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February 13, 2015 Newsletter February 13, 2015
So I Walked into a Room with 500 Booksellers…

Last Sunday morning, I hopped a very early flight to Greenville, SC, and from there drove up to Asheville to The Grove Park Inn to attend the American Booksellers Association’s 10th Annual Winter Institute. There, 500 booksellers from across the country were gathered for this event, which is one of my favorites of the year. The book and author conversation and camaraderie over these few days were invigorating. Also, indie booksellers, like me, are small business owners, and thus I love hearing their ideas on ways they are running and growing their businesses.

There were two Speed Dating sessions where forthcoming titles were shared by dozens of publishers, a special presentation from indie publishers, and more than 100 authors were part of an Author Reception on Tuesday night. As I flitted from table to table meeting authors and gathering signed advance copies, I was anxiously trying to spot every title that I thought our readers would enjoy. That was one very exciting and intense hour-and-a-half for a booklover. The entire event ran flawlessly, and my hat goes off to the entire ABA team for that. I especially wanted to salute the ever-unflappable Mark Nichols, who toted around a 3” or maybe even a 4” binder with details about the author events and Speed Dating. That reminded me how daunting the whole process of pulling off an event like this is!

One of the booksellers there was Jamie Anderson (she has reviewed for us as Jamie Layton) from Duck’s Cottage Downtown in Manteo, NC, who was attending the conference for the first time. I’ve stopped by her store for more than a decade, but we have never had time for more than a lunch or dinner together. Over these few days we were able to chat, commiserate and catch up. Her fellow staffer Garnette shot the photo of us above sitting in front of the fire in the lobby of the hotel. I'm thrilled we were able to spend this time together, and I loved seeing her meeting her colleagues.

I love cool places, and The Grove Park Inn certainly was one of those. I confess that before booking this conference reservation, I had not heard of it, but now I am wondering how quickly I can return there. It’s truly a special place. I spent an hour on Wednesday taking the historic tour of the hotel, which I thoroughly enjoyed and then proceeded to chirp facts about the hotel for the rest of the trip. Above is a photo of one of my favorite things: the elevator to my room was tucked behind the fireplace. When I checked in, they told me to "walk into the side of the fireplace and take the elevator." I felt like I was in a scene from Harry Potter or, on a less literary level, "The Flintstones." And yes, those are literary sayings inscribed on the walls.

I had the pleasure of having dinner with Maureen Corrigan, the author of AND SO WE READ ON, which explores the significance of THE GREAT GATSBY. She was LOVING that she was staying in Room 441 at the hotel, which is one of the rooms where F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed in the summers of 1935 and 1936. He rented two rooms: one for sleeping, one for writing. She told us the room was furnished with replicas of the furniture that was there in his day. Author Stewart O’Nan was in Room 443, the other Fitzgerald haunt. On a personal note, Maureen and I figured out we studied at Fordham at the same time and had a great time talking about those days.

I also dined with Elizabeth Alexander, whose slim, beautiful memoir, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, I am looking forward to sharing with you when it releases on April 21st (it will be a Bets On selection), and legendary photographer Sally Mann, whose memoir with photographs HOLD STILL is coming on May 12th.

I had been to Asheville before, and the town was just as artistically lively and fun as I remember it. Visiting Malaprop’s Bookstore was a treat; it’s a booklover's paradise, and shopping there with dozens of publishing folks and booksellers made the experience even more special. I loved watching folks spying on how “their” books were shelved and taking photos of the various displays.

This week, it was announced that RUBY by Cynthia Bond is the newest selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. The timing was fortuitous for me as last year at Winter Institute this was presented as a title to watch! We reviewed it here; you can find the discussion guide here and a commentary from the author here. Here’s a quick blurb about it: Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby, who has suffered beyond imagining, flees Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, 30-year-old Ruby finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy. I'm looking forward to hearing from book groups who discuss RUBY.

