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August 19, 2016 Newsletter August 19, 2016
Slow Down Summer, You Move Too Fast!

It was another Olympics-obsessed start to the week, though I confess that my interest waned starting Wednesday night, perhaps because I needed sleep! A few observations from the couch about topics you may not have pondered: 1) While watching the floor gymnastics, I was wondering if, in the future, when the gymnasts hear the choreographed music that they danced the floor exercises to, they break into their routines in, let’s say, the supermarket. 2) Does anyone really know what "a gainer back layout with a full twist" is? What I know is that none of us can do it! 3) I love the Australians' Olympic uniforms. You know...the color. 4) Do you wonder why there are so many ties in swimming and not in other sports? Here’s why. 5) The color of the water in the diving pool was a huge fail. Here's more about the pool in Rio. Did swimmers in some lanes have an advantage?

My Facebook feed the past few weeks has been filled with photos of friends’ children across the country all heading back to school. Cory does not start classes until after Labor Day, so we get a tad of an extension on summer. I am so not ready for summer to end, especially as I feel like it never really got started. The weather has been very unpredictable with lots of rain, hot days, wicked humidity and then some very cool days as well. We barely have eaten outside since many nights have brought with them heat or rain. It's just not been the summer that I usually think of.

The last few mornings I have craved pool time along with reading time, so multitasking me has grabbed a book, jumped in my in-water submerged pool float, pulled on my flippers and kicked laps while reading. It’s been an incredibly fun time of the day for me, and I leave the pool with a real feeling of accomplishment. Since many nights bring thunderstorms, this has been a great option for getting swim time in. There has not been nearly enough water time this summer. And the Olympics seriously cut into my reading time.

Last weekend, I read KAROLINA’S TWINS by Ronald H. Balson. I had loved his book ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS a few years ago and had selected it as a Bets On selection. Releasing on September 6th, this one also will be a Bets On pick. Set during World War II, the story centers on Lena Woodward, who grew up in Poland and survived the camps. Now in her 80s, she is on a quest to find a pair of twins who were lost during the war. Along the way, Balson paints a vivid picture of wartime Poland seen through Lena’s eyes. She approaches a Chicago lawyer, Catherine Lockhart, and her husband, private investigator Liam Taggart, to help her in her quest, and they go after the few clues that they have with tenacity. Catherine is pregnant, and while the story wraps a bit too neatly --- with her heading into labor as the book concludes --- the historical details make this good reading. Note that Catherine and Liam have figured in both of Balson’s earlier works, the aforementioned ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS and SAVING SOPHIE, the latter of which I still want to read. KAROLINA’S TWINS will be a nice “next book” for those who have read THE NIGHTINGALE, SARAH’S KEY or LILAC GIRLS.

Next up was CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD by Caroline Leavitt, which is set in the early '70s. Lucy runs away from home with William, one of her teachers, to live on a farm in rural Pennsylvania. It’s all about love, until it’s not. Her much older half-sister, Iris, who she knows as her aunt, and her teenage sister, Charlotte, are frantic to find her. Love, loss and longing all figure into the story, which is written in Caroline’s signature style that pulls apart everyday lives and finds the deeper stories in them by getting into her characters' hearts and heads. I still have a few more chapters to read but see a Bets On brewing here.

We love when authors come by the office to visit. So when we heard that Wade Rouse was in town, we were thrilled to host him and his husband Gary on Tuesday. (You can see a photo of Greg and me with Wade above.) Wade has written some wry and poignant memoirs, as well as the start of a new series under the pen name Viola Shipman (a tribute to his grandmother). It kicked off with THE CHARM BRACELET, which has become a favorite of readers across the country. Next up is THE HOPE CHEST. They were in town for the East Hampton Authors’ Night, and they gave us the lowdown on the night’s events in the tent where temps were something like 105 degrees! With their reporting, it was like being on the set of "Entertainment Tonight" or "Extra" --- full of celebrity and bestselling author dishing. They have lots of photos on Wade's Facebook page.

