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January 9, 2015 Newsletter January 9, 2015
We’re Baaack, and Here’s to 2015!

It’s been a hectic week of “re-entry” after a fabulous two weeks away. When the holiday breaks on a Thursday, it allows for maximum vacation time (I learned this from my mom who was a teacher). Keith Raffel wrote and told me that this will not happen again for 10 years, so I am glad we savored this year. We spent the first week on the Outer Banks, and then came home for the second week as both of the boys had New Year’s plans. It was the first time we had been home for New Year’s since 2001!

It was nice to have time for extended reading, and I was happy to finish seven books and start two others. I look forward to sharing them with you in the weeks and months to come! My husband loved NATCHEZ BURNING by Greg Iles, which consumed most of his week.

I loved hearing about a tradition that Melanie Steinberg, our Word of Mouth Editor, does with her family each New Year’s. They all put together a puzzle; this year, it was the 500-piece puzzle of The Bizarre Bookshop pictured above. I definitely am going to pick this one up. We had a "Games of Thrones" puzzle with us, but somehow we never got around to it during the trip. There was too much else to keep us occupied, including a visit to Duck's Cottage Downtown Books, where I got to catch up with Jamie Layton, the store's manager --- and we, of course, bought books!

We did bring the DVDs of "50 Years of Bond" with us; I think we have been through eight movies over the last two Christmas trips. Greg read GOLDENEYE by Matthew Parker, which will be published on March 11th; it looks at the influence Ian Fleming's home in Jamaica had over the creation of James Bond. He was full of factoids as we were watching.

Over the break, I heard the sad news that Edward Herrmann passed away. While many knew him as the father on "Gilmore Girls," I knew him best as the brilliant narrator of the audiobooks of UNBROKEN and ENDURING COURAGE, and the voice of FDR on at least two programs. I plan to listen to his narration of THE BOYS IN THE BOAT next. I probably then will work my way through everything that he narrated. Next week our audiobook interviews with readers will be back. If you have not contacted me yet about being interviewed, shoot me a note at

The snowy day last week meant a fire in the fireplace and a fabulous roasted pork loin with sauerkraut and warm potato salad from Mario Batali's AMERICA --- FARM TO TABLE cookbook. Lovely!

And now on to this week’s update, which is full of stellar titles...

Back in October, I attended Hachette’s Third Annual Book Club Brunch. Though the event was full of delightful panels and author talks, the star of that day was Christopher Scotton, whose first novel, THE SECRET WISDOM OF THE EARTH, was given to attendees in advance so they could participate in his panel. The buzz surrounding his redemptive and insightful debut has been on a steady build. Narrated by Kevin, a grown man recounting the events of the fateful summer of 1985, the book tells the story of Medgar, Kentucky, an Appalachian coal town beset by a massive Mountaintop Removal operation. Sent to live with his grandfather after witnessing the horrific death of his younger brother, Kevin becomes embroiled in the battle between community and company, leading to an epic struggle for justice and survival. With its touching coming-of-age storyline and captivating look into the effects of modern-day coal-mining, THE SECRET WISDOM OF THE EARTH is one of my latest Bets On picks. Click here for my thoughts on the book.

Joe Hartlaub has his own thoughts about the book, and they are all raves. Here’s a preview of his review: “It’s difficult to predict such things, but my gut feeling as I sit here in (very) early January is that THE SECRET WISDOM OF THE EARTH is going to be on a number of 'Best of the Year' lists 12 months from now.… Scotton labored over his book for over 15 years and has created a quiet masterpiece that I daresay will be read and remembered years from now. It’s not a race, but, as this impressive debut novel demonstrates, slow and steady wins it.” By the way, I think those of you who enjoyed ORDINARY GRACE by William Kent Krueger will love this book!

Priya Parmar, whose book VANESSA AND HER SISTER is also a Bets On pick, is the latest featured author in our Historical Fiction Author Spotlight. In this captivating novel, Parmar takes readers back to the prewar London of 1905, where the Stephens siblings are beginning a new circle of intellectuals: the Bloomsbury Group. At the center of this esteemed group are Vanessa and Virginia, two gifted sisters who would go on to find fame as Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. While the sisters find stimulation and support in one another, this bond is threatened when Vanessa falls in love. Feeling abandoned, Virginia begins to lose her grasp on sanity, forcing Vanessa to make a difficult decision. In celebration of the release of VANESSA AND HER SISTER, we’re giving away 25 copies to readers who would like to read the book and share their comments on it. To enter the contest, please fill out this form by Thursday, January 22nd at noon ET.

