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April 1, 2016 Newsletter April 1, 2016
Fueled by Jelly Beans

I finally finished ALL of the black jelly beans. Last Saturday, I treated myself to a bag of “black only” ones. I placed them in bowls on the table for Easter. Mom brought multi-colored ones, and I am now making my way through those. I'm betting I can find the “black only” ones on sale this week. WILL I be able to resist? I think that I have the same willpower for this as I do for peppermint Oreos. Cue the word NONE!

Last weekend, I pulled out what I call the “big gun” cookbooks for some ideas on what to make for Easter dinner. Both NOPI and ELEVEN MADISON PARK are restaurant cookbooks. They often have recipes that need to be cooked in stages, as one would do in a restaurant. From NOPI, I selected a watercress salad with quinoa and pickled shallots that was not difficult, though I needed to find a substitute ingredient for sumac (which I also needed to look up). The chilled pea soup seemed like a snap, and I was well into making it when I read that the ingredients that I had already put in the blender should then be run through a chinois, which I do not yet own! I substituted a mouli mill and a strainer, and thus soup became the biggest production of the day. It took hours to use this method, but became an amusement, as Mom and Dad can be seen enjoying it above with prosciutto-wrapped breadsticks (they do seem to be channeling the folks in the American Gothic painting with their stance in this photo).

The boys met up with my parents before dinner for Mass at Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. This gorgeous cathedral is near Cory's college at NJIT. It was my dad’s parish when they were growing up (in fact, some of Cory's classes actually take place in a building that was my dad's high school, so he is very much in his grandfather's 'hood!). Dad remembers when the church was being constructed, and he and his friends would play baseball inside; the altar was home plate. On hot summer nights, they would gather there and the priests would set up games for them to play inside the stone church. Amazing memory for them that they were able to share with the boys. Love moments like that!

I have been reading --- and looooooooooving --- LILAC GIRLS by Martha Hall Kelly, which is out on Tuesday. Set during World War II, it’s the story of three women whose lives intersect during the war. Caroline Ferriday is a humanitarian; the second, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish prisoner in the Ravensbrück camp, is known as a Rabbit (you will have to read to find out why); and the third is Herta Oberheuser, a doctor at the camp. Each woman’s story is told in stand-alone chapters. Martha writes such brilliant cliffhangers that more than once I found myself flipping to the character’s next chapter to discover what was going to happen!

The novel is historical fiction, based on the true story of the Polish women who were imprisoned at Ravensbrück, and how Caroline Ferriday, an American philanthropist, brought them to the U.S. Martha researched the story for over 10 years. The final pages of the book include the backstory on Caroline, the American woman who fought for the rights of those who were imprisoned overseas. The term "lilac girls" comes from her home, Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden, in Bethlehem, Connecticut, which is owned and operated by Connecticut Landmarks. Each spring, the lilacs come in bloom there and fill the air with an amazing scent. Martha visited for the lilacs and came away with this story. Also, lilacs were know to bloom even after the harsh winters in Poland. Just as the Panama Hotel came to its fame in Seattle after Jamie Ford set his book, HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, there, I see the same happening for this house as groups migrate there after reading this book. I am hoping to clear time on my calendar in late May to make the trip!

Martha has a website chock full of notes and backstory that really enhances the experience once you have finished the book. This would be a fabulous book group read! My reading LILAC GIRLS inspired our poll question: Do you try to reach the end of a chapter before setting aside a book to do other things (and, yes, sleeping counts!)? Let us know what you do in our latest poll.

Our previous poll asked: If you are not enjoying a book, are you more likely to stop reading it if you haven’t paid for it? For 46% of you, that has no influence on your finishing a book. 44% are more likely to stop reading if it’s a library book, 24% if it’s a book you’ve downloaded for free, and 17% if it’s a book you received as a gift. 10% of you finish every book you start, while 7% buy all their books. Click here for the complete results.

