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March 25, 2011 Newsletter March 25, 2011

How Juniper Berries Inspired a Construction Project

On Wednesday night, when the snow was flying, I was really happy that I had been talked out of setting up the new furniture on the patio. Of course, someone in our house --- not me, as it involved a screwdriver and a wrench --- could not resist seeing how the furniture looked, so now a patio furniture chair and ottoman sit in my living room. Luckily the colors match the rest of the room, but let’s just remember this was not MY idea! With winter still looming no matter what the calendar says this weekend, I am going to tackle some knitting project that involves a bright color to spike my mood.

We have been eating at this terrific Asian-French fusion place in town where I have been ordering a salad just so I can analyze how to make it. The ingredients are easy, but it has a juniper berry salad dressing, which I am rather crazy about and trying to replicate. Thus I found myself in the spice aisle last Saturday hunting down juniper berries, which were new to me. I then went through my cookbooks looking for recipes, and from this decided that where I presently store cookbooks is really inconvenient. While the ones I use most are on a shelf where I can get to them quickly, there are many stacked in the back of the pantry. I now have made a design for a bookshelf area in one corner of the kitchen, which I am lobbying to get built. Blame the juniper berries!

This week I am delighted to share our review of NIGHT ROAD, the latest book from Kristin Hannah. You’ve heard praise for this one from me, and now I am happy to say that our reviewer, Norah Piehl, gives it a rave as well. She says, “In NIGHT ROAD, Kristin Hannah sets herself a challenging task. The novel is simultaneously a love story, a book about siblings, and a story about several sets of mothers and daughters. It spans 10 tumultuous years, a decade that seems like a lifetime for her characters but that will breeze by in a rush of emotions for her readers. She also crafts two equally compelling heroines: Jude, who must redefine what it means to be a good mother, and Lexi, who must learn to trust that she won't just relive past patterns.” I cannot wait to hear what you think of it. If you’re part of a book group, NIGHT ROAD will certainly spark a lot of discussions and opinions.

Amy Gwiazdowski reviews THE PEACH KEEPER by Sarah Addison Allen this week, and says “One thing I enjoy about Allen’s writing is that she makes the setting another character. Walls of Water is a town with buried secrets that emerge slowly, forcing its residents to make decisions and come to new understandings about their lives. The friendships, love lives, and the need to know who they are make her characters lovely people you want to know more about.” THE PEACH KEEPER was our most recent Women’s Fiction Spotlight title, and Amy also interviewed Sarah for this week’s edition. Sarah shared a blog --- and a delicious-looking recipe --- on the blog earlier this week. Click here to read the interview and here for the blog.

We’re launching a new Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight for ONE WAS A SOLDIER, the latest Rev. Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery by Julia Spencer-Fleming. This seventh novel in the bestselling series deals with Rev. Clare Fergusson’s return from her tour of duty in Iraq and the complications she faces in readjusting to her community and parish. A member of Clare’s veterans support group turns up dead, and she pushes police chief Russ Van Alstyne to consider a homicide angle. This is such a unique series, and Julia really ups the romantic tension between Clare and Russ while dealing with some very timely issues. We have 20 copies to give away to readers who enter here by Friday, April 1st at noon ET. The book will be in stores April 12th.

Also to note is that Julia’s publisher has put together a special eBook called “Letters to a Soldier,” which includes letters exchanged between the main characters in I SHALL NOT WANT and ONE WAS A SOLDIER. And along with the letters, there is also a special note from Julia (with her signature included) and a sneak peek of ONE WAS A SOLDIER. People can get quick access to buy it by clicking here. And for a limited time, the eBook of the first installment in the series, IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER (I remember meeting Julia as she won tons of recognition for that book), is just $2.99.

There’s also one week left in our Sneak Peek contest for Jussi Adler-Olsen’s THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES, which could be one of the next big books out of Scandinavia. Jussi won the prestigious Glass Key Award presented by the Crime Writers of Scandinavia. Inevitably there are going to be comparisons between THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES and Stieg Larsson’s Millennium books because of their similar heritages, but Jussi is a talent in his own right. THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES really keeps you guessing as a detective who’s being pushed out the door begins working a cold case about a missing politician. There’s some serious tension here as well as some dry wit and a great odd-couple pairing between the detective and his Persian assistant. Answer some questions about your reading habits here by Friday, April 1st at noon ET, but please only enter if you will be able to read the book and answer some questions about it by Friday, April 29th. It’s a big book, but a FAST read!

