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    Swat Team

    Ralph Ellison once said, “Good fiction is made of that which is real.” When it comes to these bestselling authors who have propelled moments of their pasts into fascinating thrillers, there is no truer statement. From interacting with shady characters and menacing criminals to handling high-stakes threats with deadly consequences, the protagonists in these riveting novels come with an extra dose of reality as they battle crime and take life’s most complicated matters into their own hands.

    A Cool Breeze UndergroundDon Winslow’s Edgar-nominated debut novel A Cool Breeze on the Underground introduces street kid with dreams–turned–Ivy League grad student Neal Carey. Doubling as a hard-hitting private investigator, Carey hasn’t left the street life far behind. Employed with the intimidating Kitteredges, a lucrative New England banking family with a sideline making clients’ problems vanish, Neal certainly has his hands full. When the rebellious daughter of a United States senator with presidential aspirations disappears into the dark underground trenches of London, the Kitteredges call on the PI to bring her home. Carey must put his skills to work, and in this daunting test against time, there is no pass or fail—only life or death. Drawing upon his own time as a private investigator in New York City, New York Times bestselling author Don Winslow creates a compelling and realistic page-turner, the first of a five-book series, which will have you on the edge of your seat until the last word.

    The Bait by Dorothy UhnakWinner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, Dorothy Uhnak’s The Bait is a swift-moving thriller with protagonist Christie Opara at center stage. A second-grade detective with the NYPD, Christie was simply enforcing the law and preserving the peace when she arrested Murray Rogoff on the subway for indecent exposure—only for the robust giant to be released on bail shortly afterward. When a killing spree ravages the Bronx and Detective Opara starts receiving bizarre late-night phone calls, there is only one person that could be behind the transgressions: Murray Rogoff. Taking matters into her own hands, Opara prepares to become the ultimate bait for the lethal criminal and finally put his reign of terror to a halt. Uhnak, who spent fourteen years as a detective with the New York City Transit Police Department, where she was decorated for bravery twice, channels her experiences into a remarkable tale, the first of a suspenseful trilogy featuring the dedicated heroine.

    THe Blue Edge of Midnight by Jonathan KingOnce a member of Philadelphia’s finest, police officer Max Freeman abandoned the City of Brotherly Love for a life of solitude in southern Florida after a shootout during a convenience store robbery led to the accidental death of a twelve-year-old boy. When he discovers a floating bundle near his home in the backwaters of Florida—which turns out to be the dead body of a young female—Freeman realizes the life he thought he left behind in Philadelphia has reared its head again. Upon heading to the local police department to assist with the investigation, Freeman discovers he is now a prime suspect in the young girl’s murder. Not one to let a crime go unpunished, and with his freedom on the line and the local police on his tail, Freeman will do whatever it takes to show he is not a murderer. In Edgar Award–winner The Blue Edge of Midnight,Jonathon King uses the know-how he gleaned from experience as a police and court reporter to craft the beginning of a dynamic and thrilling series in which no one is safe and the quest to prove innocence knows no geographic limit.

    No Lesser Plea by Robert K. TanenbaumOn the gritty streets of New York City, Roger “Butch” Karp, Manhattan’s assistant district attorney, has his work cut out for him. When a diabolical sociopath on the verge of a murder trial attempts to plead insanity to escape the courtroom, Karp, with clever assistant DA Marlene Ciampi in tow, prepares for a legal battle unlike anything the city has ever seen. In Robert K. Tanenbaum’s No Lesser Plea, the first of a ten-part series, the dynamic duo goes to great lengths as they embark on an unyielding push for justice to put the vicious killer away for good. Tanenbaum, who served as the homicide bureau chief for the New York District Attorney’s Office, is an accomplished trial lawyer in his own right—he has never lost a felony case. Drawing upon his stellar career in the courtroom, Tanenbaum has penned an exciting legal thriller series in which the suspense is palpable.

    Wondering what makes a great thriller? Hear it from the pros in this great video.

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    Celebrated science fiction and fantasy author Kate Elliott, born Alis A. Rasmussen, knows a thing or two about making childhood dreams a reality. Native to Junction City, Oregon, Elliott, who wrote her first story at nine years old, transformed her love of writing into a genre-bending career in speculative fiction—penning more than a dozen captivating novels over the course of three decades.

    In Jaran, the first tale in her lauded four-novel series of the same name, Elliott blends science fiction and romance in a flawless display of artistic brilliance.

    Jaran by Kate ElliottSeries heroine Tess Soerensen has always lived in the shadow of her brother, Charles. After a failed rebellion attempt against the ruling Chapalii empire—a kingdom of aliens that has taken over the galaxy—Charles, a fearless radical, is now a duke, and the only human in the upper echelons of Chapalii society. Despite Charles’s high rank among the Chapalii, he and Tess believe their parents were murdered at the hands of the very civilization that has embraced them. Torn between family loyalty and the quest for self-identity, Tess decides to run away to one of her brother’s planets, the distant Rhui.

