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August 8, 2008 Newsletter

August 8, 2008

This Week on

1,002 Miles....Turn Turn Turn....and One Page of Reading.... Talks to Andrew Davidson, Author of THE GARGOYLE Talks to Emily and Sarah Buder, and Barbara Coloroso, Authors of LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL

Our Summer Beach Bag Contest: Spotlight This Week on a Collection of Titles from The Random House Publishing Group
Download Your FREE Copy of THE EIGHT by Katherine Neville

Now in Stores: THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOVE by Glenda Burgess

Featured Historical Fiction Author: Louis Bayard, Author of THE BLACK TOWER

Featured One to Watch Author: Matt Rothschild, Author of DUMBFOUNDED

Now in Stores: THE NIGHT VILLA by Carol Goodman

Now in Stores: HOLDING MY BREATH by Sidura Ludwig
This Week's Graphic Novel Reviews
What's New This Month on

This Week's Reviews

Poll and Question of the Week: Saving Time for Reading

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- THREE Prizes

Quick Links to Features On The Book Report Network
Past Reviews
Can't See the Graphics? Read This Newsletter Online
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Promotion
Debut Suspense/Thriller One to Watch Promotion
Mystery Mayhem Promotion

Historical Fiction Promotion

One to Watch Promotion
Books Into Movies
Bestseller Lists
Coming Soon
New in Paperback

1,002 Miles....Turn Turn Turn....and One Page of Reading....

By the time we returned the rental car at Hertz last Sunday night, we had logged 1,002 miles. Every time I say 1,000, the boys say 1,002, which reminds me of when they were 6 ½ or 6 ¾ and every little fraction mattered. I keep playing the refrain of that song in my head, "99 Miles From LA." For the record, I cannot even measure how many switchbacks I drove last week. We did Lombard Street twice, but Cory literally said "ho hum" in the back of the car and this line, "This clearly is overrated!" I drove it the second time hoping he would appreciate it more. No dice. Hah, I guess the turns on Big Sur were his comparison point.

Confession: the hills of San Francisco almost did me in. There was a time where I was perched at a stop sign on one hill (cliff!) and I was accelerating with my foot still on the brake. I was breaking into a cold sweat at the concept of my driving a car with a clutch. Keep in mind I cannot drive a car with a clutch so there is no chance of this happening, but I could not shake that idea. A friend told me he was not sure whether it was scarier to be stopped at a stop sign facing uphill or to be perched heading downhill seeing pedestrians in front of you. I think it’s easily a toss-up.

Speaking of turns, I forgot to share that when we were in San Diego I rode a rollercoaster, the old wooden one at Mission Beach. Now I am the original rollercoaster chicken. The boys talked me into this saying that it only went 45 mph and we could see all the turns. So away we went. I was in full-bore terror at the second or third turn, so I closed my eyes. Um, not a good idea. Now instead of anticipating the next turn I was going into it blind. I was tossed around and was weakly yelling "yeahhhhhh!" and throwing my arms in the air. No, actually I threw my arms up ONCE. The rest of the time they were locked on the safety bar. Greg looked over and saw my eyes closed and thought I was euphoric about the ride. I got off and realized I had managed to get a HUGE shiner on my shin sometime during this experience. Probably from being thrown around since I never could anticipate any turn with my eyes closed. My shiner was a topic of discussion at the Romance Writers of America Convention. There was no hiding it with a skirt.

Last Friday night was a full night of parties, which was endlessly fun. The Random House soiree was held at Water Bar overlooking the Bay and I loved the view. I got to see Lisa Gardner, Suzanne Brockmann, Cherry Adair and my publishing pals, Kim Hovey and Libby McGuire, and a host of others while sipping drinks. I ran into thriller author Barry Eisler, who lives in northern California. I love moments like this when an author who I did not expect to see is at an event. We joked about whether he would attend the Harlequin party, also known as “the prom” later in the evening. Before going to that I slipped into the St. Martin's "San Martini" event at the E & O Trading Company, which was terrific. I got to catch up with Kristin Hannah, too many other authors to note here, agent pals --- and my publishing friends Jennifer Enderlin, Matt Shear and Anne Marie Tallberg.

I swung back to the hotel to get Greg before I went to “the prom.” He brought a suit for this party, which he has now been to three times at the generous invitation of KO, Harlequin’s PR Queen. The first year when he line danced behind Nora Roberts he learned this was pretty cool! At one point I turned and six women had swept him onto the floor and he was dancing away while staring at me with a look of abject terror. No wonder he cut his own prom in favor of a great dinner out in the city. Truly nothing gets bigger than THIS! He quickly got caught up in the music that was played by a really killer DJ.

