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January 22, 2010 Newsletter January 22, 2010

A Week of Memorable Moments

When I left you, I was in Boston attending the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting. I had a great time hearing about upcoming titles for spring and summer. Brace yourself as there are some great books coming up. Get to reading your present stack and clear the decks. Do not say I did not warn you. I had the pleasure of meeting Beth Hoffman, the author of SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT, who was just terrific. I also got a note from Cristina, one of our readers in Miami, who told me Beth did a terrific event at Books & Books this past Tuesday night, which made me smile. Love when you love the authors I love.

While Beth was signing, Juliette Fay, the author of SHELTER ME, which was my first Bets On pick last year, came by the booth, so I got a chance to chat with two authors whose work I loved. The following day I met Sarah Blake, whose February release THE POSTMISTRESS will be a Bets On pick next month. It was nice to get to share the parts of her book that really had resonated with me.

Dinner with Adriana Trigiani on Sunday night was terrific and made me forget all about the sleet/snow/slush coming down outside. We got a chance to talk about BRAVA, VALENTINE and toast her on her RUSA Award earlier in the day. When Adriana won she phoned her mom, a former librarian, to share the news, which definitely had the audience laughing. And then they were instructed to yell “Hi Ida!” to her mom so her mom could hear. The following morning, as the snow came down harder, Adriana spoke to a group of librarians and made it a magically fun experience for them.

I slipped back to my room to finish ETERNAL ON THE WATER by Joseph Monninger, a beautifully told love story that I had started last week. It ended just as wonderfully as it started and made me want to spend time on the water, though as I read the rapids scenes I realized I am better off on dry land! In the book, Mary, the protagonist, has Huntington’s Disease, and I found myself on the Internet learning more about this as I closed it.

Monday morning was the Youth Awards Media Conference, which is the event that this entire conference builds up to where the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott and other book awards for kids and teens are announced. Many of my favorites were cited, making this a terrific morning of war whelping and clapping for books. We have the complete lists on and

In the airport I started reading LOVE IN MID AIR by Kim Wright, which is the story of a woman who is feeling lost in her marriage and meets a stranger on an airplane in a total fluke when she is asked to move seats. One kiss in the airport as they change planes, and she finds herself caught up in an adventure of the heart while she continues her suburban life in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was reading on the plane but fell asleep to the hum of the engines with the book in my lap. Note it was not the book that made me fall asleep, but rather the sheer pace of the weekend. I had been upgraded to first class, and as we came in for a landing, the flight attendant brought me my jacket and tapped me to awaken me with a smile smirk on his face; the man in the seat beside me had the same look. Then I saw that they were looking at the book jacket. I wanted to say, “It’s a novel; not a manual,” lest they think the wrong thoughts. I look forward to finishing this over the weekend.

One of the most talked about books at the conference was THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin, which is coming out in June. I was given an advance galley in October, and I confess I have not read it yet. Why? It’s a BIG, THICK BOOK, and when you are me, there is soooo much reading to do that I panicked at the size of this one. I loved Cronin’s book THE SUMMER GUEST and thus thought...hmmmm maybe this is like that but BIGGER. But no, he’s gone in a new direction with this. Some science fiction, some fiction and a story that took a long while to write. It’s the first in a series, and yes, I plan to get cracking on it since I HATE being out of the loop on what’s getting buzzed about. And then I will share my thoughts with you!

There were other great moments such as a breakfast about books of short stories where Lee Smith and Simon Van Booy were two of my favorite speakers --- and they made me realize that we need to do a short story feature here.

This week we kick off an author spotlight feature for Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, the author of ONE AMAZING THING. This book takes place in a passport office here in the United States when an earthquake hits and the folks waiting for visas for travel to India are all trapped. Given the recent coverage of the earthquake in Haiti, the terror that grips this group will be palpable. As they are trapped, each member of the group tells one story about their lives, something that they have not shared. It reminded me of all the wonderful stories I have heard on airplanes through the years --- the kinds of things that are shared when you know you are with strangers. It’s just wonderful, and I am so happy to share it with you. Those who would like to win one of 50 advance copies are asked to sign up here by Friday, January 29th at 11:59AM EST. Please note that if you request a copy, we do expect you to comment on it.

