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February 5, 2016 Newsletter February 5, 2016
My Bookish Joys and Conundrums!
One of the joys --- and conundrums --- when books are pitched to me is trying to decide what to read first. After my Denver trip, I zipped my way through THE GIRLS by Emma Cline, which I talked about last week.

Then I quickly turned to THE NEST by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, which will be in stores on March 22nd and will be a Bets On title. In it, two brothers and two sisters are in line for an inheritance when the youngest one turns 40. Each has an immediate need for this money; let’s just say the chickens have been counted before they've been hatched, and they all are over-extended. Something happens to one of the brothers, and suddenly the nest egg everyone was banking on becomes a sum much less than they were counting on as their mom parses a huge chunk his way. The three adult Plumb siblings confront their errant brother Leo, who is fresh from rehab, over lunch at the Oyster Bar in Manhattan. Suddenly everyone is caught up in their own dramas and each other’s. Forget the money...the sibling dramas alone are worth the price of the book. You can afford it; you are not one of the Plumbs!

Last week at a media lunch about another title, two of my journalist friends could not stop talking about WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR by Paul Kalanithi. Buzz for this one has been everywhere, and with good reason. I called the publisher to get a copy, and they told me they were all out of office copies. This week when I circled back, my publisher contact sent me her personal copy, which I appreciated. I immediately dug into reading it and looked up 100 pages later. It’s a beautiful and poignant story about a young gifted neurologist, who is diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer and is given a short time to live. Instead of digging himself into a hole, he embraces the joy of the days he has left. With his wife, Lucy, who also is a doctor, they decide to have a child, Cady, who brings him peace and happiness.

Abraham Verghese writes a stunning introduction to the book, reminding me again that I loved his book, THE TENNIS PARTNER, which looked at the world of medicine through the eyes of a doctor watching a fellow physician come undone through addiction. He knows the world of medicine. The book is being compared to Atul Gawande’s BEING MORTAL, as it, too, honestly looks at medicine and end-of-life issues.

Here’s a beautiful piece where Lucy, who wrote the epilogue, is interviewed by Katie Couric. All the time I was watching, I was thinking about how Katie lost her husband, Jay, at a young age to colon cancer. Before you say this is way too sad, read it. The message about enjoying and embracing life, which really is so very fleeting, is enormously uplifting.

Two weeks ago in the newsletter, I shared my love of iKlear products that are brilliant at cleaning the screens in your lives --- desktops, tablets, eReaders and phones. So many of you wrote telling me that you loved this product that I am sharing it again! Ahhhh the joys of a clean screen, and one that has not been marred by smudges. All my screens are full of fingermarks that were whisked away with a spritz and a swipe. Here, again, are options on what to buy: The Cleaning Kit comes with the spray fluid, cleaning cloths, travel-sized cleaning cloths and a dozen Travel Singles. iKlear also sells an eight-ounce bottle of cleaning fluid, and if you’re traveling, the Travel wipes need to be on hand.

Now that you know how to see the screen clearly, here’s this week’s update.

Our latest Paperback Spotlight shines on BETTYVILLE, George Hodgman’s remarkable bestselling memoir about family, independence and strength. When George leaves New York for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, to care for his aging mother, he finds himself frequently colliding with Betty. Although she is a colorful, outspoken woman, she has never quite accepted her son’s homosexuality. George considers that it may be simpler to place her in an assisted living facility, but he cannot bear the idea of forcing her from their beloved home and its dusty antiques. Instead the two try to combine their worlds, acknowledging, for the first time, the struggles each has endured. What follows is a hilarious trip from their quaint town to the corridors of Vanity Fair, a journey that offers them each a chance at redemption and acceptance. Read our review and an interview we posted when the book released in hardcover last year.

Our Sneak Peek Contest featuring Phaedra Patrick’s charming debut, THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER, continues this week. After the death of his wife, Miriam, 69-year-old Arthur Pepper’s life has become quite routine. Every day he wakes up at the same time, puts on the same cozy sweater, and heads to his garden to greet the day. But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, while looking through her possessions, he finds a gorgeous gold necklace. Curious to learn more about the necklace and Miriam’s life before him, Arthur embarks on a worldwide trip and discovers that hope can be found where you least expect it. I so love the very quirky Arthur Pepper and am enjoying how this story is unfolding! Although THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER does not release until May 3rd, we are giving away 35 copies to readers who would like to preview the book and comment on it by Friday, April 1st. Enter here by Thursday, February 11th at noon ET.

