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August 14, 2015 Newsletter August 14, 2015
These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…

Last Saturday, our friend Cathy came over for dinner and brought our friend Lisa, who was out from the city. Both are big readers, and cocktail/dinner/dessert conversation was threaded with bookish banter. Lisa left with a huge stack of galleys of books that I have enjoyed; Cathy reads on her eReader exclusively these days, so she took notes. I love evenings like this when I get to hear what readers are interested in and what has attracted them to various titles. Since we started, to us it’s always been “all about the reader”!

Amusingly, about an hour before they arrived, the power went out in most of our town. It was a gorgeous night, thus the issue was some problem with a transmitter. Luckily, the key lime pie had been baked, and everything else could be moved to the grill for cooking. I brought cookbooks onto the deck, as well as ingredients for creating the watermelon/radish salad (leftovers became chilled soup) and the goat cheese/walnut/mint/parsley side dish for the lamb. I felt like I was running a cooking show! Just as we finished the main course, the outdoor lights came on, signaling that we would be able to enjoy fresh whipped cream on the pie instead of Reddi-wip. We were prepared for everything!

I finished reading PRETTY BABY by Mary Kubica, and I am happy to say that I --- who can usually guess the plot twists --- did not see the big one here. Love that! I will have my Bets On commentary next week. Next, I picked up HER FINAL BREATH by Robert Dugoni, which will be in stores on September 15th. I can honestly say that I have loved every one of Bob’s books. If you have not read him, please do so! And then I dare you not to want to give another of his books a read. We have them all listed here just in case.

I am happy to share that our author bibliographies have been updated. We do not have every author listed here --- we are working on that --- but we have updated those that are there now with all of their books up until today’s date, in order of publication. We know this really matters for series titles. Enjoy!

On Monday night, Nicole and Emily from our staff joined me at Dylan’s Candy Bar for a party to celebrate the release of Jennifer Weiner’s latest book, WHO DO YOU LOVE. There were pink vodka drinks rumored to have pop rocks in them (I stuck with boring seltzer) and lots of candy. As I ate a gummy heart, I found myself checking my phone to see if I had my dentist on speed dial. Jen was sporting a new haircut (see the photo of us above), and we lapsed into a completely non-literary conversation about blowout bars, which she feels are now a staple for a book tour. We first met more than a decade ago when we were on a panel together about book groups, and it’s always a treat to see her --- with or without candy!

Also on hand to celebrate were authors Alafair Burke, Laura Lippman and Harlan Coben --- and many, many more. Fun way to kick off a tour, and I have not yet devoured the Swedish Fish and the jelly beans from the gift bag. How is that for willpower? More on the book in a bit.

For those who love audiobooks, or those who want to give them a whirl, I AM PILGRIM, a thriller by Terry Hayes and narrated by Christopher Ragland, is AMAZING. Yes, I am still listening. I am on disc nine (going old school and listening on CDs instead of digital) of 18 and am LOVING it. How did I not read this book when it released last May? I am limiting my calls on my drive to and from work to listen. I must explore more books narrated by Ragland! He has a gift to do so many voices well. By the way, if I was not limiting myself to car reading/listening here, I would get nothing done until this was finished. I look forward to reading Terry's next novel, THE YEAR OF THE LOCUST, releasing in May 2016.

I am not a huge fan of book trailers, the videos that promote book titles. BUT...when a great one comes along, I take notice. As many of you know, Jesse Kornbluth co-founded with me, and he has written a novel called MARRIED SEX, which is coming out on August 25th. I saw the trailer this week, and it's a quick mini film. Take a look at what Jesse has to say about it and watch the trailer here.

And now on to this week’s update…

Debbie Macomber invites readers to return to Cedar Cove’s charming Rose Harbor Inn with SILVER LININGS. Ever since opening her inn, Jo Marie Rose has found herself growing closer to her handsome handyman, Mark. Although he seems to reciprocate her feelings, he still refuses to reveal anything about his past. When Mark announces that he’s moving, Jo Marie is both baffled and hurt --- but there are still guests to welcome, like best friends Kellie and Katie. Returning for their 10-year reunion, Kellie and Katie are looking for their own answers about old relationships. As Kellie prepares to confront the man who cruelly broke her heart, Katie hopes for a second chance with the one who got away.

