Skip to main content

August 5, 2016 Newsletter August 5, 2016
Greetings from the Hamptons

Well, I served jury duty and never had to show up! In our county, you check in the night before to see if you need to go to court the following day. This happens for four days or one trial. My number never came up to appear at the courthouse, thus I was sprung from my civic duty. Of course, I also will not get the $5 a day that I would have earned if I was called in. What I could have done with that $20!

Since jury duty was a non-event, I moved my trip out to the Hamptons up by a few hours. There was something ever so splendid about cutting out of the office midday on Thursday instead of leaving after the typical work day. The bus on the way out had Wi-Fi, so I was able to connect and finish up a few last things. Last weekend was one very wet weekend, which kept my reading and floating time to a minimum. I am hoping for better weather this weekend! But then again, there are two bookstores that I want to check out in the Hamptons --- BookHampton in Easthampton and Southampton Books. We are out one weekend too early this year for me to hit the East Hampton Authors Night, which I have enjoyed in the past.

The amazing hibiscus flowers that you see above were in all their glory last Saturday. We bought two plants two years ago, and my how they have thrived!

Last weekend, I discovered a new author, Lisa Jewell. I read two of her books. The first was I FOUND YOU, which will be published on April 4th of next year, and the second was THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN, which came out earlier this year and which we reviewed. It’s one of those times when I thought How did I not find this author sooner? I loved the plotting and the characters in both books. And for those of you who are keeping me on my toes, they both were added to Carol’s 2016 Reads, and I FOUND YOU was added to my future Bets On list. There is something wonderful about discovering a new writer whose work you enjoy.

Our friends Cathy and Lisa came over for dinner last weekend. Both are avid readers. I am trying to come up with a new author for Cathy to binge. She loves Lee Child, Greg Iles and Harlan Coben. Based on those three, I am accepting suggestions from you for her. Shoot me an email with “Cathy’s Next Binge” in the subject line. She is off to Portugal on Wednesday night and is ready to load up her eReader. Lisa reads widely and broadly, and left here with galleys of some of my favorites. It's really lovely when you can spend an evening talking books like this.

Tom and Cory drove out to the Hamptons on Wednesday with my bag packed with something like 10 books. Tom is reading --- and enjoying --- UNDERGROUND AIRLINES, but as he will finish that soon, I hand-picked some books for him. I just started MISCHLING by Affinity Konar, and a few chapters in I am looking forward to reading more of it. It's another World War II book giving me yet another perspective on the war.

Oprah is back with a new book club selection, THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead, which is just out in stores this week (note that the publication date was moved up from September 13th, which is why we did not share this with you sooner). You can read more about Whitehead’s publishing journey here in the New York Times and here in Newsweek. And for those in New Jersey, I am happy to share that he will be at the Morristown Book Festival on October 1st, and I am sharing his entire list of tour events here.

The New Yorker staff writer and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is the bestselling author of THE NINE and THE RUN OF HIS LIFE: The People v. O.J. Simpson. Now, his deft hand at history delves into the frantic, startling era of 1970s crime in AMERICAN HEIRESS: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst. On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst, a sophomore in college and heiress to the Hearst family fortune, was kidnapped by a group of self-styled revolutionaries calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army. The sensational story took its first twist when, a few months later, Patty announced she had joined the SLA; the numerous bizarre turns of the tale are truly astonishing. Based on more than a hundred interviews and thousands of previously secret documents, the book thrillingly recounts the craziness of the times.

Stuart Shiffman has our review and calls AMERICAN HEIRESS “a riveting book that skillfully captures the saga and spirit of the 1970s. Toobin presents this stormy decade with the extraordinary skill of a true historian, placing Hearst, her abductors and her kidnapping in the context of an America that 40 years ago faced many of the same tribulations and fears that presently confront our citizenry.” I had the pleasure of hearing Toobin talk about this book at a media event a few months ago; he told anecdote after anecdote that made me realize just how wild those days were.