I went to a fun lunch yesterday and got to meet Sophie Hannah, who was in town from the U.K. Besides talking books, we talked hotel swimming pools, as she is an avid swimmer and, in fact, swims every day. I so knew she was a kindred spirit when she told me that she was positively delighted by the heated rooftop pool in her Manhattan Hotel. I told her my favorite pool is at the Biltmore in Coral Gables. She later shared the backstory of her upcoming novel, A GAME FOR ALL THE FAMILY (May 24th). Her daughter goes to a school where a young boy was told by his parents that he was going to have to leave the school while his brothers and sisters would be able to stay on as students; no reasons were given. This got her wheels rolling and her fingers typing as she invented a story based on a woman whose daughter is dismayed when her friend, a young boy, is unfairly expelled from school. The mom goes in to complain and learns from the principal that George was not expelled...and, in fact, there is no George. And then the game begins. I confess to never having read Sophie's work before, but on the subway uptown I was reading away.

Now to this week’s update.

Jacqueline Winspear brings us JOURNEY TO MUNICH, book 12 in her long-running mystery series featuring Maisie Dobbs. While working undercover for the British Secret Service, Maisie finds herself in 1938 Germany where she must retrieve a British subject from a Dachau prison, on the outskirts of Munich. Not only is the British government interested in Maisie, her nemesis --- the man she holds responsible for her husband’s death --- is desperate for her help as well.

Norah Piehl has our review and says, “Readers who have come this far on Maisie’s journey will be both satisfied and excited by the novel’s conclusion, as well as by the tantalizing suggestion that so much of Maisie’s future has yet to be written.” I also have been hearing great things about the audiobook, which is narrated by Orlagh Cassidy.

Lee Smith delivers her first work of nonfiction with DIMESTORE: A Writer’s Life. Set deep in the mountains of Virginia, this brilliant and crushingly honest memoir documents Smith’s childhood and youth, where she enjoyed mountain music, drive-in theaters and her father’s dimestore. It was in that dimestore --- listening to customers and inventing adventures for the store’s dolls --- that she became a storyteller.

Reviewer Jana Siciliano opines: “With a decidedly unsentimental view of her Appalachian childhood, it is a real tribute to a place and time, and the world from which she came that forever gave up its best parts to her to enhance a life of remarkable writing…. Smith creates a laconic adventure that we are more than happy to go along on. It makes you want to write about your own childhood, but we thank her for the honesty and love in which she poured out her own story.”

Another highly anticipated memoir, SAVING ALEX (which released at the beginning of March), is the heart-wrenching, coming-out story of 15-year-old Alex Cooper, who was driven from her home in Southern California to a “residential treatment program” in Utah run by Mormons who promised to save Alex from her homosexuality. Her captors used faith to punish and terrorize her, and for eight harrowing months, she was physically and verbally abused. Alex eventually escaped and made history in Utah by winning the right to live under the law’s protection as an openly gay teenager.

Barbara Bamberger Scott has this to say in her review: “Cooper's chronicle is surprisingly, some might say admirably, devoid of recrimination, and tacitly forgiving of the Mormon church policies and her own parents, who consigned a young girl to a crudely devised hell dominated by a deluded, sadistic couple.” Reading this, I was so saddened for this young girl, yet I was impressed how she told her story without pointing fingers of blame.

THE NEST (Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s much-talked-about first novel) and THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR (Helen Simonson’s highly anticipated return following her charming debut, MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND) are my latest Bets On picks. Click on the titles to see why I’m betting you’ll love these just-released books.

In this week’s Spring Preview contests, we gave away THE ONE-IN-A-MILLION BOY by Monica Wood and THE SPACE BETWEEN SISTERS: A Butternut Lake Novel by Mary McNear. Next week, we have FOUR books to give away: THE INHERITANCE: Secrets of the Shetlands, Book 1 by Michael Phillips, LILAC GIRLS by Martha Hall Kelly (see my notes above; it’s an upcoming Bets On title), MY SUNSHINE AWAY by M.O. Walsh (a Bets On pick when it released in hardcover; it’ll be available in paperback on Tuesday), and NIGHT WORK: A Michael Cassidy Novel by David C. Taylor. The first contest of the week will go live on Monday, April 4th at noon ET.

