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February 17, 2012 Newsletter February 17, 2012
A Week of Author Events and Readings
This week had me out three evenings for authors readings --- a really lovely week with very different programs. I started at Kristin Hannah’s event on Monday night where three members of our staff joined me. Kristin talked about what’s inspired her through the years and how she came up with the concept for HOME FRONT --- she knew she wanted to look at the subject of troop deployment --- and her research for the book. This book had a profound effect on her; she sees the world of soldiers in a whole new way. What was nice for her that evening was how many faces she recognized in the audience of folks who follow her on Facebook. Many book groups came and had their photos taken with her, which was nice to see…people making an event out of being at an author reading.

Wednesday night found me at a Claire Bidwell Smith reading for THE RULES OF INHERITANCE, which as you know I selected as a Bets On selection; it’s also a Barnes & Noble Discover Pick. Claire started her reading acknowledging her writing teacher from The New School, who was seated in the front row. She talked about how the opening of the book had been written during that class and refined during other classes with that same teacher. And how the book had been written in its entirety more than once before it became what we see today. She read the opening chapter, and there literally was a hush as she read the emotional prose that starts off the book. At one point she looked up and asked, “Should I keep reading?” and the audience commented, “Yes!,” clearly wanting to hear the story delivered in her voice. It was a powerful evening of reading and conversation, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet Claire.

Last night, I headed over to the Macauley Center at the City College of New York for Richard Mason’s event to celebrate the publication of HISTORY OF A PLEASURE SEEKER. Richard is an extremely gifted --- and animated --- reader and storyteller. He gave a marvelous background on why he chose to open his book in the early 1900s; he sees it as a time of real opulence and gaiety in Europe, before the reality of the price of this unfettered spending --- and decades of war --- shattered a whole way of life. He handwrote the book as he wanted to keep it as a tight story and did not want to succumb to what he calls “the opportunity to bloat prose which Microsoft Word allows.” His stories on the background of writing the book kept the audience amused and enthralled. As you may recall, I also selected this book as a Bets On selection. You can read my comments about why here and later in this newsletter.

I also share why I picked Alex George’s A GOOD AMERICAN as a Bets On selection as well. By the way, I missed meeting Alex in Dallas in January as I raced for a plane to get home for my son Cory’s birthday. Alex and I have written back and forth a few times these past few weeks. Last night he shared the lovely news that in the course of this last week, besides having his first novel published, he also traveled to Kansas City to become an American citizen; he was born in England. And ah, I did refrain from telling him to be “a good American.”

Last weekend, with a fire roaring in the fireplace, I enjoyed an afternoon reading THE DRESSMAKER by Kate Alcott. This April will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, thus you can expect a flurry of books with this theme, both fiction and nonfiction. I enjoyed THE DRESSMAKER as it told the story of Tess, a young seamstress who longs to be a dressmaker and finds herself with an opportunity to join this voyage at the very last moment as she secures employment as a servant to Lady Duff Gordon, a world-renowned dress designer. As lifeboats are tossed over the side of the boat, Tess finds herself in one and Lady Duff in another. The book begins with the fabulous setting onboard, where the elite dine and enjoy the specialness of the ship. However, it does not end with the sinking, but rather looks into the Congressional hearings and the aftermath as the truth unfolds about what really happened on the lifeboats. Thoroughly enjoyable.

From there I moved on to THE DARLINGS by Cristina Alger, which is a novel about a wealthy New York family and a financial crisis that will undo their lives and many others. While it feels at first like the plot is “ripped from the headlines,” it's a world that Cristina knows well --- she grew up on the Upper East Side, worked at Goldman Sachs, and her dad was David Alger of Fred Alger Management, who sadly was killed on 9/11 --- and thus she is able to craft a compelling book. I found myself wrapped up in this story that touches on what happens when a young couple who has it all is confronted with the world around them crumbling. It’s an inside look at the world of privilege that will leave you wondering if you really would want it! She also tackles oh so well what life on the Street is like. And the humor of the play on words as the Darling family becomes a lot less darling to folks in New York makes me think how much fun the New York Post would have had with this if the story was real. I am sure you will be hearing lots more about this one.

Our Paperback Spotlight this week is on SAVE ME by Lisa Scottoline, which came out in paperback on February 14th. Our reviewer Terry Miller Shannon calls it “a gripping page-turner.” In it, Rose McKenna is trying to maintain her “nearly perfect life” when a fireball explodes her daughter’s school cafeteria. Don't miss our Paperback Spotlight feature on the book.

