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January 30, 2015 Newsletter January 30, 2015
Stepping and Reading
Whoosh...January is exiting the house. But not before we saw the “non-blizzard” happen. It’s amazing how “not snowing” can wreak as much havoc on our schedules as a “historic” snowstorm. On Monday, as the flakes started flying, the exodus from the city started early and was pretty steady. Greg and I opted to head out after the rush, and we got home in about the same time as it usually takes on a busy traffic day. Then we waited for the highly anticipated storm like we were waiting for Godot. There were dramatic presentations on television, where anxiety was amped up by the minute. I joked that if you wanted to teach children dramatic reading, all you needed to do was watch the endless commentary.

Now here are my lessons to be learned from this: 1) A snowstorm should not be labeled “historic” before it even begins; 2) When predicting a storm when Mercury is retrograde, you have a fair chance you will be wrong; and 3) The one person meteorologists did not consult was my husband, who went to Houston on Monday afternoon, getting on one of the last flights out of Newark. When he leaves town, we have had snowstorms, hurricanes and major flooding. We will have weeks of clear weather, and then he leaves and weather drama sets in. I think he needs a contract with The Weather Channel.

Our staff worked from home Tuesday, and they announced Wednesday that they were more productive than if they had been in the office. I think that also had something to do with the fact that there was little email coming in, which actually gives one the chance of feeling that you will catch up. In the modern work world, I am not sure there is any such thing, but we could write for hours about that. I think “never being done” accounts for the higher than ever levels of anxiety prevailing in the workplace. There was a New York magazine piece about how the adult snow day is dying due to easy ways to telecommute, which was interesting. And true.

Having a husband who is an engineer means innovation happens hourly. The other day, I told Tom that I wanted to clock more treadmill time (at this point, there is NO treadmill time happening, thus "more" was exaggerated), but I also craved simultaneous reading time. Therefore, he designed and built the reading stand that you can see above. It’s still held together with some clamps until I am sure that the positioning is right. I am convinced that THIS is what I needed to walk some miles. Let’s see if THIS ends the excuses, as there is now the ability to read, as well as watch a television with assorted channels and on demand options within viewing distance (do you love the handy dandy remote stand?). Now all that’s left to conquer is knitting while walking. Although I am sure I will want lighting and temperature adjustments. Are you seeing through my excuses?

Lots going on this week….

Our latest Sneak Peek Feature celebrates WHISKEY AND CHARLIE by Annabel Smith, which releases on April 7th. This compelling novel tells the story of twin brothers Whiskey and Charlie, who were inseparable as children. Though carefree and daring Whiskey often stole the limelight, the brothers kept close through a secret language based on the two-way alphabet. As adults, however, the two barely speak to one another --- until a tragic accident leaves Whiskey in a coma. Now alone, Charlie must confront his feelings about Whiskey in this unforgettable novel of redemption. In anticipation of its forthcoming release, we are giving away 100 advance copies to readers who can commit to sharing their comments on it by Tuesday, March 24th. The deadline for entries is Thursday, February 12th at noon ET.

I am about 150 pages into this book, and I am so enjoying it. I love Charlie’s voice, and the chapters are cleverly titled by the call letters of the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet. Guess what Whiskey's real name is. Hint: It's my husband's and oldest son's REAL first name. I will reveal it next week. Later in this newsletter, I will share some other trivia about this alphabet. As Charlie looks back over his life, it reminds me of SHOTGUN LOVESONGS, which I loved last year, though here we just are hearing Charlie’s point of view.

We are also delighted to present our newest Women's Fiction Author Spotlight featuring BLUE STARS by Emily Gray Tedrowe. Just as AMERICAN SNIPER invited readers to the frontlines of war and its effects on families, the novel BLUE STARS brings to life the realities of life on the home front through characters Ellen and Lacey. Ellen is a Midwestern literature professor whose legal ward, Michael, has enlisted as a Marine. Lacey is a proud army wife struggling to keep afloat while her husband, Eddie, is away at war. When Michael and Eddie are injured in Iraq and sent to the Walter Reed Army Hospital, the lives of Ellen and Tracy will intersect in profound and unforgettable ways. While reading this, I loved how Ellen was torn between hovering over Michael and allowing him to be his own person --- a very difficult balance. To celebrate its February 17th release, we are giving away 25 copies to readers who would like to read the book and share their comments on it. The deadline for entries is Thursday, February 12th at noon ET.