    On the way to Rhui, Tess uncovers a trafficking scheme, and curiosity gets the best of her. Vowing to get to the bottom of the plot, Tess decides to immerse herself in Rhuian society, only to discover that the planet isn’t as sophisticated as she thought—in fact, it’s the very opposite. The natives of Rhui, known as the Jaran, have built a primitive, matriarchal tent-dwelling society dependent on horses in which women rule, and men roam. Ilyakoria (Ilya) Bahktiian, a trained Jaran warrior, has a rebellious mission of his own, and to him, Tess is just one more obstacle. Bound by revolutionary ambitions yet stubborn in their pursuits, tensions arise as Tess and Ilya, both strong personalities, try and fail to deny the attraction brewing between them in a gripping adventure of science fiction and romance.

    To read more about Kate Elliott and her riveting novels, visit her author page here.

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    Retro Reads

    When it comes to great romance, things are never quite as they seem. Some of the best love stories are the unlikely ones—the once-abhorred suitor who becomes irresistible under sultry circumstances; the high-society woman forced into a political marriage who falls for her previously despised betrothed. Opposites begrudgingly attract and pride makes way for palpable physical attraction—all in the name of love.

    While conventional romance is all well and good, it’s that edge-of-your-seat, will-they-or-won’t-they stuff that has us chomping at the bit this month. Thankfully, authors Heather Graham and Amanda Scott are satiating our appetites for the unpredictable with classic enemy-turned-lover excitement in the forms of Graham’s The King’s Pleasureand Scott’s The Dauntless Miss Wingrave. We recommend you take a bite along with us.

    The King's Pleasure by Heather Graham

    The Dauntless Miss Wingrave by Amanda Scott

    Both novels introduce female characters who find themselves at a crossroads when, despite initial impressions, they become magnetically drawn to their hated enemies. Emotions run high as the women weigh what is most important: their pride or true love.

    Set in the countryside of France and Scotland, Heather Graham’s The King’s Pleasure(first published in 1998) follows Danielle d’Aville, a maiden from a small French town once conquered by Scottish troops. Years afterward, given reluctantly to the Scottish king’s son, Adrien, Danielle experiences the contradiction of a lifetime: a burgeoning attraction to her people’s mortal enemy.

    In The Dauntless Miss Wingrave (first published in 1989), Amanda Scott introduces us to Miss Emily Wingrave, who finds herself pitted against the Earl of Meriden, trustee of her widowed sister’s estate. In an effort to save her sister’s family from Meriden’s interference, Emily must outwit the earl—and resist his surprising charm.

    Check back throughout the month for updates from our Retro Readers on this month’s picks and find us on Goodreads in the Retro Readers Group. Or, sign up for our romance newsletter and we’ll send you a monthly roundup of everything romance at Open Road, including Retro Reads updates and info on new releases, bonus content, giveaways, special offers, and more.

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  • 08/01/13--05:00: August Deals
  • Scoop up the ebooks below on sale for $2.99 and less from participating retailers during August. Click on any cover to learn more about that title.

    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford  Pacazo  Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls The Young Lions  Marilyn  The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov The Woman Who Could Not Forget: Iris Chang Before and Beyond The Rape of Nanking  Blind Justice  Disappeared  A Door in the River  The Little Death  The Mortal Nuts  Tropical Freeze  Fool's War  Funny Boy Meets the Airsick Alien from Andromeda

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  • 08/01/13--08:16: The Show Must Go On!
  • Stage

    The theater world is, of course, a lively one. More often than not, the onstage drama only intensifies when the curtains close. Actors and actresses are always competing for the leading role, for the center-stage spotlight. Now, imagine the theater world of Broadway, where the best of the best are quite familiar with one another and the available roles are even more highly coveted. Jealously, deceit, and sabotage occupy the theatre even after the audience has gone home.

    Backstabbing. Betrayal. Murder. If these intrigue you, check out successful stage actress Jane Dentinger’s Broadway-based mystery series, beginning with Murder on Cueandstarring Jocelyn “Josh” O’Roarke, an aspiring actress and amateur sleuth.

    Murder on CueWhen Jocelyn’s old friend Austin casts her as the understudy to the leading role in his new Broadway play, Josh could not be more grateful. The role itself has gone to the dazzling Harriet Weldon—and Josh is honored to be working with her, even if Harriet is notoriously difficult.

    Then Harriet turns up dead on the floor of her dressing room, the victim of a skull fracture that caused a brain hemorrhage, killing her quickly. It looks like an accident since there’s a fallen chair next to Harriet’s body. But when sand particles are found in Harriet’s hair that match those of a sandbag in her closet, it seems that it was more than just a fall off a chair that made her skull bleed.Jane Dentinger

    Everyone thinks it was Josh, and why not? She was next in line for the leading role, and the only person standing in her way was Harriet. Adding to the general suspicion, Josh has no alibi. So when the police pin the murder on her, she must use everything she’s got to prove her innocence and find the true killer while making sure that the show does go on.