Saturday morning we were up and out by 10 for a tour of the Palace Hotel conducted by Rob Spoor of City Guides, which was terrific and made me wish we had time for more of these tours. Two bookish moments occured as we made our way through the hotel. The first was in Maxwell’s where a painting of The Pied Piper graced one wall. The second was in another painting where Mark Twain had been featured along with a frog that referenced "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches." I love moments like that. I got a big kick out of saying that I was staying at The Palace all week. "Take me to the Palace, please." 

Saturday afternoon we went to Corte Madera so I could visit Book Passage, a store where many of my author friends have appeared when they are in the Bay Area. Sure enough Tana French was scheduled for that evening, and we saw signage for Daniel Silva’s upcoming MOSCOW RULES tour stop (August 12th) publicized. (Big news: Silva debuts this Sunday at number one on the New York Times list, the first time he ever has done that --- and we saw next week’s numbers and know he stays in that slot, which is great news!) At Book Passage, I had such fun talking to Janel Feierabend, the Director of Retail there. We literally walked the store and chatted about books we loved on each table. She is excited that they will be having Annie Barrows, one of the authors of THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY at the store on August 10th. We both loved this book!

I only read one page the entire trip. But I read it six times, if that counts. With Hertz’s rule that my son could not drive, every one of those 1,002 miles was MY responsibility. By the time I hit the hotel room each night I was banging out emails so there was no read time. Exhausted, I read the same page six times before I fell asleep. UGH! I was in serious reading deprivation. We flew back on the last redeye from San Francisco to give the boys this experience. I hope that this flight will bring sympathy for me the next time I fly the redeye since they now know what sleep deprivation feels like. I napped and then did a walk down the aisle where the number of people sleeping with their mouths open amused me.

The redeye was to land at 8AM; college registration (online of course) at Fordham for Greg started at 7AM. Now I realized that this was a BIG deal since I know how fast classes close out; he was not taking it quite so seriously. Sooooo as the wheels hit the tarmac I had him boot up my laptop, connect my Verizon Air Card and get registering. I am not sure how many kids registered as they were hurling down the tarmac like he did. Five classes to click…and he got four of the ones he wanted and then went to a second choice for the fifth before we hit the gate. Pretty amazing. In my day we waited on line for hours. I got home and, after doing email again, proceeded to sleep in the pool, on the hammock and on the couch. I still was on the same page in my book…wanting sooooo badly to get to the next page.

Our Summer Beach Bag of Books Contest this week features four titles that are perfect for summer reading: LOVING FRANK by Nancy Horan, PEONY IN LOVE by Lisa See, AWAY by Amy Bloom and KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL by Deborah Rodriguez. Included in our red woven beach bag is an oversized colorful towel that I love and some really fun outdoor colored lights. We have another terrific opportunity for you to take advantage of. Katherine Neville's book THE EIGHT became an international bestseller when it was released 20 years ago. The looooong anticipated follow-up, THE FIRE, will be in stores on October 14th. To give readers a chance to read THE EIGHT, the publisher is offering a free PDF download of the book until August 18th, beginning today. Since this is a limited time offer, we've added a countdown to the ad on the website so you can see just how much time you have left to take advantage of this free download!

We also are bringing you a review of a memoir that I just love called THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOVE by Glenda Burgess, which is done by Pat Morris. This book is an emotional read and the story is beautifully done. I am delighted to share that our Coming Soon feature has been updated with titles being published through December. It's one of our most-read features so it's nice to have this available. We also received some great feedback from our advance readers of THE LAST QUEEN by C. W. Gortner, which you can read here.

For those of you who are wondering, my rescue of the boys on the Golden Gate Bridge last Friday had a happy ending. No, that was not the fact that I was able to find them and return them to the hotel. It’s that we did not have to pay the $5 toll since we had three people in the car during rush hour. Imagine that my rescue effort was considered carpooling! Greg got us to a number of terrific locations during the week, many off the beaten track. In a moment that we will long remember, we did a sunset tour at the Point Reyes Lighthouse, which is located at the end of a walkway with 300 steps. By the time we headed back up the stairs, it was getting dark. We walked by the light --- the green light --- of the Artemis Fowl flashlight that I picked up for Cory at Comic-Con. Somehow, given our journey, it was pretty fitting.

