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December 5, 2014 Newsletter December 5, 2014
Holiday Magic Growing Around Me
Yesterday afternoon, I went to a screening for Still Alice, which is based on Lisa Genova’s bestseller of the same name, the story of an Ivy League linguistics professor who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. It’s opening in New York and LA today, and goes wide (how Hollywood am I?) on January 16th. I loved it. It’s a very faithful adaptation of the book, which I first read in manuscript months before it was published. Considering how many books to films have been disappointments, I am happy to share that I would change nothing here. Julianne Moore is brilliant as Alice, and there is a moment close to the end when you really see her acting chops.

The subject is handled deftly, and the screenwriters clearly understood empathy for an ongoing illness and its effects on a family. I learned it was written and directed by Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer, a married team who, just before stating their work in 2011, were told by a neurologist that “Mr. Glatzer’s increased slurring was not just a mysterious tic, but probably a symptom of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as A.L.S. and Lou Gehrig’s disease.” You can read more about this here.

I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa (for years, we have had “almost” encounters, missing each other by moments), and I got to tell her how much I am looking forward to sharing her April book, INSIDE THE O’BRIENS, with our readers. (You can see a photo of us above.) She was beaming as she introduced the film, which she saw yesterday for the fourth time. Lovely when things come together like this!

As 2014 begins to wrap up, “Best Of” lists are popping up everywhere, highlighting the “best books” of the year. We do not do a “Best Of” list, and there are many reasons for this. First, “best” to me is not the right connotation; to me, ”best” is only in the eye of the reader. We work hard here not to be judgmental. Reading to me is a personal experience, and what resonates with me/us may not do the same with our readers. Thus I do not want to diminish someone else’s experience with a book because we did not hold it up to that standard.

Second, the process to select a list of “the best” is time-consuming, and with our small staff, I prefer spending time on bringing you a robust update each week so you can create your own personal favorites’ lists. And last, we have been working to expand the depth and breadth of what we are bringing you each week, adding a deeper look into history books this year, as well as into audio. I feel that we would need to look at each genre to really get “best” right. I do have my Bets On feature, where I call out books that I have loved throughout the year, trying to select ones that may not be on your radar. I never have a set number that I plan to feature here in mind, and I actually like that. I went back and looked at it this morning; there are 32 titles there. We will have our Annual Year-End Bets On Contest starting on December 19th!

However, we know our readers do enjoy these lists, and for that reason, we have compiled a list of “Best Of” lists of 2014 here so you do not have to hunt them down. We will add to this as more come our way!

What we do treasure at the holidays are our Author Holiday Blogs, which we’ve brought back for a SEVENTH consecutive year. From now until the start of the new year, we will be featuring new blog posts from authors every day talking about the books that they have given and received. Thus far we have heard from Lacy Crawford, Jamie Metzl, Hazel Gaynor, Sarah Addison Allen and Camille DeAngelis. In the days ahead, you can look forward to contributions from Steve Berry, Phillip Margolin, Lynne Hinton, Daniel Palmer, Amanda Eyre Ward, Kim Wright, and many more. As always, we so appreciate all the authors who have taken the time to share these wonderful holiday memories with us. And thanks to all of you who have written to tell us how much you are enjoying these pieces.

We’re celebrating the January 20th release of FIRST FROST by the aforementioned Sarah Addison Allen with a special contest offering 25 readers the chance to win an advance copy and share their comments about it. As October comes to Bascom, North Carolina, the Waverley women are made restless by the arrival of the first frost. Claire’s latest venture, Waverley’s Candies, is wildly successful, but the business is keeping her from her family. Meanwhile, Sydney, desperate for a new baby, is losing focus on the joys she already has. Sydney’s daughter, Bay, suffers an unrequited love. But when a mysterious stranger arrives in Bascom, the Waverley women must hold their families together through the changing seasons. Click here to enter the contest by Thursday, December 18th at noon ET. Keen readers will note that the characters here were in Sarah’s GARDEN SPELLS, which we featured in the past. Each book stands on its own, but know there are more Waverleys to be enjoyed…or to get a start on!

