Skip to main content

June 27, 2014 Newsletter June 27, 2014
The Art of Craftsmanship in Wood and Crafting Stories

On Tuesday, Greg and I went to Astoria, Queens, for a tour of the Steinway Piano Factory, which I later learned is one of the top factory tours in the United States. At a time when so much is manufactured overseas and machine-made, not handcrafted, it was awe-inspiring to spend two hours watching craftsmanship at work. The tour started with a perfectly choreographed segment of creating the piano rim, where a team of four men glued 18 thin sheets of wood together and stacked them. These were then glued into a single form of wood and moved to a rim-bending press. This team centered the layers of the rim on the press and clamped the wood into place. The entire process only took eight minutes and nary a word was spoken by the team. Later, when dried, this rim would be moved to a temperature-controlled conditioning room for 10-16 weeks. Awe-inspiring!

The tour is only offered on Tuesday mornings from September to June, and it is often booked as far as a year in advance, thus I was very lucky that Greg was able to get me a slot on it. I had watched a documentary on PBS called "Note by Note" on the making of a Steinway piano, and you can see links to rent it from Netflix or buy it from iTunes here.

Speaking of craftsmanship, for our living area on our patio, we could not find weather-proof outdoor lighting. My husband, who is an engineer, designed and built a table for me that I can use for outdoor reading when it gets dark. You can see it above. He created this last year, and I love it! The base is mission-style, and, yes, that is a galvanized pail on top. Over the winter he added an electrical outlet, making it easy for me to charge my laptop outside as I work. Pure genius! It allows me to enjoy reading late into the night with stars twinkling above.

Big update on this week, so let me get right to it….

We had the pleasure this week of interviewing Heather Gudenkauf, the latest author to be featured in our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight. Her new novel, LITTLE MERCIES, shows the life-altering consequences of even the tiniest mistake when a moment of distraction throws social worker Ellen Moore’s life into utter chaos. Weighed down by guilt and trapped in the workings of the very system she strives to uphold, Ellen fights to hold on to her job and family. Alexis Burling has our review and says, “Like Gudenkauf’s other books...LITTLE MERCIES has a “ripped from the headlines” feel.... Gudenkauf does a fine job balancing out the mayhem with a large dose of good old-fashioned guilt and self-reflection on Ellen’s part.” Be sure to check out Alexis’s interview with Heather here.

I just finished listening to LITTLE LIES, an eShort by Heather, which was recorded on audio by the same performer who did the LITTLE MERCIES audiobook. It’s a quick listen --- just two hours --- but clearly sets up her Ellen character. I loved getting some extra time with this character, and the prequel certainly sets the stage for the full-length novel. By the way, LITTLE MERCIES will be a Bets On selection next week.

Also featured in our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight is Susan Wiggs, author of THE BEEKEEPER’S BALL. This is the second installment of her Bella Vista Chronicles series, which takes readers to the sleepy Sonoma town of Archangel, where the beautiful Bella Vista estate is located. Despite being the perfect venue for celebrated chef Isabel Johansen to open a destination cooking school, her carefully thought-out plans begin to go awry when smug, war-torn journalist Cormac O'Neill arrives to dig up old history. Reviewer Amie Taylor raves, “With vivid descriptions that leave readers convinced that they can smell the apple blossoms on the trees in the orchard and hear the buzz of the bees in their nearby hives, Wiggs easily transports us to a fictional locale where dreams really do come true.” Click here to read Amie’s interview with Susan.

Our One to Watch Author Spotlight for Rosie Thomas and her latest novel, THE ILLUSIONISTS, enters its final week with our review. Eliza is a young, beautiful artist’s model of limited means. Her work draws her into a seductive and dangerous world where she meets Devil, a born showman whose dream is to run his own theater company, and his righthand man, Carlo Bonomi, an irritable dwarf with an undeniable talent for magic. Completing the unlikely cast of characters is the mild-mannered but enigmatic Jasper Button. When the four are thrown together by a twist of fate, Eliza risks not only her heart, but also her life. According to reviewer Norah Piehl, “Staying true to the details of the Victorian theater scene while imbuing her characters, especially Eliza, with more modern sensibilities, Thomas takes a fresh approach to historical fiction that will appeal to her fans old and new.” This book is a departure for Rosie from her previous writing, and when we had lunch earlier in the spring, she was so excited about the new direction of her writing. It’s clear she handled the transition beautifully with her vividly descriptive writing and plotting. Our interview with Rosie will be coming shortly!