Also continuing this week is our Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight on Fiona Barton and her chilling debut, THE WIDOW. For years, Jean and her husband have banded together against suspicions that he has committed a brutal murder. Although it was not always easy to ignore the gossip, Jean has focused on being the perfect wife. But now her husband is dead, and Jean can be whoever she likes --- even if that means spinning the truth in her favor. In anticipation of its February 16th release, we’re giving away 35 copies of this future Bets On pick to those who would like to read the book and share their feedback on it. Enter here by Thursday, February 11th at noon ET. Trust me, this is going to be a talked-about book, so enter to win NOW! Or skip waiting to win and pre-order it!

My latest Bets On selection is THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE by Melanie Benjamin, which we’ve been featuring in our Historical Fiction Author Spotlight. Click here to see why Melanie’s dishy, glamorous release will have readers buzzing for some time to come.

Next week’s Bets On pick will be MISSING PIECES by Heather Gudenkauf, which we review this week. Sarah Quinlan’s husband, Jack, has long been haunted by the mysterious death of his mother --- her body was found in the family’s cellar when he was only a teenager. This tragedy rocked the family’s small home town of Penny Gate, Iowa, leaving an indelible mark on Jack’s memories of home. When Jack’s aunt, Julia, is hospitalized following an accident, Jack and Sarah are forced to visit Penny Gate and confront Jack’s painful past. But as facts about Julia’s accident start coming to light, Sarah realizes that the Quinlans have several dark secrets and even deadlier truths.

Reviewer Kate Ayers says, “In Sarah Quinlan, Gudenkauf has an unwitting sleuth, but also a very adept one. She gives Sarah a past to unravel, with some dead ends to fight through and an unwavering quest. She uses the old rundown house to her advantage, almost as though it was a character of its own…” Gudenkauf definitely knows how to lay a trap for her readers and rob them of hours of sleep with her writing!

We would like to direct your attention to’s Winter Reading Essentials Sweepstakes, a giveaway perfect for readers looking to spend some cozy nights at home with some terrific reads. One grand prize winner will receive five buzzworthy books, a cotton herringbone blanket from Kaufmann Mercantile, a pair of Warby Parker glasses and a $25 Starbucks gift card. Now that is one very cool prize! Books with the perfect accoutrements. Enter now! It's a fabulous package of gifts.

February 14th is drawing ever closer…and what better way to celebrate its impending arrival than by entering our 11th Annual Valentine’s Day contest? Five readers will win six love-themed books, along with some sinfully delicious Ghirardelli chocolates. If this prize package sounds too good to pass up, then you’ll need to enter by Tuesday, February 16th at noon ET for a chance to win some post-Valentine’s Day goodies.

In this week’s Winter Reading contests, we gave away DOG LOVE by Ann DeVito, THE FLOOD GIRLS by Richard Fifield, PRETTY BABY by Mary Kubica (now available in paperback) and A VOICE FROM THE FIELD by Neal Griffin. Next week’s prize books will be CALMING THERAPY: An Anti-Stress Coloring Book (who among you is ready for a new coloring book?), GEORGIA: A Novel of Georgia O'Keeffe by Dawn Tripp (I was just asked to interview her in May at the Random House Open House), THE VATICAN PRINCESS: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia by C.W. Gortner (he knows his way around historical fiction), and THE WONDER GARDEN by Lauren Acampora (now available in paperback). Our next contest kicks off on Monday, February 8th at noon ET.

PRETTY BABY and THE WONDER GARDEN are just two of the books we’re featuring in this month’s New in Paperback roundups. Others include FRICTION by Sandra Brown, FUNNY GIRL by Nick Hornby, GET IN TROUBLE: Stories by Kelly Link, and ON THE MOVE: A Life by Oliver Sacks.

We’ve also updated our Books on Screen feature for February. In theaters now are The Choice and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; on the small screen are the premieres of “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” “Madoff” and “11.22.63”; and DVD releases include Steve Jobs and My All American.

