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February 10, 2012 Newsletter February 10, 2012
Don't Tell the Lorax!

As I write today, there is a crew of arborists taking down trees in front of the house. One was an old oak dying too close to the house; another had been struck by lightning and died; and others just needed to be pruned after the storms. I am like a five-year-old child glancing out the window at the progress throughout the morning. The view from my home office where I write on Fridays will be altered, thus I am eagle-eye watching. Between this and the chopped-down wooden swing set, I am set for firewood and wood chips for a while.

Last weekend, I decided that the cure for the common cold was…reading. And if there were any hopes of our going through with the Super Bowl party planned for Sunday, I needed couch time with books and knitting. I am happy to report that the cure worked!

As promised last week, I read a book with flipflops on the cover --- SPRING FEVER by Mary Kay Andrews, which will be out on June 5th. In it, Annajane Hudgens is at her ex-husband Mason’s wedding when a thought crosses her mind as she watches him at the altar --- she wants him back. But before she can stand and stop the ceremony, the young flower girl handles this for her as she is felled with an attack of appendicitis and, bam, the wedding is postponed with the help of that little showstopper.

From here, the story whirls and twists and turns as only Mary Kay can do with multiple plotlines and nefarious deals and wrongdoings. And the action keeps up right til the end. By the way, every reference to Quixie soda --- made in the plant that is owned by Mason’s family that is part of the history of the small North Carolina town of Pascoe where the book is set --- made me want to pop open a Cheerwine, which I always drink on the Outer Banks. For fans of SUMMER RENTAL, you are in for a real treat with this one, which is going to be on beach blankets and chairs everywhere. And, ahem, note the turquoise cover.

Many of you may remember Joshua Henkin’s book of a few years ago, MATRIMONY. Recently he shared with me a very short description of his upcoming book, THE WORLD WITHOUT YOU (on sale June 19th) and asked if I wanted to see the manuscript. So glad I got a chance to read this one early and alert you to be on the lookout for it. The book takes place over a few days around the 4th of July as a family gathers at their vacation home in Lenox, MA, to commemorate the unveiling of their son/brother Leo’s tombstone on the first anniversary of his death. The book opens with the parents awaiting the arrival of the family, and we learn the bombshell of a secret that they plan to share with them.

The sisters and Leo’s widow arrive from New York, D.C, northern California and Israel, and, as is apt to happen when grown families gather, moments from the past haunt and are re-lived. Shadowing all these events is Leo, whose absence is acute and whose death has changed them all. I stayed up late and woke up early to finish it. I love stories that take place within a few days like this. Joshua does a great job of describing each character, so we are clear on who we are hearing from at all times. No easy feat.

We have TWO great Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlights with contests this week; one is from an author you may recognize, and one from someone who is probably new for you, though we gave you hints about her last week.

The latest in Lisa Lutz’s Spellman series is TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS. In this fifth installment, chaos strikes in the Spellman household, and Isabel Spellman, PI, fears she is the only sane one left. Why is her mom suddenly taking on extracurricular activities? Why are her brother and sister at war? And WHY oh why does her niece keep saying “banana” when she doesn’t even like bananas? As part of the Mystery Mayhem Spotlight, we are giving away 20 copies of this mysterious --- and hilarious--- book, which hits stores on February 28th, to readers who enter here by February 23rd at noon ET. When I read TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS, I was endlessly humored by Lisa’s writing and loved her sense of timing. For an amusing video of Lisa talking about her book, click here.

Our second Mystery Mayhem Spotlight author is Helene Tursten, a Swedish thriller writer who is worth notice and whose series features Irene Huss, a trusted investigator. Readers may remember that Greg and I were sparring over a copy of this book last week as we both loved it. We are giving away 50 copies of DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS, the first book in the series, to readers who enter here by February 23rd at noon ET. At the same time, we will be talking about Irene Huss’s latest book (the fourth in the series), NIGHT ROUNDS, which goes on sale Tuesday, February 14th. For those of you who enjoy reading a series in order, you have four books to enjoy --- and six others that haven't yet been translated into English. Don’t miss this chance to get addicted to a whole new series!

