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November 15, 2013 Newsletter November 15, 2013
Lists and Following the Calendar

People always ask how I get so much done. For starters, I am a compulsive list maker. Everything goes on lists. I do not keep my calendar in Outlook or in any other handy calendar-type program. Instead, it’s on an Excel spreadsheet. Seriously. I have found this the easiest way for me to fluidly handle work and personal tasks. By this time of year, the Excel calendar for next year has been set up, and I already am transferring timely items like “prune roses” and “buy bulbs for holiday plants” --- tasks I would forget to do if not reminded. I know it sounds like I am some version of Martha Stewart, but I am not!

Last year, I was at the garden center in late November all ready to buy their fabulous double amaryllis bulbs, only to find that there was just one left. I moved that item back to mid-October, and this year I got to the garden center the weekend the store started selling them. This system is not without its failings. Last year, I failed to move birthdays from one year to the next, and thus I spent the entire year buying belated cards.

This calendar typically is backed up to an off-site server, so I always have access to it, no matter what computer I am working on. Last Thursday night, I failed to do that, and of course this is when my laptop chose to have “issues” and not turn on. I thought it was battery related, so I ordered a battery to be shipped to arrive overnight and hunkered down over my desktop. The new battery arrived Saturday, and the laptop still would not boot up. I have a pretty good memory, so I was trying to recall what my upcoming week was like “just in case.” I had a good list of lunch and evening events filled in, except for what was happening on Tuesday for lunch. Thus, as I trimmed plants and did other tasks, I kept thinking TUESDAY. I finally remembered it on Sunday (the day Mercury moved from retrograde, something longtime readers know about). Also on Sunday, I took the new battery off, put it on again, hit the power button, and the laptop turned on. The first thing I did was to back up my calendar!

Last week, I wrote that in my blitz cleanup of the house, I had unearthed a number of small hotel-sized toiletry items, and I was wondering what to do with them. I woke up Saturday to find dozens of emails from you with suggestions, including donations to battered women’s and homeless shelters, both of which are such great ideas. Thank you to all who wrote; I think I answered everyone personally! I really appreciate the terrific advice and feedback that I have received from our readers through the years.

This week was a busy one as we are juggling end-of-year plans at the office along with strategy sessions for what we want to bring you next year. I am HOPING that in the next two weeks we will wrap up a four-year project to move all of our websites to the new platform that you have been enjoying on for the last two years; the last site to move is, which will have a lot of new programming on it. My best holiday present would be to have this behind me and just think about books, authors and features.

Speaking of which, with our commitment to bring you more nonfiction, including history-related books, we have three features for you this week.

Next Friday, November 22nd, marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s death; I confess it’s hard for me to believe it’s been 50 years. In the week leading up to the commemoration of the assassination that shocked the world, we’ve created a bookshelf displaying 20 books all about JFK’s life, death, career and legacy, along with some of the assassination theories floating out there. No matter what you believe happened on that fateful November afternoon in Dallas, these titles will help us better understand the life and times of our charismatic 35th President. I doff my hat to Tom Donadio, our intrepid Editorial Director, for curating this bookshelf so cleverly from suggestions culled by our intern, Nate Einhorn. Each row in the bookshelf has a different theme.

Releasing this week is EGYPTOMANIA: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs, in which author Bob Brier explores the burning fascination with all things Egyptian and the events that fanned the flames --- from ancient times, to Napoleon's Egyptian campaign, to the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb by Howard Carter in the 1920s. To celebrate its release, the author was kind enough to write this piece for us about his 10 favorite fiction and nonfiction books on ancient Egypt. He is quick to point out that “[t]hese are fun reads rather than authoritative scholarship.” We’ve done a few of these author-curated features now, and we look forward to bringing you more.

