Skip to main content

December 19, 2014 Newsletter December 19, 2014
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays --- and 2014 is a WRAP!

There was a moment watching the news on Wednesday night that between the coverage of North Korea and Cuba, I felt like it was the late '50s or early ’60s. At any moment, I was expecting Ricky Ricardo to walk in and say, “Lucy, I’m home!” Years ago, I went on a business trip to the Caymans. As soon as I got off the plane, I was approached by people offering trips to Cuba; it was like it was the Wild West. Hmmmm…does this mean Cuban cigars will be legal? I have a number of friends whose families were part of the flight from Cuba, and I look forward to hearing what they have to say about this. We had the Cold War years. Are we now into the Cyber War years?

On to more festive thoughts… It’s been a hectic --- and fun --- week. I decided last weekend to just roll with the holidays and to stop making lists and start working on making memorable experiences. I baked the cupcakes you see above for the staff, decorating them with blue and red/green to be inclusive; the insides were a red and green Duncan Hines box cake. I plunked that display on the table for the staff and the myriad of messengers/UPS and FedEx delivery people who find their way into our office each day to enjoy. Brownies for the parking garage team were a huge hit! Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies for the menfolk in the house here have been hidden so they make it to Christmas.

We also celebrated with a staff Mexican lunch on Thursday where you can see us all toasting Olé in the photo above with Pomegranate Margaritas. One each, and we were giddy for the afternoon!

I am wrapping up a lot of books to give as gifts. I love giving books because, in addition to the way I can personalize a gift, they are easy to wrap! I definitely am wrapping-challenged. I cut the paper crooked ALL the time. My favorite is paper that have line grids on where to cut on the back. I've been giving away the plants I grew over the last few weeks. They still have a way to go, but it will be fun for those who received them to have the holiday still blooming in January and February. Yes, this is me justifying the fact that I did not plant them until the end of November!

One more plant-related factoid. The beautiful Mandevilla plants that we brought inside from the garden gave forth aphid bugs, and thus the plants were tossed outside last week. Last winter there was no issue, so live and learn.

This will be our last update until Friday, January 9th. With the way the holiday is breaking this year, the staff can get in a much-needed long break. However, we are leaving you with LOTS of content to explore.

We’re closing out the year in style with our Fourth Annual Bets On Contest, featuring all 32(!) of my Bets On picks from 2014. One very lucky grand prize winner will receive all 32 titles, while 32 other winners will win a copy of one of the featured titles. Among the books you can win are ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr, THE CHILDREN ACT by Ian McEwan, DOLLBABY by Laura Lane McNeal, THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL by Nadia Hashimi, and THE SHORT AND TRAGIC LIFE OF ROBERT PEACE: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs. I had such fun looking back over these titles. I am happy to say that every single one still holds up for me as a Bets On. To enter, please fill out this form by Friday, January 9th at noon ET.

We can all agree that 2014 was a year of terrific reads. As part of our year-end wrap-up, we asked our reviewers to let us know some of their favorite books from the past 12 months. The result is a huge list of both fiction and nonfiction titles, which include STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel and A DEADLY WANDERING: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention (another Bets On selection) by Matt Richtel. Click here for their choices and to see which of your favorites made the cut (or not)! And to add to your reading list, of course.

For more 2014 highlights, please take a look at this page where you’ll find plenty of “Best Of” lists that we’ve compiled from around the web.

How many books did you read in 2014? Click here and let us know in our latest poll. In our previous poll we asked, “When it comes to gifts this holiday season, are you buying more, less, or about the same compared to last year?” The majority of you are buying about the same as you did in 2013. Check out the percentages here.

We’re continuing our Women's Fiction Author Spotlight of SAVING GRACE with a review of the book and our interview with internationally bestselling author Jane Green. In this suspenseful novel, which releases on December 30th, we meet Grace and Ted Chapman, the perfect literary power couple --- or so it seems. Beneath the surface, Ted hides a powerful rage that leaves Grace feeling trapped. When a new assistant, Beth, arrives on the scene, she seems to be just the solution to their crumbling marriage needs. Soon, however, it becomes clear that Beth is too good to be true.

Norah Piehl has our review and says, “Without giving too much away, suffice it to say that Green's portrayal of Beth's evolution is both suspenseful and creepy, especially from Grace's point of view.... Grace's anxiety about inheriting her mother's condition feels very authentic.” Norah also had a chance to interview Jane, who discusses the inspiration behind the book, the nebulous notion of “home,” and her new cookbook, HAPPY FOOD, which is available as an eBook. I enjoyed SAVING GRACE so much, and it’s a perfect “to me/from me” book to pick up over the holidays when you are doing post-holiday shopping.

