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November 16, 2012 Newsletter November 16, 2012
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…
The construction project behind our house has taken on the spirit of “if you give a mouse a cookie.” What started out as new pool tile (I think there were only about 20 of the original 1972 tiles left on the sides in September), new coping and some patio work escalated into a much bigger project when the storm felled four 40-year-old trees and uprooted their huge root balls. We ended up getting seven trees taken down (some were hanging), cut into firewood, chipped, and now the plan we had for the back has a hole in it. My thought right now: ”I’ll think about it tomorrow….”

The more I drive around, the more that I am completely blown away by the devastation that this storm has wrought. My parents spent time at the Jersey Shore yesterday, and my mom said there really are no words to describe it. Junot Diaz posted a link last night to this story from NPR on how the coastline has been redefined. Life still is not back to normal. Greg takes the train to New York each day, and the train line near our house is out and does not show signs of coming back soon. To give scope to this, I read that both of last year’s storms in New Jersey had 25,000 trees impact electrical lines; this year, 113,000.

I thank the many of you who wrote last week to share how you donated to First Book to benefit children impacted by the storm. I welcome ideas for other ways our readers who live in far-flung places can work to replace the literary culture that was lost during the storm. Please drop me a note if you have more ideas.

Speaking of literary outreach, for a third year, thriller writers from the International Thriller Writers organization --- Michael Connelly, Brad Meltzer, Joseph Finder, Kathleen Antrim and Andy Harp --- traveled to USO locations in a 10-day, five-country tour to bring books to our troops and spend time with them. I heard the authors from the first tour speak a few years ago, and all of them talked about this as a life-changing experience. Here we share photos and commentary from this year’s tour.

Also this week, the National Book Awards were presented Wednesday night in an author- and publishing star-studded evening. My schedule has been crazy, so I opted to watch the ceremony online, which was fun. Louise Erdrich won the Fiction prize for THE ROUND HOUSE (you can see our review here), and Katherine Boo won the Nonfiction prize for BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. Click here to see the complete list of winners.

I have had a great week of reading. I completed THE AVIATOR’S WIFE by Melanie Benjamin, which releases on January 15th and had an experience that to me is the sign of a great historical fiction book. Once I closed it, I found that I wanted to do a lot more research and reading about Charles Lindbergh and his wife, Anne. I already am pulling together a list for more reading. We will have much more about this book in January, and it will be a Bets On selection.

Are you in a book group? Or know someone who is? Then you will want to note that until Tuesday, November 20th at noon ET, we’re featuring a very special book group contest on for HOME FRONT by Kristin Hannah. We’re giving away up to 20 copies each to 250 book groups, provided that they agree to discuss the book at their January or February meeting; email friends and tell them about the book; and post comments or feedback about the book and/or their discussion on Kristin Hannah’s Facebook page, the blog on, their personal Facebook pages, Twitter accounts or blogs. To enter, please fill out this form by Tuesday, November 20th at noon ET.

In HOME FRONT, Michael and Jolene Zarkades must face the pressures of day-to-day life while their 12-year marriage crumbles around them. This isn’t helped when Jolene is deployed into a dangerous war zone. She hates being away from her family, but understands the responsibilities she has toward her country. When tragedy strikes, Michael must face his worst fear and fight for what is important to his family. I loved this book and remember its characters and their stories in rich detail.

Over the past week, I also have had the pleasure of reading the manuscript of Kristin’s upcoming novel, FLY AWAY, which comes out on April 23rd. The title may be significant to those of you who read her 2008 book, FIREFLY LANE. Here we again get to visit with those characters, something that Kristin’s readers have been asking for for years. And oh, is this re-visit satisfying! I closed the last page and thought I really was in a nice place with the story wrapped so well, but still including some surprises. Everyone’s story is rich…and all are fully fleshed out and intertwined to propel the action forward. And the back story is so well-told that this can easily work as a stand-alone, so if you have not read FIREFLY LANE, there is no reason to think you need to read that first, though you may enjoy picking that up before April. Both are great book group selections. You can read more about what Kristin has to say about writing FLY AWAY here.

