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March 2, 2012 Newsletter March 2, 2012
Back to My Roots
Wednesday of this week was a day where my past collided with my present. It started when I spoke at a class at Fordham University. I graduated from Fordham more than three decades ago, and whenever possible I like to reach out to students there, bringing them in as interns at the company. In fact, Tom Donadio, our Editorial Director, started with us just that way, and we have been lucky to have him with us now for 10 years!

Dr. Mary Bly gave me an even more special opportunity to reconnect with Fordham, as she asked me to speak at her class on Genre Fiction: Practice and Theory. It’s the kind of course I would have LOVED to take at school. Each week, the students explore a different genre, reading a book, and then they both discuss it in class and hear from guest speakers. This week, the students read DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS by Helene Tursten, the same title that we're sharing with readers here on Juliet Grames, the book’s editor from Soho Press, then talked to them about acquiring international crime fiction and life at an independent press like Soho. I then shared how we promoted the book on our sites --- and brought it to readers’ attention. I really enjoyed the class where the students clearly are well-read. Oh, and taking this full circle, my son Greg is a student in that class; it’s been his favorite thus far in his college career! It gives him time to read the books he WANTS to read. And with that in mind…

I raced back to the office and launched, our newest website, the seventh in I started my career at Mademoiselle magazine, which was marketed to…women in college and in their twenties. Thus it’s really fun for me to be back programming content for this demographic, though our audience now includes men in this age group as well. The site is created for readers in their twenties, which we define as, “A decade. A state of mind. An age. A lifestyle. A time for self-discovery. A new perspective. An attitude. A philosophy. Independence. Freedom. A time to re-discover reading for pleasure - and FINALLY read what you want.”

After years of assigned reading, it’s time to do just that. For the record, twentysomething to me is a state of mind as well (after all, I maintain I am still 27)! So what’s on the site? Here are just some of the features; the Curated Bookshelves especially are features you will enjoy as well (and for humor, our bookshelves in the office are this same birch-colored wood; not sure the designer had that in mind as she created them).

Curated Bookshelf Collections --- 20 themed titles perfect for twentysomethings. Now Live: Great International Mysteries, Spring Break Suggested Titles, Cookbooks to Get You Started and Book Club Suggestions. Themed bookshelves will be part of each update.

Contests: Right now a chance to win all the Spring Break Bookshelf titles in a contest valued at more than $450, and a Hunger Games Contest with movie tie-in titles from The Hunger Games, including a collector’s edition, The Official Illustrated Movie Companion, The Tributes Guide, and THE HUNGER GAMES movie tie-in edition.

20 Days of The Hunger Games --- In anticipation of the upcoming film release, there will be a special blog series starting on March 3rd, with 20 blogs to count down to until this highly anticipated movie’s release.

Booksellers and Librarian Picks --- Featuring reading recommendations for readers in their twenties, booksellers and librarians from around the country will be making suggestions as to what books to read.

Bookstore Tours --- This article series will highlight indie bookstores in the United States, from coast-to-coast, beginning with bookstores in New York City.

20 Over 30 --- Authors over the age of 30 will make reading recommendations, suggesting which book of theirs to start with, what book they would recommend to readers in their twenties, and what book they’re reading.

20 Questions: A Day in the Life of… --- This blog series will follow the writing --- and living --- habits of authors, as they answer a questionnaire about what it’s like to be them for a day.

Click here to check out And may we please ask that you share this with your twentysomething friends and family…those chronologically --- or psychographically --- this age! We will have a newsletter there as well, and you can “like” us on Facebook! HUGE thanks to Maureen Linehan who handled EVERY detail of launching this site with her usual unflappable --- and super dependable --- style. While plans for this site have been brewing for two years now, she kept the ball rolling to ensure we met our launch deadline of February 29th, which was selected as it's a leap year day --- and thus this site will stay forever young as we will celebrate its anniversary every four years. Jenni Lai is our designer who gave it its hip and very cool look. Be sure to check out the placement of the words in the logo. Jenni moved them MANY times before I said "that’s right!” With my endless requests, both have my thanks for personifying patience as a virtue!

We have a new interview for you with Lisa Lutz, our Mystery Mayhem Spotlight Author, who has penned --- or rather, I guess we should say, “tapped out” to be au courant --- the Spellman series. The fifth addition to the series, TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS, tells the tale of Isabel Spellman, PI, who is slowly coming to realize she may be the ONLY sane one in her family. In her interview with Donna Volkenannt, Lisa talks about her inspiration, humor and the best advice she's ever received. In our review, Donna says that Lutz "does an outstanding job introducing fresh and unforgettable characters while painting laugh-out-loud scenes."