This week’s Paperback Spotlight features THE ACCIDENT by Chris Pavone, which was a huge hit when it released in hardcover last year and is now available in paperback. Taking place over the course of a single day, THE ACCIDENT follows an intricate web of lies about to be exposed in a dangerous book. As literary agent Isabel Reed finishes a mysterious manuscript in New York, veteran CIA operative Hayden Gray faces death in Copenhagen trying to keep the book from publication. Meanwhile, the author of the manuscript is hiding in Zurich, preparing for redemption as the truth comes to light. Ah, publishing intrigue as a plot; I love it!

Our Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight on FEBRUARY FEVER by Jess Lourey continues, with one more week left to enter our giveaway. In this 10th installment of the Murder-by-Month series, private investigator Mira James is really falling for her boyfriend, Johnny. When he is offered an amazing internship in Portland, Mira and Mrs. Berns make plans to visit. Unfortunately, Mrs. Berns books them on a train meant for singles to mingle. Mira decides to make the best of it and relax --- until a fellow passenger is murdered. In anticipation of the February 8th release of this heart-pounding mystery, we’re offering 35 readers the opportunity to win a copy and share their comments about it. The deadline for entries is Thursday, February 5th at noon ET.

We’re wrapping up our One to Watch Author Spotlight of THE MAGICIAN’S LIE with an interview that reviewer Kate Ayers conducted with debut novelist Greer Macallister. Click here to read their conversation and here for Kate’s review of the book, which we featured in the January 16th newsletter.

The year is off to a terrific start, with lots of books catching my eye. My latest Bets on picks are THE SAME SKY by Amanda Eyre Ward and FEAR THE DARKNESS by Becky Masterman. Touching and poignant, THE SAME SKY explores motherhood, faith and ambition on opposite sides of the American border, while FEAR THE DARKNESS, the masterful follow-up to RAGE AGAINST THE DYING, reunites readers with ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn. Click on each of the titles for my Bets On commentary.

Here at, we love a good book-to-film adaptation, and we know you do, too! With that in mind, we’ve curated a bookshelf featuring 20 of our favorite books getting the Hollywood treatment this winter and spring. Whether you are trying to catch up on awards-season favorites like Still Alice, already planning a Valentine’s Day outing for 50 Shades of Grey, or a fan of classics like FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, you’re sure to find something to be excited about! Click here to see the bookshelf.

We’ve updated our History Books Roundup for this month, and thanks for your patience to those who wrote asking about it. It’s been a hectic month! Among January’s varied offerings are IN THESE TIMES: Living in Britain Through Napoleon's Wars, 1793-1815, by Jenny Uglow; THE MAN WHO WOULD NOT BE WASHINGTON: Robert E. Lee's Civil War and His Decision That Changed American History, by Jonathan Horn; and THE TRAIN TO CRYSTAL CITY: FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp During World War II, by Jan Jarboe Russell.

Our 10th Annual Valentine’s Day contest is live! We’re giving five readers the opportunity to win six love-themed books, along with some delicious Ghirardelli chocolates. All you have to do is enter by Monday, February 16th at noon ET for your chance to win this irresistible prize package. Please keep in mind that we also have Valentine’s Day contests running on our and sites that you will want to enter as well!

Week #2 of our Winter Reading contests is in the books, so to speak. We gave away the aforementioned THE ACCIDENT by Chris Pavone, CRASH & BURN by Lisa Gardner, DESCENT by Tim Johnston, and ONE STEP TOO FAR by Tina Seskis. Next week’s prize books will be THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah; BETTYVILLE: A Memoir by George Hodgman; THE KIND WORTH KILLING by Peter Swanson; and A MEMORY OF VIOLETS: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers, by Hazel Gaynor. The first 24-hour contest of the week will be live beginning Monday, February 2nd at noon ET.

