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June 20, 2014 Newsletter June 20, 2014
Celebrating the Summer Solstice

I love the summer solstice, the day of the year with the longest hours of daylight. There is something energizing about long hours of brightness, renewing my idea that the perfect life would be spent with six months in each hemisphere. I had contemplated throwing a party this weekend, as it’s not every year that this date falls on a Saturday, but I never pulled that together. The warm weather this week meant the pool has been delightful; there have been a few night swims. I love being outside in the evening, but often wish I could watch a movie or television show outside. I got home one night, and Cory had come up with a plan for that. He had brought a flat-screen television outside, along with the Google box, and put them on one of the coffee tables on the patio, so the menfolk could watch “Top Gear.” I love when he puts his engineering skills to work. There will be additional outdoor evening screenings with less guy-oriented fare now that this configuration is in place.

Tonight we are going to be indoors to see the movie Jersey Boys. My Uncle Nicky was one of the original Four Seasons (I inherited none of his musical talent), and this is the story of his years with the group (he left in 1965). I have seen the play on Broadway and thus am interested to see how it is reinterpreted here under Clint Eastwood’s direction. I was about seven when they started to hit big, and I remember being in the audience of Hootenanny, which was such fun. In later years, I remember being in a recording studio with my uncle as he was working on an arrangement; I remember being fascinated by the mixing board. Sadly, he passed away on Christmas Eve 2000, thus he never got to see the group's renaissance, which began in 2005. As I am typing this
, I am hearing their songs playing in my head. Every time the commercial aired this week, I was transported back as I heard their signature tunes.

On Monday, Lisa See was in town for a stop on her mega book tour. We got a chance to catch up and chat on Monday afternoon before I popped down to her evening event. I was about halfway through her new book, CHINA DOLLS, which we reviewed two weeks ago, and I had so many questions. Her three characters are so brilliantly drawn, and the setting is atmospherically rich. Lisa is a meticulous researcher as well as a terrific storyteller, which makes her books so robust and informative while also being literary adventures. I still remember racing to Google to search foot binding after reading SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN. She has created a special site about the book with video and all kinds of background materials, which you can see here; it’s a subsite of I think of it like the bonus tracks on a DVD. If you are in a book group, you will want to explore this for your discussion! Not in a book group? Then take a look for your own personal enjoyment.

Celebrated women’s fiction author Jennifer Weiner has released a new book, ALL FALL DOWN, just in time for summer. Here, she takes a look at addiction through Allison Weiss, a woman who seems to have it all. But when her addiction to pills, which helps her deal with the darker aspects of her life, becomes her biggest problem, Allison realizes she must make a change as quickly as possible. Bronwyn Miller has our review and says, “Although more serious than many of her previous novels, ALL FALL DOWN tackles a very timely issue, which should make it a natural choice for book clubs.”

Fans of Linda Fairstein’s Alexandra Cooper series will be delighted to learn that the latest installment, TERMINAL CITY, is out this week. Known for basing her novels in real locations in New York, Fairstein now turns her attention to Grand Central Terminal. The discovery of dead bodies in the vicinity forces Assistant DA Alex Cooper and Detective Mike Chapman to contend with the Terminal’s expansive underground tunnels and century-old dark secrets --- as well as their own changing relationship --- to find a killer who appears to be cutting a deadly path straight to the heart of the city. According to reviewer Roz Shea, “Whether you use Grand Central on a regular basis or have only visited as a tourist, the history of the century-old hub of the New York transit system is as page-turning as the chase for the bad guy.”

Reading this, I realize that once again Linda has shown me another special view of the city. I used to work on 44th and Madison, very close to Grand Central, thus the twists and turns of the story are giving me insight into the history and present-day life of what was going on beneath and above the city in that neighborhood. If any of you get to the city, I highly recommend taking a tour of Grand Central. I have done this twice, and both times I enjoyed the experience.

The mysteries continue with Janet Evanovich’s latest addition to her Stephanie Plum series, TOP SECRET TWENTY-ONE. In this installment (I remember discovering Evanovich on her fourth book), we find Trenton’s best bounty hunter on the lookout for used car dealer Jimmy Poletti, who was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. With all leads turning into dead ends and bodies, Stephanie must protect former hospital security guard and general annoyance Randy Briggs. To make matters worse, Ranger --- Stephanie’s greatest temptation --- has been the target of an assassination plot and enlists her help for further protection. Melody Dean Dimick has this to say in her review: “Evanovich weaves setting, family, romance and crime to pull the plot of TOP SECRET TWENTY-ONE forward. Does Stephanie capture Poletti? Does Ranger survive his battle with Vlatko? Enjoy the thrilling journey with Stephanie for yourself.”