We received some great feedback from our advance readers of DYING SCREAM by Mary Burton, which you can read here.

Also this week our Valentine’s Day promotion begins, and love definitely will be in the air with these titles. Our Valentine’s basket is VERY PINK with 8 books that speak to love, a wonderful cushy blanket and many sweets packed in an adorable heart-decorated box.

Last night I attended the New York premiere of Extraordinary Measures starring Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser with my friend Esther Margolis from Newmarket Press. While the movie is based upon THE CURE: How a Father Raised $100 Million and Bucked the National Medical Establishment in a Quest to Save His Children by Geeta Anand, Esther is publishing a book by John Crowley called CHASING MIRACLES: The Crowley Family Journey of Strength, Hope, and Joy, which will be in stores on February 2nd. There has been a lot of promotion for this movie, so many of you may know this story. But for those who do not, two of the Crowleys' three children have Pompe Disease, which was known to be fatal by the time children turn about 9. John Crowley was not content to stand by and watch this happen, and instead rallied to raise funds for medicine to arrest the condition. It would not reverse his children’s condition, but it would prevent further damage. The Crowleys were at the theater last night, and I got to congratulate John and Aileen on what they have accomplished; they were so very gracious.

Afterwards there was a big premiere party with stars Harrison Ford and Keri Russell in attendance. I met up with my friend Harry Burton, who also pointed out Adrien Brody, Gerard Butler (sans Jennifer Aniston for those of you taking celeb notes) and Marcus Schenkenberg. I was clueless at recognizing anyone! As I was leaving, the paparazzi were outside with cameras pointed at the entrance. When they saw me, I got an intense stare as they tried to figure out if I was “anyone”; when they realized I was not, I was quickly dismissed. Pretty funny.

I got home and found myself reading parts of both books to see the story that had not been shared on screen. I can see you wanting to do the same as it’s really inspirational! While we hear of so many what I call “high profile” diseases, hearing of something like this that has gripped families in its own terror grasp will make you embrace every day.

It was also a week of sad news as we read of the passing of two well-known authors. Robert B. Parker authored more than 60 books, including his well-known Spenser and Jesse Stone series, westerns and young adult novels. Years ago, our readers showed me just how much they pay attention to details when they sent me urgent notes when there was a typo in the dedication in one book. It was to Jean, not Joan, who was his wife, to whom many of his books were dedicated. I quickly got readers assured that Bob and Joan were still together; I read in his New York Times obit that they first met when they were three years old. Tom Callahan has written a beautiful tribute piece for us about Parker.

Also, Erich Segal, the author of LOVE STORY and the sequel OLIVER’S STORY, passed away. A few weeks ago I re-watched Love Story and was surprised how it did not hold up. The dialogue seemed stilted, the cuts choppy, but the “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” line rang as clearly as ever. When I ventured out to Cambridge to look at some bookstores last weekend, I found myself thinking about that movie and that terrific MG TC that Ryan O’Neal raced all around in. I also made a joke as I stood across the street from the gates of Harvard and said, “Now I can say I went to Harvard.”

The Mystery Writers of America has chosen its nominees for the 2010 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction, TV and film published or produced in 2009. View the full list here. The awards will be presented to the winners at MWA's 64th gala banquet on April 29th in New York City.

For those who track such things, we learned this week that for the first time in six decades, the mysterious visitor who has left roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac at Edgar Allan Poe's gravesite in Baltimore every January 19th failed to materialize. "I'm confused, befuddled," Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum, told the Associated Press. "I don't know what's going on. People will be asking me, 'Why do you think he stopped?' Or did he stop? We don't know if he stopped. He just didn't come this year."And on that note, I leave you to whip up a fudge marble cake for my son Cory’s birthday as Birthday Extravaganza Week here begins with birthdays for both boys in five days. Let the sugar high begin! Have a great week. Read on.

Carol Fitzgerald (

td bgcolor="#FFFFFF"> Click here to read Tom Callahan's tribute to Robert B. Parker.

Remembering Robert B. Parker

Robert B. Parker, the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 60 books, died suddenly on January 18th at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Parker was renowned for his Spenser novels, featuring the wise-cracking, street-smart Boston private-eye, which earned him a devoted following and much critical acclaim. In 2002, he was named Grand Master of the Edgar Awards by the Mystery Writers of America, an honor shared with earlier masters such as Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen.'s Tom Callahan pays tribute to Parker, who has long been acknowledged as the dean of American crime fiction.