And….we’ve updated our History Books Roundup: Reliving the Past feature for November. My son, Greg, has selected a number of hardcover and paperback titles releasing this month that especially caught his eye. Among the books we’re featuring this month are GEORGE WASHINGTON’S SECRET SIX: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger; 1963: THE YEAR OF THE REVOLUTION: How Youth Changed the World with Music, Art, and Fashion by Robin Morgan and Ariel Leve, and GUINNESS: The Greatest Brewery on Earth --- Its History, People, and Beer by Tony Corcoran. Click here for all of November’s featured History titles.

And here’s what else is on tap this week….

Mitch Albom
, whose numerous bestsellers include TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE and THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN, is back with his latest novel, THE FIRST PHONE CALL FROM HEAVEN. Residents of a small American town become the center of the world’s attention when departed loved ones begin calling them. Searching for meaning in his own grief, Sully Harding --- a single father --- decides to investigate the calls and their origins. Reviewer Lynda Lee Schab says, “Albom has crafted a powerful and page-turning tale. I spent the first three-quarters wondering how in the world the story would play out, and the twist at the end was a pleasant surprise.” Click here for the reading group guide, which we recently posted on

The latest installment in Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series is DUST. Here, Scarpetta’s husband has been instated on the case of a serial killer in the nation’s capital. Meanwhile, a link to the DC case crops up with the murder of a young woman at MIT. Soon, investigators realize there are more connections, but also conflicts, all of which indicate that the killer is more dangerous and present than they believed. Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum has our review and says, “As always, Patricia Cornwell gives her readers enough clues and red herrings to keep them guessing until the end…. Fans will not be able to put the book down, and newcomers will find themselves in a new world of crime fiction.”

Martin Cruz Smith
’s newest Arkady Renko thriller, TATIANA
, follows the investigator as he is haunted by recordings of Tatiana Petrovna, a journalist who has just fallen to her death in Moscow. Captured by the tapes of her voice and their description of terrible crimes, Arkady follows their trail to Kaliningrad, a lost city of the Cold War, where an even deeper mystery is revealed --- all hinging on the personal code of a dead translator. According to reviewer Roz Shea, “TATIANA is one of the most tightly plotted and atmospheric novels in the 32 years since GORKY PARK when Arkady Renko became an iconic figure in crime detection history.”

Edited by bestselling author Ann Hood, KNITTING YARNS: Writers on Knitting is a collection of essays from 27 writers who share their love for the craft and perspectives on life. Including pieces from Elizabeth Berg, Sue Grafton, Barbara Kingsolver, Ann Patchett and many others, this book gets to the heart of why people who love knitting and people who love literature are often one and the same. Reviewer Sarah Rachel Egelman calls KNITTING YARNS “thoughtful and entertaining. The voices of these beloved writers are personal and engaging, and the book is being published just in time to give to your favorite knitter --- the one who always makes you such thoughtful knitted gifts.” I am reading this one essay at a time and am thinking it would sell wildly in yarn stores, as well as book shops. Knitters also may want to explore Ann’s novel, THE KNITTING CIRCLE.

Last week, we wrapped up our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight of THE WHOLE GOLDEN WORLD by Kristina Riggle with our review and interview. This week, I’m happy to announce it as my latest Bets On selection. Click here to see why I’m betting you’ll love the book just as much as I did.

Our Holiday Cheer contests kicked off this week. On select days this holiday season, we’re posting a number of 24-hour contests that will give you the opportunity to win some fabulous books. As always, we’ll be sending our special Holiday Cheer newsletter on the days when there are contests. If you would like to sign up for these email alerts, click here. For our first week, we gave away MRS. POE by Lynn Cullen, THE RETURNED by Jason Mott and TAKE ME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: A Whiskey Creek Novel by Brenda Novak. Next week’s prize books will be THE CHRISTMAS ANGEL by Jane Maas, MORNING GLORY by Sarah Jio and TUSCAN ROSE by Belinda Alexandra. Our first giveaway of the week will go live on Tuesday, November 19th at noon ET. You can see the complete list of Holiday Cheer titles here, which are perfect for gift giving and gift receiving!

