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May 15, 2015 Newsletter May 15, 2015
Bursting with Color During “Reading Week”
Last weekend, my mom came up with a great idea for celebrating Mother’s Day. On Saturday afternoon, we went to Peony's Envy in Bernardsville, NJ, to visit their farm that has a display garden that stretches over eight acres. I learned that there are four major types of peonies --- woodland, tree, herbaceous and intersectional --- and the blooms in these gardens begin in late April and end in early June. The flowers in bloom last week were the tree peonies; you can see one of the glorious blossoms above. Just stellar! We came back to the house and met up with Tom’s mom and had a lovely dinner. Then Sunday, the official Mother's Day, I relaxed and read/knitted while Tom and the boys opened the pool, which was crystal clear in a day or so. Cold, but clear. Also, I got some planting done, though there is a lot more of that on the horizon.

I have 1 1/2 books left to read as I prep for the 11 author interviews I am doing for BookExpo America and BookCon. Cory wrapped up his sophomore year finals (yes, this is going fast) this week, but I still am in “reading week” pre-exam mode! Reading and scrawling notes for interview questions definitely is consuming all my extra hours. I read differently when I know I am going to be interviewing authors, as I am looking for nuggets I would love to hear more about. I have a lot of characters and storylines to keep straight, but I am loving this project.

At the same time, I have been attending many publisher previews where they are showcasing the upcoming season of books, and I cannot wait to read so many of them. It’s been a great year for readers thus far, and I can see that this trend will continue for the rest of the year.

Commuting this week has been long (it's the time of year), and while I often return lots of calls when I am driving (yes, with a Bluetooth/hands free), there are times I just want to escape while doing the weave and zipper dance to get into the Lincoln Tunnel (how it can take 50 minutes to do the last five miles of the drive in always mind boggles me!). Yesterday, I started listening to HYACINTH GIRLS by Lauren Frankel, a debut author. It’s a terrific psychological thriller that looks at bullying and its terrible effects. But who is being bullied, and who is the bully? It’s multi-layered, and I found myself not minding the traffic as I was listening; I was completely caught up in the story, which has a lot of twists and turns. More when I finish it. Right now, I am thinking this could be a great mother/daughter book group title!

Speaking of book groups, if you are in a book group, we are happy to share that our 2015 Book Group Survey is live! The last time we did a survey on this scale was back in 2009, and so much has changed since then. Our last survey was so comprehensive that for the last six years it’s been referenced again and again when publishers are discussing book group planning. If you are in a book group, we would love you to answer the survey and also ask you to share it with ALL members of your book group. We are looking for as much individual feedback on book groups as possible, so the more respondents, the merrier! If you are not in a book group but have friends in book groups, please share this with them, too!

As we know time is valuable, those who complete the survey will be eligible to enter to win the following prizes: a Grand Prize of one (1) $250 gift certificate to the bookstore of your choice, ten (10) $100 gift certificates to the bookstore of your choice and fifty (50) $25 gift certificates, again to the bookstore of your choice. We did the math for you; that is a $2,500 prize package! The survey will be open until July 15th, but if you are in a group, please jump on this as quickly as possible, as we are really looking forward to hearing what YOU have to say. Oh, and if you are in more than one book group, answer for one group and then take it again for the other group(s) that you belong to!

And if you are not in a book group, while the entire survey is not open to you, we have a limited number of questions up front for non-book group members. Answer those, and you can be eligible to win one of four $25 gift certificates.

Onward to this week’s update.

Among this week’s big releases is Tom Brokaw’s memoir, A LUCKY LIFE INTERRUPTED, which details his battle with multiple myeloma --- a treatable but very painful and incurable disease. In true journalist form, Brokaw began keeping a journal of all of his emotions, discoveries and struggles, which has now become the basis for his memoir. In addition to these notes, he takes time to reflect on some of the most important highlights of his career --- from Nelson Mandela to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the morning of September 11th, his most challenging assignment yet. What he learned from those experiences gave him the strength to dig deep when dealing with his own treatment.

