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September 5, 2014 Newsletter September 5, 2014
We’re Back --- and What a Lineup We Have This Week!
Last Friday, it was a bit strange not to be writing a newsletter. I confess that I barely powered up my laptop when we were on hiatus. I flagged a lot of email on my phone and got caught up on real life. I did a lot of entertaining (including our fun staff picnic; I wish I had a photo of us all sitting on the side of the pool with our toes in the water), pool floating, gardening, wandering through the house doing those small projects that creep into life and need attention, and, of course, reading. Lots of reading.

I know I signed off telling you I would post what I read on Facebook --- and a few of you called me out on that when I did not deliver --- but somehow the idea of typing during my staycation was something I just could not wrap myself around. So with apologies, here’s a look at what I read last week. First up was MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH EATING by Ann Mah. After all, if one is on a staycation, there is nothing like a little armchair travel! Ann Mah accompanies her diplomat husband on a plumb three-year assignment to Paris, the posting of their dreams. Soon after they arrive, her husband is sent to Iraq for a one-year solo post. While grappling with being in a favorite place alone, Ann decides to travel throughout the regions of France and enjoy the cuisine indigenous to each. While many of the recipes were more winter- than summer-themed for me to tackle, I tagged a few for later and used the inspiration to create some of my own summer-themed meals.

FIVE DAYS LEFT by Julie Lawson Timmer (in stores Tuesday) was up next. This is a brilliant debut that looks at two people who are counting down the days until they will be saying goodbye to the people they love. Mara is a lawyer who has a wonderful marriage and is the mother of an active little girl. Sounds like the perfect life, right? But she’s also grappling with a debilitating disease. Her chat room compadre, Scott, is a middle school teacher who has been nurturing a young boy in his foster care while his mother serves a jail sentence. Their parallel stories are counted down by the day in a book that is chock full of emotion. It will be a Bets On selection!

I have never read Louise Penny's books, but have heard raves about her for years now. I decided it was “proper to start at the beginning” of her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, so I rounded up a copy of STILL LIFE, immediately dropped into the story and the pages were flying. I finished it in a few hours and am eager to read more from her. I can see why her latest book, THE LONG WAY HOME, which we review this week and have more on later in this newsletter, is a second #1 New York Times bestseller for her! Now I want to take a week and read them all!

VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar will be in stores on December 30th, and just like what we saw with THE PARIS WIFE and LOVING FRANK, readers are in for a treat. Vanessa Bell is the sister of Virginia Woolf, and thus you can imagine why this novel is just wonderful. I was thinking of a companion reading list as I read. It's rich with atmospheric detail and gives an intimate look into the inner circle known as the Bloomsbury Group --- so juicy and such fun. I started it Monday afternoon and got up early on Tuesday to finish it before I went back to the office as I knew it would be tugging at me all day. By the way, people during this era worked a whole lot less and played a whole lot more than we do today. Looks like this will end up being my last Bets On selection for 2014; I already have it earmarked!

I sampled many other books as well --- titles we had reviewed that I want to just get a taste of so I would know what people were talking about, and others that I know we will be covering in the future. I confess some grabbed me while others left me cold. In this newsletter, I prefer to talk about what I enjoy rather than what does not draw me in. In fact, sometimes I discover that picking up a book later will have me looking at it with new eyes; perhaps my mood was not right the first time round. I wanted you to know it’s not like I only find great books every time. I love when trusted readers tell ME “you will love this,” just like we try to do for you here.

I heard this week that a friend of my mom’s will hear about a book and then look here to see what we have said about it before she reads it. Loved that!

Now on to this week’s update, where we review 19(!) books; yes, it’s been a busy four days!

PERSONAL, the latest novel in Lee Child’s 19-book(!) action-packed series, finds retired military cop Jack Reacher pulled back into service when the president of France is shot by an American bullet. The shot, fired at extremely long-range, could have only been made by an expert sniper: John Kott, a murderer once put away by Reacher himself. Joe Hartlaub has our review and says, “The major strength of PERSONAL is the mystery at the heart of the story, which is both explicit and implicit…. As one has come to expect from Child’s past performances, his latest book almost always contains some of his best writing, and PERSONAL is no exception.” I love Reacher and have to get my hands on this one!