My latest Bets On pick is BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys, a YA book that has appeal to adults as well. It’s the story of a little-spoken-about series of events that happened in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia where Stalin exiled people from those countries to Siberia during World War II and imprisoned them for 15 years! More than 20 million people were killed during these years, 14.5 million of whom were starved to death. The book is brilliant, and I was enveloped in the story from the first page when I read it last fall. I had the pleasure of meeting Ruta at a lunch in New York where she talked about her research and the story of her own family that led her to write the book. And then I got to hear her speak in Orlando in November where she presented the book to the National Council of Teachers of English. Both our conversation and her talk stayed with me as did her story. I am so happy that we finally are able to share this very special book with you. You can watch an interview with Ruta here.

We kept the aforementioned Norah busy this week. She wrote our review of BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY, where she says, “The suffering experienced by Lina and her companions is shocking and often difficult to read. But BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY is also a profoundly moving and inspiring book, as Lina discovers first her own capacity for courage, then her ability to use art to overcome challenges, and finally her desire for both love and survival. The power of art and hope to overcome despair and death underlies Lina's story and the stories of all whose lives pass through this remarkable debut novel. Readers will surely be inspired to follow their examples --- to seize life and, above all, to tell their stories in whatever way they can.”

I loved this moment that we have a photo of above. reviewer Roz Shea, on the right, caught up with Linda Fairstein at the famous Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona, Wednesday night where Linda was just about winding up a three-week whirlwind tour for her new thriller, SILENT MERCY. Her next stop was Los Angeles, then back home to New York City. Linda told Roz that she loves meeting her fans but wishes she could skip the airports. Three weeks on the road would mean a lot of time taking your shoes off in airports! It's so nice they got to meet. I got notes from both that night that made me wish I had been there.

I'm thrilled to share that the troika of Karin Slaughter, Kathryn Stockett and Mary Kay Andrews raised $42,000 for the DeKalb County Public Library in Georgia on March 12th through their event and auction. Their next stop will be Boston, and as soon as we have details on that, I will let you know!

Last night I went to a screening of Rodrick Rules, the second movie based on the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, which is in theaters today. It had just the humor I needed after a very crazy week. When the first movie came out last spring, I went with my son Cory and his friend Josh, who also is known as Son 2A. I think I embarrassed both of them with my laughing. Last night I laughed even harder as I watched the mom’s attempts to try to get two of her sons to be friends; it was quite amusing. It's worth seeing and taking a kid who will not be embarrassed with your laughing with you.

Last weekend I watched True Grit and realized I remember nothing of the John Wayne version! And I should have read the book by Charles Portis first. I also watched Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 from Netflix (my dentist has his office in the same building as the Steinway showcase in the city, and thus I always ogle those pianos.) During the documentary, I saw that the price tag on one piano that I really liked was $103,000. I guess I will keep playing the keyboard for a while longer. Since there are no more polygamists to occupy my Sunday evenings with the end of "Big Love" (which from me got a thumbs up for a terrific ending), I am going to check out "Mildred Pierce", the new HBO miniseries that premieres this Sunday. Adapted from James M. Cain's novel and starring Kate Winslet, it could be a winner.

I'm reading THE SNOWMAN by Jo Nesbø and loving it. This weekend’s task is all about organizing the piles of books that have been arriving here at the house that need managing. Once again, my plan to contain my future reading to two bookshelves is failing miserably. Here’s to a great week…read on…..

Carol Fitzgerald (


Now in Stores: NIGHT ROAD by Kristin Hannah

NIGHT ROAD by Kristin Hannah (Fiction)
For 18 years, Jude Farraday has put the needs of her twins, Zach and Mia, before her own. And it shows. Then Lexi, a former foster child, befriends Mia --- and when Zach falls in love with her, the three become inseparable. Jude now struggles to keep her kids on track. And on a hot summer’s night, her worst fears are realized. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from NIGHT ROAD.
-Visit Kristin Hannah’s official website,


Click here to read a review of NIGHT ROAD.

Now in Stores: LIVE WIRE by Harlan Coben

LIVE WIRE by Harlan Coben (Thriller)
When ex-tennis star Suzze T and her husband, Lex, receive a Facebook post regarding the paternity of their unborn child, Lex runs off. Myron Bolitar finds him, along with his sister-in-law, who abandoned his family years ago. Now Myron must locate his missing brother and face the lies that led to the estrangement --- including the ones he himself told. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from LIVE WIRE.