We also note six other books releasing on December 30th that we think should be on your radar. We will have much more about these titles in January!

Our Holiday Cheer contests ended this week. Congratulations to all our winners, which you can see here! Whether or not you won any of our 20 contests, we encourage you to take a look at the feature and see which books you may want to add to your last-minute shopping list.

More daily contests will be starting up in just a few weeks with our NEW "Winter Reading Dedicated 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 starting in mid-January, so be sure you’re signed up to receive them so you know what book we’re giving away on each of the contest days. We do not send you our themed newsletters unless you opt-in, so sign up here. If you are having trouble doing so, please write John Maher at

We are LOVING the pieces we’ve been getting from authors for this year’s Holiday Author Blogs. This week, we heard from Joanne Huist Smith, Tim Johnston, Sarah Jio, Christopher Scotton, Ann Mah, Lauren Francis-Sharma, Debbie Macomber and Scott Cheshire. This weekend's pieces will be written by Caroline L. Arnold and Brenda Novak. And still to come are contributions from Erin Healy, Lynne Hinton, Ellen Meister, Walter Mosley, Priya Parmar, Sheila Roberts, Kim Wright, and more. We will have new pieces for you right up until New Year’s Day (and on some days, we will be sharing TWO blog posts with you), so please check back each day for more author holiday memories of giving or receiving books. We also will be listing these on social media.

One quick social media note. Since we do not pay to promote our content on Facebook, it may not show up in your newsfeed as much as you would like, thus you may want to stop by our page to see what is going on! We have updates scheduled for the next few weeks!

In this week’s “Sounding Off on Audio,” we have THREE interviews to share with you, and for me they are very special as they “bridge my worlds.” Julie Lewit-Nirenberg was my last --- and favorite --- boss when I was at Mademoiselle magazine. She’s a gutsy, smart woman with an entrepreneurial spirit. I learned a lot from her, and I remember when she became a big Audible listener, thus I reached out to her to be a part of this feature. Then in my “new world,” we have Roz Shea (one of our current reviewers) and Anna Knapp, both of whom were chat hosts for our Bookaccino chat room when Bookreporter was on AOL in the late ’90s. They also were two of the very first ardent readers of the site. I love that 18+ years later, we still are in touch and they still are contributing. Anna and I caught up in person in Cleveland a couple of years ago, and we have had fun talking books, knitting and life.

If you are an audiobook aficionado and would like to be interviewed, then drop me a note at with the subject line "Audiobook Lover." I am going through the list of people we have heard from to line up our January and February audio reports.

We have a new Word of Mouth contest this week. Let us know by Friday, January 9th at noon ET what books you’ve finished reading, and you’ll have an opportunity to win AS CHIMNEY SWEEPERS COME TO DUST: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley, DIE AGAIN: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen, and HUSH by Karen Robards. Reviews of all three of these books will be posted in January.

On Sunday night, I am looking forward to the season finale of "Homeland." I found this very interesting article from The Daily Beast where CIA agents weigh in on how closely "Homeland" parallels real life. I also screened the season finale of "The Affair." So much happens; plan to pay attention. I still have many character and plotting issues with this series, BUT I am addicted to it! And I have heard from many others that they are as well.

Switching my focus to movies, don’t forget to check out American Sniper, which releases on Christmas Day. Based on Chris Kyle’s riveting autobiography of the same name, the film follows Kyle’s tour of duty in Iraq and his desperate struggles to be a good husband and father despite his deployment. Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, American Sniper is on my radar in a big way. You may recall that Chris was killed at the Rough Creek Ranch-Lodge-Resort shooting range in Texas “by a 25-year-old fellow veteran Marine Eddie Ray Routh, whom Kyle and Littlefield had purportedly taken to the gun range in an effort to help him with what they were told by his mother was PTSD.” I also am very much looking forward to Unbroken, based on one of my favorite books (one that I think should be MUST reading), Selma and The Imitation Game. I have to look around and see what else is out! If you have any recommendations, I am all ears.

Cory is home --- and he did not bring home any dirty laundry! So happy to have him around for a month.