Phillip Margolin’s WOMAN WITH A GUN is a haunting thriller about an aspiring novelist’s obsession. Stacey Kim first sees “Woman with a Gun” at a retrospective of acclaimed photographer Kathy Moran’s work. Stunned by the mysterious photograph of a woman in a wedding dress holding a six-shooter, Stacey becomes obsessed with learning more about the subject. She soon discovers the woman is Megan Cahill, suspected --- but never convicted --- of killing her millionaire husband the night of their wedding. As Stacey investigates further, she realizes she must confront the reclusive photographer before the truth is lost forever.

I knew there was a back story on this book, and I reached out to Phillip about it. He shared, "I was keynoting a writer's conference on St. Simon Island, Georgia and I had breakfast in Palmer's Village Café, which is owned by a person who also owns an art gallery. The walls were decorated with oils, watercolors, photos, etc. from the gallery. After I ate, I went to the men's room to wash up and the photo on the cover of the book was over the toilet. I thought it was amazing and I bought it. At that moment, I had the name of my next book and the cover. Figuring out the story took a little longer."

Kate Ayers has our review and raves, “WOMAN WITH A GUN is instantly engaging and thoroughly entertaining. Along with the intrigue of the cover photograph…there’s the stunning Oregon coast as the setting, a baffling murder, a cunning killer and some romance thrown in for added dimension. Mystery lovers can’t go wrong with Margolin’s latest superb effort.”

Our New in Paperback roundups have been updated for December. Among this month’s releases are THE DEATH OF SANTINI: The Story of a Father and His Son by Pat Conroy, ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE BOURNE ASCENDANCY by Eric Van Lustbader, TROUBLE IN MIND: The Collected Stories, Volume 3 by Jeffery Deaver, THE FOREVER GIRL by Alexander McCall Smith and ON SUCH A FULL SEA by Chang-rae Lee.

BIG news! We know you like our dedicated newsletters and contests that are held throughout the year. Thus, in the new year, we are adding "Winter Reading Dedicated Contests" to what we offer in our latest round of daily contests. On select days in January and February, we’ll be awarding new and upcoming releases to lucky readers. Our Winter Reading newsletters will be coming soon, so make sure you’re signed up to receive them so you know what book we’re giving away on each of the contest days. Sign up here, but if you are having trouble doing so, please write John Maher at

Meanwhile, our Holiday Cheer contests are still going strong. This week, we gave away A BUNCH OF PRETTY THINGS I DID NOT BUY by Sarah Lazarovic, LEAVING TIME by Jodi Picoult, THE MILL RIVER REDEMPTION by Darcie Chan, and UNBROKEN: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. Next week’s prizes will be THE 13TH GIFT: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle by Joanne Huist Smith, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins, HORRORSTÖR by Grady Hendrix, and SHOPAHOLIC TO THE STARS by Sophie Kinsella. We’ve been sending a special newsletter to announce each day's title; if you’re not signed up yet to receive the Holiday Cheer newsletter, please do so here. If you have problems signing up, again please send a note to, and he will handle this for you. Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, December 8th at noon ET.

On, they have a holiday-themed contest of their own: Holiday Bundle of Cheer, where we’re giving five lucky readers the chance to win a copy of each of our featured titles --- along with some yummy treats. Curious as to what we're offering there? Then click here and enter by Wednesday, December 17th at noon ET.

And while you’re in the holiday frame of mind, may I suggest taking our new poll, which is all about holiday shopping? When it comes to gifts, are you buying more, less, or about the same this holiday season as opposed to last year? In our previous poll, we wanted to know what types of books you typically give over the holidays. The most popular responses were Fiction (75%), Nonfiction (52%), Children’s/teen books (50%) and Cookbooks (40%). Click here for all the results.

Over at, we want to know what your book group is currently reading in our monthly “What’s Your Book Group Reading?” contest. By filling out the form on the contest page, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a copy of the movie tie-in edition of Cheryl Strayed’s WILD: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. The film, starring Reese Witherspoon, released in theaters today.

On the small screen is Wishin' and Hopin', which will be airing Saturday at 8pm ET on Lifetime. Based on Wally Lamb’s bestselling Christmas novel, the film stars Molly Ringwald and features Chevy Chase as the narrator. At the same time, the Hallmark Channel will air Debbie Macomber's Mr. Miracle, based on Debbie Macomber’s latest bestseller that released in October, starring Rob Morrow, Michelle Harrison and Britt Irvin. And Lifetime’s miniseries “The Red Tent,” based on the bestselling novel by Anita Diamant, premieres December 7th and December 8th at 9pm ET. Airing over two nights, the all-star cast includes Minnie Driver, Will Tudor and Debra Winger. Note that we have a review of Diamant’s THE BOSTON GIRL next week.

