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February 20, 2015 Newsletter February 20, 2015
Fleece and Fiction

Ahhhhh, the bliss of a three-day weekend quickly fades when it leads to a four-day work week where the same five days of work need to be accomplished. Couple that with the brutal cold and wind, and I had to share the photo above of the latest amaryllis blooming at our house to brighten the day. Today it was very sunny and 0 degrees. Years ago, a friend who worked at a ski area in Vermont would wake up on winter mornings and declare, “Please do not let it be sunny!” Turns out, on the mountain on cold winter days, it actually was warmer on days when the sun was not out! I must look into the meteorological background on that. Luckily, the weather has not had an impact on my reading. I picture our readers making book runs to their local booksellers and libraries when snow is called for the way others flock to pick up milk, bread and eggs.

Quick moment for a public service announcement as many of us cocoon in our homes. I hear from many of you that you have shared our newsletter with friends and family. Our circulation still grows steadily each week, which I love to see. May I ask you to take a moment to think about others who you feel might enjoy our book and author news and forward this newsletter to them, by clicking the Forward to a Friend button on the upper right? We would so appreciate this, as we know recommendations from friends and family are the ones we all trust the most.

I currently am reading CIRCLING THE SUN by Paula McLain, which will be in stores on July 28th. When her previous book, THE PARIS WIFE, was published, I immediately fell in love with it. I am happy to share that I am feeling the same way about this new book. I received an early edition, which comes without flap description copy to orient a reader. I did no research about the book in advance and instead just started reading. It’s the story of Beryl Markham, who grew up in Britain, but moved to Africa as a young child. She is an accomplished horsewoman, aviator and adventurer. I am having lunch with Paula in early March and cannot wait to hear why she selected Markham as a subject and how she conducted her research. Paula’s writing style is similar to THE PARIS WIFE. It’s informative, as well as engaging. I am looking forward to the last 75 pages tonight.

Including this week’s “Sounding Off on Audio” feature, we have now interviewed 34 of our readers (Jen Jackson and Margaret Gulick are interviewed this week). We would love to continue to share audiobooks with you each week and welcome your ideas on what you would like to see. We are not talking about reviews here, but rather the kinds of audiobook editorial that you would like to see from us. Please email me at with any ideas you may have! I am on the epilogue of THE BOYS ON THE BOAT, which was brilliant. Next up I think will be ALAN TURING: The Enigma. It’s the book that The Imitation Game was based on; the movie was one of my favorites of the year.

I have a humorous audiobook story to share. Amy, who is the receptionist at the hair salon that I frequent (to ensure that I look younger than my years), has been enjoying audiobooks since I introduced them to her. Today, as I was leaving there, she told me a funny story about listening to Karen Marie Moning’s BURNED, which is narrated by Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross. It seems that the action is...ummm...“steamy” at certain points, and she found herself diving to turn off the radio when she stopped at the bank drive-up window. She is hoping that when she brought the car in for service, she had remembered to turn the CD player off. I can just imagine her turning beet red as she listened at a stop light, thinking everyone else could hear!

This week, we bring you our review of THE WHITES by Richard Price, writing as Harry Brandt (click here for the full story behind Price’s pseudonym). Sergeant Billy Graves once worked as part of an anti-crime unit known as the Wild Geese --- until a tragic accident ruined his career. Branded a cowboy, Graves suffered 18 years of dead-end positions until becoming a Sergeant in Manhattan’s Nigh Watch, a team dedicated to responding to night-time felonies until they can hand them off to men working the day shift. But when Billy is called to a fatal slashing, he discovers that the victim was once a suspect in the unsolved murder of a young boy. Now the past is back to haunt him, threatening his friendships, career and family.

Reviewer Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum raves, “This plot-driven, fast-moving procedural is one not to miss. Price is on his mark as the narrative unfolds, and the tightly drawn characters are limned so that you expect them to jump off the page.” I agree; it’s really tight and very visual!

We’re wrapping up our Women's Fiction Author Spotlight of Emily Gray Tedrowe and her new book, BLUE STARS, with our review and interview. Following the popularity of realistic war fiction, the novel exposes the struggles of two modern women, Ellen and Lacey, left behind while the men they love are at war. When their loved ones are injured, the ladies meet in a hospital and forge a bond strong enough to get them through the war and its fallout.

