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October 9, 2009 Newsletter October 9, 2009
The Bookish Community
Last weekend I was down in Baltimore for the fall conference of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association. When I was sitting at lunch with a group of booksellers and authors on Sunday, I realized how interesting --- and invigorating --- it is to be a part of the book community. Over lunch we talked about books --- the ones we loved and the ones that disappointed. We talked about authors --- the debut ones we wanted to champion; the established ones we wanted to hear the latest news about. We talked about readers; I got feedback from booksellers about the people who came into their stores, and I shared stories that readers had passed to me through the years. Hearing their stories and telling mine created a real spirit of community for me.

It reminded me of other times in my life when I felt clicked like this with a group of people working towards a common goal. There were the afternoons I worked on my high school newspaper when we learned not just about writing, but about making it sound like news. Then there were the nights we closed the yearbook in high school when for hours on end there was a mess of pictures and copy that needed to get pulled together to tell a story --- one that people would look back on and feel had captured this time in their lives succinctly and well. There were the days we would be pulling together the details for the sales conference at the magazine I worked for, trying to drum up confidence to rally the troops.

The difference this time is that the collaboration is ongoing. It’s not just in fits and starts. Each day I find myself reading with an eye on sharing what I have read. I find myself combing my mail looking for something to bring to you --- or listening to your comments and seeing their impact on the world of books. The connections through emails and blog post comments and reactions to Facebook status reports give me a chance to hear from you with an immediacy that can shape where we are headed with a week’s update. Sometimes it takes a moment like last weekend to pause and realize just how special it is.

Speaking of special, on Wednesday evening there was an event where I had the pleasure of meeting Jeannette Walls, the author of the mega-bestselling memoir THE GLASS CASTLE, and hearing her talk about her new book, HALF BROKE HORSES, which is just in stores this week. Before she spoke, I was invited backstage along with members of the Clinton Book Shop book club to meet her; the store was sponsoring the event. We all had read THE GLASS CASTLE and thus dropped into a conversation with Jeannette almost at mid-sentence. Each of us had different parts of the book that had resonated with us, and, though I knew none of these other women, I found myself chatting with them like we were old friends, with our only bond being a book we all had read.

As we shared our observations, I tried to imagine what it must be like for Jeannette to have moments like this all the time when people are talking about your work, which actually is your life. She was absolutely delightful, and as she also is a big reader, I found myself suggesting books for her to read when she was on the road.

I did not read THE GLASS CASTLE until May of this year. It was a book that I had book guilt about. When I mentioned I had not read it around my uber reading friends, there would be gasps and people would say, "I cannot believe YOU (okay, perhaps it was my emphasis hearing the word 'you' inflected louder than usual because of my guilt) have not read it." Once I did, I could see why people were eager to talk about it. I have started HALF BROKE HORSES and have already noted that Jeannette is a wonderful storyteller. She writes prose that is wonderfully descriptive and full of emotion. The combination makes her writing so compelling. Here’s a video that will give you some insight into the story and give you a chance to “meet her” in case you cannot see her on the road.

On our Facebook page we have been sharing videos and book trailers that catch our eye. One of my favorites was the clip from "The Daily Show" where Jon Stewart interviewed William Kamkwamba about his book, THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND. It’s a truly inspiring story about a young boy who lived in a poor village in Malawi in Africa. He realized that for his village to see any change, they needed electricity. And thus he found himself in the small library in his town looking at a book on how to build a windmill with a plan to use that to harness the wind for power --- and then he went on to build the windmill from odd parts he found around the village. We have the interview with Stewart here, which is both informative and amusing. And yowser, is Kamkwamba inspiring!

A reminder for those of you on Facebook: become fans of and you will get updates from us throughout the week. For those of you not on Facebook, here’s the “highlights reel” from this week. One of my favorite pieces was where readers answered the question, “If you liked THE HELP, what book would you recommend next?” Check the blog to see what people said and add your reply as well.