The contests are still open in our two Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlights for Lisa Lutz and Helene Tursten.

In Lisa Lutz’s new book, TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS, the fifth in the Spellman series, 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 Thursday, 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.

In our other Mystery Mayhem spotlight is Helene Tursten, author of NIGHT ROUNDS and DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS, two books in her Inspector Huss series. We are giving away 50 copies of DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS, the first in the series, to readers who enter here by Thursday, February 23rd at noon ET. If you enjoy the series, you are in luck: THE TORSO and THE GLASS DEVIL have also been translated into English, and NIGHT ROUNDS hit stores on February 14th! Don’t miss this chance to get addicted to a whole new series.

We are also featuring a contest where 25 readers can win copies of OXFORD MESSED UP, a new novel by Andrea Kayne Kaufman about a young Rhodes Scholar who suffers from OCD. The book is informed by Kauffman’s own work with OCD patients, and it is a touching --- and funny --- story of how a young girl grapples with the issue while living in a new country. We have 25 copies of the book to give away to readers who enter here by Friday, March 9th at noon ET.

The three books we featured as Word of Mouth prizes the last prize period are all in stores now --- and we have reviews of them!

Of THE WOLF GIFT by Anne Rice, a futuristic sci-fi version of a werewolf story, reviewer Ray Palen says, "this novel opens readers up to a world they only thought they knew. It then goes much further."

Sophie Kinsella’s new book, I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER, tells the story of Poppy Wyatt, a girl about to be engaged --- if she finds the ring, which she somehow has misplaced! Our reviewer Amie Taylor says, "Kinsella keeps the action moving at such a pace that I found myself reading the book in one several-hours-long sitting simply because I couldn't bear to put it down. You'll wonder right up to the last minute what the future holds for Poppy and if she'll end up with the happily ever after that she deserves."

And in PRIVATE GAMES by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan, Private, an investigation firm, is once again on the scene --- this time at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Our reviewer Joe Hartlaub says, "even if you are not interested in the Summer Games, you will want to read the book, not only for its thrill-a-page plotting but also for the opening day spectacle that’s on display. If the Games are presented with half of the pageantry in the real world that they have here, they will never be forgotten."

As Patterson is a prolific writer, there is no way that I can keep up on all of his books, but I am reading PRIVATE GAMES as I am a huge fan of Mark Sullivan and I was eager to see their writing together. I am enjoying it enormously. I am at the point where the Games are opening, and I am loving what they have dreamed up for the music for the Opening Ceremonies! And in what will sound trite, but I am sincere, I love the color of the cover. It’s just popping for me, and given the gloom of winter and the gray skies, it’s refreshing.

A while back, you may have heard me talk about ROGUE, Mark’s next book, which will be coming out in the fall and will be the start of a new series featuring Robin Monarch as the protagonist. Well, you don’t need to wait til October to meet Robin, as Mark has written a short story, the first of three, which is available as an eBook to introduce readers to the series. It’s a prequel that will give you a chance to learn who Robin is --- and when you read ROGUE, the story will be even more enjoyable. I read BROTHERHOOD on the drive home from the Outer Banks in January, and it’s fabulous. Mark packs a lot into this story. Check it out in anticipation of ROGUE.

The much-anticipated debut novel from Eowyn Ivey, THE SNOW CHILD, was published on February 1st. Informed by Ivey’s own life in Alaska, the book tells the tale of Jack and Mabel, a couple whose relationship is crumbling out on their Alaskan homestead. Sarah Rachel Egelman has our review and says, "THE SNOW CHILD is at once an ethereal and magical tale of longing and love, and a brutal story about grief and survival. " I had the pleasure of meeting Eowyn in New Orleans and am kicking myself that I have not yet had time to read this book.

And don’t forget to tell us about what you are reading in THIS week’s Word of Mouth contest! If you do, you will automatically be entered to win copies of CARRY THE ONE by Carol Anshaw, LONE WOLF by Jodi Picoult and THE STARBOARD SEA by Amber Dermont. Don’t forget to enter your FULL address when you do so. We won’t share it with anyone, but if you leave that space blank, you are NOT eligible for the prize.

By the way, we are planning on featuring all three of these Word of Mouth books on our new site,, which is scheduled to go live on February 29th. Are you a 20-something? Do you feel like one? Do you know one? Click here to sign up for our new newsletter to be alerted when the site goes live.