We have a new Word of Mouth contest up and running. Let us know the books that you’ve finished reading by Friday, April 15th at noon ET, and you’ll have the chance to win the aforementioned LILAC GIRLS, along with THE 14th COLONY, Steve Berry’s 11th Cotton Malone thriller, and Anna Quindlen’s latest novel, MILLER’S VALLEY. We’ll have reviews of all three books over the next couple of weeks.

A new month means a new Sounding Off on Audio contest to tell you about. April’s prize books are the audio versions of Mary Higgins Clark’s AS TIME GOES BY, read by Jan Maxwell, and Kathleen Grissom’s GLORY OVER EVERYTHING: Beyond The Kitchen House, read by Santino Fontana, with Kyle Beltran, Madeleine Maby and Heather Alicia Simms. (The latter will be a Bets On selection; it’s just fabulous!) Let us know by Monday, May 2nd at noon ET what audiobooks you’ve finished listening to, and you’ll be in the running to win both audio prizes.

This week, we mourned the loss of Jim Harrison, a poet, a novelist and an essayist best known for his 1979 novella, LEGENDS OF THE FALL. He passed away last Saturday at his home in Patagonia, Arizona. His literary career consisted of everything, from Hollywood screenwriting to food writing for Esquire magazine. Compared to authors like Faulkner and Hemingway, Harrison’s fiction gave life to the untamed American wilderness of Michigan, Montana and the Southwest. Quoting Grove/Atlantic publisher and CEO Morgan Entrekin, “Jim is gone but his work will live on.”

News and Pop Culture:

Reader Mail: Joyce wrote, “I am a committed fan of your newsletter. When I started my book blog four-and-a-half years ago, I was completely clueless when it came to blogging. I just loved reading and wanted to share my opinions! Your weekly letter served as an inspiration and a source for so much information. My blog now has over 60,000 page views, not a huge number compared to Bookreporter, but still more than just my friends and family. This week I blogged about, at Joyce’s Choices. Thanks so much for all you do. I look forward to your weekly updates!” Thank YOU for the mention, Joyce, and congratulations on your blog.

In response to the reader email about large print books last week, we have two notes of advice from readers. Sheila: “Just a thought in regards to large print books, if reading on a device, an e-reader for example, you can adjust the font size and make your own large print books!” From Kathleen: “I also need large type books to read. When they are not available from my public library, I will often download a copy to my Nook. Then, I am able to change the font size to suit my vision.”

Harlan Coben and a Kangaroo: Harlan Coben did an interview with Al Roker on the "Today" show where he talked about a flattering call from Julia Roberts. Afterwards he got to cuddle with one of the other morning’s guests, the adorable kangaroo that you see above. Could not resist sharing that photo!

Bookstore Love: Here is a story about one of my favorite bookstores, Books & Books, in Coral Gables.

Me Before You Extended Trailer: Here you go…swoon and enjoy!

LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE: This book was a huge hit when it was published last year; it’s out in paperback on Tuesday. This week, Jessica Knoll, the author, shared that the book’s gang rape scene actually happened to her. Sad to read this! Listened to the book on audio last year, and it was addicting!

"The Good Wife": The writing has been better the last 2-3 episodes than it was the entire last year!

Knitting Update: The reason the one pattern section of Architexture Shawl was not working was because I managed to add stitches, so I was knitting 120 instead of 95! Stopped by Knit-A-Bit on Saturday and commenced about four inches of reverse knitting (ripping out), which seems to be my specialty!