Today is our Editorial Director Tom Donadio’s birthday. If you would like, take a moment and wish him a Happy Birthday at I typically work home on Fridays, but as I was traveling all week, I went to New York today for meetings and to celebrate Tom with the staff. The Entenmann's cake that you see above was part of the festivities, as Tom has a major weakness for almost all things Entenmann's!

And now on to our update….

M.O. Walsh explores the powers of memory, family and forgiveness in MY SUNSHINE AWAY. Set in 1989 in a suburban neighborhood known for its spicy cookouts and sense of community, this debut novel begins when popular Lindy Simpson is raped on her way home from track practice. The idyllic town is rocked by the violent crime and its hints of a dark undercurrent. Though there are a few suspects, the story focuses on a young boy across the street who is convinced he is in love with Lindy. As he narrates the happenings following the crime, it becomes clear that there is much more than meets the eye to both the characters and Baton Rouge itself.

Kate Ayers has our review and raves, “This is a novel that will leave you aching, maybe tearful, definitely smiling and undeniably thoughtful.... I guarantee that MY SUNSHINE AWAY will be remembered as a remarkable, heart-wrenching story. This could be the book of the year.” I had the pleasure of interviewing M.O. during BookExpo America (BEA) back in May as MY SUNSHINE AWAY was a BEA Buzz book, so I’m very pleased to be sharing it with you now. I will bring you my Bets On commentary on the book in next week’s newsletter.

For a thrilling combination of love and friendship, try CRAZY LOVE YOU by Lisa Unger. Here, readers meet Ian and Priss, best friends since childhood, when Priss protected Ian from bullies and his dysfunctional family. Now the two have escaped to New York City, where Ian has found success as a graphic novelist. Still, he’s having trouble ignoring Priss’ dark side, especially now that he’s met sweet Megan who makes him want to be a better man. Unfortunately, Priss is not a fan of change --- and she may be dangerous.

According to reviewer Ray Palen, “When reading CRAZY LOVE YOU, it is easy to accept early on that Priss does not exist and is merely a hidden part of Ian's subconscious mind. Or is she? Lisa Unger does a masterful job of not answering that question and creating a constant sense of dread and expectation as readers will cringe with each passing page while watching the relationship between Ian and Priss become more and more dangerous.” You can read more about the book in this interview with Lisa, and next week I’ll tell you why it’s a Bets On selection.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Tyler releases A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD, her poignant 20th novel about four generations of the Whitshanks, a radiant family with a long history of laughter, celebrations and secrets. Beginning with the story of how Abby and Red Whitshank fell in love on a breezy afternoon in 1959, the book follows the legacy of the family and their comings and goings in their sprawling Baltimore home. From the family’s beginning with Red’s parents to Abby and Red’s grandchildren, Tyler covers all the complexities and tender moments of this special clan.

Carole Turner has our review and says, “The Whitshanks are the kind of family that only someone with Anne Tyler's writing skills can bring to life believably. As always, she fleshes out her characters with a mix of faults, quirks and redeeming qualities.”

We’re awarding all three of these books --- CRAZY LOVE YOU, MY SUNSHINE AWAY and A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD --- in our Word of Mouth contest. All you have to do is let us know by Friday, February 20th at noon ET what books you’ve finished reading, and you’ll be entered in the giveaway.

Continuing her Murder-by-Month mystery series is Jess Lourey’s FEBRUARY FEVER, our current Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight title. This 10th in the series follows Mira James as she prepares for a romantic visit to her boyfriend in Portland. Terrified of planes, Mira lets old Mrs. Berns plan their trip on the Valentine Train, a route designed to allow singles to mingle. The situation seems humorous until a fellow passenger is murdered, and Mira and Mrs. Berns find themselves on the verge of being derailed --- forever.

Amie Taylor offers these words of praise in her review: “This is a fun read populated by a cast of quirky, small-town characters who follow their hearts instead of their heads. The book also contains numerous laugh-out-loud moments of earthy humor that will coax a chuckle from even the most somber readers.” Amie also had the opportunity to interview Jess, and you can read their conversation here, which includes why Jess did not start her series with January.