    Murder on Cueis the first in the Jocelyn O’Roarke mystery series by Jane Dentinger. Dentinger has written six O’Roarke mysteries, which are all now available as ebooks. For more information, check out Dentinger’s author page here.

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    Today is National Girlfriends Day! We all know about the off-and-on bonds between our male author icons (Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Lewis and Tolkien, etc.), but what about the ladies? Below is one example of a friendship between two women writers whose bond spurred them on to great accomplishments.

    Iris Murdoch (pictured below, right) and Josephine Hart (below, left) first crossed paths thanks to Hart’s admiration of Murdoch’s work, and the two ended up becoming lifelong friends.

    Josephine Hart and Iris Murdoch

    Hart initially reached out to Murdoch’s agent in hopes of turning Murdoch’s novel The Black Prince into a play. The two met over lunch to discuss the idea and found that they had much to talk about other than the play—in large part due to the fact that they were both Irish. Under the direction of Hart and Murdoch, The Black Prince found its way to the, and while the play was not as successful as the two had hoped, their friendship was already set in stone.

    When the pair first met, Hart had started to create the characters for her first three books but had resisted the urge to commit them to paper. It wasn’t until Murdoch, along with Hart’s husband, Maurice Saatchi, encouraged her to write a book, that she finally decided to do so. Her first novel, Damage, about a British politician’s affair with his son’s fiancée, was a critical and commercial triumph.

    Murdoch passed away in 1999 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s. In the video below, Hart discusses her admiration for Murdoch as an exceptional friend and writer. “People can say things, but do they live them?” Hart ponders. “Iris lived that life—she lived a life dedicated entirely to her art.” 

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    The Science of Female Friendship

    In celebration of National Girlfriends Day (August 1) here are some facts about the science behind female friendship, adapted from Suzanne Braun Levine’s You Gotta Have Girlfriends.

    The Cuddle Hormone

    Studies show that when we are doing whatever girlfriends do together, our bodies produce oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone” (because it is released in nursing mothers). Unlike husbands or kids, who are often the cause of anxiety, our friends consistently elicit that warm glow, which feels good and soothes anxiety. A Swedish study even found that people with broad networks of friends were the lowest risk group for dementia. 

    Studies of female primates show the same phenomenon: Hanging out with a small but trusted group of other females reduces damaging spikes in stress hormones, reports New York Times science writer Natalie Angier. A circle of trust can, as she puts it, “mop up the cortisol spills that can weaken the immune system,” which in turn can support additional years of good health.

    Forget “fight or flight.” It's all about “tend and befriend.”

    Women respond to danger by gathering in a mutually supportive group, while men show a “fight or flight” surge of adrenaline. It used to be thought that all humans exhibited “fight or flight” responses, but recent work (by a team of women scientists at UCLA led by Shelley E. Taylor) found that women are wired somewhat differently, so that our reaction to a crisis is more likely to be a more diplomatic, “tend and befriend” approach, which again reduces tension. 

    That conciliatory response may also make women more creative and calm in a crisis, because the “fight or flight” response is produced in the primitive (“reptilian”) part of the brain, which shuts down most rational resources in order to concentrate on physical strength and agility.

    Cool! But what is “tend and befriend” exactly?

    The UCLA scientists who identified “tend and befriend” as a distinctly female response first observed the gender-specific behaviors in their own lab. When something went wrong, the men would storm into their offices and slam the doors, while the women would come out of their offices and make coffee. We don’t need scientists to tell us that an old-fashioned coffee klatch with the girls is one of the many ways we tend and befriend one another, but it is nice to know that along with our lattes, we are getting a biochemical boost. 

    We even get a little dessert with our latte. Natalie Angier, writing about how women interact, reports on an experiment in which women were invited to play a game; they had to choose either a cooperative or competitive strategy. Brain imaging showed that the brains lit up most brightly among the women who chose cooperation and increased as cooperation continued. The areas of the brain that lit up were those that, according to Angier, also respond to “chocolate, pretty faces, money, cocaine, and a range of licit and illicit delights.”

    And, of course, your friends are good for you because laughter really is the best medicine.

    Laughter may be our most precious gift to one another; it is a powerful elixir (in fact, the act of laughing releases endorphins, those feel-good brain chemicals). It is very rare to spend more than a few minutes with a girlfriend when there isn’t a burst of laughter, no matter whatever else is going on. Gestalt therapist Ilana Rubenfeld calls humor “a martial art” because it cuts a frightening situation down to size. In addition, the physical exercise of a hearty laugh, not unlike orgasm, is a good, endorphin-releasing workout.

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    If your children are experiencing a midsummer reading slump, try reinvigorating their reading lists with fantasy and adventure ebooks! From bestselling children’s author Jane Yolen come standalone middle-grade stories full of magic and wizards, dragons and mermaids!

    And cowritten by Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris, the Young Heroes series explores Greek myths and legends. These ebooks feature personal histories by Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris, including rare images from the authors’ personal collections, as well as a timeline of the Heroic Age and a conversation between the two authors about the making of the series.