New York Office Space: We are finding ourselves with too much space in our New York office. Some of the team is working remotely around the country, and with editors able to do production, we no longer need 3-4 producers on staff. If you, or someone you know, is looking to share some office space in the city, shoot me a note. We would love some company, and it’s terrific space that I designed nine years ago!

I'm Denver-bound on Tuesday for the Public Library Association’s Convention. Looking forward to the 300-plus librarians who will be joining me and the fabulous Penguin Random House Library Team for a Lunch & Learn session about book groups on Wednesday. Quick trip as I fly in Tuesday afternoon and out Thursday afternoon, but I am sure I will have lots to report when I return! Saddened that I will have no time to ski; just too much going on back at the office!

Quiet weekend on tap. Cory has his dance marathon fundraiser on Saturday --- 12 hours of dancing for charity. Greg is helping a friend get a Land Rover up and running in New Bedford and will not be home until Sunday night. Tom and I celebrated our 31st anniversary on Wednesday, which also is 34 years to the day that we met on a mountain in Crested Butte, Colorado. Tom made a lovely dinner on Wednesday to celebrate, but we both look forward to kicking it back a notch again this weekend to continue the celebration. Basketball is on Saturday night; our wedding was held the morning of the Final Four in 1985, so our anniversary always coincides with the games. I still have not picked my team to go all the way!

On Sunday night, one of Tom’s friends, Jimmy, who is a pianist, is putting together a concert with some hugely talented musicians; one backs up Billy Joel. Looking forward to that as these are friends of Tom’s who I have not met!

And reading...lots of reading. I have snuck in TWO books of psychological suspense that are not on my "required reading list," and there will be more about those next week! I am keeping YOU in suspense too!

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!

Featured Review: JOURNEY TO MUNICH by Jacqueline Winspear --- the 12th Maisie Dobbs Novel
JOURNEY TO MUNICH: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear (Historical Mystery)
Audiobook available, narrated by Orlagh Cassidy
The German government has agreed to release a British subject from prison, but only if he is handed over to a family member. Because the man’s wife is bedridden and his daughter has been killed in an accident, the Secret Service wants Maisie Dobbs --- who bears a striking resemblance to the daughter --- to retrieve the man from Dachau. Traveling into the heart of Nazi Germany, Maisie encounters unexpected dangers --- and finds herself questioning whether it’s time to return to the work she loved. But the Secret Service may have other ideas. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: DIMESTORE --- Lee Smith’s First Work of Nonfiction
DIMESTORE: A Writer's Life by Lee Smith (Memoir)
Audiobook available, narrated by Linda Stephens

Set deep in the mountains of Virginia, the Grundy of Lee Smith’s youth was a place of coal miners, tent revivals, mountain music, drive-in theaters and her daddy’s dimestore. It was in that dimestore --- listening to customers and inventing adventures for the store’s dolls --- that she became a storyteller. Even when she was sent off to college to earn some “culture,” she understood that perhaps the richest culture she might ever know was the one she was driving away from --- and it’s a place that she never left behind. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: THE LITTLE RED CHAIRS --- Edna O’Brien’s First Novel in 10 Years
THE LITTLE RED CHAIRS by Edna O'Brien (Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Juliet Stevenson
Vlad, a stranger from Eastern Europe masquerading as a healer, settles in a small Irish village where the locals fall under his spell. One woman, Fidelma McBride, becomes so enamored that she begs him for a child. All that world is shattered when Vlad is arrested, and his identity as a war criminal is revealed. A disgraced Fidelma flees to England and seeks work among the other migrants displaced by wars and persecution. But it is not until she confronts him --- her nemesis --- at the tribunal in The Hague that her physical and emotional journey reaches its breathtaking climax. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: SAVING ALEX by Alex Cooper with Joanna Brooks
SAVING ALEX: When I Was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and That's When My Nightmare Began by Alex Cooper, with Joanna Brooks (Memoir)
Audiobook available, narrated by Luci Christian Bell
When Alex Cooper was 15 years old, life was pretty ordinary in her sleepy suburban town and nice Mormon family. But something was gnawing at her that made her feel different. These feelings exploded when she met Yvette, a girl who made her feel alive in a new way, and with whom she would quickly fall in love. She was driven from her home in Southern California to Utah, where, against her will, her parents handed her over to fellow Mormons who promised to save Alex from her homosexuality in an unlicensed “residential treatment program." SAVING ALEX is a courageous memoir that tells Alex’s story in the hopes that it will bring awareness and justice to this important issue. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