Our special contest for THE POCKET WIFE by Susan Crawford continues. Dana Catrell is shocked by her neighbor’s brutal murder --- and even more taken aback that she was the last person to see her alive. Unfortunately, Dana suffers from bipolar disorder, and her manic state has punctured holes in her memory of the day. Now, with her husband acting odd and Detective Jack Moss asking difficult questions, Dana must wonder if there is a murderer hiding in her midst. In celebration of its March 17th release, we’re offering 25 readers the opportunity to win an advance copy of this psychological thriller and submit their comments on it. The deadline for your entries is Thursday, February 19th at noon ET. I am halfway through this and still am sifting through the clues.

My latest Bets On pick is Kristin Hannah’s new novel, THE NIGHTINGALE, a Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight title that we’ve been talking about a lot leading up to its release. You can read my Bets On commentary here. Also, click here for the review, here for the reading group guide, and here for a Q&A with Kristin. I've been hearing from readers who have caught up with Kristin on her cross-country tour (my sister met up with her in Atlanta), and Melanie, who edits our Word of Mouth feature, told me there are kudos and raves coming in there as well!

Michael Callahan, the contributing editor at Vanity Fair, brings readers back to the glittering 1960s with SEARCHING FOR GRACE KELLY. Three young friends residing at the famous Barbizon Hotel discover life, love and the power of friendship as they navigate New York City. From ambitious Laura Dixon and romantic Dolly Hickey to British bombshell Vivian, every reader will find something to love in this enchanting first novel. Residents and lovers of New York City also will appreciate Callahan’s careful attention to detail and scintillating descriptions of the city’s glamorous past.

I read this a few weeks ago and noted it here. I was happy to see that Rebecca Munro had some lovely things to say about the book in her review. Here’s a sample: “Laura and Dolly grow and mature at reasonable paces --- though not without their flaws --- making SEARCHING FOR GRACE KELLY the perfect read for any struggling twentysomething or anyone who appreciates a look back at a special time and place in women's history.” Rebecca also had the pleasure of talking to Michael about his debut novel, and you can read the interview here. On our site, we’re giving 25 readers the chance to win a copy of the book and comment on it. Click here for all the details. The deadline for your entries is Tuesday, February 24th at noon ET.

I also wanted to bring to your attention a review of I REGRET EVERYTHING: A Love Story by Seth Greenland that was written by founder Jesse Kornbluth, who founded with me. After checking out his review and learning how deeply the story impacted him, I’ve resolved to get my hands on a copy and plan on reading it soon!

Time is running out in our 10th Annual Valentine’s Day contest. If you’d like to be one of five readers who will win six love-themed books and some delicious Ghirardelli chocolates, you’ll need to enter here by Monday, February 16th at noon ET.

Our Winter Reading contests also will be wrapping up next week. This week, we gave away the aforementioned CRAZY LOVE YOU by Lisa Unger, along with THE LAST GOOD PARADISE by Tatjana Soli, THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES by Sally Hepworth and THE WHITES by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt. Our last three prizes will be THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS by Allison Pataki, FIRST TIME IN FOREVER by Sarah Morgan and ONE WISH by Robyn Carr. Check the homepage on Tuesday, February 17th at noon ET when we announce the next 24-hour contest.

By the way, if you'd like to know why Richard Price chose a pseudonym for THE WHITES and why he finds it to be annoying, check out this article from The New York Times.

This week’s “Sounding Off on Audio” interviews are with Beth Settje, an associate director for a career center, and Melinda Jones, a retired Information Technology System Administrator for a non-profit. If you are interested in being interviewed for this feature, please email me at with the subject line "Audiobook Lover."

