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February 12, 2010 Newsletter February 12, 2010
What Snow Means...

The snow around the country this week made life “interesting.” My younger son is loving this as he has been off from school on a snow day/long President’s weekend winter break and has discovered that there is money to be made in that old-fashioned thing called shoveling. He and his friend Stephen, who we have dubbed “Son 2B” since he is at our house a lot (his other friend Josh is "Son 2A”), have been shoveling the driveways of neighbors who are off skiing. The driveways around here are long, thus this is a booming business. Via Facebook and text message and with MapQuest maps in hand, they have ascertained who is away so they can “make their deals.” Note that I am fairly sure he slept through all shoveling around this house, which makes this all the more amusing, as well as the way they raided the pantry here for snacks to eat while shoveling.

The snowstorm caused me to miss Sarah Blake’s appearance in the city to discuss THE POSTMISTRESS, but I was happy to read her interview with us where she touched on many of my questions. Since I know many of you will not get to see her as well, I am happy that we can share this conversation with you here. Since the roads were back to blacktop last night, a number of us went to see Kristin Hannah’s event in New York where she read from and talked about her latest book, WINTER GARDEN. Since Kristin rarely tours in this area, it was a nice chance for our staff to meet her and we were thrilled to learn that WINTER GARDEN debuts on the New York Times list for February 21st at number 4. Snowballs for all to celebrate!

We also have an interview with Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni where she discusses ONE AMAZING THING. Reading about the real-life experiences that influenced her writing this book made it even more powerful to me, and it was fun to read her replies after meeting her in San Jose. I have selected both THE POSTMISTRESS and ONE AMAZING THING as Bets On picks this week. You can read here to see why.

This week required a sense of humor since life was anything but smooth, and I was very humored with Adriana Trigiani's appearance on the "Today" show, which you can see here, where she talked about BRAVA, VALENTINE, which just came out this week. Tomorrow Adriana is hosting her annual "The World's Biggest Book Club" event in New Jersey, but if you cannot get there, you can pose a question to her via Twitter using the hashtag #wbbcat and follow the action here. Adriana thinks this is her best book; for me it ties with LUCIA, LUCIA, my previous favorite book. Our reviewer, Lourdes Orive, is a huge Trigiani fan, so be sure to read her review to see how she weighs in on BRAVA, VALENTINE.

This week in our One to Watch feature, we spotlight ONE GOOD DOG by Susan Wilson, a touching, imaginative man-and-dog story in the vein of THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN and MARLEY & ME. Susan really puts a creative spin on the dog character, Chance, and how he helps a man --- who seemingly has it all --- put life into perspective. The book will be out March 2nd, but 20 of you will have the chance to preview it before the release date by entering our contest here.

Last night after Kristin’s event, I was out with my friend Beverley, who I have known since my days at Mademoiselle magazine. I was telling her that I really am happy these days. So many people are not and happiness is really something to value.

This discussion came up as I have been reading a book by Ted Leonsis called THE BUSINESS OF HAPPINESS: 6 Secrets to Extraordinary Success in Work and Life. Ted played a big role in starting our company. Back in 1996 he was at AOL where his Greenhouse division was investing in small entrepreneurial companies who he felt could engage folks online. He believed in us enough to have AOL pony up some serious money. It was the start of The Book Report Network, and I give Ted big credit for my happiness these days since part of the reason I am happy is because my work is so fulfilling.

So what made him write this book? It’s to share the story that got him started on the path to happiness --- and what he did along the way to achieve it. He was a self-made multi-millionaire at 27 when he was on a plane one day as the pilot told the passengers to prepare for a crash landing. He realized for all the money he had, he would not die fulfilled if he died that day. He made a life list of things he thought would make him happy and has been ticking down it since then. The list is in the book; looking at the checkmarks, he’s accomplished a lot of his list already. One of his goals (#33) is “to support someone who makes a great breakthrough in science or art.” It’s not checked. I wrote him earlier today to tell him that while what we do here may not be a “great breakthrough,” his support of us has given us a chance to bring news of books and authors to a lot of people each week. Which is a pretty cool thing.