Will Allison’s LONG DRIVE HOME is our latest Paperback Spotlight title. It’s the story of a man who, while driving his daughter home from school, accidentally causes a teen's death. The question that haunts him: How much does his young daughter who was riding in the back seat of the car remember about what happened the day of the crime? I got completely caught up in the story as the father gets more and more tangled in a web of truth and lies that unravel his world. Years ago, a driving instructor told me that when driving a car, you are handling a lethal weapon, and this book really drives the point home. By the way, we are featuring a contest for book groups for LONG DRIVE HOME on, so if you are in a book group, check it out.

And remember, we also are featuring Pamela Redmond, author of THE POSSIBILITY OF YOU, in a Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight with a contest where we are giving away 30 copies of the book, which tells the interlocking tales of three women who face pregnancy at three different stages in America’s history: the brink of World War I, the '60s-'80s, and the autumn of the 2008 election. Enter here by February 16th at noon ET for your chance to win!

Last week we featured Nicole Baart in a Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight for her new book, FAR FROM HERE. This week we have our review and interview with Nicole. In the interview, Nicole talks about her inspiration for the book, and how she chose its themes and characters. Our reviewer Bronwyn Miller had this to say about the book: "With circumstances ripe for discussion, FAR FROM HERE is a great choice for book clubs, as well as for fans of Jacquelyn Mitchard, Kristin Hannah and Jodi Picoult."

Also this week, we have our review of A GOOD AMERICAN by Alex George, which I am choosing as a Bets On selection next week. I read it months ago and immediately envisioned big things for it. Throughout the book, there is a thread about our families all being immigrants in this country as we all came from other places; food for thought. It also touches on the theme of families and how they are complicated, but also how they define us. Throughout the book, people start one journey and end up on another, which often springs from casual encounters, like so much of life. Nothing unfolded just the way I would have expected it to, also much like real life. Our reviewer Donna Volkenannt says, "A GOOD AMERICAN is a sweet and touching family saga, peopled with unique characters and memorable events. It is sure to hit a high note with readers who embrace stories about triumph in the face of adversity." This week, we also have a real treat as we share a conversation between Eleanor Brown, the author of THE WEIRD SISTERS, and Alex.

Another Bets On selection will be HISTORY OF A PLEASURE SEEKER by Richard Mason, which we featured in our Valentine’s Day promotion. This sexy new novel is a coming-of-age tale, set in Amsterdam at the height of Europe’s belle époque. Piet Barol is a young, attractive man who begins work as a tutor in the house of a landed family in Amsterdam. The book follows him as he makes his way through the world of the wealthy, seeking pleasure wherever he can. Piet is adept at identifying people’s needs and fulfilling them to gets his needs taken care of as well. It’s wickedly fun and smart. Our reviewer Norah Piehl says, "With its careful, detailed descriptions of décor, artwork, architecture and fashion, and with its cross-class portrayal of a wealthy household on the cusp of change, HISTORY OF A PLEASURE SEEKER will certainly appeal to 'Downton Abbey' fans who value many of those same aspects in their beloved television show."

Richard is a featured author in the Knopf Doubleday Author Series and is giving a talk as part of the series on February 16th. If you live near New York City and can make it to the Macaulay building next week, perhaps I will see you there! You can read more about the event and RSVP here.

Lots more great reading, including CATCH ME, a new thriller from Lisa Gardner. Our reviewer Joe Hartlaub says, "As with the best of mystery and thriller novels, Gardner’s latest raises interesting questions and inspires passionate emotions. This puzzling and confounding mystery will have you guessing practically until the end." I see Greg and I arguing over who reads this one first. Another strange and thrilling book hit stores this week --- PURE by Julianna Baggott. Reviewer Sarah Rachel Egelman calls it "an inventive and fun riff on both post-apocalyptic adventures and the coming-of-age story." I enjoyed this book enormously. By the way, share this one with teens who loved The Hunger Games.