This week, we are launching THREE new author spotlight features. Our first is for Sandra Brown, whose historical fiction novel, RAINWATER, will be available on November 3rd. I read this book over vacation and loved it. Sandra is a wonderful storyteller, and here she proves just how strong she is at her craft as she moves into a new genre writing a beautiful historical story that really delivers. I love that we are spotlighting this for you. We have 10 copies to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, October 16th.

Next up is Joanne Fluke, whose new mystery, PLUM PUDDING MURDER, will certainly get you in the mood for the holidays. While it is her fun and exciting stories that made her a New York Times bestseller, many of her novels also include recipes that are sure to please. We have 10 copies of PLUM PUDDING MURDER to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, October 16th.

And we have a riveting debut thriller novel by Craig Larsen. In MANIA, a newspaper photographer's life is irrevocably changed when a series of ghastly murders hits home. It’s a stunning work that had me littering the house with manuscript pages as I read it, since I could not put it down. We have 10 copies of MANIA to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, October 16th.

Over the past few weeks, we have been receiving terrific feedback from our advance readers of A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS by R.J. Ellory, one of my favorite books of the year, and 13 1/2 by Nevada Barr. Click on the authors’ names above to read their responses. Our special contest for Celia Rivenbark’s new collection of humorous essays, YOU CAN’T DRINK ALL DAY IF YOU DON’T START IN THE MORNING, has ended. Please click here to see our winners. I met Rivenbark a few years ago in South Carolina and spent the entire time we were together laughing. She is just as funny and self-deprecating in person as she is in her work.

This long weekend (thank you Columbus!) will be about winterizing the garden, which makes me feel like some Martha Stewart wanna-be, which scares me. The truth is that we had a white fly invasion this year that caused most of our flowers not to bloom, thus I am planning to bury all the dirt in the planters deep in the woods and fumigate the pots. In other words, I will be playing in the dirt. I have a stack of books I want to delve into before I leave Thursday for Bouchercon, the annual mystery convention in Indianapolis.

Here’s wishing you a weekend and week of good reading with thanks from me for ensuring that every day I have a connection with people and books that I love so much.

Carol Fitzgerald (

Click here to read this week's highlights from our Facebook fan page on the Blog.

Now in Stores: HAVE A LITTLE FAITH by Mitch Albom
HAVE A LITTLE FAITH: A True Story by Mitch Albom (Memoir)
What if our beliefs were not what divided us, but what pulled us together? In HAVE A LITTLE FAITH, Mitch Albom offers a beautifully written story of a remarkable eight-year journey between two worlds --- two men, two faiths, two communities --- that will inspire readers everywhere. Reviewed by Roberta O’Hara.

-Click here to read an excerpt from HAVE A LITTLE FAITH.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for HAVE A LITTLE FAITH.

Click here to read a review of HAVE A LITTLE FAITH.

Now in Stores: THE PROFESSIONAL by Robert B. Parker
THE PROFESSIONAL: A Spenser Novel by Robert B. Parker (Mystery)
A knock on Spenser’s office door can only mean one thing: a new case. This time the visitor is a local lawyer with an interesting story. Elizabeth Shaw specializes in wills and trusts at a Boston law firm, and over the years she has developed a friendship with wives of very wealthy men. However, these rich wives have a mutual secret: they’ve all had an affair with a man named Gary Eisenhower --- and now he’s blackmailing them for money. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

Click here to read a review of THE PROFESSIONAL.

Now in Stores: MANHOOD FOR AMATEURS by Michael Chabon
MANHOOD FOR AMATEURS: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son by Michael Chabon (Memoir)
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon ruminates on fatherhood, marriage, masculinity and art --- among myriad other topics --- in his loosely constructed, fascinating and very funny collection of autobiographical writings. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Click here to read a review of MANHOOD FOR AMATEURS.

New Featured Historical Fiction Author: Sandra Brown, Author of RAINWATER
Sandra Brown is the author of more than 50 New York Times bestsellers --- including most recently SMASH CUT and SMOKE SCREEN --- and is the recipient of the 2008 Thriller Master Award from International Thriller Writers, Inc. In RAINWATER, her historical fiction debut releasing on November 3rd, Brown delivers a powerful story set during the desperate and often violent time of the Great Depression.

