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August 3, 2012 Newsletter August 3, 2012
August? Already?
Confession: My suitcase is not unpacked from my last trip. The good news is that it’s actually in my bedroom instead of in the back hallway where it was standing like a little statue that we all walked around until Wednesday. You can see it above looking definitely well-traveled and tagged “heavy” as it carried a lot of books this trip. At the beginning of the week, I plucked what I needed out of it; what’s still in there I don’t need for the moment. What did I do instead of unpacking? I read, which is my personal favorite form of unpacking procrastination. For me, it’s all work-related, which absolves me of any guilt!

On Sunday, I wanted to unwind, and I am not sure what it says about me that I elected to do that with Chelsea Cain’s latest psychological thriller, KILL YOU TWICE. Those of you who have read Chelsea’s Beauty Killer books know what I mean. But hey, I think I wanted to know what I was getting into, and getting back into the twisted mind of Gretchen Lowell --- who this time has some helpers --- was just what this girl needed. And as always, I was rooting for Archie to stay sane around Gretchen. Well, well done, and I have to tell you that the next time I'm in Portland, I'm not sure I'll rest easy as I have some rather vivid memories of acts of violence there from these books! On Facebook, I saw that Chelsea has a video for this book that dovetails well with the twisted mindset that her storylines have. You can see it here. KILL YOU TWICE will be in stores on Tuesday, August 7th.

I moved from there to DARE ME by Megan Abbott, which is again a psychological thriller (no idea what inspired the theme this week) that I could not put down. I have 30 more pages to go, and I am practicing intense self-control to write this newsletter instead of finishing it. At the heart of the story is a high school cheer squad where Beth Cassidy is the Queen Bee and Addy Hanlon is her loyal lieutenant. A new coach arrives and is not playing by Beth’s rules, which does not bode well for anyone. So when a suicide is discovered, the details get pretty interesting about just who really knows what. Dare you to stop reading once you start! Our reviewer, Joe Hartlaub, agrees and says this about DARE ME: “This is one of the most quietly chilling and compelling books that you will read this year.... Abbott peels back the seething drama that lies beneath the glitter and the smiles under the Friday night lights, and it’s anything but pretty. It sure makes for compulsive reading, though.”

Yes, my reading tastes are pretty wide, which I think is why I can always find the right book to read to suit whatever mood I am in. So let’s move away from head games to something more “tame” here with my latest Bets On selection, THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS, which is M. L. Stedman’s debut. A lighthouse keeper and his wife are healing from several miscarriages and a stillborn birth when a baby arrives on the shore of their isolated island. They decide to keep her as their own --- and two years later, as they return to the mainland, they learn the consequence of their action. Our reviewer, Terry Miller Shannon, says, “THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS is a rare melding of lyrical prose and a truly gripping read, the kind that leads one to stay up all night in order to finish the book. The story itself is both heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful, with a pitch-perfect conclusion.” You can read my thoughts about this brilliant work here.

My week also was consumed with Olympic event viewing. I have perfected acting like I have NO idea what the results are, though I have been seeing News Alerts all day about the winners. Actually the evenings are more like a memory test of “what do you remember about what you read all day?”

A few weeks ago, I told you about a novel called THE UNDERWATER WINDOW, which I enjoyed. For those of you who have been watching “the underwater window” along with me during the Olympics this week, you may enjoy this book, which will give you a lot more insight into the world of swimming along with a tale of two rivals. Whether you yourself like swimming or not, this is informative reading with a great story. I found myself enjoying and understanding what goes into these swims a lot more after reading the book. I love novels that inform like this!

We have more reviews this week…. Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas series continues with ODD APOCALYPSE, which finds Odd Thomas a guest at Roseland, a mysterious estate owned by a billionaire financier. It seems that the particular evils that reside at Roseland can only be conquered by Odd and his traveling companion. Reviewer Sarah Rachel Egelman says, “ODD APOCALYPSE, Dean Koontz’s fifth Odd Thomas book, tells a fast and frightening tale, as the fry cook with supernatural abilities becomes involved in yet another dangerous adventure. This time around, Koontz blends steampunk machines, time travel and Shakespearean wisdom, creating a story with a different feel from the rest of the series.”

