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February 3, 2012 Newsletter February 3, 2012
Thinking Back... To Get to the Future

For the record, Iceland cannot be known for their cakes. Last weekend’s Icelandic Jólakaka I made to celebrate Greg’s birthday was a disaster. I layered in chocolate pudding to try to improve it (see the photo above), and let’s just say the pudding was fine. Maybe we converted the measures wrong. Maybe I beat the batter too much, but I think for pastry we think of the French or the Italians, not the people of Iceland.

However, the Jamaican Jerk chicken inspired by the death of Puma Jones, the reggae singer who died the day Greg was born, was excellent. Going forward, I need to think these themes through before I decide to add up some Mother’s Day chips by doing them. Greg turned 22, which he said was an uneventful birthday. Kinda true. In New Jersey, at 16 you get your driving permit, at 17 your license, at 18 you can vote, 20 is, well, turning a new decade, and 21 is for legally drinking. As for 22, he’s right, but he’s also the perfect age for our new project.

It’s been 17 years since I left Conde Nast after a 17-year career there --- talk about symmetry. The following year, we launched the first website in The Book Report Network that went on to become While I had a great run at the magazine, with my whole career at Mademoiselle magazine, my Internet days have been even more fulfilling…and fun. But I have to say that after marketing to people in their 20s for all those years, I do know a tad about them…and with a twentysomething in the house, I also have hands-on commentary at the dinner table.

Thus our big news this week is that on February 29th we are launching It essentially will be edited for everyone from college to, well, thirtysomething. I am really excited about returning to my “roots” with the launch of this site. We have been having daily meetings to design and develop the content, and the plans are coming together. So if you know anyone who is twentysomething, may we ask you to share this news with them? Either send them this link or have them click on the graphic above. And if you are interested, you can click to sign up as well. Because, for the record, I still am 27 in my head, and being in your 20s is also a state of mind. By the way, we chose the 29th as that site only will have an anniversary every four years and thus stay…forever young.

This week I was fighting and lost the battle to a cold. I rarely get sick, thus this is a total drag. However, I think my symptoms were in sync with my reading. I read --- and enjoyed --- TRUE SISTERS by Sandra Dallas, which will be in stores on April 24th. It’s historical fiction and looks at the story of how, in 1856, the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS or Mormons) brought converts from Europe to Iowa, where they were fitted with handcarts that they pulled and pushed 1,300 miles to Salt Lake City. The carts were essentially square boxes on two wheels. The four women portrayed in the book were members of the Martin Company, the last group to head out that had 575 people in it when they left. Along the way, they lost one quarter of the group to harsh conditions, including blizzards and deathly cold. It’s fascinating reading, but as for my cold, I think that Sandra made me feel like I was right on the trail! They sneezed; I sneezed.

I confess I had heard about the treks west on an episode of "Big Love" (forgive the pop culture reference point), and thus the storyline grabbed me. And it’s based on journals, stories and accounts of real women who made this journey forming bonds along the way. You will be hearing more about this in the weeks to come.

As promised, we have reviews for four of our Author Spotlight features this week.

HOME FRONT by Kristin Hannah is, in my opinion, her best book --- and I have read everything that she has written. Kristin’s interview, which we share with you this week, gives a look inside why she wrote this book --- and what she learned. Kristin and I have talked about this book a lot over the past six months, and much of what we discussed is touched upon in this interview with Norah Piehl. Well worth reading. In her review, Norah says, “HOME FRONT manages to find hope, both that relationships can survive unimaginable stress and that individuals can continue to evolve and grow even in times of change and sorrow.” Looking for more on this story? Here’s a link to a video with Kristin talking about it, and here’s a link to an interview with her with Chief Warrant Officer 5 Teresa Burgess, who was interviewed for the book.

William Landay is another favorite in my household who I discovered and shared with you on these pages when his first book, MISSION FLATS, came out in 2004. This week we have our review of DEFENDING JACOB, where Joe Hartlaub says, “DEFENDING JACOB hits uncomfortably but unerringly close to home, and is as compelling a work as you are likely to pick up this year.” I have shared this book with a few friends over the past months, and each and every one has called when finishing it to say "WOW!" Please note that I have selected DEFENDING JACOB as my first Bets On book of 2012. Like TURN OF MIND last year, it is a book that combines a strong thriller with beautifully crafted prose and a story that will haunt you. More on why I selected it next week, as well as our interview with William!