We’re happy to share with you our review of THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead, which Oprah selected as her latest book club pick. Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk. The Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor --- engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. As Whitehead evokes the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.

Reviewer Stuart Shiffman calls THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD “literature at its finest. It will make readers think, and scenes portrayed on its pages will remain with them long after they have finished the book. Simply put, it should be read by all.” We recently posted a discussion guide for the novel on, which you can see here. And here is a Facebook Live interview where Gayle King interviews Colson about the book.

Celebrated for THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL and widely recognized as an authority on women’s history, Philippa Gregory now brings us THREE SISTERS, THREE QUEENS. When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, sizes her up. With one look, each recognizes the other for a rival, destined --- along 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. United by family loyalties and affections, they find themselves pitted against each other.

Amie Taylor has our review and says, “Although the urge to race through the novel to see what happens next is strong, smart readers will read slowly and savor the chance to travel back in time and live in an era that can now be found only in the pages of such a magical book.”

Eric Van Lustbader has captivated audiences with his Jason Bourne series. He continues to blend action and suspense excellently in his new work, ANY MINUTE NOW. Red Rover --- the blackest of black ops teams --- is betrayed during a top-priority mission to capture and interrogate a terrorist. One of their own is killed; the remaining two barely get home alive. Then, without warning or explanation, the team is disbanded. Greg Whitman and Felix Orteño are left adrift in a world full of unanswerable questions. They hook up with Charlie Daou, a brilliant arms expert whose past is entangled with Whit's. Though Charlie grapples with damage of her own, she becomes their moral compass and their reason for resurrecting Red Rover.

According to reviewer Ray Palen, "Eric Van Lustbader is a masterful writer who is able to lead readers down one path only to completely change directions. ANY MINUTE NOW is chock full of suspense, double-crosses and thrills --- everything you expect from a great espionage/military thriller."

Other books we’re reviewing this week include Linda Fairstein's KILLER LOOK, a heart-pounding thriller that explores the dark secrets of Manhattan's iconic fashion scene. Alex Cooper must penetrate the twisted roots and mixed motives among the high-profile players in the Garment District. James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge’s latest, BULLSEYE, also explores the dark side of New York. Caught in the crosshairs of a deadly standoff, Detective Michael Bennett must kill...or be killed. And in I'M SUPPOSED TO PROTECT YOU FROM ALL THIS, Nadja Spiegelman, the daughter of Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly, delivers a memoir of mothers and daughters --- and mothers as daughters --- traced through four generations, from Paris to New York and back again.

Last week, we reviewed BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B. A. Paris and THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST by Ann Hood. This week, I’m happy to share my Bets On commentary on both books. Click on each of the titles to see why they’re Bets On picks.

Our contest continues for WE ARE UNPREPARED, our latest Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight title. First-time novelist Meg Little Reilly places a young couple in harm’s way --- both literally and emotionally --- as they face a cataclysmic storm that threatens to decimate their Vermont town and the entire Eastern Seaboard. To enter to win one of 25 copies of the book and share your comments on it, please fill out the entry form here by Thursday, August 25th at noon ET.

You also have until Thursday, August 25th at noon ET to enter our very special contest celebrating the 15th installment of William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor series, MANITOU CANYON. One grand prize winner will receive all 15 books in the series, including MANITOU CANYON, all signed by Kent, plus the eBook THE WORLD OF CORK O'CONNOR: A Look Behind the Pages of the Beloved Mystery Series. (Kent was in town this week and signed all 15 books for the grand prize winner. He also signed 1,000 copies of MANITOU CANYON in just a few hours (you can see one signed copy above). My signature looks unreadable after even signing five checks!) Thirty-five additional winners will be awarded the first book in the series, IRON LAKE, and THE WORLD OF CORK O'CONNOR. Fill out this form for your chance to win.