Roz Shea has our review and says, “Parmar uses letters, telegrams and Vanessa’s diary entries to create an intriguingly original novel that details the day-to-day activities, travels, romances and, sadly, medical ailments that regularly plague the main characters…. Not only has Parmar brilliantly captured the essence of an era of intellectual exploration, she also has breathed life into several of its larger-than-life characters.” Click here for my Bets On commentary.

The publication of VANESSA AND HER SISTER encouraged us to revisit some of Virginia Woolf’s works. The result is our latest bookshelf entitled “We’re Not Afraid of Virginia Woolf.” Narrowing her wide bibliography down to only 20 books was no easy feat, but Nicole Sherman did it, including her best-known novels, short stories and even some diaries on the bookshelf. Now you, too, will not be afraid that you do not know your Virginia Woolf!

My final Bets On pick of the week is THE BISHOP’S WIFE by Mette Ivie Harrison. Inspired by a chilling true crime, the novel introduces readers to Linda Wallheim, a devout Mormon, mother of five boys, and the wife of a bishop. One bitter winter night, Carrie, a young wife and mother in Linda’s ward, disappears. While Carrie’s husband claims that she has always been unstable, Linda is troubled by his secrecy and suspects that he killed his wife. Although Linda’s husband tells her not to get involved, she becomes obsessed with learning the truth --- a fixation that puts her faith and loyalty to the ultimate test. Written by a practicing Mormon, THE BISHOP’S WIFE is full of fascinating insights and shocking twists and turns. You can read my Bets On commentary here, and we look forward to bringing you our review on January 23rd.

Our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight features Amanda Eyre Ward, whose timely and heartfelt novel THE SAME SKY releases on January 20th; it also will be a Bets On selection. Told from opposite sides of the American border, the book introduces readers to Alice and her husband, Jake, who own a restaurant in Austin, Texas. Though they are happy and popular, Alice cannot help but feel that something is missing from their life. Meanwhile, across the border, young Carla struggles to care for her six-year-old brother since their mother made the dangerous journey to Texas. When their grandmother dies, Carla makes the difficult decision to take her brother and cross the border from Mexico to America for the chance at a better life. We’re celebrating the release of THE SAME SKY with a contest that will award 25 readers a copy of the book and the opportunity to share their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, January 22nd at noon ET.

Fan favorites detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles return in Tess Gerritsen’s DIE AGAIN. When the two are called to the gruesome murder scene of a renowned hunter and taxidermist, Isles fears this isn’t the killer’s first slaughter. After connecting the murder to a series of unsolved homicides, she finds an answer in a remote corner of Botswana where, six years earlier, a tourist group was murdered by one of their own --- save for one victim who escaped. Now, with the killer loose in Boston, Rizzoli and Isles plan to tempt him with irresistible bait: the victim who got away.

Ray Palen has our review and says, “I am pleased to report that DIE AGAIN pulls no punches, and the result is something unlike any of Gerritsen’s previous novels. The suspense and peril depicted within are excruciating, and readers will find themselves squirming in their chairs and checking under the bed while reading it.”

For a thrilling read to kick off the new year, try HUSH by Karen Robards. Though the police have deemed Jeff Cowan’s death a suicide, his wife, Riley, suspects he has been murdered --- probably by one of the many people his father ripped off in one of the biggest financial fraud cases of all time. Riley views Jeff’s death as a message that people will continue to die until the money is returned. FBI agent Finn Bradley is also looking for the missing money, with Riley as his main suspect. But when someone attempts to kill Riley, Finn must protect her while the two work together to uncover the killer’s identity before he strikes again.

According to reviewer Renee Yeager, “Robards does a good job of keeping readers involved in the actions and motives of her characters, who we find ourselves rooting for…. In good romantic suspense, there is always a question of whether or not the two characters will get together or stay together. HUSH has elements of both, along with a solid mystery that is sure to please whodunit fans.”

How would you like to do some binge reading to start the year? St. Martin’s Press is giving you a good head start with “The Clifton Chronicles Sweepstakes.” 500 lucky winners will be awarded a copy of ONLY TIME WILL TELL, the beginning of Jeffrey Archer’s The Clifton Chronicles series, an episodic saga of love, loss, betrayal and ambition that spans the decades. Read it, along with the next three installments, and you’ll be all set for February 24th, when the fifth book in the series, MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD, releases. The deadline for your entries is Tuesday, January 20th at 11:59pm. Click here for all the details.