In this week’s “Sounding Off on Audio,” we hear from Deborah Barrow, a media executive in “magazines, broadcast, the Internet and beyond” who finds herself on the road a lot, where audiobooks come in handy. I worked for Deborah back in my Mademoiselle days, and I love that we reconnected over the years and that she is contributing to this feature. We also interview Jamie Carroll Frisk, who to date is our youngest “Sounding Off” contributor, though her audiobook listening career spans decades. If you are an audiobook aficionado and would like to be interviewed, then drop me a note at with the subject line "Audiobook Lover."

Since many of you were away last week for Thanksgiving and holiday festivities, I wanted to be sure you didn’t miss my bookshelf of 20 audiobooks that I’ve spent the last few months listening to. These selections were chosen as I felt that they have good storylines and appealing narrators, and gave me a chance to expand my reading horizons as I listened to titles that I have not had time to read in print.

Our newest bookshelf displays 20 nonfiction titles that we think are perfect for discussion, whether or not you’re in a book group. From essays and memoirs to history and literary criticism, there’s plenty of nonfiction for you to choose from!

We have a new Word of Mouth contest up this week. Please let us know by Friday, December 19th at noon ET what books you’ve read, and you’ll be in the running to win the aforementioned THE BOSTON GIRL by Anita Diamant, along with MORIARTY by Anthony Horowitz and A QUILT FOR CHRISTMAS by Sandra Dallas.

We know many of you LOVE to watch movies, thus I wanted to be sure you knew about a special opportunity courtesy of Word & Film, “a website dedicated to keeping a literary eye on what’s entertaining the world on screens both big and small.” They’re giving readers a chance to win one of five adaptation prize packages that includes a $360 movie gift card (for the theater of your choice) and 12 books coming to the big screen in 2015. Click here for more info and to enter the contest; the deadline for entries is midnight ET on Tuesday, January 6th. What a GREAT prize!

I also wanted to get Brightly on your radar. It’s a new resource devoted to helping parents encourage their kids to read. Founded by parents and booklovers, Brightly seeks to help parents keep their children engaged with reading at every age and developmental stage. The site is just getting started, so we’re asking readers to help them focus their efforts by completing a short survey. Click here to take the survey.

One way to assist in fulfilling Brightly’s mission is to participate in Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, the only holiday dedicated to celebrating children and bookstores. Saturday marks the fifth anniversary of this very special day. Please visit their official website here to see which bookstores in your area are celebrating Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day.

For those looking for a good documentary, I recommend The Last One on Showtime. It’s story of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and the quest for the last patch to be added to signify the last death and the end of this dreaded illness. It has great historical footage, but also stands as a reminder of a very, very sad time when we lost way too many people.

On the Christmas decorating front here, we have a wreath on the front of the house, a turquoise metallic tree in the family room, and we found the box with the candles for the windows in it, but have yet to get them in said windows. I also have the “Santa Countdown Til Christmas” wooden cutoff sitting on the fireplace, which you can see above. We are still in double digits, so I am not stressing that I have only six books stacked in my closet for presents! Oh wait, I also am growing amaryllis plants to give. You can see the photo of them above. It MAY have been wise to plant these earlier than last week, but then again they will be enjoyed through February.

As for the weekend, Sunday is my birthday! I love my birthday and have been known to celebrate for a full week whenever I can. Greg is in Florida on a six-day lighthousing trip with friends, and Cory is buried in end-of-semester projects, so it’s just Tom and me. We're going to dinner on Saturday night, and I am trying to come up with something fun to do on Sunday. However, I loathe crowds, and reading on the couch with a fire in the fireplace sounds pretty terrific.

Read on, and here’s to a great week ahead.

Carol Fitzgerald (

P.S. For those of you who are doing online holiday shopping, if you use the store links below, gets a small affiliate fee on your purchases. We would appreciate your considering this!
New Special Contest: Win an Advance Copy of FIRST FROST by Sarah Addison Allen --- and Share Your Comments On It
We are celebrating the January 20th release of FIRST FROST by Sarah Addison Allen with a special contest that will give 25 readers the opportunity to win an advance copy of the book and submit their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, December 18th at noon ET.