Carole Turner has our review and wraps it up on a positive note: “At age 75, Tom Brokaw feels well and is actively traveling --- promoting his book and savoring life. He has been through a major battle and has survived to tell about it. He looks ahead to the future with hope, ending his powerful and courageous memoir with this: ‘Life. What's left. Bring it on.’”

Drawing upon boxes of family papers and photographs, acclaimed photographer Sally Mann has written HOLD STILL. In her new memoir, Mann explores numerous family documents and finds much more than she bargained for --- domestic abuse, car crashes, affairs and possibly even murder. As she sorts through these discoveries, she realizes that her fascination with the American South is practically rooted in her DNA.

Jana Siciliano has lots to say about the book in her rave review. Here’s a preview: “HOLD STILL is a literary masterpiece as much as it is a humble, honest accounting of the life of a girl who took up a camera and decided that she would take a few pictures, not knowing the effect her beautiful talent would have on the rest of the world…. Read this book. If you want to be an artist, carry it around like your Bible. If you strive to be a better mother or daughter, or a more insightful human being, HOLD STILL needs to be with you at all times.” I had the pleasure of being at a dinner with Sally at Winter Institute and loved hearing her talk about her work as a photographer, as well as her writing. Earlier that evening, I had been with Garnette Guyton Gardner from Duck’s Cottage, who is a huge fan of Sally’s work; I loved seeing her excitement at meeting this iconic photographer/writer and getting a signed advance copy of the book!

Next week, we kick off our Summer Reading Contests and Feature, where we’re giving away a different book on select days throughout the summer. The contests get underway next week when our prize books will be BEACH TOWN by Mary Kay Andrews (watch for our review and interview in next week’s newsletter), THE GLASS KITCHEN by Linda Francis Lee and LEAVING TIME by Jodi Picoult. The first giveaway will be announced this coming Tuesday the 19th at noon ET, but you can see all our featured titles here. We also will be sending a special newsletter to announce each day's title, which you can sign up for here. On Monday, a special preview newsletter will be sent to those signed up for the Summer Reading newsletter with all the titles that have been lined up to date. We are excited about this feature and the contests; we have a stellar lineup for you in what may be our biggest Summer Reading feature ever. MANY thanks to Nicole Sherman, who managed a zillion details to make this feature come together!

Our Sneak Peek contest for ORPHAN #8 continues. Inspired by true events, Kim van Alkemade’s debut novel follows young Rachel Rabinowitz as she is sent to a Jewish orphanage. There she meets Dr. Mildred Solomon, a cruel woman who subjects her to inhumane x-rays that leave her disfigured. Taunted by her fellow orphans, Rachel is miserable until she is able to run away. Years later, as a nurse at Manhattan’s Old Hebrews Home, Rachel is assigned with caring for an elderly and cancer-stricken Dr. Solomon and must decide between revenge and mercy. Although ORPHAN #8 does not release until August 4th, we’re giving 25 lucky readers the chance to win an advance copy and share their comments on it by Friday, July 10th. The deadline for your entries is Thursday, May 21st at noon ET. I keep thinking about this book; comparisons to Sarah Waters' work are very apt!

We have one more special contest to remind you about. After merging over a year ago, Penguin Random House has just launched their new combined website, In celebration of their bringing their books and authors under one umbrella website, they’re hosting a contest that will award one winner with five books from their favorite genres every month for a year. We did the math; that's 60 books that you would be making room for on your bookshelves. Nice prize, eh? Click here to enter. Clearing out bookshelf space --- or buying new ones (the latter of which would be my style) --- may come with the territory for the winner. Think what fun it would be to win --- and enter now!

Our Books on Screen feature has been updated for May. Among this month’s offerings in theaters are Every Secret Thing (based on Laura Lippman’s 2003 mystery/thriller) and Far from the Madding Crowd (based on Thomas Hardy’s classic 1874 novel); on the small screen are Murder She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery on Hallmark and “Wayward Pines” on FOX; and newly released on DVD are Fifty Shades of Grey, Still Alice and American Sniper.