Jesse Kornbluth was kind enough to share his review from of AN INVISIBLE THREAD by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski with us. I am loving this book, which is the true story of an 11-year-old panhandler and the young New York ad executive who befriended him one day in 1986. Instead of just handing him money, she took him to McDonald’s and had lunch with him and asked him about his life and made him part of hers. She took the time to get to know the young boy when most just walked by. Here’s something interesting. Laura lived in the Symphony Building around the corner from our office, and the McDonald’s that I can see out my window is the one where she took Maurice to lunch. He lived just a few blocks from our office. It’s wonderful, and I encourage you to read Jesse’s review; it's really heartwarming.

As promised, I have more details on why last week I announced that DEFENDING JACOB and THE RULES OF INHERITANCE are Bets On selections. Read on below for more about that, or click here. And next week, I will share my Bets On thoughts about A GOOD AMERICAN and HISTORY OF A PLEASURE SEEKER.

Our New in Paperback feature has been updated this week with a whole new roundup of paperback books that are hitting stores in February. I know there are probably some books on there about which you made mental notes of when they came out in hardcover, and were just waiting to be published in paperback! It can take a while for books to make the switch, so in case you have forgotten, our feature will put you back in the loop. Check out our new lineup that features books from Lisa See, Helen Schulman and Lisa Scottoline.

Thanks to all of you who entered our Valentine’s Day contest; the winners of four great books and Godiva chocolate are here --- along with the fictional character they would want to spend a Valentine’s Day moment with.

Are you excited for spring yet? We are --- and we are celebrating with our Spring Preview feature and contests! From February 21st to March 20th, we will be featuring special contests for books hitting stores this spring. Click here or on the graphic above to sign up for our special Spring Preview newsletter and be notified when the contests run!

I heard the absolutely amazing and stupendous news this week that Kristin Hannah topped FIVE New York Times bestseller lists that will appear in the paper on February 19th with HOME FRONT and NIGHT ROAD. We know many of you, like us, have been enjoying her books for years, and thus this is really wonderful news. We will be heading over to see her at her New York appearance on Monday night and look forward to celebrating this with her!

In our current poll and question, we want to know where you've gotten your books lately.

As always, tell us about what you are reading in our Word of Mouth contest and you will automatically be entered to win three books. This week’s prize books are THE WOLF GIFT by Anne Rice, PRIVATE GAMES by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan (we will have more news on Mark next week too!), and I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER by Sophie Kinsella. We love hearing about your reading trends, so please weigh in!

A quiet cold snowy weekend is on tap where, besides reading, I am going to start tackling cleaning out the attic. I think we still have some boxes packed from when we moved here 22 years ago. It’s stunning to see how many things that once mattered will make their way into the fireplace. Sunday night is the Grammys program, which around our house we have dubbed “The Adele Show” as she is nominated for six awards and will be on "60 Minutes" on Sunday night as well. Still surprised that Paul Simon’s "So Beautiful or So What" was not nominated. Seriously. And Sunday night "The Walking Dead" picks back up as well.

Here’s to a great week of reading…and Happy Valentine’s Day to you all, or, as a friend calls it, “Girl Christmas.” I will be making my heart-shaped cake with pink whipped cream frosting and raspberries.

