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October 3, 2014 Newsletter October 3, 2014
It’s October! Anyone Else Feel Like This Month Crept in FAST?

When we left off last week, I was headed to the Morristown Festival of Books. I was joined by two of our interns, Rebecca Munro and Matthew Burbridge, as well as Rebecca’s mom, Martha, who is an avid reader, and reviewer Vivian Payton. We had a fabulous day of book camaraderie. Rebecca wrote a blog about the day, complete with photos that we both shot, here. I have attended a LOT of book festivals, and I was extremely impressed with this inaugural program. I look forward to seeing it grow in years to come.

Yesterday, our Editorial Director Tom Donadio and I were invited to join four Random House authors at a media lunch. You can see a photo of us above (from left to right: Christine Carter Ph.D., Priya Parmar, Amanda Eyre Ward, Tom, me and Kelly Link). I love events like this that give us an opportunity to have meaningful conversations with authors. I had read VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar (on sale: December 30th) and wrote glowingly about it in early September. Over lunch, Priya shared the story of her conversation with Vanessa’s granddaughter, who summoned her to a restaurant in London to share her thoughts on the book; she had lots of notes. Talk about a nerve-wracking experience! The best part: she gave it a rave quote!

Last weekend, I read --- and loved --- THE SAME SKY by Amanda Eyre Ward (on sale: January 27th), another author who was at the lunch. This novel has two threads --- one is about Carla, a young girl living in Honduras who is caretaking her six-year-old brother after her mother moves to Texas. The goal is that she will make enough money to bring the children north. She sends them money as she can and talks to them weekly. The children live in abject poverty, scouring garbage dumpsters for food; the brother starts sniffing glue. Carla decides they will head north through Mexico as they are starving and fearful for their lives.

THE SAME SKY gives readers an inside look at abject poverty and despair, as well as the hope that lives in Carla’s soul and that of the real-life children like her. The other storyline features Alice and Jake, a young couple with a thriving barbecue business whose lives are missing the one thing that they both want --- a baby. Amanda researched her work by visiting a shelter in Brownsville, Texas, where these children are housed as they wait to be reunited with their parents. Through countless hours of stories from these children, she constructed her setting and her characters. This is a hotbed topic that is looked at without politics, but rather through the eyes of a child. It will be a Bets On selection.

I have not yet read the books from the other two authors who were at the lunch. Kelly Link wrote GET IN TROUBLE (on sale: February 10th), which is a collection of short stories. We had a terrific conversation about pacing a book of stories; more than one of us saw this like lining up the music tracks for an album. And in these days of iPods, Pandora and Spotify, I really am dating myself. The final author was Christine Carter, Ph.D., whose book, THE SWEET SPOT: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work (on sale: January 13th) is timed perfectly as we make New Year’s resolutions on how to get more balance in our lives. The very practical suggestions that Christine noted all seemed easy enough, but also worth it to be engaged with. I will be reading this further with an eye on grabbing myself a bit more downtime.

And now on to this week’s update.

Garth Stein, whose haunting (and haunted) new novel, A SUDDEN LIGHT, is now in stores, is the latest author in our One to Watch Author Spotlight. It’s the summer of 1990 when 14-year-old Trevor is sent to Riddell House, his wealthy and senile grandpa’s legendary family mansion. His job is to get the old man to relinquish his property so Trevor’s bankrupt and newly separated parents can divide the profits and live happily ever after --- but one resident of Riddell House has other ideas. A ghost haunting the mansion will not rest until the family patriarch’s wish to allow the estate to return to untamed forestland is fulfilled. Now Trevor must find a way to unite his family’s past and present.

According to reviewer Kate Ayers, “When a ghost story is done right, there are few stories that can rival one. Add in a romantic tragedy the likes of Romeo & Juliet and a mystery Agatha Christie would be proud of, and you have the makings of a smash hit. Without question, A SUDDEN LIGHT is a smash hit and then some…. Perfectly blending poignancy with emotion, depth and, best of all, feeling, A SUDDEN LIGHT is destined to become unforgettable.” Kate had an opportunity to chat with Garth, and you can read the interview here.

Acclaimed writer Hilary Mantel, best known for her works of historical fiction (including WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES), has released a collection of 10 contemporary stories, THE ASSASSINATION OF MARGARET THATCHER, which all feature themes of marriage, sex and sudden deaths. Michael Magras has our review and says, “[The title story] is the most accomplished and fully realized story in the book. There are many wonderful touches... Nothing happens the way you would expect it to. It’s a powerful, provocative work.”