We’ve also updated our History Books roundup for this month. May’s releases include THE WRIGHT BROTHERS by David McCullough (which we reviewed last week) and WATERLOO, Bernard Cornwell’s nonfiction debut (which we review this week); biographies of Ronald Reagan, Joan of Arc and Saul Bellow (the latter of which we're also reviewing this week); and sports-themed titles such as THE GAME MUST GO ON: Hank Greenberg, Pete Gray, and the Great Days of Baseball on the Home Front in WWII and TY COBB: A Terrible Beauty.

Be sure to vote in our latest poll. We’d like to know if you typically choose books based on the number of pages. And our Word of Mouth contest continues for another week. Let us know by Friday, May 22nd at noon ET what books you’ve finished reading, and you’ll be in the running to win the aforementioned A LUCKY LIFE INTERRUPTED by Tom Brokaw, along with THE FORGOTTEN ROOM by Lincoln Child (which we review this week) and THE SCARLET GOSPELS by Clive Barker.

News and Pop Culture:

It’s been a quieter week than usual for me on the pop culture front. There was a rather thrilling hockey series between the Rangers and the Capitals that consumed a few evenings. While I was cheering for the home team, there was a part of me that was glad it was a good series as Ted Leonsis, who is a majority owner of the Capitals, is the former AOL Exec who put us in business as one of their 46 Greenhouse properties back in 1996. We started on AOL as a site called The Book Report. We were using 14.4 modems, and got all dewy-eyed when 28.8 and 56.6 came along. We dreamed of broadband. I do not think any of us would have predicted that Verizon would buy AOL, taking this pretty much full circle. Verizon did not even exist by that name at that time. What a ride it’s been!

The season six finale of "The Good Wife" had some brilliant moments, while the season four finale of "Scandal" was well done, considering the show had such a poor start.

"Orange Is the New Black": The trailer for season three has arrived.

"Mad Men": Really sorry to see this show wrapping up, but wondering how it will end. Last Sunday’s episode had some moments that made me gasp; I just hope the finale is as strong as the penultimate episode. I came across this fun article where four Canadian novelists imagine how they would wrap up the series. My favorite was Linwood Barclay's take.

Today marks the start of the 2015 SC Book Festival, which takes place through Sunday in Columbia, South Carolina. Click here for all the info about the event, which saw record attendance in 2014.

This Saturday, Little Free Library marks its third year with a Worldwide Little Free Library Book Drive. I recently discovered that we have one of these in our town. I have to remember to bring some books over to celebrate this special moment!

Tomorrow will be more flower/plant shopping come rain or shine! Planning out what the gardens will feature each year is such fun. I always overbuy as I get carried away thinking Just one more plant! Cory is home for a couple of weeks, and so are son 2A Josh and son 2B Stephen, thus the migration between the houses is in full swing. Cory is planning to take a couple of summer courses in June, so he will be in and out most of that month. Greg is headed up to Massachusetts this weekend with his New England Lighthouse Lovers group for a boat tour. I will be reading and taking lots of notes.

Read on, and here’s to a great week ahead!

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: A LUCKY LIFE INTERRUPTED by Tom Brokaw
A LUCKY LIFE INTERRUPTED: A Memoir of Hope by Tom Brokaw (Memoir)
Tom Brokaw has led a fortunate life, with a strong marriage and family, many friends, and a brilliant journalism career culminating in his 22 years as anchor of the “NBC Nightly News” and as bestselling author. But in the summer of 2013, he received shocking news: He had multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable blood cancer. Brokaw takes us through all the seasons and stages of this surprising year, the emotions, discoveries, setbacks and struggles --- times of denial, acceptance, turning points and courage. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: HOLD STILL by Sally Mann
HOLD STILL: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann (Memoir/Photography)
In HOLD STILL, a unique interplay of narrative and image, Sally Mann's preoccupation with family, race, mortality and the storied landscape of the American South are revealed as almost genetically predetermined, written into her DNA by the family history that precedes her. In lyrical prose and startlingly revealing photographs, she crafts a totally original form of personal history that has the page-turning drama of a great novel but is firmly rooted in the fertile soil of her own life. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Announcing's Summer Reading Contests and Feature
Summer will be here before you know it! At, this means it's time for us to share some great summer book picks with our Summer Reading Contests and Feature. We will be hosting a number of 24-hour contests for these titles on select days throughout the summer, so you will have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter to win. We also will be sending a special newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