I also read MARGARET FROM MAINE by Joseph Monninger this week, which will be in stores on December 24th. Here, Margaret is a young mother whose husband has been gravely injured in war. As she heads to Washington, D.C. for a ceremony honoring wounded soldiers, she is escorted by Charlie King. In Charlie she finds a new love, but is torn between these feelings and her commitment to her marriage vows. It’s both a wonderful love story and an impassioned look at the world of soldiers and those who love them. If you enjoyed Kristin’s HOME FRONT, you will want to explore MARGARET FROM MAINE. I highly recommend it…and it will be what I think is my last Bets On selection for 2012.

In our latest Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight, we’re giving away 25 copies of
Andrew Britton’s latest thriller, THE OPERATIVE, which will be available in paperback on November 27th. After retiring from a harrowing 10 years of fighting terror, Agent Ryan Kealey is looking forward to some much-needed downtime. But when a horrific and unexpected terror attack in downtown Baltimore kills dozens, including the wife of the CIA’s deputy director, the search for the perpetrators will lead Kealey into the marbled halls of the American government itself. If you would like to receive a copy of the book and comment on it, please fill out this form by Thursday, November 29th at noon ET.

If you can’t get enough of CIA thrillers, we have a review of Vince Flynn’s latest offering, THE LAST MAN. The head of CIA Clandestine Operations in Afghanistan has been abducted, and Mitch Rapp suspects there’s more to this kidnapping than meets the eye. When Rapp is sent to Afghanistan to recover the missing agent, he will have to be more cunning than his captors --- and his enemies in the FBI --- if he plans to win the day. Reviewer Joe Hartlaub says, “Certainly, THE LAST MAN is one of Flynn’s most complex installments in the Rapp canon to date. And Flynn, master storyteller that he is, skillfully navigates the reader through the twists and turns of the tale to a conclusion that puts the main plot elements to rest while setting up the next intriguing volume.”

We continue our One to Watch Author Spotlight of Ian McEwan’s SWEET TOOTH with our review. In Cold War England, a beautiful, brilliant Cambridge student named Serena Frome is recruited by the British government to assist in a secret operation called “Sweet Tooth,” through which the British secret service plans to control the cultural dialogue by influencing the work of talented novelists. But when Serena finds herself falling in love with the writer she’s supposed to be manipulating, she’ll have some hard lessons to learn about the nature of espionage. Reviewer Kate Ayers says, “Besides weaving fact and fiction into a rich fabric, Ian McEwan gives us a romance wrapped around a spy thriller, rife with sex and love, trust and suspicion, hope and despair.”

For those of you looking to settle into the holiday spirit, this season marks the return of Debbie Macomber’s beloved angels Shirley, Goodness and Mercy. In ANGELS AT THE TABLE, the winged friends descend on Times Square at New Year’s Eve just in time to see a chance meeting between two strangers, Aren and Lucie, who immediately hit it off. But when the following Christmas rolls around and Aren and Lucie have yet to find one another again, the angels will have to employ some ingenuity --- and a little mischief --- to unite the two lovers. Terry Miller Shannon has our review and says, “The angels' antics are a hugely hilarious and entertaining bonus to a warm love story. For the perfect respite from the holiday frenzy, allow me to prescribe this delightful antidote to be taken cuddled up by a roaring fire while sipping a steaming cup of peppermint tea.”

You’ll also want to take a look at our review of Jim Fusilli’s fine new novel, ROAD TO NOWHERE. Fusilli’s nameless protagonist, a drifter known simply as The Samaritan, witnesses a crime that sends his life spinning out of control; now he must choose between justice and a life of anonymity. But when The Samaritan’s daughter is threatened, his choice becomes much clearer. According to Joe Hartlaub, “[W]hile it is the type of work that asks --- demands --- to be read in one sitting, one is almost compelled to read it slowly, taking notes on Fusilli’s turns of phrase and underlining a sentence here and a paragraph there on nearly every page.” By the way, I love the cover of this book…it’s just perfect for the title. I am a longtime fan of Jim’s writing, and here he once again delivers.

