Tacs, an inflatable raft for floating while reading and flip-flop shaped beach and lawn stakes to hold your towel in place, as well as a copy of THE CONDITION, DO DEAD PEOPLE WALK THEIR DOGS?, JENNIFER JOHNSON IS SICK OF BEING SINGLE and THE SEAMSTRESS. We have five to give away, as well as five additional prizes of copies of THE CONDITION, DO DEAD PEOPLE WALK THEIR DOGS?, JENNIFER JOHNSON IS SICK OF BEING SINGLE and THE SEAMSTRESS.

To enter, fill out this form and answer ONE of the following questions by Thursday, August 20th at 11:59PM.

strong>Question for THE CONDITION:
Who is “The Captain’s House” named after?
You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

Question for
According to the author, how do people communicate with one another on the Other Side?

You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

Question for
How does the narrator feel about online dating?

You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

Question for THE SEAMSTRESS:
What is the name of Emilia’s son?

You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

THE CONDITION by Jennifer Haigh (Fiction)
THE CONDITION tells the story of the McKotches, a proper New England family that comes apart during one fateful summer. Compassionate yet unflinchingly honest, witty and almost painfully astute, Jennifer Haigh’s novel explores the power of family mythologies --- the self-delusions, denials and inescapable truths that forever bind fathers and mothers and siblings.

-Read more about Jennifer Haigh and THE CONDITION here.

DO DEAD PEOPLE WALK THEIR DOGS? Questions You’d Ask a Medium If You Had the Chance by Concetta Bertoldi (Occultism)
Concetta Bertoldi has been communicating with the "Other Side" since childhood. In her previous book, the bestselling DO DEAD PEOPLE WATCH YOU SHOWER?, she addressed questions about the afterlife that ranged from the poignant to the provocative. Now she returns with DO DEAD PEOPLE WALK THEIR DOGS?, a second volume of intriguing observations about our beloved deceased.

-Read more about Concetta Bertoldi and DO DEAD PEOPLE WALK THEIR DOGS? here.

Everyone around Jennifer Johnson is getting married, while she's still single and stuck writing ad copy about men's dress socks. Launched on a humiliating and hilarious quest to find Prince Charming at any cost --- including agonizing online dates, diet-clinic cults, drag-queen fights, and a debilitating addiction to Cinnabon icing, JENNIFER JOHNSON is a cautionary tale about getting what you want --- and how that may be the worst thing to happen to you.

-Read more about Heather McElhatton and JENNIFER JOHNSON IS SICK OF BEING SINGLE here.

THE SEAMSTRESS by Frances de Pontes Peebles (Fiction)
As seamstresses, the orphaned sisters Emília and Luzia dos Santos know how to cut, how to mend and how to conceal. Emília dreams of falling in love and escaping to the city. Luzia also longs to escape their little town, where residents view her deformed arm with suspicion. But when Luzia is abducted by a group of vigilantes called cangaceiros, the sisters’ quiet lives diverge in ways they never imagined.

-Read more about Frances de Pontes Peebles and THE SEAMSTRESS here.

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

Author Talk: Stephen White, Author of THE SIEGE
In Stephen White's latest novel, THE SIEGE, Sam Purdy --- a secondary character in the bestselling Alan Gregory series --- takes center stage as he investigates the mysterious disappearance of a group of Yale students, including the children of two high-powered political figures. In this interview, White explains his motivation behind replacing the famed psychologist main character with his police detective best friend, and discusses the evolution and introduction of a new character, FBI Agent Christopher Poe. He also talks about why he chose to incorporate Yale's secret societies into the plot and elaborates on the book's complex story structure.

THE SIEGE by Stephen White (Thriller)
Stephen White --- author of 15 gripping New York Times bestsellers --- returns with a relentlessly propelled thriller featuring one of his most popular series characters --- Alan Gregory's buddy, Sam Purdy. In THE SIEGE, the Boulder detective is caught in the middle of a terrorist siege on the Yale campus. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

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

Click here to read an interview with Stephen White.