This week’s “Sounding Off on Audio” interviews are with Marcia Cook, the Program Coordinator for the Wayne Senior Center in Wayne, Pennsylvania, who started a reading group there called WOW (Women of Wayne), and Anne Glasgow, who you many remember we interviewed back in October about the Texas Book Festival, which she attended for the 20th time. If you are interested in being interviewed for this feature, please email me at with the subject line "Audiobook Lover."

We've also updated our Young Adult Books You Want to Read feature. This month's titles, which we recently reviewed on, are HOLD TIGHT, DON'T LET GO by Laura Rose Wagner, X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz, and A LIST OF THINGS THAT DIDN'T KILL ME: A Memoir by Jason Schmidt.

Last week, I wrote about how much I enjoyed Michael Callahan’s SEARCHING FOR GRACE KELLY, a remarkable tale of friendship and love in 1960s New York. Now you can enter to win one of 25 copies of the book on The book follows three young women struggling to find themselves amidst the glamour --- and rich dating scene --- of New York. Together these unlikely friends will travel from the penthouse salons of Park Avenue to the Beat scene of Greenwich Village and even Atlantic City’s Steel Pier on the search for love and fulfillment. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, February 24th at noon ET.

How many reviews do you typically look at before reading a book? Let us know by taking our latest poll here.

Also, don’t forget to enter our Word of Mouth contest for chance to win the aforementioned CRASH & BURN by Lisa Gardner, along with INSIDE A SILVER BOX by Walter Mosley and THE SACRIFICE by Joyce Carol Oates (both of which we're reviewing this week). Please let us know by Friday, February 6th at noon ET what books you’ve read, and you’ll be in contention to win all three novels.

Melanie, our Word of Mouth Editor, has noticed a few trends since the current Word of Mouth contest period went up last week. This feature gives us insight into what our readers are reading. Thus far, there have been quite a few entries for THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, Paula Hawkins’ debut psychological thriller that we’ve been talking about extensively, with ratings of four or five stars. Also trending with slightly fewer entries is Jane Green’s latest novel, SAVING GRACE. Overall, authors like Ken Follett and Jojo Moyes remain a staple among our Word of Mouth readers, as their books consistently get mentions here.

We were saddened to hear this week of the passing of Colleen McCullough, who succumbed to kidney failure at the age of 77. Despite having written over 20 novels, including her most recent series featuring police captain Carmine Delmonico, McCullough is best known for her 1977 bestseller THE THORN BIRDS, which became a smash hit television miniseries six years after its initial publication.

Here are a few pop culture and news items to share:

Bond is Up for Grabs in Canada: There is a copyright change in Canada that has left the Bond franchise up for grabs. Read more about it here, including a few authors who weigh in on their thoughts on writing Bond, James Bond.

Watched and Recommended on Netflix: A Late Quartet

Watched and Recommended on HBO: "Night Will Fall," a documentary with footage from the liberation of the camps (horrific at many moments) and insights from survivors, soldiers and filmmakers. It also shares “how Sidney Bernstein of the British government’s Ministry of Information and his team, including supervising director Alfred Hitchcock, drew on this footage, shot at Bergen-Belsen, Dachau and Auschwitz, to create a harrowing film titled ‘German Concentration Camps Factual Survey.’”

Terrific Upcoming Movie News: Therese Anne Fowler’s bestselling --- and Bets On selection --- Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald has been optioned by Amazon Studios to be adapted as a series!

Author Headed to Town Who I Am Looking Forward to Seeing: Kristin Hannah will be in New York on Tuesday to kick off her book tour for THE NIGHTINGALE, her amazing book set during World War II hitting stores on Tuesday. Friends who were early readers have been in touch, and it has gotten nothing but raves! One of our longtime readers, Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Director of Holocaust Teacher Institute, who is a sharp critic of Holocaust fiction, had this to say: “Riveting! I started reading it one night after supper…and could not put it down. Not only is it an emotionally inspiring story with well-drawn characters whom you grow to care about deeply, but it is also historically informative…Read this book.” I say listen to Miriam, if not to me!

Reader Suggestion for Addition to Our Unreliable Narrators Bookshelf: Beth recommended THE DOUBLE BIND by Chris Bohjalian and a debut novel, THE BOOKSELLER, by Cynthia Swanson, coming on March 3rd.

