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January 13, 2012 Newsletter January 13, 2012
Happy Friday the 13th!
It’s been a hectic week with many amusing moments. When we left off last week, I had my grand plan to pack up our Christmas decorations the "right" way and FINALLY get them all organized into labeled containers in the attic. I always have been bad at estimating how long things will take, thus the “two-hour” project became a full weekend event. I delegated the final move to the attic to my husband and Cory. Later this week, there were a few straggle pieces to get added to boxes, and I was charmed to learn that my beautifully labeled boxes were indeed in the attic lined up like perfect soldiers. The problem: the side with the labels on them for half of the boxes were facing the wrong way and needed to be turned around!

Before the holidays, I boxed up the picture books and most of the children’s books that we own to make room for more adult titles and advance reading copies on our shelves. These boxes still need labels and a new home, but for the moment, I am over channeling my “inner Candy Spelling” until I get some backup staff who is equally as excited about cataloguing and labeling. Wait, maybe I can make this a task for a library school student. We could Dewey Decimal my shelves. Hmmmm…there’s an idea there. Or maybe I can find a bookseller who wants to practice some merchandising skills.

I have booksellers and librarians on the brain, as Tuesday I fly to New Orleans for the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute, and from there head to Dallas next Friday (as I say that, I hear theme music from the television show coming up, which clearly dates me) where I will be attending the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting. Looking forward to both events. In Dallas next Saturday morning, I am moderating a mystery panel where Hank Philippi Ryan, Deborah Crombie, Rosemary Harris and Lucy Burdette will be my panelists. Looking forward to this!

Before we plunge much more into 2012, here is a link to a blog post with a quick wrapup on the eight books that I read over the holidays ---THE INNOCENTS by Francesca Segal (June 5th), THE RULES OF INHERITANCE by Claire Bidwell Smith (February 2nd), STEVE JOBS by Walter Isaacson, PARIS IN LOVE by Eloisa James (April 17th), JEFFERSON’S SONS by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, THE WOMAN AT THE LIGHT by Joanna Brady (July 3rd), "THERE ARE THINGS I WANT YOU TO KNOW" ABOUT STIEG LARSSON AND ME by Eva Gabrielsson (January 24th) and PURE by Julianna Baggott (February 8th).

This week we are featuring an interview with Eva Stachniak, author of THE WINTER PALACE, as part of our Historical Fiction Author Spotlight. The book tells the story of Catherine the Great’s rise to power, related through the eyes of one of Catherine’s servants --- one who also doubles as her spy. In the interview, Eva talks about why she chose to write from this perspective, and describes in detail the history of the age and the inspiration for the novel. I'm so happy that this book is in stores for you to enjoy, and we cannot wait to hear what you think about it on Word of Mouth and in email in the weeks to come. Our reviewer Melanie Smith says, "Eva Stachniak creates a very shrewd, fascinating, intense story that casts doubt upon Catherine’s hazy reputation as an unsullied leader and asks how anyone can handle power without being corrupted by it."

As promised, this week we have three new contests for you.

We shine our Women's Fiction Author Spotlight on Kristin Hannah, whose latest book, HOME FRONT, will be on sale January 31st. HOME FRONT is the story of a woman who, while already struggling to hold her family together, gets deployed to Iraq. I have been a longtime fan of Kristin’s, and this truly is her best book. I was reading an early manuscript of it in August, and suddenly I realized my iPad battery had drained with 20 pages left. (There had been repeated warnings about this, but I was so engrossed in the story that I ignored them.) There was a mad dash around the house looking for my power cord, and then giving up on that I raced to my laptop and pulled up the file. Right after I finished it, I wrote Kristin an email where I said this: “You brought insight into the world of being a soldier, a military family, a wife, a mother and someone who will have to find her way back to her marriage, not just to coming back home.” We have 100 copies to give away to readers who enter here by Thursday, January 26th at noon ET.