Reviewer Alexis Burling says of BLUE STARS, “Though it touches briefly on the courage it takes to serve one’s country, the tight-knit camaraderie between soldiers during wartime, and the PTSD that often accompanies a debilitating injury, Tedrowe’s novel is more concerned with the question of how legions of mothers and daughters manage while their sons and husbands are away.” Click here to read Alexis’ interview with Emily and learn about her inspiration for the novel, its characters and the powerful friendship it celebrates. This look at the effects of military life on a family made me even more grateful to those who serve and those who support them from home.

Allison Pataki, bestselling author of THE TRAITOR’S WIFE, has now written THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS, a love story about Emperor Franz Joseph and “Sisi,” his captivating wife. Pataki takes readers to 1853, where Europe’s most powerful family, the Habsburgs, is searching for a wife for young Emperor Franz Joseph. Although Elisabeth, “Sisi,” Duchess of Bavaria is only 15 when she travels to the Habsburg court with her sister, who is to marry Franz, she inadvertently captures the groom’s heart. When Franz declares that he will marry Sisi instead, political and familial loyalties are tested, and Sisi must fight for the love of not only Franz, but also her people.

According to reviewer Jana Siciliano, “Pataki takes special care to ensure that readers fall in love with Sisi, the Fairy Queen. She does; we adore Sisi and will follow her anywhere. The historical depth of the backdrop against which she struggles and succeeds just enhances the romantic draw of this lovely novel.” We’re also pleased to share this Q&A with Allison and her recent conversation with Kathie Lee and Hoda on the “Today Show.” By the way, some of you may remember reading about Empress Sisi in Daisy Goodwin’s THE FORTUNE HUNTER. Enjoy this fresh take on this very interesting historical character here.

Our latest Paperback Spotlight features THE APPLE ORCHARD by Susan Wiggs, which releases in mass market paperback on February 24th. Tess Delaney loves sharing and illuminating history, perhaps because her own is so full of gaps. Then Dominic Rossi appears on her doorstep to inform her that the grandfather she never met is in a coma and she will soon inherit half of a hundred-acre apple orchard estate called Bella Vista. The rest, she learns, is willed to Isabel, a half-sister she never knew existed. Although Isabel is everything Tess isn’t, the two will soon discover that the roots of family history run deeper than they know.

As promised, my latest Bets On picks are MY SUNSHINE AWAY by M.O. Walsh and CRAZY LOVE YOU by Lisa Unger, both of which we reviewed last week. Click on each of the titles to see why I’m betting you’ll love these novels.

Our first-ever Winter Reading series of contests wrapped up this week (may this be a signal for the winter weather wrap as well!). Our final three prizes were the aforementioned THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS by Allison Pataki, along with FIRST TIME IN FOREVER by Sarah Morgan and ONE WISH by Robyn Carr. Congratulations to all the winners of our 18 contests!

For those who weren’t among these 90(!) lucky winning readers, our Spring Preview contests are right around the corner. Here, we’ll be spotlighting a number of hot new books releasing in the spring that you will want to consider adding to your reading list. Starting Tuesday, March 10th at noon ET and continuing through Thursday, April 16th, once again we’ll be hosting a series of 24-hour contests for these books. You’ll have to check the site each day to see which title is being given away --- or you can sign up here for our Spring Preview newsletter to be notified when contests go live.

And a big congratulations to the five winners of our Valentine's Day contest! These readers received a copy of each of our six featured books and some delicious Ghirardelli chocolate. Those who entered had the option of responding to the question “Who is your all-time literary crush?” which many of you answered, much to our delight. We had so much fun compiling your top 10 “Literary Loves and Lusts,” which you can see here. Many thanks to all who participated!

Our History Books roundup has been updated for this month. Among our featured titles are WASHINGTON’S REVOLUTION: The Making of America's First Leader by Robert Middlekauff, LINCOLN’S GREATEST CASE: The River, the Bridge, and the Making of America by Brian McGinty and AMERICAN RECKONING: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity by Christian G. Appy (which we’re also reviewing this week).

