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Reader's Forum at Newsletter Update

Posted to subscriber list on APR 04, 2004.

Hello, readers!

Sixteen new reviews were posted to

Without much ado, here's the update. No time for chitchat -- I wasn't aware when I woke this morning that daylight's savings time would be robbing me of one hour -- I need every single minute of the weekend to do these updates -- so not fair to take away 60 of them!

GIRLS IN TROUBLE by Caroline Leavitt
Reviewed by Nandini Pandya

If you are looking for your next novel for your reading group, especially a mother-daughter one for May (Mother's Day) -- take a look at Nandini's review, where she tells us her thoughts and that of her sixteen-year-old daughter's. This is one of those suprising books that is getting a consistant five out of five star rating from readers.

THE PRIESTLY SINS by Andrew M. Greeley
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Greeley's 50 years experience as a Catholic priest make him the perfect person to tell this headline story. The premise of this novel is that those that are worse than the predators that can't control their own sins, are those priests that know about the predators and remain silent. Obviously a timely and explosive subject told by a most outspoken and prolific writer. (Imagine my dismay when I began to work on his bibliography and discovered that he has written over 40 fiction and about 150 nonfiction books. Yikes!)

A DEATH IN VIENNA by Daniel Silva
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Art restorer and sometime spy Gabriel Allon is sent to Vienna to authenticate a painting, but the real object of his search becomes something else entirely: to find out the truth about the photograph that has turned his world upside down. It is the face of the unnamed man who brutalized his mother in the last days of World War II, during the Death March from Auschwitz. But is it really the same one? If so, who is he? How did he escape punishment? Where is he now?

Reviewed by Judi Clark

Years ago, Lou Boldt's wife Liz had an affair with David Hayes, young computer specialist at the bank where she is an executive. When Liz ended the relationship after reconciling with Lou, Hayes engaged in a daring embezzlement scheme. Now, years later, Hayes is trying to retrieve the money he hid for the Russian mob and contacts Liz to try to gain access to the bank's mainframe. Whereas the Boldt's marriage is usually in the background of this series -- here it is driving the plot. Neat.

PINK SLIP PARTY by Cara Lockwood
Reviewed by Kam Aures

Jane McGregor has just been laid off from her job designing pink slips for an office supply company. The irony is not lost on her. She's a twenty-eight-year-old art major whose last major career accomplishment was being propositioned by the company vice president. Desperate to maintain her freedom from her oddball parents, tyrannical older brother, and slacker ex-boyfriend, Jane starts sending out resumes. So what if some of them aren't exactly, well, true. (Trade Paperback)

Reviewed by Shannon Bloomstran

People who read Anne Tyler, tend to have read most all of her books, or so I believe. Until recent years, Shannon, was a faithful fan of this author, but then she started to feel an "overwhelming sense of familarity" and she had had enough of "disgruntled, middle-aged Baltimoreans." So all bets were off when she picked this one up for review -- would she renew her love affair with the author or would she find more of the same? I am pleased to say that Shannon gives a positive review of this rich and compelling novel about a mismatched marriage-and its consequences, spanning three generations.

Reviewed by Nandini Pandya

In her twenties, journalist Sarah Macdonald backpacked around India and came away with a lasting impression of heat, pollution and poverty. So when an airport beggar read her palm and told her she would return to India "and for love" she screamed, "Never!" Of course, eleven years later her fiance is assigned to India and she does return. This is her irreverent, politically incorrect and often hilarious chronicle of her adventure -- and Nandini's insightful review. (Trade Paperback)

FANNY by Edmund White
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

In her fifties, Mrs. Frances Trollope became famous overnight for her book attacking the United States. Twenty-five years later, she sharpens her pen for her most controversial work yet -- the biography of her old friend, the radical and feminist Fanny Wright. The biography soon degenerates into a settling of scores and digressions on the misadventures of Mrs. Trollope's own family. This is a wonderful new departure for Edmund White -- the author who pioneered gay fiction -- with a quirky, dazzling story of two extraordinary nineteenth-century women.