We have 10 advance copies of RAINWATER to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, October 16th.

-Click here to read Sandra Brown’s bio.
-Visit Sandra Brown’s official website,

More about RAINWATER:
From acclaimed bestselling author Sandra Brown comes a powerfully moving novel celebrating the gifts, generosity and foresight of a great bygone generation. Centered around an independent woman who runs a Texas boarding house during the Dust Bowl and a mysterious boarder, RAINWATER tells a story that bears witness to a bittersweet truth: that love is worth whatever price one must pay for it.

Click here to read more about Sandra Brown and RAINWATER.

/a> New Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Joanne Fluke, Author of PLUM PUDDING MURDER
Like the protagonist in her popular Hannah Swensen mysteries, Joanne Fluke was born and raised in a small town in rural Minnesota. In PLUM PUDDING MURDER, the newest addition to the series, Fluke offers a delightful holiday-themed mystery. The yuletide season in Lake Eden, Minnesota, guarantees a white Christmas, delectable holiday goodies from Hannah Swensen's bakery, The Cookie Jar --- and murder. PLUM PUDDING MURDER is now available in stores.

We have 10 advance copies of PLUM PUDDING MURDER to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, October 16th.

-Click here to read Joanne Fluke’s bio.
-Visit Joanne Fluke’s official website,

New York Times bestselling author Joanne Fluke serves up a deliciously deadly holiday treat with her new Hannah Swensen mystery. PLUM PUDDING MURDER includes 12 original dessert recipes, including recipes for a complete Christmas dinner.

Click here to read more about Joanne Fluke and PLUM PUDDING MURDER.

New Featured Debut Suspense/Thriller Author: Craig Larsen, Author of MANIA
Debut author Craig Larsen is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. In MANIA, which releases on November 3rd, he delivers a riveting and critically acclaimed psychological thriller about a man struggling to come to terms with himself while his world is unraveling around him.

We have 10 advance copies of MANIA to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, October 16th.

-Click here to read Craig Larsen’s bio.
-Visit Craig Larsen’s official website,

More about MANIA:
In the bestselling tradition of Dennis Lehane’s MYSTIC RIVER and Harlen Coben’s TELL NO ONE, talented debut writer Craig Larsen delivers a page-turning, atmospheric psychological thriller. Newspaper photographer Nick Wilder has been tracking a deranged killer through the dark streets of Seattle. But when the Street Butcher claims Nick's brother as his latest victim, Nick's world is turned upside-down. As he zeroes in on the killer, Nick finds himself led in a dizzying circle back to himself. Lee Child calls MANIA "everything a great thriller should be." William Lashner says, "Craig Larsen taps into our deepest terror, that the evil we fear most resides in our own hearts."

"Larsen takes you into a disturbing world of intimate danger and dark passion."
--Harlen Coben, New York Times bestselling author

Click here to read more about Craig Larsen and MANIA.

Featured Women's Fiction Author: Penny Vincenzi, Author of WINDFALL
Penny Vincenzi is the author of many acclaimed novels, including THE BEST OF TIMES, AN OUTRAGEOUS AFFAIR and NO ANGEL. WINDFALL, which is being released in the United States on October 1st, is full of the signatures that make Vincenzi’s books irresistible to devoted fans and newcomers alike: a sharp eye for detail, an assortment of loveable and despicable characters, and a titillating, suspenseful plot.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from WINDFALL.
-Click here to read Penny Vincenzi’s bio.
-Click here to see Penny Vincenzi’s backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for WINDFALL.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for WINDFALL.
-Visit Penny Vincenzi’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about WINDFALL:
WINDFALL is an addictively dramatic family saga from one of the hottest female writers today. Penny Vincenzi takes us behind closed doors of the glamorous and scandalous English aristocracy. The dutiful doctor’s wife, Cassia Fallon, has just inherited a large fortune from her godmother. Newly empowered, Cassia sheds her domestic burdens and re-forms old relationships --- one of them of a most dangerous kind. Too soon the windfall has become a corrupting force --- one that Cassia cannot resist.