Iris Johansen and her son, Roy Johansen, are back with CLOSE YOUR EYES, in which music therapist Kendra Michael needs to work with former FBI agent and master manipulator Adam Kyle to find her ex-boyfriend, who may have crossed the path of a serial killer. Will Adam and Kendra be able to save him in time? Reviewer Christine M. Irvin says, “Believe it or not, I had not read any of these authors’ previous books, but I might have to delve into each of their backlists, as they have a writing style that is fast-paced, full of action and quite satisfying to read.”

Our Romantic Suspense Spotlight feature for Beverly Barton’s DON’T SAY A WORD continues. We’re giving away 25 copies of the book to those who would like to read and comment on it. In DON’T SAY A WORD, homicide detective Julia Cass is tasked with investigating the most brutal murder she’s ever seen. A judge is dead, and she is forced to partner with FBI agent Will Brannock to solve a case that unearths more mutilated bodies left as a souvenir by the angry killer. The deadline for entries is Thursday, August 9th at noon ET.

This week saw the last of our Summer Reading Contests --- the complete list of titles is here in case you still need some summer reading ideas, and the list of all the winners is here --- as well as the return of our Fall Preview Contests and Feature. Yes, a perfect blending of ways for you to explore new books. Our next contest will be announced this Monday, August 6th at noon ET. Next week, we’ll be giving away BEAUTIFUL LIES by Clare Clark, CATHERINE THE GREAT: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie, and THE MALICE OF FORTUNE by Michael Ennis. We love this chance to share upcoming fall titles with you. You can see the list of what we have planned to date here, though we know there will be more titles to come. Also, if you are not signed up for this newsletter, you can do so here.

This week, we have two other contests for you to enter. The first is for HERON’S COVE, the second book in Carla Neggers’ series featuring FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan. In this exciting romantic suspense, Sharpe and Donovan must decide whether they should work together or alone to outwit an enemy who is set to tear them apart. We are awarding copies of the book to 50 lucky readers, so enter here by Tuesday, August 28th at noon ET for your chance to be one of those winners.

For our second contest, we have 10 gift baskets to give away to readers in celebration of the release of ONE MOUNTAIN AWAY by Emilie Richards. Each basket includes two signed copies of the book, soaps from a store in Asheville that are mentioned in the book, a mousepad with a photo of Asheville --- the book’s setting --- and a special message from the author. This moving story is all about Charlotte Hale, who has made it big as a real-estate developer, but finds that her life is missing something. Charlotte’s friends are insincere, and she alienated everyone in her family, especially her only daughter. One terrifying day has Charlotte questioning her mortality and her relationships, but will it be enough to push her towards change? Click here and enter by Tuesday, August 21st at noon ET, and you could win one of these wonderful baskets.

Sadly, we lost two well-loved authors this week. Popular Irish writer Maeve Binchy passed away on Monday after a short illness. Binchy was beloved and cherished by many, despite getting a late start to her career. She published her first book, LIGHT A PENNY CANDLE, at the age of 42, and had been working with her editor on putting the finishing touches on her next book, A WEEK IN WINTER, when she died. Originally planned for 2013, a new date for its publication will be set. I got notes from many readers about her this week, including one from my author friend, Keith Raffel, who shared that he remembered giving his mother Maeve Binchy novels for birthdays, Mother's Days and Hanukkahs.

Then we woke to news on Tuesday that Gore Vidal, a playwright, essayist, screenwriter and political activist, in addition to being an author, had passed away. I think everyone I know on Facebook and Twitter posted a Gore Vidal quote at some point this week. His 25 novels, Broadway plays and essays, along with his quick wit, makes him an inspiration to writers everywhere. Click here to read Jesse Kornbluth’s take on Vidal and his book, SNAPSHOTS IN HISTORY’S GAZE, which Jesse calls "a late-life picture-and-text romp.”

Our Books on Screen feature for this month is now live. Among the films coming to theaters are the action-packed classics The Bourne Legacy and Total Recall. Also out in August are some fun movies for the entire family to see, such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (I have a weakness for Wimpy Kid movies) and ParaNorman. Click here to see the full list of this month’s movies, TV shows and DVD releases.

In our poll, we continue to ask how many books you usually pack for a week-long vacation. As longtime readers know, I am a “book a day” kind of girl, with three backups in case of an emergency! And we’re still offering these books as prizes in our Word of Mouth contest: AND WHEN SHE WAS GOOD by Laura Lippman, A HUNDRED FLOWERS by Gail Tsukiyama, and THE INN AT ROSE HARBOR by Debbie Macomber. Tell us what you’re reading by Friday, August 10th at noon ET for your chance to win all three.