-Click here to read more about the book.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: SPAIN IN OUR HEARTS by Adam Hochschild
SPAIN IN OUR HEARTS: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 by Adam Hochschild (History)
Audiobook available, narrated by Andrew Garman
For three crucial years in the 1930s, the Spanish Civil War dominated headlines in America and around the world, as volunteers flooded to Spain to help its democratic government fight off a fascist uprising led by Francisco Franco and aided by Hitler and Mussolini. Today we're accustomed to remembering the war through Hemingway’s FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS and Robert Capa’s photographs. But Adam Hochschild has discovered some less familiar yet far more compelling characters who reveal the full tragedy and importance of the war. Reviewed by Rebecca Kilberg.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: BEHAVE by Andromeda Romano-Lax
BEHAVE by Andromeda Romano-Lax (Historical Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Elizabeth Rogers

In 1920, when she graduated from Vassar College, Rosalie Rayner was ready to make her mark on the world. She won a coveted research position at Johns Hopkins assisting the charismatic celebrity psychologist John B. Watson. Together, Watson and Rayner conducted controversial experiments on hundreds of babies to prove behaviorist principles. They also embarked on a scandalous affair that cost them both their jobs --- and recast the sparkling young Rosalie Rayner, scientist and thinker, as Mrs. John Watson, wife and conflicted, maligned mother, just another “woman behind a great man.” Reviewed by Alex Bowditch.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review. Bets On: THE NEST by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
THE NEST by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Mia Barron
THE NEST by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney is a brisk and really juicy read. 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 that the chickens have been counted before they've been hatched, and they all are over-extended in a financial way. Something happens to one of the brothers, and suddenly the nest egg everyone was banking on becomes a sum much less than what they were anticipating as their mom parses a huge chunk his way to save the family.

The three adult Plumb siblings confront the culprit, 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.

THE NEST is a page-turner from the start. Along the way, each person figures out what really matters to him or her. 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!

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review. Bets On: THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR by Helen Simonson
THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR by Helen Simonson (Historical Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Fiona Hardingham

THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR by Helen Simonson takes place during the summer before World War I. Set in East Sussex (where Helen was raised) in 1914, Beatrice Nash has arrived in town to teach. Agatha Kent, who has lobbied for her tenure there, is distressed to learn that Beatrice is not some old schoolmarm type, but rather a pretty and bright young woman. Beatrice is clearly saddened by the death of her father and seems to be viewing her time in Sussex as an opportunity to read, escape, and be alone with her books and her bicycle. She quickly acclimates to the small town, but not without moments where faux pas are made as she learns the idiosyncrasies of the folks in the town.

While these are not the people who inhabit Downton Abbey, the same spirit of propriety and politeness imbues this book. The characters are well-drawn, and I found myself smiling and thinking about them crossing paths with the Crawleys.

The toll of war, waiting for it, being in the early days of it, and the dread of feeling that it never will end clearly grab the reader. Helen’s writing is very descriptive; each time I picked up the book, I had to take time to settle in and absorb all the details. I found myself lingering over sentences as so much are packed into them. I would have loved a glimpse at her research notes.

I had the pleasure of hearing Helen speak about THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR at a luncheon in the fall, and I am going to be interviewing her at the Random House Open House event in late April. Fans of MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND will be lining up to read this book, which was named as a #1 selection from Library Reads. There’s a lot to compare and contrast between the two novels. Books groups, especially those who love historical fiction, should queue up!