Click here to read a review of LIVE WIRE.

Now in Stores: THE SATURDAY BIG TENT WEDDING PARTY by Alexander McCall Smith

THE SATURDAY BIG TENT WEDDING PARTY: The New No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel by Alexander McCall Smith (Mystery)
When two cows are killed at a remote cattle post south of Gaborone, Precious Ramotswe is asked to investigate. It’s an intriguing case with plenty of suspects --- including her client. But on top of that, she’s being haunted by a vision of her dear white van, and one of Mr. J.L.B Matekoni’s apprentices has run away. Naturally it’s up to her to sort things out. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SATURDAY BIG TENT WEDDING PARTY.

Click here to read a review of THE SATURDAY BIG TENT WEDDING PARTY. Talks to Sarah Addison Allen, Author of THE PEACH KEEPER

Sarah Addison Allen is a native of North Carolina and the author of THE PEACH KEEPER, which follows the unlikely friendship between Willa Jackson, a once-prominent woman, and Paxton Osgood, a wealthy do-gooder who finds herself in need of Willa’s help when the restoration of the Jackson family home unearths the skeleton of a notorious traveling salesman. In this interview with’s Amy Gwiazdowski, Allen talks about the people and places that inspired her latest novel, elaborating on Appalachian culture and the unusual beauty of North Carolina’s Transylvania County. She also speculates on the relationship between preoccupations with food and people’s personalities, reflects on the nature of Southern superstitions, and hints at a sequel to one of her earlier successes.

THE PEACH KEEPER by Sarah Addison Allen (Fiction)
Walls of Water, North Carolina is a small town with secrets that run deep. The only thing that may run deeper than its hidden mysteries is the friendship among a few of the town’s women, some of whom have bonds that go back farther than anyone imagined. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

-Click here to read a review of THE PEACH KEEPER.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE PEACH KEEPER.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE PEACH KEEPER.
-Click here to read Sarah Addison Allen’s bio.
-Click here to see Sarah Addison Allen’s backlist.
-Click here to read Sarah Addison Allen’s blog post on
-Visit Sarah Addison Allen’s official website,
-Click here to see the winners of THE PEACH KEEPER.


Click here to read our interview with Sarah Addison Allen.

New Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming, Author of ONE WAS A SOLDIER

Julia Spencer-Fleming is back with ONE WAS A SOLDIER, her seventh mystery featuring Rev. Clare Fergusson and police chief Russ Van Alstyne. When Clare returns from a tour of duty in Iraq, she finds herself embroiled in the strange death of a veteran and her touch-and-go relationship with Russ.

We have 20 copies of ONE WAS A SOLDIER, which will be in stores April 12th, 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, April 1st at noon ET.

-Click here to read an excerpt from ONE WAS A SOLDIER.
-Click here to read critical praise for ONE WAS A SOLDIER.
-Click here to read Julia Spencer-Fleming’s bio.
-Click here to see Julia Spencer-Fleming’s backlist.
-Visit Julia Spencer-Fleming’s official website,

The Rev. Clare Fergusson wants to forget the things she saw as a combat helicopter pilot and concentrate on her relationship with Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne. MP Eric McCrea needs to control the explosive anger threatening his job as a police officer. Will Ellis, high school track star, faces the reality of life as a double amputee. Orthopedist Trip Stillman is denying the extent of his traumatic brain injury. And bookkeeper Tally McNabb wrestles with guilt over the in-country affair that may derail her marriage.

But coming home is harder than it looks. One vet will struggle with drugs and alcohol. One will lose his family and friends. One will die. Since their first meeting, Russ and Clare’s bond has been tried, torn, and forged by adversity. But when he rules the veteran’s death a suicide, she violently rejects his verdict, drawing the surviving vets into an unorthodox investigation that threatens jobs, relationships, and her own future with Russ.


Click here to read more about Julia Spencer-Fleming and ONE WAS A SOLDIER. Bets On: BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys

BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys (Historical Fiction)
BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys is a young adult book that deserves attention from readers. It’s the story of a little-spoken-about series of events that occurred in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, where Stalin exiled people from those countries to Siberia during World War II. The war ended, but they stayed prisoners for 15 years. More than 20 million people were killed during these years, 14.5 million of whom were starved to death. It’s brilliant, and I was enveloped in the story from the first page. The strong characters and vivid descriptions give evidence to the impeccable research that Ruta did. (She even spent time in a simulated camp, which was a life-changing experience for her.)