I spent yesterday at the Jersey Shore (never the beach in New Jersey, it's the shore) seeing my sister and her family. This weekend I am venturing nowhere. I am determined to turn the page in my book…and I want to get to a few other books too! Oh, the book? AMERICAN WIFE by Curtis Sittenfeld, which will be out September 2nd. What's next? There's an advance reading copy of Nelson DeMille's THE GATEHOUSE, which will be out on October 28th. It's a follow-up to THE GOLD COAST, so for those of you who have not yet read that one, the time to start is NOW. Have a great weekend.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Andrew Davidson, Author of THE GARGOYLE

In this interview with's Sarah Rachel Egelman, debut author Andrew Davidson describes how a combination of unlikely inspiration and simple curiosity prompted him to write his highly anticipated first novel, THE GARGOYLE, and provides some insight into the story's recurring motifs, as well as the behavior of its characters. He also lists the wide range of topics he needed to research in order to vividly recreate the book's different settings and time periods, elaborates on its overall messages regarding the idea of true love, and discusses the beginning stages of his next work of fiction.

THE GARGOYLE by Andrew Davidson (Fiction)
Marianne Engel is a beautiful sculptress of gargoyles who appears in the burn unit one day and tells the narrator of this mesmerizing tale that they were lovers in medieval times, when she was a scribe and he was a mercenary. Is she simply mad? Or is she truly the angel of mercy who will save him from his suicidal despair? Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read a review of THE GARGOYLE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from
Click here to read our interview with Andrew Davidson. Talks to Emily and Sarah Buder, and Barbara Coloroso, Authors of LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL

When sisters Emily and Sarah Buder read a news article in 2006 about Olivia Gardner --- a teenage girl who had been the victim of excessive bullying for over two years --- they launched a letter-writing campaign at their school in hopes of offering her words of comfort. Their local project managed to take on a life of its own, and some of the thousands of letters and e-mails they received worldwide have been compiled and published in LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL: Messages of Healing and Hope. In this interview with's Alexis Burling, Emily and Sarah describe what inspired this undertaking, share their personal favorite messages, and offer ideas on how to reduce and prevent this growing problem. Alexis also spoke with bullying expert Barbara Coloroso, who wrote the book's Foreword, about the effects of media technology on children today, and the measures needed by parents and teachers to stop these acts of violence from occurring.

LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL: Messages of Healing and Hope by Olivia Gardner with Emily and Sarah Buder (Self-Help)
Olivia Gardner and the Buder sisters share an inspiring selection of messages that arrived from across America --- the personal, often painful remembrances of former targets, remorseful bullies and sympathetic bystanders. Though addressed to Olivia, the letters speak to all young people who have been bullied, offer advice and hope to those who suffer, and provide a wake-up call to all who have ever been involved in bullying. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

-Click here to read a review of LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL.
-Click here to read an excerpt from LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL.


Click here to read our interview with Emily and Sarah Buder, and Barbara Coloroso.

Our Summer Beach Bag Contest: Spotlight This Week on a Collection of Titles from The Random House Publishing Group

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 Fourth Annual " Beach Bag of Books."

Every week from May 16th through August 29th, a different title or collection of titles will be featured with a review and contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with the featured book(s), plus summertime essentials that tie in to the weekly theme. 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 titles from The Random House Publishing Group, including LOVING FRANK by Nancy Horan, PEONY IN LOVE by Lisa See, AWAY by Amy Bloom and KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL by Deborah Rodriguez. In a red woven bag, winners will find a multi-colored checked towel, flip-flop-shaped towel anchors, a red martini shaker, a red EZ-Freeze water bottle, multi-colored string lights, green candles shaped like sand pails, H20+ Citrus Squeeze Moisture Boosting Body Balm and Bath Gel, pink striped flip-flops and a novelty cookie with a summer theme, as well as a copy of LOVING FRANK, PEONY IN LOVE, AWAY and KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL. We have five to give away, as well as five additional prizes of copies of LOVING FRANK, PEONY IN LOVE, AWAY and KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL.

To enter, fill out this form and answer the following question by Thursday, August 14th at 11:59PM. You can find the answer by reading an excerpt from

To what city is Edwin traveling?