Click here to read more about Penny Vincenzi and WINDFALL.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: John Lutz, Author of URGE TO KILL
Award-winning thriller author John Lutz began writing in 1966 and has since gone on to publish over 40 novels and 200 short stories. His work includes SWF SEEKS SAME, which became the film Single White Female, and THE EX, a critically acclaimed feature for HBO. In URGE TO KILL, veteran homicide detective Frank Quinn returns in a desperate hunt for a murdering madman. URGE TO KILL is now available in stores.

-Click here to read an excerpt from URGE TO KILL.
-Click here to read John Lutz’s bio.
-Click here to see John Lutz’s backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for URGE TO KILL.
-Visit John Lutz’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about URGE TO KILL:
Homicide detective Frank Quinn can’t stay retired when there’s a new breed of murdering madman on the prowl. In a city terrorized by bloody brutality, Det. Quinn and his team hunt a psychopath who lures beautiful women into a night of unbridled passion, then wakes them to a vicious, drawn-out death. Stumbling over a trail of horribly defiled bodies, Quinn can’t catch the killer --- because the killer’s about to catch him.

The terrifying new thriller URGE TO KILL from New York Times bestselling author John Lutz is a gruesome, page-turning psychological serial killer crime novel that’s both frightening and fascinating. For a killer, once is never enough.


Click here to read more about John Lutz and URGE TO KILL.

Now in Stores: LIMELIGHT by Melody Carlson
LIMELIGHT by Melody Carlson (Fiction)
Claudette Fioré used to turn heads and break hearts. She relished the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle complete with money, youth, fame, and above all, beauty. But age has withered that beauty, and a crooked accountant has taken her wealth, leaving her penniless and alone.
br />Armed with stubbornness and sarcasm, Claudette returns to her hometown and her estranged sister. For the first time, Claudette Fioré questions her own values and wonders if it’s too late to change.

Click here to read more about LIMELIGHT.

Now in Stores: THIRSTY by Tracey Bateman
THIRSTY by Tracey Bateman (Suspense)

"Deep, cutting, an intoxicating blend of human and supernatural, of characters scarred by the past, drained by life."
--Tosca Lee, author of DEMON: A Memoir

Struggling to recover from alcoholism, Nina Parker is forced to return to Abbey Hills, Missouri, the hometown she abruptly abandoned nearly two decades earlier. Her unexpected arrival in the sleepy Ozark town catches the attention of someone --- or something --- igniting a 250-year-old desire that rages like wildfire.

Unaware of the darkness stalking her, Nina is confronted with a series of events that threaten to unhinge her sobriety. As everything she loves hangs in the balance, Nina’s feeble grasp on her demons weakens, leaving her powerless against the thirst.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for THIRSTY.

Click here to read more about THIRSTY.

What’s New This Month on
With more than 2,700 discussion guides now 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:

-Matthew Pearl: THE LAST DICKENS and the Exciting History (Really!) of the Publishing Industry
-Jamie Ford's Top 10 Most Memorable Book Group Moments
-Kathleen Kent: Book Clubs, a Seat of Womanly Wisdom
-Michael Mewshaw: Revisiting the Past
-Baltimore, Book Clubs and Best Discussion Picks