For our latest poll, we have listed a number of fiction titles releasing in March and are curious which, if any, you’re planning to read. Click here to let us know! Our previous poll asked how many of your friends enjoy reading books (89% of you said “Most of them” or “Some of them”), and when asked whether or not you talk about books with your book-loving friends, 98% of the respondents answered either “All of the time” or “Some of the time.” You can see all the results here. We love that you are book concierges for your friends.

In our new Word of Mouth contest, we’re giving five readers the chance to win HUSH HUSH: A Tess Monaghan Novel by Laura Lippman, MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD by Jeffrey Archer and MRS. GRANT AND MADAME JULE by Jennifer Chiaverini. Let us know by Friday, March 6th at noon ET the books that you’ve finished reading, and you’ll be in the running to receive all three of these upcoming releases.

Here’s a report from our Word of Mouth editor, Melanie, about the latest trends she’s noticed in the last two weeks based on readers’ submissions: “By far, the most read and reviewed title is THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (there are as many as 20 comments), followed closely by THE NIGHTINGALE, which many people are saying they could give higher than 5 stars!! I have also seen quite a few reviews for THE ROSIE EFFECT, LILA and several for RUSSIAN TATTOO by Elena Gorokhova. ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE continues to be read as well.”

News and Pop Culture Bits

Watched: Gone Girl, and I confess I did not love it. My husband, who had not read the book, felt the same way. Maybe it’s because I had no affinity for any of the characters, the same way I felt about the book.

Cold Weather MUST: Uniqlo’s HeatTech shirts that have become a “must” layer in the past weeks. It’s amusing that I have them in a half-dozen colors when the color truly does not matter as no one sees four layers down.

Screenplay Adaptation: Here is an interesting article from the screenwriter who adapted the American Sniper screenplay.

Savannah Book Festival Blog: Sincere thanks to our reader, Nancy Bader, who shared terrific commentary about the Savannah Book Festival last weekend. What a fabulous lineup they had!

Mark Zuckerberg's newest choice for Facebook’s A Year of Books: ON IMMUNITY by Eula Biss. We have our review here, and I had the pleasure of interviewing Eula last year at BEA. Talk about a timely book!

For those who do not live in Boston: 24 great photos to show the depths of the snow in Boston. To those in Boston, I hope none of these were your homes!

The Oscars are on tap for Sunday night. I have seen most of the Best Picture nominees with others scheduled to be watched on DVD. We are not dressing up for the occasion, but logs will be tossed onto the fireplace to set a warm festive mood. I am in baby blanket-making mode as a few friends are due in the next few months. One is not sure whether she is having a boy or a girl, thus I am doing double duty for that birth!

I also am pondering what to read next...will let you know what I select next week!

Read on and have a great week….

Carol Fitzgerald (

P.S. For those of you who shop online, if you use the store links below, gets a small affiliate fee on your purchases. We would appreciate your considering this!

Now in Stores: THE WHITES by Richard Price, writing as Harry Brandt
THE WHITES by Richard Price, writing as Harry Brandt (Crime Fiction/Mystery)
When Sergeant Billy Graves is called to a 4:00 a.m. fatal slashing of a man in Penn Station, his investigation of the crime moves beyond the usual handoff. And when he discovers that the victim was once a suspect in the unsolved murder of a 12-year-old boy, the bad old days are back in Billy's life with a vengeance, tearing apart enduring friendships forged in the urban trenches and even threatening the safety of his family. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review. Talks to Emily Gray Tedrowe, Author of BLUE STARS --- Our Latest Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight Title

In her latest book, BLUE STARS, Emily Gray Tedrowe explores, in profoundly moving detail, the lives of military families --- in particular, two very different women whose lives become intertwined in Walter Reed Army Hospital, where each must live while caring for her wounded soldier. In this interview with’s Alexis Burling, Tedrowe talks about how her own experience as a member of a military family informed her writing, and the critical task of capturing all the complicated and ever-shifting attitudes of the people left behind at the home front. She also discusses why the unexpected friendship between her two female protagonists is crucial to the narrative, and how she found room in a war story for Edith Wharton.