Former Chief Inspector Armand Gamache also makes his return in the aforementioned THE LONG WAY HOME by Louise Penny. Happily retired in the quaint village of Three Pines, Gamache has found a peace he never dreamed possible. His tranquility is disturbed, however, when his neighbor’s artist husband, Peter, fails to return from a year-long trip of soul-searching. Though he is hesitant to give up his retirement, Gamache is drawn to the case and finds that Peter may have sold his very soul for the chance at fame. According to reviewer Roz Shea, “Louise Penny has evolved from a contender as queen of the cozy, village mystery genre to be justifiably compared to P.D. James and Elizabeth George. Each novel can stand on its own as she masterfully draws these evolved characters into the plot, but once you sample any one of her books, you will want to pull up a chair and enjoy the feast.” I so agree!

Also available now is the latest installment of Jan Karon’s Mitford series, SOMEWHERE SAFE WITH SOMEBODY GOOD. It’s been five years since Father Tim retired from Lord’s Chapel; with his passion still weakened, he isn’t sure if he wants to get back in the pulpit. Meanwhile, his adopted son, Dooley, has acquired his own passion for the beautiful Lace Turner and his dream to become a veterinarian. In another part of Mitford, Hope Murphy, owner of Happy Endings bookstore, struggles with the potential loss of her unborn child --- and her business. Reviewer Melanie Reynolds, a huge fan of the series, says, “If, like me, you missed this delightful town and its residents, you won’t be disappointed in this newest segment of Father Tim’s life and adventures. Grab a cup of tea, a warm throw and your most comfortable armchair, and settle in for another rich tale of love, hope and relationships.”

The Dublin Murder Squad comes to a girls’ boarding school in Tana French’s THE SECRET PLACE. The titular “Secret Place” is a board where the girls at St. Kilda’s School can pin up their secrets anonymously. Normally reserved for gossip, the board’s latest poster claims to know the identity of the killer of the popular Chris Harper, murdered one year ago. Dublin Murder Squad hopeful Detective Stephen Moran joins forces with the prickly Detective Antoinette Conway to investigate. The two are repeatedly led to 16-year-old Holly Mackley and her group of friends, each of whom had a twisted tie to Chris. Joe Hartlaub has this to say in his review: “[M]ystery lovers of all stripes will find that French once again has created a classic, riveting whodunit that keeps one guessing throughout.” I have not read French's books, but must!

Author and screenwriter Dennis Lehane invites readers back to the streets of MYSTIC RIVER with THE DROP, a story of love, crime and faith. It is nearly January when a lonely bartender rescues an abused puppy from a trash can and meets a damaged woman looking for salvation. As their relationship begins, the three cross paths with a series of fascinating characters --- including two unlucky stick-up artists, a curious policeman and even members of the Chechen mafia, not to mention the original owner of the puppy. In his review, Joe Hartlaub raves about the “realistic, memorable characters, dark humor, twists and turns galore, and an addictive, riveting plot.”

THE DROP is instantly being adapted into a major motion picture. In theaters next Friday the 12th, the film stars Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and, in his final role, the late James Gandolfini. You can read more about the movie (which we have screened and given a big thumbs up to) in our Books on Screen feature, which we’ve updated for September. Other theatrical releases for this month include This is Where I Leave You, The Maze Runner and A Walk Among the Tombstones. On the small screen, we say “See you later!” to “The Leftovers” and “Under the Dome,” which wrap up their respective seasons, while saying “Great to have you back!” to “Resurrection” and “Bones,” which air their season premieres later this month.

Drumroll as our Fourth Annual Fall Preview feature is now live! Coming off the heels of our very successful Summer Reading feature, we are happy to share that on select days in September and October, we will spotlight a different title and offer a 24-hour contest to win five copies of the book. We also will be sending a special newsletter to announce each day's title. You can sign up here to receive the Fall Preview newsletter. If you have problems signing up, please send a note to and he will handle this for you. This Monday we will send a special preview newsletter with all the titles booked to date to whet your appetite. Then our first series of contests kick off this coming Tuesday the 9th at noon ET. The stellar --- and I do mean stellar --- prize books for Week 1 will be THE CHILDREN ACT by Ian McEwan (which will be a Bets On selection), FIVE DAYS LEFT by Julie Lawson Timmer (noted earlier) and NEVERHOME by Laird Hunt (which was a BEA Buzz title).