Our giveaway of THE VANISHING continues for one more week. Wendy Webb’s upcoming novel of paranormal suspense (which I thought was very well done) tells the story of a young woman named Julia, who is enticed with a mysterious job offer as a companion to an aging famous horror author long believed to be dead. When she takes the position and moves to Havenwood, she learns that its walls are filled with secrets. The book doesn’t release until January 21st, but we have 25 advance copies to give away to those who would like to read and comment on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, November 21st at noon ET.

Also continuing from last week is our Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight of Mary Burton, whose latest effort, NO ESCAPE, is now in stores. Everything about the investigation into serial killer Harvey Lee Smith is unnerving Jolene Granger, the psychologist called in to evaluate him. Meanwhile, Harvey's protégé is growing bolder and more vicious every day. And soon the trail of shallow graves will lead them to the last place Jo expected, and to the most terrifying truth of all. If you would like to be one of 25 readers who will win a copy of the book and submit comments on it, then simply fill out this form by Thursday, November 21st at noon ET.

With the holidays fast approaching (it’s going to be a “compressed” holiday season this year with a very late Thanksgiving that coincides with the start of Hanukkah), we’d love to know about your holiday shopping plans. When are you planning to start this year? And if you’re giving books as presents, when exactly will you shop for them? Please be sure to let us know over the next three weeks by voting in our poll!

In our previous poll, we asked what percentage of your book reading had been done via eBooks this past month. A whopping 1,137 readers answered (thank you for that!), and the results are in. It turns out that 40% of you only read print books, while 16% of you only read eBooks. Click here for the full breakdown.

We have a new Word of Mouth contest starting today. Let us know the books you’ve read, and you’ll be in the running to win these three upcoming titles: KING AND MAXWELL by David Baldacci, SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STORY by Joshilyn Jackson and THE SUPREME MACARONI COMPANY by Adriana Trigiani. You can enter the contest by filling out the form found on this page by Friday, December 6th at noon ET.

Note that Miami Book Fair International, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, begins this Sunday, November 17th with six nights of “Evenings With” programming. The Inaugural author who kicks things off is Dan Brown on Sunday night, and the week of evening events includes pairings of Erica Jong and Jennifer Weiner, Pat Conroy and Cassandra King, as well as Wally Lamb, Sherman Alexie, Carl Hiaasen, Terry McMillan, Joe Scarborough, and a whole list of other authors that you can see here. The Street Fair happens from the 22nd through the 24th, and the full schedule of events can be seen here and the authors who will be there here. Let me know if you will be there.

Last Friday night, I coaxed my husband to go shopping with me, which is something we did a lot on Friday nights, pre-kids, but rarely do any more. He had recently read --- and enjoyed --- THE BILLIONAIRE AND THE MECHANIC: How Larry Ellison and a Car Mechanic Teamed Up to Win Sailing's Greatest Race, the America's Cup by Julian Guthrie. Besides the technical aspects of creating a book for the America’s Cup, which were fascinating, Tom was amused that Ellison keeps a complete wardrobe of the same clothes at each of his homes, so he never needs to pack. I have heard a lot of “Ellison-isms” in the past week, the sign of a good book!

Last night, I attended a benefit at Saks Fifth Avenue for Taylor's Gift, a fabulous charity that supports organ donation. Back in April, I met Tara Storch and Todd Storch, the authors of TAYLOR’S GIFT, which shares the story that inspired the charity: the death of their daughter who died tragically in a ski accident, but whose organs went to five recipients, assuring them that they would live and enjoy better lives. Tara and Todd have become friends, and I am grateful to them for making me more aware of the importance of organ donation. I thought of them this week when I watched a documentary on HBO as part of their Fall Documentary Series called “Tales from the Organ Trade.”

I just started reading --- and am enjoying --- YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN by Jean Hanff Korelitz, which will be published in March 2014. Operation Cleanup continues here at the house this weekend. Lots of tasks on my Excel spreadsheet calendar. Read on…and enjoy your week!