THE LEGACY OF EDEN by Nelle Davy gets a rave from our reviewer Usha Rao, who says, “Fans of multi-generational sagas will enjoy THE LEGACY OF EDEN and its flawed yet intriguing characters.” I heartily agree with her there. Read Usha’s interview with Nelle, where she talks about, among other things, why she set this sweeping story in the States while she was born and raised in the UK and her inspiration from I, CLAUDIUS.

And our final Spotlight review brings you LITTLE GIRL GONE by Drusilla Campbell, 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 loved the perspective in this book --- the voice was so well done. Our reviewer Alexis Burling agrees. She says, “The girl’s progression from ardent believer to fearful skeptic feels realistic, unfolding at just the right measured pace.” I so agree. You will find yourself rooting for Madora! And in an interview with Drusilla, she shares what spurred her to write this story, as well as her favorite character.

Our new Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight feature kicks off this week with Pamela Redmond and her new book, THE POSSIBILITY OF YOU, which tells the interlocking stories of three women dealing with motherhood at various integral points in America’s history: the First World War, the era of change in the '60s-'80s, and the autumn of the 2008 election. Reading this book, I loved how the stories wove together and each page was like unwrapping a new layer. Finishing it, there was a real satisfaction in a story well told. In our contest, we are giving away 30 copies of this book, which will be in stores on February 21st, to lucky readers who enter by Thursday, February 16th at noon ET. Click here to do so.

You only have ONE MORE WEEK to enter our Seventh Annual Valentine’s Day Contest, where we will award five winners each with the following books --- EVERYTHING ROMANCE: A Celebration of Love for Couples by Todd Hafer, HISTORY OF A PLEASURE SEEKER by Richard Mason (we’ll have our review of this one next week), THE LUCKY ONE (movie tie-in edition) by Nicholas Sparks, and THE SCENT OF CHERRY BLOSSOMS by Cindy Woodsmall --- and some Godiva chocolate. You have until February 9th at noon ET to enter to win one of our five prizes --- we want to be sure you have them by the 14th. Enter now!

We are featuring 14 new reviews this week, but I wanted to single out two of them ---THE RULES OF INHERITANCE and NO ONE IS HERE EXCEPT ALL OF US.

THE RULES OF INHERITANCE is a memoir where Claire Bidwell Smith details her experience finding out, at the age of 14, that both her parents have cancer. The memoir has a truly unique perspective --- it is written using the five stages of grief as lenses for the story. I wrote about this book in my most recent blog post, which you can see here. Our reviewer Barbara Bamberger Scott says, “In writing this book, her own exercise in journaling her feelings of grief and regret, Smith demonstrates that she has found herself. Now married with a daughter, she counsels others as they find themselves trapped in a flood of pain, panic and deep loneliness.” Truly beautiful writing that shows how Claire moves from hurt to healing. On a personal note, I am very lucky that my parents are still with us. Reading THE RULES OF INHERITANCE, I found myself thinking about how I would have reacted at each of the various ages where Claire was confronted with illness and death. I am selecting this as my second Bets On book of 2012. I know…two in one week. More on why next week.

Ramona Ausubel’s new novel, NO ONE IS HERE EXCEPT ALL OF US, is the gripping story of the Jewish families that live in a remote village in Romania. The year is 1939, and the town feels the pressure of the approaching Nazis. The inhabitants counter their fear by creating a new world --- by starting over, with unwritten destinies. Our reviewer Sarah Rachel Egelman says, “It’s hard to overstate the power of this book, which takes on a familiar subject in a completely original way. Ausubel writes with conviction and wisdom describing Zalischik and the experiences of its inhabitants in a vivid and strong prose that turns many a lovely and unique phrase.”

I got a really nice note from a reader this week, Marjorie, who had won a copy of NO ONE IS HERE EXCEPT ALL OF US in a contest. She said that this is a “beautifully written story.” She was 10 when the book is set, so it had some significance for her, though she says she “certainly could not begin to grasp the horrendous things the people were facing” during the Holocaust. Marjorie says she diagrammed the book as she was reading, and now, when she looks back at the chart, she is “enthralled at what the people of that village tried to accomplish.”