Debbie Macomber’s Rose Harbor series concludes with the heartwarming SWEET TOMORROWS. Nine months ago, Mark Taylor left Cedar Cove to right a wrong from his past, and innkeeper Jo Marie Rose is unsure if he’s ever coming back. She finds companionship when she takes on a new boarder. Emily Gaffney, a young teacher, is staying at the inn while she looks for a home of her own. Having given up on marriage, Emily dreams of adopting children someday and has her eye on one house in particular. Although Emily’s inquiries about the house are initially rebuffed, her rocky start with the owner eventually blossoms into a friendship. But when the relationship verges on something more, Emily will have to rethink what she truly wants. The inn seems to be working its magic again --- until Jo Marie receives shocking news.

Reviewer Susan Miura has this to say: "Overflowing with the poignancy, sweetness, conflicts and romance for which Debbie Macomber is famous, SWEET TOMORROWS captivates from beginning to end. Like her other novels set in Cedar Cove, it transports the reader to a charming harbor town, and a cozy inn, where healing takes place in ways none of the characters ever anticipated." Note that we are going to have a special Summer Reading Contest with this series later in the summer. Stay tuned!

We’re kicking off a very special contest for William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor mystery series. To celebrate the September 6th release of its 15th installment, MANITOU CANYON, we’re awarding one winner all 15 books in the series, including the eBook THE WORLD OF CORK O’CONNOR, a just-released reader’s companion that details the back story on the series, how Cork O’Connor came into existence as a character, and how the setting --- Minnesota’s great Northwoods --- has become an integral part of the series. Thirty-five additional winners will receive the first book in the series, IRON LAKE, and THE WORLD OF CORK O’CONNOR. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, August 25th at noon ET.

Our latest Paperback Spotlight title is Heather Gudenkauf’s MISSING PIECES. Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has been haunted by the untimely death of his mother since he was a teenager, when her body was inexplicably found in the cellar of their family farm. No answers were ever uncovered. For years Jack has 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. Upon their arrival, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack had left behind all those years ago. But as facts about Julia's accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. We reviewed MISSING PIECES when it released in hardcover earlier this year; click here for the review and here for our discussion guide on You can read by Bets On commentary about it here.

You can win a copy of MISSING PIECES in our next round of Summer Reading contests, which kick off Tuesday, August 9th at noon ET. The other prize books next week will be HOUSE OF THIEVES by Charles Belfoure (I selected this as a Bets On title after its hardcover publication last year) and MAGICAL JUNGLE: An Inky Expedition and Coloring Book for Adults by Johanna Basford (Joanna is going to be in New York at the Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side on Tuesday night, and I plan to be there). This week, we gave away ENCHANTED AUGUST by Brenda Bowen; THE NURSES: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital, by Alexandra Robbins; and A TAPESTRY OF SECRETS by Sarah Loudin Thomas. We're currently giving away AFTER YOU by Jojo Moyes; click here to enter by Monday, August 8th at 11:59am ET.

Also, MISSING PIECES is just one of many books we’re featuring in this month’s New in Paperback roundups. Other titles include M TRAIN by Patti Smith, MY LIFE ON THE ROAD by Gloria Steinem, X by Sue Grafton, THE HEART GOES LAST by Margaret Atwood, and THE RACE FOR PARIS by Meg Waite Clayton (a Bets On pick when it released in hardcover).

Doug Johnstone’s latest thriller is THE JUMP, which is now in stores and is also being featured in this month’s New in Paperback roundups. Struggling to come to terms with the suicide of her teenage son, Ellie lives in the shadows of the Forth Road Bridge, meandering along its footpaths and seeking solace swimming in the waters below. One day she talks down another suicidal teenager, Sam, and sees a shot at her own redemption. But even with the best intentions, she can't foresee the situation she's falling headlong into. We’re happy to feature a blog post by Doug himself that gives us an inside look at his thought process and the question of authority when it comes to sensitive topics in fiction.