FIRST FROST by Sarah Addison Allen (Fiction)
Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies. Though her handcrafted confections --- rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness, and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds --- are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts.

Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day, she longs more for a baby --- a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has.

Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to…if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke?

When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is FIRST FROST.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Sarah Addison Allen's bio.
-Click here to visit Sarah Addison Allen's official website.

-Connect with Sarah Addison Allen on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to enter the contest.
Now in Stores: WOMAN WITH A GUN by Phillip Margolin
WOMAN WITH A GUN by Phillip Margolin (Mystery/Thriller)
Aspiring novelist Stacey Kim can't erase an iconic photo from her mind and soon becomes embroiled in a plot of great intrigue. Why did the "Woman with a Gun" kill her husband on their wedding night? Did she actually do it? And why does the one person with answers, photographer Kathy Moran, remain silent? Stacey must reconcile conflicting accounts and find a way to reach the reclusive Moran, or the truth may never see the light of day. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: SMALL VICTORIES by Anne Lamott
SMALL VICTORIES: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace by Anne Lamott (Essays)
Anne Lamott writes about faith, family and community in essays that are both wise and irreverent. In SMALL VICTORIES, Lamott offers a new message of hope that celebrates the triumph of light over the darkness in our lives. Our victories over hardship and pain may seem small, but they change us. She writes of forgiveness, restoration and transformation, how we can turn toward love even in the most hopeless situations, how we find the joy in getting lost, and our amazement in finally being found. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: SUSPENDED SENTENCES by Patrick Modiano --- Winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature
SUSPENDED SENTENCES: Three Novellas written by Patrick Modiano, translated by Mark Polizzotti (Fiction)
This year’s Nobel laureate in literature, Patrick Modiano, wrote the three novellas in this collection as separately published works between 1988 and 1993. Each piece is a first-person narrative told by a man who, like Modiano, was born in 1945 and who reflects on his life in France in the two decades after the end of the Nazi Occupation. The stories involve a photographer with a murky past, black marketeers and a mysterious murder-suicide. Reviewed by Michael Magras.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Enter to Win a Movie & Book Prize Pack from Word & Film!
Enter to win free movie tickets and books for a year from Word & Film! You can win one of five adaptation prize packages that includes a $360 movie gift card and 12 books coming to the big screen in 2015: 50 SHADES OF GREY, ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES, FALLEN, FRANKENSTEIN, IN THE HEART OF THE SEA, THE JUNGLE BOOK, THE MARTIAN, THE MAZE RUNNER, PAPER TOWNS, PETER PAN, STAR WARS: A NEW DAWN and PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES.
Click here to enter the sweepstakes.'s Author Holiday Blogs: Authors Write About Their Favorite Holiday Memories of Giving or Receiving Books
This week marks the return of our Author Holiday Blogs, which we’ve brought back for a SEVENTH consecutive year. From now until the start of the new year, we will be featuring new blog posts from authors every day!

Thus far we have heard from Lacy Crawford, Jamie Metzl, Hazel Gaynor, Sarah Addison Allen and Camille DeAngelis. In the days ahead, you can look forward to contributions from Steve Berry, Lynne Hinton, Phillip Margolin, Daniel Palmer, Amanda Eyre Ward, Kim Wright, and many more.

As always, we so appreciate all the authors who have taken the time to share these wonderful holiday memories with us.
Click here to read's Author Holiday Blogs.'s Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature
At, we kick off the holiday season in style with our Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature. This year’s Holiday Cheer titles include books that you want to give and get, as well as a couple of “hot” 2015 titles. The contests kick off at noon ET on select days in November and December, and run for just 24 hours, so you will have to check the site to see what is being featured. As always, we’ll be sending our special Holiday Cheer newsletter on the days when there are contests. Click here to sign up for these email alerts.