Speaking of audiobooks, we have Grammy news for booklovers: The late Joan Rivers won the Grammy Award Sunday night for best spoken word album for her reading of her book, DIARY OF A MAD DIVA. The audio adaptation of the young readers version of Malala Yousafzai's I AM MALALA, read by Neela Vaswani, won the award for best children's album.

Also, the finalists for the Audie Awards, the only awards program in the US devoted entirely to honoring spoken word entertainment, have been announced. Among the nominees are ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE written by Anthony Doerr, narrated by Zach Appleman (Fiction); ENDURING COURAGE: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed, by John F. Ross, narrated by the late Edward Herrmann (History/Biography); and YES PLEASE written and read by Amy Poehler (Humor). Click here for the complete list of nominees. The winners will be announced at the Audies Gala on May 28th.

In our current poll, we’re asking how many of your friends enjoy reading books and how often (if at all) you talk about books with your book-loving friends. Click here to let us know!

News and Pop Culture:

Watched and Loved: Rudderless. It's a small indie film that wowed the Sundance Film Festival crowd last year. It’s rare that I re-watch parts of a film afterwards, as well as every bonus DVD track, but I did with this film. Netflix disc rental also available via Redbox

Looking Forward to Watching: "Bosch," the new series, based on the books by Michael Connelly. All 10 episodes of the series are streaming on Amazon Prime Instant Video in the USA, the UK and Germany starting today.

Now in Theaters: I think the trailers for Fifty Shades of Grey have been well done. I doubt I will see it in theaters, though I am amused it’s out on Valentine’s Day weekend. Nikki and Emily in our office both loved it.

Savannah Book Festival: It’s this weekend, and I wish I could be there. One of our readers, Nancy Bader, is a volunteer, and we plan to interview her via email for a report! The guest lineup is stellar, and you can see it here. C-SPAN2 will have live coverage on Saturday from 9am to 5pm, and I will be tuning in!

ALA Youth Media Awards: In last week’s newsletter, we failed to give you links to our coverage on and of the ALA Youth Media Awards.

Brian Williams: On Friday nights, I strive to have the newsletter done and all work wrapped up by 6:30pm. Typically, I then find myself in the kitchen watching "NBC Nightly News" as we make dinner. I am a huge Tom Brokaw fan, which got me to watching the news with Brian Williams and selecting NBC as my network news of choice. Two weeks ago, I watched the piece on the returning veteran that sparked the current situation at the network, thinking I did not remember Williams’ chopper being shot at, but dismissed it as the rest of the piece was heartwarming. I still miss Brokaw.

Jon Stewart: I rarely watched his show live, but he is a huge champion of books and authors. His ending the run of his show will mean one less place for these folks to have a place to star.

I am hoping that Friday the 13th passes uneventfully. I am looking forward to the long weekend ahead with reading on the couch and the treadmill --- and time to get some things done around the house. My husband Tom and I purged and organized part of the basement last week. Projects like this are really satisfying! I confess that to me Valentine’s Day is right up there with New Year’s Eve as an overrated holiday. We’ll prepare a great dinner, consulting numerous cookbooks, and watch a movie. I have Gone Girl (which I never saw in theaters) cued up for the weekend. Hmmmm….not exactly the right tone on that one for Valentine’s Day, is it?

Sending Valentine’s love from all of us your way as we appreciate our readers. 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!

Now in Stores: MY SUNSHINE AWAY by M.O. Walsh
MY SUNSHINE AWAY by M.O. Walsh (Fiction)
MY SUNSHINE AWAY unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when 15-year-old Lindy Simpson --- free spirit, track star and belle of the block --- experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
An Interview with Lisa Unger, Author of CRAZY LOVE YOU

Lisa Unger is an award-winning New York Times and internationally bestselling author, best known for dark psychological thrillers. Her latest, CRAZY LOVE YOU, incorporates all the elements that fans --- and she herself --- love most. In this interview, Unger shares some surprisingly light aspects of her creative process, including how she conceived of her character, Ian, and the evolution of The Hollows, the depressed, haunted town where Ian and his best friend, Priss, grew up. She also talks about why creative people seem to find “a home in their art” at a young age, and how the natural and supernatural worlds coexist side by side…and our experience of them is mostly a matter of perception.