I realized on Saturday that I didn’t mention “The Boys of ’36”, which premiered this past Tuesday on PBS as part of their “American Experience” series, in last week’s newsletter. The one-hour documentary, which is based on Daniel James Brown's 2013 bestseller, THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, tells the story of nine working-class young men from the University of Washington who took the rowing world and America by storm when they captured the gold medal at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. If you missed Tuesday’s airing, you can watch the entire program on the PBS site here. Tom and I watched it, and we both loved the chance to see photos and videos, which made us both recall why we loved the book so much.

For more movies and TV shows that are based on books, don’t miss our Books on Screen feature for August. In theaters this month are Ben-Hur, The Little Prince and A Man Called Ove (among others), and Me Before You releases on DVD August 30th.

Do you read the acknowledgements in books? That’s out latest poll question; click here to let us know! Our previous poll asked if you read the last page of a book first. A whopping two-thirds of you (66%) don’t, saying it would ruin the reading experience for you, while 21% of you do (whether it’s all the time, most of the time, or sometimes). Thanks to all of you who weighed in. Click here for all the results.

We have a new Word of Mouth contest to tell you about. Let us know by Friday, August 19th at noon ET what books you’ve read, and you’ll have a chance to win A HOUSE WITHOUT WINDOWS by Nadia Hashimi and STING by Sandra Brown. I am a huge fan of both of these authors!

We’ve also posted our new Sounding Off on Audio contest for August. This month’s prizes are the audio versions of Imbolo Mbue's BEHOLD THE DREAMERS, read by Prentice Onayemi, and Fiona Davis' THE DOLLHOUSE, read by Tavia Gilbert. If you’d like to be in the running to win both these titles, then let us know by Tuesday, September 6th at noon ET what audiobooks you’ve finished listening to. I have read these books, and both will be Bets On selections; I loved them!

News & Pop Culture:

Reader Mail: Cheryle wrote, “I really enjoy all the features of your newsletters and contests and miss them very much when I am not getting them. The only complaint I have is because of your great information, my "to read" list just keeps growing! Keep up the good work you and your staff do each week to further my frustrations about keeping up.” I love this kind of a complaint!

Nice note from Lindsey, a contest winner: “Thank you for sending me LILAC GIRLS. It was an excellent, well-written book with very believable characters and an educational storyline. I knew the Nazis performed experimental surgery on prisoners, but this book brought it to life in a very real way. It was a very different WWII viewpoint than I have read before in novels about the war. I also enjoyed learning of the efforts Americans made to help the French and other countries before the US entered the war.”

Many of you wrote to thank us for the heads up about "The Boys of '36," which we included in our Tuesday “On Sale This Week” newsletter, as well as on our Facebook pages for Bookreporter and ReadingGroupGuides. Sign up for that newsletter here if you are not getting it already. On Facebook we limit our info to little nuggets like that and reminders about contests. I loathe memes about reading and why you should love it, thus you will not find those on our pages. Seriously.

13 Hours: We watched this film about Benghazi last weekend; I confess that prior to watching this, I thought the entire siege took place at the embassy. Clearly I missed a lot!

I'm looking forward to the Olympics...interesting that Michael Phelps will be marching in the Opening Ceremony for the first time (and carrying the flag). Usually swimming is the first day, thus the swimmers do not participate in the parade. And THAT is your Olympic factoid for the day.

Book-based Olympic Trivia: The swimmers at the Olympics have many of their events in prime time, so there is some worry that they will not get enough sleep. Thus I loved this piece on how it’s suggested that they read in print instead of on eReaders.

I just saw that yet another yarn shop in my area is closing. This is the fourth one that I can recall. I do not like seeing small businesses closing. Support the local businesses that you love!

Our websites have had some perplexing tech issues all week. Yesterday I noted that it was four years since we relaunched the site. Maybe they are reacting to the fact that there was no party to celebrate. So please be patient if you are clicking around and things are slow to load. We have a few chin scratchers going on!