BLUE STARS by Emily Gray Tedrowe (Fiction)
Ellen is a Midwestern literature professor who is drawn into the war when her legal ward Michael enlists as a Marine. Lacey is a proud Army wife who struggles to pay the bills and keep things going for her son while her husband is deployed. Ellen and Lacey cope with the fear and stress of a loved one at war while trying to get by in a society that often ignores or misunderstands what war means to women today. When Michael and Eddie are injured in Iraq, Ellen and Lacey’s lives become intertwined in Walter Reed Army Hospital, where each woman must live while caring for her wounded soldier. 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 to read critical praise.
-Click here to read Emily Gray Tedrowe’s bio.
-Click here to visit Emily Gray Tedrowe’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Emily Gray Tedrowe on Twitter.
-Click here to see the 25 winners selected to read and comment on the book.

-Click here to read more in our Women's Fiction Author Spotlight.

Click here to read our interview.
An Interview with Allison Pataki, Author of THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS

Allison Pataki is the author of the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed historical novel, THE TRAITOR'S WIFE. No slouch when it comes to history, Pataki was inspired to write her second work of fiction, THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS --- about how Empress “Sisi” Elisabeth of Bavaria accidentally won the heart, and court, of Emperor Franz Joseph --- by her family’s deep roots in the former Habsburg empire of Austria-Hungary. In this interview, Pataki reveals how she was able to whittle all of her fascinating historical source material down to an elegantly cohesive story, as well as the liberties that writing fiction allowed her to take. She also talks about how thoroughly she researched THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS --- of course, it's no surprise that traveling was a highlight!

THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS by Allison Pataki (Historical Fiction)
The year is 1853, and the Habsburgs are Europe’s most powerful ruling family. With his empire stretching from Austria to Russia, from Germany to Italy, Emperor Franz Joseph is young, rich and ready to marry. Fifteen-year-old Elisabeth, “Sisi,” Duchess of Bavaria, travels to the Habsburg Court with her older sister, who is betrothed to the young emperor. But shortly after her arrival at court, Sisi finds herself in an unexpected dilemma: she has inadvertently fallen for and won the heart of her sister’s groom. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.

Click here to read the interview.
New Paperback Spotlight: THE APPLE ORCHARD by Susan Wiggs
THE APPLE ORCHARD by Susan Wiggs (Fiction)
#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs brings readers into the lush abundance of Sonoma County, in a story of sisters, friendship and the invisible bonds of history that are woven like a spell around us.

Tess Delaney loves illuminating history; returning stolen treasures to their rightful owners and filling the spaces in people’s hearts with stories of their family legacies. But Tess’ own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, and a mother who spent more time traveling than with her daughter.

Then the enigmatic Dominic Rossi arrives on her San Francisco doorstep with the news that the grandfather she’s never met is in a coma and that she’s destined to inherit half of a hundred-acre apple orchard estate called Bella Vista. The rest is willed to Isabel Johansen, the half-sister she never knew she had. Isabel is everything Tess isn’t, but against the rich landscape of Bella Vista, with Isabel and Dominic by her side, Tess begins to discover a world where family comes first and the roots of history run deep.

THE APPLE ORCHARD releases in mass market paperback on February 24th.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read Susan Wiggs’ bio.
-Visit Susan Wiggs’ official website and blog.
-Connect with Susan Wiggs on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Paperback Spotlight.
Now in Stores: OBSESSION IN DEATH by J. D. Robb
OBSESSION IN DEATH by J. D. Robb (Mystery/Thriller)
Eve Dallas has become the object of one person’s obsession --- someone who would kill for her. With a murderer reading meanings into her every move, handling this case will be a delicate and dangerous psychological dance. And Eve knows that underneath the worship and admiration, a terrible threat lies in wait. Because the beautiful lieutenant is not at all grateful for these bloody offerings from her “true and loyal friend.” And in time, idols always fall… Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: TWELVE DAYS by Alex Berenson
TWELVE DAYS: A John Wells Novel by Alex Berenson (Thriller)
John Wells, with his former CIA bosses Ellis Shafer and Vinnie Duto, has uncovered a staggering plot, a false-flag operation to convince the President to attack Iran. But they have no hard evidence. Now the President has set a deadline for Iran to give up its nuclear program, and the mullahs in Tehran --- furious and frightened --- have responded with a deadly terrorist attack. Wells, Shafer and Duto know they have only 12 days to find the proof they need. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: IT’S WHAT I DO by Lynsey Addario
IT’S WHAT I DO: A Photographer's Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario (Memoir/Photography)
Lynsey Addario was just finding her way as a young photographer when September 11th changed the world. One of the few photojournalists with experience in Afghanistan, she gets the call to return and cover the American invasion. She makes a decision she would often find herself making --- not to stay home, not to lead a quiet or predictable life, but to set out across the world, face the chaos of crisis, and make a name for herself. Reviewed by Miriam Tuliao.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review. Bets On: MY SUNSHINE AWAY and CRAZY LOVE YOU