FOX News host Bill O’Reilly continues his wildly popular Killing series with KILLING PATTON: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General. The series, focusing on the most famous murders in history, has previously examined the killings of Lincoln, Kennedy and Jesus, and now turns to General George S. Patton, Jr. For nearly 70 years, there has been suspicion that the mysterious circumstances of Patton’s death were not at all accidental. Now, using treaties and compromises as research, O’Reilly and co-author Martin Dugard recreate the final year of World War II to set the stage for Patton’s death before looking at the many powerful men who wanted him silent.

Reviewer Maggie Harding believes that “KILLING PATTON should be required reading for students in general and for students of history in particular. In less than 400 pages, it supplies more in-depth information than a dozen history books of lesser caliber and definitely more interest than semesters of dry lectures could provide.”

Sheila Weller invites readers into the previously male-dominated world of television journalism with THE NEWS SORORITY. She examines the lives and struggles of Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric and Christiane Amanpour, who fought to break into the male fortress of news television. Drawing on exclusive interviews with their colleagues and close friends from childhood on, Weller reveals the battles and inner strengths that brought these talented women into our living rooms.

Many thanks to Jesse Kornbluth, who founded with me and went on to create and run, for his review. In it he says, “On one level, THE NEWS SORORITY is a serious book, a valuable history of a transitional era in media that will be read and taught long after no one can remember why 'anchor' doesn’t just apply to boats. For now, though, it won’t be read that way, for THE NEWS SORORITY is a dish fest.”

For an even more provocative study, take a look at ON IMMUNITY: An Inoculation, which was a BEA Buzz title. New mother Eula Bliss found herself chronically afraid --- of the government, medicine and even her child’s environment. I interviewed her at BEA, and she told me that when she was pregnant, she became obsessed with the idea of illnesses that she could contract, which was the genesis of the book. Here, she examines the metaphors and myths surrounding our ideas of immunity, specifically through vaccinations. As she finds more and more people who fear vaccines, she extends her research to find out what vaccines mean for her community, America, and the world, historically and in the present.

Harvey Freedenberg has much praise for the book in his review: “While the subject matter of ON IMMUNITY, at first glance, may strike some as unappealing, in the hands of an author as thoughtful, wise and honest as Eula Biss, it takes on a significance that reaches far beyond its ostensible subject. How refreshing it would be if more of our public policy debates had such able expositors.” By the way, just before Cory headed back to college this year, he needed to present paperwork to prove he had immunity to the chicken pox. I joked that I was sure he had had them when he was four months old, as I had them as well. Greg was the one who passed “the spots” to us! The fear: a breakout in the dorms.

As promised, my latest Bets On pick is THE SHORT AND TRAGIC LIFE OF ROBERT PEACE: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs. I’ve been haunted by this book since I read it in the spring, and now I can finally talk about it with other readers. Click here for my commentary.

For this week’s Paperback Spotlight, we’re looking at NECESSARY LIES by Diane Chamberlain. Set in the 1960s, the book introduces readers to two wildly different women who are brought together by tragedy. First we meet 15-year-old Ivy, forced to care for her aging grandmother, mentally ill older sister, and nephew after her parents’ deaths --- all while dealing with her own epilepsy. Next we meet Jane Forrester, Grace County’s newest social worker, tasked with deciding which of her “unfit” clients should be sterilized without their knowledge. But when Jane is drawn into Ivy’s farm, she finds secrets there that are darker than she ever could have imagined. Soon, she must decide whether to take drastic action to help them, or risk losing a life-changing battle. NECESSARY LIES releases in paperback on Tuesday the 7th. You also can read an interview with Diane here.

Last week, we kicked off our brand new feature, “Sounding Off on Audio,” where we interview listeners about their love of audiobooks, with bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub. This week, we’re happy to feature our conversation with Willetta Heising, author of DETECTING WOMEN and DETECTING MEN, award-winning reader's guides for series mysteries. In our second “Sounding Off” interview, Willetta talks about her addiction to crime fiction on audio and her most memorable listening experiences, which involved two very different series. Also, wait until you see how many books she has listened to!

Are you an audiobook aficionado who would like to be interviewed? Then shoot me a note at with the subject line “Audiobook Lover!” And to those who already responded, I will be in touch over the next few days.