In this week’s Summer Reading contests, we gave away THE GOLDEN AGE by Joan London, and two books by Debbie Macomber: SWEET TOMORROWS: A Rose Harbor Novel and A GIRL’S GUIDE TO MOVING ON. This year’s contests wrap up next week with our final three prize books, all of which will be Bets On titles and all of which are debuts: BEHOLD THE DREAMERS by Imbolo Mbue, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR by Shari Lapena, and THE DOLLHOUSE by Fiona Davis. We’re certainly ending these contests on a strong note!

You’ll also have a chance to win THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR, along with A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW by Amor Towles, in our latest Word of Mouth contest. Let us know by Friday, September 9th at noon ET what books you’ve read, and you’ll have a chance to win both novels.

Interested in listening to the audio versions of BEHOLD THE DREAMERS and THE DOLLHOUSE? Then I suggest you enter this month’s Sounding Off on Audio contest by letting us know what audiobooks you’ve finished listening to. Enter by Tuesday, September 6th at noon ET to be in the running to win both these audiobooks.

We’ve posted a new History Books roundup for August. Among our featured titles are Jeffrey Toobin’s much-talked-about book about the kidnapping and trial of Patty Hearst, AMERICAN HEIRESS (which we reviewed two weeks ago); A SQUARE MEAL, a culinary history of the Great Depression by Jane Ziegelman and her husband, Andrew Coe; and John Strausbaugh’s CITY OF SEDITION, which focuses on the huge --- and hugely conflicted --- role New York City played in the Civil War (you can see our review later in this newsletter).

Our last poll question asked if you ever read the acknowledgements in books (click here for all the results). This time, we’re curious to know if you ever read the dedication page in books. Click here to weigh in!

News and Pop Culture:

Reader Mail:

Readers loved the blog with the list of suggested authors for my friend Cathy to binge read. Kate wrote, “Thank you SO much for sending us all your blog with the lists of authors to binge read. Many I've read and enjoyed, but so many I haven't. I can hardly wait to get started!"

Continuing on this topic, Mabel wrote, “I just looked through the posts, and I am surprised no one mentioned Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp series. He is my favorite author, and although he has passed, his work is being carried on by Kyle Mills. When I first found his books, I binge read all that were available at the time.”

Suzanne wrote, “I anxiously await the newsletter every week. I have been an avid reader since I first learned to read. As I was an only child, books were my closest friends. This spring I went on a fabulous cruise that included France, Belgium and St. Petersburg, Russia. I must confess when I step into these cities I have read about and only traveled to in my journeys through books, I become quite emotional. I have seen them all in my mind, and now I see them visually. I truly realize how hard authors work to transport us there. What a wonderful journey reading can be.”

Kathryn wrote with her Olympics-watching tip: “My husband has solved the 'time' problem of watching the Olympics. We watch a movie or something on PBS while he tapes the events. Then once several hours are taped, he can watch four hours in about one hour's time by fast-forwarding through some of the jibber-jabber and commercials. Makes for a much more 'efficient' viewing."

Atheleah shared this piece from the Washington Post on how book lovers live longer. Many of us should live longer than a century at this rate.

Good Piece on Book Groups from Publishers Weekly: It looks at indie stores around the country and what they are doing with book groups. Read it here.

Laura Hillenbrand, the author of SEABISCUIT and UNBROKEN: She has suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome, or ME/CFS, for years. Here's a piece on some breakthroughs in her world.

Football Season and a Book Club: “Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett wants to try something new with his teammates: a book club," ESPN reported, adding that the lineman "pitched the idea to Seahawks vice president of player engagement Maurice Kelly, and Kelly liked what he heard. The first book on the list is OUTLIERS by Malcolm Gladwell."

Tax on Olympic Medals: I had no idea there is a tax on Olympic medals and that there is a cash prize from the United States Olympic Committee as well.

For Those Who Ponder Their Weight and Always Want to Be Thinner: This is a terrific piece by Ann Hood, and it is excerpted from THE BITCH IS BACK: Older, Wiser and (Getting) Happier, edited by Cathi Hanauer and scheduled to be released on September 27th.

For Those Who Loved Boomer Phelps and His Headphones: Here is a fun piece.