Featured in our New Release Spotlight this week is THAT NIGHT by Chevy Stevens. Toni Murphy was 18 when she and her boyfriend, Ryan, were wrongly convicted of the murder of her younger sister. Now Toni is 34, and newly paroled, struggling to adapt to life on the outside. No one is making the transition any easier, least of all Ryan, who believes he can discover the truth about her sister’s murder, and her mother, who continues to doubt her innocence. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night. You may think Toni’s false conviction is terrifying enough, but the truth is sure to leave you horrified.

Joe Hartlaub has our review and says, “It is a mark of the depth and width of Stevens’s talent that she can put one in the mind of the tumultuous high school years while alternating with Toni’s time in prison --- while she is barely out of her teens --- and the sudden displacement that freedom brings just as she begins to approach middle age.” I literally devoured THAT NIGHT when I read it in manuscript. It’s fast-paced and tightly written --- for that and many other reasons, it will be my next Bets On selection. Be on the lookout for my comments about the book in next week’s newsletter. You can check out our advance readers' comments here, so you can see that readers share my enthusiasm for it!

Also out this week is Linda Francis Lee’s THE GLASS KITCHEN. When Portia Cuthcart’s dream of running her grandmother’s restaurant, Glass Kitchen, is shattered by a string of betrayals, she vows to leave Texas and never cook again. Determined to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan, Portia settles into a dilapidated brownstone where she meets 12-year-old Ariel and her widowed father, Gabriel. Soon, a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions, where she must confront everything she has been running from. Terry Miller Shannon has this to say in her review: “Linda Francis Lee also includes a handful of Portia's recipes, a sweet bonus for her culinarily-inclined readers…. [W]omen’s fiction fans are sure to devour THE GLASS KITCHEN with mouth-watering gusto.” I agree. Be prepared to hit the kitchen after you read!

Wayne Harrison, whose debut novel is THE SPARK AND THE DRIVE, is the newest featured author in our One to Watch Author Spotlight. Anguished and out of place among his peers, Justin Bailey is only 17 when he arrives at the shop of legendary muscle car mechanic Nick Campbell. Drawn in by Nick, his wife Mary Ann, and their world of miraculous machines, Justin begins to find the sense of family he is lacking at home. But when tragedy strikes, Nick, once celebrated for his mechanical genius, loses his touch. Mary Ann, once tender and compassionate to her husband, turns distant. As Justin tries to prop up his suffering mentor, he finds himself drawn toward the man’s grieving wife.

I read THE SPARK AND THE DRIVE two weeks ago and saw it as a strong debut. Like SHOTGUN LOVESONGS, which we covered earlier this year, it had a strong voice and sense of characters. We have 25 copies of THE SPARK AND THE DRIVE to give away to readers who would like preview the book, which releases on July 15th, and comment on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, July 3rd at noon ET.

Our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight for Susan Wiggs and her upcoming novel, THE BEEKEEPER’S BALL, continues. The second installment in her Bella Vista Chronicles introduces readers to Isabel Johansen, a celebrated chef who is transforming her childhood home, Bella Vista, into a destination cooking school. But her carefully ordered plans begin to go awry when swaggering, war-torn journalist Cormac O'Neill arrives to dig up old history. We have 35 copies of THE BEEKEEPER’S BALL to give away to readers who would like to read the book, which releases on June 24th, and share their comments about it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, June 26th at noon ET. Our site is hosting a separate contest where readers can win a copy of the book, plus a special prize package that includes some book-themed goodies. Click here for all the details!

Don’t forget about our Summer Reading Contests, where we’re giving away a different book on select days throughout the summer. In our fourth series of contests this week, we gave away FLYING SHOES by Lisa Howorth (I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa earlier this year. Her novel is based on her personal story of losing her younger stepbrother in Bethesda in 1996; he was molested and murdered. She started the book as a memoir before switching gears to fiction; she also is the co-founder of Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi), THE THIRD SON by Julie Wu, and the aforementioned THE GLASS KITCHEN and THAT NIGHT. Next week’s prizes will be THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB by Lily Koppel (which is soon to be a television series), THE FAMILY BEACH HOUSE by Holly Chamberlin, GOOD AS GONE by Douglas Corleone, and NO RIVER TOO WIDE by Emilie Richards. Click here to see all of our featured titles.