    Middle-Grade Ebooks by Jane Yolen

    yolen ebooksThe Wizard of Washington Square

    David has just moved to New York City from Connecticut, and he’s a bit lonely. He hasn’t made any friends yet, and the city is so big. But one Saturday afternoon in Washington Square Park, David and his dog, D. Dog, meet a girl named Leilah. Leilah tells David that there’s a wizard in the park—a wizard who lives under the Washington Square fountain. At first, David thinks Leilah is just making things up—until he encounters the real live wizard!

    The Dragon’s Boy

    Before the legendary Arthur became king, he took lessons from a dragon . . .

    Artos is a lonely child, teased or ignored by the other boys in the castle of Sir Ector. One day, he follows Sir Ector’s runaway hound into a mysterious, dark cave, where he encounters a dragon who offers him the gift of wisdom.

    Both frightened and intrigued, Artos becomes the dragon’s student and gains what he’s always longed for: the friendship and respect of other boys. Under the guidance of the dragon, Artos’s life begins to take shape in a way he could never have imagined.

    Children of the Wolf

    Inspired by true events, this is the story of two girls raised by wolves who come to meet Mohandas, who lives in the Home, a Christian orphanage in Godamuri, India, close to the jungle.

    The Magic Three of Solatia

    Long ago, the seawitch Dread Mary fell in love with a hard-hearted prince and gave him the Magic Three of Solatia: three silver buttons that could fulfill any wish—but at a price. Centuries later, the buttons belong to Sianna of the Song, a button maker’s daughter and heir to all of Dread Mary’s magic secrets. 

    Young Heroes Ebooks by Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris

    young heroes ebooks Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast

    Abandoned by her parents and raised by bears until the age of four, Atalanta has led a life of adventure. After her adoptive father is slain by a ferocious beast, the twelve-year-old Atalanta sets off on a journey of revenge, accompanied by the bear she treats as a brother.

    Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons

    An ancient prophecy states that any Amazon who bears two sons must kill the second, lest he grow up to destroy all the Amazons. But Queen Otrere can’t bear to sacrifice her baby, so she gives him to her daughter, thirteen-year-old Hippolyta, begging her to take the child to his father, Laomedon, King of Troy. In order to save her baby brother’s life, Hippolyta must find a lost city and lift a goddess’s curse.

    Jason and the Gorgon’s Blood

    Jason is an orphan training to be a warrior under the instruction of the centaur Chiron. But when wild centaurs steal Chiron’s most precious possessions—two jars of Gorgon’s blood, one with the power to heal any wound and the other a poison deadly enough to massacre multitudes—Jason must recover the blood before it can destroy the city of Iolcus.

    Odysseus in the Serpent Maze

    Young Prince Odysseus longs to be a hero. But when he and his travelling companions are captured on their way home to Ithaca, Odysseus learns that being a hero isn’t always easy. Now Odysseus must fight dastardly pirates, survive the enchanted songs of sirens, slay monsters, and defeat a treacherous king.

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    book christmas treeEgads. . . it's August! Do you know what this means? We have exactly five (one, two, three, four, five) Summer Fridays left.  Oh sure, someone out there is going to be all but-Summer-doesn't-end-until-September-twenty-first technical about things, but let's face it: these lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer with all their soda and pretzels and beer will be soon be nothing more than a sun-faded memory. 

    Well, don't despair—there's still time to get your summer groove on: let's do it 196os style! Join us Fridays, all month long, as we romp through Helen Gurley Brown's 1965 classic, Sex and the Office. The definitive, comprehensive guide to working life for an entire generation of women, Sex and the Office offered advice on how to deal with your boss, manage office politics, and make the most of personal and professional opportunities in the office. Find out what it was really like to be the girl in a Mad Men–style workplace—join us for Sex and the Office Summer Fridays.

    This week's downloadable excerpt: LOVE YOUR BOSS

    Sex and the Office by Helen Gurley Brown {Excerpt}

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    Jonathan Carroll 

    “The other day I heard an interview with the writer Junot Diaz who said it took eleven years to write his latest novel. Eleven years, two years, six months—it doesn't matter. The writer chooses a space to inhabit. Next he will fill it with the best, the only furniture he knows how to make or find. If he is lucky and does it well, whoever comes to visit when it is finished will be completely happy with the way he has done it, and if you are really good at it, they will want to live there too.”

    —Jonathan Carroll

    The past thirty years have been imbued with Jonathan Carroll’s literature that blurs the line between fantasy and reality. Although he prefers not to classify his books, Carroll’s work is often considered to be in the same vein as magical realism, modern fantasy, and slipstream. These genres take what we perceive as normal and insert fantastical occurrences that jar the characters. Although the stories include unrealistic events, the events themselves usually serve as moments of self-discovery for the characters. The fantastic element also allows the author to convey his more abstract perspectives on society. 

    “She took his arm and said, ‘You always see things so optimistically.’ Hearing that, he winced a little because he knew the profoundly different ways they viewed life could undo them. And in time it did.”