We are seeing both sides of the family this weekend and then are heading to the Outer Banks for what has become our traditional holiday celebration. We have the tree, ornaments, lights, dishes and other holiday items all ready to go. I have a stack of books (enough to keep me busy for a month), knitting and presents all organized. I am VERY ready to kick it back a notch. I will be looking for new Bets On titles (though I already have nine noted here).

We have a long drive down and back. I am planning to listen to the entire season of Serial on the drive down, and I am trying to come up with a fun audiobook for the drive back!

We thank you for your notes, comments and feedback throughout the year. We really appreciate you --- and all of your feedback about books and life. When we lifted those cocktails yesterday, we were toasting you too!

Have a wonderful holiday season; here’s to old traditions and new memories. We look forward to seeing you next year!

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!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Special Contest: Enter to Win Our End-of-the-Year Celebration, Featuring All 32 "Bets On" Titles from 2014
We are thrilled to announce a very special contest featuring Carol Fitzgerald’s Bets On picks from 2014. One Grand Prize winner will receive all 32 books, while 32 other winners will receive a copy of one of the titles. To enter, please fill out this form by Friday, January 9th at noon ET.

Here are this year's Bets On titles:

-Click here for the official contest rules.

Click here to enter the contest. Reviewers Choose Their Favorite Books of 2014
We've asked our reviewers to provide us with a list of some of their favorite books from 2014. Included is a mix of fiction and nonfiction titles, all published this year. Among their top picks are ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr, A DEADLY WANDERING: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention by Matt Richtel, THE DROP by Dennis Lehane, ON IMMUNITY: An Inoculation by Eula Biss, STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel, and YES PLEASE by Amy Poehler. Take a moment to read these varied lists of titles and see if you agree with any of their selections!
Click here to see our reviewer picks for 2014. Talks to Jane Green, Author of SAVING GRACE --- Our Latest Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight Title
Internationally bestselling author Jane Green’s latest book, SAVING GRACE, is fiction, although it seems to be in line with the old author wisdom to “write what you know.” It’s the story of Beth Chapman and her famous author husband, Ted, whose crumbling marriage is rescued by Beth, an assistant promising to calm Ted’s rages and lend Grace emotional support. It soon appears, though, that this too-good-to-be-true interloper might be the biggest threat of all. In this interview with’s Norah Piehl, Green discusses the real-life inspiration for SAVING GRACE and why writing Ted’s character was not a stretch for her. She also talks about the elusive idea of “home” and why she decided to write her own spinoff cookbook, HAPPY FOOD.

SAVING GRACE by Jane Green (Fiction)
As Ted and Grace Chapman’s picture-perfect life begins to crumble, they are rescued by Beth, an assistant promising to calm Ted’s rages and lend Grace emotional support. But Grace harbors dark secrets in her past, and Beth’s persona might be too good to be true. It soon appears that this new interloper might be the biggest threat of all, one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation and even her sanity. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

SAVING GRACE releases on December 30th.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Jane Green's bio.
-Click here to visit Jane Green's official website.
-Connect with Jane Green on Facebook and Twitter.
-Click here to read about Jane Green's latest cookbook, HAPPY FOOD.
-Click here to see the 25 winners selected to read and comment on SAVING GRACE.
-Click here to read more in our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight.
Click here to read our interview.
Now in Stores: TOM CLANCY FULL FORCE AND EFFECT by Mark Greaney
TOM CLANCY FULL FORCE AND EFFECT: A Jack Ryan Novel by Mark Greaney (Thriller/Adventure)
The international stalemate with North Korea continues into its seventh decade. A young, untested dictator is determined to prove his strength by breaking the deadlock. A rich deposit of valuable minerals have been found in the Hermit Kingdom. Coupled with their nuclear capabilities, the money from this find will make North Korea a dangerous force on the world stage. There’s just one more step needed to complete this perfect plan: the elimination of President Jack Ryan. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: HOW TO BE BOTH by Ali Smith
HOW TO BE BOTH by Ali Smith (Fiction)
HOW TO BE BOTH is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a Renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real --- and all of life’s givens are given a second chance. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Six Noteworthy Books Releasing on December 30th

Along with the aforementioned SAVING GRACE by Jane Green, here are some noteworthy titles releasing on December 30th that you may want to consider checking out.