New Featured One to Watch Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Author of ONE AMAZING THING

ONE AMAZING THING by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is garnering some serious pre-release buzz for its portrayal of strangers uniting in the face of tragedy by each sharing a secret they've never revealed. Shocking and emotional, ONE AMAZING THING (on sale February 2nd) will have you wondering about your own secrets.

We have 50 copies of ONE AMAZING THING to give away to readers who would like to read the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, January 29th at 11:59AM EST.

-Click here to read an excerpt from ONE AMAZING THING.
here to read Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's bio.
-Click here to see Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's backlist.

-Click here to read critical praise for ONE AMAZING THING.
-Visit Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's official website,

Late afternoon sun sneaks through the windows of a passport and visa office in an unnamed American city. Most customers and even most office workers have come and gone, but nine people remain. When an earthquake rips through the afternoon lull, trapping them together, their focus first jolts to their collective struggle to survive. There’s little food. The office begins to flood. As the psychological and emotional stress becomes nearly too much for them to bear, one of them suggests that each tell a personal tale, “one amazing thing” from their lives, which they have never told anyone before. As their surprising stories of romance, marriage, family, political upheaval and self-discovery unfold against the urgency of their life-or-death circumstances, the novel proves the transcendent power of stories and the meaningfulness of human expression itself.

Click here to read more about Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and ONE AMAZING THING.'s Fifth Annual Valentine's Day Contest --- Enter to Win a Romantic Basket for Yourself or Your Valentine

The countdown to Valentine's Day is on! Stuck on what to buy your Valentine? Our featured titles have the bookish answer. From January 22nd through February 5th, readers will have the chance to win one of our five Valentine's Day Baskets. They are filled with one copy of each of our featured books, as well as some irresistible Valentine's Day-themed goodies: a plush pink blanket, Godiva chocolates, a cherry-flavored handmade lollipop, gourmet Valentine cookies, a mesh shower sponge and a heart-adorned box. Whether you are looking for humorous tales, heartwarming love stories, page-turning mysteries or classic works of literature, our Valentine's Day suggestions are sure to satisfy whatever you’re craving to give on this holiday.

Our featured Valentine’s Day titles are:

BRAVA, VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani
THE BRONTË SISTERS: Three Novels: JANE EYRE, WUTHERING HEIGHTS and AGNES GREY by Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë and Anne Brontë
THE GIRL NEXT DOOR by Elizabeth Noble
A MATTER OF CLASS by Mary Balogh
O, JULIET by Robin Maxwell
VERY VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani
WICKED CRAVING: A Savannah Reid Mystery by G.A. McKevett


Click here to read all the contest details.


Now in Stores: A WHISPER TO THE LIVING by Stuart M. Kaminsky

A WHISPER TO THE LIVING: An Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov Mystery by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Mystery)
In October 2009, award-winning author Stuart M. Kaminsky passed away after three decades of writing mystery novels. His heroes roamed from Moscow to Chicago to Hollywood, but they shared a trait of decency and compassion that made them far more than crime solvers. A WHISPER TO THE LIVING, published posthumously, may be Kaminsky’s final mystery --- and would be a fitting conclusion to an extraordinary career. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.
Click here to read a review of A WHISPER TO THE LIVING.


Featured One to Watch Author: Beth Hoffman, Author of SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT

Drawing comparisons to THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett and THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES by Sue Monk Kidd, SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT by Beth Hoffman is a thoughtful and charming debut destined to win you over with its interweaving themes.

-Click here to read a review of SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT.
-Click here to read a second excerpt from SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT.
-Click here to read our interview with Beth Hoffman.
-Click here to read Beth Hoffman's bio.
-Click here to watch a book trailer for SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT.

-Click here to see our finished copy winners.

Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille --- the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town --- a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when Camille is hit by a truck and killed, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell.

In her vintage Packard convertible, Tootie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah's perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons, to Tootie's all-knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones, to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.


Click here to read more about Beth Hoffman and SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT.


