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July 18, 2014 Newsletter July 18, 2014
Reading is Relaxing
When we left off, I was headed over to ThrillerFest for a Friday packed with author panels and meet-ups with author friends. Happily, Greg joined me and had the thrill, literally, of meeting one of his favorite authors, Ian Rankin; I bought him a copy of SAINTS OF THE SHADOW BIBLE, which Rankin graciously signed with noughts and crosses (which we call tic-tac-toe) in recognition of his first book, KNOTS AND CROSSES. Nice moment.

Keith Raffel
, Greg and I got some great catch-up time, and Keith shared a galley of TEMPLE MOUNT with me, his upcoming book for which he ran an impressive Kickstarter campaign; I'm looking forward to reading it. I caught up with Robert Dugoni at lunch to give him more praise for MY SISTER’S GRAVE (which releases on October 14th), as well as John Dixon, who wrote PHOENIX ISLAND, a book we featured on a couple of our other websites.

Friday evening was FanFest, where a number of thriller authors invited fans to join them for an evening of mingling with writers and cocktails. Most of the authors of FACEOFF were “in the house” By the way, there were three huge FACEOFF posters, like the one you see Raymond Khoury signing above (Steve Berry and Rankin are also in the photo), which were signed by all the FACEOFF authors. They will be auctioned off for the Brenda Novak Cure for Diabetes charity; she was honored during ThrillerFest with a Silver Bullet for her charity work.

At FanFest, Greg and I had the pleasure of meeting Ray Palen, one of our reviewers, and l loved that! Our reviewers are all over the country, and I enjoy the opportunity to meet them since I know their writing so well! We did not know Ray was going to be there; Jon Land told us! He had a bag of books to be signed with him; next year, we will have him attend more of the conference with us!

My husband and I were entertaining some of his work colleagues that precluded my attending the Saturday events, including the ThrillerFest banquet, where the International Thriller Writers announced the winners of the 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards. Click here to see all the winners and nominees. Also that evening, Daniel Palmer performed a tribute to his dad, Michael Palmer, who died last October. I saw Daniel on Friday at a fun lunch thrown by his literary agent (GrillerFest), and he confided in me his plan for the following night; he had rewritten the words to Harry Chapin's “Cat's in the Cradle” in a tribute to his dad talking about what he learned from him, among other things. From what I heard, it was brilliant, and those in attendance were very misty-eyed. I am going to see if he can post the lyrics somewhere.

A copy of Linwood Barclay’s upcoming book, NO SAFE HOUSE, was in every ThrillerFest giveaway bag; it’s a follow-up to NO TIME FOR GOODBYE, his 2007 book. Sunday morning was rainy, so instead of swimming and walking, I happily set myself down to read NO SAFE HOUSE; such a good move! I also got to see Netha, Linwood’s wife, which always is fun. Linwood has an amazing train collection/setup, and he and Greg often chat about that while Netha and I chat about shopping.

As frequent readers may recall, a few months ago I got a new phone after years with what I called a “dumb phone,” which was only good for calls and texts, and a BlackBerry that I only used for email as it was an older model and too slow to do much else. After a couple of months of tapping away on my Samsung Galaxy 5S, the phone I had held out for, I have noticed something worth noting about books and reading in the age of smartphones. It ties into this week’s newsletter theme that reading is relaxing!

There's LOTS happening this week on the site; Tom Donadio, our Editorial Director, told me we have 20 new reviews!

Available now is the highly anticipated conclusion to Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy, THE BOOK OF LIFE. In this final installment, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. Amy Gwiazdowski has our review and says, “With THE BOOK OF LIFE, we come to know Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont even better and get the chance to watch their relationship evolve in the face of every danger possible. While I’m happy that the story has come to a satisfying end, I’m also a bit sad because I’ve enjoyed it so much.”

Daniel Silva returns with THE HEIST, his latest novel featuring art restorer and occasional spy Gabriel Allon. Gabriel is in Venice repairing an altarpiece when he receives an urgent call from the Italian police. They are investigating the murder of a fallen British spy who was trafficking in stolen artwork, and Gabriel’s friend and art dealer, Julian Isherwood, is the prime suspect. Now it is up to Gabriel to track down the real killers --- and locate the world's most iconic missing masterpiece: Caravaggio's magnificent Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence. According to reviewer Kate Ayers, “In each new tale, Daniel Silva’s readers get to know the Israeli spy a little better. Here, he is softer around the edges, more human than ever. It almost becomes difficult to see him as a skilled assassin.”