Our new Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight features William Landay, whose new book, DEFENDING JACOB, will be in stores January 31st. William wrote one of my favorite books, MISSION FLATS. And when I read DEFENDING JACOB back in early July, I could not wait to talk about it with someone, and I know you will feel the same way. Jacob Barber is a young boy accused of murdering his eighth-grade schoolmate. As the family awaits his trial, they are forced to confront a whole myriad of issues --- guilt, shame and the very real fear that Jacob will be headed to prison. Oh, and Jacob’s father, Andrew, is the Assistant District Attorney in their town, thus Jacob grew up at a dinner table where crimes were part of the dinner discussion --- so he knows just what is hanging in the balance. Really gripping. We have 20 copies to give away to readers who enter here by Thursday, January 26th at noon ET.

Our latest One to Watch author is Nelle Davy, who wrote THE LEGACY OF EDEN, a trade paperback original that will be in stores January 31st. It tells the tale of Meredith Pincetti, a New Yorker who is called to her family home in Iowa when her grandmother dies. There, she confronts her battered family history and must decide if she wants to restore the family name to honor --- her grandmother’s final wish. From the very first page, I found myself wrapped up in this story of legacy and family drama. We have 50 copies to give away to readers who enter here by Thursday, January 26th at noon ET.

And we have TWO new Paperback Spotlights this month: LITTLE GIRL GONE by Drusilla Campbell and “THERE ARE THINGS I WANT YOU TO KNOW" ABOUT STIEG LARSSON AND ME by Eva Gabrielsson.

In LITTLE GIRL GONE, Campbell tells the story of a teenage girl who is rescued from a troubled past, only to be caught in a moral conundrum when her rescuer, the man she loves, kidnaps a pregnant teenager. I read this book a few weeks ago, and the view of the situation from Madora, the protagonist, was so well done. There are many victims and heroes in this story, and it will surely promote some interesting discussions among friends and family.

Eva Gabrielsson, who was the long-time girlfriend of Stieg Larsson (after reading this, it’s hard for me to think of her as anything but his wife, though they never married, which, as you may know, has become a huge issue for her), writes about their relationship, social work and the influences behind Larsson’s bestselling Millennium Trilogy in her memoir, “THERE ARE THINGS I WANT YOU TO KNOW" ABOUT STIEG LARSSON AND ME. I read this after I went to see the movie and loved how this, along with the films, shares yet another angle and point of view on this bestselling series. For the millions of fans of Larsson’s, this is great companion reading.

We are also featuring a review of the much-talked-about new novel, THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON by Adam Johnson, which is about a boy who struggles through the corruption and cruelty of North Korean society. I had the pleasure of hosting Adam on panels twice in his other role as a professor at Stanford University and am so happy to see this book, which we have been talking about for years, now in stores. I look forward to seeing him next week in New Orleans. Our reviewer Norah Piehl says, "Simultaneously deadly serious and very funny, the book shows readers a complex portrait of North Korea that will surprise almost everyone, even those who think they know the North Korea they see in the news. At times, fiction, despite being a form of lying, illuminates the truth better than any so-called factual report. Nowhere is that more true than in THE ORPHAN MASTER'S SON."

Readers who enter our Word of Mouth contest this week may win a copy of THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON, along with BOND GIRL by Erin Duffy and THE ROPE: An Anna Pigeon Novel by Nevada Barr. Please note: now, in order to be eligible for the prize, you must list your full name and address when you enter your comments. This will make it much easier for us to get the winners their books! Of course, you can still enter Word of Mouth and not list your address --- you just won’t be eligible to win.

Heads up for those of you with teenagers in your life! Let them know about the opportunity to nominate winners for the Children’s Book Council’s Teen Choice Book of the Year. Right now on, we are asking teens to list their favorite books of 2011. All their responses will be compiled, and the five most popular books will be entered into a second round of voting for a finalist. They have until February 15th to vote.

Have you entered yet to be a Book Giver for World Book Night, which will take place on April 23rd --- a night of book celebration in the US, UK and Ireland? During World Book Night, 50,000 people, named as “book givers,” each will be giving away 20 books from a select list with a goal to have 1,000,000 people across the United States alone celebrating reading en masse. There will be 25 adult books and five young adult titles given away. Sign up here by February 1st to apply to be a “book giver.” We want our readers to be part of this very special night in a BIG way. You can see the complete list of titles that includes books from authors like Jodi Picoult, Michael Connelly, Barbara Kingsolver and Junot Diaz, among others, here.