I had the pleasure of meeting Ruta in New York last fall, where she talked about the story of her own family that led her to write the book. Although it’s a novel, the emotion that fuels the core of it is very real. While much is known and has been written about the Holocaust, little has been written about the tragedy in Siberia. BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY illuminates this bleak, ugly mark on humanity and will give you pause.

-Click here to read a review of BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY.
here to watch Ruta Sepetys talk about BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY.


Click here to see all the books we’re betting you’ll love.'s Sneak Peek Feature: An Early Look at an Upcoming Book --- Our Latest Featured Title: THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES by Jussi Adler-Olsen

At, we have the opportunity to read many great books well in advance of their release dates. Now, with our Sneak Peek Feature/Contest, we are offering our readers the chance to preview select early picks --- and share feedback on them. We know that readers champion books that they love, and we want you to be part of the excitement of upcoming releases as early as possible.

Our latest Sneak Peek Feature spotlights THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES by Jussi Adler-Olsen ---
the suspenseful tale of a down-on-his luck detective trying to heat-up a cold case from one of Denmark’s leading authors --- which releases in October. We have 50 specially formatted early reader editions to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and share their comments about it. Enter here by Friday, April 1st at noon ET.

We really want to hear what you have to say about THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES, so if you will have time to read it and answer some questions by Friday, April 29th, please enter this contest. If not, we plan to have more opportunities like this in the future.


THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES, the first installment of Jussi Adler-Olsen’s international bestselling Department Q series, features the deeply flawed detective Carl Mørck. Carl used to be a good homicide detective --- one of Copenhagen’s best. Then a bullet almost took his life. Two of his colleagues weren’t so lucky, and Carl, who didn’t draw his weapon, blames himself.

So a promotion is the last thing Carl expects. But it all becomes clear when he sees his new office in the basement. Carl has been selected to run department Q, a new special investigations division that turns out to be a department of one.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES.

Click here to read all the details of our Sneak Peek Feature/Contest for THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES.

Paperback Spotlight: THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake

THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake (Fiction)
In 1940, Iris James is the postmistress in coastal Franklin, Massachusetts. Iris knows more about the townspeople than she will ever say, and believes her job is to deliver secrets. Yet one day she does the unthinkable: slips a letter into her pocket, reads it, and doesn't deliver it.

Meanwhile, Frankie Bard broadcasts from overseas with Edward R. Murrow. Her dispatches beg listeners to pay heed as the Nazis bomb London nightly. Most of the townspeople of Franklin think the war can't touch them. But both Iris and Frankie know better...

-Click here to read a review of THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to read critical praise for 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.
-Click here to see the winners of THE POSTMISTRESS.


Click here to read more about THE POSTMISTRESS.

Featured One to Watch Author: Rae Meadows, Author of MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS

Author Rae Meadows follows three generations of women in one family in MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS, a richly textured novel of birth, death, love, loss, secrets, strength, and the unbreakable ties between mothers and daughters.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.
-Click here to read critical praise for MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.
-Click here to read Rae Meadows’s bio.
-Click here to see Rae Meadows’s backlist.
-Visit Rae Meadows’s official website,
-Click here to see the winners of MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.

Samantha is lost in the joys of new motherhood --- the softness of her eight-month-old daughter's skin, the lovely weight of her child in her arms --- but in trading her artistic dreams to care for her child, Sam worries she's lost something of herself. And she is still mourning another loss: her mother, Iris, died just one year ago. When a box of Iris's belongings arrives on Sam's doorstep, she discovers links to pieces of her family history but is puzzled by much of the information the box contains. She learns that her grandmother Violet left New York City as an 11-year-old girl, traveling by herself to the Midwest in search of a better life. But what was Violet's real reason for leaving? And how could she have made that trip alone at such a tender age?

Click here to read more about Rae Meadows and MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Gregg Olsen, Author of CLOSER THAN BLOOD


Bestselling author Gregg Olsen returns with CLOSER THAN BLOOD, a truly terrifying tale of murder and revenge as a crime long forgotten is revisited with chilling, modern consequences.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from CLOSER THAN BLOOD.
-Click here to read critical praise for CLOSER THAN BLOOD.
-Click here to read Gregg Olsen’s bio.
-Click here to see Gregg Olsen’s backlist.
-Visit Gregg Olsen’s official website,
-Click here to see the winners of CLOSER THAN BLOOD.