Featured One to Watch Author: Ken Wheaton, Author of THE FIRST ANNUAL GRAND PRAIRIE RABBIT FESTIVAL

Debut novelist Ken Wheaton chronicles the life of a small-town preacher and his eccentric parishioners in a sleepy Southern town in THE FIRST ANNUAL GRAND PRAIRIE RABBIT FESTIVAL. Filled with a colorful cast of characters against the backdrop of an improbable event, THE FIRST ANNUAL GRAND PRAIRIE RABBIT FESTIVAL, which is now in stores, will certainly charm its way onto your shelf.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from THE FIRST ANNUAL GRAND PRAIRIE RABBIT FESTIVAL.
-Click here to read Ken Wheaton's bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE FIRST ANNUAL GRAND PRAIRIE RABBIT FESTIVAL.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

Father Steve Sibille has come home to the bayou to take charge of St. Pete's church. Among his challenges are teenybopper altar girls, insomnia-curing confessions and alarmingly alluring congregant Vicky Carrier. Then there's Miss Rita, an irrepressible centenarian with a taste for whiskey, cracklins and sticking her nose in other people's business.

When an outsider threatens to poach Father Steve’s flock, Miss Rita suggests he fight back by staging an event that will keep St. Pete’s parishioners loyal forever. As The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival draws near, help comes from the strangest places. And while the road to the festival may be paved with good intentions --- not to mention bake sales, an elephant and the most bizarre cook-out ever --- where it will lead is anyone’s guess.

Click here to read more about Ken Wheaton and THE FIRST ANNUAL GRAND PRAIRIE RABBIT FESTIVAL.


Featured Women's Fiction Author: Barbara Delinsky, Author of NOT MY DAUGHTER

Bestselling author Barbara Delinsky returns with NOT MY DAUGHTER, her new emotionally-charged novel that begs the central question: What does it take to be a good mother? Once again, Delinsky challenges our notions of unconditional love and the complex relationships between mothers and daughters. NOT MY DAUGHTER is now in stores.

-Click here to read a review of NOT MY DAUGHTER.
-Click here to read an excerpt from NOT MY DAUGHTER.
-Click here to read our interview with Barbara Delinsky.
-Click here to read Barbara Delinsky's bio.
-Click here to see Barbara Delinsky's backlist.
-Visit Barbara Delinsky's official website,
-Click here to see our finished copy winners.

When Susan Tate's 17-year-old daughter, Lily, announces she is pregnant, Susan is stunned. A single mother, she has struggled to do everything right. She sees the pregnancy as an unimaginable tragedy for both Lily and herself.

Then comes word of two more pregnancies among high school juniors who happen to be Lily's best friends --- and the town turns to talk of a pact. As fingers start pointing, the most ardent criticism is directed at Susan. As principal of the high school, she has always been held up as a role model of hard work and core values. Now her detractors accuse her of being a lax mother, perhaps not worthy of the job of shepherding impressionable students. As Susan struggles with the implications of her daughter's pregnancy, her job, financial independence and long-fought-for dreams are all at risk.


Click here to read more about Barbara Delinsky and NOT MY DAUGHTER.


Featured Suspense/Thriller Authors: Ted Dekker and Erin Healy, Authors of BURN

Following the success of KISS, Ted Dekker and Erin Healy team up again for a tightly-wound thriller with BURN, a novel about choices and their consequences. A young woman disappears with an enormous sum of money, abandoning her best friend for dead. However, the past is harder to hide from than it seems. BURN is now available in stores.

-Click here to read a review of BURN.
-Click here to read a third excerpt from BURN.
-Click here to read our interview with Erin Healy.
-Click here to read Ted Dekker's bio.
-Click here to read Erin Healy's bio.
-Click here to see Ted Dekker's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for BURN.
-Visit Ted Dekker’s official website,
-Visit Erin Healy’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about BURN:
Years ago, the Gypsy kumpania where Janeal Mikkado lived was attacked by outsiders. With her best friend about to be consumed by a fire, Janeal had two options: try to save her friend --- at serious risk to her own life --- or disappear with the million dollars that she had just discovered...

But the past is quickly coming back to haunt her. Both the best friend and the boyfriend that she was sure were dead have reappeared in her life, as has someone who knows about the money. There's a debt to be paid for the money she found, but there's an even greater debt she must face --- and if the chaff isn't burned from her own heart, it will consume her.