Our current poll and question address eReaders. Did you get an eReader over the holidays? Or did you already have one? What did you do with it? We got some VERY interesting responses from you all last week, and would love to hear more! Please weigh in. By the way, a couple of you noted some flaws with our poll that did not allow you to answer the second question if you did not own an eReader, or if you got one before the holidays. We appreciate your letting us know so we could amend our questions. Blame it on tooooo much holiday!

I'm quoted today in USA Today about the continuing rise of popularity of fiction on the USA Today list of Bestselling Books of 2011...and why I think nonfiction is lagging. Click here to read the article.

Last weekend, I, like many of you, watched the two-hour second season premiere of "Downton Abbey". Still brilliant and stunningly special. I also watched a great documentary, Hey, Boo, a movie written and produced by Mary Murphy about TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. In the movie, Mary interviews a number of interesting literary and cultural figures, such as Tom Brokaw, Wally Lamb, James Pattterson, Anna Quindlen and Oprah Winfrey, as well as Harper Lee’s sister, Louise, about their relationship to the book and delivers a film that will make you want to read the book --- and find someone to talk about it with --- again. Hey, Boo is now streaming on Netflix and will be airing on PBS in April, as well as hitting select theaters in May. Well worth seeing. Watching it was like being part of a virtual book group.

We also FINALLY got time to watch the "Adele Live at the Royal Albert Hall" DVD that Tom gave me for my birthday in early December. So many great moments on this! If you are an Adele fan, it’s well worth buying.

As soon as we got back from the Outer Banks, Greg headed to Europe starting his trip sailing on the Queen Mary 2, one of his favorite ships. From there it’s London, Paris and Dublin before he flies home Monday night. He finally Skyped with me on Wednesday night, and I asked the all-important question he had failed to provide the answer to before: What time does he land Monday night? For the record, school officially starts Tuesday, but as he has no Tuesday classes, he has assured me that he is not dropping into town at the last minute. I will have a few hours to catch up with him before I leave town for New Orleans.

Nice long weekend planned. I am heading into New York on Sunday at the crack of dawn to take a class at Vogue Knitting LIVE! Should be fun as it’s with Laura Bryant, one of my favorite yarn designers. I would love to spend a day watching this woman hand dye yarn. She will be teaching a day-long class on the Art of Color. And I happily will be reading ahead for the events of next week. It will be my version of prepping for exams.

Right now I am savoring THE STARBOARD SEA, a debut novel coming from Amber Dermont on February 28th. Set in the late 1980s, Jason Prosper is struggling with the suicide of his friend and sailing partner as he starts his senior year in a new boarding school in New England. To say that Jason is troubled would be mild. He’s steeped in privilege but lacking an emotional compass that will keep him moving on. It’s been a wickedly hectic week, but I have been carving out time each day and night for this book.

Over the weekend, please keep in mind what we celebrate on Monday…and think about how, over the past year, you have embraced Dr. King’s mission.

Next week, a report from the road. Happy Reading!!!

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Eva Stachniak, Author of THE WINTER PALACE

Eva Stachniak’s THE WINTER PALACE is a fictional account of Catherine the Great’s rise to power, told from the perspective of a low-profile servant in the court. In this interview, conducted by’s Melanie Smith, Stachniak discusses her inspiration to write about this legendary figure, her extensive research process, and her opinions concerning some of the laws and customs of 18th-century Europe. She also shares stories about growing up in Poland in the “Regained Territories” after World War II and previews THE EMPIRE OF THE NIGHT, her forthcoming novel that will be told from Catherine’s point of view.

THE WINTER PALACE: A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak (Historical Fiction)
Eva Stachniak's new novel tells the epic story of Catherine the Great’s improbable rise to power, as seen through the ever-watchful eyes of Varvara, an all-but-invisible servant close to the throne. Stachniak depicts Varvara’s secret alliance with Catherine as the princess grows into a legend --- through an enforced marriage, illicit seductions, and, at last, the shocking coup to assume the throne of all of Russia. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read Eva Stachniak's bio.