THE ASSASSINATION OPTION: A Clandestine Operations Novel by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV (Historical Thriller/Adventure)
James Cronley’s first successful mission for the about-to-be-official new Central Intelligence Directorate has drawn all kinds of attention. However, complications are springing up on all sides. He's discovered a surprising alliance between the former German intelligence chief and, of all things, the Mossad. A German family that Cronley never knew he had has suddenly, and suspiciously, emerged. And he’s due for a rendezvous with an undercover agent against the Soviets known only as Seven K.

THE BISHOP'S WIFE by Mette Ivie Harrison (Mystery)
One cold winter night, a young wife and mother named Carrie Helm disappears, leaving behind everything she owns. Carrie’s husband, Jared, claims his wife has always been unstable and that she has abandoned the family. Linda Wallheim, a devout Mormon and the wife of a bishop, doesn’t trust him. As Linda snoops in the Helm family’s circumstances, she becomes convinced that Jared has murdered his wife and painted himself as a wronged husband.

DIE AGAIN: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen (Thriller)
Boston Detective Jane Rizzoli is on the case of a big game hunter found dead in his apartment. Medical examiner Maura Isles connects the case to a number of seemingly unrelated deaths where the victims have all been found hanging upside down. Rizzoli ultimately uncovers the unsolved mystery of a deadly camping safari in Botswana four years prior. When she realizes the two cases are connected, Rizzoli must track down the sole survivor of the tragic trip to discover who --- or what --- is behind these gruesome deaths.

HUSH by Karen Robards (Romantic Suspense)
When Riley Cowan finds her estranged husband, Jeff, dead in his palatial home, she’s sure it’s no coincidence. The police rule it a suicide, but Riley thinks someone’s out for blood. Finn Bradley, a Philly-based FBI agent and Riley’s love interest from way back when, agrees to help Riley, and the two reignite sparks they both thought were extinguished long ago. But can they discover the killer’s identity in time before he resurfaces --- and strikes again?

THE ROSIE EFFECT by Graeme Simsion (Romance)
The Wife Project is complete, and Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are happily married and living in New York. But they’re about to face a new challenge because Rosie is pregnant. Fortunately, Don’s best friend, Gene, is on hand to offer advice: he’s left Claudia and moved in with Don and Rosie. As Don tries to schedule time for pregnancy research, and getting Gene and Claudia to reconcile, he almost misses the biggest problem of all: he might lose Rosie when she needs him the most.

VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar (Historical Fiction)
London, 1905: The city is alight with change, and the Stephen siblings are at the forefront. Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby and Adrian are leaving behind their childhood home and taking a house in the leafy heart of avant-garde Bloomsbury. There they bring together a glittering circle of bright, outrageous, artistic friends who will grow into legend and come to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. And at the center of this charmed circle are the devoted, gifted sisters: Vanessa, the painter, and Virginia, the writer.

2014 “Best Of” Lists from Around the Web
This is the time of year when “Best Of” lists are everywhere. These annual roundups always seem to spark lively discussions among readers as they reflect on their favorite books of the year. Although we at don’t have a “Best Of” list of our own, we’ve compiled a number of them for you here. See which of your top picks appear on these lists and which titles you feel should've been included but weren't. Perhaps you’ll even find some books to add to your reading list as we head into the new year!
Click here to see 2014 “Best Of” lists.'s Author Holiday Blogs: Authors Write About Their Favorite Holiday Memories of Giving or Receiving Books
We continue to bring you our Author Holiday Blogs, which we’ve brought back for a SEVENTH consecutive year. From now until the start of the new year, we’ll 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, Camille DeAngelis, Kristin Harmel, Phillip Margolin, Laura Lane McNeal, Katherine Reay, Daniel Palmer, Mallory Kasdan, Steve Berry, Robin Antalek, Ann Hood, Joanne Huist Smith, Tim Johnston, Sarah Jio, Christopher Scotton, Ann Mah, Lauren Francis-Sharma, Debbie Macomber and Scott Cheshire. This weekend's pieces will be written by Caroline L. Arnold and Brenda Novak. And still to come are contributions from Erin Healy, Lynne Hinton, Ellen Meister, Walter Mosley, Priya Parmar, Sheila Roberts, Kim Wright, and more.

As always, we appreciate all the authors who have taken the time to share these wonderful holiday memories with us.
Click here to read's 2014 Author Holiday Blogs.'s Holiday Cheer Feature
At, we've been celebrating the holiday season in style with our Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature. As our gift to you, we've been spotlighting a book and giving five lucky readers a chance to win it.

Although the contests have ended, we encourage you to take a look at this year's featured titles. These are books you'll want to read during the holidays --- and throughout the year as well!