Are you signed up for our Summer Reading newsletter so you get word as soon as these contests go live? If not, click here to get signed up! Please note: If you signed up for the Summer Reading newsletter in the previous years we’ve done these contests, you don’t need to do so again…you already are signed up!

Do you read more than one book at the same time? Please let us know by taking our new poll! For the last two weeks, we asked you about your audiobook preferences, if any. 63% of you read audiobooks, whether in CD or digital download format, 9% of you are interested in trying audiobooks while 28% have no interest in reading audiobooks, or have tried them and not enjoyed the experience. Click here for a more detailed breakdown of the results.

I once again spent a lot of time in my car this week, thus I appreciated the audiobooks that I had with me. I listened to a good part of NANTUCKET SISTERS by Nancy Thayer, which is read by Kate Rudd. Hearing about the island, I wanted to book a trip to Nantucket. Oh, and while I was fantasizing, I wanted to be staying in a big house on the water. Just saying. It’s definitely light listening and reading, just out this week. Greg came home from the office with me last night, and we listened to ENDURING COURAGE, which he reviewed a few weeks ago. The reader is Edward Herrmann, who I learned this week is the performer on UNBROKEN, which is on my “listen to” list. I love this multi-tasking. Hmmmm, I wonder if I can try this out on the outdoor stereo system as I work out in the pool. Let me get my outdoor living engineers on that!

We have been meeting internally about our plans for expanding audio coverage, so please keep your suggestions coming on what you would like to see. Just drop me a line at Even if I do not get back to you, please know I AM reading and sharing your comments and feedback.

By the way, after reading and listening to LITTLE MERCIES, reading this story in USA Today gave me pause. It’s just heartbreaking! The tips there for including something you will reach for when you leave a car is a good one --- something to remind you a child is there. We always think How does this happen? But after reading Heather Gudenkauf’s novel, which we will review next Friday, and this story, I see that even the best of plans can go awry.

We also have a new Word of Mouth contest this week. Please let us know by Friday, July 11th at noon ET what books you’ve finished reading, and you’ll have an opportunity to win THE CITY by Dean Koontz, COP TOWN by Karin Slaughter, and THE NIGHT SEARCHERS: A Sharon McCone Mystery by Marcia Muller.

Quiet weekend ahead…looking forward to more outdoor planting and moving plants around. Okay, I will be honest, I do not move as much as Tom moves.

As you probably know, Casey Kasem, whose American Top 40 show was a hit for years, passed away this week. He used to close his broadcasts with, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” I am going to close here with my traditional “Have a great week and read on.” For the record, his was better.

Carol Fitzgerald (

Now in Stores: ALL FALL DOWN by Jennifer Weiner
ALL FALL DOWN by Jennifer Weiner (Fiction)
Allison Weiss frets about the truth of her seemingly happy life: that her husband is becoming distant, that her daughter is acting out, that her father’s early Alzheimer’s is worsening and her mother is barely managing to cope. She tells herself that the pills she’s taking let her make it through her days. But what if her ever-increasing drug use, a habit that’s becoming expensive and hard to hide, is turning into her biggest problem of all? Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: TERMINAL CITY by Linda Fairstein

TERMINAL CITY by Linda Fairstein (Mystery/Thriller)
When the body of a young woman is found in the tower suite of the Waldorf Astoria --- one of the most prestigious hotels in Manhattan --- Assistant DA Alex Cooper and Detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace find themselves hunting for an elusive killer whose only signature is carving a carefully drawn symbol into his victims’ bodies, a symbol that bears a striking resemblance to train tracks. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: TOP SECRET TWENTY-ONE by Janet Evanovich

TOP SECRET TWENTY-ONE: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich (Mystery)
Trenton, New Jersey’s favorite used-car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he is out on bail and has missed his date in court, and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. Even Joe Morelli, the city’s hottest cop, is struggling to find a clue to the suspected killer’s whereabouts. Reviewed by Melody Dean Dimick.

-Click here to read more about the book.


Click here to read a review.
New Release Spotlight: THAT NIGHT by Chevy Stevens

THAT NIGHT by Chevy Stevens (Psychological Thriller)
As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now 34, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy --- not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni's innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni's life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But in THAT NIGHT by Chevy Stevens, the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to see advance readers' comments for the book.
-Click here to read Chevy Stevens’s bio.
-Click here to visit Chevy Stevens’s official website.
-Connect with Chevy Stevens on Facebook and Twitter.