Also in our One to Watch Author Spotlight (just announced last week) is Wayne Harrison, whose debut novel is THE SPARK AND THE DRIVE. 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. As Justin tries to prop up his suffering mentor, he finds himself drawn toward the man’s grieving wife. 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.

THE STORIES WE TELL, which we're featuring in our New Release Spotlight, is the latest book from Patti Callahan Henry. Here we meet Eve and Teddy Morrison --- Savannah’s power couple --- who aren’t as perfect as they seem. The Morrison marriage is taut with tension, but when Teddy is involved in a car accident with Eve’s sister, Willa, the questions surrounding the event bring the family close to the breaking point. Sifting between the stories, Eve has to find out what really happened --- and just who she believes. Bronwyn Miller has our review and says, "One can almost feel the humidity of Savannah and smell the Spanish moss. But even with the perfect setting, Henry is an engaging and adept author who doesn’t offer up the typical Hollywood ending, which makes for a most satisfying and enjoyable read."

Beyond this story, Patti incorporates “Ten Good Ideas” throughout the book, something Eve came up with as her own 10 commandments as a way to live and celebrate life. Each of the 10 ideas is food for thought, and if you are in a book group, talking about this aspect of the story will enhance your discussion. Here on her website, Patti has images that pair with the words that she developed with her close friend, the amazingly talented photographer Sandee O., to create gift messages that you can download and share with friends. There also are a series of video interviews with Patti, two of which are here and here, that will give you even more background about her writing.

Karin Slaughter, author of the bestselling Will Trent novels, has released her first stand-alone title, COP TOWN. This thriller follows beautiful detective Kate Murphy and her determined partner, Maggie Lawson, as they track down a serial killer targeting cops. Already contending with criticism from their macho peers, the two reach a breaking point when they are pushed out of the citywide search and forced to secretly conduct their own investigation --- at the risk of their lives and careers. Reviewer Joe Hartlaub calls COP TOWN “one of the most brutally realistic books that I have read in recent memory; Slaughter’s literary talents are given full rein here, and the results are stunning.” I am listening to COP TOWN on audio, narrated by Kathleen Early. Just two discs in, I am picturing Atlanta in 1974 with Karin’s strong narrative and already have wrapped myself around the characters.

James Patterson and David Ellis have partnered up for the third time to create a truly chilling thriller. INVISIBLE introduces us to Emmy Dockery, a former FBI researcher who has taken leave from her job to focus on her obsession with finding the link between hundreds of unsolved rape and murder cases. Everyone --- including her ex-boyfriend, field agent Harrison "Books" Bookman --- thinks she’s crazy, until she finds a piece of evidence no one can ignore. Joe Hartlaub has this to say in his review: “Patterson and Ellis infuse INVISIBLE with a cinematic feel --- I could see it on the big screen in my mind’s eye the entire time I was reading it --- thanks to its near-perfect pacing and occasionally quirky but very smart characters.”

Also in stores now is EYES ON YOU by Kate White, the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. This edge-of-your-seat thriller, a departure from Kate’s Bailey Weggins mystery series, takes readers behind the scenes of the glamorous world of television where media double threat Robin Trainer has become the target of mean but seemingly harmless pranks. But when the pranks turn threatening, it becomes clear that Robin has an adversary who wants to see her fall. When clues suggest that the threats are coming from a co-worker, Robin must unmask her enemy before she loses everything that matters to her. According to reviewer Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum, “The suspense builds when it becomes clear that Robin is in the crosshairs of someone who hates her to the point of wanting her dead.”

As promised, THAT NIGHT by Chevy Stevens, which we reviewed last week, is my newest Bets On selection. Click here to see why I think this is Chevy’s best work to date. Also, be sure to watch this video of Chevy talking about the book, and click here to see feedback from our advance readers, who won the opportunity to preview the book before its release and share their comments on it.

In this week’s Summer Reading Contests, we gave away 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. Next week’s prizes will be ALL THOSE VANISHED ENGINES by Paul Park, SCARED SCRIPTLESS by Alison Sweeney, and TERMINAL CITY by Linda Fairstein. 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!