LOVING FRANK by Nancy Horan (Fiction)
Nancy Horan's debut novel is a fictionalized account of Frank Lloyd Wright's relationship with Mamah Borthwick Cheney, who commissions the renowned architect to design a new home for her. During the construction of the house, a powerful attraction develops between Mamah and Frank; the two become lovers, even though they are each married with children. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

font size="2" color="#000000">-Read more about Nancy Horan and LOVING FRANK here.

PEONY IN LOVE by Lisa See (Fiction)
PEONY IN LOVE --- the extraordinary new novel from the author of SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN --- tells of three women in 17th-century China who become emotionally involved with a famous opera called The Peony Pavilion, which was known to cause lovesickness and even death. Reviewed by Jamie Layton.

Read more about Lisa See and PEONY IN LOVE here.

AWAY by Amy Bloom (Fiction)
Amy Bloom’s second novel offers a frank portrayal of the underside of American life in the Roaring Twenties. Told through the eyes of a young Jewish immigrant starting out life in a new land, AWAY is also a heartrending and uplifting story of the power of one mother’s love. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

-Read more about Amy Bloom and AWAY here.

KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriguez (Memoir)
Deborah Rodriguez, a hairdresser and mother of two from Michigan, moves to Afghanistan and opens up a beauty school that changes the lives of those living in this war-torn nation for the better. With warmth and humor, she details the lushness of a seemingly desolate region and reveals the magnificence behind the burqa. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Read more about Deborah Rodriguez and KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL here.

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

Download Your FREE Copy of THE EIGHT by Katherine Neville
The Ballantine Publishing Group is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Katherine Neville’s international bestseller THE EIGHT. From August 8th thru August 18th you can download a FREE PDF version of THE EIGHT by clicking here.

In September will begin spotlighting THE FIRE, Katherine Neville’s much anticipated follow-up novel, with book excerpts, an advance copy giveaway and other special features. THE FIRE will be available in stores on October 14th.

Click here to download your FREE copy of THE EIGHT.


Now in Stores: THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOVE by Glenda Burgess

THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOVE: A Memoir by Glenda Burgess (Memoir)
When Glenda Burgess met the man who would become her husband, she threw caution to the wind, followed her instincts and yoked herself to him for better or worse. It turned out there was much for a "reasonable" person to be cautious about --- her true love being the major suspect in the murder of his second wife, for instance. But, as Burgess testifies in THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOVE, you have to take a leap of faith sometimes --- and she never regrets hers. Reviewed by Pat Morris.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOVE.


Click here to read a review of THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOVE.

Featured Historical Fiction Author: Louis Bayard, Author of THE BLACK TOWER

Louis Bayard is the author of THE PALE BLUE EYE, a national bestseller nominated for both the Edgar and Dagger awards, and MR. TIMOTHY, a New York Times Notable Book and one of People magazine's 10 best books of 2003. In THE BLACK TOWER, which releases on August 26th, Bayard weaves a suspenseful historical novel about a lost king and the real-life convict who transformed himself into the world’s first modern detective.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BLACK TOWER.
-Click here to read Louis Bayard’s bio.
-Click here to see Louis Bayard's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE BLACK TOWER.
-Visit the author’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

1818. Hector Carpentier, a medical student, lives with his widowed mother in Paris’s Latin Quarter. When his name is found in the pocket of a murdered man, the case is turned over to Eugène François Vidocq, the most feared man in the Paris police. At first suspicious of Hector’s role in the murder, Vidocq gradually draws him into an exhilarating --- and dangerous --- search that leads them to the true story of what happened to the son of the murdered royal family.


Click here to read more about Louis Bayard and THE BLACK TOWER.


Featured One to Watch Author: Matt Rothschild, Author of DUMBFOUNDED

In his debut memoir, DUMBFOUNDED, Matt Rothschild writes a laugh-out-loud narrative of a precocious and sexually confused boy raised by his grandparents --- the only Jews in an elite Manhattan apartment building. DUMBFOUNDED will be available in stores on August 12th.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from DUMBFOUNDED.
-Click here to read Matt Rothschild’s bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for DUMBFOUNDED.
-Visit the author’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

The only Jewish family in a luxury Fifth Avenue building of WASPs, the senior Rothschilds took over the responsibility of raising their grandson, Matt, after his mother left him for Italy and a fourth husband. But rearing Matt was no small task --- even for his sharp-tongued grandmother, a cross between Lauren Bacall and Bea Arthur, and a lady who Matt grew to love deeply.


Click here to read more about Matt Rothschild and DUMBFOUNDED.