Click here to read more in our New Release Spotlight.
New One to Watch Author Spotlight & Contest: THE SPARK AND THE DRIVE by Wayne Harrison

We have 25 copies of THE SPARK AND THE DRIVE by Wayne Harrison to give away to readers who would like to preview the book, which releases on July 15th, and share their comments about it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, July 3rd at noon ET.

THE SPARK AND THE DRIVE by Wayne Harrison (Fiction)
Justin Bailey is 17 when he arrives at the shop of legendary muscle car mechanic Nick Campbell. Anguished and out of place among the students at his rural Connecticut high school, Justin finds in Nick, his captivating wife Mary Ann, and their world of miraculous machines the sense of family he has struggled to find at home.

But when Nick and Mary Ann’s lives are struck by tragedy, Justin’s own world is upended. Suddenly Nick, once celebrated for his mechanical genius, has lost his touch. Mary Ann, once tender and compassionate to her husband, has turned distant. As Justin tries to prop up his suffering mentor, he finds himself drawn toward the man’s grieving wife. Torn apart by feelings of betrayal, Justin must choose between the man he admires more than his own father and the woman he loves.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Wayne Harrison’s bio.
-Click here to visit Wayne Harrison's official website.
-Click here to connect with Wayne Harrison on Facebook.

Click here to read more in our One to Watch Author Spotlight and enter the contest.
Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight & Contest: THE BEEKEEPER’S BALL by Susan Wiggs
We have 35 copies of THE BEEKEEPER’S BALL by Susan Wiggs to give away to readers who would like to read the book, which releases on June 24th, and share their comments about it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, June 26th at noon ET.

THE BEEKEEPER’S BALL by Susan Wiggs (Fiction)
Isabel Johansen, a celebrated chef who grew up in the sleepy Sonoma town of Archangel, is transforming her childhood home into a destination cooking school --- a unique place for other dreamers to come and learn the culinary arts. Bella Vista's rambling mission-style hacienda, with its working apple orchards, bountiful gardens and beehives, is the idyllic venue for Isabel's project…and the perfect place for her to forget the past.

But Isabel's carefully ordered plans begin to go awry when swaggering, war-torn journalist Cormac O'Neill arrives to dig up old history. He's always been better at exposing the lives of others than showing his own closely guarded heart, but the pleasures of small-town life and the searing sensuality of Isabel's kitchen coax him into revealing a few truths of his own.

The dreamy sweetness of summer is the perfect time of year for a grand family wedding and the enchanting Beekeeper's Ball, bringing emotions to a head in a story where the past and present collide to create an unexpected new future.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to watch the book trailer.
-Click here to read Susan Wiggs’s bio.
-Click here to visit Susan Wiggs’s official website.
-Connect with Susan Wiggs on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight and enter the contest.
Now in Stores: THE GLASS KITCHEN by Linda Francis Lee
THE GLASS KITCHEN by Linda Francis Lee (Fiction)
After a string of betrayals and the loss of her legacy, Portia Cuthcart is determined to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan…and never cook again. But when Portia moves into a dilapidated brownstone on the Upper West Side, she meets 12-year-old Ariel and her widowed father, Gabriel. Soon, a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions, where she must confront everything she has been running from. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

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

Now in Stores: THE QUICK by Lauren Owen
THE QUICK by Lauren Owen (Gothic Mystery/Historical Romance)
In 1892, would-be poet James Norbury finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. The answer to his disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious and bloodthirsty men in England. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.'s Summer Reading Contests and Feature

Summer is just around the corner! At, this means it's time for us to share some great summer book picks with our Summer Reading Contests and Feature. We will be hosting a number of 24-hour contests for these titles on select days throughout the summer, so you will have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter to win. We also will be sending a special newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, June 23rd at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include:


Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
One to Watch Author Spotlight: THE ILLUSIONISTS by Rosie Thomas
THE ILLUSIONISTS by Rosie Thomas (Fiction)
Over the course of a brilliant career, bestselling novelist Rosie Thomas has earned an untold number of awards and the devotion of millions of loyal readers. Her new novel, THE ILLUSIONISTS, set in London in 1870, is a thrilling step forward --- a captivating tale of passion and intrigue in the theater world.