Next week we will start spreading spring fever (the ONLY good kind of fever) at with our new Spring Preview contests. From February 21st to March 20th, we will be featuring special contests on the site for a great list of books that hit stores this spring. Click here to sign up for our Spring Preview newsletter and receive contest alerts, or plan to stop by the site each day to see the contest that is running.

Answer our poll questions this week and let us know which of the movies nominated for “Best Picture” at the Oscars you like the best. Then check out our feature Reading the Oscars and tell us which of the books-to-movies being featured at the Academy Awards this year you most enjoyed.

Last Friday night, just as I was logging off of my computer for the evening, I saw a newsflash that Jeffrey Zaslow had been killed in a car accident while on his way home from a book signing in northern Michigan. Zaslow was a master of nonfiction writing with an ability to reach deep into the worlds of his characters to tell their stories, and his four books are a testament to his abilities as a writer. I had the pleasure of meeting Jeffrey years ago at the Books for a Better Life Awards ceremony where he accepted an award for THE LAST LECTURE on behalf of himself and Randy Pausch’s widow. He was a really lovely man. One public figure whose story he helped write was airline pilot Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger with whom he wrote HIGHEST DUTY. We recently featured his latest book, THE MAGIC ROOM, which followed a group of women who shopped at Becker’s Bridal in Fowler, MI and told their stories of marriage. Included with this feature is an interview with him, which you can read here.

Another quiet weekend ahead. Greg is off to Maine with the Land Rover Club off-roading in the mud, which sounds pretty nutty to me; he has his dad’s car genes. I hope to persuade Cory to decide which colleges he would like to look at so we can plan those visits. I am hoping not to spend Spring Break on college campuses watching bloated PowerPoints and listening to admission folks wax prosaic. Hope to sneak some weekend trips in before or after then to look at schools.

I have a number of books that I want to read…and I want to work on some of the content for I have learned not to say that this will be the last site we launch, since I said that three sites ago, but I plan this to be the last one for a while. I can see the staff rolling their eyes already….they seem to know me way, way too well to believe that. Have a great long weekend… I think I am going to bake a cherry pie to celebrate. And, oh, for those who wanted to see the Valentine’s Day cake, I posted a photo on the Facebook page!

Carol Fitzgerald (

Now in Stores: THE WOLF GIFT by Anne Rice
THE WOLF GIFT by Anne Rice (Paranormal/Urban Fantasy)
Returning to her horror roots, Anne Rice begins a new saga with werewolves as the central characters. When young Reuben is bitten by a werewolf, he begins to undergo a startling change. Will he be able to use his newfound powers for good, or is his future already predestined by centuries of lycan lore? Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: PRIVATE GAMES by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan

PRIVATE GAMES by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan (Thriller)
Private, the world's most renowned investigation firm, has been commissioned to provide security for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The opening ceremony is hours away when Private investigator and single father Peter Knight is called to the scene of a ruthless murder. A high-ranking member of the games' organizing committee has been killed. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt.


Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER by Sophie Kinsella
I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER by Sophie Kinsella (Fiction)
Bride-to-be Poppy Wyatt is beyond relieved when she discovers an abandoned cell phone in a garbage can just moments after hers is stolen. But she has no idea that instead of solving all of her problems, this new phone is going to complicate her life in ways she never would have imagined. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE SNOW CHILD by Eowyn Ivey
THE SNOW CHILD by Eowyn Ivey (Metaphysical Fiction)
Jack and Mabel have recently arrived in Alaska in 1920. Longing for children and struggling in their marriage, they build a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child is gone --- but they glimpse a small girl running through the trees. As they struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, Jack and Mabel come to love her as their own daughter. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.
Click here to read a review.
New Paperback Spotlight: SAVE ME by Lisa Scottoline
SAVE ME by Lisa Scottoline (Fiction)
Nobody could have foreseen what would happen the day that Rose McKenna volunteers as a lunch mom in the cafeteria of her daughter’s elementary school. Rose does it to keep a discreet eye on her third-grader, Melly, a sweet, if shy, child who was born with a facial birthmark that has become her own personal bull’s-eye. Melly has been targeted by the mean girl at their new school and gets bullied every day, placing Rose in a no-win position familiar to parents everywhere. Do we step in to protect our children when they need us, or does that make things worse?