Next up is WAYFARING STRANGER, James Lee Burke’s latest novel. The two-time Edgar Award winner tells a classic American story through one man’s unforgettable life --- connecting a fateful encounter with Bonnie and Clyde to the Battle of the Bulge to the merciless frontier justice of the Wild West. Reviewer Joe Hartlaub raves, "Burke recalls a time and place that has all but disappeared, for better and worse, grasping it and recalling it to life with writing so pure, clear and clean that it is impossible to read without repeatedly bringing tears to one’s eyes, admiring how beautiful it is. If you can read only one book this year, it must be this one." Next week, we’ll be featuring our review of the audiobook version, which is read by actor Will Patton.

As promised last week, we’re featuring our review of THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING, Erika Johansen’s epic debut that is both a #1 Indie Next Pick (selected by the Indie booksellers) and LibraryReads Selection (picked by librarians). On her 19th birthday, exiled Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn sets out on a perilous journey to ascend her rightful throne --- and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful sorceress determined to destroy her. Fortunately, she is armed by the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power, and accompanied by the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Reviewer Stephen Hubbard calls the book “[a] heady mixture of adventure, romance, magic and mystery” and “a captivating work sure to hold the attention of the most jaded reader of fantasy.”

We also have our review of THE MOCKINGBIRD NEXT DOOR, a memoir by Marja Mills that details her friendship with Harper Lee and her sister, Alice. According to Mills, the Lee sisters opened their door to her in 2001 when she was working for the Chicago Tribune. Three years later and with the sisters’ blessing (again, according to the author), Mills moved into the house next door to the sisters and became close friends with them. In a major twist this week, Harper Lee released a letter denying any cooperation with the book. In part she says, "Rest assured, as long as I am alive any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood." You can read all about the controversy here, and check out our review from Barbara Bamberger Scott here, which was written before Harper Lee’s letter was publicized. I have to admit that this whole story is a puzzle. Regardless of all this, Barbara enjoyed the book!

Now available is THE SPARK AND THE DRIVE, a debut novel by Wayne Harrison that we’ve been featuring for the past few weeks in our One to Watch Author Spotlight. It’s the story of a young man who is forced to make an impossible decision, no matter the consequences. Bronwyn Miller has our review and says, “Wayne Harrison’s writing is spare and stark, but precise. His characters are so vivid, you can almost smell the grease and gasoline…. [T]here’s nothing so sad as watching your heroes fall from grace and having your dreams dashed --- something that Harrison relates with heartbreaking agility in his impressive debut novel.” Next week, we plan on featuring our interview with Wayne, so be sure to check back to hear all about his inspiration for this devastatingly powerful novel.

This week, our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight shines on Joshilyn Jackson, whose novel, SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STORY, is the perfect read for any hopeful romantic. The last thing college student Shandi Pierce needs is another complication in her life, but that doesn’t stop the handsome William Ashe from stepping between a robber and her and her son during a stick-up. It may seem like the perfect fairy tale, but William has some demons of his own. In celebration of its August 5th release in paperback, we’re giving 25 readers the chance to win a copy of the book and comment on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, July 31st at noon ET. I missed reading this in hardcover, thus I am looking forward to exploring it now.

In Lorenzo Carcaterra’s THE WOLF, our latest Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight title, organized crime goes to war with international terrorism in the name of one man’s quest for revenge. There’s one more week left in our two-week contest, where 35 lucky readers will win a copy of the book and share their comments about it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, July 24th at noon ET.

Also continuing is our contest for THE GOOD GIRL, the latest title to be featured in our Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight. Here, first-time novelist Mary Kubica reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems. Would you like to win one of 25 available copies of the book? If so, then all you have to do is fill out this form by Thursday, July 24th at noon ET.

In this week’s Summer Reading Contests, we gave away BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty, CLAIRE OF THE SEA LIGHT by Edwidge Danticat, THE PARIS ARCHITECT by Charles Belfoure, and the Tangled series (TANGLED, TWISTED and TAMED) by Emma Chase. Next week’s prizes will be THE ART OF ARRANGING FLOWERS by Lynne Branard, THE HIDDEN CHILD by Camilla Lackberg, LAY IT ON MY HEART by Angela Pneuman, and LOOKAWAY, LOOKAWAY by Wilton Barnhardt. Click here to see all of our featured titles.

Are you signed up for our Summer Reading newsletter so you get word as soon as these contests go live? If not, click here to get signed up! Please note: If you signed up for the Summer Reading newsletter in the previous years we’ve done these contests, you don’t need to do so again…you already are signed up!