Our first prize book will be announced on Tuesday, May 19th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include:

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
Sneak Peek Contest: Win an Advance Copy of ORPHAN #8 by Kim van Alkemade and Share Your Comments On It
Our latest Sneak Peek Feature spotlights ORPHAN #8 by Kim van Alkemade, a powerful, affecting novel of the unexpected choices we are compelled to make that can shape our destinies. The book doesn’t release until August 4th, but we have 25 advance copies to give away to readers who can commit to previewing it and sharing their comments on it by Friday, July 10th. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, May 21st 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 ORPHAN #8 and give us your feedback by July 10th. We take these project deadlines seriously. If you cannot commit, don’t worry…we will have more opportunities like this in the future.

ORPHAN #8 by Kim van Alkemade (Historical Fiction)
In 1919, Rachel Rabinowitz is a vivacious four-year-old living with her family in a crowded tenement on New York City’s Lower Eastside. When tragedy strikes, Rachel is separated from her brother Sam and sent to a Jewish orphanage where Dr. Mildred Solomon is conducting medical research. Subjected to X-ray treatments that leave her disfigured, Rachel suffers years of cruel harassment from the other orphans. But when she turns 15, she runs away to Colorado hoping to find the brother she lost and discovers a family she never knew she had.

Though Rachel believes she has shut out her painful childhood memories, years later she is confronted with her dark past when she becomes a nurse at Manhattan’s Old Hebrews Home and her patient is none other than the elderly, cancer-stricken Dr. Solomon. Rachel becomes obsessed with making Dr. Solomon acknowledge, and pay for, her wrongdoing. But each passing hour Rachel spends with the old doctor reveal to Rachel the complexities of her own nature. She realizes that a person’s fate --- to be one who inflicts harm or one who heals --- is not always set in stone.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Kim van Alkemade’s bio.
-Click here to visit Kim van Alkemade’s official website.
-Connect with Kim van Alkemade on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Sneak Peek feature and enter the contest.
Now in Stores: THE FORGOTTEN ROOM by Lincoln Child
THE FORGOTTEN ROOM by Lincoln Child (Thriller)
Jeremy Logan is an "enigmalogist" --- an investigator who specializes in analyzing phenomena that have no obvious explanation. Here, Logan finds himself on the storied coastline of Newport, Rhode Island, where he has been retained by Lux, one of the oldest and most respected think tanks in America. Just days earlier, one of its most distinguished doctors began acting erratically and killed himself in a truly shocking fashion. Terrified by the incident and the bizarre evidence left behind, the group hires Logan to investigate what drove this erudite man to madness. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: DRY BONES by Craig Johnson
DRY BONES: A Walt Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson (Mystery)
When Jen, the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found, surfaces in Sherriff Walt Longmire’s jurisdiction, it appears to be a windfall for the High Plains Dinosaur Museum --- until Danny Lone Elk, the Cheyenne rancher on whose property the remains were discovered, turns up dead. With millions of dollars at stake, a number of groups step forward to claim her, including Danny’s family, the tribe and the federal government. Walt is determined to find out who would benefit from Danny’s death. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: SOLITUDE CREEK by Jeffery Deaver
SOLITUDE CREEK: A Kathryn Dance Novel by Jeffery Deaver (Thriller)
A tragedy occurs at a small concert venue on the Monterey Peninsula. Cries of "fire" are raised, sending people running for the doors, only to find them blocked. A half-dozen people die and others are seriously injured, though there was no fire. Kathryn Dance --- a brilliant California Bureau of Investigation agent and body language expert --- discovers that the stampede was caused intentionally and that the perpetrator, a man obsessed with turning people's own fears and greed into weapons, has more attacks planned. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: WATERLOO by Bernard Cornwell
WATERLOO: The History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles by Bernard Cornwell (History)
On June 18, 1815, the armies of France, Britain and Prussia descended upon a quiet valley south of Brussels. In the previous three days, the French army had beaten the Prussians at Ligny and fought the British to a standstill at Quatre-Bras. The Allies were in retreat. The little village north of where they turned to fight the French army was called Waterloo. The blood-soaked battle to which it gave its name would become a landmark in European history. In his first work of nonfiction, Bernard Cornwell offers a riveting chronicle of every dramatic moment. Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
May’s Books on Screen Feature
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Another May, another Avengers sequel. That doesn’t mean we can’t get excited about Age of Ultron; sequels are the new originals! Plus, this one boasts a pretty stellar ensemble, who --- if nothing else --- probably had a ton of fun on set. Although maybe not as much fun as the ladies of Pitch Perfect 2, who return this month for their Tumblr-friendly follow-up to the 2012 sleeper hit. If the hilarious trailers are any indication, this one looks like it’s also going to be aca-awesome.