I am really curious about this: Do you purchase eBooks at discounted prices and read them? Let us know your thoughts on this in our latest poll. Our previous poll asked if there is an independent bookstore near your home. 59% of you said yes, 38% responded no, and 3% aren’t sure. For the 59% of you with an indie store nearby, please frequent it….and buy as well as browse!

In our new Word of Mouth contest, we’re awarding FIND HER by Lisa Gardner and MIDNIGHT SUN by Jo Nesbø to those who let us know by Friday, February 19th at noon ET what books they’ve finished reading.

Meanwhile, we have a new Sounding Off on Audio contest to tell you about. Throughout February, you’ll have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win the audio versions of Gregg Hurwitz's ORPHAN X, performed by Scott Brick, and THE SOUND OF GRAVEL: A Memoir, written and read by Ruth Wariner. All you have to do is let us know by Tuesday, March 1st at noon ET what audiobooks you’ve finished listening to, and you’ll be in the running to be awarded these two prizes. Note that both of these books are Bets On selections that I have been raving about.

I’m listening to ORPHAN X now and loving it (I read the book a while back, and this is a terrific refresher), thanks in no small part to Scott Brick’s wonderful narration. I came across this quote from Scott last year as he was getting set to record the audiobook, in case you do not believe what I am saying about the book: “Years ago, while narrating Dennis Lehane's MYSTIC RIVER, I just knew it was going to be huge. It's been a long time since then, but I've got that same feeling again. There's nothing quite like a book so well-written that it just sings, and I'm truly grateful to be working this week on just such a book. Gregg Hurwitz's latest thriller, ORPHAN X, is the start of a new series that'll blow your mind. I can't get into too much detail, but big things are in store for this franchise, and it's a thrill to be part of it.” Above you can see a photo of Scott, with Gregg on the left, who had stopped by to record a preview of the book.

News and Pop Culture:

Reader Mail: Mary Ann wrote, “I am a voracious reader, and thoroughly enjoy your newsletter every week. It helps me decide what to read next; it's not easy, when there are so many to choose from. When I was on vacation last summer, I went to the Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver, the one that is located in an old theater on Colfax Avenue. It is amazing! I could have spent many hours there, but I was with several others, so I had to leave before I wanted. Of course, I came out with lots of books though.”

Kimberly wrote, “Just a note to say how much I look forward to sitting down with a glass of wine or cup or tea every weekend and reading through the newsletter. Chock full of literary info, I get reading ideas for myself and my book club. It's a little me time that I look forward to!”

Me Before You Movie Trailer: Love this one! Read the book NOW before the movie comes out! And note that the book is the prize title in this month's "What's Your Book Group Reading?" Contest on

Diane Sawyer Interviews Sue Klebold: After Columbine, I often wondered how the parents of the shooters felt. When Sue Klebold’s book, A MOTHER'S RECKONING, was announced, I immediately noted that I wanted to read it. It is in stores on February 15th. Publicity for it kicks off with an interview with Diane Sawyer on Friday, February 12th at 10pm ET. You can see more here, including some of Sue’s writing. This will be a book people will be talking about.

Jacob Tremblay: Watch the “surrogate child” of the staff of TBRN on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Adorable.

Loving the Groundhog: Here he did the shadow thing where he said spring will be arriving soon. Love the groundhog!

Snow Factoid: Fog eats snow really well!

Alive Day: Beautiful blog from Lee Woodruff to her husband, Bob, to celebrate his Alive Day.

Manson: DVRing the movie about him and his cult tonight on Lifetime. What can I say? Their story intrigues me.

Election Lineup: Want to keep the elections and the convention/debate info all straight? Look here for the skinny on it from The Skimm.

I'm heading to dinner tonight with our friend, Cathy, who is just back from the Azores. Looking forward to hearing her stories!

Super Bowl weekend! Interesting factoid: Both teams are from my favorite states to vacation in --- Colorado and North Carolina. Going with the Broncos here, as after the Giants they are my favorite team, though Carolina blue really looks better on me than orange. Hoping it is a good game, unlike the last time the Broncos played in the Super Bowl. We had a guest at the house from Portugal who had never seen a game before. Tom was all set to explain it to him. The first play was a safety; our guest looked to Tom for an explanation of what happened. Tom said, “That is something that almost never happens.” Not throwing a party this year, but there will be pigs in a blanket.