Speaking of THE PARIS ARCHITECT, as promised in last week’s newsletter, I am making this book a Bets On selection. Click here to see my comments on it. I’ve also decided to make THE VACATIONERS by Emma Straub my second Bets On pick of the week. Click here to see why I’m betting you’ll love this fabulous summer read just as much as I did.

Greg has updated our History Books roundup for July. Among this month’s featured titles are FIERCE PATRIOT: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman, by Robert L. O'Connell; THE NIXON TAPES: 1971-1972, by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter; DOUBLE AGENT: The First Hero of World War II and How the FBI Outwitted and Destroyed a Nazi Spy Ring, by Peter Duffy; and TUDORS VERSUS STEWARTS: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary, Queen of Scots, by Linda Porter.

Do you pre-order books? If so, how far in advance do you pre-order a book from your favorite author? Please weigh in by voting in our latest poll!

Let us know what books you’ve read by Friday, July 25th at noon ET, and you’ll have the opportunity to win these three books in our Word of Mouth contest: CLOSE YOUR EYES, HOLD HANDS by Chris Bohjalian, LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell, and the aforementioned WAYFARING STRANGER by James Lee Burke.

We were saddened to hear the news of Nadine Gordimer’s passing this week at the age of 90. Gordimer, who won South Africa's first Nobel Prize in Literature, wrote 15 novels, along with several volumes of short stories, nonfiction and other works, and was published in 40 languages around the world.

Yesterday afternoon, two of our staffers --- Emily Hoenig (who edits our Books on Screen feature) and Nicole Sherman (who works with Emily on our 20SomethingReads site) --- joined me at a screening of The Drop, a movie written by Dennis Lehane, based on his short story, "Animal Rescue." It will be in theaters on September 12th, and I am happy to say that the book, THE DROP, will publish just 10 days before that, on September 2nd. (You are following this, right? Short story…book…screenplay; I like our readers to have all the details correct for cocktail party chatter!) We ended up with a private screening, making us feel for a moment like we were studio execs or major players. It’s terrific; quintessential Lehane writing, set this time in Brooklyn, not Boston, and starring James Gandolfini (I had thought Enough Said was his last movie; sad and happy to see him again), Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace. Those who loved his Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro series will find this in the same vein.

Speaking of movies, I am prepping for the Christmas Day movie release of Unbroken by listening to the audiobook, read by Edward Herrmann. It’s beautifully done, and I find myself re-listening to some chapters, as the detail and language in this book is brilliant!

Any Orange is the New Black fans out there? In my Internet wanderings, I found this very interesting story about what happened to Piper and Larry in real life!

Busy weekend ahead. My co-founder, Jesse Kornbluth, is coming by with his family, and we have plans with other friends who surprised us and are in town as well! The pool is sparkly, I am brewing ginger to make ginger beer, and in between there is a pile of books with my name on it!

Here’s to a great week ahead…read on….

Carol Fitzgerald (

Now in Stores: THE BOOK OF LIFE by Deborah Harkness
THE BOOK OF LIFE by Deborah Harkness (Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy)
In this highly anticipated conclusion to the All Souls Trilogy, Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont are back in the present and about to face their worst nightmares in the form of their families. There’s still resistance to their marriage, the issues with the Congregation have yet to be resolved, and --- to add to their list of problems --- a long-abandoned son of Matthew’s begins reigning terror on the de Clermont family and the public at large. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE HEIST by Daniel Silva
THE HEIST by Daniel Silva (Thriller)
Legendary spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon is in Venice repairing an altarpiece by Veronese when he receives an urgent summons from the Italian police. The eccentric London art dealer Julian Isherwood has stumbled upon a chilling murder scene in Lake Como, and is being held as a suspect. To save his friend, Gabriel must track down the real killers and then perform one simple task: find the most famous missing painting in the world. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: WAYFARING STRANGER by James Lee Burke
WAYFARING STRANGER by James Lee Burke (Historical Thriller)
Second Lieutenant Weldon Holland narrowly escapes death at the Battle of the Bulge, saving a young, beautiful prisoner of war named Rosita Lowenstein in the process. The two marry and return to Texas, where Weldon enters the oil business and meets dangerous people hell-bent on destroying his marriage. The prospect of losing his wife prompts Weldon’s wildest and most courageous act yet --- one that takes its inspiration from his encounter years earlier with the notorious Bonnie and Clyde. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING by Erika Johansen
THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING by Erika Johansen (Historical Fantasy/Adventure)
On her 19th birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon to prevent her from wearing the crown. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