Carol Fitzgerald (

Now in Stores: THE FIRST PHONE CALL FROM HEAVEN by Mitch Albom

THE FIRST PHONE CALL FROM HEAVEN tells the story of a small town on Lake Michigan that gets worldwide attention when its citizens start receiving phone calls from the afterlife. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, is determined to find out. Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here for the reading group guide.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: DUST by Patricia Cornwell

DUST: A Scarpetta Novel by Patricia Cornwell (Thriller)
The body of a young woman named Gail Shipton has been discovered on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's rugby field. Physical evidence links the case to a series of uniquely weird homicides in Washington, D.C., where Kay Scarpetta's FBI husband has been deployed to help capture a serial killer dubbed the Capital Murderer. The cases all connect and yet seem to conflict. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.
Honoring the 50th Anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s Assassination: 20 Books About JFK’s Life, Death and Legacy
The life and death of President John F. Kennedy is a defining moment in American history. People still talk about where they were when they heard the news, and they usually can recount their personal story in depth. Fifty years after his assassination, scholars, government officials and tin hat-wearing Bigfoot enthusiasts continue their efforts to solve the mystery: who exactly was John F. Kennedy? Over the decades, fact has melded with fiction as this man is remembered.

As we recognize the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s death, we have collected some of the newest and most exciting books about the man behind the myth. These works examine Kennedy as a statesman, a father, a friend and, above all, an incredibly complex, flawed and ultimately human figure. The arguments over Kennedy’s progressive politics, dramatic family life, and what exactly happened behind that grassy knoll in Dallas continue to inspire fiery debate. While the truth may never be known, there are plenty of answers --- and plenty of stories. And there are moments we still wonder what would have happened if he had lived.

Click here to see our bookshelf honoring the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination.
Now in Stores: TATIANA by Martin Cruz Smith

TATIANA: An Arkady Renko Novel by Martin Cruz Smith (Mystery)
Arkady Renko has survived the cultural journey from the Soviet Union to the New Russia, only to find the nation as obsessed with secrecy and brutality as was the old Communist dictatorship. In TATIANA, the melancholy hero --- cynical, analytical and quietly subversive --- unravels a mystery as complex and dangerous as modern Russia itself. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

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

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: KNITTING YARNS edited by Ann Hood

KNITTING YARNS: Writers on Knitting edited by Ann Hood (Essays)
Why does knitting occupy a place in the hearts of so many writers? What’s so magical and transformative about yarn and needles? How does knitting help us get through life-changing events and inspire joy? In KNITTING YARNS, 27 writers --- including Anita Shreve, Elizabeth Berg, Ann Patchett and Barbara Kingsolver --- tell stories about how knitting healed, challenged, or helped them to grow. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.
Special Contest: Win an Advance Copy of THE VANISHING by Wendy Webb --- and Share Your Comments On It

We are celebrating the January 21st release of THE VANISHING by Wendy Webb with a special contest that will give 25 readers the opportunity to win an advance copy of the book and submit their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, November 21st at noon ET.

THE VANISHING by Wendy Webb (Paranormal Mystery/Suspense)
Just as Julia Bishop’s life is collapsing around her, a stranger appears on her doorstep with an intriguing job offer --- he asks Julia to be a companion for his elderly mother, the famous and rather eccentric horror novelist Amaris Sinclair, whom Julia has always admired...and who the whole world thinks is dead. Julia jumps at the chance for a fresh start.

But when she arrives at Havenwood, the Sinclairs’ magnificent, centuries-old estate in the middle of the wilderness near Lake Superior, she begins to suspect her too-good-to-be-true job offer is exactly that. Mysteries and secrets haunt the halls of Havenwood and the forest beyond. Why did Amaris Sinclair choose to vanish from the public eye more than a decade earlier? What are the whispers Julia hears? And why, exactly, was Julia brought to Havenwood in the first place. For answers, Julia turns to Drew McCullough, the great-grandson of the mysterious Scottish nobleman who built Havenwood. Together, they realize something sinister and very close to her own family history is quickening out of the past.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Wendy Webb’s bio.
-Visit Wendy Webb’s official website and blog.
-Connect with Wendy Webb on Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to enter the contest.
Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight & Contest: NO ESCAPE by Mary Burton

We have 25 copies of NO ESCAPE by Mary Burton, which is now in stores, 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 21st at noon ET.