Click here to read more about Ted Dekker, Erin Healy and BURN.

Featured Debut Suspense/Thriller Author: Gregory Funaro, Author of THE SCULPTOR

Gregory Funaro's debut, THE SCULPTOR, is a thrilling, chilling mystery with an art twist. An FBI agent and an art historian are thrust together to thwart a sadistic killer whose rampage becomes increasingly personal. THE SCULPTOR is now available in stores.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from THE SCULPTOR.
here to read Gregory Funaro's bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE SCULPTOR.
-Visit Gregory Funaro's official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about

Dr. Catherine Hildebrant, professor of art history at Brown University, is trying to get her life back on track. Known in academic circles not only as one of the world’s foremost scholars on Michelangelo, she is also the author of a controversial book on his sculptures. Living alone, counting the days until her divorce is final, Cathy is awakened one morning by FBI agent Sam Markham. It seems someone has murdered missing Boston Rebels wide receiver Tommy Campbell, preserved his body, and painted and posed him in the figure of one of Michelangelo’s statues.

When Cathy is summoned to the garden of a wealthy businessman to help analyze Campbell’s remains, she discovers the unimaginable: the killer has not only drawn on her book for inspiration, but has dedicated his sculpture to her. Determined to clear her name, desperate to catch the killer before he kills again, Cathy joins forces with Special Agent Markham in a frantic race against time to stop the man the media has dubbed “The Michelangelo Killer.”


Click here to read more about Gregory Funaro and THE SCULPTOR.

The 2010 ALA Youth Media Awards
Each year the American Library Association (ALA) honors books and media for children and teens. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, ALA awards --- including the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, Sibert and Coretta Scott King Book Awards --- guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts, the awards encourage original and creative work in the field of children’s and young adult literature and media.

-See this year’s winning titles and honor books on and

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the ALA, also announced its 2010 Best Books for Young Adults, Great Graphic Novels for Teens and Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. Click on the links to see which books made these lists.


Calling All Teens! Nominate Your Favorite Books of 2009 for the Children's Book Council's Teen Choice Book of the Year

Have a teen in your house? If so, we have something they may want to explore. In association with the Children’s Book Council (CBC), is giving teen readers a very special opportunity to share their five favorite books of 2009. The five titles that receive the most “votes” will serve as the finalists for the CBC’s 2010 Teen Choice Book of the Year. Once this first round of nominees is ready, we will have more information on where teens can vote for the winner, which will be announced in May.
Click here for all the details.

This Week's Reviews
NANNY RETURNS by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (Fiction)
Nan, the smart, spirited and sympathetic heroine of the #1 New York Times bestseller THE NANNY DIARIES, is back. After living abroad for 12 years, she and her husband, Ryan, have returned to New York to make a life for themselves. In the midst of getting her new business off the ground and fixing up their fixer-upper, Ryan announces his sudden desire to start a family. His timing simply couldn't be worse. Reviewed by Roberta O’Hara.

THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE SKY by Marian Keyes (Fiction)
Marian Keyes’s latest novel follows seven neighbors whose lives become entangled when a sassy and prescient spirit pays a visit to their Dublin townhouse with the intent of changing at least one of their lives. But what will this metamorphosis be and who will the sprite choose? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

SIZZLE by Julie Garwood (Romantic Suspense)
Julie Garwood’s penchant for romantic sizzle does not disappoint in her latest New York Times bestselling novel, SIZZLE. Film student Lyra Prescott has a sexy new bodyguard, Agent Samuel Kincaid. Being the innocent target of a ruthless mob yields Lyra the love of her life and a future full of endless surprises. Reviewed by Hillary Wagy.