Carol Fitzgerald (

Now in Stores: CATCH ME by Lisa Gardner
CATCH ME by Lisa Gardner (Thriller)
Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant tells a chilling story: Each year at 8:00 p.m. on January 21st, a woman has died. The victims have been childhood best friends from a small town in New Hampshire; the motive remains unknown. Now only one friend, Charlie, remains to count down her final hours --- and she’s hiring Detective D. D. Warren to investigate the case after she’s killed. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: KILL SHOT by Vince Flynn

KILL SHOT: An American Assassin Thriller by Vince Flynn (Thriller)
Since the CIA unleashed him, Mitch Rapp has been working his way through a list of men, bullet by bullet. With each kill, the network of monsters responsible for the slaughter of 270 civilians in the Pan Am Lockerbie attack become increasingly aware that someone is hunting them. Rapp is given his next target, and in the split second it takes the bullet to leave Rapp’s pistol, the trap is sprung and he finds himself in the fight of his life. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here to read a review.
Eleanor Brown Interviews Alex George, Author of A GOOD AMERICAN

Alex George's debut novel, A GOOD AMERICAN, tells the story of Frederick and Jette, a young German couple in 1904 who must flee Jette's disapproving mother. They decide to go to New York, but end up in Beatrice, Missouri with a whole new life in store for them. In this interview, conducted by Eleanor Brown, the bestselling author of THE WEIRD SISTERS, George talks about his own immigration experience, which inspired the book. He also discusses the process of developing a family of characters across generations, describes his writing routine, and shares his favorite authors.

A GOOD AMERICAN by Alex George (Historical Fiction)
In Germany in 1904, music sparks the love of Frederick Meisenheimer and Jette Furst. After an unplanned pregnancy, the couple flees to America. Their journey takes them from Hanover to New Orleans to St. Louis and finally to the town of Beatrice, Missouri, where they search for the American dream. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.

Click here to read the interview. Talks to Nicole Baart, Author of FAR FROM HERE

In Nicole Baart’s new novel, FAR FROM HERE, Danica Greene embarks on a journey from Iowa to Alaska in search of her pilot husband, whose plane has gone missing. But her world is shattered when she discovers that he wasn’t flying alone, and a young woman is missing too. In this interview, conducted by’s Bronwyn Miller, Baart explains how she developed the idea for the book over many years. She also shares how her devastating experiences trying to have children inspired Danica’s emotional pain, talks about the nonprofit organization that she co-founded, and gives us a preview of her next novel.

FAR FROM HERE by Nicole Baart (Fiction)
Danica Greene's happy marriage to a pilot crashes when her husband, Etsell, goes missing in Alaska. While she awaits news of his whereabouts, she must confront her hometown's wild speculation and her growing attraction to her single neighbor, a pastor named Ben. Finally Etsell's mystery is solved, and Danica must decide whether her life is about loss or love.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-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 see the 20 winners selected to read and comment on the book.
-Click here to read more in our Women’s Fiction feature.

Click here to read our interview.
New Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Lisa Lutz, Author of TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS

We have 20 copies of TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS by Lisa Lutz, which will be in stores February 28th, 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 23rd at noon ET.

For the first time in Spellman history, Isabel Spellman might be the most normal member of her family. Mom has taken on an outrageous assortment of extracurricular activities. Dad has a secret. Her brother and sister are at war, but neither will reveal the source of the conflict. While domestic disturbances abound, there is one source of sanity in the Spellman household: Demetrius Merriweather, employee of the month for 18 months straight.

Things aren’t any simpler on the business side of Spellman Investigations. First, Rae is hired to follow a girl, only to fake the surveillance reports. Then a socialite has Isabel tail her husband, despite a conspicuous lack of suspicion. A man in a sweater vest hires the Spellmans to follow his sister, who turns out to be the socialite. Izzy won’t stop hunting for the answers --- even when they threaten to shatter both the business and the family.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt
-Click here to see a video of Lisa Lutz talking about the book.
-Click here to visit Lisa Lutz’s website.
-Click here to connect with Lisa Lutz on Facebook.
-Click here to connect with Lisa Lutz on Twitter.

Click here to read more in our Mystery Mayhem feature.
New Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Helene Tursten, Author of DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS and the Latest in the Series, NIGHT ROUNDS

We have 50 copies of DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS, the first installment in Helene Tursten's series of crime novels set in Göteborg, Sweden, to give away to readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Thursday, February 23rd at noon ET.