Romantic suspense fans, this one’s for you! We’re celebrating the release of BROKEN BONDS, the newest installment in Karen Harper’s Cold Creek series, with a special contest that will give five readers the opportunity to win a copy of the book. To enter, please fill out this form by Tuesday, February 3rd at noon ET.

Our New in Paperback roundups have been updated for January. Among this month’s releases are MR. MERCEDES by Stephen King, COP TOWN by Karin Slaughter, THE ACCIDENT by Chris Pavone, and three books that I picked as Bets On selections when they released in hardcover: A CIRCLE OF WIVES by Alice LaPlante, THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL by Nadia Hashimi, and UNREMARRIED WIDOW: A Memoir by Artis Henderson.

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to enter our End-of-the-Year Contest, you’re in luck! We’ve extended the giveaway through the weekend (we had meant to do that from the start and got dates mixed up), so the new deadline for entries will be Monday, January 12th at noon ET. This very special contest features all 32 of my Bets On picks for 2014. One grand prize winner will win a copy of all 32 books, while 32 other winners will receive a copy of one of the featured titles.

The countdown is on for our first-ever “Winter Reading Dedicated Contests." On select days through February, we’ll be awarding new and upcoming releases to lucky readers. Our Winter Reading newsletters will be starting on January 20th, so be sure you’re signed up to receive them so you know what book we’re giving away on each of the contest days. We do not send you our themed newsletters unless you opt-in, so sign up here. If you are having trouble doing so, please write John Maher at

For our first poll of the new year, we’d like to know how you discovered Was it through word of mouth? Another website? Social media? Or perhaps a bookseller or librarian? Click here to let us know.

Our previous poll asked how many books you read in 2014. We’re happy to share that 26% of you, like me, read more than 100(!) books last year. 20% read 51-75 books, while 13% read 76-100. Click here for the full results. Based on the number of books that are releasing in January alone, it’s safe to assume that I will answer “More than 100” to this question 12 months from now! And Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, plans to read one book every two weeks, which will be 26 books, well below most readers.

We have a new Word of Mouth contest starting today. Let us know the books you’ve been reading, and you’ll be in the running to win FEAR THE DARKNESS by Becky Masterman, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins (which will be a Bets On selection next week), and SAINT ODD: An Odd Thomas Novel by Dean Koontz. The deadline for your entries is Friday, January 23rd at noon ET.

In case you missed these while we were on hiatus, here are a few pop culture items to share:

For “Serial” podcast fans: Here’s a three-part interview where Jay, a key witness from "Serial," responds to the podcast, and here’s the "Saturday Night Live" skit where “Serial” is parodied.

For “Downton Abbey” fans, here's the parody with George Clooney that was done for UK viewers to raise money.

For those who are wondering when their favorite midseason shows will be airing, I found this link with the complete lineup.

Saw: The Imitation Game, which is a brilliant film that deserves to be seen. Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken was a huge achievement for her. It’s hard to take a book that wonderful and trim it down. I personally would have liked to see Part Two with the rest of his story, which deserved a whole other movie.

Watched: "Transparent," a new series on Amazon. It's very edgy and not for everyone, but I confess to watching 10 episodes in one day. It’s nominated for two Golden Globes on Sunday night, so I had to investigate.

Watching: "Black Mirror" on Netflix. This UK series --- two seasons of three episodes --- shows what futuristic tech-based dystoptia may look like. It’s done in the style of "The Twilight Zone," so you do not have to watch every episode.

Something to Note: Mercury will be retrograde January 21- February 11, May 18-June 11 and September 17-October 9.

As for me, I am listening to THE ROSIE EFFECT, which is a follow-up to THE ROSIE PROJECT, which I read in print. I am loving being read to by Dan O’Grady. I am reading the aforementioned FEAR THE DARKNESS by Becky Masterman. I loved her last book, RAGE AGAINST THE DYING, and am enjoying this one just as much. Next up, I am reading THE WHITES by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt (I will get to the bottom of that), which I started since I typically am reading more than one book!

With the wind whistling, we are hunkering down here with guests coming Saturday night and Sunday. Lots of movies and football on the agenda. I am still unsure of who I am pulling for Monday night in the National Championship. Read on, and here’s to a great week!

Carol Fitzgerald (

P.S. For those of you who shop online, if you use the store links below, gets a small affiliate fee on your purchases. We would appreciate your considering this!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

New Historical Fiction Author Spotlight & Contest: VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar
We have 25 copies of VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar, which is now in stores, to give away to readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, January 22nd at noon ET.

VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar (Historical Fiction)
London, 1905: The city is alight with change, and the Stephen siblings are at the forefront. Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby and Adrian are leaving behind their childhood home and taking a house in the leafy heart of avant-garde Bloomsbury. There they bring together a glittering circle of bright, outrageous artistic friends who will grow into legend and come to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. And at the center of this charmed circle are the devoted, gifted sisters: Vanessa, the painter, and Virginia, the writer.

Each member of the group will go on to earn fame and success, but so far Vanessa Bell has never sold a painting. Virginia Woolf’s book review has just been turned down by The Times. Lytton Strachey has not published anything. E. M. Forster has finished his first novel but does not like the title. Leonard Woolf is still a civil servant in Ceylon and John Maynard Keynes is looking for a job. Together, this sparkling coterie of artists and intellectuals throw away convention and embrace the wild freedom of being young, single bohemians in London.

But the landscape shifts when Vanessa unexpectedly falls in love and her sister feels dangerously abandoned.

-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 for Carol’s “ Bets On” commentary.
-Click here to read Priya Parmar’s bio.
-Click here to visit Priya Parmar’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Priya Parmar on Facebook.
Click here to read more in our Historical Fiction Author Spotlight and enter the contest.
New Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight & Contest: THE SAME SKY by Amanda Eyre Ward
We have 25 copies of THE SAME SKY by Amanda Eyre Ward to give away to readers who would like to read the book, which releases on January 20th, and share their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, January 22nd at noon ET.

THE SAME SKY by Amanda Eyre Ward (Fiction)
Alice and her husband, Jake, own a barbecue restaurant in Austin, Texas. Hardworking and popular in their community, they have a loving marriage and thriving business, but Alice still feels that something is missing, lying just beyond reach.

Carla is a strong-willed young girl who’s had to grow up fast, acting as caretaker to her six-year-old brother Junior. Years ago, her mother left the family behind in Honduras to make the arduous, illegal journey to Texas. But when Carla’s grandmother dies and violence in the city escalates, Carla takes fate into her own hands --- and with Junior, she joins the thousands of children making their way across Mexico to America, risking great peril for the chance at a better life.

In this elegant novel, the lives of Alice and Carla will intersect in a profound and surprising way. Poignant and arresting, THE SAME SKY is about finding courage through struggle, hope amid heartache, and summoning the strength --- no matter what dangers await --- to find the place where you belong.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Amanda Eyre Ward’s bio.

-Click here to visit Amanda Eyre Ward’s official website.
-Connect with Amanda Eyre Ward on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight and enter the contest.
Now in Stores: THE SECRET WISDOM OF THE EARTH by Christopher Scotton
THE SECRET WISDOM OF THE EARTH by Christopher Scotton (Fiction)
The town of Medgar, Kentucky, is beset by a massive Mountaintop Removal operation that is blowing up the hills and back filling the hollows. Fourteen-year-old Kevin's grandfather and others in town attempt to rally the citizens against the “company” and its powerful owner to stop the plunder of their mountain heritage. When Kevin’s friend, Buzzy, witnesses the brutal murder of the opposition leader, a sequence is set in play that tests Buzzy and Kevin to their absolute limits in an epic struggle for survival in the Kentucky mountains. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here for Carol’s “ Bets On” commentary.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: DIE AGAIN by Tess Gerritsen
DIE AGAIN: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen (Thriller)
Boston Detective Jane Rizzoli is on the case of a big game hunter found dead in his apartment. Medical examiner Maura Isles connects the case to a number of seemingly unrelated deaths where the victims have all been found hanging upside down. Rizzoli ultimately uncovers the unsolved mystery of a deadly camping safari in Botswana four years prior. When she realizes the two cases are connected, Rizzoli must track down the sole survivor of the tragic trip to discover who --- or what --- is behind these gruesome deaths. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: HUSH by Karen Robards
HUSH by Karen Robards (Romantic Suspense)
When Riley Cowan finds her estranged husband, Jeff, dead in his palatial home, she’s sure it’s no coincidence. The police rule it a suicide, but Riley thinks someone’s out for blood. Finn Bradley, a Philly-based FBI agent and Riley’s love interest from way back when, agrees to help Riley, and the two reignite sparks they both thought were extinguished long ago. But can they discover the killer’s identity in time before he resurfaces --- and strikes again? Reviewed by Renee Yeager.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Enter to Win a Copy of ONLY TIME WILL TELL, the First Book in Jeffrey Archer’s The Clifton Chronicles --- and Binge Read the Entire Series!
The Clifton Chronicles is a thrilling episodic saga of love, loss, betrayal and ambition from the #1 worldwide bestselling author and master storyteller, Jeffrey Archer. Join us as we journey from the back alleys of Bristol to the teeming streets of New York City in stories that span the last 100 years and that follow Harry Clifton and a memorable cast of characters. We’re reading and discussing each of the first four books in the series as we prepare for the February 24th release of Archer’s newest book, MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD. Click here to win the first book, ONLY TIME WILL TELL, in the series!
Click here to enter the contest and read more about The Clifton Chronicles.
New Special Contest: Win a Copy of BROKEN BONDS by Karen Harper
We are celebrating the recent release of BROKEN BONDS, the third installment in Karen Harper's Cold Creek romantic suspense series, with a special contest that will give five readers the opportunity to win a copy of the book. To enter, please fill out this form by Tuesday, February 3rd at noon ET.