I currently am listening to BEAUTIFUL RUINS by Jess Walter. The beauty of audio for me is that I can catch up on books that I had not had time to read and regretted missing. It is narrated by Edoardo Ballerini, and it won the 2012 Audiobook of the Year for narration as well as’s Audiobook of the Year. His deft handling of the varied voices has me both in awe and swept up in the story.

Speaking of audiobooks, we were saddened to hear that Ralph Cosham, the narrator of all of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series audiobooks, passed away this week. Cosham had recorded more than 100 books in his 22-year career. Penny sung his praises in August when she told the Washington Post, "For me, if you don't get Gamache, the series is lost to you. Ralph brings him alive, I think, because he understands Gamache." You can listen to a sample of the audiobook of THE LONG WAY HOME here.

This week in our Fall Preview contests, we gave away BRINGING UP BEBE: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman and the aforementioned THE ASSASSINATION OF MARGARET THATCHER. Next week, we’ll be featuring three 24-hour contests with the following prizes: the aforementioned NECESSARY LIES, along with I STAND CORRECTED: How Teaching Western Manners in China Became Its Own Unforgettable Lesson by Eden Collinsworth (you can read a terrific interview in the New York Times with Eden here) and TRUTH BE TOLD by Hank Phillippi Ryan. We’re sending a special newsletter to announce each day's title; if you’re not signed up yet to receive the Fall Preview newsletter, please do so here. If you have problems signing up, please send a note to, and he will handle this for you. Our first prize book of the week will be announced on Tuesday the 7th at noon ET.

For this week’s poll, we’d like to know which of the activities we’ve listed do you do to relax. Is it reading? Watching TV? Going to the movies? Cooking? Knitting? Browsing the Internet? Click here to see all the qualifiers and cast your vote!

Our previous poll asked, “When it comes to book-to-screen adaptations, what do you typically do?” A whopping 82% of you read the book before seeing the movie --- whether it’s in theaters, on DVD or on a streaming site. Only 4% read the book after seeing the movie. Click here for all the results.

Let us know what you’ve read, and you’ll be in the running to win three books in our Word of Mouth contest. We’re giving away THE INNOVATORS: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson, LEAVING TIME by Jodi Picoult and SOME LUCK by Jane Smiley. Enter by Friday, October 17th at noon ET for your chance to be one of five winners.

Kirkus Reviews announced the six finalists for the first annual Kirkus Prize in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction and Young Readers’ Literature. Click here for all the nominees. The winners will be announced at a special ceremony in Austin, Texas on October 23rd.

Cory is coming home this weekend to work on a construction project here at the house; he has become a “sheetrocking guru.” Tom got his first Smartphone, which will keep him occupied most of the weekend when not in construction mode; he did successfully call me right after he picked it up, which is a good sign. I have lots of reading that I am looking forward to, including finishing A DEADLY WANDERING: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention. I have been paying rapt attention to this book this very busy week!. Gone Girl is in theaters this weekend, and I'm debating whether or not I want to rush to see it. And yes, I have read the book! Also, I'm ready for season four of "Homeland" kicking off on Sunday night. (For lots more Books on Screen, see our feature for October here.) I'm thinking I can grab one last weekend in the pool before the dreaded cover comes out!

To our friends observing Yom Kippur, we wish you an easy fast! Read on, and here’s to a great week ahead.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Garth Stein, Author of A SUDDEN LIGHT --- Our Latest One to Watch Author Spotlight Title

Garth Stein is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN. His latest work of fiction, A SUDDEN LIGHT, is about Trevor Riddell, a 14-year-old boy whose willingness to face his family’s thorny history is the key to its future. In this interview with’s Kate Ayers, Stein discusses the evolution of this haunting (and haunted!) tale, including its original incarnation as a play, “Brother Jones,” and the hundred thousand words he wrote that never quite made it into the book. He also talks about why the best protagonists are always focused, his new appreciation for tree climbing (and his climbing guru), and why you don’t have to believe in ghosts to appreciate the magic of A SUDDEN LIGHT.

A SUDDEN LIGHT by Garth Stein (Supernatural Mystery)
In the summer of 1990, 14-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. The legendary mansion is built of giant, whole trees, and Trevor’s father --- in a trial separation with his wife --- wants to sell it. Trevor soon discovers the ghost burdened by the final wishes of the Riddell patriarch, Elijah: that the mansion is returned to untamed forestland as penance for the trees harvested by the Riddell Timber Company. Trevor’s willingness to face the past holds the key to his family’s future. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Garth Stein’s bio.
-Click here to visit Garth Stein’s official website.
-Connect with Garth Stein on Facebook and Twitter.
-Click here to read more in our One to Watch Author Spotlight.