We have THREE Paperback Spotlight features to tell you about this week. First up is THE GARDEN OF LETTERS by Alyson Richman, which is set in Portofino, Italy, amidst World War II and follows Elodie Bertolotti, a cello prodigy who was drawn into the resistance movement against Mussolini’s Fascist regime after it struck too close to home. Carrying poorly forged identity papers, Elodie is terrified when she arrives in Portofino and is recognized by a man she has never met before. Desperate for shelter, she follows him to his home. But Angelo Rosselli has painful secrets of his own and is weighed down by guilt. Fortunately for him, Elodie’s arrival may have the power to reawaken his sense of hope. We posted the discussion guide for the book on here.

Next up is a timely book as there are a whole crop of juniors and seniors looking ahead to college admission; I still shudder at the words “Common App.” Lacy Crawford’s debut novel, EARLY DECISION, which we reviewed when it released in hardcover last year, draws on her 15 years of experience as a private college counselor. She exposes the frenzy of college admissions through Anne, “the application whisperer.” The book follows five students over the course of one autumn as Anne helps them cram for the SATs and tackle the Common Application. With their entire futures on the line, the students find that it is not the colleges themselves that will shape their lives, but their access to money and strong connections. I really enjoyed this one, and there was a lot to ponder in it!

Our final Paperback Spotlight title is NOBODY’S CHILD, the fourth installment in Libby Fischer Hellmann’s suspenseful Georgia Davis series. When the Chicago PI finds a bloodstained note revealing the shocking existence of a half-sister, she is hot on the trail. Georgia’s sister, Savannah, is pregnant and begging for help, leading her into the dangerous underworld of illegal sex trafficking. But she soon discovers that Savannah is also involved in a far deadlier situation --- one that an old enemy is determined to make fatal for both women. Libby is such a strong writer!

And while we’re in a paperback frame of mind, we’d like to let you know that we updated our New in Paperback feature for September. Among this month’s releases (in addition to the aforementioned THE GARDEN OF LETTERS) are FALLEN WOMEN by Sandra Dallas, THE TARGET by David Baldacci, MY MOTHER'S SECRET by J.L. Witterick (a Bets On pick from last year), THE BULLY PULPIT: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin, THE MEN WHO UNITED THE STATES: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible by Simon Winchester, and THE PERFECT SCORE PROJECT: Uncovering the Secrets of the SAT by Debbie Stier.

My latest Bets On pick is Matthew Thomas’s epic debut, WE ARE NOT OURSELVES, which we reviewed two weeks ago before our break. This impressive and masterful novel follows the daughter of Irish immigrants, Eileen Tumulty, as she encourages her husband to follow the American Dream. Charting the promise of domestic bliss during the American Century, the author follows Tumulty and her husband as they fight to preserve their hope following a heartbreaking tragedy. Click here to see why I’m betting you’ll love this book. I also am happy to share that we have a discussion guide available for WE ARE NOT OURSELVES here; I know this book will be one that book groups will want to explore. We wanted to be sure to let you know there is a guide available now as you plan your future selections!

We know many of you, like us, were busy the last two weeks with vacations, getting kids back to school, and other end-of-summer activities, and may not have had a chance to answer our current poll question about your newspaper reading habits. Thus we’ve decided to extend the poll for two more weeks so we can receive as much feedback from you as possible.

Our new Word of Mouth contest went live today. Let us know by Friday, September 19th at noon ET what books you’ve finished reading, and you’ll be in the running to win STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel, along with the aforementioned THE CHILDREN ACT by Ian McEwan and NEVERHOME by Laird Hunt. We’ll be reviewing all three of these novels next week.

For all of those lamenting the end of summer, I share that this year Labor Day was the earliest it could be, and next year it is the latest it can be (September 7th). Also, I am living by the calendar here, and for me summer will end at the Fall Equinox. September thus far has been warmer than most of August! Another quiet weekend on tap, though I am hoping the weather forecast is wrong as tomorrow looks rainy. Here’s to more delicious corn and tomatoes from Malanga’s Farm and Greenhouse. My turquoise corn was a fail; maybe next year I give them the seeds to sow!