The following guides are now available on

ACCORDING TO JANE by Marilyn Brant: Jane Austen fans will relish ACCORDING TO JANE, as the ghost of Jane Austen takes up residence in brainy Ellie Barnett’s mind. Follow Ellie’s adventures in pride, prejudice and the pursuit of the perfect guy.
ANGEL LANE by Sheila Roberts: With irresistible humor, warmth, affection --- and recipes --- author Sheila Roberts serves up a generous, open-hearted story about the friendships we make, the chances we take, and the lives we touch every day.
BEAT THE REAPER by Josh Bazell: With the mob, the government and death itself descending on the hospital, Dr. Peter Brown has to buy time and do whatever it takes to keep his patients, himself, and his last shot at redemption alive. To get through the next eight hours --- and somehow beat the reaper.
BETTER BECAUSE OF YOU by Ginny Hutchinson and Cathy Haffner: Authors Ginny Hutchinson and Cathy Haffner share true-to-life stories that can help you do small things each day to make a big difference in your life.
THE BOOK OF FATHERS by Miklós Vámos: For 300 years, a battered journal is passed down the Csillag family line, in which each generation’s firstborn son records his life. Known as THE BOOK OF FATHERS, the journal bears witness to holocaust and wedding feast alike.
CHRONIC CITY by Jonathan Lethem: The acclaimed author of THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE returns with a roar with this gorgeous, searing portrayal of Manhattanites wrapped in their own delusions, desires and lies.
THE CONCUBINE'S DAUGHTER by Pai Kit Fai: An epic, heartwrenching story of a mother and daughter’s journey to their destiny.
DUTCH by Teri Woods: James Bernard Jr., a.k.a. Dutch, has become the most dangerous criminal in New Jersey. Feared by all, and completely fearless, Dutch and his dangerous clique take over the lucrative heroin business of a local African drug lord.
EVENINGS AT THE ARGENTINE CLUB by Julia Amante: Victor and Jaqueline Torres imagined moving to the U.S. would bring happiness and prosperity --- instead they found a world of frustration.
FEELIN' THE VIBE by Candice Dow: Clark Winston now has to make the most important decision of her life --- choose the man who broke her heart or the one who fixed it.
GENEROSITY: An Enchantment by Richard Powers: From the National Book Award–winning author of THE ECHO MAKER, a playful and provocative novel about the discovery of the happiness gene.
THE GIFT OF AN ORDINARY DAY: A Mother's Memoir by Katrina Kenison: An intimate memoir of a family in transition --- boys becoming teenagers, careers ending and new ones opening up, an attempt to find a deeper sense of place, and a slower pace, in a small New England town.
HAVE A LITTLE FAITH: A True Story by Mitch Albom: A book about a life’s purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man’s journey, but it is everyone’s story.
IMPOSSIBLE MOTHERHOOD: Testimony of an Abortion Addict by Irene Vilar: A courageous and extraordinary memoir of one woman’s journey through family trauma and self-mutilation, and her determined struggle to prevail into motherhood.
THE LADIES' GALLERY: A Memoir of Family Secrets by Irene Vilar: A razor-sharp memoir about the allure of suicide for three generations of women in one Puerto Rican family and the frightening family secrets that have haunted a grandmother, mother and daughter in their search for self.
THE LONGEST TRIP HOME: A Memoir by John Grogan: The funny and poignant memoir of faith, family and identity from John Grogan --- the #1 international bestselling author of the beloved MARLEY & ME.
THE LOST SYMBOL by Dan Brown: In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon THE DA VINCI CODE, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world's most popular thriller writer.
LYING WITH THE DEAD by Michael Mewshaw: Narrated by three very different siblings --- dutiful but tough Candy, sweet but disturbed Maury, and successful but despondent Quinn --- LYING WITH THE DEAD is a moving and darkly humorous story of three adult children and their aging, embittered mother.
MATHILDA SAVITCH by Victor Lodato: A fiercely funny and touching debut novel about a young girl trying to find out the truth behind her sister’s death.
THE PALACE OF STRANGE GIRLS by Sallie Day: Over a holiday week, the Singletons must struggle to find their place in the shifting world of promenade amusements, illicit sex and stilted afternoon teas in this touching and evocative novel.
THE RETURN by Victoria Hislop: Family betrayals, forbidden love and historical turmoil converge between a family's heartwrenching struggle during the Spanish Civil War and a young woman traveling in present-day Granada.
SHADOW BABY by Alison McGhee: In Alison McGhee's stunning novel SHADOW BABY, 11-year-old Clara struggles to piece together her family history, while her mother refuses to talk about those people lost to her daughter.
SUNFLOWERS by Sheramy Bundrick: A hauntingly beautiful novel about Vincent van Gogh and his relationship with a mysterious young woman named Rachel and the passion they shared, in a debut novel from art historian Sheramy Bundrick.
THIN IS THE NEW HAPPY by Valerie Frankel: The true story of one woman’s quest to exorcise her bad body-image demons, to uncover the truths behind what put them there and to learn how to truly love herself.
TRANSGRESSION: A Novel of Love and War by James W. Nichol: A beautifully written World War II romance and mystery that follows Adele, a young French woman who falls in love with a German soldier and is cast out of her village as a “horizontal traitor” at the end of the war.
WHERE GRACE ABIDES: The Riverhaven Years by BJ Hoff: Readers loved RACHEL'S SECRET, the first book in The Riverhaven Years, and are eagerly awaiting the continuing story of Rachel and Jeremiah Gant.
WINDFALL by Penny Vincenzi: WINDFALL is full of the signatures that make Vincenzi’s novels irresistible to devoted fans and newcomers alike: a sharp eye for detail, an assortment of loveable and despicable characters, and a titillating, suspenseful plot.