Click here to read our interview.
THE ASSASSINATION OF MARGARET THATCHER: Stories by Hilary Mantel (Fiction/Short Stories)
The latest work from the celebrated author of the historical novels WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES is a collection of 10 stories, Hilary Mantel’s first collection since 2003’s LEARNING TO TALK. Many of these contemporary tales play with the conventions of genre; there’s even a vampire tale. But the title story, about an imagined attempt on the former Prime Minister’s life, will, not surprisingly, get the most attention. Reviewed by Michael Magras.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: KILLING PATTON by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
KILLING PATTON: The Strange Death of World War II's Most Audacious General by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard (History)
General George S. Patton, Jr. died under mysterious circumstances in the months following the end of World War II. For almost 70 years, there has been suspicion that his death was not an accident --- and may very well have been an act of assassination. KILLING PATTON takes readers inside the final year of the war and recounts the events surrounding Patton’s tragic demise, naming names of the many powerful individuals who wanted him silenced. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE NEWS SORORITY by Sheila Weller
THE NEWS SORORITY: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour -- and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News by Sheila Weller (Biography)
For decades, women battered the walls of the male fortress of television journalism. After fierce struggles, three women --- Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric and Christiane Amanpour --- broke into the newsroom’s once impenetrable “boys’ club.” Drawing on exclusive interviews with their colleagues and intimates from childhood on, THE NEWS SORORITY reveals the hard struggles and inner strengths that shaped these women and powered their success. Reviewed by Jesse Kornbluth, founder of

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
New Paperback Spotlight: NECESSARY LIES by Diane Chamberlain
NECESSARY LIES by Diane Chamberlain (Historical Fiction)
It is 1960 in North Carolina and the lives of Ivy Hart and Jane Forrester couldn’t be more different. Fifteen-year-old Ivy lives with her family as tenants on a small tobacco farm, but when her parents die, Ivy is left to care for her grandmother, older sister and nephew. As she struggles with her grandmother’s aging, her sister’s mental illness and her own epilepsy, she realizes they might need more than she can give.

When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County’s newest social worker, she is given the task of recommending which of her clients should be sterilized without their knowledge or consent. The state’s rationalization is that if her clients are poor, or ill, or deemed in some way "unfit," they should not be allowed to have children. But soon Jane becomes emotionally invested in her clients’ lives, causing tension with her new husband and her supervisors. No one understands why Jane would want to become a caseworker for the Department of Public Health when she could be a housewife and Junior League member. As Jane is drawn in by the Hart women, she begins to discover the secrets of the small farm --- secrets much darker than she would have guessed. Soon, she must decide whether to take drastic action to help them, or risk losing a life-changing battle.

NECESSARY LIES releases in paperback on October 7th.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read Diane Chamberlain’s bio.
-Click here to read our interview with Diane Chamberlain.
-Connect with Diane Chamberlain on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Paperback Spotlight. Bets On: THE SHORT AND TRAGIC LIFE OF ROBERT PEACE by Jeff Hobbs
THE SHORT AND TRAGIC LIFE OF ROBERT PEACE: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs (Biography)
Back in the spring, I read Jeff Hobbs’s first work of nonfiction, THE SHORT AND TRAGIC LIFE OF ROBERT PEACE, and I have not stopped talking about it since. It’s a book I cannot get out of my head. To me, it’s not just the story of Robert Peace, but also a commentary on the racial divide in this country, as well as a background history on the downfall of the inner city.

As the book opens and we are introduced to Rob’s world, Jeff sets the stage with a history of Newark that is informative and articulates why the city, like many American cities, has deteriorated. This setup paves the way for Rob’s story to unfold.