"Making a Murderer" Update: For those who, like me, binged this series over the holidays, news came in last week just as the newsletter was going out that Brendan Dassey’s conviction had been overturned. I thought he was not well defended, especially for someone his age, and I am happy to see this.

On Wednesday night, Cory made great barbeque chicken and amazing chocolate chip cookies; I ate waaay tooooo many cookies. Next week Tom is off on a business trip, and Cory has told us he will be cooking for the week. He is pulling together a plan for his fraternity to have their own meal plan this year, and he is plotting the recipes/organization for this. He’s a really good cook, so I embrace this concept. Greg managed to come home from last weekend’s wedding/camping trip without one photo of the bride or the bridal party (he was IN the bridal party, too). We saw pictures of the cool glasses that were the groomsmen gifts, the groom’s cakes that got smashed in transit, a lineup of Land Rovers (one of his Rover friends was married, and the wedding party was "Rover Guys"), and photos from the post-wedding camping trip and food made over a fire. I called this “A Guy’s View of a Wedding.”

Our websites continue to have some lingering tech issues, so please be patient if pages are slow to load or not loading at all. After much back-and-forth with our tech team and server company, we seem to be very close on a solution to this!

Quiet weekend on tap here. My goal is to buy a shredder as I have a ton of paperwork to shred. I'm looking at this one. I'm hoping that the weather cooperates for some al fresco dining. We can count on two hands the number of nights we have been able to dine outside, and sadly there have been a lot of nights that were too hot or rainy for outdoor reading as well. But I remain optimistic!

This weekend, I am planning to finish CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD and also A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW (which my husband had whisked away a few weeks ago). Next up is Andrew GrossTHE ONE MAN, which is on sale next week. It represents a very different direction for him, with a book set during World War II that was inspired by events in his own family. The praise has been outstanding, and I look forward to reading it.

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: THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead --- Oprah's Book Club 2016 Selection
THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead (Historical Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Bahni Turpin
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora. An outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood --- where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned --- Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the discussion guide.
Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: THREE SISTERS, THREE QUEENS by Philippa Gregory
THREE SISTERS, THREE QUEENS by Philippa Gregory (Historical Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Bianca Amato
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. United by family loyalties and affections, they find themselves set against each other. As they experience betrayals, dangers, loss and passion, the three queens find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: ANY MINUTE NOW by Eric Van Lustbader
ANY MINUTE NOW by Eric Van Lustbader (Thriller)
Red Rover, the blackest of black ops teams, is betrayed on its top-priority mission to capture and interrogate a mysterious Saudi terrorist. Greg Whitman and Felix Orteño are left adrift in a world full of deathly shadows, blind alleys and unanswerable questions. Into their midst comes Charlize Daou, a brilliant arms expert who possesses the true power necessary for survival. Ignoring their new orders, Red Rover secretly sets out to find the protected Saudi terrorist, the first step in a perilous journey into the heart of a vast conspiracy that involves the NSA, a cabal of immensely wealthy mystics known as the Alchemists, and an ageless visionary out to create an entirely new way of waging war. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to visit Eric Van Lustbader’s official website.
Click here to read the review.
Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight & Contest: WE ARE UNPREPARED by Meg Little Reilly
We have 25 copies of WE ARE UNPREPARED by Meg Little Reilly --- a debut novel about the superstorm that threatens to destroy a marriage, a town and the entire Eastern seaboard --- to give away to readers who would like to read the book, which releases on August 30th, and share their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, August 25th at noon ET.

WE ARE UNPREPARED by Meg Little Reilly (Thriller)
This is a novel about the superstorm that threatens to destroy a marriage, a town and the entire Eastern seaboard. But the destruction begins early, when fear infects people's lives and spreads like the plague.

Ash and Pia move from hipster Brooklyn to rustic Vermont in search of a more authentic life. But just months after settling in, the forecast of a superstorm disrupts their dream. Fear of an impending disaster splits their tight-knit community and exposes the cracks in their marriage. Where Isole was once a place of old farm families, rednecks and transplants, it now divides into paranoid preppers, religious fanatics and government tools, each at odds about what course to take.