MY SUNSHINE AWAY by M.O. Walsh (Fiction)
I was lucky enough to read MY SUNSHINE AWAY back in the spring of 2014, as I interviewed M.O. Walsh for the BEA Book Buzz session last May. When I read the title, I started humming the song “You Are My Sunshine,” which I learned is one of the state songs of Louisiana. Then I read the first line of the book, “There were four suspects in the rape of Lindy Simpson,” and I stopped thinking sunny thoughts.

In the summer of 1989, Lindy was a girl who caught boys’ eyes, but while she was turning heads, she never seemed to notice. Then she is attacked one night, and the world changes for both her and those in the neighborhood around her. The “safe” world became a lot less innocent.

MY SUNSHINE AWAY is a brilliant, beautifully written coming-of-age story that has a mystery rolled into it --- a mystery that is not resolved until the last few pages (no reading ahead).

-Click here to read more of Carol's thoughts on the book.
-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.

CRAZY LOVE YOU by Lisa Unger (Psychological Thriller)
Lisa Unger has a knack for writing the kind of edgy psychological thriller that lures you in and wraps itself around you Then, just when you think I got this story nailed, she whooshes you off into another direction. When you settle there, you know you better not get comfortable. When I finished CRAZY LOVE YOU, I still was wondering if I got the ending right. I was paying rapt attention to the story, but what character was I supposed to rely upon?

The story seems to be a tale we know. There’s a boy, Ian, who was overweight as a child, and Priss was the girl in his small Upstate New York town who always was there for him. She was his refuge when he was being bullied and tortured. But as is apt to happen, Ian’s life has taken a turn for the better. He has moved to New York City, where he has developed a career as a successful graphic novelist. Priss is still part of his life, but she has not cleaned up her unhealthy habits of drinking and taking drugs, and wants to keep colluding with Ian.

-Click here to read more of Carol's thoughts on the book.
-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read an interview with Lisa Unger.

Click here for more books we're betting you'll love.
February’s History Books Roundup
February's roundup of History titles includes WASHINGTON'S REVOLUTION, Pulitzer Prize finalist Robert Middlekauff's account of the formative years that shaped a callow George Washington into an extraordinary leader; LINCOLN'S GREATEST CASE by lawyer and Lincoln scholar Brian McGinty, the untold story of how one sensational trial propelled a self-taught lawyer and a future president into the national spotlight; EYE ON THE STRUGGLE, in which acclaimed biographer James McGrath Morris brings into focus the riveting life of one of the most significant yet least known figures of the civil rights era --- pioneering journalist Ethel Payne, the “First Lady of the Black Press”; and LUSITANIA by Greg King and Penny Wilson, which tells the story of the Lusitania's glamorous passengers and the torpedo that ended an era and prompted the US entry into World War I.
Click here to see our History Books roundup for February.
Sounding Off on Audio: Interviews with Listeners About Their Love of Audiobooks
In this week's "Sounding Off on Audio" feature, we interview Jen Jackson, who has worked for Barnes & Noble for 18 years; she even met her husband there! They have two young daughters who are also avid readers. Her love for audiobooks is infectious --- recently, her 10-year-old daughter started listening as well. Here, Jen shares all the audio wisdom she’s been accumulating since 1996 (when she started listening), including her favorite narrators and why audiobooks are a great way to try out books you’re ambivalent about.

-Click here to read our interview with Jen Jackson.