    —Jonathan Carroll 

    Often dealing with the relationships between the living and the dead, Carroll’s novels feature protagonists that are in conflict with their lives (as in A Child Across the Sky,From the Teeth of Angels, and The Marriage of Sticks). By using their relationships with the dead as a method of coping, these protagonists try to figure out how they relate to their departed friends’ unfinished stories, and in the process, they are able to reconcile issues within themselves. The success of Carroll’s novels and short stories has led to comparisons with other greats such as Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Marquez, and Gene Wolfe. Carroll’s novels and short stories have won numerous awards, including the World Fantasy Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the French Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, and the Pushcart Prize for one of the best stories of the year.

    “Were you Jonathan Carroll–pure when you were 19, full of equal measures of hope and bullshit? Or when you were thirty and well on your way to who you are today, only with more hunger to succeed than now because your first book had just been published and you were eager to write others to show the world what you could do? Or this minute—are you the real JC right now, more than at any other time in your life?”

    —Jonathan Carroll

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    The last thing you want to do at the end of a hot summer day is heat up your kitchen. Don’t resort to dining out; there’s a secret to cooking delicious meals without turning your kitchen into a massive sauna. These cookbooks by Phyllis Pellman Good offer creative ways to use a slow cooker instead of the steamy stove or oven. 

    Tips for Using Your Slow Cooker

     tips for using your slow cooker

    Before getting started with your slow cooker, it’s a great idea to familiarize yourself with the proper techniques. In Tips for Using Your Slow Cooker, Phyllis Pellman Good gathers tips from experienced slow cooker users around the country. Different people like to use their devices in their own ways, so it’s important to experiment a little to see what works for you. The author covers a variety of topics, from choosing the right slow cooker to easy entertaining to prepping meals ahead of time.

    Fix-It and Forget-It 5-Ingredient One-Dish Dinners 

    The Fix-It and Forget-It cookbooks are ideal for novices—especially 5-Ingredient One-Dish Dinners. Each recipe calls for five ingredients or fewer and involves minimal preparation time. Want to have something hot waiting for you when you get home, but don’t want to risk setting your kitchen on fire? Try this mouthwatering taco recipe:

    Fix-It and Forget-It 5-Ingredient One-Dish Dinners by Phyllis Pellman Good [Excerpt] by OpenRoadMedia


    Fix-It and Forget-It Pink Cookbook

    Good wrote this book in association with the Avon Foundation for Women, which provides support for breast cancer patients. Beyond delivering delectable recipes, the book incorporates uplifting stories of people involved with the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. You may be thinking slow cookers can only be used for dinners, but Good provides some great breakfast recipes, too, so you don’t have to worry about getting overheated in the morning. Check out one scrumptious breakfast recipe below!

    Fix-It and Forget-It Pink Cookbook by Phyllis Pellman Good [Excerpt] by OpenRoadMedia

    Fix-It and Forget-It Vegetarian Main Dishes

    All you vegetarians out there: Good didn’t forget about you! In this book, she offers ideas for tasty no-meat dishes that are easy to make—and that won’t make you break a sweat. From Slow-Cooker Macaroni and Cheese to Dinner in a Pumpkin, there are plenty of ways to create a filling vegetarian meal with minimal effort. Who needs meat when you can have the divine spinach lasagna below? 

    Fix-It and Forget-It Vegetarian Main Dishes by Phyllis Pellman Good [Excerpt] by OpenRoadMedia


    Fix-It and Forget-It Vegetarian Soups, Stews, and Chilis

    Good offers another enticing cookbook for vegetarians, this time focusing on soups, stews, and chilis. In addition to hearty fare best suited for winter, she provides excellent options for hot summer days. Plus, most of the dishes are easy to freeze in individual portions to eat later or take to work. Try this barley and mushroom soup for a healthy meatless treat:

    Fix-It and Forget-It Vegetarian Soups, Stews, and Chilis by Phyllis Pellman-Good [Excerpt] by OpenRoadMedia


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    Tomorrow, we will add yet another fantastic author to our Open Road collection: Mary McCarthy. McCarthy was an American critic, public intellectual, and author of more than two dozen books.

    She was born on June 21, 1912, in Seattle, Washington, to Roy Winfield McCarthy and Therese (“Tess”) Preston McCarthy. McCarthy and her three younger brothers, Kevin, Preston, and Sheridan, were suddenly orphaned in 1918. While the family was en route from Seattle to a new home in Minneapolis, both parents died of influenza within a day of one another.

    After being shuttled between relatives, the children were finally sent to live with a great-aunt, Margaret Sheridan McCarthy, and her husband, Myers Shriver. The Shrivers proved to be cruel and often sadistic adoptive parents. Six years later, Harold Preston, the children’s maternal grandfather and an attorney, intervened. The children were split up, and Mary went to live with her grandparents in their affluent Seattle home.

    Mary McCarthyIn 1963, McCarthy published the novel The Group, which would prove to be her most popular literary success and which remained on the New York Times bestseller list for almost two years.