Ted is someone I really admire. He's generous and the kind of person who really loves life. I don't read business books or self-help books. But I am enjoying this one since I know that Ted's the real deal. And reading it is making me happy.

My reading over the last two weeks included GIRL IN TRANSLATION by Jean Kwok, a stunningly emotional story of a young woman named Kimberly who has emigrated to the United States from Hong Kong and must adjust to a new life where she does not know the language or the customs. She is a student by day and a sweatshop worker in the evenings, giving the story both energy and tension. It’s in stores on May 4th. We're hosting a contest on where you can win an advance copy of it here.

I also read THEY’RE WATCHING by Gregg Hurwitz, one of my favorite thriller writers, which will be in stores July 6th. As always, Gregg has dropped me right into the story on the first page and then started building a plot with twists and turns and emotions that ebb and flow. It’s set in Hollywood, a world that Gregg knows well, though I tell him all the time that he is the most un-Hollywood Hollywood guy I know. Which is why I like him!

Staying in the suspense/thriller genre mode, Lisa Scottoline's LOOK AGAIN was released in paperback earlier this week and I really love the new cover. We featured this book in hardcover, and we're excited to bring it to your attention again. Lisa just keeps getting better and better. Also, we received some nice reader comments about THE SCULPTOR by debut author Gregory Funaro, which we featured earlier this winter. You can read their feedback here.

During the week, we have continued to make posts on our Facebook page. For those of you not on Facebook, we have put together a weekly blog piece with all our postings here.

For the long weekend around here, we have the Olympics on tap. Greg loves curling, which mystifies me since we know no one who curls. I will make my famous heart-shaped cake with pink icing as my ode to the Hallmark cupid holiday. Thanks to all who entered our Valentine’s Day basket giveaway. This is always a fun, festive contest, and we always get some imaginative answers to our now-annual question, “What character in a book would you want to share a Valentine moment with?” Funny, after all these years Rhett Butler and Mr. Darcy are still tops on the list, but they’re being closely pursued by a vampire and a werewolf, courtesy of the Stephenie Meyer Twilight phenomenon. You can see our five lucky winners and their answers here. I am planning lots of reading (which I will report on next week), knitting and fires in the fireplace for the three-day weekend. May you find love in a good book. Read on to be inspired.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Author of ONE AMAZING THING

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a creative writing professor at the University of Houston and the author of several works of fiction and poetry, including THE PALACE OF ILLUSIONS, THE CONCH BEARER and LEAVING YUBA CITY. In this interview with's Norah Piehl, Divakaruni explains how firsthand experiences during times of crisis inspired her latest novel, ONE AMAZING THING, and discusses the symbolic meaning behind the book's exotic setting for its various characters. She also names some of the classic and contemporary works that helped shape the novel's format, describes how emigrating from India to the U.S. jumpstarted her writing career, and shares how her work as a poet has influenced her prose.

ONE AMAZING THING by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Fiction)
Late afternoon sun sneaks through the windows of a passport and visa office in an unnamed American city. When an earthquake rips through the afternoon lull, trapping nine people together, their focus first jolts to their collective struggle to survive. Then, at a moment when the psychological and emotional stress seems nearly too much for them to bear, a young graduate student suggests that each tell a personal tale, "one amazing thing" from their lives, which they have never told anyone before. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read a review of ONE AMAZING THING.
-Click here to read an excerpt from ONE AMAZING THING.
-Click 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,


Click here to read our interview with Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Talks to Sarah Blake, Author of THE POSTMISTRESS

In this interview with's Jamie Layton, Sarah Blake discusses her personal motivations for writing her second novel, THE POSTMISTRESS, and the bigger questions that arose from it about the human capacity for both empathy and denial. She also reflects on the balance between her attachment for her characters and the distance required to tell a story, shares her thoughts on the evolution of journalism since the 1930s, and describes her current work-in-progress about an old-monied family that loses its fortune.

THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake (Fiction)
It is 1940. Iris James is the postmistress and spinster of Franklin, Massachusetts, a small town on Cape Cod. She firmly believes that her job is to deliver and keep people’s secrets, to pass along the news of love and sorrow that letters carry. Yet one day Iris does the unthinkable: she slips a letter into her pocket. And then she does something even worse --- she reads the letter, then doesn’t deliver it. Reviewed by Jamie Layton.

-Click here to read a review of THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to read a third excerpt from THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to read Sarah Blake's bio.
-Click here to see Sarah Blake's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Visit Sarah Blake's official website,


Click here to read our interview with Sarah Blake.


Author Talk: Carla Buckley, Author of THE THINGS THAT KEEP US HERE

Carla Buckley's debut, THE THINGS THAT KEEP US HERE, is an apocalyptic novel that centers on a family whose already fractured relationship is put to the test as they find themselves in the grips of an avian influenza pandemic. In this interview, Buckley explains what inspired her to write about such a timely topic and describes how her awareness of such highly infectious diseases has influenced her day-to-day life. She also discusses her writing process and shares details about her next book already in the works.

THE THINGS THAT KEEP US HERE by Carla Buckley (Suspense)
How far would you go to protect your family? Ann Brooks never thought she’d have to answer that question. Then she found her limits tested by a crisis no one could prevent. Now, as her neighborhood descends into panic, she must make tough choices to protect everyone she loves from a threat she cannot even see. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read a review of THE THINGS THAT KEEP US HERE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE THINGS THAT KEEP US HERE.


Click here to read an interview with Carla Buckley.

Now in Stores: BRAVA, VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani

BRAVA, VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani (Fiction)
In this sumptuous follow-up to VERY VALENTINE, a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity takes Valentine from the winding streets of Greenwich Village to the sun-kissed cobblestones of Buenos Aires, where she finds a long-buried secret hidden deep within a family scandal. Once unearthed, the truth rocks the Roncallis, while Valentine is torn between a past love that nurtured her and a new one that promises to sustain her. Reviewed by Lourdes Orive.

Click here to read a review of BRAVA, VALENTINE.



THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS by Rebecca Skloot (Science Biography)
Henrietta Lacks was an impoverished woman who died of cancer in 1951. Her ever-reproducing cancer cells --- taken without her knowledge --- led to amazing scientific breakthroughs; billions are bought and sold today. The tales of the first human cells to live indefinitely, the impact on Henrietta’s family, and Henrietta’s own journey through life weave together in this fascinating true story. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS.

Click here to read a review of THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS.


New Featured One to Watch Author: Susan Wilson, Author of ONE GOOD DOG

In the spirit of MARLEY & ME and THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, Susan Wilson's ONE GOOD DOG examines the companionship and healing power of "man's best friend" in this touching novel of a man who is on the edge of a breakdown and his canine companion who helps him mend. ONE GOOD DOG will be available in stores on March 2nd.

We have 20 copies of ONE GOOD DOG 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, February 19th at noon ET.

-Click here to read an excerpt from ONE GOOD DOG.
-Click here to read Susan Wilson's bio.
-Click here to see Susan Wilson's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for ONE GOOD DOG.
-Visit Susan Wilson's official website,

More about ONE GOOD DOG:
Adam March is a Boston man recovering from the shame of a foolish crime. Chance is a scrappy pit bull mix trying to escape the illegal dogfight circuit. Together they find salvation. Adam, 46, is a ruthless self-made millionaire married to an icy socialite living a picture-perfect existence that includes a teen princess daughter. Adam is sentenced to community service following an outburst at the office and meets the adorable Chance, who teaches Adam about survival and what matters. Chance tells his story in his own words, which makes his mistreatment and return to the fighting pit powerfully disturbing.
Click here to read more about Susan Wilson and ONE GOOD DOG.

Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Beverly Barton, Author of DEAD BY MIDNIGHT

New York Times bestselling author Beverly Barton has written over 50 contemporary romance novels and is a two-time Maggie Award winner, a two-time National Readers’ Choice Award winner and the recipient of a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Adventure. In DEAD BY MIDNIGHT, her latest novel, Barton ratchets up the suspense as victims race against time --- literally --- to beat their grim fate when the clock strikes 12.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from DEAD BY MIDNIGHT.
here to read Beverly Barton's bio.
here to see Beverly Barton's backlist.
here to read critical praise for DEAD BY MIDNIGHT.
-Visit Beverly Barton's official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

In murder, as in life, timing is everything. With every murder, the killer edges closer, and soon Lorie Hammonds will be the last name left on his list. In the 10 years since her Hollywood career imploded, Lorie has built a good life in her Alabama hometown, but things take a devious turn. She laughs off the first death threat, but the second threat is no joke. Her high school sweetheart, Mike Birkett, is now the small town's sheriff who has tried to keep his distance, but he, too, is drawn into a web of secrets, lies and murders that become increasingly personal.


Click here to read more about Beverly Barton and DEAD BY MIDNIGHT.


Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Gregg Olsen, Author of VICTIM SIX

With each new book release, Gregg Olsen's fan base expands as more readers are entranced by his nuanced and gruesome thrillers. His latest, VICTIM SIX, pits two women against a sadistic serial killer whose murderous acts become more depraved with each victim.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from VICTIM SIX.
-Click here to read Gregg Olsen's bio.
-Click here to see Gregg Olsen's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for VICTIM SIX.
-Visit Gregg Olsen's official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about VICTIM SIX:
The bodies begin turning up in the marshes and swamps surrounding Puget Sound, each one more gruesome than the previous. The killer has a precision to his killing, carefully targeting, stalking, torturing and disposing of each victim. Two women find themselves unlikely friends as they race to stop the killer before his next strike. However, time is not on their side as the clues seem to place each of them squarely in the killer's crosshairs.


Click here to read more about Gregg Olsen and VICTIM SIX.

Now Available in Paperback: Featured Suspense/Thriller Author Lisa Scottoline's LOOK AGAIN

Lisa Scottoline scored another critically-acclaimed bestseller with LOOK AGAIN upon its release in 2009, and further solidified her spot as one of the most creative and popular suspense/thriller writers working today. LOOK AGAIN, a gripping story about a mother who realizes a chilling secret about her adopted son, is now available in paperback.

LOOK AGAIN by Lisa Scottoline (Thriller)
When reporter Ellen Gleeson gets a “Have You Seen This Child?” flyer in the mail, she almost throws it away. But something about it makes her look again, and her heart stops --- the child in the photo is identical to her adopted son, Will. Her adoption was lawful, but she’s a journalist and won’t be able to stop thinking about the photo until she figures out the truth. As she investigates, Ellen uncovers clues that no one was meant to discover, and when she digs too deep, she risks losing her own life --- and that of the son she loves.

-Click here to read a review of LOOK AGAIN.
-Click here to read an excerpt from LOOK AGAIN.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for LOOK AGAIN.
-Click here to read our interview with Lisa Scottoline.
-Click here to read Lisa Scottoline’s bio.
-Click here to read fast facts about Lisa Scottoline.
-Click here to see Lisa Scottoline's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for LOOK AGAIN.
-Visit Lisa Scottoline's official website,
-Click here to see our advance reader comments about LOOK AGAIN.


Click here to read more about Lisa Scottoline and LOOK AGAIN. Bets On: THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake and ONE AMAZING THING by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

With thousands of books published each year and much attention paid to the works of bestselling and well-known authors, it is inevitable that some titles worthy of praise and discussion may not get the attention we think they deserve. Thus throughout 2010, we will continue to spotlight books that immediately struck a chord with us and made us say “just read this.” As we did in 2009, we will alert our readers about these titles as soon as they’re released so you can discover them for yourselves and recommend them to your family and friends.