NO ESCAPE by Mary Burton (Romantic Suspense)
Even behind bars, serial killer Harvey Lee Smith exudes menace. Psychologist Jolene Granger has agreed to hear his dying confession, vowing not to let the monster inside her head. And Harvey has secrets to share --- about bodies that were never found, and about the apprentice who is continuing his grisly work...

He buries his victims alive the way his mentor Harvey did, relishing their final screams as the earth rains down. And as one last gift to the only father he knew, he'll make the most perfect kill of all.

Everything about this investigation is unnerving Jo, from Harvey's fascination with her to the fact that she's working alongside Texas Ranger Brody Winchester, her ex-husband. Harvey's protégé is growing bolder and more vicious every day. And soon the trail of shallow graves will lead them to the last place Jo expected, and to the most terrifying truth of all...

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Mary Burton’s bio.
-Click here to visit Mary Burton’s official website.
-Click here to read more about Mary Burton on the publisher’s website.
-Connect with Mary Burton on Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to read more in our Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight and enter the contest.
Special Feature: Egyptomania! Author Bob Brier Recommends His Top Ten Books on Ancient Egypt
In stores now is EGYPTOMANIA: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs, in which author Bob Brier explores the burning fascination with all things Egyptian and the events that fanned the flames --- from ancient times, to Napoleon's Egyptian campaign, to the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb by Howard Carter in the 1920s. For 40 years, Brier, one of the world’s foremost Egyptologists, has been amassing one of the largest collections of Egyptian memorabilia and seeking to understand the pull of ancient Egypt on our world today.

To celebrate the release of EGYPTOMANIA, Brierhas written a wonderful piece for about his 10 favorite fiction and nonfiction books on ancient Egypt. These selections, as he points out, are "fun reads rather than authoritative scholarship.”

Click here to see Bob Brier's "Egyptomania" feature.’s History Books Roundup for November
In many ways, history defines us. When we can examine where we have been, we often can see a path to the future. Whether we’re reading books about battles and wars, political and personal triumphs and failures, or tales of places and moments that were significant, stories built on history give us a chance to assess the past with a new perspective. In this monthly feature, we take a look at some of the hardcover and paperback releases in the history genre that we think will be of interest to our readers.

Once again, our very own Greg Fitzgerald has compiled a number of history titles that he believes are worth taking a closer look at. Among these November releases are THE DISCOVERY OF MIDDLE EARTH: Mapping the Lost World of the Celts by Graham Robb, GEORGE WASHINGTON’S SECRET SIX: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger, 1963: THE YEAR OF THE REVOLUTION: How Youth Changed the World with Music, Art, and Fashion by Robin Morgan and Ariel Leve, and GUINNESS: The Greatest Brewery on Earth --- Its History, People, and Beer by Tony Corcoran.
Click here to see our History Books roundup for November.'s Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature
At, we kick off the holiday season in style with our Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature. As our gift to you, on select days in November and December, we will spotlight a book and give five lucky readers a chance to win it. You have to visit the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter the contest. If you think you will forget to check the site, no worries: we also send a special newsletter to announce the day's title. If you would like to sign up for these email alerts, click here.

This year's featured titles are:

Our next prize book will be announced on Tuesday, November 19th at noon ET.

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Miami Book Fair International from November 17-24
Enjoy the 30th edition of Miami Book Fair International, the nation’s finest and largest literary gathering presented by the Florida Center for the Literary Arts at Miami Dade College.

Come see hundreds of great authors like Mitch Albom, Sherman Alexie, Dave Barry, Dan Brown, Meg Cabot, Pat Conroy, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Carl Hiaasen, Ann Hood, Cassandra King, Wally Lamb, Joyce Maynard, Terry McMillan, Ridley Pearson and Amy Tan. Click here to see the complete list of authors who will be in attendance.