Now in Stores: THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU by Jonathan Tropper
THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU by Jonathan Tropper (Fiction)
The death of Judd Foxman's father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family have been together in years. Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch's dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together. In the same house. Like a family. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

Click here to read a review of THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU.

Steve Berry Talks to Daniel Levin, Author of THE LAST EMBER
Daniel Levin's debut novel, THE LAST EMBER, is a religious-themed archaeological thriller that follows a young lawyer and antiquities expert as he uncovers a radical plot to rewrite history. In this interview conducted by New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry, Levin talks about what inspired the plot of this book and elaborates on the complex motivations behind his protagonist, Jonathan Marcus. He also discusses some of the fascinating discoveries he made while researching ancient Roman history and explains the current controversies in which many museums around the world are involved.

THE LAST EMBER by Daniel Levin (Thriller)
Jonathan Marcus, a fallen-from-grace antiquities scholar practicing law in New York, is dispatched to Rome to examine a portion of an ancient stone map. During his examination, he discovers a hidden message inside the map and becomes entangled in a search for an ancient artifact of biblical significance. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

-Click here to read a review of THE LAST EMBER.

Click here to read Steve Berry's interview with Daniel Levin.

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Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Joseph Finder, Author of VANISHED
Joseph Finder is the author of many highly acclaimed thrillers, most recently the New York Times bestsellers POWER PLAY, KILLER INSTINCT and COMPANY MAN. With his forthcoming novel VANISHED, which will be available in stores on August 18th, Finder launches a four-book series featuring corporate security specialist Nick Heller. Trained in the Special Forces, Nick is a high-powered intelligence investigator --- exposing secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from VANISHED.
-Click here to read Joseph Finder’s bio.
-Click here to see Joseph Finder's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for VANISHED.
-Visit Joseph Finder’s official website,
-Click here to watch a video in which Joseph Finder discusses VANISHED.
-Visit to watch additional videos.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about VANISHED:
Nick Heller is tough, smart and stubborn. And in his line of work, it's essential. Nick is a high-powered intelligence investigator --- exposing secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden.

When Nick’s brother disappears without a trace --- and Nick’s favorite nephew pleads for his help --- Nick’s search sets him on a collision course with one of the most powerful corporations in the world --- and they will stop at nothing to protect their secrets.

Click here to read more about Joseph Finder and VANISHED.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Brandon Massey, Author of CORNERED

Though established as an author and editor of horror and supernatural fiction, Brandon Massey’s first traditional thriller novel, DON'T EVER TELL, was widely met with critical acclaim when it was published in 2008. In CORNERED, his latest novel now available in stores, a chance encounter brings a family man face to face with a dark past he’d long since left behind --- and now those he loves may be in grave danger.

-Click here to read an excerpt from CORNERED.
-Click here to read Brandon Massey’s bio.
-Click here to see Brandon Massey's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for CORNERED.
-Visit Brandon Massey’s official website,
-Read more about CORNERED here.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about CORNERED:
In the tradition of Stephen King comes a bone-chilling new thriller --- CORNERED from award-winning master of suspense Brandon Massey --- about a man who will stop at nothing to ruin the life of his childhood best friend.

“The talented Mr. Massey has the rare knack of grabbing the reader early and not letting go.” --John Lutz, New York Times bestselling author

“Massey starts this thriller with a bang.” --Publishers Weekly

Click here to read more about Brandon Massey and CORNERED.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Mary Jane Clark, Author of DYING FOR MERCY
New York Times bestselling author Mary Jane Clark has written 12 novels, all set in the high-stakes world of broadcast journalism. Her new novel, DYING FOR MERCY, is now available in stores. When death shatters the serenity of a wealthy town, the co-host of the country's premier morning television show is on the scene. As she begins searching for the truth, it becomes apparent that someone has conceived a plan to expose the sins of the past involving some of the town's most revered citizens.