-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 a review.
Now in Stores: THE SPARK AND THE DRIVE by Wayne Harrison --- Our Latest One to Watch Author Spotlight Title
THE SPARK AND THE DRIVE by Wayne Harrison (Fiction)
Justin Bailey is 17 when he arrives at the shop of legendary muscle car mechanic Nick Campbell. Anguished and out of place among the students at his rural Connecticut high school, Justin finds in Nick, his captivating wife Mary Ann, and their world of miraculous machines the sense of family he has struggled to find at home. But when Nick and Mary Ann’s lives are struck by tragedy, Justin’s own world is upended. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Wayne Harrison’s bio.
-Click here to visit Wayne Harrison's official website.
-Click here to connect with Wayne Harrison on Facebook.
-Click here to see the 25 winners selected to read and comment on the book.
-Click here to read more in our One to Watch Author Spotlight.
Click here to read a review.
New Women's Fiction Author Spotlight & Contest: SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STORY by Joshilyn Jackson
We have 25 copies of SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY by Joshilyn Jackson to give away to readers who would like to read the book, which releases in paperback on August 5th, and comment on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, July 31st at noon ET.

SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY by Joshilyn Jackson (Romance)
SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY is beloved and highly acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson's funny, charming and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love, and learning that things aren't always what they seem --- or what we hope they will be.

Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents. She has enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up and falling in love with William Ashe, who willingly steps between the robber and her son.

Shandi doesn't know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun, he believed it was destiny: It's been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn't define destiny the way others do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in facts and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read more about the book on the publisher’s website.
-Click here to read Joshilyn Jackson’s bio.
-Click here to visit Joshilyn Jackson’s official website.
-Connect with Joshilyn Jackson on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight and enter the contest.
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight & Contest: THE WOLF by Lorenzo Carcaterra
We have 35 copies of THE WOLF by Lorenzo Carcaterra, which releases on July 29th, 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, July 24th at noon ET.

THE WOLF by Lorenzo Carcaterra (Thriller)
My name is Vincent Marelli, though most people call me The Wolf. You’ve never met me, and if you’re lucky you never will. But in more ways than you could think of, I own you.

I run the biggest criminal operation in the world. We’re invisible but we’re everywhere. Wherever you go, whatever you do, however it is you spend your money, a piece of it lands in our pockets.

You would think that with that kind of power I would be invincible. You would be wrong. I made a mistake, one that a guy like me can never afford to make. I let my guard down. And because I did, my wife and daughters are gone. Murdered by terrorists with a lethal ax to grind.

That was my mistake. But it was also theirs.

I wasn’t looking for a war with them. No one in my group was. But they’ve left me with nothing but a desire for revenge --- so a war is what they’ll get. The full strength of international organized crime against every known terrorist group working today. Crime versus chaos.

We will protect our interests, and I will protect my son. We won’t get them all, but I will get my revenge, or I will die trying.

They will know my name. They will feel my wrath. They will fear The Wolf.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Lorenzo Carcaterra’s bio.
-Click here to visit Lorenzo Carcaterra’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Lorenzo Carcaterra on Facebook.
Click here to read more in our Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight and enter the contest.
Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight & Contest: THE GOOD GIRL by Mary Kubica
We have 25 advance copies of THE GOOD GIRL by Mary Kubica, which releases on July 29th, 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, July 24th at noon ET.

THE GOOD GIRL by Mary Kubica (Psychological Thriller)
Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

Colin's job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia's mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to watch the book trailer.
-Click here for the digital book club kit.
-Click here to read Mary Kubica’s bio.
-Click here to visit Mary Kubica’s official website.
-Connect with Mary Kubica on Facebook and Twitter
Click here to read more in our Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight and enter the contest. Bets On: THE PARIS ARCHITECT by Charles Belfoure and THE VACATIONERS by Emma Straub

THE PARIS ARCHITECT by Charles Belfoure (Historical Thriller)
I love well-written stories about World War II. If you page back through my Bets On selections, you can see many books set during this time period. As I read them, I find myself thinking about how I would have reacted during this turbulent time. Would I have been heroic? Would I have survived? Would my family have made the right decisions? All those thoughts again came into play as I read THE PARIS ARCHITECT.