However, if you’re trying to avoid sequels at all costs (and looking for a good mystery/thriller in the process), be sure to check out Every Secret Thing. Based on Laura Lippman's 2003 novel of the same name, it centers on a detective who looks to solve a mystery involving missing children and the prime suspects: two women who were put away for an infant's death seven years previously.

But don’t worry if you lost a bet and have to spend May inside; there’s plenty to watch on TV this month. Between TV movies (Murder She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery) and miniseries aplenty (“Wayward Pines,” “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe” and the conclusion of “Wolf Hall”), there’s hardly time to keep up with ongoing favorites like “Outlander” and “Game of Thrones.” And don't forget those DVD releases, which this month include Fifty Shades of Grey, Still Alice and American Sniper.

Click here to see all the movies, TV shows and DVDs featured in May’s Books on Screen.
May’s History Books Roundup
May's roundup of History titles includes THE WRIGHT BROTHERS by David McCullough, which tells the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly: Wilbur and Orville Wright; WATERLOO, Bernard Cornwell's first work of nonfiction that is being published to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s last stand; THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR, the latest book from Kenneth C. Davis, who brings to life six emblematic battles, revealing untold tales that span our nation's history --- from the Revolutionary War to Iraq; and Helen Castor's JOAN OF ARC, which tells afresh the gripping story of the peasant girl from Domremy who hears voices from God, leads the French army to victory, is burned at the stake for heresy, and eventually becomes a saint.
Click here to see our History Books roundup for May.
Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight: BEACH TOWN by Mary Kay Andrews
BEACH TOWN by Mary Kay Andrews (Fiction)
Greer Hennessy is a struggling movie location scout. Her last location shoot ended in disaster when a film crew destroyed property on an avocado grove. And Greer ended up with the blame.

Now Greer has been given one more chance --- a shot at finding the perfect undiscovered beach town for a big budget movie. She zeroes in on a sleepy Florida panhandle town. There's one motel, a marina, a long stretch of pristine beach and an old fishing pier with a community casino --- which will be perfect for the film's climax --- when the bad guys blow it up in an all-out assault on the townspeople.

Greer slips into town and is ecstatic to find the last unspoilt patch of the Florida gulf coast. She takes a room at the only motel in town, and starts working her charm. However, she finds a formidable obstacle in the town mayor, Eben Thibadeaux. Eben is a born-again environmentalist who's seen huge damage done to the town by a huge paper company. The bay has only recently been re-born, a fishing industry has sprung up, and Eben has no intention of letting anybody screw with his town again. The only problem is that he finds Greer way too attractive for his own good, and knows that her motivation is in direct conflict with his.

Will true love find a foothold in this small beach town before it's too late and disaster strikes?