We also chat with Margaret Gulick, a semi-retired geriatric social worker who is currently working part-time in a skilled nursing facility for Franciscan priests and brothers. She doesn’t remember when she started listening but can’t seem to get enough of audiobooks. In her “Sounding Off on Audio” interview, she shares her top titles and an invaluable roundup of her favorite narrators.

-Click here to read our interview with Margaret Gulick.

Click here for more "Sounding Off on Audio" interviews.
New Guides Now Available on
The following guides are now available on

AFTER THE WAR IS OVER by Jennifer Robson (Historical Fiction)
Jennifer Robson, the international bestselling author of SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE, returns with her sweeping second novel --- a tale of class, love and freedom --- in which a young woman must find her place in a world forever changed.

ALL JOY AND NO FUN: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior (Parenting/Sociology)
In ALL JOY AND NO FUN, award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior analyzes the many ways children reshape their parents' lives, whether it's their marriages, their jobs, their habits, their hobbies, their friendships, or their internal senses of self.

BLUE STARS by Emily Gray Tedrowe (Fiction)
Book group fiction at its best, BLUE STARS explores the bonds of family and the limits of fidelity, and tells the story of life on the home front in the 21st century.

THE EVENING CHORUS by Helen Humphreys (Historical Fiction)
Amid the chaos of World War II, three people find unexpected freedom through their connection to the natural world.

GIRL BEFORE A MIRROR by Liza Palmer (Fiction)
The author of CONVERSATIONS WITH A FAT GIRL --- optioned for HBO --- returns with the hilarious and heartfelt story of a woman who must learn how to be the heroine of her own life --- a journey that will teach her priceless lessons about love, friendship, family, work and her own heart.

A HISTORY OF LONELINESS by John Boyne (Fiction)
Here is the riveting narrative of an honorable Irish priest who finds the church collapsing around him at a pivotal moment in its history.

MARGARITA WEDNESDAYS: Making a New Life by the Mexican Sea by Deborah Rodriguez (Memoir)
MARGARITA WEDNESDAYS is an inspiring follow-up memoir in the spirit of WILD from the author of the international bestseller KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL about her quest to find herself after leaving her life behind in Afghanistan and starting over in Mexico.

A MEMORY OF VIOLETS: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers by Hazel Gaynor (Historical Fiction)
From the bestselling author of THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME comes a story set in Victorian London of two long-lost sisters, whose lives take different paths, and the young woman who will be transformed by their experiences.

MISS HAZEL AND THE ROSA PARKS LEAGUE by Jonathan Odell (Historical Fiction)
Set in pre-Civil Rights Mississippi, MISS HAZEL AND THE ROSA PARKS LEAGUE is the story of a town, a people and a culture on the verge of a great change that begins with small things, like unexpected friendship.

MISTER OWITA'S GUIDE TO GARDENING: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart by Carol Wall (Memoir)
This is the true story of a unique friendship between two people who had nothing --- and ultimately everything --- in common.

THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah (Historical Fiction)
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes an epic novel of love and war, spanning from the 1940s to the present day, and the secret lives of those who live in a small French town.

THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL by Nadia Hashimi (Fiction)
Afghan-American Nadia Hashimi's literary debut novel is a searing tale of powerlessness, fate and the freedom to control one's own fate that combines the cultural flavor and emotional resonance of the works of Khaled Hosseini, Jhumpa Lahiri and Lisa See.

REDEPLOYMENT by Phil Klay (Fiction/Short Stories)
Written with a hard-eyed realism and stunning emotional depth, REDEPLOYMENT takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned.

SHOTGUN LOVESONGS by Nickolas Butler (Fiction)
SHOTGUN LOVESONGS is a remarkable and uncompromising saga that explores the age-old question of whether or not you can ever truly come home again --- and the kind of steely faith and love that returning requires.

TIFFANY GIRL by Deeanne Gist (Historical Fiction)
From the bestselling author of IT HAPPENED AT THE FAIR and FAIR PLAY comes a compelling historical novel about a progressive “New Woman,” Flossie Jayne, the girl behind Tiffany’s chapel and the love that threatens it all.

TRIGGER WARNING: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman (Fiction/Short Stories)
In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath, transporting us deep into the realm of imagination, where the fantastical becomes real and the everyday incandescent.