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, December 8th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles are:

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
How Do You Read with Your Kids? Take the Brightly Reader Survey --- and Enter to Win a Book!
Do you have children or grandchildren you read with, or who read on their own? If so, we’d like to know more about what’s important to you, and how you encourage them to love reading as much as you do. Let us know by taking the Brightly Reader Survey here. You’ll also have the chance to enter to win a copy of THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT, the charming children's book written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. Plus, sign up to be a charter member of Brightly, a community of parents and grandparents, connected by their love of reading and their dedication to inspiring that passion in their children.
Click here to take the survey.
Sounding Off on Audio: Interviews with Listeners About Their Love of Audiobooks
As we continue to explore the world of audiobooks, we bring you our newest feature, “Sounding Off on Audio,” where we interview listeners about their love of audiobooks. Find out what they listen to, who their favorite narrators are, why they enjoy audiobooks, and much more. Whether you are a seasoned listener of audiobooks or have only a passing curiosity, we hope that you find these interviews to be fun and informative --- and perhaps come across a title or two that you can add to your audiobook listening list. Whenever possible, we will try to provide samples for your listening pleasure as well.

This week, we chat with Deborah Barrow, who --- as a media executive in magazines, broadcast, the Internet and beyond --- has seen it all. Now, working development for a regional NPR affiliate network, she finds herself on the road a lot, where audiobooks come in handy. Though she's relatively new to the medium, Deborah shares some apt thoughts about her experience as a listener.

-Click here to read our interview with Deborah Barrow.

We also interview Jamie Carroll Frisk, who is our youngest "Sounding Off" contributor, but her audiobook listening habits span decades. A recent graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey, Jamie grew up with audiobooks playing during family car rides. Today, she continues the tradition, popping in audio CDs for her commute to work.

-Click here to read our interview with Jamie Carroll Frisk.
Click here for more "Sounding Off on Audio" interviews.
New in Paperback Roundups for December
December’s roundups of New in Paperback titles include THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY; Gabrielle Zevin's love letter to the world of books --- an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love; THE DEATH OF SANTINI, a powerful and intimate memoir in which Pat Conroy and his father, the inspiration for THE GREAT SANTINI, find some common ground at long last; ON SUCH A FULL SEA by Chang-rae Lee, a highly provocative, deeply affecting story of one woman’s legendary quest in a shocking, future America; ROBERT LUDLUM'S THE BOURNE ASCENDANCY by Eric Van Lustbader, which finds Jason Bourne faced with an impossible mission: he has been hired to impersonate a high-level government minister at a political summit meeting in Qatar, shielding the minister from any assassination attempts; and TROUBLE IN MIND, a dazzling collection of 12 short stories from Jeffery Deaver, who proves once again his genius for the unexpected --- in his world, appearances are always deceiving.

-Find out what's New in Paperback for the weeks of December 1st, December 8th, 15th & 22nd, and December 29th.
20 Nonfiction Titles Perfect for Discussion
Nonfiction books are certainly a varied lot, despite being wedded to some version of the truth. Long gone are the days when nonfiction was associated with a lack of imagination --- these books are every bit as riveting (and, in some cases, fantastical) as the best fiction out there. Stranger than fiction is right! In our experience, nonfiction titles also lend themselves to excellent discussions, whether because of their relevance, their larger-than-life storylines or just their essential relatability. Thus, for our latest bookshelf, we've selected 20 books that run the nonfiction gamut --- from essays and memoirs to history and literary criticism --- to get the conversation started!
Click here to see our "Nonfiction Discussion Titles to Explore" bookshelf.
More Reviews This Week
BRYANT & MAY AND THE BLEEDING HEART: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery by Christopher Fowler (Mystery)
A teenager sees a dead man rise from his grave --- and moments later is killed in a sudden hit-and-run accident. Seven ravens housed in the impenetrable fortress that is the Tower of London vanish without a trace --- and legend has it that when the ravens leave, the city will fall. Arthur Bryant and John May must figure out how these two inexplicable, seemingly unrelated mysteries fit together as they begin an investigation that finds them confronting a group of latter-day body snatchers and exploring the corridors of an eerie funeral parlour, all to unearth the truth behind the gruesome legend of Bleeding Heart Yard. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE SKELETON ROAD by Val McDermid (Thriller)
While preparing to convert a Victorian Gothic building in historic Edinburgh, builders find skeletal remains hidden in a high pinnacle that hasn’t been touched by maintenance in years. Cold case detective Karen Pirie takes the case and attempts to find the corpse’s identity. It turns out that the bones may be from as far away as former Yugoslavia, and Karen will have to dig deeper into the tragic history of the Balkans, war crimes and their consequences, and the notion of justice itself. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Take the format of a spy thriller, shape it around real-life incidents involving international terrorism, leaven it with dark, dry humor, toss in a love rectangle, give everybody a gun, and let everything play out in the outer reaches of upstate New York. There you have an idea of Brock Clarke’s new novel, THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