For me, this story is a familiar one. My parents grew up in Newark, though they were gone by the mid-1950s. Relatives remained there through the early ’80s, though most left during the “white flight” that took place in the late ’60s and early ’70s. I still remember the summer of 1967 when we were on vacation at the beach during the Newark riots. Now my younger son goes to college in the city. One of the incidents that Jeff writes about that occurred when Rob was in high school took place on streets that I have traveled down while visiting Cory at school. Jeff sets the landscape that is the important backdrop to Rob's story. Jeff was Rob’s roommate at Yale; after his death, he felt a strong need to find out why this happened and to try to understand who Rob was beyond the brilliant young man with whom he had gone to school.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
Click here to read more of Carol’s thoughts on the book.
Now in Stores: THE ZONE OF INTEREST by Martin Amis
THE ZONE OF INTEREST by Martin Amis (Historical Fiction)
Once upon a time there was a king, and the king commissioned his favorite wizard to create a magic mirror. This mirror didn't show you your reflection. It showed you your soul --- it showed you who you really were. The wizard couldn't look at it without turning away. The king couldn't look at it. The courtiers couldn't look at it. A chestful of treasure was offered to anyone who could look at it for 60 seconds without turning away. And no one could. Reviewed by Frederick Lloyd.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: ON IMMUNITY by Eula Biss
ON IMMUNITY: An Inoculation by Eula Biss (Social Science)
Upon becoming a new mother, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear --- fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what is in your child's air, food, mattress, medicine and vaccines. She finds that you cannot immunize your child, or yourself, from the world. In ON IMMUNITY, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
October’s Books on Screen Feature
We have plenty to share with you in October's Books on Screen feature, which is overflowing with all kinds of sweet treats.

The hot ticket this month is, of course, David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s mind-bending GONE GIRL. Starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, this guaranteed blockbuster unearths the secrets at the heart of a modern marriage. Other flicks to look forward to in October include Left Behind, an apocalyptic action-thriller starring Nicolas Cage and based on the bestselling book that brings biblical prophecy to life in modern times; The Best of Me, inspired by Nicholas Sparks' novel in which a pair of former high school sweethearts reunite after many years when they return to visit their small hometown; and two thrilling and chilling films releasing (appropriately enough) on Halloween: Before I Go to Sleep and Horns.

There's lots to choose from on the small screen as well: the season four premiere of “Homeland” on Showtime, which is rumored to be shaking things up after the shocking events of last season’s finale; Big Driver, a Lifetime Original Movie based on a short story by Stephen King; and "Death Comes to Pemberley," a three-part miniseries on PBS adapted from P.D. James' bestselling mystery of the same name. And let's not forget those DVDs. This month's releases include X-Men: Days of Future Past, Million Dollar Arm and Child of God.
Click here to see all the movies, TV shows and DVDs featured in October’s Books on Screen.
Sounding Off on Audio: Interviews with Listeners About Their Love of Audiobooks
As we continue to explore the world of audiobooks, we bring you our newest feature, “Sounding Off on Audio,” where we interview listeners about their love of audiobooks. Find out what they listen to, who their favorite narrators are, why they enjoy audiobooks, and much more. Whether you are a seasoned listener of audiobooks or have only a passing curiosity, we hope that you find these interviews to be fun and informative --- and perhaps come across a title or two that you can add to your audiobook listening list. Whenever possible, we will try to provide samples for your listening pleasure as well.

This week's interview is with Willetta Heising, author of DETECTING WOMEN and DETECTING MEN, award-winning reader's guides for series mysteries. No stranger to the world of audiobooks, Willetta has been listening for more than 20 years. Less surprising is her preference for crime fiction, and here she shares some of her favorite listens.

Click here to read Willetta Heising's "Sounding Off on Audio" interview.’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 next prize book will be announced on Tuesday, October 7th 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
BURN: A Detective Michael Bennett Thriller by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Thriller)
Back in the city that never sleeps, Detective Michael Bennett takes over a chaotic Outreach Squad in Harlem, where he receives an unusual call: a man claims to have seen a group of well-dressed men holding a bizarre party in a condemned building. With no clear crime or evidence, Bennett dismisses the report. But when a charred body is found in the same building, he is forced to take the caller seriously --- and is drawn into an underground criminal world of terrifying depravity. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

THE PERFECT WITNESS by Iris Johansen (Thriller)
When Teresa Casali was young, she discovered she had a strange gift: the ability to read people’s memories. But the gift seemed more like a curse as her mob boss father used her to gain the upper hand in his world of corruption and violence. Exposed by her own family to the darkest impulses of mankind, Teresa is alone and unprotected. She realizes that if she is to survive, she has to run. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

A SLIP OF THE KEYBOARD: Collected Nonfiction by Terry Pratchett (Essays)
A SLIP OF THE KEYBOARD brings together for the first time the finest examples of Terry Pratchett's nonfiction writing, both serious and surreal: from musings on mushrooms to what it means to be a writer (and why banana daiquiris are so important); from memories of Granny Pratchett to speculation about Gandalf's love life, and passionate defenses of the causes dear to him. Reviewed by Pauline Finch.