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

THE BIBLE SALESMAN by Clyde Edgerton
THE BLACK TOWER by Louis Bayard
HOME SAFE by Elizabeth Berg
LULU IN MARRAKECH by Diane Johnson
SEA OF POPPIES by Amitav Ghosh

We have the following new guides for Christian book groups:

AMISH PEACE: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World by Suzanne Woods Fisher: Organized around five central themes in Amish life, AMISH PEACE shows you how you can cultivate a simple life of love, gratitude and faith in the midst of a very complicated world.
DIVINE INSPIRATIONS: Words of God’s Love and Grace by Cindy A. Warren: This book is a series of love letters spoken from God that expresses the inseparable love that God truly has for all of His creation.
THE JEWEL OF HIS HEART: Heart of the West, Book 2 by Maggie Brendan: Juliana Brady is alone in an 1890s Montana mining town, with few prospects for making a living. But she is determined not to be dependent on the charity of others.
LEAVING CAROLINA by Tamara Leigh: Piper Wick left her hometown of Pickwick, North Carolina, 12 years ago, and did not look back. Now all of Piper’s hard-won happiness is threatened by a reclusive uncle’s bout of conscience.
THE SWISS COURIER by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey: 1944: When a young woman is asked to "courier" a German scientist who is working on the atomic bomb out of enemy territory, the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
THIRSTY by Tracey Bateman: Recovering alcoholic Nina Parker wants to start fresh in her Ozark hometown, but a gruesome murder, her shattered family and a 250-year-old stranger’s obsession have her torn between surrendering to darkness --- and salvation.
WHITE PICKET FENCES by Susan Meissner: “WHITE PICKET FENCES is a beautiful yet haunting portrayal of what lies beneath a seemingly perfect suburban family.” --Mary E. DeMuth, author of DAISY CHAIN and A SLOW BURN
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This Week's Reviews
ALEX CROSS’S TRIAL by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo (Historical Fiction)
From his grandmother, Alex Cross has heard the story of his great uncle Abraham and his struggles for survival in the era of the Ku Klux Klan. Now, Alex passes the family tale along to his own children in a novel he's written --- a novel called TRIAL. Written in the fearless voice of Detective Alex Cross, ALEX CROSS’S TRIAL is a gripping story of murder, love, and, above all, bravery. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from ALEX CROSS’S TRIAL.

EVIDENCE: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman (Psychological Thriller)
After a night watchman finds the corpses of two lovers brutally murdered in a newly erected mansion in one of LA’s most exclusive neighborhoods, LAPD detective Milo Sturgis quickly determines that it was a crime of passion and reaches out to psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware. They discover a monstrous scheme rooted in deception and depravity beyond even a seasoned LAPD cop’s twisted imagination. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from EVIDENCE.

THE LOST ART OF GRATITUDE: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel by Alexander McCall Smith (Mystery)
THE LOST ART OF GRATITUDE continues the adventures of Isabel Dalhousie, a wealthy, middle-aged divorcee who is also a Doctor of Philosophy. Alexander McCall Smith has crafted a wonderfully intriguing novel, one that leaves us waiting for the next in the series. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE LOST ART OF GRATITUDE.