On the nonfiction side, check out our review of Susannah Cahalan’s powerful memoir, BRAIN ON FIRE: My Month of Madness. Everything was looking up for the 24-year-old Cahalan, who had just landed a coveted job as a reporter at a major New York City newspaper. But then she suddenly woke up in a hospital, strapped to a bed, with a month of her life missing and her records referring to her as violent and unstable. The young reporter now turns her considerable journalistic gifts inward to investigate the reasons for her mysterious collapse. Reviewer Eileen Zimmerman Nicol raves, “The brain being what it is, it’s a challenge to present enough neurological information to understand how this disease attacks without overwhelming the reader, and Susannah succeeds. It seems clear that with this book she truly wants to educate as well as entertain. Her gratitude at surviving and journalistic skill combine to create a fascinating read.” This book is excellent as Susannah is a really gifted writer --- and she has the journalistic chops to have researched her “lost month,” which she remembers nothing about.

On the lighter side of things, you’ll want to take a look at our review of MEET ME AT EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE CLAIM. Bestselling mother-daughter duo Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella have just released this side-splitting new collection of essays on the joys and perils of being a mother, a daughter, and a woman in the 21st century. Now that Francesca has left her mother in the suburbs to live life in the urban jungle, Francesca and Lisa will have to learn how to remain best friends despite their distance. Reviewer Carole Turner says, “MEET ME AT EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE CLAIM is best read a little at a time because it allows readers to thoroughly absorb the wit and wisdom in each essay. Soon enough, you will be awaiting publication of the next book by this talented and delightful mother-daughter writing team.”

Last week, we introduced a brand-new feature, our eBook Spotlight. On Monday, released four new bibliomysteries by four of the biggest authors in the game: C.J. Box, Ken Bruen, Jeffery Deaver and Anne Perry. Joe Hartlaub reviewed Deaver’s AN ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE last week, and this week, we present his reviews of the other three eBooks: THE SCROLL by Anne Perry, THE BOOK OF VIRTUE by Ken Bruen and PRONGHORNS OF THE THIRD REICH by C.J. Box.

After the success of our two previous fantasy-themed bookshelves --- Top Fantasy Series and Stand-Alone Fantasy Titles --- our resident expert on the genre, Steve Hubbard, returns with a Female Fantasy Authors bookshelf. Featuring 20 great fantasy novels by female authors, this collection of books should be on every fantasy reader’s bookshelf.

Our Holiday Cheer feature will be live next week, and our Daily Contests will start the week of November 26th. The contests kick off at noon ET on select days in November and December, and run for just 24 hours, so you will have to check the site each day to see what is being featured. We once again are sending out our special Holiday Cheer newsletter on the days when there are contests, so if you would like to sign up for that, click here.

Our poll question continues to ask when you start your holiday shopping. Are you a frantic Christmas Eve kind of person, or are you one of those meticulous planners who started in June? Click here to let us know! I will share my shopping style once the poll has ended.

In our Word of Mouth feature, we’re continuing our giveaway for the aforementioned BRAIN ON FIRE: My Month of Madness and THE LAST MAN, along with THE FORGOTTEN by David Baldacci (which will be reviewed on the site next week). Enter by Friday, November 30th at noon ET for your chance to win.

This weekend normally would have me in Miami for the Miami Book Fair, but some obligations have kept me in the chilly north instead of warm and wonderful Miami. I would like to interview readers who attend the Fair about their experiences. If you are going and are game to chime in with your comments, shoot me a note and I will get my questions to you. I love when readers participate on the site like this! Greg was in Miami to moderate our Teacher Fun Day event on Thursday; a quick trip for him and a chance to speak to some very enthusiastic teachers and introduce them to four authors who talked about inspiring creativity. He also loved 24 hours without a jacket! Cory is off at Model UN this weekend, which is one of his favorite school-related activities. Tom and I will be pondering the next phase of the backyard project that is making me feel like I am in an episode of a show on HGTV but without the experts making a miracle happen in 24 hours!