WE ARE UNPREPARED is an emotional journey, a terrifying glimpse into the human costs of our changing earth, and, ultimately, a cautionary tale of survival and the human spirit.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Meg Little Reilly's bio.
-Click here to visit Meg Little Reilly's official website.
-Connect with Meg Little Reilly on Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to read more in our Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight and enter the contest.
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 --- all signed by the author --- 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. Bets On: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B. A. Paris and THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST by Ann Hood
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B. A. Paris (Psychological Thriller)
There are few thrillers that make me look away from the page because they are so intense. But BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B. A. Paris is one of them!

We start out meeting Jack and Grace, who seem to have a perfect life. Their home looks like something from a magazine, and they have amazingly perfect dinner parties. Jack has a great job as a lawyer, and he wins his cases. He is always by Grace’s side, but something feels a bit off. Grace does not seem at ease. It’s hard to put a finger on what’s going on, but readers know something is up.

Grace is the guardian of her sister Millie, who has Down syndrome. Millie lives in a guarded environment that she will age out of when she turns 18. She will be moving in with Grace and Jack. And that idea terrifies Grace, and with good reason. You see, she knows the other side of Jack --- the one where he dictates every minute of her life, and he taunts her with how Millie will be part of this world. The clock is ticking.

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

THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST by Ann Hood works on so many levels. First, it’s a delightful read. Second, it’s full of great book suggestions. And third, it’s inspiration for book groups.

In it, Ava is recently separated from her husband of 25 years and nursing some powerful pain from this. A coveted spot in a select book group finally opens up, and she is invited to join. The group’s theme that year is “the book that mattered most to each of them.” I loved seeing what each of the characters selected, and I enjoyed the chance to “eavesdrop” on their recommendations. Ava selects a book and promises to bring the author to the discussion, which her fellow readers are excited about. One problem: She has no idea how to find this author. Every lead has come to a dead end. But there are some lovely surprises ahead for this.

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

Click here for more books we're betting you'll love.
August's History Books Roundup
August's roundup of History titles includes AMERICAN HEIRESS, Jeffrey Toobin's definitive account of the kidnapping, crimes and trial of Patty Hearst, which defined an insane era in American history; A SQUARE MEAL by Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe, an in-depth exploration of the greatest food crisis the nation has ever faced --- the Great Depression --- and how it transformed America’s culinary culture; THE BOOK, in which Keith Houston follows the development of writing, printing, the art of illustrations and binding to show how we have moved from cuneiform tablets and papyrus scrolls to the hardcovers and paperbacks of today; and Brian McGinty's THE REST I WILL KILL, a surprising work of narrative history and detection that illuminates one of the most daring --- and long-forgotten --- heroes of the Civil War: William Tillman, an African-American sailor who was born a free man.
Click here to see our History Books roundup for August.'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.

Our next prize book will be announced on Tuesday, August 23rd at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include:

Click here to read all the contest details and learn more about our featured titles.
What's New This Month on
We currently are giving away the following books on

  • THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah
    Kristin Hannah's mega-bestselling THE NIGHTINGALE has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 70 weeks --- and counting! We're so thrilled by its success that we're giving a whopping 350(!) readers the chance to win a copy. Whether you still haven't read it or you're looking for a good reason to read it again, now is a great time to win this powerful World War II story. To enter, please fill out this form by Wednesday, September 7th at noon ET.