Inspector Irene Huss, stationed in Göteborg, is called through the rain-drenched wintry streets to the scene of an apparent suicide. The dead man landed on the sidewalk in front of his luxurious duplex apartment. He was a wealthy financier connected, through an old-boys’ network, with the first families of Sweden. But the "Society Suicide" turns out to have been a carefully plotted murder. As more murders ensue, she tangles with street gang members, skinheads, immigrants and neo-Nazis --- a cross-section of Sweden’s disaffected --- in order to catch the killer.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read praise for Helene Tursten's books.
-Click here to visit the publisher’s website.
-Click here to see our Mystery Mayhem feature for NIGHT ROUNDS, the latest book in the Detective Inspector Huss series to be translated to English.

Click here to read more in our Mystery Mayhem feature for DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS.
New Paperback Spotlight: LONG DRIVE HOME by Will Allison

LONG DRIVE HOME by Will Allison (Fiction)
Life can change in an instant because of one small mistake. For Glen Bauer, all it takes is a quick jerk of the steering wheel, an impulsive move intended to scare a reckless driver --- not kill him. But when Glen realizes no one saw the deadly accident, he lies to the police, to his wife, even to his six-year-old daughter, Sara, who was in the backseat at the time of the crash. As his wife’s panicked plan to save their family instead threatens to tear it apart, Glen can’t help wondering: What if the accident wasn’t really his fault? What if someone else were to blame? Struggling to understand the extent of his own culpability, Glen finds himself on yet another collision course, different in kind but with equally terrible potential.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to see a playlist based on the book.
-Click here to read a review in People Magazine.
-Click here to read Will Allison’s bio.
-Click here to visit Will Allison’s website.
-Click here to connect with Will Allison on Facebook.
-Click here to see a video of Will Allison talking about the book.

Click here to read more in our Paperback Spotlight.
Now in Stores: THE RULES OF INHERITANCE by Claire Bidwell-Smith

THE RULES OF INHERITANCE: A Memoir by Claire Bidwell-Smith (Memoir)
At age 14, Claire Bidwell Smith --- an only child --- learned that both of her parents had cancer. The fear of becoming a family of one before she came of age compels Claire to make a series of fraught choices, set against the glittering backdrop of New York and Los Angeles --- and the pall of regret. When the inevitable happens, and Claire is alone in the world, she is 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.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here to visit the author's website and read more about the book.
Now in Stores: PURE by Julianna Baggott

PURE by Julianna Baggott (Post-Apocalyptic Horror)
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. When a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.


Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: HISTORY OF A PLEASURE SEEKER by Richard Mason

HISTORY OF A PLEASURE SEEKER by Richard Mason (Historical Fiction)
Piet Barol has an instinctive appreciation for pleasure and a gift for finding it. He applies for a job as tutor to the troubled son of Europe’s leading hotelier: a child who refuses to leave his family’s mansion on Amsterdam’s grandest canal. As the young man enters this glittering world, he learns its secrets --- and soon, quietly, steadily, finds his life transformed as he in turn transforms the lives of those around him. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to see what readers are saying about the book.

Click here to read a review.
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 a second 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 in our Women's Fiction feature. Bets On: DEFENDING JACOB and THE RULES OF INHERITANCE
DEFENDING JACOB by William Landay (Thriller)
William Landay wrote one of my favorite books, MISSION FLATS, back in 2003 and since then I have been a huge fan of his work. DEFENDING JACOB takes his writing to a whole new level of both plotting and character development.

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. 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. And his dad knows how the law can be interpreted to send this case either way. Really gripping.

And in an aside, I shared this book with a fewfellow readers before publication, and each of them wrote or called upon finishing it with the same reaction as me --- complete and abject praise!

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read more in our Suspense/Thriller feature.