-Click here to read a review of DYING FOR MERCY.
-Click here to read a second excerpt from DYING FOR MERCY.
-Click here to read our interview with Mary Jane Clark.
-Click here to read Mary Jane Clark's bio.
-Click here to see Mary Jane Clark's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for DYING FOR MERCY.
-Visit Mary Jane Clark's official website,
-Click here to watch a trailer for DYING FOR MERCY.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

When death shatters the serenity of the exclusive moneyed enclave of Tuxedo Park, New York, Eliza Blake, co-host of a television show, is on the scene. While attending a lavish gala at her friends' estate, Pentimento, Eliza's host is found dead.

Determined to find out the truth, Eliza and her colleagues discover that Pentimento holds the key. It becomes clear that no amount of wealth or privilege will keep the residents of Tuxedo Park safe.

Click here to read more about Mary Jane Clark and DYING FOR MERCY.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Linwood Barclay, Author of FEAR THE WORST

Linwood Barclay is the author of several critically acclaimed novels, including TOO CLOSE TO HOME and NO TIME FOR GOODBYE, a #1 bestseller in Britain. In FEAR THE WORST, his gripping new thriller releasing on August 11th, a father's search for his missing daughter leads him into a dark world of corruption, exploitation and murder.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from FEAR THE WORST.
-Click here to read Linwood Barclay's bio.
-Click here to see Linwood Barclay's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for FEAR THE WORST.
-Visit Linwood Barclay's official website,
-Visit Bantam Dell's Suspense Book Club page,
-Click here to see our finished copy winners.

More about FEAR THE WORST:
Your daughter doesn't come home from her summer job. You go there looking for her. No one's seen here --- no one's ever seen her. So where has she been going every day? And where is she now?

In Linwood Barclay's riveting new thriller, an ordinary man's desperate search for his daughter leads him into a dark world of corruption, exploitation and murder. Sometimes the people you think you know best are the ones harboring the biggest secrets.


Click here to read more about Linwood Barclay and FEAR THE WORST.

Now in Stores: THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE by Heather Gudenkauf
THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE by Heather Gudenkauf (Suspense)
It happens quietly one August morning...two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night.

Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

Masterfully written and beautifully told, Heather Gudenkauf’s debut is a stunning novel of family devotion, honesty and regret that will linger long after the last page is turned.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE.
-Click here to find out how your book club can win up to 12 copies of THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE and the opportunity to chat with Heather Gudenkauf.

Learn more about THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE by visiting Heather Gudenkauf's official website,

Now in Stores: THE KNIGHT by Steven James

THE KNIGHT: A Patrick Bowers Thriller by Steven James (Psychological Thriller)
The stakes have never been higher.

FBI Agent Patrick Bowers is used to tracking the country’s most dangerous killers, but now it looks like a killer is tracking him. Bowers faces a race against time to decipher who the next victim will be and to stop the final shocking murder --- which he’s beginning to believe might be his own.

Gritty, chilling and intense, this psychological thriller is guaranteed to keep you up all night.

-Click here to read more about THE KNIGHT at

Learn more about THE KNIGHT and Steven James's other Patrick Bowers thrillers by visiting

This Week's Reviews

THAT OLD CAPE MAGIC by Richard Russo (Fiction)
In novels like his Pulitzer Prize-winning EMPIRE FALLS and BRIDGE OF SIGHS, Richard Russo has established himself as the Charles Dickens of lower middle class life in the dying towns of upstate New York. His latest novel reaches back to the territory he visited in 1997’s STRAIGHT MAN, and the mixed results make us long for the depth of his more recent works. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THAT OLD CAPE MAGIC.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THAT OLD CAPE MAGIC.