In addition to 10 books for this long weekend, I have two knitting projects with me: a tank top that I have not started that will match a skirt that is still in two pieces, and a bias knit scarf in lace weight that is going to take forever to finish. I am starting to long for the bulky yarns of winter for instant gratification.

I am off to find some sand and salt water, so I can read and watch the horizon --- a very nice version of multitasking.

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: AMERICAN HEIRESS by Jeffrey Toobin
AMERICAN HEIRESS: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin (True Crime)
Audiobook available, read by Paul Michael
The saga of Patty Hearst highlighted a decade in which America seemed to be suffering a collective nervous breakdown. Based on more than a hundred interviews and thousands of previously secret documents, AMERICAN HEIRESS recounts the craziness of the times (there were an average of 1,500 terrorist bombings a year in the early 1970s). Jeffrey Toobin portrays the lunacy of the half-baked radicals of the SLA and the toxic mix of sex, politics and violence that swept up Patty Hearst and re-creates her melodramatic trial. The book examines the life of a young woman who suffered an unimaginable trauma and then made the stunning decision to join her captors’ crusade. Or did she? Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: SWEET TOMORROWS by Debbie Macomber --- the Conclusion to the Rose Harbor Series
SWEET TOMORROWS: A Rose Harbor Novel by Debbie Macomber (Romance)
Audiobook available; read by Lorelei King, with a letter read by Debbie Macomber
Recovering from a twice-broken heart, Emily Gaffney, a young teacher, is staying at the Rose Harbor Inn while she looks for a home of her own. Having given up on marriage, Emily dreams of adopting children someday. She has her eye on one house in particular --- with room for kids. Although Emily’s inquiries about the house are rudely rebuffed, her rocky start with the owner eventually blossoms into a friendship. But when the relationship verges on something more, Emily will have to rethink what she truly wants and the chances she’s willing to take. The inn seems to be working its magic again until innkeeper Jo Marie Rose receives shocking news. Reviewed by Susan Miura.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read the review.
A Very Special Contest Celebrating the 15th Book in William Kent Krueger's Cork O'Connor Series
We are celebrating the September 6th release of MANITOU CANYON, the 15th installment in William Kent Krueger's Cork O'Connor series, with a very special contest. One grand prize winner will receive all 15 books in the series, including a hardcover copy of MANITOU CANYON, plus the eBook THE WORLD OF CORK O'CONNOR: A Look Behind the Pages of the Beloved Mystery Series. Thirty-five second prize winners will be awarded the first book in the series, IRON LAKE, and THE WORLD OF CORK O'CONNOR. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, August 25th at noon ET.


Not long before his daughter's November wedding, Cork O'Connor takes a case to find a man who has gone missing in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. As days pass with no word from Cork, his family anxiously awaits his return. They fly by floatplane to the lake where the missing man was last seen. Locating Cork's campsite, there is no sign of their father --- just blood, and a lot of it. With an early winter storm on the horizon, it's a race against time as Cork's family struggles to uncover the mystery behind these disappearances.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.


Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor is the former sheriff of Aurora, MN. Once a cop on Chicago's South Side, there's not much that can shock him. But when the town's judge is brutally murdered, and a young Eagle Scout is reported missing, Cork takes on a mind-jolting case of conspiracy, corruption and scandal. As a lakeside blizzard buries Aurora, Cork must dig out the truth among town officials who seem dead-set on stopping his investigation in its tracks. But even Cork freezes up when faced with the harshest enemy of all: a small-town secret that hits painfully close to home.

-Click here to read more about the book.

THE WORLD OF CORK O'CONNOR: A Look Behind the Pages of the Beloved Mystery Series
In this helpful reader’s companion, readers can gain new insight into how the series has evolved book after book, how Cork O’Connor came to exist as a character, and how Minnesota’s great Northwoods proved to be as important to the books as any human character William Kent Krueger created. You’ll find a brief description of each book in the series, a concordance of the characters introduced in each book, and a tantalizing excerpt. THE WORLD OF CORK O'CONNOR provides an overview of an extraordinary body of work that only gets richer over time, and a glimpse into the mind of a gifted writer.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to enter the contest.
New Paperback Spotlight: MISSING PIECES by Heather Gudenkauf
MISSING PIECES by Heather Gudenkauf (Thriller)
Audiobook available, read 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, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. For years Jack has 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.