WALKING ON TRAMPOLINES by Frances Whiting (Fiction)
Praised as "a tender exploration of friendship, families and first love" by Liane Moriarty, the New York Times bestselling author of THE HUSBAND’S SECRET, WALKING ON TRAMPOLINES is a coming-of-age novel that is equal parts heartwarming, accessible and thought-provoking, from bestselling Australian novelist Frances Whiting.
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More Reviews This Week
MOTIVE: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman (Psychological Thriller)
Ursula Corey is a successful, attractive divorcée who has been executed. Two suspects emerge: the dead woman’s business partner/ex-husband and her divorce lawyer/secret lover. But just as psychologist Alex Delaware and homicide cop Milo Sturgis think they’re zeroing in on the perp, a bizarre new clue stirs up eerie echoes of a previously unsolved murder. And the discovery of yet another crime scene bearing the same taunting signature raises the specter of a serial killer on a mission. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

DREAMING SPIES: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R. King (Historical Mystery)
In the spring of 1924, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes agreed to perform a dangerous job for the emperor of Japan. At the time, Russell encountered a young Japanese woman on board their ship who tutored the two foreigners about her country and guided them into a secret meeting with the Prince Regent himself. Now, when Russell heads for Oxford to resume her long-delayed studies, she comes face-to-face with that very same young Japanese woman --- and quickly realizes that Miss Sato Haruki is not all that she seems. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

BERTIE’S GUIDE TO LIFE AND MOTHERS: A 44 Scotland Street Novel (9) by Alexander McCall Smith (Fiction)
Newlywed painter and sometime somnambulist Angus Lordie might be sleepwalking his way into trouble with Animal Welfare when he lets his dog, Cyril, drink a bit too much lager at the local bar. Meanwhile, the long-suffering Bertie --- on the cusp of his seventh birthday party --- has taken to dreaming about his 18th, a time when he will be able to avoid the indignity of unwanted girl attendees and the looming threat of a gender-neutral doll from his domineering mother, Irene. Reviewed by Rebecca Kilberg.

DEATH OF A LIAR: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery by M. C. Beaton (Mystery)
Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is alarmed to receive a report from a woman in the small village of Cronish in the Scottish Highlands. She has been brutally attacked, and the criminal is on the loose. But upon further investigation, Hamish discovers that she was lying about the crime. So when the same woman calls him back about an intruder, he simply marvels at her compulsion to lie. This time, though, she is telling the truth. Her body is found in her home, and Hamish must sort through all of her lies to solve the crime. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

THERE’S SOMETHING I WANT YOU TO DO: Stories by Charles Baxter (Fiction/Short Stories)
Charles Baxter’s new book is a collection of 10 interrelated stories, the first five named after virtues, the second after vices. Baxter’s point is that all of us cover the spectrum of moral qualities, as do his characters --- from the pediatrician conflicted about his work to the altruistic missionary who contracts a disease in Ethiopia and, upon returning stateside, commits robbery to pay for medicine. In Baxter’s world, as in life, decisions are rarely easy. Reviewed by Michael Magras.

AFTER BIRTH by Elisa Albert (Fiction)
A year has passed since Ari gave birth to Walker, though it went so badly awry she has trouble calling it “birth” and still can't locate herself in her altered universe. When Mina, a one-time cult musician --- older, self-contained, alone and nine-months pregnant --- moves to town, Ari sees the possibility of a new friend, despite her unfortunate habit of generally mistrusting women. Soon they become comrades-in-arms, and the previously hostile terrain seems almost navigable. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

SATIN ISLAND by Tom McCarthy (Fiction)
U., a “corporate anthropologist,” is tasked with writing the Great Report, an all-encompassing ethnographic document that would sum up our era. Yet at every turn, he feels himself overwhelmed by the ubiquity of data, lost in buffer zones, wandering through crowds of apparitions, willing them to coalesce into symbols that can be translated into some kind of account that makes sense. As he begins to wonder if the Great Report might remain a shapeless, oozing plasma, his senses are startled awake by a dream of an apocalyptic cityscape. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

A HISTORY OF LONELINESS by John Boyne (Fiction)
Propelled into the priesthood by a family tragedy, Odran Yates is full of hope and ambition. Forty years later, his devotion is caught in revelations that shatter the Irish people’s faith in the Catholic Church. He sees his friends stand trial, colleagues jailed and the lives of young parishioners destroyed. But when a family event opens wounds from his past, he is forced to confront the demons that have raged within the church and to recognize his own complicity in their propagation. Reviewed by Stephen Febick.