There will be a number of intriguing panel discussions and conversations on literature, politics and more. They include "The Shots Still Echo: The Assassination of JFK," "Spinning Yarns: Authors on Knitting," "After the Apple e-Book Decision: The New World of Book Publishing and Book Selling," "Transforming Community" and "GLBTQ: Politics/Marriage/Religion."

On Friday, November 22nd, the Street Fair gets underway. The highlight is the Festival of Authors, with more than 350 authors reading and discussing their work. During Street Fair weekend, more than 250 publishers and booksellers exhibit and sell books, with special features like the antiquarians, who showcase signed first editions, original manuscripts and other collectibles.

-Click here for the full schedule of events.
Click here for more information about Miami Book Fair International.
More Reviews This Week

STELLA BAIN by Anita Shreve (Historical Fiction)
During World War I, a woman with an American accent who was found dressed in a British nurse's aide uniform awakens in a French field hospital, with no memories of how she got there and no idea of who she might be. Tentatively dubbing herself "Stella Bain," she is compelled to head for London where she believes she'll find clues to unravel the mystery of her identity. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

I AM MALALA: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb (Memoir)
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was 15, she was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school. Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol.

THE SECOND-CHANCE DOG: A Love Story by Jon Katz (Memoir)
Most men go courting with roses, wine and chocolates. But not dog-lover and prolific author Jon Katz, whose choice is beef jerky. He is a man with a mission: to woo and win Maria Wulf, an emotionally fragile artist who has lost confidence in her art. Maria owns a rottweiler-shepherd mix who does not like men and will not let anyone near her owner. Katz has his work cut out for him. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

A PERMANENT MEMBER OF THE FAMILY by Russell Banks (Fiction/Short Stories)
Suffused with Russell Banks's trademark lyricism and reckless humor, the 12 stories in A PERMANENT MEMBER OF THE FAMILY examine the myriad ways we try --- and sometimes fail --- to connect with one another, as we seek a home in the world. The book charts with subtlety and precision the ebb and flow of both the families we make for ourselves and the ones we're born into, as it asks how we know the ones we love and, in turn, ourselves. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

SILENCING EVE: An Eve Duncan Novel by Iris Johansen (Thriller)
In TAKING EVE, the game began. In HUNTING EVE, the chase was on. Now, in SILENCING EVE, the prey is cornered. Will Eve Duncan survive? Will those she loves take the fall with her? And will the secrets of Eve’s past ultimately become her undoing? All these questions will be answered in a shocking, you-never-saw-it-coming conclusion. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

SENSE & SENSIBILITY by Joanna Trollope (Fiction)
Jane Austen’s classic tale of two sisters --- one eminently reasonable, the other deeply romantic --- has already yielded one fine movie, three miniseries, and a parody novel awash in sea monsters. Now it’s been catapulted into the 21st century by a veteran British writer, with results that confirm its enduring fascination. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

BURIAL RITES by Hannah Kent (Historical Thriller)
Charged with the brutal murder of two men, Agnes Magnusdottir has been removed from her homeland’s farthest reaches to an isolated farm in northern Iceland to await execution. BURIAL RITES, Hannah Kent’s debut novel, deftly recounts the final days of the last woman executed in Iceland. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

PURGATORY: A Jack Taylor Novel by Ken Bruen (Mystery/Thriller)
Recovering from the severe mental and physical wounds inflicted from his recent past, former cop Jack Taylor has finally found a modicum of peace. Yet this fragile existence is threatened when a vigilante killer begins targeting the scum of Galway, signing mysterious notes with the moniker “C 33.” The killer addresses these cryptic letters to Jack, trying to goad him into joining the murderous spree. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE LAST COWBOY: A Life of Tom Landry by Mark Ribowsky (Biography)
More than a decade after Tom Landry's death, acclaimed sports biographer Mark Ribowsky finally takes a fresh look at this much-misunderstood legend. THE LAST COWBOY tells us as much about our country's fascination with football as it does about Landry himself. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