-Click here to read more about the book.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.'s Fifth Annual Spring Preview Contests and Feature
Spring has sprung! We’ve caught the fever --- and it’s being fueled by some wonderful new and upcoming releases. Our fifth annual Spring Preview Contests and Feature spotlights many of these picks, which we know people will be talking about over the next few months. We are hosting a series of 24-hour contests for these titles on select days through April 21st. You will need to check the site to see the featured book and enter to win. We also are sending a special newsletter to announce each title, which you can sign up for here.

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, April 4th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include:

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
More Reviews This Week
LUST & WONDER: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs (Memoir)
Audiobook available, narrated by Augusten Burroughs
In chronicling the development and demise of the different relationships he's had while living in New York, Augusten Burroughs examines what it means to be in love, what it means to be in lust, and what it means to be figuring it all out. With Augusten's unique and singular observations, and his own unabashed way of detailing both the horrific and the humorous, LUST & WONDER is an intimate and honest memoir that his legions of fans have been waiting for. Reviewed by Rebecca Kilberg.

CLAWBACK: An Ali Reynolds Novel by J.A. Jance (Mystery/Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Karen Ziemba
When Ali Reynolds’ parents lose their life savings to a Ponzi scheme, her father goes to confront his longtime friend and financial advisor, only to stumble into the scene of a bloody double homicide. With her father suddenly a prime suspect, Ali and her husband work to clear her father’s name, while at the same time seeking justice for her parents as well as the scheme’s other suddenly impoverished victims, one of whom is a stone cold killer. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

COLD BARREL ZERO by Matthew Quirk (Thriller/Adventure)
Audiobook available, narrated by Peter Coleman
John Hayes is a Special Operations legend who went rogue on a deep-cover mission and betrayed his own soldiers. Disgraced and on the run, he returns to the United States to get back to his wife and daughter and take revenge on his accusers with a series of devastating attacks. Only one man can stop him: Thomas Byrne. He once fought alongside Hayes as a combat medic, but he gave up the gun. Now a surgeon, Byrne moves from town to town, trying to forget his past, until he is called upon by a high-ranking government official to help capture the man he once called a friend. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE TAXIDERMIST'S DAUGHTER by Kate Mosse (Supernatural/Historical Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Michelle Ford
Twenty-two and unmarried, Constantia Gifford lives with her father on the fringes of town, in a decaying mansion cluttered with the remains of his once world-famous museum of taxidermy. When a woman is found dead, snippets of long-lost memories begin to tease through Connie’s mind. The answers are tied to a dark secret that lies at the heart of Blackthorn House, hidden among the bell jars of her father’s workshop --- a mystery that draws Connie closer to danger. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

SHELTER by Jung Yun (Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Raymond Lee
Kyung Cho is a young father burdened by a house he can’t afford. For years, he and his wife, Gillian, have lived beyond their means. Now their debts and bad decisions are catching up with them. A few miles away, his parents, Jin and Mae, live in the town’s most exclusive neighborhood. Growing up, they gave him every possible advantage but never showed him kindness. Yet when an act of violence leaves Jin and Mae unable to live on their own, the dynamic suddenly changes, and he’s compelled to take them in. Tensions quickly mount as Kyung’s proximity to his parents forces old feelings of guilt and anger to the surface. Reviewed by Stephen Febick.