CRAZY LOVE YOU by Lisa Unger (Psychological Thriller)
Darkness has a way of creeping up when Ian is with Priss. Even when they were kids, playing in the woods of their small upstate New York town, he could feel it. Still, Priss was his best friend, his salvation from the bullies who called him "loser" and "fatboy"...and from his family's deadly secrets. Now that they've both escaped to New York City, Ian no longer inhabits the tortured shell of his childhood. He is a talented and successful graphic novelist, and Priss...Priss is still trouble. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here to read the interview.
Now in Stores: A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD by Anne Tyler
A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD by Anne Tyler (Fiction)
Abby and Red Whitshank, and their four grown children, have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments and carefully guarded secrets. From Red’s father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red’s grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the 21st century, here are four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their anchor. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review. Talks to Jess Lourey, Author of FEBRUARY FEVER --- Our Latest Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight Title

Jessica (Jess) Lourey is the author of the critically acclaimed Murder-by-Month mysteries, written with "a splendid mix of humor and suspense." In FEBRUARY FEVER, the latest addition to the series, airplane-averse heroine Mira James decides to take a train to visit an old friend. When a passenger is found murdered, it’s up to Mira to track down the killer --- or end up derailed...permanently. In this interview with’s Amie Taylor, Lourey talks about how Mira has grown throughout the series, the art of naming a character, and why she’ll never get too old for bathroom humor. She also shares fellow mystery authors who have inspired her and a hilarious story about how Amtrak was a little less than enthusiastic about accommodating her research.

FEBRUARY FEVER: A Murder-by-Month Mystery by Jess Lourey (Mystery)
Mira James’ hot and heavy relationship with boyfriend Johnny Leeson is definitely warming up her winter. But when Johnny has to go to Portland, Oregon, for a month-long internship, airplane-averse Mira lets her septuagenarian friend Mrs. Berns talk her into a visit. After a few glasses of champagne and Mrs. Berns’ encouragement, Mira begins to relax and enjoy herself…until a fellow passenger is murdered and a snowstorm traps the train in the Rockies. If Mira can’t track down the killer, she may end up derailed --- permanently. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-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 see the 35 winners selected to read and comment on the book.
-Click here to read more in our Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight.

Click here to read our interview.
Special Contest: THE POCKET WIFE by Susan Crawford
We are celebrating the March 17th release of THE POCKET WIFE by Susan Crawford with a special contest that will give 25 readers the opportunity to win an advance copy of the book and submit their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, February 19th at noon ET.

THE POCKET WIFE by Susan Crawford (Psychological Thriller)
Dana Catrell is shocked when her neighbor Celia is brutally murdered. To Dana’s horror, she was the last person to see Celia alive. Suffering from mania, the result of her bipolar disorder, she has troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia’s death.

Her husband’s odd behavior and the probing of Detective Jack Moss create further complications as she searches for answers. The closer she comes to piecing together the shards of her broken memory, the more Dana falls apart. Is there a murderer lurking inside her...or is there one out there in the shadows of reality, waiting to strike again?

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read more on the publisher’s website.

-Click here to read Susan Crawford’s bio.
-Click here to visit Susan Crawford’s official website.
-Connect with Susan Crawford on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to enter the contest. Bets On: THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah
THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah (Historical Fiction)
I love it when authors take on new challenges and push their craft to a new level. That is what Kristin Hannah has done with THE NIGHTINGALE. About seven months into writing her first draft, she realized that this had the potential to be a bigger book than anything she had written before. The storyline of World War II France was giving her a wide landscape, and the characters of the two sisters were solid, but this was a story that was going to take time to tell. She wanted to look at the war through the eyes of women, as she felt that the subject had been told mainly through the lens of men in the past.