  • LILAC GIRLS by Martha Hall Kelly
    We are celebrating Martha Hall Kelly's remarkable debut, LILAC GIRLS --- an incredible story of love, redemption and terrible secrets, set during World War II --- with a special contest that will give 25 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. To enter, please fill out this form by Wednesday, September 7th at noon ET.
  • BEHOLD THE DREAMERS by Imbolo Mbue
    We are celebrating the release of BEHOLD THE DREAMERS --- Imbolo Mbue's unforgettable debut about a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy --- with a special contest that will give three groups the chance to win 12 copies. To enter, please fill out this form by Wednesday, September 21st at noon ET.
  • MISSING PIECES by Heather Gudenkauf
    We are celebrating the paperback release of New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf's MISSING PIECES --- the chilling page-turner about a woman who uncovers earth-shattering secrets about her husband's family --- with a special contest that will give two groups the chance to win 10 copies. To enter, please fill out this form by Wednesday, September 21st at noon ET.
  • RULES OF CIVILITY by Amor Towles
    In anticipation of the September 6th release of his latest book, A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW, we're giving three groups the chance to win 12 copies of Amor Towles' RULES OF CIVILITY --- his beguiling debut about a young woman whose life is on the brink of transformation. To enter, please fill out this form by Wednesday, September 7th at noon ET.

  • A CERTAIN AGE by Beatriz Williams
    Each month in our "What's Your Book Group Reading This Month" contest, we ask book groups to share the titles they are reading that month and rate them. From all entries, three winners will be selected, and each will win 12 copies of that month’s prize book for their group. Our current prize book is A CERTAIN AGE --- a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’ comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York --- by Beatriz Williams, the bestselling author of A HUNDRED SUMMERS. To enter, please fill out the form on this page by Wednesday, September 7th at noon ET.

The following guides are now available:

Please note that these titles, for which we already had the guides when they appeared in hardcover, are now available in paperback:

Click here to visit
More Reviews This Week
BULLSEYE: A Detective Michael Bennett Thriller by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Danny Mastrogiorgio
Snow blankets the avenues of Manhattan's exclusive Upper West Side. The storm is the perfect cover for a fashionable, highly trained team of lethal assassins as they prowl the streets, hunting their prey. Stepping directly into the line of fire, the president of the United States is in New York for a summit at the United Nations with his Russian counterpart. Detective Michael Bennett must trace the source of a threat that could rip the country apart --- and ignite a war the likes of which the world has never seen. With allegiances constantly in doubt and no one above suspicion, only Bennett can save the president --- and the country --- before the assassins' deadly kill shot hits its mark. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

KILLER LOOK by Linda Fairstein (Mystery/Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Barbara Rosenblat
New York City is one of the fashion capitals of the world, well-known for its glamour and style. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the runway, where American haute couture continually astounds with its creativity, daring and innovation in the name of beauty. Yet high fashion means high stakes, as Alex Cooper quickly discovers when businessman and designer Wolf Savage is found dead in an apparent suicide, mere days before the biggest show of his career. When the man's daughter insists Savage’s death was murder, the case becomes more than a media sensation: It is a race to find a killer in a world created entirely out of fantasy and illusion. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

I'M SUPPOSED TO PROTECT YOU FROM ALL THIS: A Memoir by Nadja Spiegelman (Memoir)
Audiobook available, read by Nadja Spiegelman
For a long time, Nadja Spiegelman believed her mother was a fairy. More than her famous father, Maus creator Art Spiegelman, and even more than most mothers, hers --- French-born New Yorker art director Françoise Mouly --- exerted a force over reality that was both dazzling and daunting. As Nadja’s body changed, their relationship grew tense. Unwittingly, they were replaying a drama from her mother’s past, a drama Nadja sensed but had never been told. Then, after college, her mother suddenly opened up to her. Françoise recounted her turbulent adolescence caught between a volatile mother and a playboy father. The weight of the difficult stories she told her daughter shifted the balance between them. Reviewed by Bianca Ambrosio.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

A HOUSE WITHOUT WINDOWS by Nadia Hashimi (Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Ariana Delawari and Susan Nezami
For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother and a peaceful villager. But her quiet life is shattered when her husband, Kamal, is found brutally murdered. A shocked Zeba is unable to account for her whereabouts at the time of his death. Her children swear she could not have committed such a heinous act. Kamal’s family is sure she did and demands justice. Barely escaping a vengeful mob, Zeba is arrested and jailed. As she awaits trial, she meets a group of women whose own misfortunes have also led them to these bleak cells. Is Zeba a cold-blooded killer, these young ladies wonder, or has she been imprisoned, as they have been, for breaking some social rule? Reviewed by Jane Krebs.