FIVES AND TWENTY-FIVES by Michael Pitre (Fiction)
Dispatched to fill potholes on the highways of Iraq, the road repair platoon works to assure safe passage for citizens and military personnel. Lieutenant Donavan leads the platoon, painfully aware of his shortcomings and isolated by his rank. Doc Pleasant, the medic, joined for opportunity, but finds his pride undone as he watches friends die. And Kateb is an Iraqi interpreter whose love of American culture is matched only by his disdain for what Americans are doing to his country. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

THE WONDER OF ALL THINGS by Jason Mott (Fantasy)
It starts as an ordinary day in an ordinary town, at an ordinary air show. But when one of the planes crashes, killing and injuring dozens, a 13-year-old named Ava is discovered healing her best friend, Wash. Her secret gift is now known to the entire world, and Ava is thrust into the spotlight. But at what cost does this gift come, and how much will Ava have to sacrifice to save the one she loves most? Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

THE STORY OF LAND AND SEA by Katy Simpson Smith (Historical Fiction)
Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, THE STORY OF LAND AND SEA is a debut novel that follows three generations of family --- fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave, characters who yearn for redemption amidst a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery and love. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

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

STRONG DARKNESS: A Caitlin Strong Novel by Jon Land (Thriller)
The son of Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong’s boyfriend is nearly beaten to death at Brown University. The investigation leads back to Texas and to the Chinese high-tech company awarded the contract to build the US’s 5G network. Li Zhen, the company’s founder, counts that as the greatest achievement of his career, but it hides his true motivations --- nothing less than China’s total domination of the United States. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE WHITE VAN by Patrick Hoffman (Thriller)
At a dive bar in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, drug-hustling Emily Rosario is looking for an escape from her desperate lifestyle. When she is approached by a Russian businessman, she thinks she might have found her exit. A week later --- drugged, disoriented and wanted for robbery --- she finds herself on the run for her life. When cop Leo Elias hears about an unsolved bank robbery, he takes the case into his own hands, hoping to find Emily and the money before anyone else does. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SILENT MURDERS by Mary Miley (Historical Mystery)
Jessie Carr is thrilled when Bruno Heilmann, a movie studio bigwig, invites her to a party. She’s even more delighted to run into a face from her past at that party. But the following day, Jessie learns that sometime in the wee hours of the morning, both her old friend and Bruno were brutally murdered. She’s devastated, but as an actress, she’s uniquely positioned to dig into the circumstances surrounding these deaths. But will doing so put her own life directly in the path of a murderer? Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

GETTING EVEN by Sarah Rayner (Fiction)
How would you feel if your best friend at work betrayed you? Was secretly having an affair with an influential colleague? Won a coveted promotion, then teamed you up with a mere junior, leaving you feeling completely demoted? What would you do? For Ivy there's no choice. The only person she has ever trusted, Orianna, has blown it big time. So there's only one way forward: revenge. But is Ivy really the innocent party? Or is she hiding secrets of her own? Reviewed by Vivian Payton.

AUTUMN KILLING by Mons Kallentoft (Mystery/Thriller)
The discovery of a brutally stabbed body floating face down in the moat of Skogså Castle chills one town to the bone. Malin Fors is already struggling to keep her life together following the recent murder attempt on her teenage daughter, Tove. Now, as this case forces Malin to delve deep into her town’s history and her own family’s past, the secrets she uncovers threaten to drown her, too. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

BIBLICAL by Christopher Galt (Apocalyptic Thriller)
All around the globe, people are having visions, seeing angels, experiencing events that defy reality. There is the graffiti WE ARE BECOMING that has popped up in every major city around the world. And people everywhere are starting to talk about John Astor, the mysterious author of the book that seems to be at the center of it all. After a rash of suicides, psychiatrist John Macbeth and a team of FBI agents and scientists assemble to find out what's going on. Is this a spiritual phenomenon or something more sinister? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
Our Latest Poll: What Do You Do to Unwind?
Which of the following activities do you do to relax? Please check as many as apply.

Arts and crafts
Watching television
Going to the movies
Browsing the Internet
Working out/walking/jogging
Doing yoga/Pilates
Swimming/water sports
None of the above
Click here to answer the poll.
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 October 3rd to October 17th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of THE INNOVATORS: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson, LEAVING TIME by Jodi Picoult and SOME LUCK by Jane Smiley.

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, your review WILL NOT be posted if you have not finished the book.

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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