Upon arriving, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago. But as facts about Julia's accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. 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.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the discussion guide.
-Click here to read Carol's Bets On commentary on the book.
-Click here to read Heather Gudenkauf's bio.
-Visit Heather Gudenkauf's official website, Pinterest and Instagram.
-Connect with Heather Gudenkauf on Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to read more in our Paperback Spotlight.
Featured Review: A TIME OF TORMENT by John Connolly --- Book 14 in the Charlie Parker Series
A TIME OF TORMENT: A Charlie Parker Thriller by John Connolly (Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Jeff Harding
Jerome Burnel was once a hero. He intervened to prevent multiple killings, but destroyed himself in the process. In his final days, he tells his story to private detective Charlie Parker. He speaks of the girl who was marked for death, but was saved; of the ones who tormented him, and an entity that hides in a ruined stockade. Parker is not like other men. He died and was reborn. He is ready to wage war. Now he will descend upon a strange, isolated community called the Cut, and face down a force of men who rule by terror, intimidation and murder. All in the name of the being they serve. All in the name of the Dead King. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read the review. Talks to Jonis Agee, Author of THE BONES OF PARADISE

Praised by the New York Times as “a gifted poet of that dark lushness in the heart of the American landscape,” Jonis Agee is the award-winning author of 12 books. Her latest, THE BONES OF PARADISE, is a multigenerational family saga set in the unforgiving Nebraska Sand Hills in the years following the massacre at Wounded Knee, and is at once a mystery, a tragedy, a romance, and an unflagging exploration of the beauty and brutality that defined the settling of the American west. In this interview with's Alexis Burling, Agee --- in characteristically sumptuous prose --- discusses why she chose to tell this particular story at this particular moment in time, why she believes it’s futile for people to fight the truth of their histories, and how in the world she has come to own over 20 pairs of cowboy boots.

THE BONES OF PARADISE by Jonis Agee (Historical Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Christina Traister
Ten years after the Seventh Cavalry massacred more than 200 Lakota men, women and children at Wounded Knee, J.B. Bennett, a white rancher, and Star, a young Native American woman, are murdered in a remote meadow on J.B.’s land. The deaths bring together the scattered members of the Bennett family: J.B.’s cunning and hard father, Drum; his estranged wife, Dulcinea; and his teenage sons, Cullen and Hayward. As the mystery of these twin deaths unfolds, the history of the dysfunctional Bennetts and their damning secrets is revealed, exposing the conflicted heart of a nation caught between past and future. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

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

Click here to read our interview.
August's New in Paperback Roundups
August’s roundup of New in Paperback fiction titles includes THE HEART GOES LAST by Margaret Atwood, a vivid, urgent vision of development and decay, freedom and surveillance, struggle and hope --- and the timeless workings of the human heart; HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN, a thrilling entry in James Lee Burke's Holland family saga that tells the story of a father and son separated by war, circumstance and a race for the Holy Grail; and THE RACE FOR PARIS, a World War II novel from Meg Waite Clayton about two American journalists and an Englishman, who together race the Allies to Occupied Paris for the scoop of their lives.

Nonfiction highlights include MY LIFE ON THE ROAD, a candid account of Gloria Steinem's life as a traveler, a listener and a catalyst for change; THE GRATITUDE DIARIES, in which Janice Kaplan spends a year living gratefully and transforms her marriage, family life, work and health; SHOWDOWN, a biography by Wil Haygood that details the life and career of Thurgood Marshall, one of the most transformative legal minds of the past hundred years; and GOLDENEYE, in which Matthew Parker explores the huge influence of Jamaica on the creation of Ian Fleming’s iconic post-war hero, James Bond.