Cory is off to college, and on a good day he is not the best communicator. But I have learned the SIM card in his phone is shot, thus I am communicating with him via his friend, Dennis. I am getting more answers using this method, and I have told Dennis I think I should hire him to communicate with Cory for me. It’s like dealing with a celebrity via their assistant. Note: this is all happening via text; the human voice is lost to his age group. It’s like their vocal cords are frozen.

Read on, and have a great week….

Carol Fitzgerald (
Now in Stores: PERSONAL by Lee Child
PERSONAL: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child (Thriller)
Someone has taken a shot at the president of France in the City of Light. How many snipers can shoot from three-quarters of a mile with total confidence? Very few, but John Kott is one of them. And after 15 years in prison, he’s out, unaccounted for, and likely drawing a bead on a G-8 summit packed with enough world leaders to tempt any assassin. If anyone can stop Kott, it’s the man who beat him before: Reacher. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE LONG WAY HOME by Louise Penny
THE LONG WAY HOME: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny (Mystery)
Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he’d only imagined possible. While he doesn’t talk about his wounds and his balm, his neighbor Clara Morrow tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home, and she wants Gamache’s help to find him. Having finally found sanctuary, Gamache feels a near revulsion at the thought of leaving Three Pines. But he does. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
SOMEWHERE SAFE WITH SOMEBODY GOOD: The New Mitford Novel by Jan Karon (Fiction)
After five hectic years of retirement from Lord’s Chapel, Father Tim Kavanagh returns with his wife, Cynthia, from a so-called pleasure trip to the land of his Irish ancestors. While glad to be at home in Mitford, something is definitely missing: a pulpit. But when he’s offered one, he decides he doesn’t want it. Maybe he’s lost his passion. His adopted son, Dooley, wrestles with his own passion --- for the beautiful and gifted Lace Turner, and his vision to become a successful country vet. Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE SECRET PLACE by Tana French
THE SECRET PLACE by Tana French (Psychological Thriller/Mystery)
“The Secret Place,” a board where the girls at St. Kilda’s School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty. But today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Detective Stephen Moran joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE DROP by Dennis Lehane
THE DROP by Dennis Lehane (Thriller)
Three days after Christmas, a lonely bartender looking for a reason to live rescues an abused puppy from a trash can and meets a damaged woman looking for something to believe in. As their relationship grows, they cross paths with the Chechen mafia; a man grown dangerous with age and thwarted hopes; two hapless stick-up artists; a very curious cop; and the original owner of the puppy, who wants his dog back. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Announcing’s Fall Preview Contests and Feature
Fall is known as the biggest season of the year for books. The titles that release during this latter part of the year often become holiday gifts, and many are blockbusters. To celebrate the arrival of fall, we are spotlighting a number of outstanding books that we know people will be talking about in the days and months to come.

We will be hosting a series of 24-hour contests for these titles on select days in September and October, so you will have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter to win. We also will be sending a special newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

Our first prize book will be announced on Tuesday, September 9th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include:

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
New Paperback Spotlight: THE GARDEN OF LETTERS by Alyson Richman
THE GARDEN OF LETTERS by Alyson Richman (Historical Fiction)
Portofino, Italy, 1943. A young woman steps off a boat in a scenic coastal village. Although she knows how to disappear in a crowd, Elodie is too terrified to slip by the German officers while carrying her poorly forged identity papers. She is frozen until a man she's never met before claims to know her. In desperate need of shelter, Elodie follows him back to his home on the cliffs of Portofino.

Only months before, Elodie Bertolotti was a cello prodigy in Verona, unconcerned with world events. But when Mussolini's Fascist regime strikes her family, Elodie is drawn into the burgeoning resistance movement by Luca, a young and impassioned bookseller. As the occupation looms, she discovers that her unique musical talents, and her courage, have the power to save lives.

In Portofino, young doctor Angelo Rosselli gives the frightened and exhausted girl sanctuary. He is a man with painful secrets of his own, haunted by guilt and remorse. But Elodie's arrival has the power to awaken a sense of hope that Angelo thought was lost to him forever.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read Alyson Richman’s bio.
-Click here to visit Alyson Richman’s official website.
-Connect with Alyson Richman on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Paperback Spotlight.
New Paperback Spotlight: EARLY DECISION by Lacy Crawford
EARLY DECISION by Lacy Crawford (Fiction)
In EARLY DECISION, debut novelist Lacy Crawford draws on 15 years of experience traveling the world as a highly sought-after private college counselor to illuminate the madness of college admissions.