RESTORATION by Olaf Olafsson is being featured in our Paperback Spotlight. The book, which tells the story of a community of British ex-pats living in Florence, explores one woman’s scandalous affair during World War II. We have our review from Ray Palen, who says, "Like all great war novels, RESTORATION does not pull away from the horrors that come along with warfare.... Olafsson deftly peels back the layers of this tale and does not reveal all of its secrets until the final pages are turned."

My fifth Bets On selection of the year is THE STARBOARD SEA, a new novel by debut author Amber Dermont. The book tells the story of a young boy in boarding school navigating the tricky waters of his senior year at an elite prep school, where he is haunted by the suicide of a friend. Set in 1987, it nails the timelessness of being an adolescent, but the story could just as easily take place today. Our reviewer Norah Piehl says, "THE STARBOARD SEA is a thoughtful, reflective look at the depths of feeling that lie beneath the sparkling surface of Jason's affluent world." Next week I’ll share more on why I am making this book a Bets On pick.

By the way, THE STARBOARD SEA is one of the Word of Mouth prize books this contest period. So if you tell us what you are reading, you’ll have the chance to win a copy, as well as copies of CARRY THE ONE by Carol Anshaw (another book I LOVED) and LONE WOLF by Jodi Picoult.

We have our review of LONE WOLF, the story of a man estranged from his family who gets a call that his father is dying. Will he make the trip all the way back from Thailand to see his long-lost relatives again? Our reviewer Kathy Weissman says the book "contains tons of brilliant stuff I never knew about wolf behavior." Who knew!?

I hope by now you have entered’s Spring Preview contests! This week we featured contests for TRUE SISTERS by Sandra Dallas and THE SINGLES by Meredith Goldstein. Congratulations to all of our winners, and next week we will be featuring ISLAND APART by Steven Raichlen on March 5th, DARK MAGIC by James Swain on March 6th, LIVING PROOF by Kira Peikoff on March 7th, and WIDE OPEN by Deborah Coates on March 8th. Please note that run dates are subject to change. It’s technology, and once in a while, there are glitches.

Our Young Adult Books You Want to Read feature has been updated. We are featuring five new books we think you should read, including Gaby Rodriguez's much-talked-about memoir, THE PREGNANCY PROJECT, about her experience pretending to be pregnant, and LITTLE WOMEN AND ME by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, a book about how much you can really change about classic fiction.

Speaking of teens…over on our website, we have updated the Teen Ultimate Reading List. As its name would suggest, the Ultimate Reading List is our “Best Of” list especially for teens. We have just added over 50 new titles to the list, which now has over 400 books on it! If you know any teens, or if you are a parent or educator, head over to to take a look at our suggestions.

We also have a new poll and question for you this week. In our poll, we want to know which TV shows you watch on a regular basis, and for our question, we ask which shows you wish were still on the air. We are very interested in how you spend your leisure time, so please weigh in!

I found a fun picture book called EXTRA YARN by Mac Barnett that is illustrated by Jon Klassen. In it, a young girl finds a box of yarn of every color, and she goes on to knit and knit with the yarn stash never needing to be replenished. The box is stolen by an evil Archduke, and of course it will not work for him. It's a fun book that makes me wish my yarn stash would replenish itself, though I think my husband and sons think the collection of yarn at my house IS just this --- cubbies of every color...though, okay, most is turquoise or other shades of blue and green.

Last weekend, I read THE LIFEBOAT, a debut novel by Charlotte Rogan, which will be out on April 10th. Set in the summer of 1914 (yes, two years after the sinking of the Titanic), 22-year-old Grace Winter finds herself in an overcrowded lifeboat after the luxury liner that she was on mysteriously explodes. She was a newlywed, and now suddenly she’s a widow tossing about the seas with fellow passengers of various classes and from various countries. It’s clear their lifeboat is sinking, and to survive, all will not live. It’s a look at the human psyche, and I dare you to read it and not think about how you would behave in this situation.

Cory’s team at Model UN in Philly last weekend won best in their class, which was nice, and he won an individual prize as well. Maybe this weekend we can have a UN-style discussion about room cleaning or glasses going in the dishwasher. While he wants to become an aeronautical engineer, he has the complete negotiation skills of a lawyer. I’ve got it: Aeronautical Attorney! Greg is off tonight to see Howard Gordon, author of HARD TARGET, at the Mysterious Bookshop as part of an assignment for his class. I love that this class sends students into bookstores like this.