BROKEN BONDS: A Cold Creek Novel by Karen Harper (Romantic Suspense)
Cold Creek is a place with a dark history, especially for the Lockwoods. Now adults, the three Lockwood sisters are still recovering from the events that led to the destruction of their family when they were children. Determined to move forward, Tess and Kate are making fresh starts, ready to put bad --- even deadly --- memories to rest and settle happily in the small but booming town. And they're hoping their older sister, Charlene, can do the same.

Char is back in town seeking comfort as she figures out her next move. A social worker used to difficult situations, she soon runs afoul of some locals who think she's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. She's certain something sinister is being covered up, and when she witnesses Matt Rowan being run off the road, she knows she's right.

Working together, Matt and Char figure uncovering the truth will be dangerous, but living in Cold Creek won't be safe for any of them until its secrets are revealed.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Karen Harper’s bio.
-Click here to visit Karen Harper’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Karen Harper on Facebook.
THE SECRET WISDOM OF THE EARTH by Christopher Scotton (Fiction)
THE SECRET WISDOM OF THE EARTH by Christopher Scotton blends a coming-of-age story with a look inside the world of modern-day coal mining, known as fracking, and its impact on a community.

Fourteen-year-old Kevin and his mom have moved from Indiana to Medgar, Kentucky, a coal town deep in Appalachia following the death of his three-year-old brother, Joshua, in a horrific accident for which Kevin has been blamed. His mom’s grief has overwhelmed and paralyzed her, leaving Kevin to reach out to his grandfather, Pops, to help him heal. This man, a veterinarian, brings a lot of heart and soul, as well as wisdom, to the story, besides being an anchor for Kevin.

-Click here for 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 the reading group guide.

by Priya Parmar
(Historical Fiction)

Confession here: As I was not an English major, I do not have an encyclopedic memory of the work of Virginia Woolf. I had heard of the Bloomsbury Group, but knew little about their members. I am happy to share that after reading VANESSA AND HER SISTER, I am pop quiz-worthy on the latter topic. In this book, Priya Parmar has crafted a fictionalized diary of Vanessa Stephen Bell, otherwise known as the sister of Virginia Woolf.

-Click here for 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 the reading group guide.

by Mette Ivie Harrison
(Crime Fiction/Mystery)

I am intrigued by the Mormon culture, thus when I saw that THE BISHOP’S WIFE is set in that community in Salt Lake, I was eager to read it. The bishop’s wife, Linda Wallheim, is a devout Mormon, the mother of five boys and the wife of a bishop. While tending to parishioners in their ward with meals and baked goods, Linda is seeing an undercurrent that is troubling her. There is a fear among some of the women who seem to harbor secrets in their obedient lives.

Please check back on Friday, January 23rd for our review!

-Click here for more of Carol’s thoughts on the book.
-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here for more books we're betting you'll love.’s Latest Bookshelf: "We're Not Afraid of Virginia Woolf"
The publication of VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar spurred us to create a bookshelf of 20 works by Virginia Woolf, the “sister” referenced in the title. Included are her best-known novels, as well as her short stories and diaries. We’ve culled only a portion of her work here as her accomplishments include five volumes of collected essays and reviews, two biographies, two libertarian books, a volume of selections from her diary, nine novels, and a collection of short stories. We have enough to get you started so you, too, will not be afraid that you do not know your Virginia Woolf!
Click here to see our “We’re Not Afraid of Virginia Woolf” bookshelf.’s New in Paperback Roundups for January
January’s roundups of New in Paperback fiction titles include MR. MERCEDES, Stephen King's bestseller that finds three unlikely heroes trying to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands; Karin Slaughter's first stand-alone novel, COP TOWN, an epic story of a city in the midst of seismic upheaval, a serial killer targeting cops, and a divided police force tasked with bringing a madman to justice; THE ACCIDENT by Chris Pavone, in which the lives of a veteran CIA operative, a literary agent and an author collide as the latter's book begins its dangerous march toward publication; and THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL, Nadia Hashimi's debut novel that interweaves the tales of two women separated by a century who share similar destinies.