Working one-on-one with Tiger-mothered, burned-out kids, Anne “the application whisperer” can make Harvard a reality. EARLY DECISION follows five students over one autumn as Anne helps them craft their college essays, cram for the SATs, and perfect the Common Application. It seems their entire future is on the line --- and it is. Though not because of Princeton and Yale. It’s because the process, warped as it is by money, connections, competition and parental mania, threatens to crush their independence just as adulthood begins.

Whether you want to get in or just get out, with wit and heart, EARLY DECISION explodes the secrets of the college admissions race.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read Lacy Crawford’s bio.

-Click here to visit Lacy Crawford’s official website.
-Connect with Lacy Crawford on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Paperback Spotlight.
New Paperback Spotlight: NOBODY’S CHILD by Libby Fischer Hellmann
NOBODY’S CHILD: A Georgia Davis Novel of Suspense by Libby Fischer Hellmann (Thriller)
A bloodstained note left for Chicago PI Georgia Davis reveals the shocking existence of a half-sister she never knew about. Her sister, Savannah, is pregnant and begging for Georgia's help. Determined to track her down, Georgia finds herself heading deep into the secretive and dangerous underworld of Chicago's illegal sex trafficking business. But she soon discovers that trafficking is just a small part of the horrifying and deadly situation in which her new sister is caught up. Even worse, as Georgia tries to extricate Savannah, she comes up against an old enemy determined to make sure neither woman will escape alive. In the fourth novel of the series, Georgia faces her toughest challenge yet --- and one she might not survive.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Libby Fischer Hellmann’s bio.
-Click here to visit Libby Fischer Hellmann’s official website.
-Connect with Libby Fischer Hellmann on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Paperback Spotlight. Bets On: WE ARE NOT OURSELVES by Matthew Thomas
WE ARE NOT OURSELVES by Matthew Thomas (Fiction)
People start their lives with dreams. When we are young, we create a road map and typically see it without speed bumps. But then real life happens, and often it’s not what we planned. Challenges arise; it gets messy. It’s all not the holiday card newsletter or the perfect Facebook photos. Dreams fade or get reshaped.

WE ARE NOT OURSELVES by debut novelist Matthew Thomas looks at life like that. It starts with a dream and then heads off the rails. At the beginning, Eileen Tumulty has a plan. She is going to leave the Queens neighborhood where she lives with her hard-drinking Irish immigrant parents and not look back. She meets Ed Leary, who is her ticket to a better life. He has a great job as a scientist and is kind to her. She feels the tumult of her childhood being left behind and sees a bright future ahead: Success. A great house. A bigger world.

But Ed is not as ambitious as Eileen would like him to be --- and she is wondering why. She pushes, she prods. She then realizes that something is terribly wrong, and her mission becomes to help Ed as best she can. Her big dreams are pushed away. She instead learns to find delight in little things. I am not going to share here what the “something” is. It has been documented in many reviews, though not here on To me, “it” is a metaphor for what can happen to any family to have it unravel.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to listen to an excerpt from the audiobook.
-Click here to read an interview with Matthew Thomas.
-Click here to listen to an interview with actress Mare Winningham, who narrates the audiobook.
Click here to read more of Carol's thoughts on the book.
September’s New in Paperback Roundups
September’s roundups of New in Paperback fiction titles include FALLEN WOMEN, a historical mystery by Sandra Dallas in which a wealthy New York socialite is determined to find the individual responsible for the death of her sister, who was brutally murdered in the brothel where she had been living; THE MUSEUM OF EXTRAORDINARY THINGS by Alice Hoffman, the story of an electric and impassioned love between two vastly different souls in New York during the volatile first decades of the 20th century; and J.L. Witterick's MY MOTHER'S SECRET, a novel inspired by a true story that intertwines the lives of two Jewish families in hiding from the Nazis, a fleeing German soldier, and the mother and daughter who team up to save them all.