Beyond that will be reading and knitting. I am knitting a scarf with mohair wool that is taking forever. I think I have 12 inches left to knit, and then I have to figure out how to block it and edge it since of course it’s rolling to beat the band because I wanted a mindless project and did not want to knit an edge as I went along merrily changing colors. Those with ideas on this, I am all ears.

Maybe we FINALLY will get a fire going in the fireplace. We have yet to do that this winter. Also on the lineup is watching Meru, which I have been told is even more exciting than Everest. I love extreme sports as I watch them from the couch, and the previews of this were fantastic! To do more Oscar film watching, I want to see the Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?, about Nina Simone. This week I watched Amy, the brilliant documentary about Amy Winehouse. I remember being at San Diego Comic Con with John Hogan when the news of her death was announced. While on the subject of documentaries, another worth noting is Heroin: Cape Cod, USA on HBO; it was so well done.

Oh, and the upside of planting amaryllis bulbs late are some gorgeous colors in bleak January, which you can see above!

Read on, and have a great week.

Carol Fitzgerald (

P.S. For those of you who are doing online 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 Bets On: THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE by Melanie Benjamin
THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE by Melanie Benjamin (Historical Fiction)
I read --- and swooned over --- THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE by Melanie Benjamin. It’s a juicy story of the friendship between Truman Capote and socialite Babe Paley. Her friends, known to Truman as “the Swans,” included Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness and Pamela Churchill. Melanie’s editor advised in the note that accompanied the early copy I read that I would find myself googling all the characters --- and she was so right. I remember some of these bold-faced names from my Conde Nast days. They were splashed on the pages of Women’s Wear Daily, and their names adorned the Styles sections of The New York Times. They were elegant women, who married well and lived in a style that always had heads turning --- classy socialites who were envied by many. Their backstories will remind us that money is not everything and that shiny veneers can easily be scraped away.

As for Truman, his insecurities, his cunning and his insatiable lust for fame will play out on these pages. His relationship with the Swans will implode as they close ranks and expose him for the traitor he became. Again, this is a look at the social swirl that defined those days.

While her last book, THE AVIATOR’S WIFE, could be said to have looked at a more serious woman and historical figure, I love the way Melanie faithfully captured the time and place of the Swans, as well as her posh characters. When we look back at history, it’s not just about the defining serious moments and characters, but also about the social mores that defined the times. Women were changing, and so were the times. But Babe was clinging tenaciously to what she knew, and so were many of her friends. Those trying to break away were rebels.

THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE is deliciously dishy and such fun! I can see book clubs pouring a cocktail, crossing their legs and toasting this book.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read our interview with Melanie Benjamin.
-Click here to read Melanie Benjamin’s bio.
-Visit Melanie Benjamin’s official website and Instagram.
-Connect with Melanie Benjamin on Facebook and Twitter.
-Click here to see the 25 winners selected to read and comment on the book.
-Click here to read more in our Historical Fiction Author Spotlight.
Click here for more books we're betting you'll love.
New Paperback Spotlight: BETTYVILLE by George Hodgman
BETTYVILLE: A Memoir by George Hodgman (Memoir)
When George Hodgman leaves Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, he finds himself --- an unlikely caretaker and near-lethal cook --- in a head-on collision with his aging mother, Betty, a woman of wit and will. Will George lure her into assisted living? When hell freezes over. He can’t bring himself to force her from the home both treasure --- the place where his father’s voice lingers, the scene of shared jokes, skirmishes and, behind the dusty antiques, a rarely acknowledged conflict: Betty, who speaks her mind but cannot quite reveal her heart, has never really accepted the fact that her son is gay.