Here are our latest featured titles, with more to come in the weeks ahead:

THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake (February 9th): Sarah Blake's THE POSTMISTRESS is a wonderful and engaging story of three women set during 1941 as the war is raging in Europe and America is not yet involved in the conflict, though people are wondering when, not if, we will be. The prose drops readers into London where it’s raining bombs, and I could hear the rumbles and feel the way people’s lives were shattered as I turned the pages; Blake captures the collateral damage of war. One of the women is a war correspondent in London, the other two are in Massachusetts --- a postmistress and a doctor's wife. The way their lives collide and weave together made me want to read this book without interruption. It reels you in and surrounds you with details, all with careful, beautiful language. Frankie, the war reporter, was my favorite character probably because for me Blake’s writing is strongest when she tells this part of the story. Rich with detail and laced with emotion, THE POSTMISTRESS is one not to miss, and for those in book clubs, this is one to add to your list to read and discuss.

-Click here to read a review of THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to read our interview with Sarah Blake.
-Click here to read Sarah Blake’s bio.

ONE AMAZING THING by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (February 2nd): ONE AMAZING THING by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni takes place in a passport office somewhere here in the United States when an earthquake hits and the nine people 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. They become united in the task of surviving and shake out the roles of leaders and followers. As they are awaiting rescue, each member of the group tells one story about their lives, something that they have not previously shared. As they talk, their survival story gets placed on the backburner as readers instead are drawn into the stories of what came before this moment. Each character speaks of deep truths, and through them we learn so much about them --- and often the story I had preconceived about them was shattered. Reading 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 whose lives will part from yours as you exit the plane and leave baggage claim. ONE AMAZING THING will have you thinking about the one story that you would tell. And the ending will give you much to discuss.

-Click here to read a review of ONE AMAZING THING.
-Click here to read an excerpt from ONE AMAZING THING.
-Click here to read our interview with Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.
-Click here to read Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s bio.


Click here to see all the titles we’re betting you’ll love.


Congratulations to Our Valentine's Day Basket Winners!

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 had 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. Thanks to all who entered and told us which character in a book they would want to share a Valentine moment with. Click here to see our winners and their responses.

Although the contest has ended, we encourage you to visit our Valentine's Day feature. 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 see our Valentine's Day suggestions.

What's New This Month on

With more than 2,850 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:

-Super Fab Book Club Names
-Super Fab Book Club Names, Part Deux
-New or Used, Buy or Borrow
-Overcoming Bookpickaphobia
-Variety is the Spice of Life
-Starting the Discussion: How Do You Break the Ice?
-Starting the Discussion: Part 2
-Dolen Perkins-Valdez: WENCH

We are thrilled to announce that our new Coming Soon feature is now live on Here you can find books that are being published in upcoming months, which are sorted by release dates and whether they are hardcovers or paperbacks. This feature was conceived after we heard in our 2009 Reader Survey about how many of you select books well in advance instead of month-to-month. We will be adding to this page as more publishers share their information with us, so bookmark it and keep checking back.

The following guides are now available on

ADDITION by Toni Jordan
THE BLUE SWEATER: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World by Jacqueline Novogratz
BLUE WATER by A. Manette Ansay

THE BREAD OF ANGELS: A Journey to Love and Faith by Stephanie Saldaña
ETERNAL ON THE WATER by Joseph Monninger
GOOD THINGS I WISH YOU by A. Manette Ansay

THE HAPPINESS PROJECT: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin
HONOLULU by Alan Brennert
LITTLE BEE by Chris Cleave
LOOK AGAIN by Lisa Scottoline
LOWBOY by John Wray
MARRY HIM: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough by Lori Gottlieb
THE MEMORY THIEF by Rachel Keener
ONE GOOD DOG by Susan Wilson
THE PATIENCE STONE: "SANG-E SABOOR" written by Atiq Rahimi, translated from the French by Polly McLean
THE SPARE ROOM by Helen Garner
TALES FROM THE ZIRZAMEEN by Brian Hanson Appleton aka Rasool Aryadust

THE WEIGHT OF HEAVEN by Thrity Umrigar

THE WIFE'S TALE by Lori Lansens
THE WOMEN by T.C. Boyle
THE YELLOW HOUSE by Patricia Falvey

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

CUTTING FOR STONE by Abraham Verghese
PRAYERS FOR SALE by Sandra Dallas
THE SCARECROW by Michael Connelly