Fun Dinner: I had the pleasure of dining with David Fickling the other night. Not a name you know? Don’t be surprised. Let me describe him this way. He was the UK publisher of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS and THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME, both of which were UK hits before they came to the States. He’s now in a publishing partnership with Scholastic where he previewed his latest titles.

Sad News About Author Daisy Goodwin’s House Fire: Over the summer, I had the pleasure of meeting Daisy Goodwin and her lovely daughter, Lydia. So imagine my dismay when I read this piece about a fire at her London home. I never would have thought about the impact of sunlight, a mirror and a curtain. I am happy that Daisy had just emailed the novel she is working on to a friend so her work was not lost along with her possessions. She does know what to value most; her family is all fine!

Scarves for Those in Need: Anna Knapp, who is a longtime reader and one of our “Sounding Off on Audio” interviewees a few weeks ago, passed along the photo of scarves above. She sent a link where I read more about it: “Founded in 2008 this is an annual graffiti/yarn bombing event that distributes scarves in public places so that those in need --- regardless of income and without any qualifiers --- can help themselves. Scarves draped on trees, bridge walkways, signs, and other public locations appeared overnight in downtown Easton, PA, for the first time in fall 2010. Each one included a hang tag inviting anyone to claim ownership of the scarf.” I would contribute to an effort like this in a heartbeat!

Preserving Lemons: I read a recipe that called for preserved lemons, thus I looked up a recipe for how to make them. I combined Meyer lemons with lots of kosher salt and some interesting spices (cinnamon, cloves and star anise), and in 24 days I will be using them in recipes. Now if I could just remember the recipe I wanted to make that inspired this process. If any of you have a favorite, please send it along.

Trivia: At the Atlanta International Airport, when you take the plane train, the stops are called Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and then David, not Delta. Since Atlanta is Delta’s main hub, you can see why "David" is used! And I have read that Air Traffic control there uses “Dixie” instead of Delta.

Looking for Something to Watch Besides the Super Bowl on Sunday?: Biographer Walter Isaacson will be on "In Depth" on C-SPAN2's Book TV from noon-3pm ET. He will take your calls, emails ( and tweets (@BookTV),

After two weekends of birthdays in our house, there is no chocolate cake or chocolate mousse or chocolate frosting on the agenda for the weekend. Whew! But there will be cocktail franks to be devoured during the Super Bowl. I'm cheering for Seattle, but I confess I am not super-psyched for the game and am not sure why. I just read that the commercials did not sell out until this week, while in the past, this has been achieved two months in advance. You could say my enthusiasm is deflated this year.

Super reading weekend on tap, as I will be finishing up WHISKEY AND CHARLIE. Next up is THE POCKET WIFE by Susan Crawford, which we will be telling you more about next week. It’s being compared to THE SILENT WIFE and TURN OF MIND, which both were Bets On picks --- suffice it to say I’m intrigued. Also, I'm still reading Sara Gruen’s AT THE WATER’S EDGE. And then there is book prep for the authors who I will be meeting at the American Booksellers Association Winter Institute in Asheville starting on February 8th. No wonder I am VERY excited about my book-ready treadmill; off to grab my Fitbit!

Read on, and have 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 Sneak Peek Contest: WHISKEY AND CHARLIE by Annabel Smith
Our latest Sneak Peek Feature spotlights WHISKEY AND CHARLIE by Annabel Smith, a compelling and unforgettable novel about rivalry and redemption that is perfect for anyone whose family has ever been less than picture-perfect. The book doesn’t release until April 7th, but we have 100 advance copies to give away to readers who can commit to previewing it and sharing their comments on it by Tuesday, March 24th. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, February 12th at noon ET.

For our Sneak Peek program, your commitment to participate is critical, so please only enter this contest if you truly will have time to read WHISKEY AND CHARLIE and give us your feedback before our March 24th deadline. We take these project deadlines seriously. If not, don’t worry…we will have more opportunities like this in the future.

WHISKEY AND CHARLIE by Annabel Smith (Fiction)
Whiskey and Charlie might have come from the same family, but they’d tell you two completely different stories about growing up. Whiskey is everything Charlie is not --- bold, daring, carefree --- and Charlie blames his twin brother for always stealing the limelight, always getting everything, always pushing Charlie back.