We’ve updated our Young Adult Books You Want to Read feature, reviews we’ve posted recently on our site that we think you’ll enjoy. This month’s selections are SAY WHAT YOU WILL by Cammie McGovern, REVOLUTION by Deborah Wiles, THE BODY IN THE WOODS: A Point Last Seen Mystery by April Henry, and BREAKING FREE: True Stories of Girls Who Escaped Modern Slavery by Abby Sher.

Do you read more than one book at the same time? Click here to let us know in our latest poll. We’d love to get your feedback on this, whether you read print books, eBooks, audiobooks, or a combination of the three.

Our current Word of Mouth contest continues 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 aforementioned COP TOWN, along with THE CITY by Dean Koontz and THE NIGHT SEARCHERS: A Sharon McCone Mystery by Marcia Muller, both of which we’ll be reviewing next week.

I would like to bring to your attention a terrific new feature that we have been doing called “Real Talk Publishing: The People Behind the Books.” Our Editorial Manager, Shara Zaval, conceptualized this as a way to give our readers insight into the publishing industry. Through interviews, guest posts and sometimes sneak peeks inside their offices, she’s given our readers an opportunity to learn more about the book industry --- and the work that goes into creating some of the world's best written word. To date she has interviewed Sarah Harrison Smith, the Children's Book Editor for The New York Times; Chip Kidd, the Associate Art Director at Alfred A. Knopf; Barbara Marcus, the President and Publisher of Random House's Children's Division; and, most recently, school librarian Walter Mayes, who also has worked in a bookstore, at a publishing company, and is known as “Walter the Giant Storyteller” (he’s 6’ 7.5’’ tall). Take a look at these, and we will be sharing more in the weeks and months to come.

This Sunday at 10:00pm ET, don't miss the series premiere of HBO's "The Leftovers," which is based on Tom Perrotta's bestselling novel of the same name. When 2% of the world’s population abruptly disappears without explanation, the world struggles to come to terms with what happened. Three years later, "The Leftovers" is the story of the people who didn’t make the cut.

Another quiet weekend here. I still have a bit more planting to do around the back of the house, but Tom has a golf tournament both Saturday and Sunday, thus I plan to float and read while he is golfing! The Japanese beetles are back, and while there are fewer than in the past, I am spraying to keep them from annihilating the roses. They are so destructive!

Mercury is retrograde until July 1st, so hold on! Next week is a holiday week. Our plan is that we will send out our newsletter on Thursday, so the staff can enjoy a much-deserved long weekend.

Have a great week…and read on…..

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Heather Gudenkauf, Author of LITTLE MERCIES

Heather Gudenkauf is the author of the bestselling novels THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE, THESE THINGS HIDDEN and ONE BREATH AWAY. Her latest book, LITTLE MERCIES, revolves around social worker Ellen Moore and the mistake she makes that carries with it tragic consequences. In this interview with’s Alexis Burling, Gudenkauf talks about the what-if scenario that inspired her to write this story, as well as finding harmony between her “mother mind” and her “educator mind.” She also discusses reversing the roles of certain characters in her novels to challenge readers’ preconceived expectations, and shares a lesson she learned from her mother: that “little mercies” are what truly carry us through difficult times.

LITTLE MERCIES by Heather Gudenkauf (Fiction)
Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity --- the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children's advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system for which she works. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

-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 for a special Digital Book Club Kit.
-Click here to read Heather Gudenkauf's bio.
-Visit Heather Gudenkauf's official website and blog.
-Connect with Heather Gudenkauf on Facebook and Twitter.
-Click here to read more in our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight.

Click here to read our interview. Talks to Susan Wiggs, Author of THE BEEKEEPER’S BALL

Susan Wiggs is following up the success of THE APPLE ORCHARD, the first book in her Bella Vista Chronicles series, with THE BEEKEEPER’S BALL. This second installment picks up where the first left off, but this time the story is Isabel’s. As Tess prepares to get married, Isabel is forging forward in her own life, trying to forget her painful past…which becomes complicated when swaggering, war-torn journalist Cormac O’Neill arrives to dig up old history. In this interview with’s Amie Taylor, Wiggs talks about associating food with love and comfort; her own, let’s just say, tender relationship with bees; and why readers will root for the unlikely couple at the heart of the story. She also shares how she stays motivated to write every day, and the theme she finds herself constantly drawn to (like a bee to honey?): the resilience of the human spirit.