We’ll be back next week on Wednesday with an early newsletter so the staff can enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday, which I confess has crept up on me! Hope your plans are more under control than mine.

Happy reading….read faster than usual to keep up with our accelerated pace this week!

Carol Fitzgerald (

PS. When you use the links below to purchase books, you also support as we have affiliate arrangements with each of them. Please consider this when shopping for books online!
Now in Stores: THE LAST MAN by Vince Flynn

THE LAST MAN by Vince Flynn (Thriller)
Joe Rickman, head of CIA clandestine operations in Afghanistan, has been kidnapped and his four bodyguards executed in cold blood. But Mitch Rapp wonders if something even more sinister is afoot. Irene Kennedy, director of the CIA, has dispatched him to Afghanistan to find Rickman at all costs. Rapp, however, isn’t the only one looking for Rickman. It quickly becomes apparent that the FBI is less concerned with finding Rickman than placing the blame on Rapp. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: SWEET TOOTH by Ian McEwan

SWEET TOOTH by Ian McEwan (Historical Romance)
Set in 1972 during the Cold War, England's legendary intelligence agency MI5 embarks on an operation code-named "Sweet Tooth" to fund writers whose politics align with those of the government. Cambridge student Serena Frome is hired to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer named Tom Haley. But when she begins to fall in love with him, she wonders how long she can conceal her undercover life. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here for the reading group guide.
Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to read Ian McEwan’s bio.
-Click here to read more in our One to Watch Author Spotlight.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: ANGELS AT THE TABLE by Debbie Macomber

ANGELS AT THE TABLE: A Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy Christmas Story by Debbie Macomber (Fiction)
Shirley, Goodness and Mercy know that an angel’s work is never done, especially during a time as wondrous as New Year’s Eve. With an apprentice angel, Will, under their wings, they descend upon Times Square in New York City eager to join in the festivities. And when Will spies two lonely strangers in the crowd, he decides midnight is the perfect time to lend a heavenly helping hand. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

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

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: BRAIN ON FIRE by Susannah Cahalan

BRAIN ON FIRE: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan (Memoir)
BRAIN ON FIRE is the powerful account of Susannah Cahalan’s struggle to recapture her identity and to rediscover herself among the fragments left behind. Using all her considerable journalistic skills --- and building from hospital records and surveillance video, interviews with family and friends, and excerpts from the deeply moving journal her father kept during her illness --- she pieces together the story of a “lost month” of her life. Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.
New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Andrew Britton, Author of THE OPERATIVE

We have 25 copies of THE OPERATIVE by Andrew Britton, which will be available in paperback on November 27th, 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, November 29th at noon ET.

THE OPERATIVE by Andrew Britton (Thriller)
After more than a decade on the deadly front lines of the war on terror, Ryan Kealey believes he’s finally put danger behind him --- and some of his demons to rest. But his calm is shattered when he’s swept into a merciless terror attack during a charity gala in downtown Baltimore. Among the dozens of casualties is the wife of CIA Deputy Director John Harper. With normal channels of investigation obstructed, Harper turns to Kealey, the one man with the resources, expertise --- and freedom from government interference --- to pursue the awful truth.

Following a string of secrets and violence, Kealey blazes a trail from the confines of the innermost chambers of government and big business to the dimmest reaches of the human psyche, forced to match wits with a new nemesis aided by new allies, each with a unique agenda. Slowly, Kealey unspools an unimaginable conspiracy that suggests America may in fact be its own worst enemy.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Andrew Britton’s bio.
-Click here to visit Andrew Britton’s official website.

Click here to read more in our Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight and enter to win a copy. Contest: A VERY Special Opportunity for 250 Book Groups --- Win Copies of HOME FRONT by Kristin Hannah for Your Entire Group! is currently offering a very special opportunity to our readers. 250 book clubs have the chance to win a hardcover copy of HOME FRONT by Kristin Hannah --- which releases in paperback on January 8th --- for each member of their group (up to 20), provided that they agree to discuss the book at their January or February meeting; email friends and tell them about the book; and post comments or feedback about the book and/or their discussion on Kristin Hannah’s Facebook page, the blog on, their personal Facebook pages, Twitter accounts or blogs. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, November 20th at noon ET. If you already entered this giveaway as a Registered Book Group, please do not enter again.