When they were just boys, the secret language they whispered back and forth over their crackly walkie-talkies connected them, in a way. The two-way alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta) became their code, their lifeline. But as the brothers grew up, they grew apart. By the time the twins reach adulthood, they are barely even speaking to each other.

When Charlie hears that Whiskey has been in a terrible accident and has slipped into a coma, Charlie can’t make sense of it. Who is he without Whiskey? As days and weeks slip by and the chances of Whiskey recovering grow ever more slim, Charlie is forced to consider that he may never get to say all the things he wants to say.

-Click here to read Annabel Smith’s bio.
-Connect with Annabel Smith on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Sneak Peek feature and enter the contest.
New Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight & Contest: BLUE STARS by Emily Gray Tedrowe
We have 25 copies of BLUE STARS by Emily Gray Tedrowe to give away to readers who would like to read the book, which releases on February 17th, and share their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, February 12th at noon ET.

BLUE STARS by Emily Gray Tedrowe (Fiction)
BLUE STARS brings to life the realities of the modern day home front: how to get through the daily challenges of motherhood and holding down a job while bearing the stress and uncertainty of war, when everything can change in an instant. It tells the story of Ellen, a Midwestern literature professor, who is drawn into the war when her legal ward Michael enlists as a Marine; and of Lacey, a proud Army wife who struggles to pay the bills and keep things going for her son while her husband is deployed. Ellen and Lacey cope with the fear and stress of a loved one at war while trying to get by in a society that often ignores or misunderstands what war means to women today.

When Michael and Eddie are injured in Iraq, Ellen and Lacey’s lives become intertwined in Walter Reed Army Hospital, where each woman must live while caring for her wounded soldier. They form an alliance, and an unlikely friendship, while helping each other survive the dislocated world of the army hospital. Whether that means fighting for proper care for their men, sharing a six-pack, or coping with irrevocable loss, Ellen and Lacey pool their strengths to make it through. In the end, both women are changed, not only by the war and its fallout, but by each other.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to read Emily Gray Tedrowe’s bio.
-Click here to visit Emily Gray Tedrowe’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Emily Gray Tedrowe on Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight and enter the contest.
New Paperback Spotlight: THE ACCIDENT by Chris Pavone
THE ACCIDENT by Chris Pavone (Thriller)
As dawn approaches in New York, literary agent Isabel Reed is turning the final pages of a mysterious, anonymous manuscript, racing through the explosive revelations about powerful people, as well as long-hidden secrets about her own past. In Copenhagen, veteran CIA operative Hayden Gray, determined that this sweeping story be buried, is suddenly staring down the barrel of an unexpected gun. And in Zurich, the author himself is hiding in a shadowy expat life, trying to atone for a lifetime’s worth of lies and betrayals with publication of The Accident while always looking over his shoulder.

Over the course of one long, desperate, increasingly perilous day, these lives collide as the book begins its dangerous march toward publication, toward saving or ruining careers and companies, placing everything at risk --- and everyone in mortal peril. The rich cast of characters --- in publishing and film, politics and espionage --- are all forced to confront the consequences of their ambitions, the schisms between their ideal selves and the people they actually became.

The action rockets around Europe and across America, with an intricate web of duplicities stretching back a quarter-century to a dark winding road in upstate New York, where the shocking truth about the accident itself is buried.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Chris Pavone’s bio.
-Click here to visit Chris Pavone’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Chris Pavone on Facebook.
Click here to read more in our Paperback Spotlight.
Announcing's 10th Annual Valentine's Day Contest: Enter to Win Books and Sweet Treats for Yourself or Your Valentine!
Valentine's Day is only a few heartbeats away. We can't think of a better way to celebrate this special day than to cuddle up with your loved one...and a good book, of course! We're giving readers the chance to win one of our five Valentine's Day prize packages, which includes one copy of each of our featured books and some delicious Ghirardelli chocolate. Enter between now and Monday, February 16th at noon ET for your opportunity to be a lucky (and beloved!) winner. If you're feeling frisky, share with us your all-time book character crush. Don't be shy, we all got 'em! We'll post your literary loves and lusts --- along with the five winners --- right after Valentine's Day, so please be on the lookout!