The first time was easy. No one ever suspected the victim had been murdered. The crime long buried, the dark passions guiding the killer's hand are still alive. But the need for revenge cannot be denied. Only one person can stop the killing. Only one person can identify the killer. Only one person knows the face of death --- is as close as the face in the mirror…
Click here to read more about Gregg Olsen and CLOSER THAN BLOOD.

Featured Southern Writers Author: Anna Jean Mayhew, Author of THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST


Anna Jean Mayhew's debut novel, THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST, explores the meaning of race through the eyes of a teenager as her family vacations through the segregated South in the mid-1950s, with their trip taking a shocking, tragic turn.

/span>-Click here to read a third excerpt from THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST.
-Click here to read Anna Jean Mayhew’s bio.
-Click here to see the winners of THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST.

On a scorching day in August 1954, 13-year-old Jubie Watts leaves Charlotte, North Carolina, with her family for a Florida vacation. Crammed into the Packard along with Jubie are her three siblings, her mother, and the family’s black maid, Mary Luther. For as long as Jubie can remember, Mary has been there --- cooking, cleaning, compensating for her father’s rages and her mother’s benign neglect, and loving Jubie unconditionally. Bright and curious, Jubie takes note of the anti-integration signs they pass, and of the racial tension that builds as they journey further south. But she could never have predicted the shocking turn their trip will take. Now, in the wake of tragedy, Jubie must confront her parents’ failings and limitations, decide where her own convictions lie, and make the tumultuous leap to independence...


Click here to read more about Anna Jean Mayhew and THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST.

This Week’s Reviews

A LESSON IN SECRETS: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear (Historical Mystery)
In 1932, Maisie Dobbs’s career takes an exciting turn when she’s handed an undercover assignment. She’s sent to Cambridge to monitor unpatriotic activities at a private college. And when the founder is murdered, it seems linked to those under her surveillance. As she tries to unravel this web, she’ll discover truths about Britain’s past --- and find herself facing British Nazis. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

UNFAMILIAR FISHES by Sarah Vowell (History)
Many think 1776 is the defining year of American history. But in UNFAMILIAR FISHES, Sarah Vowell argues that 1898 is just as important. In a fit of imperialism, the U.S. became a superpower almost overnight, annexing Puerto Rico, Guam and Hawaii. With clever insights, Vowell sets out to discover the enigmatic history of the 50th state. In doing so, she finds America. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel />

WHEN THE THRILL IS GONE: A Leonid McGill Mystery by Walter Mosley (Mystery)
While confronting serious problems in his personal life, New York City private eye Leonid McGill takes on a case involving the wife of a billionaire who is convinced that her husband killed his previous two wives and that she’s next. Nothing is as it seems in this third installment of award-winning novelist Walter Mosley’s series. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

-Click here to read an excerpt from WHEN THE THRILL IS GONE.

COLD WIND: A Joe Pickett Novel by C. J. Box (Thriller)
When Earl Alden is found dangling from a wind turbine, his wife, Missy, is arrested. Missy is Joe Pickett’s mother-in-law, and the signs point to her being guilty as sin. But then things happen that make him wonder if Earl’s death is what it appears to be. Now he’s caught between the sheriff and his wife. Whichever way it goes, it won’t be good. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD: New and Selected Stories by E. L. Doctorow (Fiction/Short Stories)
In a collection that might have been titled “American Misfits,” the masterly E. L. Doctorow portrays an assortment of troubled people struggling to make sense of their lives in a society that exalts individualism over community. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

EVERY DAY BY THE SUN: A Memoir of the Faulkners of Mississippi by Dean Faulkner Wells (Memoir)
In EVERY DAY BY THE SUN, Dean Faulkner Wells recounts the story of the Faulkners of Mississippi, whose legacy includes three never-convicted murderers and one of the most important American novelists of the 20th century. From the 1920s to Faulkner’s death in 1962, this memoir explores the changing culture of Oxford, Mississippi, and offers an indelible portrait of a national treasure. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

THE BONE YARD: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass (Mystery)
When a Florida forensic analyst asks Bill Brockton, a researcher on human decomposition, to investigate her sister’s death, he gets more than he bargained for. Bones turn up in the panhandle, leading them to ruins of a reformatory, where they find several shallow graves. They soon discover that the ghosts of the past can have a deadly effect on the present. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