As these two unforgettable characters try to bring their different worlds together, Hodgman reveals the challenges of Betty’s life and his own struggle for self-respect, moving readers from their small town --- crumbling but still colorful --- to the star-studded corridors of Vanity Fair. Evocative of THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB and THE TENDER BAR, Hodgman’s New York Times bestselling debut is both an indelible portrait of a family and an exquisitely told tale of a prodigal son’s return.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read an interview with George Hodgman.
-Click here to read George Hodgman’s bio.
-Click here to visit George Hodgman’s official website.
-Click here to connect with George Hodgman on Facebook.
Click here to read more in our Paperback Spotlight.
Sneak Peek Contest: Enter to Win an Advance Copy of THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER by Phaedra Patrick and Share Your Comments on It
Our latest Sneak Peek Feature spotlights THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER by Phaedra Patrick, a poignant and curiously charming debut about a lovable widower who embarks on a life-changing adventure. The book doesn’t release until May 3rd, but we have 35 advance copies to give away to readers who can commit to previewing it and sharing their comments on it by Friday, April 1st. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, February 11th at noon ET.

For our Sneak Peek program, your commitment to participate is critical, so please only enter this contest if you truly will have time to read THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER and give us your feedback by the April 1st deadline.

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met --- a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER is a joyous celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Phaedra Patrick’s bio.
-Click here to visit Phaedra Patrick’s official website.
-Connect with Phaedra Patrick on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Sneak Peek Feature and enter the contest.
Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight & Contest: Enter to Win a Copy of THE WIDOW by Fiona Barton and Share Your Comments on It
We have 35 copies of THE WIDOW by Fiona Barton to give away to readers who would like to read the book, which releases on February 16th, and share their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, February 11th at noon ET.

THE WIDOW by Fiona Barton (Psychological Thriller)
For fans of GONE GIRL and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, an engrossing and thrilling debut novel of psychological suspense from a major new talent.

There's a lot Jean hasn't said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.

Now her husband is dead, and there's no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.

The truth --- that's all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything...

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Fiona Barton’s bio.
-Click here to visit Fiona Barton’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Fiona Barton on Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight and enter the contest.
Enter for a Chance to Win Your Own Cozy Winter Reading Essentials from Signature!
Signature, the latest news with a literary slant, wants you to bundle up and hunker down with your very own set of cozy reading essentials, including:

  • 5 buzzworthy books
  • A cotton herringbone blanket from Kaufmann Mercantile
  • A pair of Warby Parker glasses ($95)
  • A $25 Starbucks gift card
Enter for your chance to win today!'s 11th Annual Valentine's Day Contest: Enter to Win Books and Sweet Treats for Yourself or Your Valentine!
Valentine's Day is only a few heartbeats away. We can't think of a better way to celebrate this special day than to cuddle up with your loved one...and a good book, of course! We're giving readers the chance to win one of our five Valentine's Day prize packages, which includes one copy of each of our featured books and some delicious Ghirardelli chocolate. Enter between now and Tuesday, February 16th at noon ET for your opportunity to be a lucky (and beloved!) winner.

If you're feeling frisky, share with us your all-time book character crush. Don't be shy, we all got 'em! We'll post the top 10 literary loves and lusts --- along with the five winners --- right after Valentine's Day, so please be on the lookout!

This year's featured titles are:

Click here to enter the contest and see our featured titles.'s Second Annual Winter Reading Contests and Feature
At, we are kicking off 2016 with our second annual Winter Reading Contests and Feature. On select days between now and February 19th at noon ET, we are hosting a series of 24-hour contests spotlighting a book releasing this winter and giving five lucky readers a chance to win it. We also are sending a special newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

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

This year's featured titles include:

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
Women's Fiction Author Spotlight: MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON by Elizabeth Strout
MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON by Elizabeth Strout (Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Kimberly Farr
A new book by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout is cause for celebration. Her bestselling novels, including OLIVE KITTERIDGE and THE BURGESS BOYS, have illuminated our most tender relationships. Now, in MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON, this extraordinary writer shows how a simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the most tender relationship of all --- the one between mother and daughter.

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human and truly unforgettable.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read our interview with Elizabeth Strout.
-Click here to read Elizabeth Strout’s bio.
-Click here to visit Elizabeth Strout’s official website.
-Connect with Elizabeth Strout on Facebook and 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.
Women's Fiction Author Spotlight: THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND by Katarina Bivald
Audiobook available, narrated by Fiona Hardingham and Lorelei King
Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral guests are just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor --- there’s not much else to do in a dying small town that’s almost beyond repair.

The one thing you certainly wouldn’t do is start a bookstore. And definitely not with the tourist in charge. You’d need a vacant storefront (Main Street is full of them), and…customers.