Our featured Valentine’s Day titles are:

Click here to enter the contest and see our featured books.
Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight & Contest: FEBRUARY FEVER by Jess Lourey
We have 35 copies of FEBRUARY FEVER by Jess Lourey, which releases on February 8th, 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, February 5th at noon ET.

FEBRUARY FEVER: A Murder-By-Month Mystery by Jess Lourey (Mystery)
Check out FEBRUARY FEVER, the 10th book in Jess Lourey’s critically acclaimed Murder-by-Month mysteries. In this installment, Mira James' budding relationship with boyfriend Johnny is definitely warming up her winter. But when Johnny is offered an internship he can't pass up in Portland, Oregon, Mira lets Mrs. Berns talk her into a visit. On the plus side, Mira will be able to take the trip as a tax write-off by attending the International Private Investigator Conference that happens to be going on at the same time. The only drawback for airplane-averse Mira is that Mrs. Berns has booked them on the Valentine Train --- a route designed to help singles meet and mingle.

Relaxing into the experience with a few glasses of champagne and Mrs. Berns' encouragement, Mira begins to enjoy herself...until a fellow passenger is murdered.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Jess Lourey’s bio.
-Click here to visit Jess Lourey’s official website.
-Connect with Jess Lourey on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight and enter the contest.'s History Books Roundup for January
January's roundup of History titles includes GATEWAY TO FREEDOM, in which Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner tells the dramatic story of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the law to help them reach freedom; THE TRAIN TO CRYSTAL CITY by Jan Jarboe Russell, the never-before-told story of a secret FDR-approved American internment camp in Texas during World War II, where thousands of families --- many US citizens --- were incarcerated; IN THESE TIMES, a beautifully observed history of the British home front during the Napoleonic Wars by celebrated historian Jenny Uglow; and MARCHING HOME, a groundbreaking investigation from Civil War historian Brian Matthew Jordan examining the fate of Union veterans who won the war but couldn’t bear the peace.
Click here to see our History Books roundup for January.’s Winter Reading Contests and Feature
At, we are kicking off 2015 with our first-ever Winter Reading Contests and Feature. On select days between now and mid-February, we will be hosting a series of 24-hour contests spotlighting a book releasing this winter and giving five lucky readers a chance to win it. We also will be sending a special newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

We encourage you to take a look at this year's featured titles, as these are the books you will want to read during the winter months --- and into the warmer ones!

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, February 2nd at noon ET.

This year's featured titles are:

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
Women's Fiction Author Spotlight: THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah
THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah (Historical Fiction)
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious 18-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

THE NIGHTINGALE releases on February 3rd.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Kristin Hannah’s bio.
-Click here to visit Kristin Hannah’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Kristin Hannah on Facebook.
Click here to read more in our Women's Fiction Author Spotlight.
Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight: FIRST FROST by Sarah Addison Allen
FIRST FROST by Sarah Addison Allen (Fiction)
It's October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree...and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies. Though her handcrafted confections --- rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds --- are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts.

Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day she longs more for a baby --- a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has.

Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to…if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke?

When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is FIRST FROST.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read Sarah Addison Allen’s bio.
-Click here to read our interview with Sarah Addison Allen.
-Click here to visit Sarah Addison Allen’s official website.
-Connect with Sarah Addison Allen on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Women's Fiction Author Spotlight.
Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight: THE SAME SKY by Amanda Eyre Ward
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 a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Amanda Eyre Ward’s bio.
-Click here to read our interview with Amanda Eyre Ward.
-Click here to visit Amanda Eyre Ward’s official website.
-Connect with Amanda Eyre Ward on Facebook and Twitter.
-Click here to see the 25 winners selected to read and comment on the book.
Click here to read more in our Women's Fiction Author Spotlight.
Historical Fiction Author Spotlight: VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar
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 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 read our interview with Priya Parmar.
-Click here to visit Priya Parmar’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Priya Parmar on Facebook.
-Click here to see the 25 winners selected to read and comment on the book.
Click here to read more in our Historical Fiction Author Spotlight.
Sounding Off on Audio: Interviews with Listeners About Their Love of Audiobooks
In this week's "Sounding Off on Audio" feature, we interview Marcia Cook, who is currently working as the Program Coordinator for the Wayne Senior Center, where she started a reading group called WOW (Women of Wayne). She loves reading and does it every chance she gets --- preferably with a glass of wine or a cup of tea in her hand. Much easier when her hands are freed up by an audiobook! In her “Sounding Off on Audio” interview, Marcia shares a generous list of her favorite narrators. She also talks about listening in her car and her home --- even while painting a room!