This year's featured titles are:

-Click here for the winners of this year's Holiday Cheer contests.
Click here to see our Holiday Cheer feature.
Coming January 16th:’s Winter Reading Contests and Feature --- Sign Up Now for Contest Alerts!
As our Holiday Cheer contests come to an end, another series of contests will begin shortly --- our "Winter Reading Dedicated 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 starting in mid-January, so be sure you’re signed up to receive them so you know what book we’re giving away on each of the contest days. We do not send you our themed newsletters unless you opt-in, so sign up here. If you are having trouble doing so, please write John Maher at
Click here to sign up for Winter Reading contest alerts.
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 Julie Lewit-Nirenberg, who has been known as a real powerhouse in the publishing world. With such a busy schedule, it’s no wonder that she can’t find the time to sit down and read a physical book, so she depends on --- you guessed it --- audiobooks! Enjoy Julie's interview, where she talks about life as a woman on the go and how audiobooks have helped her keep up with her reading.

-Click here to read our interview with Julie Lewit-Nirenberg.

We also interview Anna Knapp, one of our amazing chat room moderators in the early days of The Book Report Network. Back then, we had a chat room call Bookaccino, where readers would gather to chat (actually type their comments) about books. No stranger to the union of books and technology, Anna has now been listening to audiobooks for decades! Here, she talks about how she distinguishes reading books from listening to them, and which audiobooks have drawn the strongest emotional responses from her.

-Click here to read our interview with Anna Knapp.

And last, but certainly not least, is longtime reviewer Roz Shea, another former Bookaccino moderator. Roz recently retired as the executive director of a local land trust, giving her more time for public speaking on the history of Kings Ranch and the Sonoran Desert --- and, of course, reading! Retirement is significantly busier than Roz expected, but she couldn't be happier. In her interview, she discusses her love of audiobooks, which have been a part of her life for 25 years.

-Click here to read our interview with Roz Shea.

Click here for more "Sounding Off on Audio" interviews.
More Reviews This Week
THIEF: A Robin Monarch Novel by Mark Sullivan (Thriller)
Robin Monarch is a man with a complicated past and dangerous present, but first and foremost, he is a thief of the highest order. Orphaned at 12, Monarch originally stole for survival, then he stole for his friends and cohorts, now he steals to give back to the woman who saved his life many years ago. Monarch finds a lead on what might be his most audacious exploit ever. A previously undiscovered tribe in South America may well have the secret to the most sought-after knowledge in history --- that of eternal life. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

HOPE: Entertainer of the Century by Richard Zoglin (Biography)
Bob Hope is a household name. However, as Richard Zoglin shows in this revelatory biography, there is still much to be learned about this most public of figures --- from his secret first marriage and his stint in reform school, to his indiscriminate womanizing and his ambivalent relationship with Bing Crosby and Johnny Carson. Hope could be cold, self-centered, tight with a buck, and perhaps the least introspective man in Hollywood. But he was also a dogged worker, gracious with fans and generous with friends. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

SKYLIGHT by José Saramago (Fiction)
Publishers rejected this early novel by the 1998 Nobel laureate when he submitted it to them in 1953. SKYLIGHT, now appearing in English translation for the first time, dramatizes the overlapping stories of more than a dozen tenants who live in a run-down apartment complex in late 1940s Lisbon. The book is less philosophical than José Saramago’s later works, but the sly wit and left-wing politics for which he became famous are here in abundance. Reviewed by Michael Magras.

A MAP OF BETRAYAL by Ha Jin (Fiction)
When Lilian Shang, born and raised in America, discovers her father’s diary after the death of her parents, she is shocked by the secrets it contains. She knew that her father, Gary, convicted decades ago of being a mole in the CIA, was the most important Chinese spy ever caught. But his diary, an astonishing chronicle of his journey as a Communist intelligence agent, reveals the pain and longing that his double life entailed --- and point to a hidden second family that he’d left behind in China. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

FIVE by Ursula Archer (Psychological Thriller/Mystery)
A woman’s corpse is discovered in a meadow, and a strange combination of letters and numbers has been tattooed on the soles of her feet. Detective inspector Beatrice Kaspary from the local murder squad quickly identifies the digits as map coordinates. These lead to a series of gruesome discoveries as she and her colleague, Florin Wenninger, embark on a bloody trail --- a modern-day scavenger hunt using GPS navigation devices to locate hidden caches. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THE YEAR OF READING DANGEROUSLY: How Fifty Great Books (and Two Not-So-Great Ones) Saved My Life by Andy Miller (Memoir/Literary Criticism)
Nearing his 40th birthday, author and critic Andy Miller realized he's not nearly as well read as he'd like to be. A devout book lover who somehow fell out of the habit of reading, he began to ponder the power of books to change an individual life --- including his own --- and to define the sort of person he would like to be. Beginning with a copy of Bulgakov's MASTER AND MARGARITA that he happens to find one day in a bookstore, Miller embarks on a literary odyssey of mindful reading and wry introspection. Reviewed by Pauline Finch.