HARMONY by Carolyn Parkhurst (Fiction)
Audiobook available; read by Cassandra Campbell, Abigail Revasch and Jorjeana Marie
How far will a mother go to save her family? The Hammond family is living in DC, where everything seems to be going just fine, until it becomes clear that the oldest daughter, Tilly, is developing abnormally --- a mix of off-the-charts genius and social incompetence. Once Tilly --- whose condition is deemed undiagnosable --- is kicked out of the last school in the area, her mother is out of ideas. The family turns to Camp Harmony and the wisdom of child behavior guru Scott Bean for a solution. But what they discover in the woods of New Hampshire will push them to the very limit. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE ACCIDENTAL LIFE: An Editor's Notes on Writing and Writers by Terry McDonell (Memoir)
Audiobook available, read by Jason Culp
In this revealing memoir, Terry McDonell talks about what really happens when editors and writers work with deadlines ticking (or drinks on the bar). His stories about the people and personalities he’s known are both heartbreaking and bitingly funny. Here, too, is an expert’s practical advice on how to recruit --- and keep --- high-profile talent; what makes a compelling lede; how to grow online traffic that translates into dollars; and how, in whatever format, on whatever platform, a good editor really works, and what it takes to write well. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

RISE THE DARK by Michael Koryta (Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Robert Petkoff
Rise the dark. These were the last words written in Lauren Novak's notebook before she was murdered in a strange Florida village. They've never meant anything to the police or to her husband, investigator Markus Novak. Now the man he believes killed her is out of prison, and draws Markus to the place he's avoided for so long: the lonely road where his wife was shot to death. In Red Lodge, Montana, Sabrina Baldwin is abducted by Garland Webb, the man Markus believes killed his wife. Drawing them all together is a messianic villain who understands that you can never outpace your past. You can only rise against the future. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

CITY OF SEDITION: The History of New York City During the Civil War by John Strausbaugh (History)
No city was more of a help to Abraham Lincoln and the Union war effort, or more of a hindrance. No city raised more men, money and material for the war, and no city raised more hell against it. It was a city of patriots, war heroes and abolitionists, but simultaneously a city of antiwar protest, draft resistance and sedition. CITY OF SEDITION follows the fortunes of such fascinating figures such as Horace Greeley, Walt Whitman, Boss Tweed, Thomas Nast and Herman Melville. The book chronicles how many New Yorkers seized the opportunities the conflict presented to amass capital, create new industries and expand their markets, laying the foundation for the city's --- and the nation's --- growth. Reviewed by John Bentlyewski.

ROB THY NEIGHBOR: A Charlie Henry Mystery by David Thurlo (Mystery)
Charlie Henry and his friends are enjoying a cookout when a gunshot rings out in the neighborhood. As he and best friend Gordon run to the source of the shot, they happen upon two masked intruders in their next-door neighbor's house. The men seem to be there to kidnap Sam Randall, but they abandon their mark and get away in a waiting van. Detective DuPree has been investigating a string of similar home invasions in the area, but this one seems out of the ordinary. Sam hires Charlie and Gordon to investigate the crime, not trusting the police to keep him and his wife safe. The investigation reveals Ray Geiger, son of retired NYPD cop Frank Geiger, as the prime suspect. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SAFFIRE by Sigmund Brouwer (Historical Mystery/Romance)
For years, the American Zone of the Panama Canal mesmerized the world, working in uneasy coexistence with the Panamanian aristocrats. It’s in this buffered Zone where, in 1909, James Holt takes that first step to protect a defenseless girl named Saffire, expecting a short and simple search for her mother. Instead it draws him away from safety, into a land haunted by a history of pirates, gold runners and plantation owners, all leaving behind ghosts of their interwoven desires, sins and ambitions, ghosts that create the web of deceit and intrigue of a new generation of revolutionary politics. It will also bring him together with a woman who will change his course --- or bring an end to it. Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds.