CITY OF LIES by R.J. Ellory (Thriller)
John Harper has just made a discovery: the father he believed to be dead for more than 30 years is alive, though lying in a coma in a Manhattan hospital. Harper finds himself seduced by a lifestyle that he seems to have inherited --- an underworld life of power, treachery and menace. As he desperately tries to uncover the facts of his own past, he becomes more and more entangled in a dark and shocking conspiracy. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

JUST WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU? by Paula Daly (Thriller)
During an impossibly hectic week, Lisa Kallisto takes her eye off the ball for a moment and her world descends into a living nightmare. Not only is her best friend’s 13-year-old daughter missing, but it’s Lisa’s fault. Wracked with guilt over her mistake, she sets out to right the wrong. As she begins digging under the surface, she learns that everything is not quite what it first appears to be. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

This Month’s Poll and Word of Mouth Contest


When are you planning to start your holiday shopping this year?

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.

Thinking about books as holiday presents, which best describes when you shop for them?

When I am doing the rest of my holiday shopping.
After most of my holiday shopping is done.
I make a special trip for buying books.
They are a last-minute purchase.
I buy them throughout the year.
I do not give books as holiday gifts.

Click here to answer the poll.

Word of Mouth:

Tell us your current reading recommendations with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from November 15th to December 6th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of KING AND MAXWELL by David Baldacci, SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY by Joshilyn Jackson, and THE SUPREME MACARONI COMPANY by Adriana Trigiani.

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.

Please note: You must enter your full address, using correct capitalization and filling in all fields if you would like to be eligible to win a prize.

Also, we realize that many times, your opinion of a book will change as you get further along into the story. Thus, to ensure that your comments and ratings accurately reflect your entire reading experience, we ask that you finish reading the book before you submit your comments about it.

One important technical note: If you're using an iPad or another iOS device to access the Word of Mouth page and you would like to enter the contest, you must wait for the page to fully load before you can rate your book. Only then will the stars be clickable.

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

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!

THE LOST ART OF MIXING by Erica Bauermeister
We are celebrating the paperback release of THE LOST ART OF MIXING by Erica Bauermeister --- a luminous sequel to THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS about the power of love, food and companionship --- with a special contest. 10 groups will have the opportunity to chat with Erica Bauermeister and receive up to 12 copies of the book, which is now available in paperback. The deadline for entries is Thursday, December 5th at noon ET.

We are celebrating the upcoming release of THE YELLOW EYES OF CROCODILES by Katherine Pancol, a hilariously entertaining mega-bestseller from France, with a special contest. 25 readers will have the opportunity to each win a copy of the book, which will be in stores on December 31st, for their group. The deadline for entries is Thursday, December 5th at noon ET.

THE RETURNED by Jason Mott
We are celebrating the release of THE RETURNED by Jason Mott --- a page-turning debut novel that explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility --- with a special contest. 25 readers will have the opportunity to each win a copy of the book, which is now in stores, for their group. The deadline for entries is Thursday, December 5th at noon ET.

"What Are You Reading?" Monthly Contest Feature

Let us know what your group is reading in November, and you will be entered in a giveaway to win multiple copies of a book for your group! Our latest prize book is THE BOOK THIEF, Markus Zusak’s award-winning novel that will be released as a movie on November 15th. We have 12 copies of the book to give away to three groups. Enter here by Thursday, December 5th at noon ET for your chance to win copies for you and your group members.

BATTLE BUNNY by Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett and Matthew Myers
To celebrate the release of the hilarious mash-up from Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett and Matthew Myers, we'd like to offer you the opportunity to make your very own Battle Bunny for a chance to win prizes! In BATTLE BUNNY, Alex is given a sappy book about a bunny's birthday, but decides to make it interesting by creating his own doomsday story on top of it. For this contest, we'd like you to grab a pencil, sharpen your creativity, and transform a page of this story! The deadline for entries is Friday, December 6th at noon ET.

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