MIKE HAMMER: MURDER NEVER KNOCKS by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Hard-boiled Mystery)
Audiobook available, narrated by Stacy Keach
A failed attempt on his life by a contract killer gets Mike Hammer riled up. But it also lands him an unlikely job: security detail for a Hollywood producer having a party to honor his beautiful fianceĢe, a rising Broadway star. But it’s no walk in the park, as Hammer finds violence following him and his beautiful P.I. partner Velda into the swankiest of crime scenes. In the meantime, Hammer is trying to figure out who put the hitman on him. Is there a connection with the death of a newsstand operator who took a bullet meant for him? A shadowy figure looking for the kill of his life? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THURSDAY'S CHILDREN: A Frieda Klein Mystery by Nicci French (Psychological Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Beth Chalmers
Frieda Klein learns from her former classmate, Maddie Capel, that Maddie’s teenage daughter, Becky, claims she was raped in her own bed one night while her mother was downstairs. Becky’s story awakens dark memories of an eerily similar incident in Frieda’s own past that she’s been avoiding for decades. When Becky is found hanging from a beam in her bedroom, Frieda seeks out her old high school friends to ask what they remember about the night that prompted Frieda to leave town for good. But confronting the ghosts of the past turns out to be more dangerous than she ever expected. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE INTERNET OF US: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data by Michael Patrick Lynch (Philosophy)
Audiobook available, narrated by Dan Woren
The Internet has revolutionized the way we learn and know, as well as how we interact with each other. And yet this explosion of technological innovation has also produced a curious paradox: even as we know more, we seem to understand less. Demonstrating that knowledge based on reason plays an essential role in society and that there is much more to “knowing” than just acquiring information, leading philosopher Michael Patrick Lynch shows how our digital way of life makes us overvalue some ways of processing information over others, and thus risks distorting what it means to be human. Reviewed by Lorraine W. Shanley.

THE MOON IN THE PALACE: A Novel of Empress Wu by Weina Dai Randel (Historical Fiction)
A concubine at the palace learns quickly that there are a number of ways to capture the Emperor's attention. Many paint their faces white and style their hair attractively. Some present him with fantastic gifts, such as jade pendants and scrolls of calligraphy, while others rely on their knowledge of seduction to draw his interest. Young Mei knows nothing of these womanly arts, yet she will give the Emperor a gift he can never forget. But just as she is in a position to seduce the most powerful man in China, divided loyalties split the palace in two, culminating in a perilous battle that Mei can only hope to survive. Reviewed by Carly Silver.

CAMBODIA NOIR by Nick Seeley (Thriller)
Once-great war photographer Will Keller's days and nights are a haze of sex, drugs, booze and brawling in lawless Phnom Penh, Cambodia. That is, until he meets Kara Saito, a beautiful young woman who begs Will to help find her sister, June, who disappeared while interning at a local paper. Entering the dangerous Phnom Penh underworld, Will uses June’s diary --- an unsettling collection of experiences, memories and dreams --- on his search for the missing girl. However, when disturbing facts about June and her family history reveal themselves, Will realizes that the most dangerous thing in Cambodia may be June herself. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

POSTCARDS FROM STANLAND: Journeys in Central Asia by David H. Mould (Memoir)
Multinationals and nations compete for the oil and gas reserves of the Caspian Sea and for control of the pipelines. Yet “Stanland” is still, to many, a terra incognita, a geographical blank. Beginning in the mid-1990s, academic and journalist David Mould’s career took him to the region on Fulbright Fellowships and contracts as a media trainer and consultant for UNESCO and USAID, among others. In POSTCARDS FROM STANLAND, he takes readers along with him on his encounters with the people, landscapes and customs of the diverse countries --- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan --- he came to love. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.
Next Week's Notables: Noteworthy Books Releasing on April 5th
Below are some notable titles releasing on April 5th 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 April 4th, see our “On Sale This Week” newsletter here.

THE 14th COLONY by Steve Berry (Thriller)
Ex-Justice Department agent Cotton Malone is forced into a fight for survival against Aleksandr Zorin, whose loyalty to the former Soviet Union has festered into an intense hatred of the United States.

AS TIME GOES BY by Mary Higgins Clark (Thriller)
Television journalist Delaney Wright tries to find her birth mother just as she is assigned to cover the high-profile trial of a woman accused of murdering her wealthy husband.