At the start of THE ILLUSIONISTS, we meet Eliza, a young, beautiful woman of limited means. Through her work as an artist’s model, she meets the magnetic and irascible Devil --- a born showman whose dream is to run his own theater company. Devil’s righthand man is Carlo Bonomi, an ill-tempered dwarf with an enormous talent for all things magic and illusion. And then there is Jasper Button, the enigmatic, unlikely final member of this fascinating cast of characters. Thrown together by a twist of fate, their lives are inextricably linked. As Eliza gets sucked into their seductive and dangerous world, she risks not only her heart, but also her life, which is soon thrown into peril.

THE ILLUSIONISTS releases on June 26th.

-Click here to read Rosie Thomas's bio.
-Click here to visit Rosie Thomas's official website.
-Click here to connect with Rosie Thomas on Facebook.
Click here to read more in our One to Watch Author Spotlight.
New Guides Now Available on

The following guides are now available on

THE BEEKEEPERS BALL by Susan Wiggs (Fiction)
From “one of the best observers of stories of the heart” (Salem Statesman Journal), THE BEEKEEPER’S BALL is an exquisite and richly imagined novel of the secrets that keep us from finding our way, the ties binding us to family and home and the indelible imprint love can make on the human heart.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'S BASTARD by Sally Cabot (Historical Fiction)
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S BASTARD by Sally Cabot is an absorbing and compelling work of literary historical fiction that brings to life a little-known chapter of the American Revolution --- the story of Benjamin Franklin and his bastard son, and the women who loved them both.

THE BOYS IN THE BOAT: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics by Daniel James Brown (Sports History)
THE BOYS IN THE BOAT is an irresistible, true story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times --- the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant.

ELIZABETH IS MISSING by Emma Healey (Psychological Mystery/Thriller)
In this darkly riveting debut novel, a woman descending into dementia refuses to accept that her elderly best friend Elizabeth has simply disappeared --- and, as her mind retreats to a frightening place where the past and present collide, she embarks on a desperate quest for the truth that will have shattering consequences.

EYRIE by Tim Winton (Fiction)
Australia’s most decorated literary novelist Tim Winton brings to light the corners of humanity where hope prevails in even the most trying circumstances --- episodes that are by turns tough and tender, captured in scenes of unflinching realism.

THE FORTUNE HUNTER by Daisy Goodwin (Historical Fiction)
A beautiful empress, a handsome horseman and a bluestocking heiress form a passionate love triangle in this historical novel from the New York Times bestselling author of THE AMERICAN HEIRESS.

HOTEL FLORIDA: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War by Amanda Vaill (History)
From the raw material of unpublished letters and diaries, official documents and recovered reels of film, Amanda Vaill has created a narrative of love and reinvention, which traces the tangled wartime destinies of three couples against the backdrop of a critical moment in history.

MY STRUGGLE: Book 1 by Karl Ove Knausgaard (Memoir)
With an uncanny eye for detail, Karl Ove Knausgaard breaks down his own life story to its elementary particles, reliving memories, reopening wounds and examining with candor the turbulence and the epiphanies that emerge from his own experience of fatherhood, the fallout in the wake of his father’s death and his visceral connection to music, art and literature (book one of three).

MY STRUGGLE: Book 2 by Karl Ove Knausgaard (Memoir)
This nerve-striking, addictive piece of hyperrealism by the Norwegian Critics’ Prize-winning author of A TIME FOR EVERYTHING has become a phenomenon throughout Scandinavia (book two of three).

MY STRUGGLE: Book 3 by Karl Ove Knausgaard (Memoir)
Karl Ove’s dilemmas strike nerves that give us raw glimpses of our particular moment in history as we witness what happens to the sensitive and churning mind of a young man trying --- as if his very life depended on it --- to find his place in the disjointed world around him (book three of three).

THE NEVER NEVER SISTERS by L. Alison Heller (Fiction)
THE NEVER NEVER SISTERS is an absorbing tale of family secrets --- the secrets we keep to protect our loved ones, the ones we rely on to guard ourselves and those from which we learn.

SIGHT READING by Daphne Kalotay (Fiction)
SIGHT READING explores mysteries of intuition and perception while unspooling a transporting story of marriage, family and the secrets we keep, even from ourselves.

THAT NIGHT by Chevy Stevens (Psychological Thriller)
A stunning breakout novel from the New York Times bestselling author of STILL MISSING in which a woman is convicted of her sister's murder.