Click here to read the interview.
Now in Stores: THE ORPHAN MASTER'S SON by Adam Johnson

THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON by Adam Johnson (Literary Thriller)
Pak Jun Do is the son of a lost mother and an influential father who runs a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Jun Do comes to the attention of state superiors, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return: he boldly takes on the role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.


Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: GIDEON'S CORPSE by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
GIDEON’S CORPSE by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Thriller)
A top nuclear scientist goes mad and takes an innocent family hostage, killing one and causing a massive standoff. A plume of radiation above New York City leads to a warehouse where, it seems, a powerful nuclear bomb was assembled just hours before. Authorities determine that the unthinkable is about to happen: in 10 days, a major American city will be vaporized by a terrorist attack. Reviewed by Roberta O’Hara.

Click here to read a review.
New Featured Women's Fiction Author: Kristin Hannah, Author of HOME FRONT

It appears that Michael and Joleen Zarkades have it all. But in reality, the couple has lost their way after being together for 12 years. When the Iraq war starts, an unexpected deployment will tear their already fragile family apart.

We have 100 copies of HOME FRONT by Kristin Hannah, which will be in stores January 31st, to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment on it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Thursday, January 26th at noon ET.

More about HOME FRONT:
From a distance, Michael and Joleen Zarkades seem to have it all: a solid marriage, two exciting careers, and children they adore. But after 12 years together, the couple has lost their way; they are unhappy and edging toward divorce. Then the Iraq war starts. An unexpected deployment will tear their already fragile family apart, sending one of them deep into harm’s way and leaving the other at home, waiting for news. When the worst happens, each must face their darkest fear and fight for the future of their family.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Kristin Hannah's bio.
-Click here to visit Kristin Hannah's official website.

-Click here to see Kristin Hannah's blog.

Click here to read more about Kristin Hannah and HOME FRONT in our Women's Fiction feature.
New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: William Landay, Author of DEFENDING JACOB

Assistant District Attorney Andy Barber is leading a full and happy life with his wife and 14-year-old son. But when a crime occurs in their town, Andy is stunned to learn that his own child is charged with killing a fellow student.

We have 20 copies of DEFENDING JACOB by William Landay, which will be in stores January 31st, to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment on it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Thursday, January 26th at noon ET.

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than 20 years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His 14-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read William Landay's piece on “The Unwritten Rules of the Legal Thriller.”
-Click here to read William Landay's bio.
-Click here to visit William Landay's official website.
-Click here to see William Landay's Facebook page.

Click here to read more about William Landay and DEFENDING JACOB in our Suspense/Thriller feature.
New Featured One to Watch Author: Nelle Davy, Author of THE LEGACY OF EDEN

For the past 17 years, Meredith Pincetti has tried to forget everything about her family and her past. But with the receipt of a pleading letter, Meredith is again thrust into conflict with the legacy that destroyed her family's once-great name.

We have 50 copies of THE LEGACY OF EDEN by Nelle Davy, which will be in stores January 31st, to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment on it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Thursday, January 26th at noon ET.

For generations, Aurelia was the crowning glory of the Hathaways --- thousands of acres of Iowa farmland and golden cornfields. Now the last inhabitant of the decaying old home has died --- alone. None of the surviving family members want anything to do with the farm, the land or the memories. But with the receipt of a pleading letter, Meredith Pincetti is again thrust into conflict with the legacy that destroyed her family's once-great name. Back at the farm, Meredith must confront the rise and fall of Aurelia…and her own part in its mottled history.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to Nelle Davy's bio.
-Click here to see Nelle Davy talk about the book.
-Click here to visit Nelle Davy's official website.

Click here to read more about Nelle Davy and THE LEGACY OF EDEN in our One to Watch feature.
New Paperback Spotlight: LITTLE GIRL GONE by Drusilla Campbell

LITTLE GIRL GONE by Drusilla Campbell (Fiction)
Madora was 17 and headed for a load of trouble when Willis rescued her. Alienated from family and friends, she ran away with him, and for five years they have lived alone in near isolation. When he kidnaps a pregnant teenager and imprisons her in a trailer behind the house, Madora is torn between her love for Willis and her sense of right and wrong. Then a pit bull named Foo brings another unexpected person into Madora’s life --- Django Jones, a brilliant but troubled 12-year-old orphan. As Django tries to understand his place in the world, Madora is forced to face what her life has become...and fights to transform it into the life she wants.