One of her previous books, WINTER GARDEN, had a character who bore the emotional scars of her life in war-torn Leningrad, but here she had the chance to flesh out a big story. She went to France and did research, feeling there was a need to see the places that she was writing about. Back in the States she read and continued to research, and what emerged was a vivid picture of life for women in France, full of historical detail that makes this one rich story.

On an emotional level, Kristin captures hope and fear, dreams and reality. The book opens in 1939. One of the sisters is married and never believed the Nazis would invade their village until her home is commandeered by the Germans; the other joins the Resistance and risks her life to fight for what she believes in. Family bonds them together, but each has her own war to fight. Kristin gives us a chance to see just who these sisters are and forces one to think What would I have done?

Here’s a quote about the novel to ponder: “In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.” Think of that as you savor this book.

One more thing: THE NIGHTINGALE is perfect for book groups with its themes of sisters, love, war and survival. Discussion will fly in many different ways!

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read an interview with Kristin Hannah.
Click here for more books we’re betting you’ll love. Talks to Scott McCloud, Creator of THE SCULPTOR
Scott McCloud, comics' most eloquent and prolific theorist, is best known for his explications of the form: UNDERSTANDING COMICS and its follow-ups, REINVENTING COMICS and MAKING COMICS. But starting in the late 1980s --- even before he turned to nonfiction --- McCloud began his comics career with an American superhero manga series, Zot!. And this year, for the first time ever, he puts his talents to an original graphic novel, the absolutely monumental THE SCULPTOR. McCloud sits down with The Book Report Network staffer and site coordinator John Maher to discuss his newest work, his history in comics, and why he prefers the pen to the hammer and chisel.

THE SCULPTOR by Scott McCloud (Graphic Novel)
David Smith is giving his life for his art --- literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn't making it any easier! This is a story of desire taken to the edge of reason and beyond; of the frantic, clumsy dance steps of young love; and a gorgeous, street-level portrait of the world's greatest city. Reviewed by John Maher.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
Click here to read the interview.
February’s Books on Screen Feature

Breaking news: Love is no longer the aggressive, beating heart of February! Or at least you wouldn’t know that it is just by considering the movies coming out this month. Whereas in past Februarys, we cinephiles have been bombarded with all manner of romantic films --- comedies, dramas, classics and otherwise --- this year Hollywood seems to have given us a much-needed break. So unless you consider Fifty Shades of Grey a love story for the ages (no judgment), there is neither a lovestruck heroine nor a grand romantic gesture in sight. It looks like we dodged a heart-shaped bullet this least until March!

Speaking of Fifty Shades, the adaptation of the megaseller E L James novel is clearly the Main Event this month. It stars Jamie Dornan as the titular tortured billionaire with decidedly dark sexual preferences and Dakota Johnson as the girl who falls for him. Say what you will about bickering co-stars and on-set tension between director and author, this book has sold over 100 million copies. Meaning, at the height of its popularity, a copy was being bought every second somewhere in the world. You can’t argue with those numbers.

If you don’t feel like being a statistic this month, you can always catch Kingsman: The Secret Service, based on the similarly titled comic series by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. If the trailer is any indication, it looks like a fun, irreverent take on the more buttoned-up Bond movies. And in case you get snowed in, there are plenty of past Books on Screen movies now available on DVD, including The Theory of Everything and Dracula Untold. And if you absolutely insist on seeing something romantic this month, the Nicholas Sparks tearjerker, The Best of Me, is also available for at-home viewing.

Television remains consistent, with two new shows joining the fray: “The Slap” on NBC and “The Book of Negroes” on BET. Both are being broadcast in a limited capacity as miniseries, so get 'em while they’re hot. And, of course, our usual menagerie of vampires, detectives and superheroes is still at large on small screens this month.

Click here to see all the movies, TV shows and DVDs featured in February’s Books on Screen.'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 here 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.’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 February 19th, 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 Tuesday, February 17th 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: BLUE STARS by Emily Gray Tedrowe
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.