Now in Stores: THE NIGHT VILLA by Carol Goodman

THE NIGHT VILLA by Carol Goodman (Fiction)
An evocative tale of romance, and treachery, Carol Goodman’s spellbinding new novel, THE NIGHT VILLA, follows the fascinating lives of two remarkable women centuries apart. With present day mystery and ancient world intrigue, THE NIGHT VILLA is Carol Goodman's most suspenseful and thrilling novel yet.

Click here to read more about THE NIGHT VILLA.

Now in Stores: HOLDING MY BREATH by Sidura Ludwig
HOLDING MY BREATH by Sidura Ludwig (Fiction)
In her beautifully wrought debut, author Sidura Ludwig crafts a bold yet tender coming-of-age tale of family, dreams and the will to follow one’s heart. With a voice as distinct as it is compelling, HOLDING MY BREATH celebrates the bonds of family and its reassuring traditions as it affirms the uniqueness of the individual on uncharted paths.

Click here to read more about HOLDING MY BREATH.

This Week's Graphic Novel Reviews
’85 by Danny Simmons and Floyd Hughes
In a graphic and wise story about the New York art scene in the mid-'80s, a thief steals artwork from his friend to feed his drug habit and ends up taking credit for the work himself. As he navigates the art scene, he learns about a world that is quite different from the one he's used to --- and yet has some remarkable similarities. Reviewed by John Hogan.

ALIAS THE CAT! by Kim Deitch
A couple hears the odd story behind a toy cat for sale at a flea market and soon becomes obsessed with the object. In a story that combines the history of film, the history of comics and the global events that were transpiring around them, creator Kim Deitch delivers something as fun and subversive as the comics genre itself. Reviewed by John Hogan.

Click here to see all our graphic novel reviews and features.

What's New This Month on
With more than 2,300 discussion guides 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:

-A Mother/Daughter Book Club
-Mindy Schneider: Lunch at Camp was Never this Good...
-Jennie Shortridge: Book Group Biology
-Patricia Wood: Getting the Book Club Ball Rolling
-D. L. Wilson: An Author's First Experience with a Reading Group
-When an Author Joins a Discussion
-Jennifer McMahon: You Tell Me
-Victoria Lustbader: Inspired by Reading Groups
-Jessica Anya Blau: The Questions I Am Most Often Asked by Reading Groups
-Air Traffic Control

The following guides are now available on

THE BIBLE SALESMAN by Clyde Edgerton
BY GEORGE by Wesley Stace
EVERYTHING NICE by Ellen Shanman
FIRE IN THE BLOOD by Irene Nemirovsky
FORGIVEN by P M Kulseth
THE GARGOYLE by Andrew Davidson
HOUSE OF DAUGHTERS by Sarah-Kate Lynch
JACK WITH A TWIST by Brenda Janowitz
THE LAST KISS by Luanne Rice
OFF SEASON by Anne Rivers Siddons
THE QUEEN'S LADY by Barbara Kyle
RESONANCE by A. J. Scudiere
RIVEN by Jerry B. Jenkins
SIN IN THE SECOND CITY: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul by Karen Abbott
WHAT WAS LOST by Catherine O'Flynn
THE YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs

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

BRIDGE OF SIGHS by Richard Russo
CONSUMPTION: A Novel of the Arctic by Kevin Patterson
A LONG WAY GONE: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

We have the following new guides for Christian book groups:

DOGWOOD by Chris Fabry
THE OUTSIDER by Ann H. Gabhart
UNCHRISTIAN AMERICA: Living with Faith in a Nation That Was Never Under God by Michael Babcock