BEACH TOWN releases on May 19th.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Mary Kay Andrews’ bio.
-Click here to visit Mary Kay Andrews’ official website.
-Connect with Mary Kay Andrews on Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to read more in our Women's Fiction Author Spotlight.
More Reviews This Week
CAPITAL DAMES: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868 by Cokie Roberts (History)
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Washington, D.C. found itself caught between warring sides in a four-year battle that would determine the future of the United States. With their husbands, brothers and fathers marching off to war, the women of Washington, D.C. joined the cause as well. Cokie Roberts chronicles their increasing independence, their political empowerment, their indispensable role in keeping the Union unified through the war, and in helping heal it once the fighting was done. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

HOW TO START A FIRE by Lisa Lutz (Fiction)
When UC Santa Cruz roommates Anna and Kate find passed-out Georgiana Leoni on a lawn one night, they wheel her to their dorm in a shopping cart. Twenty years later, they gather around a campfire on the lawn of a New England mansion. What happens in between --- the web of wild adventures, unspoken jealousies, and sudden tragedies that alter the course of their lives --- is charted with sharp wit and aching sadness in this meticulously constructed novel. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

NO BETTER FRIEND: One Man, One Dog, and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival in WWII by Robert Weintraub (History)
NO BETTER FRIEND tells the remarkable story of Royal Air Force technician Frank Williams and Judy, a purebred pointer, who met in a World War II internment camp. Judy was fiercely loyal, with a keen sense for who was friend and who was foe, and the pair's relationship deepened throughout their captivity. When the prisoners suffered beatings, Judy would interrupt by barking. She survived bombings and other near-death experiences and became a beacon for the men, who saw in her survival a flicker of hope for their own. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

BE AFRAID by Mary Burton (Romantic Suspense)
When police rescue five-year-old Jenna Thompson from the dark closet where she's been held captive for days, they tell her she's a lucky girl. Even with her family's killer dead of an overdose, Jenna is still trying to find peace 25 years later. On leave from her forensic artist job, she returns to Nashville, the city where she lost so much. Detective Rick Morgan needs Jenna's expertise in identifying the skeletal remains of a young child. The case jogs hazy half-buried memories --- and a nagging dread that her ordeal hasn't ended. Reviewed by Melody Dean Dimick.

THE LIFE OF SAUL BELLOW: To Fame and Fortune, 1915-1964 by Zachary Leader (Biography)
THE LIFE OF SAUL BELLOW marks the centenary of Saul Bellow’s birth, as well as the 10th anniversary of his death. It draws on unprecedented access to Bellow’s papers, including much previously restricted material, as well as interviews with more than 150 of the novelist’s relatives, close friends, colleagues and lovers. Zachary Leader chronicles a singular life in letters, offering original and nuanced accounts not only of the novelist’s development and rise to eminence, but of his many identities --- as writer, polemicist, husband, father, Chicagoan, Jew, American. Reviewed by John Maher.

JACK OF SPADES by Joyce Carol Oates (Psychological Thriller)
Andrew J. Rush has achieved the kind of critical and commercial success most authors only dream about. He also has a loving wife, three grown children, and is a well-regarded philanthropist. But Rush is hiding a dark secret. Under the pseudonym “Jack of Spades,” he writes another string of novels --- dark potboilers that are violent, lurid, even masochistic. Eventually, Rush’s reputation, career and family life all come under threat --- and unbidden, in the back of his mind, the Jack of Spades starts thinking ever more evil thoughts. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

THE MAKING OF ZOMBIE WARS by Aleksandar Hemon (Fiction)
Josh Levin is an aspiring screenwriter teaching ESL classes in Chicago. His laptop is full of ideas, but the only one to really take root is Zombie Wars. When Josh comes home to discover his landlord, an unhinged army vet, rifling through his dirty laundry, he decides to move in with his girlfriend, Kimmy. It's domestic bliss for a moment, but Josh becomes entangled with a student, a Bosnian woman named Ana, whose husband is jealous and violent. Disaster ensues. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