HOME FRONT by Kristin Hannah (Fiction)
Like many couples, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have to face the pressures of everyday life --- children, careers, bills, chores --- even as their 12-year marriage is falling apart. Then an unexpected deployment sends Jolene deep into harm’s way and leaves defense attorney Michael at home, unaccustomed to being a single parent to their two girls. As a mother, it agonizes Jolene to leave her family, but as a solider she has always understood the true meaning of duty. In her letters home, she paints a rose-colored version of her life on the front lines, shielding her family from the truth. But war will change Jolene in ways that none of them could have foreseen. When tragedy strikes, Michael must face his darkest fear and fight a battle of his own --- for everything that matters to his family.

-Click here to read a review.
Click here for the reading group guide.

Click here to read all the contest details.
Now in Stores: DEAR LIFE by Alice Munro

DEAR LIFE: Stories by Alice Munro (Fiction/Short Stories)
Alice Munro’s peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but always spacious and timeless stories is once again apparent everywhere in her new collection. In story after story, she illumines the moment a life is forever altered by a chance encounter or an action not taken, or by a simple twist of fate that turns a person out of his or her accustomed path and into a new way of being or thinking. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: MEET ME AT EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE CLAIM by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella

MEET ME AT EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE CLAIM by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella (Humor/Essays)
Lisa Scottoline and her daughter, Francesca Serritella, explore all manner of topics in their latest book. They're both Harvard graduates, avid animal lovers, and passionate about life. But the two generations sometimes clash in their attitudes and approaches. Add in Mother Mary, the eighty-something matriarch of the Flying Scottoline clan, and this is a recipe for enjoyable reading, complete with humor, occasional crankiness, and plenty of love.Reviewed by Carole Turner.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: ROAD TO NOWHERE by Jim Fusilli

ROAD TO NOWHERE by Jim Fusilli (Thriller)
For years the drifter haunted the background of American life, roaming the side streets and highways that crisscross this vast country. That all changes when he witnesses a brutal assault on a young woman. By the time he reaches her, the assailant is gone, leaving a trail that is all too easy to follow. But playing the good Samaritan may be more trouble than it’s worth, when his moment of conscience hurls him into a shadowy world of violence, intrigue and deception. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to visit Jim Fusilli's official website.

Click here to read a review.
New Guides Now Available on

The following new guides now appear on

by Tanis Rideout: ABOVE ALL THINGS tells the harrowing story of George Mallory’s third and final attempt to summit Mount Everest in 1924.
ANOTHER PIECE OF MY HEART by Jane Green: From the New York Times bestselling author of JEMIMA J and THE BEACH HOUSE comes Jane Green’s most emotional and powerful novel yet: a story that explores the complications of a woman marrying into a ready-made family.
FLIGHT BEHAVIOR by Barbara Kingsolver: From the New York Times bestselling author comes a suspenseful and brilliant new novel about catastrophe and denial, which explores the complexities that lead us to believe in our chosen truths.
LUNCH WITH BUDDHA by Roland Merullo: Funny at times, heartbreaking at others, LUNCH WITH BUDDHA --- the sequel to BREAKFAST WITH BUDDHA --- is a funny spiritual road trip through the American Northwest.
ODDLY NORMAL: One Family's Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms with His Sexuality by John Schwartz: ODDLY NORMAL is a heartfelt memoir by the father of a gay teen, and an eye-opening story for families who hope to bring up well-adjusted gay adults.
THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK: Movie Tie-in Edition by Matthew Quick: This heartwarming debut novel --- and now a major motion picture starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro --- is about a man who can find a silver lining in even the most challenging situation.
SWEET TOOTH by Ian McEwan: In this stunning new novel, Ian McEwan’s first female protagonist since ATONEMENT is about to learn that espionage is the ultimate seduction.
A TRAIN IN WINTER: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France by Caroline Moorehead: In January 1943, 230 women of the French Resistance were sent to the death camps by the Nazis who had invaded and occupied their country. This is their story, told in full for the first time.