-Click here to read our interview with Marcia Cook.

We also chat with Anne Glasgow, who has more time for books than ever now that she's retired. She maximizes her reading by listening to audiobooks, so she can get caught up in a great story, even on the go. Here, she talks about where and how she listens, and why it’s important to always keep a well-stocked library on your iPhone and earbuds in your bag.

-Click here to read our interview with Anne Glasgow.
Click here for more "Sounding Off on Audio" interviews.
Our Latest Reviews
THE SACRIFICE by Joyce Carol Oates (Fiction)
When a 14-year-old girl is the alleged victim of a terrible act of racial violence, the incident shocks and galvanizes her community, exacerbating the racial tension that has been simmering in this New Jersey town for decades. In THE SACRIFICE, Joyce Carol Oates explores the uneasy fault lines in a racially troubled society. In such a tense, charged atmosphere, Oates reveals that there must always be a sacrifice --- of innocence, truth, trust and, ultimately, lives. Reviewed by Rebecca Kilberg.

INSIDE A SILVER BOX by Walter Mosley (Speculative Fiction)
Two people brought together by a horrific act are united in a common cause by the powers of the Silver Box. They join to protect humanity from destruction by an alien race, the Laz, hell-bent on regaining control over the Silver Box, the most destructive and powerful tool in the universe. The Silver Box will stop at nothing to prevent its former master from returning to being, even if it means finishing the earth itself. Reviewed by Pauline Finch.

PRIVATE VEGAS by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Thriller)
In Las Vegas, Lester Olsen treats gorgeous young women to five-star restaurants, splashy shows and limo rides --- and then teaches them how to kill. Private Jack Morgan spends most of his time in Los Angeles, where his top investigation firm has its headquarters. But a hunt for two criminals leads him to the city of sin --- and to a murder ring that is more seductively threatening than anything he's witnessed before. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

GATEWAY TO FREEDOM: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad by Eric Foner (History)
Building on fresh evidence --- including a detailed record of slave escapes secretly kept by Sydney Howard Gay, one of the key organizers in New York --- Eric Foner elevates the underground railroad from folklore to sweeping history. It eventually took a civil war to destroy American slavery, but here at last is the story of the courageous effort to fight slavery by "practical abolition" --- person by person, family by family. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

THE MIME ORDER by Samantha Shannon (Urban Fantasy)
Paige Mahoney is now the face of a rebellion, having broken out of the clairvoyant prison camp. She’s also the most wanted person in Scion-controlled London at the moment, with her photo repeatedly plastered on screens across the city. The underworld might be able to protect her from Scion, but she isn’t content to hide. She wants to expose the Rephaim, the immortal inhabitants of the Netherworld, for what they are. It seems that Paige isn’t ready to give back her acquired title of rebellion leader just yet. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

MY FATHER’S WIVES by Mike Greenberg (Fiction)
Jonathan Sweetwater has been blessed with money, a fulfilling career and a beautiful family. But there’s one thing he never had: a relationship with his late father. On his quest for understanding --- about himself, about manhood, about marriage --- Jonathan decides to track down his father’s five ex-wives. His journey will take him from cosmopolitan cities to the mile-high mountains to a tropical island --- and ultimately back to confront the one thing Jonathan has that his father never did: home. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

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

SHARK SKIN SUITE by Tim Dorsey (Fiction/Humor)
Ruthless at taking down the greedy banksters kicking people out of their homes, young lawyer Brook Campanella --- one of Serge Storms’ old flames --- lands a major class-action lawsuit and wins big. The opposition is determined to shut her down, and they’ll go to extreme lengths to do it. Luckily for her, Serge has been hired to do some investigative legwork on the case. There's nothing he likes better than saving a damsel in distress, especially when it means kicking a bunch of shyster butt. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and Roz Shea.

THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA by Matthew Reilly (Thriller/Adventure)
While gaining a behind-the-scenes look at the Great Zoo of China before its grand opening, reptile expert and freelance writer CJ Cameron finds herself trapped in a nightmare when the animals overthrow the zookeepers and take control of the premises in a wild way that no one ever could have imagined. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

BREAKING CREED by Alex Kava (Thriller)
Ryder Creed and his dogs have intercepted several major drug stashes being smuggled through Atlanta’s airport. But their newfound celebrity has also garnered some unwanted attention. Meanwhile, FBI agent Maggie O’Dell is investigating a series of murders and suspects it’s the work of a cunning and brutal assassin. Unfortunately, by the time she uncovers a hit list with Creed’s name on it, it might be too late. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

THE SOUL OF DISCRETION: A Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler Mystery by Susan Hill (Mystery)
Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler is asked to take the principal role in a potentially dangerous undercover operation. He must leave town immediately, without telling anyone --- not even his girlfriend Rachel, who has only just moved in with him. To complete his special operation, Simon must inhabit the mind of the worst kind of criminal. This takes its toll on him and --- as the investigation unfolds --- also on the town and some of its most respected citizens. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

ONE STEP TOO FAR by Tina Seskis (Psychological Thriller)
A happy marriage. A beautiful family. A lovely home. So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life? Emily now has become Cat, working at a hip advertising agency in London and living on the edge with her inseparable new friend, Angel. Cat has buried any trace of her old self so well, no one knows how to find her. But she can't bury the past --- or her own memories. And soon, she’ll have to face the truth of what she's done --- a shocking revelation that may push her one step too far. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

HAPPY ARE THE HAPPY by Yasmina Reza, translated by John Cullen (Fiction)
The 20 interlocking vignettes in this slim novel by Yasmina Reza, author of the plays “Art” and “God of Carnage,” focus on the family lives of more than two-dozen characters. Couples bicker over such trivialities as the purchase of the wrong cheese at a grocery store or the playing of a wrong suit in bridge. As in much of Reza’s work, these conflicts are catalysts for larger arguments and the release of long-suppressed resentments. Reviewed by Michael Magras.

MUNICH AIRPORT by Greg Baxter (Fiction)
In Greg Baxter’s second novel, his follow-up to 2013’s THE APARTMENT, an unnamed narrator waits in Munich’s fog-bound airport with his father and a US consul to transport the corpse of the expatriate narrator’s sister to America. She died alone of starvation in Berlin three weeks earlier. The book consists of flashbacks that paint a portrait of one family’s struggles and of a young man trying to come to terms with decisions he has made. Reviewed by Michael Magras.

-Click here to read an interview with Greg Baxter.

SERPENTS IN THE COLD by Thomas O'Malley and Douglas Graham Purdy (Historical Thriller)
Cal O'Brien and Dante Cooper are struggling to find their identities after World War II. Cal has built a mildly promising life for himself as an employee of a company providing private security. A heroin addict, Dante feels the call to do good after he discovers that his sister-in-law was the latest victim of a serial killer targeting disadvantaged women. Cal and Dante take it upon themselves to track the killer --- but their daunting quest takes on dangerous consequences when the trail leads them to the highest ranks of city government. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

IN SOME OTHER WORLD, MAYBE by Shari Goldhagen (Fiction)
In December 1992, three groups of teenagers head to the theater to see the movie version of the famed Eons & Empires comic books. For Adam, it's a last-ditch effort to connect with a girl before he leaves town for good. Sharon skips school so she can fully appreciate the flick without interruption from her vapid almost-friends. And Phoebe and Ollie simply want to have a nice first date and maybe fool around in the dark, if everyone they know could just stop getting in the way. Over the next two decades, these characters criss-cross the globe, becoming entwined by friendship, sex, ambition, fame and tragedy. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.
Our Latest Poll and Word of Mouth Contest

How many reviews do you typically look at before you read a book?

More than 5

-Click here to answer the poll.

Word of Mouth:

Tell us your current reading recommendations with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from January 23rd to February 6th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of CRASH & BURN by Lisa Gardner, INSIDE A SILVER BOX by Walter Mosley and THE SACRIFICE by Joyce Carol Oates.

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.

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

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