THE BILL OF RIGHTS: The Fight to Secure America’s Liberties by Carol Berkin (History)
Revered today for articulating America’s founding principles, the first 10 amendments was in fact a political stratagem executed by James Madison to preserve the Constitution, the Federal government, and the latter’s authority over the states. In the hands of award-winning historian Carol Berkin, the story of the Founders’ fight over the Bill of Rights comes alive in a gripping drama of partisan politics, acrimonious debate and manipulated procedure. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

THE SUBPRIMES by Karl Taro Greenfield (Fiction)
In a future America that feels increasingly familiar, you are your credit score. Extreme wealth inequality has created a class of have-nothings: Subprimes. Their bad credit ratings make them unemployable. Fugitives who must keep moving to avoid arrest, they wander the globally warmed American wasteland searching for day labor and a place to park their battered SUVs for the night. THE SUBPRIMES follows the fortunes of two families whose lives reflect this new dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-financially-fittest America. Reviewed by Megan Elliott.

GIRL IN THE MOONLIGHT by Charles Dubow (Fiction)
Since childhood, Wylie Rose has been drawn to the charming, close-knit Bonet siblings. But none affected him more than the enchanting Cesca, a girl blessed with incandescent beauty and a wild, irrepressible spirit. Growing up, Wylie’s friendship with her brother, Aurelio, a budding painter of singular talent, brings him near Cesca’s circle. A young woman confident in her charms, Cesca is amused by Wylie’s youthful sensuality and trusting innocence. Toying with his devotion, she draws him closer to her fire --- ultimately ruining him for any other woman. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read our interview with Charles Dubow.

COUP DE FOUDRE: A Novella and Stories by Ken Kalfus (Fiction/Short Stories)
Ken Kalfus’ latest collection of short fiction is a mix of experimental works and stories that borrow from recent news items. The piece that likely will receive the most attention is the title novella, in which a figure based on Dominique Strauss-Kahn has a sexual encounter with a housekeeper from Guinea at New York’s Sofitel hotel. Other stories in this provocative book touch upon topics like the Iraq War, the Large Hadron Collider, and execution by lethal injection. Reviewed by Michael Magras.

THE BLACK SNOW by Paul Lynch (Historical Fiction)
In the spring of 1945, a farmhand runs into a burning barn and does not come out alive. The farm's owner, Barnabas Kane, can only look on as his friend dies, and all 43 of his cattle are destroyed in the blaze. Following the disaster, the bull-headed and proudly self-sufficient Barnabas is forced to reach out to the community for assistance. But resentment simmers over the farmhand's death, and Barnabas and his family begin to believe their efforts at recovery are being sabotaged. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.
Our Latest Poll: How Important to You is the Length of a Book?
Do you typically choose books based on their length?

I prefer books that are fewer than 200 pages.
I prefer books that are between 200 and 500 pages.
I prefer books that are between 500 and 700 pages.
I prefer books that are more than 700 pages.
The length of a book does not matter to me.
I am not sure how I feel.

Click here to answer the poll.
Word of Mouth Contest: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win THREE Books!
Tell us your current reading recommendations with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from May 8th to May 22nd, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of THE FORGOTTEN ROOM by Lincoln Child, A LUCKY LIFE INTERRUPTED: A Memoir of Hope by Tom Brokaw, and THE SCARLET GOSPELS by Clive Barker.

To make sure other readers will be able to find the books you write about, please include the full title and correct author names (your entry must include these to be eligible to win). For complete rules and guidelines, click here.

Please note: You must enter your full address, using correct capitalization and filling in all fields if you would like to be eligible to win this prize.

Also, we realize that many times, your opinion of a book will change as you get further along into the story. Thus, to ensure that your comments and ratings accurately reflect your entire reading experience, your review WILL NOT be posted if you have not finished the book.

One important technical note: If you're using an iPad or another iOS device to access the Word of Mouth page and you would like to enter the contest, you must wait for the page to fully load before you can rate your book. Only then will the stars be clickable.

-To see reader comments from previous contest periods, click here.
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