Audiobook available, read by Andi Arndt and Cassandra Campbell
Sisters Rose and Lily Martin were inseparable when growing up on their family’s Kentucky flower farm, yet became distant as adults when Lily found herself unable to deal with the demands of Rose’s unusual daughter. But when Rose becomes ill, Lily is forced to return to the farm and confront the fears that had driven her away. Rose’s daughter, 10-year-old Antoinette, has a form of autism that requires constant care and attention. She has never spoken a word, but has a powerful gift that others would give anything to harness --- she can heal with her touch. Her gift, though, comes at a price, since each healing puts her own life in jeopardy. Reviewed by Amy Haddock.

THE EEL by David MacKinnon (Fiction)
Writer Jack Fingon realizes too late that his life of "intuition and attraction" has produced little to value, and nothing to remember. To settle a piece of unfinished business, Fingon devises a plan to fulfil the testamentary wish of French vagabond poet Blaise Cendrars --- to be buried in the Sargasso Sea where "life first burst from the depths of the ocean floor towards the sun." Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
Next Week's Notables: Noteworthy Books Releasing on August 23rd

Below are some notable titles releasing on August 23rd 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 22nd, see our “On Sale This Week” newsletter here.

BEHOLD THE DREAMERS by Imbolo Mbue (Fiction)
BEHOLD THE DREAMERS is a debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race and the trapdoors in the American Dream. It’s the story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy.

THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR by Shari Lapena (Psychological Thriller)
Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all. But one night, when they are at a dinner party, a terrible crime is committed. They soon discover that the other has been keeping secrets for years. What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family --- a chilling tale of deception, duplicity and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final twist.

THE DOLLHOUSE by Fiona Davis (Fiction)
Fiona Davis' debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City's glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where in the 1950s a generation of aspiring models, secretaries and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon's glitzy past.

FIRST STAR I SEE TONIGHT by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Romantic Comedy)
Piper Dove’s first job as a detective is to trail former Chicago Stars quarterback Cooper Graham, who might be in serious danger. Piper soon finds herself hired by Graham himself: to keep an eye on the employees at his new nightclub. If only she weren’t also dealing with Middle Eastern princesses, a Pakistani servant girl seeking freedom, a needy teenager, and an elderly neighbor demanding that Piper find her very dead husband.

THE MANNINGS: The Fall and Rise of a Football Family by Lars Anderson (Sports/Biography)
What the Kennedys are to politics, the Mannings are to football. Longtime Sports Illustrated writer Lars Anderson delivers the never-before-told story of this singular athletic dynasty --- a story that shows us how finding strength in the face of catastrophe can be the key to success on and off the playing field.

THE ONE MAN by Andrew Gross (Historical Thriller)
Poland, 1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendl is sent to the men’s camp, where his belongings are burned. The Nazis have no idea that they've just destroyed knowledge that could end the war, knowledge that now only resides in the minds of two men. Meanwhile, Nathan Blum works at an intelligence office in Washington, DC. He longs to contribute to the war effort, but never expected that the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life: to sneak into Auschwitz on a mission to find and escape with one man.

SURRENDER, NEW YORK by Caleb Carr (Psychological Thriller)
In impoverished Burgoyne County, New York, a pattern of strange deaths emerges: teenagers are being murdered, their corpses left in gruesome, ritualistic fashion. Senior officials are quick to blame a serial killer, but their efforts to apprehend this criminal are strangely ineffective. Meanwhile, in the county's small town of Surrender, Trajan Jones, a psychological profiler, and Michael Li, a trace evidence expert, teach online courses in profiling and forensic science from Jones' family farm. Alone and armed mainly with their wits, the outcast pair are secretly called in to consult.

Click here to see the latest "On Sale This Week" newsletter.
Our Latest Poll: Book Dedications
Do you read the dedication page 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 is a dedication page.
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 19th to September 9th at noon ET, three lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR by Shari Lapena and A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW by Amor Towles.

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.

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