    McCarthy (pictured at left in a flyer for a conference in 1983) was an outspoken critic of politics in the decades that followed. Openly opposing the Vietnam War in the 1960s, she traveled to South Vietnam and wrote a series of articles for the New York Review of Books that were subsequently published as Vietnam (1967). Her famous libel feud with writer Lillian Hellman, stemming from McCarthy’s appearance on the Dick Cavett Show in 1979, formed the basis for the play Imaginary Friends (2002) by Nora Ephron.

    McCarthy won a number of literary awards, including the Horizon magazine prize (1949) and two Guggenheim Fellowships (1949–1950 and 1959–1960). She also received both the Edward MacDowell Medal and the National Medal for Literature in 1984. She was a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy in Rome. She received honorary degrees from numerous universities including Bard College, Smith College, and Syracuse University.

    Learn more:

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    book christmas treeNinety-nine years ago today, August 5, 1914, the German army launched its assault on the city of Liege in Belgium. Their assault violated Belgium's neutrality and thus began the first battle of World War I. Liege eventually fell to the Germans on August 15, but only after they used the powerful land weapons in their arsenal, enormous siege cannons. The main German advance through Belgium, towards France, began three days later, on August 18.

    The conflagration that consumed Europe in August 1914 had been a long time in coming—and yet some believe it need never have happened at all. For though all the European powers were prepared to accept a war as a resolution to the tensions which were fermenting across the Continent, only one nation wanted war to come: Imperial Germany. Of all the countries caught up in the tangle of alliances, promises, and pledges of support during the crisis that followed the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Germany alone possessed the opportunity and the power to determine that a war in eastern Europe would become the Great War, which swept across the Continent and nearly destroyed a thousand years of European civilization.

    For nearly nine decades it has been argued that the responsibility for the First World War was a shared one, spread among all the Great Powers. Now, in The Burden of Guilt, historian Daniel Allen Butler substantively challenges that point of view, establishing that the Treaty of Versailles was actually a correct and fair judgment: Germany did indeed bear the true responsibility for the Great War.

    Working from government archives and records, as well as personal papers and memoirs of the men who made the decisions that carried Europe to war, Butler interweaves the events of summer 1914 with portraits of the monarchs, diplomats, prime ministers, and other national leaders involved in the crisis. He explores the national policies and goals these men were pursuing, and shows conclusively how on three distinct occasions the Imperial German government was presented with opportunities to contain the spreading crisis—opportunities unlike those of any other nation involved—yet each time, the German government consciously and deliberately chose the path which virtually assured that the Continent would go up in flames.

    The Burden of Guilt is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding not only the “how” but also the “why” behind this pivotal event of modern world history.

    Burden of Guilt by Daniel A. Butler {Excerpt}

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  • 08/05/13--14:22: July Retro Reads Round Up
  • For the month of July, we celebrated wedding season with a, well, unorthodox choice. Sure, the reads contained in Dorothy Eden's

    Sinister WeddingsSinister Weddingsall feature the components of a good wedding: rosy-cheeked brides and handsome grooms, fervent declarations of love, and the lush and romantic countryside. Yet, in Bride by Candlelight (originally published in 1954), Cat's Prey (1952), and Bridge of Fear (1961), unnamed evil seems to bedevil our plucky heroines, throwing a wrench into their plans for happily-ever-after. 

    Delightfully retro and thrillingly macabre, this bundle aroused a spectrum of responses on the part of our reviewers. Reader Kari, in her review of Bride by Candlelight did note that the read did "show its age" and couldn't help but picture it as a black-and-white movie. Rosemary, on the other hand, found the three books dated, but argued that their old-fashioned nature only added to their charm.

    Check out these reviews and our ongoing RR discussion over in our Retro Reads Goodreads group; feel free to join the conversation and add your own topics!

    For August, we are shaking things up with two reads that feature one of our favorite themes: Enemies turned Lovers. While conventional romance is all well and good, it’s that edge-of-the-seat will-they-or-won’t-they stuff that has us chapping at the bit this month. Both Amanda Scott's The Dauntless Miss Wingraveand Heather Graham's The King's Pleasure feature headstrong heroines who, despite initial impressions, find themselves magnetically drawn to their sworn enemies. Emotions run high as the women are torn by the pull of their hearts.

    The Dauntless Miss Wingrave          The King's Pleasure 

    Read more about this selection here and stay tuned to our blog, Facebook, and Twitter throughout the month for updates from our Retro Readers

    (Psst...think you have what it takes to be a Retro Reader? Follow the submission guidelines found here. We have just a few spots remaining, so don't wait!)