Among this month’s nonfiction offerings are THE BULLY PULPIT, Doris Kearns Goodwin's dynamic history of the first decade of the Progressive era, that tumultuous time when the nation was coming unseamed and reform was in the air; Simon Winchester's THE MEN WHO UNITED THE STATES, which illuminates the men who toiled fearlessly to discover, connect and bond the citizenry and geography of the U.S.A. from its beginnings; and THE PERFECT SCORE PROJECT by Debbie Stier, an indispensable guide to acing the SAT --- as well as the affecting story of a single mom’s quest to light a fire under her teenage son.

-Find out what's New in Paperback for the weeks of September 1st, September 8th, September 15th, September 22nd and September 29th.
September's Books on Screen Feature
We’re on the wrong side of Labor Day, which means it’s time to put away your summer sunglasses and break out your fall shades. It also means serious moviegoers are in luck; days aren’t the only things getting darker!

One of this month’s most anticipated releases is The Drop, a crime drama about a lonely bartender whose discovery of an abused puppy sets off a chain of events that forever changes his life. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, head out to This is Where I Leave You, a hilarious comedy about...death. Based on the Jonathan Tropper novel of the same name, it’s the story of newly divorced and unemployed Judd Foxman, who reunites with the rest of his combative family to sit shiva for their father in their childhood home. Teens and adults alike will be drawn to The Maze Runner, the highly anticipated adaptation of James Dashner's mega hit. Try as you might, we both know it's impossible to ignore the siren call of a post-apocalyptic YA book adaptation --- so long as we're between The Hunger Games and Divergent sequels, you might as well give in.

September also marks a transitional period for television, with summer shows wrapping up and fall programs premiering in droves. We’ll be saying goodbye (for now) to HBO’s “The Leftovers” and CBS’s “Under the Dome”; luckily, Starz’s critical darling “Outlander” will keep many of us home on Saturday nights. “Bones” and “Resurrection” are returning this month, and BBC America’s new show, “Intruders,” looks too spooky for my non-chilled blood but may be perfect for all you thrill-seekers out there.
Click here to see all the movies, TV shows and DVDs featured in September’s Books on Screen.
More Reviews This Week

A LIFE INTERCEPTED by Charles Martin (Fiction)
Twelve years ago, Matthew "the Rocket" Rising was the number one NFL draft pick. But on the night of the draft, he was falsely accused of a heinous crime. Having served his sentence, Matthew leaves prison determined to find his wife. He soon learns that she has discovered a young man with the talent to achieve the football career Matthew should have had. Although helping the boy means violating his parole, he'll take the chance with hope of winning back Audrey's love. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

PRIVATE DOWN UNDER by James Patterson and Michael White (Thriller)
With the best detectives in the business, cutting-edge technology and offices around the globe, there is no investigation company quite like Private. Within days the agency's caseload is full. But it is a horrific murder in the wealthy Eastern Suburbs and the desperate search for a motive that stretches the team to the limit. Stacy Friel, friend of the Deputy Commissioner of NSW Police, isn't the killer's first victim --- and as the bodies mount up, she's clearly not the last. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

MURDER 101: A Decker/Lazarus Novel by Faye Kellerman (Mystery)
A call about a possible break-in at the local cemetery seems like a false alarm until it's discovered that a mausoleum's stunning Tiffany panels have been replaced by forgeries. Soon the case escalates into murder. Detective Lieutenant Peter Decker and his partner, Tyler McAdams, are drawn deep into a web of nasty secrets, cold-case crimes, international intrigue, and ruthless people who kill for sport. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

CLOSE TO HOME by Lisa Jackson (Thriller)
Vowing to make a fresh start, Sarah McAdams has come home to renovate the old Victorian mansion where she grew up. Ever since the original mistress of the house plunged to her death almost a century ago, there have been rumors that the place is haunted. But there’s a new, more urgent menace in the small town. One by one, teenage girls are disappearing. Somewhere deep in Sarah’s memory is the key to a very real and terrifying danger. And only by confronting her worst fears can she stop the nightmare roaring back to life once more. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

HER LAST WHISPER by Karen Robards (Paranormal Romantic Suspense)
The last time criminal psychology expert Dr. Charlotte “Charlie” Stone helped capture a serial killer, it was nearly the last thing she ever did. But when dangerous duty calls, she can’t refuse. And there’s no greater danger than the Cinderella Killer, a charming predator who lures beautiful, single women to their deaths. FBI agent Lena Kaminsky fears her missing sister has fallen prey to the seductive psychopath, but it’s Charlie who ends up gambling with her life when the killer decides she’s just his type. Reviewed by Donna Smallwood.