BLUE STARS releases on February 17th.

-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.
Sounding Off on Audio: Interviews with Listeners About Their Love of Audiobooks
In this week's "Sounding Off on Audio" feature, we interview Beth Settje, an associate director at a career center in Somers, CT. She has always been a voracious reader and has passed on her love of books --- both print and audio --- to her children. Good readers or not, it’s surprisingly hard to find audiobooks that two teenagers will enjoy, so Beth usually listens solo. Here, she shares with us where she likes to listen and bad narrator habits that are a deal breaker for her.

-Click here to read our interview with Beth Settje.

We also chat with Melinda Jones, who retired three years ago...and has been enjoying non-stop reading ever since! When she was a child, she used to think she could read every book ever written, and it sounds like she’s well on her way. So far, she has passed along her passion for books to two generations of voracious readers, including a grandson who travels everywhere with a book. Here, she talks about her favorite audiobooks and why sometimes it’s important to give a book you didn’t quite like a second chance.

-Click here to read our interview with Melinda Jones.
Click here for more "Sounding Off on Audio" interviews.
More Reviews This Week
BLOOD INFERNAL: The Order of the Sanguines Series by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell (Thriller/Adventure)
With THE BLOOD GOSPEL, James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell combined science, myth and religion to introduce a breathtaking world where miracles hold new meaning and the fight for good over evil is far more complicated than we ever dreamed. And now, in this epic conclusion to the Order of the Sanguines trilogy, they take us to the very pit of Hell itself, making us peer into the abyss and face our greatest fears, to answer the ultimate question: What price will we pay for true salvation? Reviewed by Ray Palen.

INSATIABLE APPETITES: A Stone Barrington Novel by Stuart Woods (Thriller/Adventure)
It’s a time of unexpected change for Stone Barrington. A recent venture has achieved a great victory, but is immediately faced with an underhanded foe who’s determined to wreak havoc at any cost. When Stone finds himself responsible for distributing the estate of a respected friend and mentor, the process unearths secrets that range from merely surprising to outright alarming. And when a lethal beauty from Stone’s past resurfaces, there’s no telling what chaos will follow in her wake. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

WE ARE PIRATES by Daniel Handler (Fiction)
WE ARE PIRATES by Lemony Snicket author Daniel Handler is a novel about our desperate searches for happiness and freedom, about our wild journeys beyond the boundaries of our ordinary lives. It’s also about a teenage girl who pulls together a ragtag crew to commit mayhem in the San Francisco Bay, while her hapless father tries to get her home. Reviewed by Sam Glass.

THE COUNTRY OF ICE CREAM STAR by Sandra Newman (Dystopian Thriller)
In the ruins of a future America, 15-year-old Ice Cream Star and her nomadic tribe live off of the detritus of a crumbled civilization. Before reaching the age of 20, they all die of a mysterious disease. When her brother begins showing signs of the disease, Ice Cream Star sets off on a bold journey to find a cure. Led by a stranger, a captured prisoner named Pasha who becomes her devoted protector and friend, Ice Cream Star plunges into the unknown, risking her freedom and ultimately her life. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

SEARCHING FOR GRACE KELLY by Michael Callahan (Historical Fiction)
For a small-town girl with a big dream in 1955, there is no address more glamorous than New York’s Barbizon Hotel. Together, three young ladies embark on a journey of self-discovery that will take them from the penthouse salons of Park Avenue to the Beat scene of Greenwich Village to Atlantic City’s Steel Pier --- and into the arms of very different men who will alter their lives forever. Reviewed by Rebecca Munro.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read our interview with Michael Callahan.