LITTLE GIRL GONE will be in stores January 31st.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read Drusilla Campbell's bio.

Click here to read more about LITTLE GIRL GONE in our Paperback Spotlight.
New Paperback Spotlight: "THERE ARE THINGS I WANT YOU TO KNOW" ABOUT STIEG LARSSON AND ME by Eva Gabrielsson, with Marie-Francoise Colombani

"THERE ARE THINGS I WANT YOU TO KNOW" ABOUT STIEG LARSSON AND ME by Eva Gabrielsson, with Marie-Francoise Colombani (Biography/Memoir)
The keys to the "Stieg Larsson phenomenon" all lie with Stieg Larsson the man. No one knew him like his lifelong companion, Eva Gabrielsson. Here she tells the story of their 30-year romance, of Stieg's lifelong struggle to expose Sweden’s Neo-Nazis, of his struggle to keep the magazine he founded, Expo, alive, his difficult relationships with his immediate family, and the joy and relief he discovered writing the Millennium Trilogy.

"THERE ARE THINGS I WANT YOU TO KNOW" ABOUT STIEG LARSSON AND ME will be available in paperback January 24th.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read Eva Gabrielsson's bio.

Click here to read more about "THERE ARE THINGS I WANT YOU TO KNOW" ABOUT STIEG LARSSON AND ME in our Paperback Spotlight.
New Guides Now Available on

The following guides are now available on

by Amy Chua

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HOT PLACE: Why Fifty Is the New Fifty by Tracey Jackson
FAITH by Jennifer Haigh
GROWGIRL: How My Life After The Blair Witch Project Went to Pot by Heather Donahue
LITTLE PRINCES: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan
THE MAGIC ROOM: A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters by Jeffrey Zaslow
SMUT: Stories by Alan Bennett
“THERE ARE THINGS I WANT YOU TO KNOW” ABOUT STIEG LARSSON AND ME by Eva Gabrielsson with Marie-Françoise Colombani
WINE TO WATER: A Bartender’s Quest to Bring Clean Water to the World by Doc Hendley
THE WINTER PALACE: A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak
THE WORLD WE FOUND by Thrity Umrigar

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


THE PEACH KEEPER by Sarah Addison Allen

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

CHASING MONA LISA by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey

THE COLOR OF RAIN: How Two Families Found Faith, Hope, and Love in the Midst of Tragedy by Michael and Gina Spehn
THE KEEPER: Stoney Ridge Seasons, Book 1 by Suzanne Woods Fisher
SUMMER OF PROMISE: Westward Winds, Book 1 by Amanda Cabot
WHERE WILDFLOWERS BLOOM: Sisters at Heart Series, Book 1 by Ann Shorey

Click here to visit
Share Your 2011 Picks --- Let Know Your Favorite Books of the Year

This is the time of year when “Best Of” lists are everywhere. While we could compile one for, we prefer to hear what YOU have to say about this topic. What was your favorite book that your group read in 2011? We know it’s difficult for many of you to pick just one title, so feel free to select up to three. All you have to do is fill out the form found here by Tuesday, January 31st, and we’ll share the results in February. Please spread the word about this special opportunity as we want as many people to weigh in as possible.

Click here to share your book group's 2011 year-end selections.
Calling All Teens! Nominate Your Favorite Books of 2011 for the 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) and Every Child a Reader (ECAR), is giving teen readers a very special opportunity to let their voices be heard by telling us their five favorite books of 2011. The five titles that receive the most votes will serve as the finalists for the 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. This opportunity will be available until Wednesday, February 15th at 11:59PM ET.
Click here for all the details.
This Week's Reviews
VULTURE PEAK: A Bangkok Novel by John Burdett (Thriller)
Nobody knows Bangkok like Royal Thai Police Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, and there is no one quite like Sonchai, who has kept his Buddhist soul intact, despite his encounters with some of the vilest criminals in Bangkok. But for his newest assignment, he’s put in charge of the highest-profile criminal case in Thailand --- an attempt to bring an end to trafficking in human organs. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