COME AND FIND ME by Hallie Ephron (Suspense)
Reformed hacker Diana Highsmith hasn’t been out of her house since her husband’s death. But Diana isn’t completely cut off, as she helps run an Internet security company from home. Then her sister goes missing, and Diana is forced to brave the outside world. She soon uncovers a web of deceit and betrayal that threatens not only her sister's life, but also her own. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

RODIN’S DEBUTANTE by Ward Just (Historical Fiction)
Instead of letting his wife commission a bust from Rodin, Tom Ogdin endows a boys’ school --- a decision that will impact a young sculptor named Lee Goodell. As Lee reflects on his time at Ogden’s school, he meets an old friend who was the victim of a crime she can’t remember. Her assault marks the end of Lee’s boyhood --- and the beginning of a life-altering epiphany. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

DRINKING WITH MISS DUTCHIE: A Memoir by Ed Breslin (Memoir)
Ed Breslin's memoir about the dramatic changes one puppy brought to his life is not a typical dog book. Rather, it’s the heartfelt eulogy to a black Lab who taught her owner the importance of self respect and living in the moment, and in so doing helped him turn around his muddled, addicted life. Reviewed by Carole Turner.


Click here to read this week's reviews.


Young Adult Books You Won’t Want to Miss

As you may or may not know, our company, The Book Report Network, has a number of websites about books and authors in addition to Throughout the year, features adult books on, our site for young adult readers, that we think will have definite appeal to a teen audience. In the spirit of sharing, we are now spotlighting a selection of titles each month from that we believe are great reads that you might enjoy.

Here are our latest featured titles:

BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys (Historical Fiction)
It's 1941, and Lina is just like any other 15-year-old Lithuanian girl. That is, until Soviet officers barge into her home. Separated from her father, Lina, her mother and her brother travel north on a crowded train to a camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here, under Stalin's orders, they are forced to dig for beets --- and fight for their lives --- under the cruelest conditions. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

here to read an excerpt from BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY.
here to watch Ruta Sepetys talk about BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY.

LOST & FOUND: THREE written and illustrated by Shaun Tan (Fiction/Illustrated Short Stories)
The Lost Thing won Best Animated Short at this year's Academy Awards. This huge honor coincides with the release of LOST & FOUND, a collection of Shaun Tan's early picture books that includes the story on which the film is based, along with THE RED TREE and THE RABBITS. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

TO TIMBUKTU: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story written by Casey Scieszka and illustrated by Steven Weinberg (Memoir)
Two young adults meet while studying abroad in Morocco. They fall in love and decide to travel some more... and their adventures begin. For the next year-and-a-half, they teach English in China, wander Southeast Asia, and do research in Mali. TO TIMBUKTU is a fully illustrated chronicle of their illuminating time abroad --- and what they learned there. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

WORDS IN THE DUST by Trent Reedy (Fiction)
A quiet, severely disfigured Afghan girl experiences a promising vision of her nation's future when American troops occupy her desert village and arrange surgery for her cleft lip. Based on an enlightening true story, WORDS IN THE DUST tells of a shy 13-year-old and how much her life changes because of the simple kindness of a few concerned American soldiers. Reviewed by Melanie Smith and excerpted.

here to read an excerpt from WORDS IN THE DUST.
here to watch Trent Reedy talk about WORDS IN THE DUST.


Click here to see all the young adult books you won’t want to miss.

Poll, Question and Word of Mouth


Do you read the dedications in books?

All of the time
Some of the time

Do you read the acknowledgements in books?

All of the time
Some of the time

-Click here to answer our poll.


If you wrote a book, to whom would you dedicate it?

-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 ELIZABETH I by Margaret George, THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES by Jean M. Auel, and ONCE UPON A TIME, THERE WAS YOU by Elizabeth Berg. Tell us what you are reading here and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, April 1st to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

-Click here for more details about Word of Mouth.


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Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by March 31, 2011 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: A LESSON IN SECRETS: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear, LIVE WIRE by Harlan Coben, NIGHT ROAD by Kristin Hannah, THE SATURDAY BIG TENT WEDDING PARTY: The New No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel by Alexander McCall Smith, and SILENT MERCY by Linda Fairstein. Mary from Winthrop, MA was last month's winner. She won FADEAWAY GIRL by Martha Grimes, HEARTWOOD by Belva Plain, IT'S ALL RELATIVE: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine: A Memoir by Wade Rouse, THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain, and TREACHERY IN DEATH by J.D. Robb.

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