-Click here to read more of Carol's thoughts on the book.
-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here for the reading group guide.

by Emma Straub

I read THE VACATIONERS a bit ago and just realized that I failed to include it as a Bets On selection. I have been thinking about the Posts and their two-week vacation to Mallorca a lot since I read this; in fact, I think they owe me a postcard. So what caught my eye about THE VACATIONERS? First, it’s a story about a family; isn’t that always something ripe for reading? Now take that family and transport them across the pond from their Manhattan home --- not to a major city, but rather to an island village. Ah, now we have exotic travel.

Now layer in some secrets, and...well, let’s just say I am happier that I read about this trip rather than living it.

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

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here for more books we’re betting you’ll love.'s History Books Roundup for July
July’s roundup of History titles includes Robert L. O’Connell’s biography of William Tecumseh Sherman, FIERCE PATRIOT, a bold, revisionist portrait of how America’s first “celebrity” general exerted an outsize impact on the American landscape --- and the American character; THE NIXON TAPES: 1971-1972, Douglas Brinkley’s latest book that was made possible by professor Luke Nichter's massive effort to digitize and transcribe the Nixon White House tapes, revealing for the first time the 37th President uncensored, unfiltered and in his own words; DOUBLE AGENT by Peter Duffy, the never-before-told tale of the German-American who spearheaded a covert mission to infiltrate New York’s Nazi underground in the days leading up to World War II --- the most successful counterespionage operation in US history; and Linda Porter’s TUDORS VERSUS STEWARTS, which sheds new light on Henry VIII, his daughter Elizabeth I, and his great-niece, Mary Queen of Scots.
Click here to see our History Books roundup for July.'s Summer Reading Contests and Feature

Summer is here! At, this means it's time for us to share some great summer book picks with our Summer Reading Contests and Feature. We are hosting a number of 24-hour contests for these titles on select days throughout the summer, so you have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter to win. We also are sending a special newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, July 21st at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include:


Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
More Reviews This Week

THE MOCKINGBIRD NEXT DOOR: Life with Harper Lee by Marja Mills (Memoir)
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is one of the best loved novels of the 20th century. But for the last 50 years, the book’s celebrated author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where she has lived with her sister, Alice, for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to journalist Marja Mills. It was the beginning of a long conversation --- and a great friendship. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

Please note: Shortly after Barbara submitted her review, Harper Lee released a letter denying any cooperation with the book. In part she says, "Rest assured, as long as I am alive any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood." Click here to read all about the controversy in Gawker's article, "How Unauthorized Is the New Book About Harper Lee?"

CUT AND THRUST: A Stone Barrington Novel by Stuart Woods (Thriller)
When Stone Barrington travels to Los Angeles for the biggest political convention of the year, he finds the scene quite shaken up: a dazzling newcomer --- and close friend of Stone’s --- has given the delegates an unexpected choice, crucial alliances are made and broken behind closed doors, and it seems that more than one seat may be up for grabs. And amid the ambitious schemers and hangers-on are a few people who may use the chaotic events as cover for more sinister plans. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

DAYS OF RAGE: A Pike Logan Thriller by Brad Taylor (Thriller/Adventure)
In former Delta Force operator Brad Taylor’s latest Pike Logan thriller, the Taskforce must stop their most devastating threat yet --- a weapon of mass destruction from Russia. But there’s another secret from the Cold War buried in the Russian FSB, and exposing it will mean the difference between life and death --- not only for Pike and his partner, Jennifer, but for perhaps millions more around the globe. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

THE LAST TOWN: A Wayward Pines Thriller by Blake Crouch (Dystopian Thriller)
Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke has discovered the astonishing secret of what lies beyond the electrified fence that surrounds the town of Wayward Pines and protects it from the terrifying world beyond. It is a secret that has the entire population completely under the control of a madman and his army of followers, a secret that is about to come storming through the fence to wipe out this last, fragile remnant of humanity. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

ELIZABETH IS MISSING by Emma Healey (Psychological Mystery/Thriller)
In this darkly riveting debut novel --- a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also a heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity and aging --- an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared. Her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.

PETER PAN MUST DIE by John Verdon (Thriller)
Dave Gurney is once again pulled out of retirement when his former partner asks him to help prove that a murder victim’s wife has been framed. As Gurney investigates, twisted revelations come to light, and his actions put him on a collision course with a murderous cop and a Greek assassin known as Peter Pan. Gurney discovers that he may be risking everything for a woman who may not be innocent, and the truth is more shocking than anyone could have imagined. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

WARS OF THE ROSES: STORMBIRD by Conn Iggulden (Historical Fiction)
In 1437, the Lancaster king Henry VI ascends the throne. Nicknamed “The Lamb,” Henry is famed more for his gentleness than the battlefield exploits of his father. A secret truce with France sparks revolts across England, and the rival House of York sees the chaos as an opportunity to oust an ineffectual king. King Henry and his supporters find themselves besieged abroad and at home. Who or what can save the kingdom before it’s too late? Reviewed by Sam Glass.