THE GODFATHER OF KATHMANDU by John Burdett (Thriller)
Sonchai Jitpleecheep --- John Burdett’s Royal Thai Police detective with the hard-bitten demeanor and the Buddhist soul --- is summoned to the most shocking and intriguing crime scene of his career. Solving the murder could mean a promotion, but Sonchai, reeling from a personal tragedy, is more interested in Tietsin, an exiled Tibetan lama based in Kathmandu who has become his guru. There are, however, obstacles in Sonchai’s path to nirvana. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

MARRIAGE AND OTHER ACTS OF CHARITY: A Memoir by Kate Braestrup (Memoir)
Kate Braestrup pens a series of graceful essays on love and marriage, fueled by her personal relationships and her counseling experiences. She proves that a minister-penned memoir can be a frequently hilarious, sometimes sorrowful and intensely insightful page-turner. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

WHERE THE GOD OF LOVE HANGS OUT: Fiction by Amy Bloom (Fiction/Short Stories)
Love, in its many forms and complexities, weaves through this collection by Amy Bloom, the New York Times bestselling author of AWAY. Bloom's astonishing and astute new work of interconnected stories illuminates the mysteries of passion, family and friendship. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read Amy Bloom’s blog post, “Bookclubs: The Good, The Bad, The Still Hard to Believe.”

DOORS OPEN by Ian Rankin (Thriller)
Three men descend upon an art auction in search of some excitement. After the auction --- and a chance encounter with a crime boss --- art professor Robert Gissing and art-lover Allan Cruickshank suggest the "liberation" of several paintings from the National Gallery, hoping their friend Mike Mackenzie will dissuade them. Instead, he hopes they are serious. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

THE UNNAMED by Joshua Ferris (Fiction)
Tim Farnsworth is a handsome, healthy man, aging with the grace of a matinee idol. He loves his wife, his family, his work and his home. Then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking. Joshua Ferris’s second novel (following his acclaimed debut THEN WE CAME TO THE END) is about a marriage and a family and the unseen forces of nature and desire that seem to threaten them both.

TRUE CONFECTIONS by Katharine Weber (Fiction)
Alice Tatnall Ziplinsky, who embraced the Ziplinsky family heritage when she married into Zip's Candies, delves deeply into the history of that family and of candy manufacturing. Alice also relays her own story in a legal affidavit regarding the business she cares so deeply about. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

GONE ’TIL NOVEMBER by Wallace Stroby (Thriller)
Two of my all-time favorite novels are Wallace Stroby’s THE BARBED-WIRE KISS and THE HEARTBREAK LOUNGE. Both are crime novels as dark and gritty a walk on the wild side that you can get without dirtying your shoes. Stroby has been absent from the literary scene for a while but returns with GONE ’TIL NOVEMBER, which demonstrates that he has not lost one iota of the magic that made his first two books instant classics. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

GALILEO'S DREAM by Kim Stanley Robinson (Historical Science Fiction)
Galileo Galilei is a genius in 17th-century Europe. On the Jovian moon Europa in the year 3020, he is an icon. Transferring between his time and the future, Galileo must battle the powers-that-be in his world while being used as a pawn by renegade powers of future Jupiter to alter history and lead science over religion. And that goal can only be met with the death of Galileo in his own time. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

THE VALLEY OF FEAR by A. C. Doyle (Hardboiled Crime Fiction)
In this reprint of the last Sherlock Holmes story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1914 and originally serialized in a magazine called The Strand, Holmes tackles a case with its roots buried deep in the United States. THE VALLEY OF FEAR is the most hardboiled story of the famous sleuth’s career. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

Click here to read this week's reviews.

Poll and Question of the Week: Browsing for Books

Do you find yourself browsing for books more in stores or online these days?

I browse for books more in stores.
I browse for books more online (via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, my local bookstores, etc.)
I browse for books both in stores and online.
I do not browse for books.
I'm not sure.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What was the last book you bought as an impulse purchase while browsing in a store or online?

-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 SECRETS OF EDEN by Chris Bohjalian, SHADOW TAG by Louise Erdrich and WINTER GARDEN by Kristin Hannah. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on February 5th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


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.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page. If you would like to reach me, please write Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by January 31, 2010 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: ALICE I HAVE BEEN by Melanie Benjamin, THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE SKY by Marian Keyes, IMPACT by Douglas Preston, NOAH'S COMPASS by Anne Tyler and REMARKABLE CREATURES by Tracy Chevalier. Karen from Taunton, MA was last month's newsletter winner. She won THE DISCIPLE by Stephen Coonts, LA'S ORCHESTRA SAVES THE WORLD by Alexander McCall Smith, NANNY RETURNS by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, THE PARIS VENDETTA by Steve Berry and U IS FOR UNDERTOW by Sue Grafton.

Happy reading! Don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend or to visit our other websites from,,,,, and

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