THE BEEKEEPER'S BALL by Susan Wiggs (Fiction)
When writer Cormac O'Neill turns up at Isabel Johansen's childhood home to dig into her family's long-held secrets just as she's starting the destination cooking school that's always been her dream, Isabel isn't sure whether to keep the rugged war veteran at arm's length or explore the inviting romantic possibilities with the sexiest man she's ever seen. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

-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 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.

Click here to read our interview.
Now in Stores: THE ILLUSIONISTS by Rosie Thomas

THE ILLUSIONISTS by Rosie Thomas (Fiction)
Through her work as an artist’s model, Eliza 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. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-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 see the 100 winners selected to read and comment on the book.
-Click here to read more in our One to Watch Author Spotlight.


Click here to read a review.
New Release Spotlight: THE STORIES WE TELL by Patti Callahan Henry
THE STORIES WE TELL by Patti Callahan Henry (Fiction)
Eve and Cooper Morrison are Savannah’s power couple. They’re on every artistic board and deeply involved in the community. She owns and operates a letterpress studio specializing in the handmade; he runs a digital magazine featuring all things southern gentlemen. The perfect juxtaposition of the old and the new, Eve and Cooper are the beautiful people. The lucky ones. And they have the wealth and name that comes from being part of an old Georgia family.

But things may not be as good as they seem.

Eve’s sister, Willa, is staying with the family until she gets "back on her feet." Their daughter, Gwen, is all adolescent rebellion. And Cooper thinks Eve works too much. Still, the Morrison marriage is strong. After 21 years together, Eve and Cooper know each other. They count on each other. They know what to expect. But when Cooper and Willa are involved in a car accident, the questions surrounding the event bring the family close to the breaking point. Sifting between the stories --- what Cooper says, what Willa remembers, what the evidence indicates --- Eve has to find out what really happened. And what she’s going to do about it.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read Patti Callahan Henry’s bio.
-Click here to visit Patti Callahan Henry’s official website.
-Connect with Patti Callahan Henry on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our New Release Spotlight.
Now in Stores: COP TOWN by Karin Slaughter
COP TOWN by Karin Slaughter (Thriller)
As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock Atlanta’s police department in 1974, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. When she and her new partner, Maggie Lawson, are pushed out of the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain and pride finally reach the boiling point. They pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: INVISIBLE by James Patterson and David Ellis
INVISIBLE by James Patterson and David Ellis (Thriller)
Everyone thinks Emmy Dockery is crazy. Obsessed with finding the link between hundreds of unsolved cases, Emmy has taken leave from her job as an FBI researcher. Not even Emmy's ex-boyfriend, field agent Harrison "Books" Bookman, will believe her that hundreds of kidnappings, rapes and murders are all connected. That is, until she finds a piece of evidence he can't afford to ignore. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: EYES ON YOU by Kate White
EYES ON YOU by Kate White (Psychological Suspense)
After losing her on-air job two years ago, television host Robin Trainer has fought her way back. But suddenly, things begin to go wrong. The incidents are small at first: a nasty note left in her purse; her photo shredded. However, the obnoxious quickly becomes threatening when the foundation the makeup artist uses burns Robin’s face. An adversary with a dark agenda wants to hurt Robin, and the clues point to someone she works with every day. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
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. Bets On: THAT NIGHT by Chevy Stevens
THAT NIGHT by Chevy Stevens (Psychological Thriller)
Last July, I was lucky enough to read a manuscript of THAT NIGHT by Chevy Stevens. I remember Chevy’s debut novel, STILL MISSING, very vividly --- so vividly that when realtor friends say they are hosting an Open House, I always think They will be there ALONE! No, they must read STILL MISSING and rethink that! I read her second and third books, and while I enjoyed them, to me they were not as strong as STILL MISSING. I plunged into THAT NIGHT and immediately got caught up in it; I pushed every deadline aside to read it.

Here’s why it works for me --- the pitch, the voice, the well-drawn characters and the plotting are dead on. The voice and plotting are probably its strongest points. Every time I thought I knew what was going on, it changed gears. The prison scenes are raw and edgy, but also show the complete desperation that Toni had. Her loneliness, her being abandoned or forced away from everyone. And mean girls. Who does not know them?

Right before I read THAT NIGHT, I had finished watching season one of “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix. As I read it, I was thinking of those prison scenes. The rawness and toughness of the show made what was in THAT NIGHT all the more scary.

The title is perfect too. Simple…but it all comes back to THAT NIGHT. It works for adults, twentysomethings and teens. Lots to talk about in it!