THE KING’S DERYNI: A Novel of the Deryni by Katherine Kurtz (Historical Fantasy)
New York Times bestselling author Katherine Kurtz’s novels of the Deryni have been hailed by Anne McCaffrey as “an incredible historical tapestry of a world that never was and of immensely vital people who ought to be.” Now Kurtz weaves a thrilling conclusion to the epic Childe Morgan trilogy, in which bonds of both magic and loyalty will be put to the ultimate test. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

CITIZENS CREEK by Lalita Tademy (Historical Fiction)
Cow Tom, born into slavery in Alabama in 1810 and sold to a Creek Indian chief before his 10th birthday, possessed an extraordinary gift: the ability to master languages. As the new country developed westward, Cow Tom became a key translator for his Creek master and was hired out to US military generals. Cow Tom’s legacy lives on --- especially in the courageous spirit of his granddaughter Rose, who is inspired by her grandfather’s indelible mark of courage. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

SELECTED LETTERS OF NORMAN MAILER written by Norman Mailer, edited by J. Michael Lennon (Literary Criticism & Collections/Letters)
Compiled by Norman Mailer’s authorized biographer, J. Michael Lennon, and organized by decade, SELECTED LETTERS OF NORMAN MAILER features the most fascinating of Mailer’s missives from 1940 to 2007 --- letters to his family and friends, to fans and fellow writers (including Truman Capote, James Baldwin and Philip Roth), to political figures from Henry Kissinger to Bill and Hillary Clinton, and to such cultural icons as John Lennon, Marlon Brando and even Monica Lewinsky. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

IRENE written by Pierre Lemaitre, translated by Frank Wynne (Psychological Thriller/Horror)
Camille Verhoeven has reached an unusually content (for him) place in life. He is respected by his colleagues, and he and his lovely wife, Irene, are expecting their first child. But when a new murder case hits his desk --- a double torture-homicide so extreme that even the most seasoned officers are horrified --- Verhoeven is overcome with a sense of foreboding. As links emerge between the bloody set-piece and at least one past unsolved murder, it becomes clear that a calculating serial killer is at work. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

ENTER PALE DEATH: A Joe Sandilands Investigation by Barbara Cleverly (Historical Mystery)
Scotland Yard Detective Joe Sandilands suspects foul play in the violent death of Lady Truelove. He enlists old friend and former constable Lily Wentworth to trail the now-widower Sir James Truelove, and finds an ally in a fellow police officer familiar with the Truelove estate. But as the investigation yields surprising secrets about one of England’s most powerful families, Joe discovers how little he knows about the gilded lives of the moneyed. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE VOICES by F. R. Tallis (Psychological Thriller/Horror)
In the scorching summer of 1976, Christopher Norton, his wife Laura and their young daughter Faye settle into their new home in north London. The faded glory of the Victorian house is the perfect place for Norton, a composer of film soundtracks, to build a recording studio of his own. But soon, in the long, oppressively hot nights, Laura begins to hear something through the crackle of the baby monitor. First, a knocking sound. Then come the voices. Reviewed by Renee Yeager.

THE DOLL'S HOUSE by Tania Carver (Psychological Thriller)
From the outside, the house was unremarkable. But inside was a different matter. In all his years on the force, Detective Inspector Phil Brennan of the Major Incident Squad has never encountered a scene like it. As he investigates the murder of an adult woman, he uncovers more bizarre revelations and knows that he must act fast. The next murder has already been planned, and the victim is closer to home than he realizes. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
Our Latest Poll: How Many Books Did You Read in 2014?
How many books did you read in 2014?

More than 100
I’m not sure.
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 19th to January 9th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of AS CHIMNEY SWEEPERS COME TO DUST: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley, DIE AGAIN: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen, and HUSH by Karen Robards.

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.

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