When the bully starts to tease Melly yet again. Rose is about to leap into action --- but right then, the unthinkable happens. Rose finds herself in a nightmare, faced with an emergency decision that no mother should ever have to make. What she decides in that split second derails Rose’s life and jeopardizes everyone she holds dear, until she takes matters into her own hands and lays her life on the line to save her child, her family, her marriage --- and herself.

-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 watch the book trailer.
-Click here to read Lisa Scottoline’s bio.
-Click here to watch an interview with Lisa Scottoline.
-Click here to connect with Lisa Scottoline on Facebook.
-Click here to follow Lisa Scottoline on Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Paperback Spotlight feature.
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 follow Lisa Lutz on Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Mystery Mayhem feature.
Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Helene Tursten, Author of NIGHT ROUNDS and DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS

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 DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS.
-Click here to read a second excerpt from DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS.
-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 a review of NIGHT ROUNDS.
-Click here to read a second excerpt from NIGHT ROUNDS.

Click here to read more in our Mystery Mayhem feature for DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS.
Featured Women's Fiction Author: Pamela Redmond, Author of THE POSSIBILITY OF YOU

THE POSSIBILITY OF YOU by Pamela Redmond (Fiction)
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 third 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 follow Pamela Redmond on Twitter.
-Click here to see Pamela Redmond on Goodreads.
-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.
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 feature.
Now Available: BROTHERHOOD, an eBook Short Story Exclusive by Mark Sullivan

BROTHERHOOD: A Robin Monarch Short Story by Mark Sullivan (Thriller)
BROTHERHOOD, the first in a series of stand-alone e-short stories, introduces readers to Robin Monarch. Currently locked up in a military supermax prison, the CIA offers Monarch one shot at freedom and a pardon. All he has to do is steal something from a highly secure position at ground zero of a war-zone and escape undetected. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.


Click here to read a review. Bets On: A GOOD AMERICAN and HISTORY OF A PLEASURE SEEKER

A GOOD AMERICAN by Alex George (Historical Fiction)
I am often asked, “What have you read recently that you loved?” Last fall, after I finished A GOOD AMERICAN by Alex George, it was the book that I found myself talking about the most. As I read it months in advance of publication, I kept having to add a coda of “but it’s not in stores until February 2012.” Over the holiday, I asked the publisher for some extra advance reading copies and wrapped them up for family members and close friends --- and their responses upon reading it mirrored mine. They loved it.

So what attracted me to this story? At its central core is the idea of family --- and how families are complicated, but also how they define us. It opens as Frederick and Jette Meisenheimer leave their town in Germany; Jette is pregnant, and the couple is unmarried. Their journey starts with a rushed race from town as their secret has been discovered; they flee to keep from embarrassing their families. They settle in Missouri in 1904. While much fiction is written about European immigrants landing in New York, this Midwestern setting was fresh for me.

-Click here to read more of Carol's thoughts about the book.
-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 an interview with Alex George.

HISTORY OF A PLEASURE SEEKER by Richard Mason (Historical Fiction)
HISTORY OF A PLEASURE SEEKER by Richard Mason is set in Amsterdam at the turn of the 20th century at the height of Europe’s Belle Époque. The book is a fast-paced story that is full of great atmospheric detail. From the rich descriptions, I immediately felt like I was inside one of the homes on the Gilded Curve with the main character Piet Barol, an attractive, cunning and scheming young man.

Piet is there to inquire about a position as a tutor in the Vermeulen-Sickerts family. But as the interview process continues, we see that Piet is assessing the needs of more than just the young student who he is planning to tutor --- the boy’s mother and sisters quickly capture his attention as well. The story 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 with great charm to get his needs taken care of as well. It’s wickedly fun and smart --- and very, very sexy.

-Click here to read more of Carol's thoughts about the book.
-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to see what readers are saying about the book.