I caught up with Kathy Jund at the Romance Writers of America convention last week, and she wrote a wonderful blog about her experiences there and who she was most excited to meet. After I left Anaheim, the RITA Award winners were announced, which was sponsored by Romance Writers of America. You can see them here. I don’t think it surprises anyone to see J.D. Robb win in the Romantic Suspense category.

I heard the sad news this week that the Partners & Crime bookstore in New York will be closing on September 20th, and Mysteries to Die For in Thousand Oaks, California closed after 19 years at the end of July. I hate seeing bookstores close, especially genre-specific ones like these that really helped to promote a love of mysteries. May this serve as a reminder to support your local bookseller!

The weekend will be quiet around the home front. After six weeks of packing, planning or traveling, I am loving the idea of staying put. I am eyeing up some holes in the flowerbeds where aggressive weeding and transplanting took its toll. My husband has the club golf championship, for which he has been playing 18 to practice every morning this week; he really should go pro!

This week, Wendy Corsi Staub, who, like me, has a son who is going into senior year, told me the news that the Common Ap was available for college applications. I shared this with Cory; he looked at me like I was daft to think he was working on THAT now. I also see that the four required summer reading titles are still on the counter looking pristinely un-opened. Ahhhh, to be 17 and enjoying summer! He and Son 2A and Son 2B migrate from one house to the next when they are not working. There are many nights when we are a family of six…and it’s a lot of fun!

Here’s wishing you all a great summer weekend. Enjoy every moment as it is August…already. Read on…and I am headed back to DARE ME!

Carol Fitzgerald ( Bets On: THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS by M. L. Stedman

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS by M. L. Stedman (Historical Fiction)
My older son, Greg, loves lighthouses and has visited more than 300 of them. It all started when he was nine, and we were in Georgia at the St. Simon’s Lighthouse. His most recent “light trip” was to Cape Lookout National Park in North Carolina, where he camped on the beach in April. As a result, we have spent a lot of time with him climbing --- and looking at --- lighthouses.

Thus, THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS by M. L. Stedman drew me in with its cover as it brought back some nice memories. But as I started reading, my own thoughts faded into the background as I was plunged right into the story from the six-page prologue. The moral issue that will be at the heart of the book is there from the start as we meet Tom and Isabel, a young couple manning a remote lighthouse off the coast of Australia on Janus Rock, which is situated on the Indian Ocean. A boat washes up on shore with a crying baby and dead man, and from there, decisions are made that set up entirely what comes next.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to see all the books we’re betting you’ll love.

Click here to read more of Carol’s thoughts about the book.
Now in Stores: DARE ME by Megan Abbott

DARE ME by Megan Abbott (Psychological Thriller)
Addy Hanlon and Beth Cassidy are the cheerleaders all the other girls fear and admire, but everything changes when the new coach arrives. Coach Colette French instantly overturns the girls’ pecking order and gains their fierce alliance --- until a shocking event shakes their fragile peace. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: ODD APOCALYPSE by Dean Koontz

ODD APOCALYPSE: An Odd Thomas Novel by Dean Koontz (Supernatural Thriller)
The magnificent West Coast property known as Roseland is now home to a reclusive billionaire financier and his faithful servants. And, at least for the moment, it’s also a port in the storm for Odd Thomas and his traveling companion. But Roseland holds many mysteries, and only Odd is brave --- or mad --- enough to confront the evil that resides there. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: CLOSE YOUR EYES by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen

CLOSE YOUR EYES by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen (Thriller)
The FBI doesn’t usually consult with music therapists, but Kendra Michael has perfected the art of picking up the most subtle audio, olfactory and tactile cues from the world around her. Former FBI agent Adam Kyle is a notorious master manipulator, skillfully handing criminals and colleagues alike. But now he needs Kendra’s help to find her ex, who may have run directly into the path of a serial killer. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.
An Interview with Jennie Fields, Author of THE AGE OF DESIRE

In her latest novel, THE AGE OF DESIRE, Jennie Fields tells the complex story of Edith Wharton and her beloved governess, Anna Bahlmann. She charts their relationship through Edith's passionate affair with a young journalist and describes how even a lifelong bond can be threatened by the very nature of love. In this interview, Fields talks about Edith and Anna's troubled friendship, Edith's love of Paris and what the city meant to her, and how Edith herself influenced Fields' own writing.