The Oscar nominations last week brought attention to a number of books that were the foundation for the movies that were selected. I am very pleased to share a piece by Harry Burton, who is a real pop culture and movie expert, this week, which we call Reading the Oscars. This feature will give you a chance to read the books behind the movies before the awards ceremony on Sunday, February 26th.

In other book news, Barnes & Noble announced the finalists for its Discover Great New Writers Award. Among them was TURN OF MIND, which, as I mentioned earlier, I chose as a Bets On pick last year! The winners of these awards will be announced on March 7th. Click here to read more about the awards and see the full lineup of Fiction and Nonfiction finalists.

When we were on the Outer Banks after Hurricane Irene, we were saddened to hear that the Manteo Bookstore there had sustained significant damage during the storm. After having owned the store for 25 years and enduring 10(!) floods during that time, owner Steve Brumfield, who I met on trips there, decided not to rebuild despite many offers of help made for the beloved bookstore, which I can well understand. However, I am happy to share that Duck's Cottage Coffee & Books, located in Duck, will be opening Duck's Cottage Downtown in March with a grand opening in April.

The store is part-owned by Jamie Layton, who has become a friend over the past five or so years after the day I stopped by the Duck store and told her we had a website and that I liked poking around bookstores and meeting their owners. She went on and on about how she loved and used it as a resource. It was really fun to tell her I owned the site after letting her share what she liked about the site. One thing led to another, and she’s been reviewing for us here for a few years now. When I got a call that she was planning this venture, I was really excited. Greg and I stopped by to visit the space with her in December, and I look forward to seeing what she creates when I am back on the Outer Banks in a few months. You can follow the progress of the store here and here.

I saw on their Facebook newsfeed that they have been selected as a World Book Night distribution center. I got my confirmation this week that I have been selected to be a “Book Giver,” and I heard from some of you that you have been as well. Did you procrastinate on signing up? Well, good news…the deadline was extended to Monday, February 6th at 11:59PM. Click here to enter to be selected.

I got a desperate note from a reader last week who accidentally deleted her copy of the January 27th newsletter --- and was not sure she could live without it! “What if I miss out on something really spectacular?” she said. A heads-up to all of you who find yourselves in the same sticky scenario: you can read the newsletter online! Head to and click on “Newsletters” in the navigation bar at the top of the page. There you will see all of our most recent newsletters, with the weekly update at the top. The same reader also said she has made a habit of printing out the newsletter and reading it on her commute, circling the books she wants to look into with a red pen. What a great way to stay on top of new books!

We have a new poll and question this week. We want to know how you went about acquiring the last book you read. Did you buy it? Find it? Beg, borrow or steal it? And our new question asks, "In the past three months, how have you acquired most of the books that you read?"

Have any of you seen Amy Sedaris’s guest appearances on "The Good Wife"? She is soooo funny. This weekend, I have Moneyball and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan lined up for viewing via Netflix. By the way, I rarely pass along negative reviews, but skip Atlas Shrugged Part 1. It was just horrific. Worth seeing: "Tony Bennett: Duets II," which currently is running on PBS.

It’s all blue and "go Giants" at our house for the weekend. Super Bowl party on Sunday. I had plotted out a Mexican and Tex-Mex menu that how has a few twists with Tom’s friend Curt bringing his “world famous” baked ziti and a three-foot Italian sub. Given our Iceland/Jamaica adventure last week, all I can say is that we are worldly! We will be DVRing "Downton Abbey" in favor of "Big Blue."

My reading pile is calling, and I am off to find some new books for you. Greg and I are “sharing" a copy of Helene Tursten’s DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS, a brilliant Swedish mystery, which is the first in her series; the fifth, NIGHT ROUNDS, will be published here in the States on February 14th. Greg shares books about as well as he did his blocks when he was three. Luckily he’s a fast reader, and I hope to have this back in hand by Sunday. After my frigid adventure with TRUE SISTERS, I am going for the book with flip flops on the cover. Check back next week to see what that is.

Happy Reading….and enjoy the game if you are watching!

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Kristin Hannah, Author of HOME FRONT

HOME FRONT, Kristin Hannah’s new novel, tells the story of Jolene Zarkades, a woman who is deployed to Iraq and must leave her husband and two daughters behind. In this interview, conducted by’s Norah Piehl, Hannah discusses her inspiration for the book, as well as the extensive research process she took on to write it. She also describes her characterization methods, shares what she hopes readers will take away from the story, and previews her next novel.