THE TILTED WORLD by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly (Historical Fiction)
Set against the backdrop of the historic flooding of the Mississippi River, THE TILTED WORLD is an extraordinary tale of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, and a man and a woman who find unexpected love.

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

AND THEN I FOUND YOU by Patti Callahan Henry (Fiction)
AND THEN I FOUND YOU gives new life to the phrase “inspired by a true story.” By traveling back to a painful time in her own family’s history, bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry explores the limits of courage, and the price of a selfless act.

BIG BROTHER by Lionel Shriver (Fiction)
BIG BROTHER is a striking novel about siblings, marriage and obesity from Lionel Shriver, the acclaimed author the international bestseller WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN.

CINNAMON AND GUNPOWDER by Eli Brown (Historical Fiction/Adventure)
Here is a gripping adventure, a seaborne romance, and a twist on the tale of Scheherazade --- with the best food ever served aboard a pirate’s ship.

THE LEMON ORCHARD by Luanne Rice (Romance)
Bestselling author Luanne Rice gives us an affirming story about the redemptive power of compassion, set in the sea- and citrus-scented air of the breathtaking Santa Monica Mountains.

SWEET SALT AIR by Barbara Delinsky (Fiction)
A woman has a secret that may save the life of her best friend's husband --- or destroy him. Filled with real, gut-wrenching emotion as well as a strong romantic storyline, SWEET SALT AIR is a new offering from a beloved storyteller guaranteed to make you laugh and cry.

Click here to visit
More Reviews This Week

BEOWULF: A Translation and Commentary written by J. R. R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien (Fantasy/Literary Criticism)
The translation of BEOWULF by J. R. R. Tolkien was an early work, very distinctive in its mode, completed in 1926: he returned to it later to make hasty corrections, but seemed never to have considered its publication. This edition is twofold, for there exists an illuminating commentary on the text of the poem by the translator himself, in the written form of a series of lectures given at Oxford in the 1930s; and from these lectures a substantial selection has been made, to also form a commentary on the translation in this book. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

Thomas is in his mid-30s and furious at the world. America isn’t doing all it can to be the best, and he wants restitution for the murder of his friend, Don Banh. So he kidnaps seven people, including his mother and a disabled former Congressman, takes them to an abandoned Army barracks, and interrogates them. Dave Eggers’s latest, written entirely in dialogue, chronicles Thomas’s attempt to find out what happened to his friend, and to America. Reviewed by Michael Magras.

THE MOST DANGEROUS BOOK: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses by Kevin Birmingham (History/Literature)
For more than a decade, the book that literary critics now consider the most important novel in the English language was illegal to own, sell, advertise or purchase in most of the English-speaking world. THE MOST DANGEROUS BOOK tells the remarkable story surrounding ULYSSES, from the first stirrings of James Joyce’s inspiration in 1904 to its landmark federal obscenity trial in 1933. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

THE SIXTEENTH OF JUNE by Maya Lang (Fiction)
Leopold Portman, a young IT manager a few years out of college, dreams of settling down and starting a family with his fiancée, Nora. Nora’s best friend, Stephen, Leopold’s brother, privately questions Leo and Nora’s relationship. On June 16, 2004, the three are brought together --- first for a funeral, then for an annual Bloomsday party. As the long-simmering tensions between them come to a head, they are forced to confront the choices of their pasts and their hopes for the future. Reviewed by Shelby Wardlaw.

THE DIRECTOR by David Ignatius (Thriller)
Graham Weber has been the director of the CIA for less than a week when a Swiss kid walks into the American consulate in Hamburg and says the agency has been hacked. Weber turns to a charismatic (and unstable) young man named James Morris who runs the Internet Operations Center. He launches Morris on a mole hunt that takes readers into the hacker underground of Europe and America, and ends up in a landscape of paranoia and betrayal. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

MY SALINGER YEAR by Joanna Rakoff (Memoir)
At 23, after leaving graduate school to pursue her dreams of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff moves to New York City and takes a job as assistant to the storied literary agent for J. D. Salinger. She is tasked with answering Salinger’s voluminous fan mail. Drawn inexorably into the emotional world of Salinger’s devotees, she abandons the agency’s form response and begins writing back herself. Over the course of the year, she finds her own voice by acting as Salinger’s, on her own dangerous and liberating terms. Reviewed by Damian Van Denburgh.