Click here to see all the books we're betting you'll love.
New Guides Now Available on

ALL THAT I AM by Anna Funder
AT LAST by Edward St. Aubyn
DOWN RIVER by John Hart
FAR FROM HERE by Nicole Baart
HOME FRONT by Kristin Hannah
IRON HOUSE by John Hart
ISLAND OF WINGS by Karen Altenberg
LONG DRIVE HOME by Will Allison
NORUMBEGA PARK by Anthony Giardina
OXFORD MESSED UP by Andrea Kayne Kaufman
THE RUINS OF US by Keija Parssinen
SIPPING FROM THE NILE: My Exodus from Egypt by Jean Naggar
SPIN by Catherine McKenzie
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN: Movie Tie-In Edition by Lionel Shriver

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

DAY OF HONEY: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War by Annia Ciezadlo

SAVE ME by Lisa Scottoline
THE WEIRD SISTERS by Eleanor Brown

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

ACCUSED: Pacific Coast Justice #1 by Janice Cantore

HEART'S SAFE PASSAGE: The Midwives, Book 2 by Laurie Alice Eakes
WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS: Deadly Reunions, Book 1 by Lynette Eason

Click here to visit
This Week's Reviews
THE HOUSE I LOVED by Tatiana de Rosnay (Historical Fiction)
The Paris of the 1860s is a time of change for Rose Bazelet. A widow living in a neighborhood marked for improvement by the Emperor Napoleon, she takes a stand and vows never to leave her family home. She spends her days reliving memories of her husband and family in the house she has come to love as much as the people who inhabited it. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE JANSON COMMAND by Paul Garrison (Thriller/Action & Adventure)
Robert Ludlum’s little-known character, Paul Janson, is back in the hands of author Paul Garrison. Janson’s mantra is “save the world, one operative, one mission, one redemption at a time.” This will be put to the test as he is pitted against Somali pirates, militant thugs and nefarious international money lenders. Reviewed by Ray Palen

CONTENTS MAY HAVE SHIFTED by Pam Houston (Fiction)
Prize-winning novelist Pam Houston writes about travel with magnificent wit, detailing the adventures of an eccentric writer and teacher whose wanderlust takes her around the world a few dozen times. A single career woman with exquisite and terrible taste in men ponders questions on life and love while trekking with lovers and the occasional group of girlfriends. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

FRIENDS LIKE US by Lauren Fox (Fiction)
In this hilarious, sorrowful, intelligent and irresistible page-turner, Willa Jacobs has the best friend of a lifetime in Jane Weston. When Ben, a close friend from high school, returns to Willa's life, the delicate balance of friendship and love is tipped askew. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

STILL: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren F. Winner (Memoir)
In STILL, Lauren Winner describes how experiences of loss and failure unexpectedly slam her into a wall of doubt and spiritual despair. She explores why --- in the midst of the overwhelming anxiety, loneliness and boredom of her deepest questioning about where (or if) God is --- the Christian story still explains who she is better than any other story she’s ever known. Reviewed by Marcia Ford.

SIPPING FROM THE NILE: My Exodus from Egypt by Jean Naggar (Memoir)
Born into a prominent, sophisticated Jewish family, author Jean Naggar’s coming-of-age memoir tells the story of her protected youth in an exotic multicultural milieu. To Naggar, her childhood seemed a magical time that would never come to an end. But in 1956, Egyptian President Nasser’s nationalizing of the Suez Canal set in motion events that would change her life forever. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

ANATOMY OF MURDER by Imogen Robertson (Historical Mystery)
London, 1781. Harriet Westerman anxiously awaits news of her husband, a ship's captain who has been gravely injured in the king's naval battles with France. As London's streets seethe with rumor, a body is dragged from the murky waters of the Thames. The indomitable Mrs. Westerman and her reclusive sidekick, anatomist Gabriel Crowther, are once again called on to investigate. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

TRIBULATIONS OF THE SHORTCUT MAN by p.g. sturges (Thriller)
Dick Henry is the Shortcut Man, assisting people with their sticky situations in the belief that the shortest answer to many problems may not always be legal. In TRIBULATIONS OF THE SHORTCUT MAN, he reluctantly provides assistance to an old girlfriend, pole dancer Pussy Grace. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

This Week's Poll and Word of Mouth Contest


Which of the Oscar nominees for "Best Picture" have you seen? (Please select as many as apply.)

The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse
None of the above

Which of the following Oscar-nominated "Books on Screen" movies were your favorites? (Please select as many as apply.) And click here to read more about all the Oscar-nominated "Books on Screen" movies in our feature “Reading the Oscars.”

The Adventures of Tintin
Albert Nobbs
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
The Help
Jane Eyre
Kung Fu Panda 2
My Week with Marilyn
Puss in Boots
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
War Horse
I didn't like any of these movies.
I haven't seen any of these movies.

-Click here to answer the poll.

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 17th to March 2nd, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of CARRY THE ONE by Carol Anshaw, LONE WOLF by Jodi Picoult, and THE STARBOARD SEA by Amber Dermont.

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

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