ON THE ROAD WITH JANIS JOPLIN by John Byrne Cooke (Memoir)
As a road manager and filmmaker, John Byrne Cooke helped run the Janis Joplin show --- and record it for posterity. Now, in ON THE ROAD WITH JANIS JOPLIN, Cooke reveals the never-before-told story of his years with the young woman from Port Arthur who would become the first female rock and roll superstar --- and depart the stage too soon. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

IN THE COMPANY OF SHERLOCK HOLMES: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger (Mystery Anthology)
The Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were recently voted as the top mystery series of all time. Now, Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger have assembled a stellar group of contemporary authors from a variety of genres and asked them to create new stories inspired by that canon. Readers will find Holmes in times and places previously unimagined, as well as characters who themselves have been affected by the tales of Sherlock Holmes. Reviewed by L. Whitney Richardson.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen by Charlie Lovett (Literary Mystery)
Book lover and Jane Austen enthusiast Sophie Collingwood has recently taken a job at an antiquarian bookshop in London when she is drawn into a mystery that will cast doubt on the true authorship of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE --- and ultimately threaten Sophie’s life. This dual narrative alternates between Sophie’s quest to uncover the truth and a young Jane Austen’s touching friendship with the aging cleric Richard Mansfield. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

AMERICAN TITAN: Searching for John Wayne by Marc Eliot (Biography)
As he did in his bestselling biographies of Jimmy Stewart and Clint Eastwood, acclaimed Hollywood biographer Marc Eliot digs deep beneath the myth in this revealing look at the most legendary Western film hero of all time; the man with the distinctive voice, walk and demeanor who was an inspiration to many and a symbol of American masculinity, power and patriotism. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

THREATCON DELTA by Andrew Britton (Thriller)
A radical terrorist group claims possession of a powerful ancient relic, the Staff of Moses, which they will use to unleash plagues across the globe. To avert unimaginable devastation, lone-wolf Ryan Kealey, armed with little more than intuition, must prevent a disaster of biblical proportions that may well be inevitable. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

SWEET DAMAGE by Rebecca James (Psychological Suspense)
When Tim Ellison finds a cheap room to rent in his dream location, it seems nothing more than a wonderful stroke of luck. But when strange and terrifying things start happening in the house at night, Tim wonders if renting the room has been a terrible mistake --- until his feelings for the house’s owner, Anna London, start to change. As Tim falls for Anna, her past comes back with a vengeance…and he finds himself caught in the middle of the storm. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

HER BRILLIANT CAREER: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties by Rachel Cooke (Biography)
Rachel Cooke goes back in time to offer an entertaining and iconoclastic look at 10 women in the 1950s --- pioneers whose professional careers and complicated private lives helped to create the opportunities available to today's women. These plucky and ambitious individuals --- among them a film director, a cook, an architect, an editor, an archaeologist and a race car driver --- left the house, discovered the bliss of work, and ushered in the era of the working woman. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

ONE TO GO by Mike Pace (Paranormal Thriller)
Tom Booker is a new attorney at a powerful Washington law firm. Texting while driving across Memorial Bridge, he loses control and crashes into an oncoming minivan carrying his own daughter and three of her friends. The minivan is about to flip over into the Potomac. But then time freezes, and Tom is alone on the bridge. A young couple approaches and offers him a rewind. The crash would be averted and the children saved. All he must do is kill someone every two weeks --- a “soul exchange.” Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.
Our Latest Poll: Holiday Purchases
When it comes to gifts this holiday season, are you buying more, less, or about the same compared to last year?

About the same
I haven’t started my holiday shopping.

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 December 5th to December 19th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of THE BOSTON GIRL by Anita Diamant, MORIARTY by Anthony Horowitz and A QUILT FOR CHRISTMAS by Sandra Dallas.

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, your review WILL NOT be posted if you have not finished the book.

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.

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