THE RULES OF INHERITANCE: A Memoir by Claire Bidwell-Smith (Memoir)
THE RULES OF INHERITANCE by Claire Bidwell Smith is a brilliant memoir about a young woman who at age 14 learns that both of her parents have cancer. A huge burden at any age, but even more difficult for an adolescent. Her choice the night her mother dies will haunt her, her father’s death will be a lonely vigil, and who she becomes between these two experiences and how she emerges after them is one powerful story.

It’s written in a non-linear style using the five stages of grief as a lens to look inside Claire’s emotions. In this way, readers see Claire’s reactions to different situations from the aspect of each of these milestone stages. I admire her ability to look back in this way, and her brutal honesty about the person she was during these years is admirable. She is not rewriting history and making it prettier with the knowledge she has now.

Claire is now a grief counselor herself, and her compassion given her experience translates beautifully here. I can see myself thinking about this book for a long time.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here to see all the books we're betting you'll love.
This Week's Reviews
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ANNE FRANK: Stories by Nathan Englander (Fiction/Short Stories)
These eight new stories from the celebrated novelist and short-story writer Nathan Englander address such topics as marriage, parenting, sexual intimacy and suffering, all set against various backdrops such as the Holocaust and Israel’s settlements from the eve of the Yom Kippur War through the present. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

LEFT FOR DEAD by J. A. Jance (Mystery/Thriller)
Ali Reynolds investigates two shocking cases of victims brutally left for dead --- Santa Cruz County deputy sheriff Jose Reyes, Ali’s classmate from the Arizona Police Academy, and an unidentified young woman presumed to be an illegal border crosser. Together with her friend, Sister Anselm, and a conscientious officer who won’t let the case drop despite pressure from above, Ali digs for clues to find the true culprits. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

THE LAST STORYTELLER: A Novel of Ireland by Frank Delaney (Historical Fiction)
In the 1950s, amid the violent unrest in Ireland, men with the gift of storytelling walked the land, knocking on doors of strangers to bless their homes with legends and lore. Ben MacCarthy has gathered stories for decades, as he has searched for his missing wife, Venetia Kelly. Now it’s time for him to give back those stories, among them his life’s own. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

NO MARK UPON HER by Deborah Crombie (Mystery)
When a K9 search-and-rescue team discovers a woman's body tangled up with debris in the river, Scotland Yard superintendent Duncan Kincaid finds himself heading an investigation fraught with complications. The victim, Olympic contender Rebecca Meredith, was a talented but difficult woman with many admirers --- and just as many enemies. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

AMERICAN DERVISH by Ayad Akhtar (Fiction)
Hayat Shah is a young Pakistani American in love for the first time. Mina is Hayat's mother's oldest friend from Pakistan. When Mina begins dating a man, Hayat is confused by his feelings of betrayal. His growing passions force him to question all that he has come to believe is true. Reviewed by Melanie Smith

AN INVISIBLE THREAD: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski (Memoir)
When Laura Schroff first met Maurice on a New York City street corner, she had no idea that she was standing on the brink of an incredible and unlikely friendship that would change both their lives. As one lunch at McDonald’s with Maurice turns into two, then into a weekly occurrence that is fast growing into an inexplicable connection, Laura learns heart-wrenching details about Maurice’s horrific childhood. Reviewed by Jesse Kornbluth, founder of

THE FACE THIEF by Eli Gottlieb (Psychological Thriller)
Margot is a promising journalist who morphs from a high-achieving affluent twentysomething into a grifter, making her living preying on the weaknesses of men. Having studied the ancient Chinese art of face reading, she becomes an expert at reading people and is also able to rearrange her look and persona to fit any social situation. She is an avenging angel, shattering marriages and draining bank accounts. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SISTER QUEENS: The Noble, Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile by Julia Fox (Biography)
Sisters Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile, are daughters of Catholic Monarchs, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. The Queen Sisters have been raised to make marriages that will strengthen political ties with the Spanish throne. But being crowned queen doesn’t guarantee a royal life. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

Poll, Question and Word of Mouth


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 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.

-Click here to enter the Word of Mouth contest.
-To see reader comments from previous contest periods, click here.

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