HOME FRONT by Kristin Hannah (Fiction)
Like many couples, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have to face the pressures of everyday life --- children, careers, bills, chores --- even as their 12-year marriage is falling apart. Then an unexpected deployment sends Jolene deep into harm’s way and leaves defense attorney Michael at home, unaccustomed to being a single parent to their two girls. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read a review.
-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 in our Women's Fiction feature.

Click here to read our interview with Kristin Hannah.
Now in Stores: DEFENDING JACOB by William Landay

DEFENDING JACOB by William Landay (Legal Thriller)
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 crime shatters their New England town, Andy is shocked to learn that Jacob is charged with the murder of a fellow student. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-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 connect with William Landay on Facebook.
-Click here to read more in our Suspense/Thriller feature.

Click here to read a review. Talks to Nelle Davy, Author of THE LEGACY OF EDEN
THE LEGACY OF EDEN, Nelle Davy’s debut novel, tells the multi-generational saga of Aurelia. Now uninhabited and decaying, this grand Iowa estate holds the secrets of the Hathaway family’s dark legacy and ultimate downfall. In this interview, conducted by’s Usha Rao, Davy talks about her inspiration for the story and offers insight into her main characters. She also describes her writing routine, shares the process of getting her book published while working in the publishing industry herself, and gives us a glimpse into her second book.

THE LEGACY OF EDEN by Nelle Davy (Fiction)
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. She must confront the rise and fall of the Hathaway family…and her own part in their mottled history. Reviewed by Usha Rao.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise
-Click here to Nelle Davy's bio.
-Click here to read Nelle Davy’s essay on getting published
-Click here to see Nelle Davy talk about the book.
-Click here to visit Nelle Davy's official website.
-Click here to read more in our One to Watch feature.

Click here to read our interview with Nelle Davy.
An Interview with Drusilla Campbell, Author of LITTLE GIRL GONE

In Drusilla Campbell’s latest novel, LITTLE GIRL GONE, a teenage runaway is rescued by a troubled young man and has been living with him in a trailer for years. But when he kidnaps a pregnant teenager, she must face the reality of her situation. In this interview, Campbell discusses the inspiration that she drew from her personal experiences. She also shares her views on the various relationships examined in the book, reveals her favorite character, and gives insight into why she writes.

LITTLE GIRL GONE by Drusilla Campbell (Fiction)
Madora was 17 and headed for trouble when Willis rescued her. She ran away with him, and for five years they have lived alone, in near isolation. But after Willis kidnaps a pregnant teenager and imprisons her in a trailer behind the house, Madora is torn between love and her sense of right and wrong. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

-Click here to read a review.
-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 in our Paperback Spotlight.

Click here to read an interview with Drusilla Campbell.
New Featured Women's Fiction Author: Pamela Redmond, Author of THE POSSIBILITY OF YOU

Can we ever atone for the sins of the past? Or does each generation of women invent itself anew? Pamela Redmond intertwines the heartrending stories of three female characters, and explores the ways in which one woman’s choices can affect her loved ones forever.

We have 30 copies of THE POSSIBILITY OF YOU, which will be in stores February 21st, 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, February 16th at noon ET.

THE POSSIBILITY OF YOU weaves together three interlocking stories involving three women dealing with issues of pregnancy and motherhood at key moments in history of the last century: On the brink of the First World War and the dawn of the modern age; as the liberalism of the ’60s and ’70s gave way to Reagan’s 1980s; and during the autumn of Barack Obama’s election. Contemporary heroine Cait, an African-American journalist raised by white adoptive parents, goes on a search for her birth mother inspired by her own unplanned pregnancy. Orphan Billie travels from her hippie upbringing in San Francisco to discover the upscale New York grandmother she never knew existed. And Irish nanny Bridget loses the boy she cares for and loves in the 1916 polio epidemic, only to try and replace him with a child of her own.

-Click here to read more about the book
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Pamela Redmond’s bio.
-Click here to visit Pamela Redmond’s website.
-Click here to connect with Pamela Redmond on Facebook.
-Click here to connect with Pamela Redmond on Twitter.
-Click here to see Pamela Redmond on Goodreads.