DOMINION: The Chronicles of the Invaders, Book 3 by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard (Science Fiction/Adventure)
After traveling through Derith, a mysterious wormhole from which no traveler has ever returned, Syl Hellais and Paul Kerr find themselves fighting to save earth from an enemy who is closer than ever.

FAMILY JEWELS: A Stone Barrington Novel by Stuart Woods (Thriller/Adventure)
Stone Barrington’s newest client is looking for help discouraging the attentions of a tenacious gentleman, but no sooner does Stone fend off the party in question than his client becomes involved in two lethal crimes.

THE FATHER: Made in Sweden, Part I written by Anton Svensson, translated by Elizabeth Clark Wessel (Thriller)
THE FATHER is inspired by the true story of three brothers who committed 10 audacious bank robberies in Sweden in the course of just two years, and the father who made them that way.

GLORY OVER EVERYTHING: Beyond The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (Historical Fiction)
Jamie Pyke, son of both a slave and master of Tall Oakes, flees from the Virginian plantation he once called home and makes a treacherous journey through the Underground Railroad.

LILAC GIRLS by Martha Hall Kelly (Historical Fiction)
The lives of three young women during World War II become entangled when they are sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women.

MILLER'S VALLEY by Anna Quindlen (Fiction)
In a small town on the verge of a big change, Mimi Miller unearths deep secrets about her family and unexpected truths about herself.

THE MURDER OF MARY RUSSELL: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R. King (Historical Mystery)
Sherlock Holmes must put aside his anguish over his wife Mary Russell’s death to uncover the truth about his longtime and trusted housekeeper.

THE RAINBOW COMES AND GOES: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt (Memoir)
THE RAINBOW COMES AND GOES offers a touching and intimate correspondence between journalist Anderson Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt.

THE STORY OF KULLERVO written by J. R. R. Tolkien, edited by Verlyn Flieger (Fantasy)
Published in the US for the first time with the author’s drafts, notes and lecture essays on its source work, the Kalevala, THE STORY OF KULLERVO is a foundation stone in the structure of J. R. R. Tolkien’s invented world.

WHAT WE FIND by Robyn Carr (Fiction)
Neurosurgeon Maggie Sullivan finds herself in the middle of a lawsuit when an emergency high-risk procedure results in the death of a teenager. Though relieved that a quiet and serious-looking hiker, Cal Jones, is willing to lend a hand, Maggie is suspicious of this mysterious man's eagerness to help --- until she finds out the true reason for his deliberate isolation.

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Our Latest Poll: Finishing Chapters…or Not
Do you try to reach the end of a chapter before setting aside a book to do other things (sleeping included!)?

  • Yes, I prefer to finish reading a chapter before taking a break.
  • I would like to do this, but I am not always able to.
  • No, I am able to stop in the middle of a chapter and go back to the book later.
  • It depends on certain factors (my level of interest in the book, how much time I have, the book’s genre, etc.)
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Word of Mouth Contest: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win Three Books!
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 April 1st to April 15th at noon ET, three lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of THE 14th COLONY by Steve Berry, LILAC GIRLS by Martha Hall Kelly, and MILLER'S VALLEY by Anna Quindlen.

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 rules and guidelines, click here.

-To see reader comments from previous contest periods, click here.
Click here to enter the contest.
Sounding Off on Audio Contest: Tell Us What You're Listening to --- and You Can Win Two Audiobooks!
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 April 1st to May 2nd at noon ET, two lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win the audio versions of Mary Higgins Clark’s AS TIME GOES BY, read by Jan Maxwell, and Kathleen Grissom’s GLORY OVER EVERYTHING: Beyond The Kitchen House, read by Santino Fontana, with Kyle Beltran, Madeleine Maby and Heather Alicia Simms.

To make sure other readers will be able to find the audiobook, 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.

-To see reader comments from previous contest periods, click here.
Click here to enter the contest.

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