The bookstore might be a little quirky. Then again, so is Sara. But Broken Wheel’s own story might be more eccentric and surprising than she thought.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read our interview with Katarina Bivald.
-Click here to read Katarina Bivald’s bio.
-Visit Katarina Bivald’s official website, blog and Instagram.
-Click here to connect with Katarina Bivald on Twitter.
-Click here to enter the “Readers, Recommend Your Bookstore!” sweepstakes on the publisher’s website.
-Click here to see the 100 winners selected to read and comment on the book.
Click here to read more in our Women's Fiction Author Spotlight.
Women's Fiction Author Spotlight: THE THINGS WE KEEP by Sally Hepworth
THE THINGS WE KEEP by Sally Hepworth (Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Barrie Kreinik and Therese Plummer
Anna Forster, in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease at only 38 years old, knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. She also knows there's just one other resident her age: Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke, even as she resists her new life at Rosalind House. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.

When Eve Bennett is suddenly thrust into the role of single mother, she finds herself putting her culinary training to use at Rosalind House. When she meets Anna and Luke, she is moved by the bond the pair has forged. But when a tragic incident leads Anna's and Luke's families to separate them, Eve finds herself questioning what she is willing to risk to help them.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to see why we're betting you'll love this book.
-Click here to read our interview with Sally Hepworth.
-Click here to read Sally Hepworth’s bio.
-Click here to visit Sally Hepworth’s official website.
-Connect with Sally Hepworth on Facebook and 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.
Women's Fiction Author Spotlight: STARS OVER SUNSET BOULEVARD by Susan Meissner
STARS OVER SUNSET BOULEVARD by Susan Meissner (Fiction)
Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie…

Los Angeles, 1938. Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone with the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey’s zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood’s glitterati enthrall Violet…until each woman’s deepest desires collide. What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read our interview with Susan Meissner.
-Click here to read Susan Meissner’s bio.
-Click here to visit Susan Meissner’s official website.
-Connect with Susan Meissner on Facebook and 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.
This Week's Reviews
NYPD RED 4 by James Patterson and Marshall Karp (Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini and Jay Snyder
Detective Zach Jordan and his partner, Kylie MacDonald, are brilliant and tireless investigators who will stop at nothing to catch a criminal. When a glitzy movie premiere is the scene of a shocking murder and high-stakes robbery, NYPD Red gets the call. Traversing the city's highs and lows, from celebrity penthouses to the depths of Manhattan's criminal underworld, Zach and Kylie have to find a cold-blooded killer before he strikes again. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

BREAKDOWN: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman (Psychological Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by John Rubinstein
Psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware meets actress Zelda Chase when called upon to evaluate her five-year-old son, Ovid. Years later, he is unexpectedly reunited with Zelda when she is involuntarily committed after a bizarre psychotic episode. Shortly after her release, she is discovered dead on the grounds of a palatial Bel Air estate. Alex turns to his friend, LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis, for help in finding out who ended Zelda’s broken life. At the same time, he is caught up in another quest: the search for her missing son. And when other victims vanish from the same upscale neighborhood, worry turns to terror. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

THE HIGH MOUNTAINS OF PORTUGAL by Yann Martel (Urban Fantasy/Magical Realism)
Audiobook available, narrated by Mark Bramhall
A young man experiences tremendous loss, and in his grief takes off on an adventure to re-discover an ancient artifact he believes will change the way we view the world. Years later, a pathologist with a fond love of mystery novels experiences a very strange mystery of his own. Fifty years after all these events have been set in motion, a senator finds that by rescuing a chimpanzee from a research facility, he reacquaints himself with a freedom he forgot he could experience. These three very different stories are all held together by the strings of love and loss. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

THE FORGETTING TIME by Sharon Guskin (Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by David Pittu and Susan Bennett
One day, the preschool office calls and says Janie needs to come in to talk about her four-year-old son, Noah. And life as she knows it stops. For Jerome Anderson, life as he knows it has stopped. A deadly diagnosis has made him realize he is approaching the end of his life. He spent his life searching for that something else. And with Noah, he thinks he's found it. Soon Noah, Janie and Anderson will find themselves knocking on the door of a mother whose son has been missing for eight years --- and when that door opens, all of their questions will be answered. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