Click here to read more about Pamela Redmond and THE POSSIBILITY OF YOU in our Women's Fiction feature.
Special Feature: Reading the Oscars
Which was better: the movie or the book? Film fans and book lovers have just about three weeks to make the ultimate assessment, before the Oscar ceremony takes place on Sunday, February 26th.

The question is even more relevant this year as six out of nine Best Picture Academy Award nominees are based on books --- Hugo (which leads with 11 nominations), War Horse (6 nominations), Moneyball (6 nominations), The Descendants (5 nominations), The Help (4 nominations), and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2 nominations). Further, a total of 20 nominated feature films (out of 46) have book tie-ins, ranging from novels to children’s books, coffee-table books to screenplay books.

Special contributor Harry Burton has compiled a roundup of books tied to the Oscar-nominated films in case you feel like brushing up in advance of the awards by picking up a book (or two, or three) at your favorite bookseller or local library.

Click here to see our special feature on this year's Oscar nominations.
Books on Screen for February

This month, the big screen is filled with adventure, romance, thrills and chills. From tiny people under the floorboards to a family of whales in the Arctic, heroes of all shapes and sizes are sure to warm your hearts.

In Big Miracle, a small town news reporter and his ex-girlfriend, a passionate animal volunteer, join together to rescue a family of gray whales trapped by the increasing formation of ice in the Arctic Circle. In a different kind of danger is a family of tiny people in The Secret World of Arrietty. The Clock family has been living under the floorboards of a human family’s house, but when their daughter, Arrietty, befriends the boy who lives there, their whole world is thrown into jeopardy.

Releasing just in time for Valentine’s Day is The Vow, based on the true love story of a newlywed couple who gets into a car accident that causes the wife to lose all memory of her husband. Unconditionally devoted to her, Leo must work to win Paige’s heart for the second time.

And if you’re in the mood for a scare, The Woman in Black tells the story of a widowed lawyer who is sent to a remote village to sort out the affairs of the recently deceased inhabitant of an old house. But he soon finds out that the house has been haunted by the ghost of a woman for years --- and no one in the village is safe.

On the small screen, Slavery by Another Name, a new documentary exploring the labor laws that led to a new 20th-century form of slavery in the South, premieres on PBS on February 13th. Meanwhile, "The Firm," “House of Lies,” "Downton Abbey," “Castle” and “Pretty Little Liars” continue their respective seasons.

And in case you missed them in theaters, Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Hugo and London Boulevard all will be released on DVD.

Click here to see our Books on Screen feature for February.
Featured Women's Fiction Author: Nicole Baart, Author of FAR FROM HERE

FAR FROM HERE by Nicole Baart (Fiction)
Danica Greene has always hated flying, so it was almost laughable that the boy of her dreams was a pilot. She married him anyway, and together, she and Etsell settled into a life where love really did seem to conquer all. Danica is firmly rooted on the ground in Blackhawk, the small town in northern Iowa where they grew up, and the wide slashes of sky that stretch endlessly across the prairie seem more than enough for Etsell. But when the opportunity to spend three weeks in Alaska helping a pilot friend presents itself, Etsell accepts and their idyllic world is turned upside down.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to read Nicole Baart's bio.
-Click here to visit Nicole Baart's official website.
-Click here to connect with Nicole Baart on Facebook.

Click here to read more about Nicole Baart and FAR FROM HERE in our Women's Fiction feature.'s Seventh Annual Valentine's Day Contest --- Enter to Win Some Sweet Treats for Yourself or Your Valentine

The countdown to Valentine's Day is on! Stuck on what to buy your Valentine? We have the bookish answer. From now through February 9th, readers will have the chance to win one of our five Valentine's Day prize packages, which includes one copy of each of our featured books and some delicious chocolate from Godiva.