Click here to visit

This Week's Reviews

THE LACE READER by Brunonia Barry (Fiction)
Debut author Brunonia Barry weaves the complex, intricate pattern of a community --- and of one member's troubled mind --- in THE LACE READER, an evocative, mysterious novel that spirals into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies and half-truths. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE LACE READER.
BOOKS: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry (Memoir)
In Larry McMurtry's memoir, the Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award winner describes not his writing life, but his life as a book dealer. For half a century, he has worked as an antiquarian bookseller when not producing bestsellers of his own. BOOKS gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at this little known world of rare books. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.
FORCED OUT by Stephen Frey (Thriller)
Stephen Frey's 15th novel is a nonstop, tightly wrought tale of suspense. It examines two men attempting to reinvent themselves who find that they can't escape their pasts --- and as destinies converge, loyalties are tested and dreams collide with violent and unpredictable results. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
THE MAN WHO LOVED CHINA: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom by Simon Winchester (Biography)
Simon Winchester, the bestselling author of THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN and KRAKATOA, brings to life the extraordinary story of Joseph Needham, the brilliant Cambridge scientist who unlocked the most closely held secrets of China, long the world's most technologically advanced country. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.
HELL HOLE: A John Ceepak Mystery by Chris Grabenstein (Mystery)
HELL HOLE is the fourth book in Chris Grabenstein’s mystery series featuring former hardened military PD and current Sea Haven, NJ police officer John Ceepak and his partner, wise-cracking Danny Boyle. Here, Ceepak is confronted with his most personal case yet when he must investigate the alleged suicide of a military corporal who recently returned from Iraq. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
FOREIGN BODY by Robin Cook
(Medical Thriller)
With the skyrocketing cost of health care in America, medical tourism is the newest rage. A trip to India, the finest accommodations and top-notch medical care for a fraction of the cost seem like a good deal. However, things quickly turn ugly when more than one otherwise healthy patient dies an unexpected and mysterious death. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

SWEET MANDARIN: The Courageous True Story of Three Generations of Chinese Women and Their Journey from East to West by Helen Tse (Memoir)
In this sweeping yet intimate saga of Chinese life, Helen Tse's family escapes poverty in China, eventually emigrating to England thanks to the sacrifices and struggles of its women. Through heartbreak, murder and loss, their emotional touchstone is always food, as the author's grandmother preserves the family by becoming a successful chef and Chinese restaurant owner. Reviewed by Elliott Walker.
FINAL SALUTE: A Story of Unfinished Lives by Jim Sheeler (Current Affairs)
Based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning story, FINAL SALUTE is Jim Sheeler's unprecedented look at the way our country honors its dead. It is a stunning tribute to the brave troops who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to the families who continue to mourn them. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

ANCIENT HIGHWAY by Bret Lott (Fiction)
Critically acclaimed author Bret Lott draws upon his family history to write a vivid and moving novel that spans three generations, from East Texas to California, and points in between. ANCIENT HIGHWAY is a beautifully written story of family, hope and healing. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.
JUDGMENT DAY: A Mike Daley Mystery by Sheldon Siegel (Mystery)
Called in at the last minute to try to stop the execution of Nathan Fineman, a former mob lawyer convicted of murdering three people in the backroom of the notorious Golden Dragon Restaurant, ex-spouses Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez must race the clock in a desperate attempt to prove their client's innocence --- an impossible task, given the wealth of forensic evidence pointing to his guilt. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.
THE BEST GAME EVER: Giants vs. Colts, 1958, and the Birth of the Modern NFL by Mark Bowden (Sports)
Whether the December 28, 1958 championship battle between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants is the greatest football game ever played is a subject for debate over burgers and beers. Regardless of one's view, there is no debate that it changed the way Americans viewed professional football. THE BEST GAME EVER recounts in glorious detail that game and many of its participants, a veritable who's who of professional football. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

Read this week's reviews here.


Poll and Question of the Week: Saving Time for Reading


Will the Olympics and political convention coverage take away from your reading time? (Check as many as apply.)

NOTHING takes me away from my reading time.
The Olympics coverage may keep me from my usual reading.
The Democratic Convention may keep me from my usual reading.
The Republican Convention may keep me from my usual reading.
I am not sure about this.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What book have you ever faked reading to look smart? Okay, you can name up to three.

-Click here to answer our question.


Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- THREE Prizes

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 FIRST DAUGHTER by Eric Van Lustbader, THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOVE by Glenda Burgess and SMOKE SCREEN by Sandra Brown. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on August 22nd to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on August 22nd.
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
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Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by August 31, 2008 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: ALFRED & EMILY by Doris Lessing, DEVIL BONES by Kathy Reichs, ROBERT LUDLUM'S THE BOURNE SANCTION by Eric Van Lustbader, SMOKE SCREEN by Sandra Brown and THE TURNAROUND by George Pelecanos. Ely from Los Angeles, CA
was last month's newsletter winner. She won AT FIRST SIGHT: A Novel of Obsession by Stephen J. Cannell, FISHERMAN'S BEND: A Jane Bunker Novel by Linda Greenlaw, KILLER VIEW by Ridley Pearson, MOSCOW RULES by Daniel Silva and SAY GOODBYE by Lisa Gardner.

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

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