THE CHILDREN’S BOOK by A. S. Byatt (Historical Fiction)
THE CHILDRENS’S BOOK is a spellbinding novel, at once sweeping and intimate, from the Booker Prize–winning author of POSSESSION, that spans the Victorian era through the World War I years, and centers on a famous children's book author and the passions, betrayals and secrets that tear apart the people she loves. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE CHILDREN’S BOOK.

HOTHOUSE ORCHID by Stuart Woods (Thriller)
After Special Agent Holly Barker lets international terrorist Teddy Fay slip through her fingers for a second time, the CIA thinks she might want a long vacation, at least until Teddy is captured and the bad publicity has blown over. So Holly returns to her hometown of Orchid Beach, Florida, where she had been police chief for many years. But a very unpleasant surprise awaits her. Reviewed by Marge Fletcher.

ROUGH COUNTRY: A Virgil Flowers Novel by John Sandford (Thriller)
Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Virgil Flowers gets a call from Lucas Davenport to investigate a murder at a nearby resort, where a woman has been shot while kayaking. He soon finds a web of connections between the people at the resort, the victim, and some local women, notably a talented country singer. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE SILENT SPIRIT: A Wind River Mystery by Margaret Coel (Mystery)
In 1923, hundreds of Arapahos and Shoshones are recruited from Wind River Reservation to appear in the silent film The Covered Wagon. Of those hundreds, Charlie Wallowingbull is the only Indian who does not return home. More than 80 years later, Kiki Wallowingbull travels to California in search of the truth behind his great-grandfather’s disappearance. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

BENEATH THE BLEEDING: A Tony Hill Novel by Val McDermid (Thriller)
Bradfield’s star midfielder is the victim of a bizarre, seemingly motiveless murder. In a hospital, recovering from injuries, criminal profiler and psychologist Dr. Tony Hill struggles to make sense of the fragments of information he can gather in order to help his ally, Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan, bring a killer to justice. Then an explosion rips through a soccer stadium, leaving dozens dead and many more injured, and Jordan finds herself pushed to the margins of the investigation by the intelligence services. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

THE GASTRONOMY OF MARRIAGE: A Memoir of Food and Love by Michelle Maisto (Memoir)
As their wedding day approaches, Michelle Maisto and her fiancé find that one activity they particularly loved sharing --- eating --- has become fraught with issues such as gender roles, taste preferences, digestive quirks and differences in heritage. Readers are privy to negotiations and compromises, as well as descriptions of luscious meals and interesting recipes. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

PELLE LINDBERGH: Behind the White Mask by Bill Meltzer and Thomas Tynander (Biography)
It is said that to lose someone who is an incredible talent is a travesty, but to lose that talented soul when they are young is the ultimate tragedy. This is the story of Pelle Lindbergh, whose hard work led him to be the dominant force in goaltending in his native Sweden, coupled with a dream that led him to North America and the National Hockey League, where he would rise to the top only to be taken from us in his prime. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

Read this week's reviews here.

Poll and Question of the Week: Reading Distractions and Guilty Pleasures

Which of the following would most likely take you away from reading? Check as many as apply.

Network television shows
Cable television programs (either live or On Demand)
Television programming on DVR
Movie rentals (Netflix, etc.)
Video games
Computer games
Arts and crafts
Social networking
Nothing takes me away from reading.
I am not sure what takes me away from reading.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What, besides reading, is your guilty pleasure? Name up to three.

-Click here to answer our question.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win THREE Books!
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 9 DRAGONS by Michael Connelly, LOCKED IN: A Sharon McCone Mystery by Marcia Muller and PURSUIT OF HONOR by Vince Flynn. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on October 23rd to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.
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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.

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Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by October 31, 2009 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: 9 DRAGONS by Michael Connelly, LAST NIGHT IN A TWISTED RIVER by John Irving, LOCKED IN: A Sharon McCone Mystery by Marcia Muller, PURSUIT OF HONOR by Vince Flynn and TRUE BLUE by David Baldacci. Terri from Jacksonville, FL was last month's newsletter winner. She won AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, HAVE A LITTLE FAITH: A True Story by Mitch Albom, HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY by Audrey Niffenegger, THE LAST SONG by Nicholas Sparks and THE PROMISED WORLD by Lisa Tucker.

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