Quiet weekend again…and yes, I am LOVING these quiet weekends. I have a wonderful stack of books as well as a stack of firewood. I have four knitting projects in various states of completion and am determined to finish them before more yarn calls my name. I spent some time at Down Cellar, where Mary and Colleen very kindly helped me figure out some patterns that I could not comprehend! Brilliant.

Those of you with little ones around might think about taking them to the movies this weekend, because Dr. Seuss' The Lorax is now in theaters. Today also happens to be Dr. Seuss' birthday. I think Hollywood got really lucky that his birthday fell on a Friday, which is the typical movie release day. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Just typing that makes me want to write a rhyme! But there's no time! Okay, I can hear you groaning from here.

One last thing.…we bid farewell this week to Katherine Tandler, who has been working with us for the past five months on editorial promotion features, like coordinating the content for this newsletter. She’s off to do some traveling, and we wish her well. She’ll now become a TBRN alumni!

Here’s to a great weekend of reading! And please remember to share with your family and friends; we look forward to extending our sharing of books and authors with this new group.

Carol Fitzgerald (

Now in Stores: LONE WOLF by Jodi Picoult
LONE WOLF by Jodi Picoult (Fiction)
A wolf pack and a family have more in common than you’d think. In her latest novel, mega-successful writer Jodi Picoult draws intriguing parallels between them --- while putting her human characters up against the biggest ethical quandary of their lives. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

Click here to read a review. Talks to Lisa Lutz, Author of TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS
In TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS, the newest installment in Lisa Lutz’s Spellman series, the Spellman family is in chaos and Izzy is trying to avoid her questioning boyfriend while tackling the case of a mysterious mathematician. In this interview, conducted by’s Donna Volkenannt, Lutz talks about her inspiration for writing these novels. She also shares her thoughts on the redesign of the covers, describes her process of developing characters, and gives a glimpse into her next book.

TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS: Document #5 by Lisa Lutz (Mystery)
Business is booming for San Francisco private eye Isabel “Izzy” Spellman and her family. When Izzy is not out on surveillance, checking on leaky faucets, babysitting her niece or tossing back shots with her boyfriend Henry’s mother Gertrude, she’s avoiding a serious talk with Henry about the future of their relationship. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Lisa Lutz's bio.
-Click here to see a video of Lisa Lutz talking about the book.
-Click here to visit Lisa Lutz’s website.
-Click here to connect with Lisa Lutz on Facebook.
-Click here to follow Lisa Lutz on Twitter.

Click here to read our interview.
Now in Stores: THE STARBOARD SEA by Amber Dermont
THE STARBOARD SEA by Amber Dermont (Fiction)
When his best friend commits suicide during their junior year at Kensington Prep, Jason Prosper is devastated by the loss and transfers to Bellingham Academy. There, he meets Aidan, a fellow student with her own troubled past. When a major hurricane hits the New England coast, the destruction it causes brings with it another upheaval in Jason’s life, forcing him to make sense of a terrible secret that has been buried by the boys he considers his friends. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: VICTIMS by Jonathan Kellerman
VICTIMS: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman (Mystery)
Unraveling the madness behind L.A.’s most brutal homicides is what psychologist Alex Delaware does best. But even he is stymied by a string of seemingly random slayings with only one clue left behind --- a blank page bearing a question mark. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: CINNAMON ROLL MURDER by Joanne Fluke
CINNAMON ROLL MURDER by Joanne Fluke (Mystery)
Eager to celebrate the arrival of the jazz band Cinnamon Roll Six, baker Hannah Swensen creates her own mouthwatering cinnamon rolls in their honor. But before anyone can sample her tasty treats, keyboard player Buddy Neiman is murdered during a hospital visit for a minor injury. Murder takes precedence over baking as Hannah strives to find the killer. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.
Click here to read a review. is Live!
Our newest site in The Book Report Network is now up and running! is created for readers in their twenties, which we define as “A decade. A state of mind. An age. A lifestyle. A time for self-discovery. A new perspective. An attitude. A philosophy. Independence. Freedom. A time to re-discover reading for pleasure - and FINALLY read what you want.” will be where readers, writers, booksellers, librarians and twentysomething bibliophiles share the books they're reading and the books they suggest you read as well. Before you come into your twenties, most reading was by assignment for school with short stints for reading for pleasure. Thus this is a time to broaden reading horizons and discover and explore books in a whole new way. (By the way, we see twentysomething as a state of mind; you don't have to be in your twenties to visit this site!)