Among this month’s nonfiction offerings are ALL JOY AND NO FUN: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, in which award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior analyzes the many ways children reshape their parents' lives --- whether it's their marriages, their jobs, their habits, their hobbies, their friendships, or their internal senses of self; UNREMARRIED WIDOW, a memoir by Artis Henderson, who lost her husband 20 years after her own mother was widowed, and overcame two generations of tragedy to discover that both hope and love endure; and JFK IN THE SENATE: Pathway to the Presidency, the first book to deal exclusively with John F. Kennedy's Senate years, as author John T. Shaw looks at how the young Senator was able to catapult himself on the national stage.

-Find out what's New in Paperback for the weeks of January 5th, January 12th, January 19th and January 26th.
Coming January 16th:’s Winter Reading Contests and Feature --- Sign Up Now for Contest Alerts!
The countdown is on for our first-ever “Winter Reading Dedicated Contests"! On select days in January and February, we’ll be awarding new and upcoming releases to lucky readers. Our Winter Reading newsletters will be starting on January 20th, so be sure you’re signed up to receive them so you know what book we’re giving away on each of the contest days. We do not send you our themed newsletters unless you opt-in, so sign up here. If you are having trouble doing so, please write John Maher at
Click here to sign up for Winter Reading contest alerts.
New Guides Now Available on
The following guides are now available on

10% HAPPIER: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works -- A True Story by Dan Harris (Self-Help)
“Nightline” anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.

BEFORE I GO by Colleen Oakley (Fiction)
BEFORE I GO is a heartfelt novel in the bestselling tradition of PS, I LOVE YOU about a young woman in Georgia with stage four breast cancer who undertakes a mission to find a “replacement wife” for her husband before she passes away.

COLD COLD HEART by Tami Hoag (Psychological Thriller)
Dana Nolan's harrowing story involving a notorious serial killer and a return to small town life have rekindled police and media interest in the unsolved case of her childhood best friend, Casey Grant, who disappeared without a trace the summer after their graduation from high school.

DEEP DOWN DARK: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Héctor Tobar (Biography)
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Héctor Tobar tells the story of the 33 miners who were trapped in the San José mine for 69 days, and crafts a haunting masterwork from their surreal experiences and from his intensive research on the extraordinary rescue mission.

A FINE SUMMER'S DAY: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery by Charles Todd (Historical Mystery)
New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd takes readers into Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge’s past --- to his perplexing final case before the outbreak of World War I.

FIRST FROST by Sarah Addison Allen (Fiction)
FIRST FROST is a magical new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of LOST LAKE, featuring characters from her beloved novel GARDEN SPELLS.

HUMAN CAPITAL by Stephen Amidon (Thriller)
HUMAN CAPITAL is a gripping novel of new money, old jealousies and the secret lives of parents and children in the suburbs --- soon to be a major motion picture on January 16th.

THE MAGICIAN'S LIE by Greer Macallister (Historical Mystery)
When the Amazing Arden, a notorious female illusionist, swaps her saw for a fire ax, Officer Virgil Holt will have to decide if it's a new trick or an all-too-real murder. But will Arden reveal her secrets, even when her life is at stake?

MY FATHER'S WIVES by Mike Greenberg (Fiction)
The co-host of ESPN’s "Mike and Mike" follows up his New York Times bestseller ALL YOU COULD ASK FOR with this poignant story of one man’s search to understand himself, his marriage and his father.

A PLEASURE AND A CALLING by Phil Hogan (Psychological Suspense)
In the tradition of Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley novels comes a deliciously unsettling, darkly funny novel about a man who quietly spies on the private lives of his neighbors.

THE REVENANT: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke (Western/Thriller)
THE REVENANT is a remarkable tale of obsession, the human will stretched to its limits, and the lengths to which one man will go for retribution --- soon to be a major motion picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

SAVING GRACE by Jane Green (Fiction)
From the New York Times bestselling author of TEMPTING FATE comes a powerful and riveting novel about a woman whose life begins to unravel in the face of infidelity and addiction.

THE SECRET WISDOM OF THE EARTH by Christopher Scotton (Fiction)
Timely and timeless, this is a dramatic and deeply moving novel about an act of violence in a small, Southern town and the repercussions that will forever change a young man’s view of human cruelty and compassion.