THE PAINTER by Peter Heller (Fiction)
In the wake of tragedy, Jim Stegner, a well-known expressionist painter, abandoned the art scene of Santa Fe to start fresh in the valleys of rural Colorado. Now he spends his days painting and fly-fishing, trying to find a way to live with the dark impulses that sometimes overtake him. But one afternoon, Jim comes across a man beating a small horse, and a brutal encounter rips his quiet life wide open. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

WE ARE CALLED TO RISE by Laura McBride (Fiction)
In the predawn hours, a woman’s marriage crumbles with a single confession. Across town, an immigrant family struggles to fit in and get by in the land of opportunity. Three thousand miles away, a soldier wakes up in Walter Reed hospital with the vague feeling that he’s done something awful. In a single moment, these disparate lives intersect. Faced with seemingly insurmountable loss, each person must decide whether to give in to despair, or to find the courage and resilience to rise. Reviewed by L. Whitney Richardson.

GOODNIGHT JUNE by Sarah Jio (Fiction)
Margaret Wise Brown’s GOODNIGHT MOON forms the foundation for Sarah Jio’s latest novel, in which a successful New York banker inherits and is challenged to save a children's bookstore in Seattle, which may or may not have been the setting for the classic picture book. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

A BETTER WORLD: The Brilliance Saga, Book Two by Marcus Sakey (Science Fiction/Thriller)
A terrorist network led by brilliants has crippled three cities. Nick Cooper has always fought to make the world better for his children. As both a brilliant and an advisor to the president of the United States, he’s against everything the terrorists represent. But as America slides toward a devastating civil war, Cooper is forced to play a game he dares not lose --- because his opponents have their own vision of a better world. And to reach it, they’re willing to burn this one down. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

The Late Starters Orchestra is the bona fide amateur string orchestra where Ari Goldman pursues his lifelong dream of playing the cello. Goldman hadn’t seriously picked up his cello in 25 years, but the Late Starters seemed just the right orchestra for this music lover whose busy life had always gotten in the way of its pursuit. In his memoir, Goldman takes us along to LSO rehearsals and lets us sit in on his son’s Suzuki lessons, where we find out that children do indeed learn differently from adults. Reviewed by Pauline Finch.

THIRD RAIL: An Eddy Harkness Novel by Rory Flynn (Mystery)
Eddy Harkness is a brilliant young detective who currently empties parking meters and struggles to redeem his disgraced family name. One night, Harkness’s police-issued Glock disappears. Unable to report the theft, Harkness starts a secret search --- just as a string of fatal accidents lead him to uncover a new, dangerous smart drug, Third Rail. With only a plastic disc gun to protect him, Harkness begins a high-stakes investigation that leads him into the darkest corners of the city. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

INDEFENSIBLE by Lee Goodman (Legal Thriller)
When birdwatcher Cassandra Randall stumbles upon two men digging what appears to be a grave in a state park, she immediately reports it to the authorities. Federal prosecutor Nick Davis is initially incredulous about her claims but agrees to investigate. To his surprise, the far-fetched account turns up a body, and Nick is drawn into a case that will shake both his morals and his personal life to their very core. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

HANGMAN by Stephan Talty (Thriller)
Not so long ago, serial killer Marcus Flynn preyed upon the community’s teenage daughters --- until he was cornered and shot in the head. But Flynn lived, carrying to prison the nickname “Hangman,” along with the secret of his last victim’s fate. Homicide cop Abbie Kearney wasn’t around during Hangman’s reign of terror and had never experienced firsthand his horror. Until now. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

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Word of Mouth Contest: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can 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 June 20th to July 11th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of THE CITY by Dean Koontz, COP TOWN by Karin Slaughter, and THE NIGHT SEARCHERS: A Sharon McCone Mystery by Marcia Muller.

To make sure other readers will be able to find the books you write about, please include the full title and correct author names (your entry must include these to be eligible to win). For complete rules and guidelines, click here.

Please note: You must enter your full address, using correct capitalization and filling in all fields if you would like to be eligible to win this prize.

Also, we realize that many times, your opinion of a book will change as you get further along into the story. Thus, to ensure that your comments and ratings accurately reflect your entire reading experience, we ask that you finish reading the book before you submit your comments about it.

One important technical note: If you're using an iPad or another iOS device to access the Word of Mouth page and you would like to enter the contest, you must wait for the page to fully load before you can rate your book. Only then will the stars be clickable.

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