WHILE I’M FALLING by Laura Moriarty (Fiction)
The epigraph to WHILE I’M FALLING, taken from J. K. Rowling’s commencement address at Harvard University in 2008, perfectly sums up the theme of the novel: “There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.” In Laura Moriarty’s third work of fiction, Rowling’s words come to life both literally and figuratively, as Veronica Von Holten feels her whole life --- not to mention a borrowed Mini Cooper --- veer out of control. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

CHERRY BOMB: A Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels Mystery by J. A. Konrath (Mystery)
This sixth book in the Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels series opens with the funeral of her loved one, who was killed at the end of FUZZY NAVEL. But unlike your normal, sedate funeral, Jack’s mourning is interrupted by a terrifying phone call from Alexandra Kork, the psychotic serial killer she had locked away in a previous case. Alex threatens to kill someone else close to Jack in 12 hours unless Jack can save him. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

In the tradition of the posthumous Robert Ludlum novels, Tilly Bagshawe, a successful author in her own right, has been charged with the Herculean task of continuing the epic Blackwell family saga from MASTER OF THE GAME in the voice of the late, legendary Sidney Sheldon. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

THE WINDS OF DUNE by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson (Science Fiction)
Paul is dead. Alia struggles to hold the Imperium together. Bronso of Ix continues to rail against the myth of Muad'Dib. In the midst of these life-altering events, a mother must decide whether to hold true to her son, stand united with her daughter, or allow a long secret truth to come forth, which could save or damn them all. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

SWORN TO SILENCE by Linda Castillo (Thriller)
Kate Burkholder, who grew up in the Amish community of Painters Mill, Ohio, before abandoning their way of life for the outside world and the study of law enforcement, has recently been appointed Chief of Police in her former hometown. When the serial killer whose spree 16 years before was dubbed The Slaughterhouse Murders returns with spectacular violence, Kate is determined to catch him. But she is also desperate to keep a secret from her past. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

PANIC ATTACK by Jason Starr (Thriller)
Dr. Adam Bloom has the perfect life. He is financially secure and lives in a luxurious house with his wife, Dana, and their 22-year-old daughter, Marissa, a recent college graduate. Late one night, his daughter wakes him up and says, “Somebody’s downstairs.” Adam uses his gun to kill one of the unarmed intruders, but the other escapes. From that moment on, everyone’s life in the Bloom household will never be the same. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SWEET MARY by Liz Balmaseda (Fiction)
Dulce Maria "Mary" Guevara is a woman with nothing left to lose. Wrongly accused of being a cocaine queen, she has lost her job, her reputation, and --- worst of all --- custody of her son. Even after the charges are dropped, suspicion lingers. Desperate to get it all back, she takes what she considers the only path open to her: She goes on a hunt for the real drug queen. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

GONE TO THE DOGS by Mary Guterson (Fiction)
What kind of woman steals her ex-boyfriend's dog? In this case, a very funny one. Rena is on the downhill side of her 20s, discontentedly underemployed slinging steaks at Sammy's Place, when her fiance Brian goes off on a rafting trip and returns with a new tall, blond, athletic girlfriend. And now Brian, who never liked animals, shares a bungalow with his new love and Tilly, a dog "the size of a Volkswagen." Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol.


Read this week's reviews here.

Poll, Question and Word of Mouth


Do you keep a list of books that you want to read?


How formal is your list?

I keep a list on my computer.
I write notes in a notebook.
I write notes on pieces of paper.
I just try to remember what I want to read.
I am not sure what I do.
I do not keep a list.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What are the top three books on your list to be read right now?

-Click here to answer our question.

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 SECRET OF THE SEVENTH SON by Glenn Cooper, THE SIEGE by Stephen White and THAT OLD CAPE MAGIC by Richard Russo. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on August 14th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page. If you would like to reach me, please write Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by August 31, 2009 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: RHINO RANCH by Larry McMurtry, SMASH CUT by Sandra Brown, THAT OLD CAPE MAGIC by Richard Russo, THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU by Jonathan Tropper and VANISHED by Joseph Finder. Patricia from Yuba City, CA was last month's newsletter winner. She won 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.

Happy reading! Don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend or to visit our other websites from,,,,, and

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