A SMALL INDISCRETION by Jan Ellison (Fiction)
A SMALL INDISCRETION fixes an unflinching eye on the power of desire and the danger of obsession as it unfolds the story of one woman’s reckoning with a youthful mistake.

VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar (Historical Fiction)
This captivating novel offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of Vanessa Bell, her sister Virginia Woolf, and the controversial and popular circle of intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury Group.

WILDALONE by Krassi Zourkova (Supernatural Fantasy/Romance)
In this darkly imaginative debut novel full of myth, magic, romance and mystery, a Princeton freshman is drawn into a love triangle with two enigmatic brothers and discovers terrifying secrets about her family and herself.

THE WORLD MADE STRAIGHT by Ron Rash (Thriller)
THE WORLD MADE STRAIGHT is Ron Rash’s exploration of the painful conflict between the bonds of home and the desire for independence --- now a major motion picture starring Haley Joel Osmont, Minka Kelly and Jeremy Irvine.

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

THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL by Nadia Hashimi (Fiction)
Debut Afghan-American author Nadia Hashimi’s THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL is the entwined stories of two Afghan women separated by a century who find freedom in the tradition of bacha posh, which allows girls to dress and live as boys…until they are of marriageable age.

RADIANCE OF TOMORROW by Ishmael Beah (Fiction)
When Ishmael Beah’s memoir, A LONG WAY GONE, was published in 2007, it became an instant classic that turned the world’s attention to the plight of child soldiers on the front lines of Sierra Leone’s civil war. With RADIANCE OF TOMORROW, Beah brings us an astonishing novel of postwar life in Sierra Leone.
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More Reviews This Week
THE EMPTY THRONE by Bernard Cornwell (Historical Fiction/Adventure)
Æthelred, the ruler of Mercia, is dying, leaving no legitimate heir. The West Saxons want their king, but Uhtred has long supported Æthelflaed, sister to King Edward of Wessex and widow of Æthelred. Widely loved and respected, Æthelflaed has all the makings of a leader --- but could Saxon warriors ever accept a woman as their ruler? The stage is set for rivals to fight for the empty throne. Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds.

THE MARTINI SHOT: A Novella and Stories by George Pelecanos (Crime Fiction/Short Stories)
Whether they're cops or conmen, savage killers or creative types, gangsters or God-fearing citizens, George Pelecanos' characters are always engaged in a fight for their lives. They fight to advance or simply to survive; they fight against odds, against enemies, even against themselves. In this, his first collection of stories, the acclaimed novelist introduces readers to a vivid and eclectic cast of combatants. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

DESCENT by Tim Johnston (Literary Thriller)
DESCENT is the story of a family undone by the disappearance of a daughter who went out for a morning run and didn’t come back. The girl’s vanishing is the beginning of the family’s harrowing journey down increasingly divergent and solitary paths, until all that continues to bind them to each other are the questions they can never bring themselves to ask: At what point does a family stop searching? At what point does a girl stop fighting for her life? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

NO FORTUNATE SON: A Pike Logan Thriller by Brad Taylor (Thriller)
Not long after veteran operator Pike Logan and partner Jennifer Cahill are released from the Taskforce --- their longtime employer and one of the world's foremost top secret counterterrorist units --- a high-profile hostage crisis throws the U.S. government into turmoil. Why were Logan and Cahill let go so suddenly? Can they still help decipher the web of lies and chaos spread by a mysterious enemy? And what are the real costs of diffusing such a threat? Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

A FINE SUMMER’S DAY: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery by Charles Todd (Historical Mystery)
On a fine summer’s day in June 1914, Ian Rutledge pays little notice to the assassination of an archduke in Sarajevo. An Inspector at Scotland Yard, he is planning to propose to the woman whom he deeply loves, despite intimations from friends and family that she may not be the wisest choice. Meanwhile, a widow’s death will set off a series of murders across England, seemingly unconnected, that Rutledge will race to solve in the weeks before the fateful declaration in August that will forever transform his world. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

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ROBERT B. PARKER'S THE BRIDGE by Robert Knott (Mystery/Western)
Territorial Marshals Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch are back in Appaloosa, where their work enforcing the law has been exceptionally quiet. All that is about to change. An ominous storm rolls in, and along with it a band of night riders with a devious scheme, who show up at the Rio Blanco camp, where a 300-foot bridge is under construction. As clouds over Appaloosa continue to gather, things get much worse for Cole and Hitch. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