-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 for more books we're betting you'll love.'s Summer Reading Contests and Feature

Summer is here! 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 30th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include:


Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
More Reviews This Week
THE LAST MAGAZINE by Michael Hastings (Fiction)
The year is 2002. Weekly news magazines dominate the political agenda in New York and Washington. A young journalist named Michael M. Hastings is a 22-year-old intern at The Magazine who will stop at nothing to turn his internship into a full-time position. As Hastings loses his naïveté about the journalism game, he must choose where his loyalties lie --- with the men at The Magazine who can advance his career, or with his friend in the field who is reporting the truth. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

THE RISE & FALL OF GREAT POWERS by Tom Rachman (Fiction)
Tooly Zylberberg, the American owner of an isolated bookshop in the Welsh countryside, conducts a life full of reading, but with few human beings. Books are safer than people, who might ask awkward questions about her life. She prefers never to mention the strange events of her youth, which mystify and worry her still. Then startling news arrives from a long-lost boyfriend in New York, raising old mysteries and propelling her on a quest around the world in search of answers. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

THE ARSONIST by Sue Miller (Psychological Suspense)
Houses are going up in flames, and not by accident, in a rural New Hampshire community, setting off sparks in the town and its people. This quietly passionate novel from the bestselling author of WHILE I WAS GONE and THE SENATOR’S WIFE builds up plenty of suspense about who set the fires, but the real mysteries it addresses are those of the human heart. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

THE RED ROOM: A Risk Agent Novel by Ridley Pearson (Thriller)
John Knox is pressured into accepting a job as an art broker in the mysterious Istanbul. It is a melting pot of spies, terrorists and conflicting interests. Teamed with smart, quick and fearless Grace Chu, Knox must navigate a murky operation, the only goal of which is to spend five minutes in the proximity of a man they’ve never met. Why? What can it possibly matter? And why are so many others bound and determined to see it never happens --- at any cost? Reviewed by Ray Palen.

SAINTS OF NEW YORK by R.J. Ellory (Thriller)
The death of a young heroin dealer causes no great concern for NYPD Detective Frank Parrish --- Danny Lange is just another casualty of the drug war. But when Danny’s teenage sister winds up dead, questions are raised that have no clear answers. As the homicides continue --- and a disturbing pattern emerges --- Frank tries desperately to make some sense of the deaths, while battling with his own demons. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

-Click here to read our interview with R.J. Ellory.

THE NEVER NEVER SISTERS by L. Alison Heller (Fiction)
Marriage counselor Paige Reinhardt is eager to reconnect with her workaholic husband at their cozy rental cottage in the Hamptons. But soon a mysterious crisis at Dave’s work ruins their summer getaway plans. Paige is still figuring out how to handle the unexplained chill in her marriage when her troubled sister suddenly returns after a two-decade silence. As she attempts to dig deeper into Dave’s work troubles and some long-held family secrets, she is shocked to discover how little she knows about the people closest to her. Reviewed by Donna Smallwood.

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

MAMBO IN CHINATOWN by Jean Kwok (Fiction)
Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Wong grew up in New York’s Chinatown, the older daughter of a Beijing ballerina and a noodle maker. Now grown, she lives in the same tiny apartment with her widower father and her 11-year-old sister. But when she lands a job as a receptionist at a ballroom dance studio, Charlie gains access to a world she hardly knew existed, and everything she once took to be certain turns upside down. Reviewed by Jane Krebs.

SHIRLEY by Susan Scarf Merrell (Psychological Thriller)
When a young graduate student and his pregnant wife --- Fred and Rose Nemser --- move into the home of author Shirley Jackson and her husband, literary critic and professor Stanley Edgar Hyman, they are quickly cast under the magnetic spell of their brilliant and proudly unconventional hosts. Rose, however, senses something amiss --- something to do with nightly unanswered phone calls and inscrutable accounts of a long-missing female student. Reviewed by Robert Doyle.

NO COUNTRY by Kalyan Ray (Historical Fiction)
In 1843, Padraig Aherne sets off to Dublin to rally for his country’s independence, unaware that his girlfriend is pregnant with his child. But once he reaches the big city, a dangerous mistake forces him on a ship destined for Calcutta. As the potato famine devastates their home, Padraig’s best friend escapes with his young daughter across the ocean, aboard one of the infamous “coffin ships” headed for America. As two family trees expand, Padraig’s descendants struggle to define themselves and find their places in the world. Reviewed by L. Whitney Richardson.