THE AGE OF DESIRE by Jennie Fields (Historical Fiction)
Anna Bahlmann was Edith Wharton’s closest friend --- that is, until Edith falls passionately in love with a dashing younger journalist. As Edith’s marriage crumbles and Anna’s disapproval threatens to shatter their lifelong bond, the women must face the fragility at the heart of all friendships. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

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

-Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here to read the interview.
Remembering Gore Vidal and Maeve Binchy

Gore Vidal (1925-2012)
We were saddened to hear of Gore Vidal’s passing this week. He died at the age of 86 due to complications from pneumonia. Vidal wrote
25 novels, two successful Broadway plays, numerous screenplays, more than 200 essays, and the memoir PALIMPSEST. His collection of essays, UNITED STATES: ESSAYS, 1952–1992, received the National Book Award in 1993, while a revival of his play "The Best Man" was nominated for a Tony Award this year.

-Click here to read more about Gore Vidal.
-Click here to read Jesse Kornbluth’s take on Vidal and his book, SNAPSHOTS IN HISTORY’S GAZE.

Maeve Binchy (1940-2012)
Just a day earlier, we learned that Maeve Binchy had passed away at the age of 72, following a brief illness. Considered a national treasure in her native country of Ireland, Binchy was the author of such bestselling books as MINDING FRANKIE, HEART AND SOUL, NIGHT OF RAIN AND STARS, SCARLET FEATHER, QUENTINS, LIGHT A PENNY CANDLE, CIRCLE OF FRIENDS, and TARA ROAD (An Oprah Book Club Selection).

-Click here to read more about Maeve Binchy.

Books on Screen for August

This year, a number of big movies are releasing for people of all ages during these "dog days of summer."

Among these standout releases is The Bourne Legacy, which stars Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, whose life was affected by the events in the first three installments of this blockbuster series. Watch as he figures out how to handle the same situation Jason Bourne was thrust into.

The thrill ride continues in Total Recall, inspired by Philip K. Dick's short story, "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale." In this remake of the 1990 movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Douglas Quaid teams up with a rebel fighter in order to stop Cohagen, the leader of the free world. But on the way, he must discover his true identity and what it really means for him in this life.

Graphic novel fans will be flocking to the theaters to see Chicken with Plums, based on the graphic memoir of the same name. Here is the story of author Marjane Satrapi's great-uncle, a celebrated Iranian musician who gave up his life for music and love.

Looking for some family-friendly entertainment? Then check out Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. Greg Heffley is back, and this time he devises a plan to keep himself away from this season’s dog days: by pretending to work at a rich country club. As always, though, mishaps follow Greg wherever he goes.

On the small screen, tune in to see the season finales of “Longmire,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Rizzoli & Isles” and “True Blood”. And just in case you missed them in theaters, Bel Ami, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, The Hunger Games, Headhunters, The Lucky One, The Moth Diaries, The Pirates! Band of Misfits and Think Like a Man all release on DVD this month.

Click here to see all the movies, TV shows and DVDs featured in August's Books on Screen.
Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Beverly Barton, Author of DON’T SAY A WORD

We have 25 copies of DON'T SAY A WORD by Beverly Barton, which will be in stores July 31st, to give away to readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, August 9th at noon ET.

DON'T SAY A WORD by Beverly Barton (Romantic Suspense)
One by one, they will die. He has waited patiently, planning their final moments. Their tortured screams, their pleas for mercy --- all will be in vain...

Homicide detective Julia Cass has witnessed plenty of crime scenes. But the murder of a Chattanooga judge is shocking in its brutality. Teamed with FBI agent Will Brannock, Julia delves into an investigation that soon unearths more bodies --- all mutilated in the same way, all left with a gruesome souvenir of a killer’s ruthless rage…

The only way to stop the slaughter is to predict the next victim. But when you’re dealing with vengeance at its most ruthless, one wrong move can make you a target…and the next word you utter could be your last…

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Beverly Barton’s bio.

Click here to read more in our Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight and enter to win a copy of the book.
Featured One to Watch Author: Vaddey Ratner, Author of IN THE SHADOW OF THE BANYAN
IN THE SHADOW OF THE BANYAN by Vaddey Ratner (Historical Fiction)

For seven-year-old Raami, the shattering end of childhood begins with the footsteps of her father returning home in the early dawn hours bringing details of the civil war that has overwhelmed the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. Soon the family’s world of carefully guarded royal privilege is swept up in the chaos of revolution and forced exodus.