MISSING PIECES by Heather Gudenkauf (Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Christina Traister
Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack's past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

WHERE MY HEART USED TO BEAT by Sebastian Faulks (Psychological Suspense)
Robert Hendricks, an established psychiatrist and author, has so bottled up memories of his own wartime past that he is nearly sunk into a life of depression. Out of the blue, a baffling letter arrives from Dr. Alexander Pereira, a neurologist and a World War I veteran who claims to be an admirer of Robert's published work. The letter brings Robert to the older man's home on a rocky, secluded island off the south of France, and into tempests of memories. As Robert's recollections pour forth, he's unsure whether they will lead to psychosis or redemption. But Dr. Pereira knows. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

THE PLAGUE OF THIEVES AFFAIR: A Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini (Historical Mystery)
Audiobook available, narrated by Meredith Mitchell and Mark Peckham
John Quincannon has been hired by the owner of the Golden State brewery to investigate the ''accidental'' death of the head brewmaster, who drowned in a vat of beer. John is certain he can catch his quarry, but his partner, Sabina Carpenter, is not sure she even wants to catch hers: Sherlock Holmes or, rather, the madman claiming his identity. A Mr. Roland W. Fairchild of Chicago claims the man is his first cousin, who is due to inherit a $3 million estate --- if Sabina can find him and if he can be proved sane. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders (Paranormal/Urban Fantasy)
Audiobook available, narrated by Alyssa Bresnahan
Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during middle school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one's peers and families. But now they're both adults, and the planet is falling apart around them. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together --- to either save the world or plunge it into a new dark age. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE BLACK CALHOUNS: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American Family by Gail Lumet Buckley (Memoir/History)
Beginning with her great-great grandfather, Moses Calhoun, a house slave who used the rare advantage of his education to become a successful businessman in post-war Atlanta, Gail Lumet Buckley follows her family’s two branches: one that stayed in the South, and the other that settled in Brooklyn. Through the lens of her relatives’ momentous lives, Buckley examines major events throughout American history --- from Atlanta during Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow, to New York City during the Harlem Renaissance, and then from World War II to the Civil Rights Movement. Reviewed by Maya Gittelman.

LET THE PEOPLE RULE: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary by Geoffrey Cowan (History/Politics)
Audiobook available, narrated by Joe Barrett
In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt came out of retirement to challenge his close friend and handpicked successor, William Howard Taft, for the Republican Party nomination. To overcome the power of the incumbent, TR seized on the idea of presidential primaries, telling bosses everywhere to “Let the People Rule.” The cheers and jeers of rowdy supporters and detractors echo from Geoffrey Cowan’s pages as he explores TR’s fight-to-the-finish battle to win popular support. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

SWEETGIRL by Travis Mulhauser (Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Cassandra Morris and MacLeod Andrews
As a blizzard bears down, Percy James sets off to find her troubled mother, Carletta. Fearing she is strung out on meth and that she won’t survive the storm, Percy heads for Shelton Potter’s cabin. Searching the house, she finds the two-bit criminal and his girlfriend drugged into oblivion --- and a crying baby girl. Percy knows she must save her --- a split-second decision that is the beginning of a dangerous odyssey in which she must battle the elements and evade Shelton and a small band of desperate criminals, hell-bent on getting that baby back. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE KILLING FOREST by Sara Blaedel (Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Christine Lakin
Following an extended leave, Louise Rick returns to work at the Special Search Agency, an elite unit of the National Police Department. She's assigned a case involving a 15-year-old who vanished a week earlier. When Louise realizes that the missing teenager is the son of a butcher from Hvalsoe, she seizes the opportunity to combine the search for the teen with her personal investigation of her boyfriend's long-ago death. As she moves through the small town's cramped network of deadly connections, Louise unearths toxic truths left unspoken and dangerous secrets. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SAVING JASON by Michael Sears (Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by David Chandler
Jason Stafford used to be a hot Wall Street trader, went too far, and paid for it in prison. Now a financial investigator, he’s been asked to look into rumors of a hostile takeover of his firm, but he has no idea it will turn his whole life upside down. Suddenly embroiled in a grand jury investigation of Mob-related activities on Wall Street, and threatened by some very serious men, he is thrust into witness protection with his young autistic son. And then his son disappears. Stafford has no choice but to come out of hiding and risk everything to save his son, his firm, his pregnant girlfriend --- and himself. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SHAME AND WONDER: Essays by David Searcy (Essays)
The pieces in SHAME AND WONDER are born of a vast, abiding curiosity, one that has led David Searcy into some strange and beautiful territory, where old Uncle Scrooge comic books reveal profound truths and the vastness of space becomes an expression of pure love. Whether ruminating on an old El Camino pickup truck, those magical prizes lurking in the cereal boxes of our youth, or a lurid online ad for “Sexy Girls Near Dallas,” Searcy brings his unique blend of affection and suspicion to the everyday wonders that surround and seduce us. Reviewed by Jane Krebs.
Next Week's Notables: Noteworthy Books Releasing on February 9th
Below are some notable titles releasing on February 9th that we would like to make you aware of. We will have more on many of these books in the weeks to come. For a list of additional hardcovers and paperbacks releasing the week of February 8th, see our “On Sale This Week” newsletter here.

