In two of the journals I help edit (both in the field of medicine and health), book reviews are commissioned by the Editor. We identify potential authors, choose one and invite him or her to participate as a book reviewer. Those that agree are sent a copy of the book together with some instructions about what is expected of them. Then, they are entered into the manuscript management system under a separate code set aside for commissioned pieces. This system differs in two distinct ways from that used for typical submissions.
- The Author is reminded of the deadline.
- The Commissioning Editor is allowed expedited review.
When the submission is received, it goes onto peer-review and the Commissioning Editor makes a recommendation that is discussed during the typical manuscript meeting. Whatever the disposition of the manuscript -- Accept, Revise, Reject -- the author is informed. This is true at any stage in the process.
Book reviews are way way down on our priority list. They serve as "space fillers". No one cites them, very few read them, no one reacts to them. Thus, they are regularly bumped for more of the regular fare -- research articles, editorials, clinical practice briefs, etc.
We have never had a case in which a manuscript was rejected without the authors being informed. This is because they have the right to appeal the decision. More importantly, it's just plain wrong.
I note that this has been resolved already. However, I want to end by saying that the Associate Editors, Commissioning Editors, Deputy Editors, Managing Editors and the Editors-in-Chief are human. You should feel free to contact them if you have questions in the same professional manner you would contact the teachers or principal of your child's school. After all, it's your manuscript and they wouldn't be doing so well if you'd submitted elsewhere.