Click here to visit
Paperback Spotlight: RESTORATION by Olaf Olafsson

RESTORATION by Olaf Olafsson (Fiction)
Having grown up in an exclusive circle of wealthy British ex-pats in Florence in the 1920s, Alice Orsini shocks everyone when she marries the son of a minor Italian landowner and begins restoring San Martino, a crumbling villa in Tuscany, to its former glory. But after years of hard work, filling the acres with orchards, livestock, and farmhands, Alice's growing restlessness pulls her into the heady social swirl of wartime Rome and a reckless affair that will have devastating consequences.

Her indiscretion is noticed by careful eyes --- those of Robert Marshall, a renowned dealer of renaissance art. In exchange for his silence, he demands Alice hide a priceless Caravaggio, a national treasure that he has sold to the Germans, at San Martino. As the front creeps toward Tuscany, sending a wave of orphans, refugees, and wounded Allies to San Martino, Alice trusts that the painting she's hiding will keep the Germans at bay. What she doesn't know is the truth about a brilliant young artist she harbors named KristÍn, a prodigy who can restore any painting, and whose secrets may ruin them all.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to read Olaf Olafsson’s bio.
-Click here to read an interview with Olaf Olafsson.
-Click here to connect with Olaf Olafsson on Facebook.

Click here to read more in our Paperback Spotlight.
Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Helene Tursten, Author of DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS and NIGHT ROUNDS

DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS by Helene Tursten (Mystery)
Inspector Irene Huss, stationed in Göteborg, is called through the rain-drenched wintry streets to the scene of an apparent suicide. The dead man landed on the sidewalk in front of his luxurious duplex apartment. He was a wealthy financier connected, through an old-boys’ network, with the first families of Sweden. But the "Society Suicide" turns out to have been a carefully plotted murder. As more murders ensue, she tangles with street gang members, skinheads, immigrants and neo-Nazis --- a cross-section of Sweden’s disaffected --- in order to catch the killer.

NIGHT ROUNDS: A Detective Inspector Irene Huss Investigation by Helene Tursten (Mystery)
One nurse lies dead and another vanishes after their hospital is hit by a blackout. The only witness claims to have seen Nurse Tekla doing her rounds, but Nurse Tekla died 60 years ago. Detective Inspector Irene Huss of the Violent Crimes Unit has the challenge of disentangling wandering ghosts and complex human relationships to get to the bottom of this intriguing case.

-Click here to read a review of NIGHT ROUNDS.
-Click here to read praise for Helene Tursten's books.
-Click here to visit the publisher’s website.
-See our Mystery Mayhem features for DETECTIVE INSPECTOR HUSS and NIGHT ROUNDS.'s Spring Preview Contests and Feature

Spring is in the air (or will be very soon)! We’ve already caught the fever --- and so have the publishers! Here are some picks that we know people will be talking about over the next few months. We will be hosting a number of 24-hour contests for these titles on select days through the end of March. You will need to check the site to see the featured book and enter to win. We also will be sending a special newsletter to announce each title, which you can sign up for here.

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, March 5th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles are:

-ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell
-DARK MAGIC by James Swain
-A DOG'S JOURNEY: Another Novel for Humans by W. Bruce Cameron
-GLAMOUR IN GLASS by Mary Robinette Kowal
-ISLAND APART by Steven Raichlen
-LIVING PROOF by Kira Peikoff
-THE SINGLES by Meredith Goldstein
-THREE A.M. by Steven John
-TRUE SISTERS by Sandra Dallas
-WIDE OPEN by Deborah Coates

Click here to see our Spring Preview feature and sign up for our special newsletter.'s Ultimate Reading List Has Been Updated

We have found that required reading lists for school --- especially summer reading lists --- are not exactly inspiring. Thus we have created what we think is the Ultimate Teen Reading List --- over 400 titles that we believe are perfect choices for reading and discussing. Our dream is that schools will use this list to help them make their own for summer reading or, even better, suggest that students just read what they want from this list.

How did we create our list? We compiled entries from readers who weighed in with their selections, and we also asked our staffers for suggestions. Titles range from young adult books to adult books that we think would be enjoyed by teens. As part of our commitment to staying current and keeping on top of the latest trends, we overhauled the entire list in February 2011. Now, one year later, we've updated the feature with over 50 books that have released in the past year. They include a mixture of fiction and nonfiction, plus graphic novels and manga titles.