KING OF FOXES by Raymond E. Feist
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

In this second book in the Conclave of Shadows series, Tal Hawkins must swear an oath of allegiance to his hated nemesis in order to get close enough to kill the Duke and bring his empire crashing down. Cindy reviewed the first book in the series a few months ago, and thus is in good stead to tell us how this series is shaping up... and she likes it.

BEYOND INFINITY by Gregory Benford
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

Set more than a billion years from now, the novel begins with a young woman who yearns to escape the rigid, timeless Earth she knows. So she flees, in the company of an intelligent raccoon-like beast. But there are mysterious forces afoot among the planets that she never foresaw. Alien agencies have learned to span parallel universes, ones that lie only a millimeter away but are invisible to any device known to man. Hard sci-fi from a two-time Nebula Award winner.

THE GOOD PATIENT by Kristin Waterfield Duisberg
Reviewed by Kam Aures

Brilliant, acerbic, funny, and relentless, Darien Gilbertson appears to have it all: a successful career, a husband who loves her absolutely, and all the material comforts of a New York life. But Darien is in trouble - on the run from her emotions, and from a past that resurrects itself in acts of self-mutilation she neither understands nor cares to explore. After years of good behavior, Darien is hurting herself again. And this time it's so brutal that her husband, Robert, cannot help but recognize the woman he adores is unraveling before his eyes. (Trade Paperback)

ALICE IN EXILE by Piers Paul Read
Reviewed by Jenny Dressel

It is 1913 when Alice Fry meets Edward Cobb, the eligible son of a baronet. When Alice's father, a radical publisher, gets involved in a scandal, Edward breaks off their engagement, unaware that Alice is expecting his child. Desperate, she travels to Russia to serve as a governess for charming Baron Rettenberg, as the Russian Revolution and World War I rage on. Romantic, dramatic, and rich with historical detail. (Trade Paperback)

DEAD HEAT by Caroline Carver
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speers

Georgia Parish never regretted leaving northern Queensland, Australia, to pursue her career. But after surviving a plane crash she finds herself back there, struggling to comprehend a sinister fact--the plane she was on was sabotaged. Was it someone hoping to kill the man who never arrived to take the flight? Or did it have something to do with the two other strange passengers? Georgia's search for the truth plunges her into a harsh and unforgiving landscape, across oceans and into crocodile-infested swamps.

Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Wonderfully translated by Stanley Chapman, this is the last novel completed by the French author Boris Vian before his death in 1959, at the age of thirty-nine. This whimsical, absurdist sendup of human foible takes place in a village where old people are auctioned off like slaves, villagers stone the vicar to produce rain and horses are crucified for sexual depravity. (Trade Paperback)

MR. PARADISE by Elmore Leonard
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

It's a dubious proposition from the outset, destined to lead to trouble: Chloe Robinette, a high-end former Detroit call girl, asks her lingerie model roommate, Kelly Barr, to help her entertain a wealthy octogenarian trial lawyer named Anthony Paradiso. By "entertain," she means donning a cheerleader's skimpy skirt, but going topless, and doing rah-rah routines beside a TV set while Paradiso--"Mr. Paradise"--watches videotaped football games. A bit kinky for Kelly's taste, but she finally goes along--only to be caught in the middle of a contract hit on Paradiso and Chloe. Comedy, romance and adventure... as only Elmore Leonard delivers.

Reviewed by Jenny Dressel

This is a nonfiction mystery, set in haunting locales and peopled with fascinating characters, that unwraps the enigma of a woman named Dawn Langley Simmons, a British writer who lived in Charleston, South Carolina, during the 1960s and became the focus of one of the most unusual sexual scandals of the last century. Check out Jenny's take on this third novel from the author who wrote Slaves in the Attic. By the way, check out the links to interviews with Ball on his first novel if you aren't already familiar with it.


Well, it's Sunday evening and time to watch The Sopranos...

Judi Clark

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