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    Sarah Zettel, celebrated author of more than twenty novels of speculative fiction, knows her pen is mightier than any sword. Born in Sacramento, California, Zettel soon found another home in Michigan, where she received a degree in communications from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Combining her innate gift for the written word with the skills she obtained as a student, Zettel went on to become a critically acclaimed author of science fiction and fantasy, lighting the genre ablaze with her exceptional imagination and strong heroines. Reclamation

    Zettel’s debut novel, Reclamation, originally published in 1996, puts an intergalactic spin on the longing for home. Eric Born is a bright merchant with the gift of telekinesis, a skill that has managed to keep him alive in hostile living conditions. Eric, a human, is native to the Realm of the Nameless Powers—as are all humans, which the rest of the galaxy seems to have forgotten—and he knows his species is endangered. Beleaguered and feeble, humans have been scattered across the universe, suppressed by the tyrannical will of the Rhudolant Vitae, merciless extraterrestrial creatures with a passion for control. For Eric, however, home has never left his heart. When the Vitae bring him in to communicate with a mysterious pariah of his native world, Arla Stone, Eric has the ammunition he needs to save the Realm from the viselike grip of the Vitae once and for all. Winner of the 1997 Locus Award for Best First Novel, Reclamationis a riveting standalone story that shows just how far Eric and Arla will go to reclaim, and restore, their home planet.

    Fool's WarZettel, known for her penchant for feminist science fiction, delivers yet again in her equally compelling second novel, Fool’s War, which centers on two tenacious heroines: Katmer Al Shei, leader of the Pasadena starship, and Evelyn Dobbs, the ship’s most recent addition—who also happens to be a Fool by occupation.

    Humanity has colonized the solar system, but space travel is still as arduous as ever; thus, starships, which serve as couriers handling day-to-day communications via revolutionary technology, are a necessity. Katmer’s starship, the Pasadena, and its crew, are her pride and joy. Together, they trek through long space voyages, but with a Fool to amuse the crew, the toils of interstellar flight seem to disappear.

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    Yesterday, we announced the new-to-ebook release of Mary McCarthy’s best selling novel, The Group. Today, we’re sharing a sneak read of this groundbreaking novel that ultimately inspired Candace Bushnell to create Sex and the City.

    The GroupAt Vassar, they were known as “the group”—eight young women of privilege, the closest of friends, an eclectic mix of vibrant personalities. A week after graduation in 1933, they all gather for the wedding of Kay Strong before going their separate ways in the world. In the years that follow, they will pursue careers and marriage, experience the joys and ordeals of sexual awakening and motherhood, all while suffering through betrayals, infidelities, and sometimes madness. Some of them will drift apart. Some will play important roles in the personal dramas of others. But it is tragedy that will ultimately unite the group once again.

    A novel that stunned the world when it was first published in 1963, The Group found acclaim, controversy, and a place atop the New York Times bestseller list for nearly two years for its frank and controversial exploration of women’s issues, social concerns, and sexuality. A blistering satire of the mores of an emergent generation of women, The Group is McCarthy’s enduring masterpiece, still as relevant, powerful, and wonderfully entertaining fifty years on.

    Make sure to enter our sweepstakes to win The Group and forty-three other acclaimed ebooks on a brand new Kobo Arc tablet:

    The Group by Mary McCarthy by OpenRoadMedia

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    Fly FishermanNew England has some of the longest, harshest winters in the country. But suffering through those long, icy months pays off when summer rolls around. There’s nothing like a midsummer day spent lounging on the shores of Cape Cod or visiting the Boston harbor for dinner and ordering the catch of the day.

    Anyone who’s experienced New England in the summertime can verify the authenticity of William G. Tapply’s Death at Charity’s Point. You can almost feel the salty wind in your face as Tapply transports his readers to a mild July on the Boston shoreline.

    Death at Charity’s Point,which won the Scribner Crime Novel Award, is the first of the beloved Brady Coyne Mysteries. High-profile investigative lawyer Brady Coyne sets out to discover what really happened to George Gresham at the Boston area’s fictional Charity’s Point. Did he really jump off the cliff, or was he pushed? George’s mother, Florence, lost her first son in the jungles of Vietnam not long before, and had hired Coyne at the time to investigate the circumstances since his body was never located.

    Florence has accepted the fact that her husband committed suicide and that her son disappeared in the jungle, but she refuses to believe George jumped off the cliff at Charity’s Point. Coyne has been working for Florence and her friends for more than ten years and knows that there is profit to be made if he solves the case—ten percent of the million-dollar life insurance policy that holds a double-indemnity clause if he overturns the suicide verdict. Death at Charity's Point

    Coyne may not use the most ethical methods to solve his cases, but he gets the job done, and Death at Charity’s Point is just the beginning of his detective career. Tapply wrote over twenty-five Brady Coyne Mysteries, all of which take place in New England.

    William G. Tapply passed away in 2009, and judging by the guestbook on his website, people miss his Coyne Mysteries as much as they miss him. Fortunately, he lives on through his stories, which are now available for ebook purchase! For more information, visit his author page here.

    Stay on top of mystery news from Open Road Media. Sign up for our newsletter here.

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  • 08/09/13--09:12: Greenmarket Goodies
  • Love to cook? Now that summer’s here, forget the boring produce typically on offer at the supermarket. Get creative with your spices, your fruits, your vegetables, and your flavors. Go to a farmers’ market and buy the fresh, locally grown foods that will make all your dishes taste delicious. Here are some wonderful cookbooks to get you started with that farm-to-table cooking you’ve always wanted to try!


