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September 26, 2003 Newsletter Update

Posted to subscriber list on 9-26-03.

Hello readers!

(jump directly to new review news)

They say that moving is one of life's major stresses. I'm not sure if anyone would think to lump cyber moves into this observation but certainly, this has been a very stressful month for As you know I moved the site to a new server over Labor Day weekend. I thought I had done my homework and that I had a made a good decision. I was clearly wrong. The site was up and down and the e-mail was sporadic for four straight days with no clear answer coming from the support group. (But my forum looked nice.)

So, last Saturday around noon, I'd had enough. Carl had been doing more research and suggested a new home and I decided to "just do it." So whereas the first move was carefully planned, this second move was similar to throwing the clothes and books and whatnot willy nilly into the station wagon and just moving cross town, without even packing a single box nor telling anyone about the forwarding address.

So there I was in the middle of the 3-day site propagation cycle for the second time in weeks which means the site is sometimes coming up on the new host and sometimes on the old host. And then, for some stupid, stupid reason, before the site was through propagating, I hit the "give me back my money button" at the old site and wouldn't you know it -- after not answering any of my e-mails for days on end, they cancelled my site and put up a "This site has been suspended" page in a matter of minutes. What a sickening feeling to have suddenly gone; that years and years of work could just disappear in seconds and there wasn't a thing I could do about it but wait. To be honest, though, I did contemplate the freedom this would present if I didn't have to ever worry about again. But that urge wasn't as strong as the pit in my stomach while I waited for the propagation to complete.

I'm not even going to go into the things that I broke (and are still broken) from my sudden decision to move. Carl's been diligently working behind the scenes to fix things, like the raffle and this newsletter mailing. Next, we'll deal with the forums…

So, with all that said, here's the 7 latest reviews posted at

I WAS HOWARD HUGHES by Steven Carter
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

A story about a man who is to a write a book on Howard Hughes, who actually reveals more about himself in the process and his incidental similarities to Howard Hughes.

Reviewed by Jenny Dressel

This is a disturbingly dark tale, but one that any Chuck Palahniuk fan might want to check out. Not only did one of his fans discover it and recommend it for its complementary style, but Chuck himself highly recommends it. This is one of the novels that's solid having undergone about twenty rewrites.

THE LAST GOOD DAY by Peter Blauner
Reviewed by Bill Robinson

Here's a book that had been in progress for an entire year before 9/11 and while contemplating a scene, the author saw the smoke from the twin towers. When he reread what he'd written, he realized that he didn't have to go back and work in 9/11, the story already contained all the necessary elements. But not so surprising since his previous novel focused on urban terror. However, it happened, this man writes a substantive page-turner.

MONSOON DIARY: A Memoir with Recipes by Shoba Narayan
Reviewed by Poornima Apte

This is not fiction, but it is a well written and interesting memoir complete with recipes.

KILL CLAUSE by Gregg Hurwitz
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

The author takes the most upright law enforcement official, a US Marshall, and has his young daughter be savagely killed, the killer walks on a technicality and then the grieving Marshall is invited to participate in a vigilante club whose goal is to correct the slips that the judicial system lets happen. Cindy found this to be a thought-provoking page-turner. It seems to me not a bad one to read in light of Ashcroft's agenda.

SHE IS ME by Cathleen Schine
Reviewed by Shannon Bloomstran

A story about being mothers and daughters by the author of "The Love Letter."

TRADING UP by Candace Bushnell
Reviewed by Kam Aures

This book has been on the top selling list for weeks; with the success of HBO's "Sex in the City," it's no wonder. But don't rush out and buy this book until you read Kam's take on it. I tend to not bother to publish reviews of books that we don't like, but every once in awhile you gotta tell it like it is.

If you haven't entered the raffles this month, please do so. Personally, I think this is one of the most exciting raffles we've had (thanks to our reviewers and sponsors), which has made all this site transition all the more frustrating. As a reminder, this month's giveaway includes, BRICK LANE by Monica Ali (on the Man Booker Shortlist), DIARY by Chuck Palahniuk, THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE by Jonathan Lethem, POSTCARDS by Margaret Leroy and EVERY SECRET THING by Laura Lippman. The raffle is likely to be extended until October 5th. Click here to win.

Have a great weekend and thanks for visiting!


Judi Clark

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