1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music by Andrew Grant Jackson (Music/History)
During 12 unforgettable months in the middle of the turbulent ’60s, America saw the rise of innovative new sounds that would change popular music as we knew it. In 1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music, music historian Andrew Grant Jackson chronicles a ground-breaking year of creativity fueled by rivalries between musicians and continents, sweeping social changes, and technological breakthroughs. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

I REGRET EVERYTHING: A Love Story by Seth Greenland (Fiction)
Jeremy Best, a Manhattan-based trusts and estates lawyer, has a second life as the poet Jinx Bell. To Spaulding, his boss’s daughter, 33-year-old Jeremy is, at first, already halfway to dead. When Spaulding, an aspiring 19-year-old writer, discovers Mr. Best’s alter writerly ego, the two become bound by a devotion to poetry. Their budding relationship offers them the possibility of enduring love --- or the threat of tragic loss. Reviewed by Jesse Kornbluth, founder of

OF IRISH BLOOD by Mary Pat Kelly (Historical Fiction)
It’s 1903, and Nora Kelly falls for an attractive but dangerous man who sends her running back to the Old World her family had fled. Nora takes on Paris, mixing with couturiers, artists and "les femmes Americaines" of the Left Bank such as Gertrude Stein and Sylvia Beach. But when she stumbles into the centuries-old Collège des Irlandais, a good-looking scholar, an unconventional priest and Ireland’s revolutionary women challenge Nora to honor her Irish blood and join the struggle to free Ireland. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

THE MARAUDERS by Tom Cooper (Crime Fiction)
When the BP oil spill devastates the Gulf coast, those who made a living by shrimping find themselves in dire straits. For those who inhabit the town of Jeannette, these desperate circumstances serve as the catalyst that pushes them to enact whatever risky schemes they can dream up to reverse their fortunes. Gus Lindquist, a pill-addicted, one-armed treasure hunter, is obsessed with finding the lost treasure of pirate Jean Lafitte. His quest brings him into contact with a wide array of memorable characters who ultimately find themselves on a collision course with each other. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

PRUDENCE by David Treuer (Historical Fiction)
On a sweltering day in August 1942, Frankie Washburn returns to his family’s rustic Minnesota resort for one last visit before he joins the war as a bombardier. But before the homecoming can be celebrated, the search for a German soldier, escaped from the POW camp across the river, explodes in a shocking act of violence, with consequences that will reverberate years into the future for all of them and that will shape how each of them makes sense of their lives. Reviewed by Megan Elliott.

THE ITALIAN AMERICANS: A History by Maria Laurino (History)
Looking beyond the familiar Little Italys and stereotypes fostered by The Godfather and “The Sopranos,” Maria Laurino reveals surprising, fascinating lives: Italian-Americans working on sugar-cane plantations in Louisiana to those who were lynched in New Orleans; the banker who helped rebuild San Francisco after the great earthquake; and families interned as “enemy aliens” in World War II. This book is both an exploration and celebration of the rich legacy of Italian-American life. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

THE GLITTERING WORLD by Robert Levy (Supernatural Thriller)
When up-and-coming chef Michael “Blue” Whitley returns with three friends to the remote Canadian community of his birth, it appears to be the perfect getaway from New York. He soon discovers, however, that everything he thought he knew about himself is a carefully orchestrated lie. Once the shocking truth starts bleeding back into his life, his closest friends must unravel the secrets of Starling Cove and the artists’ colony it once harbored. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE NEVER-OPEN DESERT DINER by James Anderson (Mystery)
Ben Jones is on the verge of losing his small trucking company when he is drawn into a love affair with a mysterious woman named Claire. Her appearance, seemingly out of nowhere, reignites a decades-old tragedy at a roadside café referred to by the locals as The Never-Open Desert Diner. As he faces bankruptcy and the possible loss of everything that matters to him, he finds himself at the heart of a horrific crime that was committed 40 years earlier and now threatens to destroy the lives of those left in its wake. Reviewed by Rebecca Munro.
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Tell us your current reading recommendations with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from February 6th to February 20th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of CRAZY LOVE YOU by Lisa Unger, MY SUNSHINE AWAY by M.O. Walsh and A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD by Anne Tyler.

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.

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