    Verdure: Simple Recipes in the Italian Style by Gioietta Vitale

    Raw veggies and dip are boring. Gioietta Vitale offers simple yet tasty recipes derived from her childhood experiences growing up in Milan. She breaks down her cookbook by vegetable, explains what other foods it will pair best with, advises on proper cooking techniques, and offers some fun facts. Did you know that zucchini was once only available during the summer, hence the name “summer squash”?


    Canal House Cooking Volume N° 1: Summer by Melissa Hamilton & Christopher Hirsheimer

    Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer’srecipes are addictive because the authors’ passion for food shines through in every dish. In the quaint canal house where they work, the two friends enjoy planting herbs in their window boxes and watching ducks swim in the canal, inspiring them to prepare seasonal dishes for friends and family. Tomatoes All Dressed Up for Summer is the perfect juicy summer treat:


    Canal House Cooking Volume N° 4: Farm Markets & Gardens by Melissa Hamilton & Christopher Hirsheimer

    The Canal House team has another great cookbook to try, one that specifically focuses on those enticing farmers’ markets! The two describe the fun of tasting all the farmers’ foods with the parents, kids, and even dogs in tow. Sticking to their philosophy of cooking seasonally, Hamilton and Hirsheimer created this refreshing summer drink for children and adults alike:

    Hazan Family Favorites by Guiliano Hazan

    Guiliano Hazan drew on the legacy of his mother, Marcella Hazan, among other family members, to create this wonderful cookbook. He credits his grandparents, Sephardic Jews from Italy, with having instilled in him a great appreciation for flavorful dishes during their family meals. Combining culinary ideas from then and now, Hazan reveals some tasty family secrets. Pick up a pint of fresh strawberries from your local farmers’ market and try this cooling gelato to beat the summer heat: 

    Pie it Forward by Gesine Bullock-Prado

    Gesine Bullock-Prado begins Pie It Forward with a quirky Q&A between Reader and Pie. You can already tell that this is going to be fun. Filled with yummy recipes that will make your stomach growl, this book will make you want to indulge in pie all summer long. Start picking out those juicy wild blueberries from your local farmers’ market now! This pie is both sweet and buttery:

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  • 08/12/13--05:00: Genre Bending Ebooks
  • Not quite a mystery, not quite science fiction, these titles defy genres and fill the spaces between fantasy, mystery, and literary fiction. Expand your mind with these critically acclaimed novels marked down up to 75%off August 13 – 20th

    The Broken Land by Ian McDonald *SALE*

    Life in the village of Chepsenyt is idyllic. Despite the empire’s growing religious tensions, the people of Chepsenyt live together peacefully and ply their trades, growing useful objects through the manipulation of DNA. It was here that Mathembe Fileli grew up, with her father creating tools used in construction and her mother spinning clothes and food. That all changed in an instant.

    The Summer Isles by Ian R. MacLeod *SALE*

    Winner of the World Fantasy Award and the Sidewise Award for Alternate History: A pastel-hued yet chilling alternate vision of England, The Summer Isles views the nightmare that the country has become since Germany’s victory in the Great War, through the eyes of a man whose life lies close to the heart of history

    The Eighth Square by Herbert Lieberman *SALE*

    Mr. Rogers is the ideal guide for a few neighbors looking to survey a large, wooded piece of property: He remembers every tree, stream, and bush; when there’s a fork in the road, he knows which way to go. But the surveying trip goes horribly wrong when Rogers suffers a debilitating heart attack and the group is left wandering lost through the woods, with Rogers a murmuring shadow of his former self.

    Expiration Date by Tim Powers *SALE*

    There is a Los Angeles that few people can see, a shadowed metropolis of ghosts, ghost hunters, and ghost junkies who crave the addictive rush of inhaled spirits. When eleven-year-old Koot Hoomie Parganas decides to flee the constrictive grasp of his New Age parents, he inadvertently steps into this world. Escaping with his parents’ most prized possession, Koot is soon the object of the most intense supernatural manhunt in history. 

    Sinai Tapestry by Edward Whittemore *SALE*

    In 1840, Plantagenet Strongbow, the twenty-ninth Duke of Dorset, seven-feet-seven-inches tall and the greatest swordsman and botanist of Victorian England, walks away from the family estate and disappears into the Sinai Desert carrying only a large magnifying glass and a portable sundial. He emerges forty years later as an Arab holy man and anthropologist, now the author of a massive study of Levantine sex—and the secret owner of the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile, Skanderbeg Wallenstein has discovered the original Bible, lost on a dusty bookshelf in the monastery library. To his amazement, it defies every truth held by the three major religions. Nearly a century later, Haj Harun, an antiquities dealer who has acted as guardian of the Holy City for three thousand years, uncovers the hidden Bible.

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    Can't stand the heat? Cool down the kitchen! This infographic shows all the ways that your slow cooker is the best summertime alternative to a steamy stove. 

    To get these slow cooker ebooks and more, click here.


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