The following new guides are now available for Christian book groups:

A DISTANT MELODY: Wings of Glory, Book One by Sarah Sundin
LISTEN by Rene Gutteridge

THE PROMISE OF MORNING: At Home in Beldon Grove, Book 2 by Ann Shorey
SCATTERED PETALS: Texas Dreams, Book 2 by Amanda Cabot


Click here to visit

This Week's Reviews
DEATH OF A VALENTINE: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery by M. C. Beaton (Mystery)
DEATH OF A VALENTINE is the 25th novel in M. C. Beaton’s cozy mystery series featuring Hamish Macbeth, the shrewd village policeman from the picturesque Scottish Highlands. When a seemingly innocent village belle is brutally murdered by an exploding Valentine’s Day package, Hamish learns there is no shortage of suspects in the village of Lochdubh. As more bodies pile up, the race is on for Hamish to apprehend the culprit before he or she can strike again, all the while evading the clutches of his romantically stricken new police constable. Reviewed by Usha Reynolds.

FALSE CONVICTIONS by Tim Green (Legal Thriller)
Attorney and former NFL star Tim Green’s latest effort is another entertaining legal thriller featuring the return of lawyer Casey Jordan and reporter Jake Carlson. In FALSE CONVICTIONS, Green places the battle to free a wrongfully convicted man in the context of political machinations and the world of finance. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

DEVILS IN EXILE by Chuck Hogan (Thriller)
Chuck Hogan, known for creating novels of pulse-pounding action and tension, returns with another book set in the Boston area. A recent Iraq War veteran joins a band of renegade ex-military men to create their own war against drugs in their hometown. Unfortunately, their leader may not be all he appears to be. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

SOMETHING IS OUT THERE: Stories by Richard Bausch (Fiction/Short Stories)
This expressive collection of short stories by renowned writer Richard Bausch confronts the meaning behind disparate lives. His understated, masterful writing invites us to contemplate the ultimate mystery we are to each other and --- perhaps most of all --- to ourselves. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

JEALOUSY: The Other Life of Catherine M. by Catherine Millet (Memoir)
Catherine Millet, the bestselling author of THE SEXUAL LIFE OF CATHERINE M., explores in her new memoir, JEALOUSY, her emotional turmoil after discovering that her partner and the love of her life also had been having sexual affairs outside their relationship. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

RICH AGAIN by Anna Maxted (Fiction)span>
Up until now, Anna Maxted’s novels have been firmly lumped in with the Bridget Jones/chick-lit category of women’s fiction. Although her earlier works sometimes tackled darker subjects, they did so in a way laced with plenty of humor and lighthearted romance. Now, with RICH AGAIN, Maxted takes her fiction in startling --- and surprisingly dark --- directions. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

GUTSHOT STRAIGHT by Lou Berney (Thriller)
A crime caper in the tradition of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen, Lou Berney’s fast-paced and funny debut is the story of Charles "Shake" Bouchon, fresh out of prison after serving three years for grand theft auto and ready for life on the straight and narrow. Well, maybe after one last job… Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Click here to read this week’s reviews.

Poll, Question and Word of Mouth


If you don’t like a book written by an author who you typically read, will you continue reading books by that author?

Yes, but if that author disappoints me a second time, then I will stop reading his or her books
Not sure
I have never been disappointed by authors who I typically read.

-Click here to answer our poll.


Name up to five authors of ongoing series books who never disappoint you.

-Click here to answer our question.

Word of Mouth:

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 BRAVA, VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani, THE GIRL WHO FELL FROM THE SKY by Heidi W. Durrow and LAST SNOW by Eric Van Lustbader. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, February 19th 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 February 28, 2010 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: BRAVA, VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani, FANTASY IN DEATH by J.D. Robb, LAST SNOW by Eric Van Lustbader, SPLIT IMAGE: A Jesse Stone Novel by Robert B. Parker and WINTER GARDEN by Kristin Hannah. Sonia from Wallkill, NY was last month's winner. She won 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.

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

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