Our featured Valentine’s Day titles are:

-EVERYTHING ROMANCE: A Celebration of Love for Couples by Todd Hafer
-THE LUCKY ONE (movie tie-in edition) by Nicholas Sparks

Click here to read all the contest details and enter to win.
Now in Stores: BELIEVING THE LIE by Elizabeth George

BELIEVING THE LIE: An Inspector Lynley Novel by Elizabeth George (Mystery)
Inspector Thomas Lynley is mystified when he's sent undercover to investigate the death of Ian Cresswell at the request of the man's uncle. The death has been ruled an accidental drowning, and nothing on the surface indicates otherwise. But Lynley soon discovers a web of family secrets, lies and motives. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: NO ONE IS HERE EXCEPT ALL OF US by Ramona Ausubel
NO ONE IS HERE EXCEPT ALL OF US by Ramona Ausubel (Fiction)
In 1939, the families in a remote Jewish village in Romania feel the war close in on them. At the suggestion of an 11-year-old girl and a mysterious stranger, the villagers decide to reinvent the world: deny any relationship with the known and start over from scratch. Ramona Ausubel’s debut novel explores how we use storytelling to survive and shape our own truths. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here for the reading group guide.

Click here to read a review.
This Week's Reviews
THE RULES OF INHERITANCE: A Memoir by Claire Bidwell Smith (Memoir)
When both of her parents die of cancer, Claire Bidwell Smith finds herself alone in the world and inconsolable at the revelation that suddenly she is no one's special person. It is only when Claire eventually falls in love, marries and becomes a mother that she emerges from the fog of grief. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

AN AVAILABLE MAN by Hilma Wolitzer (Fiction)
Like a pebble tossed into a pond, Hilma Wolitzer’s ninth novel, a sweet, gentle exploration of one man’s attempt to overcome grief and regain his life, sends ripples of quiet emotion pulsing outward from its generous heart to fuel a deeply satisfying story of love lost and regained. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

HELPLESS by Daniel Palmer (Thriller)
After nine years, former Navy Seal Tom Hawkins returns to Shilo, New Hampshire to raise his teenage daughter, Jill, following the murder of his ex-wife. When anonymous rumors about Tom start plaguing the Internet, he must untangle a web of lies to prove his innocence. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE DARK ROSE by Erin Kelly (Psychological Thriller)
Paul and Louisa, two scarred and solitary teenagers who are embroiled in crime and hiding in the shadows of unspeakable events, begin a secret affair. Louisa starts believing that she can again find the happiness she had given up on. But neither of them can outrun Paul’s violent past. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

THE LOST GODDESS by Tom Knox (Thriller/Action & Adventure)
While working on a dig in the most remote part of France, Julia Kerrigan comes across the find of her career --- a trove of skeletons, many with holes at the front of the skull and arrow wounds studding the various bones. Her excitement about this discovery disappears the following day, however, as her mentor and a friend are brutally murdered. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE GOLDEN SCALES: A Makana Mystery by Parker Bilal (Mystery)
Makana, a former Sudanese police inspector forced to flee to Cairo, is now struggling to make ends meet as a private detective. In need of money, he takes a case from the notoriously corrupt mogul Saad Hanafi, owner of a Cairo soccer team, whose star player, Adil Romario, has gone missing. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

A PLACE OF SECRETS by Rachel Hore (Historical Mystery)
In need of cash, the Wickhams of Starbrough Hall have decided to sell their cherished library of astronomy books. As the young woman hired to do so, Jude Gower combs through their collection and finds not only immense value there, but also some sinister links to their past. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

BUDAPEST NOIR written by Vilmos Kondor, translated by Paul Olchvary (Historical Thriller)
A late-night tip leads crime reporter Zsigmond Gordon to a crime scene where a young woman lies dead with a Jewish prayer book in her purse. Disturbed by the bizarre circumstances, Gordon is determined to unravel the mystery of her demise, especially after her shocking identity is revealed. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
This Week's Poll and Question

Where did you get the last book that you read?

I bought it online at Amazon.
I bought it online at
I bought it online via an Indie store.
I bought it online at Books-A-Million.
I bought it online at another retailer.
I bought it on my Kindle.
I bought it on my Nook.
I bought it on iTunes for my iPad.
I bought it on iTunes for my iPhone.
I bought it on another eReader.
I bought it in a chain bookstore (Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million).
I bought it at an Indie store.
I bought it at big-box store (Costco, Sam’s Club).
I borrowed it from a friend or family member.
I borrowed it from the library.
It was a gift/prize.
I found it.
I don't remember.

-Click here to answer the poll.


In the past three months, how have you acquired most of the books that you read?

-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 February 3rd to February 17th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER by Sophie Kinsella, PRIVATE GAMES by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan, and THE WOLF GIFT by Anne Rice.

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

Click here to enter the Word of Mouth contest.
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