-Find out what's New in Paperback for the weeks of August 1st, August 8th, August 15th, August 22nd and August 29th.
August's Books on Screen Feature
This month, thanks to Netflix, we can finally get our hands on The Little Prince (it was supposed to hit theaters in March but was mysteriously dropped by its distributor). Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved children’s book is brought to vivid life by an all-star cast doing ace vocals. Although some of the story’s logistics were changed to suit the screen, its playful ingenuity and aching heart remain untouched. David Ayer’s Suicide Squad is typical late-summer fare, including over-the-top visuals, undercooked plotlines, and a promo trajectory that peaked with its first trailer. But let’s give credit where it’s due: I’d watch that trailer over and over again for two hours and 10 minutes. If it’s something quieter you seek, check out A Man Called Ove, based on the bestselling novel by Fredrik Backman, which was warmly received when it was released in his native Sweden and is now available on US screens.

On TV, it’s hard to compete with the Olympics this month, but all you history buffs should check out “The Boys of ’36”, the latest installment in PBS’s “American Experience” series. Based on Daniel James Brown’s runaway nonfiction hit, THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, it tells the story of the nine young men who, against all odds, took gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and gave hope to a struggling nation. (Click here to watch the documentary in its entirety.) You can also catch “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” on Netflix, a network that is really turning out to be the savior of August. (I promise that was not a dig at the Ben-Hur remake, also in theaters this month.)
Click here to see all the movies, TV shows and DVDs featured in August's Books on Screen.'s Summer Reading Contests and Feature
Summer is here! At, this means it's time for us to share some great summer book picks with our Summer Reading Contests and Feature. We are hosting a series of 24-hour contests for these titles on select days through August 25th, so you will have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter to win. We also are sending a special newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

Due to a technical glitch on our sites, we are extending the deadline of Thursday's contest for AFTER YOU by Jojo Moyes to Monday, August 8th at 11:59am ET. Click here to fill out the form. The first contest of the week will then kick off on Tuesday, August 9th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include:

Click here to read all the contest details and learn more about our featured titles.
More Reviews This Week
NIGHT AND DAY: An Eve Duncan Novel by Iris Johansen (Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Elisabeth Rodgers
Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan risked it all to protect Cara Delaney from the enemies who want her dead. The journey has led them from California to a remote mountain in the Scottish highlands --- and earned Eve the distinction of becoming their next target. When, despite all precautions, Cara is taken, Eve must hunt down the very people who want to kill her in order to save the young girl. At a time in her life when she has more at stake than ever before, she unhesitatingly puts it all on the line in a pulse-pounding mission of rescue and survival. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

THE SIXTH IDEA: A Monkeewrench Novel by P. J. Tracy (Mystery/Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Peter Berkrot
Chuck Spencer and Wally Luntz, two friends scheduled to meet in person for the first time, are murdered on the same night, several miles apart. Lydia Ascher comes home to find two dead men in her basement. When homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth discover her connection to their current cases, they suspect she is a target as well. The same day, a terminally ill man is kidnapped from his home, an Alzheimer’s patient goes missing, and a baffling link among all the crimes emerges. This series of inexplicable events sends the detectives 60 years into the past to search for answers --- and straight to Grace MacBride’s Monkeewrench, a group of eccentric computer geniuses who devote their time and resources to helping the cops solve the unsolvable. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

HOUSE OF NAILS: A Memoir of Life on the Edge by Lenny Dykstra (Memoir)
Audiobook available, read by Patrick Lawlor
For the first time, former world champion, multimillionaire entrepreneur and imprisoned felon Lenny Dykstra tells all about his tumultuous career --- from battling through crippling pain to steroid use and drug addiction, to a life of indulgence and excess, followed by an epic plunge and the long road back to redemption. Was Lenny's hard-charging, risk-it-all nature responsible for his success in baseball and business and his precipitous fall from grace? What lessons, if any, has he learned now that he has had time to think and reflect? Reviewed by Rob Bentlyewski.

YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE by Kevin O’Brien (Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Tom Zingarelli
Andrea Boyle moved to Seattle to give her 17-year-old nephew, Spencer, a fresh start after the death of his parents. Andrea has found her own new beginning with Luke, a successful playwright and father of a teenage son, Damon. When a tragedy befalls Damon, it's just the beginning of a nightmare that unfolds. But the worst is yet to come once a dark secret from Spencer's past is exposed. And when Luke is brutally attacked, both of their futures are at stake. Now it's up to Andrea to prove Spencer's innocence to the police --- and to herself. Because for reasons she has revealed to no one, even Andrea can't help questioning the truth --- and fearing that she may be next to pay the ultimate price. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

VALLEY OF THE MOON by Melanie Gideon (Fiction)
Lux is a single mom struggling to make her way in the world when she stumbles across an idyllic community in the Sonoma valley, where she feels instantly at home. It seems like a place from another time --- until she realizes it actually is. One night in 1906, an earthquake left Greengage stuck in the past. Lux must keep one foot in her world, raising her son as well as she can with the odds stacked against her. But every day she is more strongly drawn in by the sweet simplicity of life in Greengage, and by the irresistible connection she feels with a man born decades before her time. Soon she finds herself torn between her ties to the modern world and the first place she has ever felt truly at home. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE LAST ONE by Alexandra Oliva (Psychological Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Mike Chamberlain and Nicol Zanzarella
Twelve contestants on a reality TV show are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens. But how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? When one of the contestants stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game. But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways --- and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE IMPERIAL WIFE by Irina Reyn (Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Karen Peakes
Tanya Kagan, a rising specialist in Russian art at a top New York auction house, is trying to entice Russia's wealthy oligarchs to bid on the biggest sale of her career, The Order of Saint Catherine, while making sense of the sudden and unexplained departure of her husband. As questions arise over the provenance of the Order and auction fever kicks in, author Irina Reyn takes us into the world of Catherine the Great, the infamous 18th-century empress who may have owned the priceless artifact and who, it turns out, faced many of the same issues Tanya wrestles with in her own life. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

ABSALOM'S DAUGHTERS by Suzanne Feldman (Historical Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Lisa Reneé Pitts
Self-educated and brown-skinned, Cassie works full time in her grandmother’s laundry in rural Mississippi. Illiterate and white, Judith falls for “colored music” and dreams of life as a big city radio star. These teenaged girls are half-sisters. And when they catch wind of their wayward father’s inheritance coming down in Virginia, they hitch their hopes to a road trip together to claim what’s rightly theirs. In an old junk car, with a frying pan, a ham and a few dollars hidden in a shoe, they set off through the American Deep South of the 1950s, a bewitchingly beautiful landscape as well as one bedeviled by racial strife and violence. Reviewed by Sarah Jackman.

VITA BREVIS: A Gaius Ruso Mystery by Ruth Downie (Historical Mystery)
Audiobook available, read by Simon Vance
Ruso and Tilla's excitement at arriving in Rome with their new baby daughter is soon dulled by their discovery that the grand facades of polished marble mask an underworld of corrupt landlords and vermin-infested tenements. Ruso thinks he has been offered a reputable medical practice only to find that his predecessor has fled, leaving a dead man in a barrel on the doorstep and the warning, “Be careful who you trust.” Distracted by the body and his efforts to help a friend win the hand of a rich young heiress, Ruso makes a grave mistake, causing him to question both his competence and his integrity. Reviewed by Carly Silver.