NIGHT OF THE WHITE BUFFALO: A Wind River Mystery by Margaret Coel (Mystery)
A mysterious penitent confesses to murder, and then flees the confessional before Father
John O’Malley can identify him. Two months later, attorney Vicky Holden discovers rancher Dennis Carey shot dead in his truck. It soon develops that the most sacred creature in Native American mythology, a white buffalo calf, was recently born on Carey’s ranch. Vicky and Father John try to unravel the strange events surrounding both the murder and the recent disappearances of three cowboys from the ranch. Reviewed by Jennifer McCord.

LISETTE’S LIST by Susan Vreeland (Historical Romance)
If you are crazy about French painting and picturesque villages, then Susan Vreeland’s latest novel should be right up your cobblestoned street. LISETTE’S LIST focuses on Post-Impressionists Cézanne and Pissarro, as seen through the eyes of a young, art-loving Parisian woman who has come with her husband to a new world: Provence. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

SILVER BAY by Jojo Moyes (Romance)
Liza McCullen will never fully escape her past. But the unspoiled beaches and tight-knit community of Silver Bay offer the safety she craves --- if not for herself, then for her young daughter, Hannah. That is, until Mike Dormer, a mild-mannered Englishman with too-smart clothes and distracting eyes, shows up as a guest in her aunt’s hotel. His arrival could destroy everything Liza has worked so hard to protect. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE WINTER GUEST by Pam Jenoff (Historical Romance)
Set in Poland during World War II, The WINTER GUEST follows 18-year-old twin sisters Helena and Ruth Nowak. The two are left to care for their younger siblings while avoiding detection from the Nazis. But when Helena discovers Sam Rosen, an Allied paratrooper and Jew, she risks her family's safety by hiding him. Will Ruth be okay with Helena's budding romance, or will her jealously endanger them all? Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

TIMELESS: Love, Morgenthau, and Me by Lucinda Franks (Memoir)
In TIMELESS, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Lucinda Franks tells the intimate story of her marriage to Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. Here, she offers a confidential tour of their unconventional years together. At the same time, she takes us behind the scenes to reveal the untold stories behind some of Morgenthau’s most famous cases, many of which she helped him brainstorm for. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

CHARLESTON by Margaret Bradham Thornton (Fiction)
Eliza Poinsett, an art historian in London with a charming Etonian boyfriend who adores her, is unnerved when she runs into Henry, her childhood love, at a wedding in the English countryside. Her carefully guarded equilibrium is shattered when she meets Henry again in Charleston, where she has come for her stepsister’s debut. Eliza has to decide if she is willing to risk everything for which she has worked so hard to be with the only man she has ever truly loved. Reviewed by Donna Smallwood.

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DARING: MY PASSAGES: A Memoir by Gail Sheehy (Memoir)
DARING: MY PASSAGES is the story of the unconventional life of a writer who dared. Always on the cutting edge of social issues, Gail Sheehy reveals the obstacles and opportunities encountered when she dared to blaze a trail in a “man’s world.” DARING is also a beguiling love story of Sheehy’s tempestuous romance with and eventual happy marriage to Clay Felker, the charismatic creator of New York magazine. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

THE IRON SICKLE: A Sueño & Bascom Mystery Set in Korea by Martin Limón (Mystery)
Early one rainy morning, the head of the 8th United States Army Claims Office in Seoul, South Korea, is brutally murdered by a Korean man in a trench coat with a small iron sickle hidden in his sleeve. Against orders, CID agents George Sueño and Ernie Bascom start to investigate. Somehow, no one they speak to has been interviewed yet. The 8th Army isn't great at solving cases, but they aren't usually this bad either. George and Ernie begin to suspect that someone doesn’t want the case solved. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THERAPY: A Short Story by Peter Clement (Thriller/Short Story)
eShort Original
The damage is deep and the crime unpardonable in this edgy tale of dark courage, murder and redemption told from a most unusual perspective. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

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Tell us your current reading recommendations with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from September 5th to September 19th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of THE CHILDREN ACT by Ian McEwan, NEVERHOME by Laird Hunt and STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel.

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