FIND HER by Lisa Gardner (Thriller)
When Boston detective D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime, she learns that Flora Dane, who miraculously had survived a kidnapping five years earlier, has tangled with three other suspects since her return to society. Is Flora a victim or a vigilante?

IN OTHER WORDS written by Jhumpa Lahiri, translated by Ann Goldstein (Memoir)
IN OTHER WORDS, an autobiographical work written in Italian, investigates the process of learning to express oneself in another language, and describes the journey of a writer seeking a new voice.

INCARCERATION NATIONS: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World by Baz Dreisinger (Social Science/Penology)
Professor, journalist and founder of the Prison-to-College-Pipeline, Baz Dreisinger looks into the human stories of incarcerated men and women and those who imprison them.

THE LIFE OF ELVES written by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson (Fiction)
Due to their extraordinary talents, two children come into contact with magical worlds and malevolent forces. If, against all odds, they can be brought together, their meeting may shape the course of history.

THE REVOLVING DOOR OF LIFE: A 44 Scotland Street Novel by Alexander McCall Smith (Fiction)
Excitement abounds when the revolving door of life brings fresh faces and hilarious new developments to the residents of 44 Scotland Street.

THE VATICAN PRINCESS: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia by C. W. Gortner (Historical Fiction)
Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias fascinated and terrorized 15th-century Renaissance Italy. Lucrezia Borgia, beloved daughter of the pope, was at the center of the dynasty’s ambitions.

VIOLENT CRIMES: An Amanda Jaffe Novel by Phillip Margolin (Thriller)
Attorney Amanda Jaffe becomes entangled in a murder case involving Big Oil, an estranged father and son, and the greatest ethical dilemma of her career.

THE WOLVES: A John Wells Novel by Alex Berenson (Thriller)
John Wells has just barely managed to stop an operation designed to drive the United States and Iran into war, but the instigator himself disappeared behind an impenetrable war of security. Now it’s time for him to pay, and Wells has made it his personal mission.
Our Latest Poll and Word of Mouth/Sounding Off on Audio Contests


Do you purchase eBooks at discounted prices (e.g., $.99, $1.99, $2.99) and read them? Which phrase best describes what you do?

  • I purchase them all of the time and read them all of the time.
  • I purchase them all of the time and sometimes read them.
  • I purchase them some of the time and read them.
  • I purchase them some of the time and sometimes read them.
  • I rarely do this.
  • I never do this.
  • No, but this is a good idea
  • I do not read eBooks.

-Click here to vote in the poll.

Word of Mouth:

Tell us about the books you’ve finished reading with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from February 5th to February 19th at noon ET, three lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of FIND HER by Lisa Gardner and MIDNIGHT SUN by Jo Nesbø.

-Click here to enter the contest.

Sounding Off on Audio:

Tell us about the audiobooks you’ve finished listening to with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars for both the performance and the content. During the contest period from February 1st to March 1st at noon ET, two lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win the audio versions of both Gregg Hurwitz's ORPHAN X, performed by Scott Brick, and THE SOUND OF GRAVEL: A Memoir, written and read by Ruth Wariner.

-Click here to enter the contest.

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