Over the next four years, as she endures the deaths of family members, starvation, and brutal forced labor, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of childhood --- the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father. In a climate of systematic violence where memory is sickness and justification for execution, Raami fights for her improbable survival.

Displaying the author’s extraordinary gift for language, IN THE SHADOW OF THE BANYAN is testament to the transcendent power of narrative and a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

-Click here to read Vaddey Ratner’s bio.

-Click here to visit Vaddey Ratner’s official website.

-Click here to read a Q&A with Vaddey Ratner.

-Click here to watch Vaddey Ratner discuss the book.
-Click here to see the 50 winners selected to read and comment on the book.

Click here to read more in our One to Watch Author Spotlight.'s Fall Preview Contests and Feature
Fall is almost upon us, which is known as the biggest season of the year for books! The titles that come out in fall often become holiday gifts, and many are blockbusters. Here are some publisher picks that we know people will be talking about. On select days we will spotlight a different title and offer a contest to win one of five copies of the book. You will need to check the site each day to see the featured book and enter to win. We also will be sending a special daily newsletter to announce each day's title, which you can sign up for here.

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, August 6th at noon ET. Our featured titles will be BEAUTIFUL LIES by Clare Clark, CATHERINE THE GREAT: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie, and THE MALICE OF FORTUNE by Michael Ennis.

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
Contests Running on Other Sites in

We have a number of contests currently running on our other sites in Please take a look at them below, and enter for your chance to win some fabulous books!

We are celebrating the forthcoming release of LAURA LAMONT’S LIFE IN PICTURES by Emma Straub --- the enchanting story of a midwestern girl who escapes a family tragedy and is remade as a movie star during Hollywood’s golden age --- with a special contest. 50 readers will have the opportunity to each win an advance copy of the book, which will be in stores on September 4th, for their group. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 6th at noon ET.

TIGER HILLS by Sarita Mandanna
We are celebrating the forthcoming paperback release of TIGER HILLS by Sarita Mandanna --- an emotional saga about a young woman forced to make difficult choices following a gut-wrenching tragedy that change the course of her life forever --- with a special contest. 50 readers will have the opportunity to each win an advance copy of the paperback edition, which will be in stores on August 28th, for their group. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 6th at noon ET.

We are celebrating the paperback release of THE HOMECOMING OF SAMUEL LAKE by Jenny Wingfield --- an unforgettable story about love and sacrifice, our responsibility to one another, and the profound meaning of family --- with a special contest. 25 readers will have the opportunity to each win a copy of the book, which is now available in paperback, for their group. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 6th at noon ET.

We are celebrating the forthcoming release of RETURN TO WILLOW LAKE by Susan Wiggs --- in which one woman will rediscover her family and her dreams, and find a surprising new love, in the idyllic town of Avalon --- with a special contest. 10 readers will have the opportunity to each win 10 copies of the book, which will be in stores on August 28th, for their group. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 6th at noon ET.

BEFORE YOU GO by James Preller
We are celebrating the release of BEFORE YOU GO --- the story of a teen boy whose life keeps spinning out of control --- with a special contest. Five readers will have the opportunity to win a copy of James Preller's first young adult novel. The deadline for entries is Friday, August 17th at noon ET.

Fierce Reads

To celebrate the release of four books that are being featured in Macmillan's Fierce Reads campaign, we're giving five readers the opportunity to win them all! Enter by Tuesday, August 7th at noon ET for your chance to be awarded MONUMENT 14 by Emmy Laybourne, OF POSEIDON by Anna Banks, SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo, and STRUCK by Jennifer Bosworth.

Grab Bag of Books

Winners of our latest Grab Bag of Books contest will each receive a copy of 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER by Jessica Brody, DRAIN YOU by M. Beth Bloom, THE FORSAKEN by Lisa M. Stasse, A LONG WAY FROM YOU by Gwendolyn Heasley, and SO CLOSE TO YOU by Rachel Carter. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, August 15th at noon ET.

THE AMISH BRIDE: The Women of Lancaster County, Book 3 by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould
We are celebrating the August 1st release of THE AMISH BRIDE with a special contest that will give 75 readers the opportunity to win a copy of this third installment in Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould’s Women of Lancaster County series. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 13th at noon ET.