DEAD JOKER: A Hanne Wilhelmsen Novel by Anne Holt (Mystery)
Audiobook available, read by Kate Reading

Chief Public Prosecutor Sigurd Halvorsrud’s wife is found dead, the victim of a brutal decapitation. Her husband, who witnessed the grisly murder, immediately falls under suspicion, though he claims his wife’s killer was Ståle Salvesen, a man he had prosecuted years before. Despite the circumstantial evidence, Detective Inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen is unconvinced of Halvorsrud’s guilt --- that is, until a witness says he saw Ståle Salvesen commit suicide by jumping off a bridge days before the murder took place. Then a journalist at one of Oslo's largest newspapers is found beheaded. What links these two horrifically violent crimes? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE LANGUAGE OF DYING by Sarah Pinborough (Fiction)
A woman sits at her father's bedside, watching the clock tick away the last hours of his life. Her brothers and sisters have all turned up over the past week to pay their last respects. Each is traumatized in his or her own way, and the bonds that unite them to each other are fragile. With her siblings all gone, back to their self-obsessed lives, she is now alone with the faltering wreck of her father's cancer-ridden body. It is always at times like this when it --- the dark and nameless, the impossible, presence that lingers along the fringes of the dark fields beyond the house --- comes calling. Reviewed by Ray Palen.
Next Week's Notables: Noteworthy Books Releasing on August 9th
Below are some notable titles releasing on August 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 August 8th, see our “On Sale This Week” newsletter here.

ANOTHER BROOKLYN by Jacqueline Woodson (Historical Fiction)

Running into a long-ago friend sets memory from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything --- until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were a part of a future that belonged to them. But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B. A. Paris (Psychological Thriller)
Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. Jack and Grace are the seemingly perfect couple hosting it. So why does Grace never answer the phone when her friends call to reciprocate with lunch? And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

After her 25-year marriage falls apart, and her two grown children leave home, Ava joins a book group whose goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Alternating with Ava’s story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who descends into a destructive relationship with an older man.

FAMILY TREE by Susan Wiggs (Fiction)
When Annie Harlow, the producer of a popular television cooking show, awakes from a yearlong coma, she discovers that time isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Grieving and wounded, she retreats to her old family home. With the discovery of an old cookbook, she unearths an age-old mystery that might prove the salvation of the family farm.

INSIDIOUS: An FBI Thriller by Catherine Coulter (Thriller)
Venus Rasmussen, a powerful woman who runs the international conglomerate Rasmussen Industries, believes someone is poisoning her. After FBI agents Savich and Sherlock visit with her, someone attempts to shoot her in broad daylight. Who’s trying to kill her and why?

THE LAST DAYS OF NEW PARIS by China Miéville (Fantasy)
1941. In the chaos of wartime Marseille, American engineer --- and occult disciple --- Jack Parsons stumbles onto a clandestine anti-Nazi group. What he unwittingly unleashes is the power of dreams and nightmares, changing the war and the world forever.

THREE SISTERS, THREE QUEENS by Philippa Gregory (Historical Fiction)
When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure. With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined --- with Margaret’s younger sister, Mary --- to a sisterhood unique in all the world. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland and France.

WHEN THE MUSIC’S OVER: An Inspector Banks Novel by Peter Robinson (Mystery/Thriller)
Two women. Two crimes. The first is a poet claiming she was assaulted decades earlier by a man now regarded as one of the country’s national treasures. The second is a girl found on a remote roadside, her life snuffed out. For Detective Superintendent Alan Banks, the cases rip a tunnel into long-ago days of innocence and discovery, of music and light.
Click here to see the latest "On Sale This Week" newsletter.
Our Latest Poll: Book Acknowledgements
Do you read the acknowledgements in books?

  • Always, before I start the book.
  • Always, when I finish the book.
  • Most of the time
  • Some of the time
  • Never
  • Only if it is an author with whom I am familiar.
  • I am not even aware that there are acknowledgements.
Click here to vote in the poll.

Word of Mouth Contest: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win Two 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 August 5th to August 19th at noon ET, three lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of A HOUSE WITHOUT WINDOWS by Nadia Hashimi and STING by Sandra Brown.

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 August 1st to September 6th at noon ET, two lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win the audio versions of Imbolo Mbue's BEHOLD THE DREAMERS, read by Prentice Onayemi, and Fiona Davis' THE DOLLHOUSE, read by Tavia Gilbert.

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.

As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page. If you would like to reach me, please write Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Happy reading! Don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend or to visit our other websites from,,,, and

The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107