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

CARRY THE ONE by Carol Anshaw: This stunning, break-out achievement has been hailed by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of ROOM, for presenting “passion and addiction, guilt and damage, all the beautiful mess of family life. CARRY THE ONE will lift readers off their feet and bear them along on its eloquent tide.”
HISTORY OF A PLEASURE SEEKER by Richard Mason: Piet Barol has an instinctive appreciation for pleasure and a gift for finding it. He applies for a job as tutor to the son of Europe’s leading hotelier, and soon finds his life transformed as he in turn transforms the lives of those around him.
THE WINTER PALACE: A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak: THE WINTER PALACE tells the epic story of Catherine the Great’s improbable rise to power --- as seen through the ever-watchful eyes of an all-but-invisible servant close to the throne.

Click here to visit
This Week’s Reviews

MERRY CHRISTMAS, ALEX CROSS by James Patterson (Thriller)
On Christmas Eve, Detective Alex Cross is informed that a horrific hostage situation is quickly spiraling out of control. Away from his own family on the most precious of days, Alex calls upon every ounce of his training, creativity and daring to save another family. He risks everything --- and may not make it back alive on this most sacred of family days. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

THE SCROLL by Anne Perry (Bibliomystery)
Monty Danforth finds the tin buried beneath a shipment of leather-bound classics. Inside is a millennia-old vellum manuscript written in an unfamiliar but unmistakably ancient language. Danforth tries to photocopy and photograph it, but he ends up with blank images, as though the ink were made of something impervious to modern technology. As the scroll’s mystery enchants him, this hapless bookseller falls into a cutthroat conspiracy that he may never escape. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE BOOK OF VIRTUE by Ken Bruen (Bibliomystery)
The narrator’s father has died, and his only inheritance is a heavy, leather-bound book. He has never seen it before and has trouble believing that his brutal, ignorant father ever touched something so beautiful. But the volume is well-thumbed, full of aphorisms and advice written in the dead man’s hand. Soon after he reads it, the son finds his life spiraling out of control. If he doesn’t want to follow Daddy to the grave, he had best heed the lessons of the book. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Lyle and Juan are thugs who take Paul Parker hostage. Once a fine lawyer, Parker’s enthusiasm has slipped with age, and criminals like Lyle are part of the reason for his disillusionment. Years after they last saw each other in court, Lyle is convinced that Parker owes him something. At gunpoint, Lyle and Juan make Parker lead them to the old Angler ranch, to open up a hidden library whose volumes hold the secret to forgotten riches, and the strangest war profiteering scheme to ever come out of the Great Plains. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE LAWGIVER by Herman Wouk (Fiction)
Margo Solovei is a brilliant young writer-director who has rejected her rabbinical father’s strict Jewish upbringing to pursue a career in the arts. When an Australian multibillionaire promises to finance a movie about Moses if the script meets certain standards, Margo does everything she can to land the job, including a reunion with her estranged first love, an influential lawyer with whom she still has unfinished business. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

LISTENING FOR MADELEINE: A Portrait of Madeleine L'Engle in Many Voices by Leonard S. Marcus (Biography)
Madeleine L’Engle is best known to the world as the author of A WRINKLE IN TIME. But to those who knew her well, L’Engle was much more: a larger-than-life persona, an inspiring mentor, a strong-willed matriarch, a spiritual guide, and a rare friend. Renowned literary historian and biographer Leonard S. Marcus reveals L’Engle in all her complexity through a series of incisive interviews with the people who knew her most intimately. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