-Click here for the reading group guide.

AMERICAN RECKONING: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity by Christian G. Appy (History)
How did the Vietnam War change the way we think of ourselves as a people and a nation? Christian G. Appy, author of the widely praised oral history of the Vietnam War, PATRIOTS, now examines the relationship between the war’s realities and myths, and its impact on our national identity, conscience, pride, shame, popular culture and postwar foreign policy. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN by Tessa Arlen (Historical Mystery)
Lady Montfort has been planning her annual summer costume ball for months with scrupulous care. But when her husband's degenerate nephew is found murdered, it's more than the ball that’s ruined. In fact, Lady Montfort fears that the official police enquiry is pointing towards her son as a potential suspect. Taking matters into her own hands, she enlists the help of her pragmatic housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, to investigate the case, track down the women who vanished the night of the murder, and clear her son's name. Reviewed by Carly Silver.

GLOW by Ned Beauman (Fiction)
Twenty-two-year-old Raf spends his days walking Rose, a bull terrier who guards the transmitters for a pirate radio station, and his nights at raves in warehouses and launderettes. When his friend Theo vanishes without a trace, Raf’s efforts to find him will lead straight into the heart of a global corporate conspiracy. Meanwhile, he’s falling in love with a beautiful young woman he met at one of those raves, but he’ll soon discover that there is far more to Cherish than meets the eye. Reviewed by Stephen Febick.

THE DAMNED by Andrew Pyper (Supernatural Thriller)
Despite surviving a fire that claimed the life of his twin sister, Ashleigh, Danny Orchard has never been able to enjoy his second chance at life. Ash had been a budding psychopath who privately terrorized her family --- and death hasn’t changed her wicked ways. She has haunted her brother for 20 years, and now, just when he’s met the love of his life, she wants more than ever to punish him for being alive. So she sets her sights on Danny’s new wife and stepson. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

DONE IN ONE by Grant Jerkins and Jan Thomas (Thriller)
SWAT sniper Jake Denton and his wife, his department-ordered psychiatrist, are beginning to question just how these sanctioned kills are affecting Jake’s mental health. Nobody wants him to end up like Lee Staley, his mentor and ex-partner --- now out on permanent psych leave and the prime suspect in a series of shootings that have paralyzed Northern California. Jake doesn't believe that Staley is guilty, but when their job has taught them to kill, how easy would it be for his friend to cross over to the other side? How easy would it be for Jake? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
Our Latest Poll: Which March Books Are You Anticipating?
Which of the following fiction titles releasing in March are you planning to read? Please check all that apply.

THE ANGEL COURT AFFAIR: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel, by Anne Perry
THE ASSASSIN: An Isaac Bell Adventure, by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
THE BURIED GIANT by Kazuo Ishiguro
THE CAVENDON WOMEN by Barbara Taylor Bradford
COLD BETRAYAL: An Ali Reynolds Novel, by J.A. Jance
A DANGEROUS PLACE: A Maisie Dobbs Novel, by Jacqueline Winspear
ENDANGERED: A Joe Pickett Novel, by C.J. Box
EPITAPH: A Novel of the O.K. Corral, by Mary Doria Russell
THE FIFTH GOSPEL by Ian Caldwell
LAST ONE HOME by Debbie Macomber
MRS. GRANT AND MADAME JULE by Jennifer Chiaverini
MURDER ON THE CHAMP DE MARS: An Aimée Leduc Investigation Set in Paris, by Cara Black
NYPD RED 3 by James Patterson and Marshall Karp
REBEL QUEEN by Michelle Moran
THE STRANGER by Harlan Coben
WORLD GONE BY by Dennis Lehane
None of the above
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 February 20th to March 6th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of HUSH HUSH: A Tess Monaghan Novel by Laura Lippman, MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD by Jeffrey Archer and MRS. GRANT AND MADAME JULE by Jennifer Chiaverini.

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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