QUARRY'S CHOICE by Max Allan Collins (Hard-boiled Crime Fiction)
Quarry is a pro in the murder business. When the man he works for becomes a target himself, Quarry is sent South to remove a traitor in the ranks. But in this wide-open city --- with sin everywhere, and betrayal around every corner --- Quarry must make the most dangerous choice of his deadly career: Who to kill? Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

WINTER AT THE DOOR by Sarah Graves (Mystery/Thriller)
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Snow was first introduced in the final book of Sarah Graves’ previous series, in which she helped Jake Tiptree investigate the murder of a girl whose body was found in a church steeple. Now, Lizzie has taken over as Eastport’s police chief, and is quickly finding the job --- and her life --- more complicated than she expected. Then she learns that a perilous piece of her past has followed her from Boston back to Maine, a mysterious stalker whose chilling intentions drive her to the edge. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

RUSSIAN TATTOO: A Memoir by Elena Gorokhova (Memoir)
In A MOUNTAIN OF CRUMBS, Elena Gorokhova describes coming of age behind the Iron Curtain and leaving her mother and her Motherland for a new life in the United States. Now, in RUSSIAN TATTOO, Elena learns that the journey of an immigrant is filled with everyday mistakes, small humiliations and a loss of dignity. But through perseverance and resilience, she gradually adapts to her new country. Reviewed by Rebecca Kilberg.

HUCK FINN'S AMERICA: Mark Twain and the Era That Shaped His Masterpiece by Andrew Levy (Literary Criticism)
Award-winning biographer Andrew Levy shows how modern readers have been misunderstanding HUCKLEBERRY FINN for decades. Mark Twain’s masterpiece is often discussed either as a carefree adventure story for children or a serious novel about race relations, yet Levy argues it is neither. Instead, HUCK FINN was written at a time when Americans were nervous about youth violence and “uncivilized” bad boys, and a debate was raging about education, popular culture and responsible parenting --- casting Huck’s now-celebrated “freedom” in a very different and very modern light. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

WILDALONE by Krassi Zourkova (Supernatural Fantasy/Romance)
Arriving at Princeton for her freshman year, Thea Slavin finds herself alone. Away from her family and her Eastern European homeland for the first time, she struggles to adapt to unfamiliar American ways and the challenges of college life --- including an enigmatic young man whose brooding good looks and murky past intrigue her. Drawn to the elusive Rhys and his equally handsome and mysterious brother, Jake, she ventures into a sensual mythic underworld as irresistible as it is dangerous. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here for the reading group guide.

THE SIEGE by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (Historical Thriller)
Cádiz, 1811: Bombs are falling. Paranoia reigns in a city under siege, but it is worsened when the bodies of murdered women begin to turn up in abandoned corners of the city. Something dark is certainly afoot --- and this shadowy evil seems to have a message for merciless police commissioner Rogelio Tizón. His determination to find the killer will take him on a twisting path through the intertwined lives of those trapped together in the city. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

VANISHED: The Profiler, Book 2 by Elizabeth Heiter (Psychological Thriller)
Eighteen years ago, FBI profiler Evelyn Baine's best friend, Cassie Byers, disappeared, the third in a series of unsolved abductions. Only a macabre nursery rhyme claiming that Evelyn was also an intended victim was left at the scene. Now, after all these years of silence, another girl has gone missing in South Carolina, and the Nursery Rhyme Killer is taking credit. But is Cassie's abductor really back, or is there a copycat at work? Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

FIFTY MICE by Daniel Pyne (Thriller)
One weekday afternoon, Jay Johnson is abducted on a Los Angeles Metro train, tranquilized, interrogated, and his paper trail obliterated. What did he see, what terrible crime --- or criminal --- is he keeping secret? Furious and helpless, and convinced that the government has made a colossal mistake, Jay is involuntarily relocated to a community on Catalina Island, where the only way out is through the twisted maze of lies and unreliable memories swirling through his own mind. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

AFTER THE FALL by Patricia Gussin (Thriller)
Laura Nelson works to finalize the imminent approval of her pharmaceutical company’s groundbreaking new drug. But Jake Harter, a malicious FDA employee, is obsessed with Adawia Abdul, who discovered the drug. As soon as the drug is approved, Adawia will reluctantly return to replace her dying father, the lead scientist in Saddam Hussein’s bioweapon program. As Hussein’s henchmen apply brutal pressure to assure Dr. Abdul’s speedy return to Iraq, Harter uses his influence to stall the drug’s approval. Reviewed by Melody Dean Dimick.
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