Click here to see our updated Ultimate Reading List for teens.
This Week's Reviews
DEATH OF A KINGFISHER: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery by M.C. Beaton (Mystery)
Attempting to lure tourists to a sleepy Scottish town, a tourist director renames the local woods “The Fairy Glen.” But when heartbreaking acts of vandalism begin plaguing the forest, Hamish Macbeth investigates --- and the case turns from animal cruelty to murder. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

STAY AWAKE: Stories by Dan Chaon (Fiction/Short Stories)
National Book Award finalist Dan Chaon devotes his superb writing abilities to this intricate web of dark, unnerving tales of death. These 12 short stories will definitely keep you up at night, if not for the mystery and shock, then for the simple craving to submerge until all the tales are fully told. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

HANGING HILL by Mo Hayder (Thriller)
Newly divorced and penniless, Sally is desperate to support herself and her teenage daughter. Forced into a criminal world of pornography and drugs, she and her sister --- who has a crippling secret that dates back 20 years --- struggle to keep a grip on reality. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

FDR AND CHIEF JUSTICE HUGHES: The President, the Supreme Court and the Epic Battle over the New Deal by James F. Simon (History)
Although Franklin Delano Roosevelt later called Chief Justice Charles E. Hughes the best politician in the country, the two men fiercely collided at a pivotal moment in history --- during the initial stages of FDR’s New Deal. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

DELICACY by David Foenkinos (Fiction)
A lovely young French woman literally bumps into the man who will become her soulmate. But their lives together are cut short by a terrible accident, and she must learn how to go on without him. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

WILD ABANDON by Joe Dunthorne (Fiction)
At a once-vibrant communal-living property in the British countryside, back-to-basics fervor has given way to a vague discontent. With his family falling apart, founder Don Riley convinces himself that the only way to save the world he’s created is to throw the biggest party of his life. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

Young Adult Books You Want to Read
As you may or may not know, our company, The Book Report Network, has a number of websites about books and authors in addition to Throughout the year, features adult books on, our site for young adult readers, that we think will have definite appeal to a teen audience. In the spirit of sharing, we are now spotlighting a selection of titles each month from that we believe are great reads that you might enjoy.

Here are our latest featured titles:

THE PREGNANCY PROJECT: A Memoir by Gaby Rodriguez with Jenna Glatzer (Memoir)
Gaby Rodriguez was repeatedly told that she would end up a teen mom like her mother. As a high school project, she faked her own pregnancy to find out how her community would react. What she learned changed her life --- and made international headlines in the process. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gomez.

When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief --- that they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl. But that relief doesn’t last, when she is forced to live with her ultra-conservative aunt Ruth and a whole new slew of challenges. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

LIE by Caroline Bock (Fiction)
Skylar Thompson is being questioned by the police. Her boyfriend, Jimmy, stands accused of brutally assaulting two young El Salvadoran immigrants from a neighboring town, and she’s the prime witness. Skylar is keeping quiet about what she’s seen, but how long can she keep it up? Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

LITTLE WOMEN AND ME by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (Fiction)
When Emily receives an assignment to describe what she would change about a classic novel, she pounces on LITTLE WOMEN. But when she gets mysteriously transported into the 1860s, she discovers that righting fictional wrongs won’t be as easy as she thought. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

IN DARKNESS by Nick Lake (Fiction)
"Shorty" is a Haitian boy trapped among ruins when the earth explodes around him. Surrounded by bodies and desperately weak, death seems imminent. But then he becomes aware of another presence --- one reaching out to him across 200 years of history. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Click here to see all the young adult books we recommend you read.
Poll and Question of the Week

Which of the following television shows do you enjoy on a regular basis? Please check as many as apply.

"30 Rock"
"The Big Bang Theory"
"Boardwalk Empire"
"CSI" (any version)
"Downton Abbey"
"Game of Thrones"
"The Good Wife"
"Law and Order: SVU"
"The Mentalist"
"Modern Family"
"NCIS" (any version)
"Nurse Jackie"
"The Office"
"Rizzoli and Isles"
"The Walking Dead"
I don’t watch television.
Other (Please specify up to three other shows that you enjoy on a regular basis.)

-Click here to answer the poll.


Name up to three television shows that you wish were still on the air.

-Click here to answer the question.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Could Win THREE Books!

Tell us your current reading recommendations with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from February 17th to March 9th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of CARRY THE ONE by Carol Anshaw, LONE WOLF by Jodi Picoult, and THE STARBOARD SEA by Amber Dermont.

-To see reader comments from previous contest periods, click here.


Click here to enter the contest.

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