LIVING IN HARMONY: The New Beginnings Series, Book 1 by Mary Ellis
We are celebrating the August 1st release of LIVING IN HARMONY with a special contest that will give 75 readers the opportunity to win a copy of this opening installment in Mary Ellis’s New Beginnings series. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 13th at noon ET.’s Monthly Contest
In our latest monthly contest, 10 readers each will be awarded a copy of ABDUCTED, the second installment of Janice Cantore's Pacific Coast Justice Series, and BEES IN THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN: A Gilded Legacy Novel by Maureen Lang. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 13th at noon ET.

This Week’s Reviews

OFF THE GRID: A Monkeewrench Novel by P.J. Tracy (Thriller)
As Minneapolis homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth struggle to link three gruesome crimes, they learn that there have been similar murders in other cities around the U.S. Piece by piece, evidence accumulates, pointing to a suspect that shocks them to the core, uncovering a motive that puts the entire Midwest on high alert and Monkeewrench in the direct line of fire. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to visit P.J. Tracy’s official website.

MISSION TO PARIS by Alan Furst (Historical Thriller)
In the summer of 1938, Hollywood film star Fredric Stahl is on his way to Paris to make a movie for Paramount France. The Nazis know he’s coming; for their purposes, Fredric Stahl is a perfect agent of influence, and they attack him. What they don’t know is that Stahl, horrified by the Nazi war on Jews and intellectuals, has become part of an informal spy service being run out of the American embassy in Paris. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

BEAUTIFUL RUINS by Jess Walter (Fiction)
In 1962, a young innkeeper in Italy spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman approaching him on a boat. He soon learns that she’s an American actress --- and she’s dying. And the story begins again today, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot, searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier. Reviewed by Shelby Wardlaw.

TRIBURBIA by Karl Taro Greenfeld (Fiction)
Thrown together by circumstance, a group of fathers meet each morning at a local coffee shop after walking their children to their exclusive school. Over the course of a single year, we learn about their dreams deferred, their secrets and mishaps, their passions and hopes, as they confront terrible truths about ambition, wealth and sex. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

LEADER OF THE PACK: An Andy Carpenter Novel by David Rosenfelt (Mystery)
Andy Carpenter is a lawyer who never forgets his clients. So when he gets a phone call from Joey Desimone, a man convicted of murder nine years ago who he always believed was innocent, Andy figures he owes him one. This is how Andy finds himself visiting Joey’s elderly uncle at his rest home. Is it possible that the old man holds the key to Joey’s freedom? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THE LAST MINUTE by Jeff Abbott (Thriller)
Sam Capra, an ex-CIA agent, has one reason to live: to rescue his baby son from the people who abducted him. The kidnappers have offered Sam a deal --- for his child, he must find and murder the one man who can expose them. Now, Sam has to team up with a desperate young mother whose daughter is also missing in a dangerous race across the country. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

HELLBOX: A Nameless Detective Novel by Bill Pronzini (Mystery)
San Francisco PI Jake Runyon steps in to help an old friend find his missing wife, who went for a short walk in the foothills outside Sacramento but didn’t come back. Nearby Six Pines is gearing up for the 4th of July. One resident is planning an especially big celebration --- and the missing woman may be at the heart of it. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

LIVING, THINKING, LOOKING: Essays by Siri Hustvedt (Essays)
LIVING, THINKING, LOOKING brings together 32 essays written between 2006 and 2011, in which Siri Hustvedt culls insights from philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, psychoanalysis and literature. The book is divided into three sections: the essays in Living draw directly from Hustvedt’s life; those in Thinking explore memory, emotion and the imagination; and the pieces in Looking are about visual art. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

YOK by Tim Davys (Fiction)
Mollisan Town is a dark alternate world populated by stuffed animals that lie, cheat, dream, despair, love and kill. Yok, the seediest district, is a unique place where a cast of damaged animate plush toys explore provocative questions of life, death and morality. The handsome fox yearns for true love, the gecko seeks redemption and freedom from his abusive brothers, the chimpanzee burns for success, and the hare seeks the secret to a meaningful life. Reviewed by Michael Magras.

This Week’s Poll

How many books do you typically pack for a week-long vacation?

More than 10
None, I buy books on vacation.
None, I have an eReader.

Click here to answer the poll.
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 July 27th to August 10th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of AND WHEN SHE WAS GOOD by Laura Lippman, A HUNDRED FLOWERS by Gail Tsukiyama and THE INN AT ROSE HARBOR by Debbie Macomber.

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 complete rules and guidelines, click here.

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

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