MAGNIFICENCE by Lydia Millet (Fiction)
Susan Lindley is a woman adrift after her husband’s death. Suddenly gifted her great uncle’s Pasadena mansion, Susan decides to restore his extensive collection of preserved animals, tending to “the fur and feathers, the beaks, the bones and shimmering tails.” Meanwhile, a menagerie of uniquely damaged humans --- including a cheating husband and a chorus of eccentric elderly women --- joins her in residence. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE VENICE CONSPIRACY by Sam Christer (Thriller)
When ex-priest Tom Shaman heads to Venice for a last-minute trip, he finds himself in the midst of a series of brutal, ritualistic killings. Teaming up with young investigator Valentina Morassi, the pair dive into the city’s darkest history --- from an ancient civilization to the gritty underworld of modern-day Venice --- and uncover a deadly secret that generations have killed to protect.Reviewed by Ray Palen.

COLD LIGHT by Jenn Ashworth (Psychological Thriller)
COLD LIGHT is the story of one terrible summer when lies, secrets, jealousy and perversion result in tragedy more twisted and evil than one unsuspecting community can handle. A dark tale with a surreal edge, it follows two 14-year-old best friends as they confront the dangers of a predatory adult world, where truth is cruelly sacrificed in the name of innocence. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

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!

HOME FRONT by Kristin Hannah
We currently are offering a very special opportunity to our readers. 250 book clubs have the chance to win a hardcover copy of HOME FRONT by Kristin Hannah --- which releases in paperback on January 8th --- for each member of their group (up to 20), provided that they agree to discuss the book at their January or February meeting; email friends and tell them about the book; and post comments or feedback about the book and/or their discussion on Kristin Hannah’s Facebook page, the blog on, their personal Facebook pages, Twitter accounts or blogs. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, November 20th at noon ET.

ABOVE ALL THINGS by Tanis Rideout
We are celebrating the forthcoming release of ABOVE ALL THINGS --- Tanis Rideout’s debut novel that tells the harrowing story of George Mallory’s third and final attempt to summit Mount Everest in 1924 --- 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 February 12th, for their group. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, December 5th at noon ET.

“What Are You Reading?” Monthly Contest Feature
Let us know what your group is reading in November, and you’ll be entered in a giveaway to win multiple copies of a book for your group! Our latest prize book is THE PARIS WIFE, Paula McLain’s bestselling novel that captures the love affair between Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Hadley. We have 12 copies of the book, which will be available in paperback on November 27th, to give away to three groups. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, December 5th at noon ET.

Registered Book Club Promotion
For November, we have a very special opportunity for Registered Book Groups. Our featured title this month is ANOTHER PIECE OF MY HEART by Jane Green, and we will be giving away copies to 350 groups who agree to read and discuss the book in February or March. Groups that have registered with us by Monday, November 26th at noon ET will have the chance to win. If your group is not registered with, click here to register.

Fierce Reads
This month, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group gets Fierce...again! Fierce Reads is an online home and a brand where teens can interact with books they love and be a part of the discovery of new books. Fierce Reads will promote books across all of Macmillan's publishing divisions, with a mix of debut and well-known authors. To celebrate the release of six books that are being featured in this exciting campaign, we're giving five readers the opportunity to win them all!

Word of Mouth
Send us your current reading recommendations with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. This contest period, one teen reader will be randomly chosen to win a copy of PERRY'S KILLER PLAYLIST by Joe Schreiber and REACHED: Matched Trilogy, Book 3 by Ally Condie. The deadline for entries is Friday, November 30th at noon ET.’s Monthly Contest
In our latest monthly contest, 50 readers will receive a copy of COURTING CATE, the first installment in Leslie Gould's The Courtships of Lancaster County series. The deadline for entries is Monday, December 10th at noon ET.
This Week’s Poll

When do you start your holiday shopping?

I already started.

I already am done.

I start right before Thanksgiving.

I start right after Thanksgiving.

I wait until December.

I wait until the absolute last minute.

I do not do holiday shopping.

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 November 9th to November 30th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of BRAIN ON FIRE: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan, THE FORGOTTEN by David Baldacci, and THE LAST MAN by Vince Flynn.

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.

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


Click here to enter the contest.

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