A DARK AND TWISTED TIDE by Sharon Bolton (Mystery)
At dawn one hot summer morning, while swimming down the river, Lacey Flint finds the body of a shrouded young woman in the water. She assumes it was chance, but further investigation leads her policing team to suspect the woman’s body was deliberately left for Lacey to find. Lacey is no longer a homicide detective, but as she begins to notice someone keeping a strangely close eye on her, she’s inexorably drawn into the investigation. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

I'LL BE RIGHT THERE written by Kyung-Sook Shin, translated by Sora Kim-Russell (Fiction)
Amid the tremors of political revolution, Jung Yoon, a highly literate, twenty-something woman, recounts her tragic personal history. When Yoon receives a distressing phone call from her ex-boyfriend after eight years of separation, memories of a tumultuous youth begin to resurface. She revisits the death of her beloved mother, the strong bond with her now-dying former college professor, the excitement of her first love, and the friendships forged out of a shared sense of isolation and grief. Reviewed by Miriam Tuliao.

ALL I LOVE AND KNOW by Judith Frank (Fiction)
For years, Matthew Greene and Daniel Rosen have enjoyed a quiet domestic life together. But when they learn that Daniel’s twin brother and sister-in-law have been killed in a bombing in Jerusalem, their lives are suddenly transformed. In dealing with their families and the need to make a decision about who will raise the deceased couple’s two children, both Matthew and Daniel are confronted with challenges that strike at the very heart of their relationship. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

EDEN IN WINTER by Richard North Patterson (Psychological Thriller)
As the court inquest into Benjamin Blaine's death casts suspicions on those closest to him, his son Adam struggles to protect them from those who still suspect that his father was murdered by one of his kin. But the sternest test of all is Adam's proximity to Carla Pacelli, his late father's mistress and a woman who, despite being pivotal to his family's plight, Adam finds himself increasingly drawn to. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

EM AND THE BIG HOOM by Jerry Pinto (Fiction)
Meet Imelda and Augustine, or --- as our young narrator calls his unusual parents --- Em and the Big Hoom. Most of the time, Em smokes endless beedis and sings her way through life. She is the sun around which everyone else orbits. But as enchanting and high-spirited as she can be, when Em’s bipolar disorder seizes her, she becomes monstrous, sometimes with calamitous consequences for herself and others. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

EVERGREEN by Rebecca Rasmussen (Historical Fiction)
In 1938, Eveline follows her husband, Emil, into the wilderness of Minnesota where they have a rundown cabin, a garden, and a baby boy named Hux. But when Emil leaves to take care of his sick father, a stranger arrives and Eveline becomes pregnant. She gives her daughter, Naamah, away to be raised as an orphan. Years later, Hux finds his sister and brings her home. But Naamah, wilder than the wilderness that surrounds them, may make it impossible for Hux to make up for all they have lost. Reviewed by Donna Smallwood.

ELECTIVE PROCEDURES: An Elle Harrison Novel by Merry Jones (Psychological Thriller)
Elle Harrison and her pals, Jen, Becky and Susan, travel to Mexico where Jen has scheduled cosmetic surgery. Soon after they arrive, Elle sees the woman in the suite next door fall from her sixth floor balcony. When the room is later occupied by another patient, Elle finds her brutally mutilated body on that same balcony. As dangers swirl and intensify, Elle is forced to face her unresolved issues with her late husband, Charlie, even as she races to find the connections between the murders. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

A LAND IN THE STORYTELLING SEA: A North American in Malta by Sheryl Loeffler (Memoir/Poetry)
Sensual, painterly, even prayerful, these 50 poems and 50 full-color original pictures by Sheryl Loeffler deepen into a land of legend and myth, an island populated, past and present, by saints, beggars and pirates, all of whom are blessed by "vivid geometries" of light. Sheryl Loeffler portrays Malta as a country awash in splendor and contradiction, "this land where Christians call God Alla." Reviewed by Pauline Finch.

Our Latest Poll: Pre-ordering Books
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Word of Mouth Contest: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can 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 11th to July 25th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of CLOSE YOUR EYES, HOLD HANDS by Chris Bohjalian, LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell and WAYFARING STRANGER by James Lee Burke.

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 this 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.

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

Click here to enter the contest.

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