GUN GAMES: A Decker/Lazarus Novel by Faye Kellerman (Mystery)
Peter Decker of the LAPD and his wife, Rina Lazarus, confront the case of a rash of shocking adolescent suicides at an elite Los Angeles private school. They also struggle with Gabriel Whitman, the enigmatic son of a troubled former friend, whom they have brought into their home. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

NEED YOU NOW by James Grippando (Thriller)
What if the U.S. government knew about the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme but had a secret agenda? This chilling question is at the heart of James Grippando’s latest thriller, as today’s headlines are turned into a frightening “what if” scenario of financial intrigue. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

LUNATICS by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel (Fiction)
Philip Horkman is a happy man --- the owner of a pet store, and on Sundays a referee for kids' soccer. Jeffrey Peckerman is the sole sane person in a world filled with jerks and morons, and he’s having a really bad day. The two of them are about to collide in a swiftly escalating series of events that will send them running for their lives. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

DEATH BENEFIT by Robin Cook (Medical Thriller)
Fourth-year medical student Pia Grazdana is a rising star at a prestigious medical research hospital in New York City. Her life is put in jeopardy after her mentor, along with his co-researcher, are infected with a deadly strain of a virus --- just as they are about to announce a major medical breakthrough. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

THE RETRIBUTION: A Tony Hill & Carol Jordan Novel by Val McDermid (Thriller)
Tony Hill and Carol Jordan have put away scores of criminals. But there is one serial killer who has defined their careers: Jacko Vance, ex-celebrity and sociopath whose brilliance and utter lack of remorse have not left Tony’s mind in the 10 years since his imprisonment. Now Jacko has escaped from prison. Even more twisted than before, he is focused on wreaking revenge on Tony and Carol. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

BETRAYAL: Whitey Bulger and the FBI Agent Who Fought to Bring Him Down by Robert Fitzpatrick with Jon Land (True Crime)
A poor kid from the slums, Robert Fitzpatrick grew up to become a stellar FBI agent and challenge the country’s deadliest gangsters. In his crusade to bring Whitey Bulger to justice, Fitzpatrick faced not only Whitey but also corrupt FBI agents, along with political cronies and enablers from Boston to Washington who, in one way or another, blocked his efforts at every step. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

1222: A Hanne Wilhelmsen Novel by Anne Holt (Mystery)
A train in northern Norway derails during a blizzard, 1,222 meters above sea level. The passengers abandon the train for a nearby hotel, centuries-old and practically empty except for the staff. With food and shelter from the storm, the passengers think they are safe --- until one of them is found dead the next morning.Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE WHISPERER by Donato Carrisi (Thriller)
Six severed arms are discovered, arranged in a mysterious circle and buried in a clearing in the woods. Five of them appear to belong to missing girls between the ages of 8 and 18. The sixth is yet to be identified. Worse still, the girls' bodies, alive or dead, are nowhere to be found. Lead investigators Mila Vasquez and Goran Gavila dive into the case. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
This Week's Poll and Question


Did you get an eReader over the holidays, or did you already have one? Please check as many as apply.

Yes, I received a Kindle.
Yes, I received a Nook.
Yes, I received an iPad.
Yes, I received another eReader device.
I already had an iPad.
I already had a Nook.
I already had a Kindle.
I already had another eReader device.
I am thinking about getting an eReader.
I have no interest in getting an eReader.
I am not sure how I feel about eReaders.

If you did receive an eReader for the holidays, what did you do with it?

I started downloading books immediately!
I played around with it, but have not downloaded any books yet.
I opened it but haven't used it yet.
It's still sitting in the box.
I re-gifted it.
I already had an eReader.
I do not have an eReader.

-Click here to answer the poll.


If you got an eReader this holiday season, what was the first book or short story that you downloaded? Name up to three.

-Click here to answer the question.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Could Win THREE Books!
Tell us your current reading recommendations with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from January 6th to January 20th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of BOND GIRL by Erin Duffy, THE ORPHAN MASTER'S SON by Adam Johnson and THE ROPE: An Anna Pigeon Novel by Nevada Barr.

-To see reader comments from previous contest periods, click here.

Click here for more details about Word of Mouth.

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