LET THE TORNADO COME: A Memoir by Rita Zoey Chin (Memoir)
Rita Zoey Chin survives her harrowing childhood to become a prize-winning writer and the wife of a promising surgeon. But when she is suddenly besieged by terrifying panic attacks, her past trauma threatens her hard-won happiness. Within weeks, she is incapacitated with fear --- literally afraid of her own shadow. Realizing that she is facing a life of psychological imprisonment, Rita undertakes a journey to find help through a variety of treatments. Reviewed by Miriam Tuliao.

THE CORSICAN CAPER by Peter Mayle (Mystery/Thriller)
Awaiting the arrival of vacationing friends Sam Levitt and Elena Morales, billionaire Francis Reboul spies a massive yacht whose passengers seem a little too interested in his property. The yacht belongs to rapacious Russian tycoon Oleg Vronsky, who, for his own purposes, will stop at nothing to obtain Reboul’s villa. When Reboul refuses to sell, Vronsky’s methods quickly turn unsavory. Now it’s up to Sam to negotiate with an underworld of mercenaries and hit men. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE SECRET DIARY OF LIZZIE BENNET by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick (Fiction)
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a year-long video diary project that chronicled Lizzie Bennet’s life as a 24-year-old grad student. When rich, handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennet sisters --- and for Lizzie’s viewers. Suddenly Lizzie --- who always considered herself a fairly normal young woman --- was a public figure. But not everything happened on-screen. Luckily for us, Lizzie kept a secret diary. Reviewed by Frederick Lloyd.

THE GIRLS AT THE KINGFISHER CLUB by Genevieve Valentine (Historical Fiction)
Jo, the firstborn, "The General" to her 11 sisters, is the only thing the Hamilton girls have in place of a mother. Together, they elude their distant and controlling father, until the day he decides to marry them all off. Meanwhile, the girls continue to dance until one night when they are caught in a raid, separated, and Jo is thrust face-to-face with someone from her past: a bootlegger named Tom whom she hasn’t seen in almost 10 years. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
Young Adult Books You Want to Read
Our company, The Book Report Network, has a number of websites about books and authors in addition to Throughout the year, features adult books on, our site for young adult readers, that we think will have definite appeal to a teen audience. In the spirit of sharing, we also spotlight a selection of titles each month from that we believe are great reads that you might enjoy.

Here are our latest featured titles:

SAY WHAT YOU WILL by Cammie McGovern (Fiction)
Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

REVOLUTION by Deborah Wiles (Historical Fiction)
It's 1964, and Sunny's town is being invaded. Or at least that's what the adults of Greenwood, Mississippi are saying. All Sunny knows is that people from up north are coming to help people register to vote. Meanwhile, Sunny can't help but feel like her house is being invaded, too. However, things get even trickier when Sunny and her brother are caught sneaking into the local swimming pool -- where they bump into a mystery boy whose life is going to become tangled up in theirs.

THE BODY IN THE WOODS: A Point Last Seen Mystery by April Henry (Mystery)
Alexis, Nick and Ruby have very different backgrounds, but when the teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for an autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer --- before he can strike one of their own.

BREAKING FREE: True Stories of Girls Who Escaped Modern Slavery by Abby Sher (Social Issues)
BREAKING FREE explores the global issue of human sex trafficking from a survivor's point of view. It recounts the harrowing stories of three courageous women --- Somaly Mam, Minh Dang and Maria Suarez --- who were all forced into sexual slavery as children. After escaping their captors, they easily could have become voiceless victims, lost to the horrors of their own histories. Instead, they have each become leading advocates and activists in the anti-trafficking movement.

Click here for more young adult books we recommend you read.
Our Latest Poll: Juggling More Than One Book
Do you read more than one book at the same time?

I read more than one print book.
I read more than one eBook.
I listen to more than one audiobook.
I read a print book and an eBook.
I read a print book and listen to an audiobook.
I read an eBook and listen to an audiobook.
I read a print book and an eBook, and listen to an audiobook.
No, I only read or listen to one book at a time.
Click here to answer the poll.
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.

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

Click here to enter the contest.

As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page. If you would like to reach me, please write Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Happy reading! Don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend or to visit our other websites from,,,,, and

The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107
connect with us twitterfacebook