According to reviewer Michele Howe, “Macomber’s homespun storytelling style makes reading an easy venture as she focuses on those everyday relational happenings with which readers can most identify, no matter what their age. With some expected happy endings, she also tosses in some hidden twists and turns that will delight her many longtime fans.” I have to get a copy of this to catch up with my Rose Harbor Inn friends; that is what it feels like with these books.

In DEVIL’S BRIDGE, the 17th thriller in Linda Fairstein’s Alexandra Cooper series, readers will get an in-depth look at the mind of NYPD Detective Mike Chapman. Although Mike has patrolled the streets of Manhattan for quite some time, never before has he fully felt the danger lurking in its dark corners. Now, however, Alex Cooper is missing, and it’s up to Mike to bring her home. As he reviews Alex’s most dangerous enemies, grapples with a security breach and fights to use his own methods, he must race against the clock to solve his most personal case yet. Linda's books always talk about a New York City landmark; this time, it's the George Washington Bridge, the world’s busiest span for motor vehicles. As I commuted over this bridge for my first two years of college, this will be interesting reading. For me, always the upper deck, never the lower. Better view!

Roz Shea has our review and calls DEVIL'S BRIDGE "Fairstein’s most nail-biting thriller yet in a long list of award-winning detective novels. She just gets better and better, if that's even possible."

From the aforementioned bestselling author Jennifer Weiner comes WHO DO YOU LOVE, a highly anticipated story about love and second chances. Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are only eight years old when they meet in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is no stranger to hospitals and is charmed by Andy, who has broken his arm. Although the two become fast friends, they are separated by their respective doctors, and it seems that their story is over. However, over the next three decades, Rachel and Andy find themselves meeting again and again, brought together by luck and their memories of the night that changed their lives.

Norah Piehl has this to say in her review: "[T]his is a good old-fashioned heartstrings-puller, one that readers will happily lose themselves in at the beach (or anywhere else, really).... Given their tumultuous history, readers might eventually wonder if a real 'happily ever after' is even possible for this admittedly odd couple. But they'll certainly want to keep reading to find out."

Based on real-life women, THE RACE FOR PARIS is Meg Waite Clayton’s riveting novel about two American journalists and one Englishman whose ambition takes them to the forefront of World War II. Reporter Jane and Associated Press photographer Liv have grappled with both terrifying danger and irritating obstacles in an effort to cover the war in France. Despite strict military regulations for women, Liv is determined to be the first photographer to reach Paris with the Allies and capture the city’s freedom from the Nazis. In order to reach her goals, she convinces Jane to go AWOL with her, and the two band together with Fletcher, a British military photographer. As the three race for Paris, they form an unbreakable bond that continues to change their lives long after the war is over.

In her rave review, Amy Gwiazdowski calls THE RACE FOR PARIS “an amazing story of friendship and courage, and Meg Waite Clayton paints such a poignant picture of these three people that I found myself holding my breath waiting for the inevitable to occur. There were pages I didn’t want to turn because I knew there was more heartbreak to come, but I couldn’t help myself. I was far too invested in the story by then and needed to know what happened to this trio.” I know exactly what Amy means; I felt the same way as I was reading it, and it will be one of my Bets On selections in next week’s newsletter.

The other Bets On pick next week will be the aforementioned PRETTY BABY by Mary Kubica, a Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight title. As a nonprofit worker and frequent caretaker of stray cats, Heidi Wood has always considered herself a charitable person. Even so, her husband and daughter are shocked when she brings home a young homeless woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby. Although Heidi’s family is worried that the woman could be a criminal, Heidi will not budge and offers Willow and her daughter shelter in her home. But as clues into Willow’s past start to see the light of day, Heidi must decide how much she is willing to sacrifice to help a stranger in need. Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win one of 10 copies of this book and share your comments on it. To do so, please fill out this form by Thursday, August 20th at noon ET. Mary is one to watch, so jump on this opportunity now.

Following last week’s spectacular releases, I have two Bets On picks to share with you this week, both from debut novelists: Ruth Ware’s IN A DARK, DARK WOOD, which features an unreliable narrator and lots of drama, and ORPHAN #8 by Kim van Alkemade, in which a nurse is forced to care for the woman who tortured her as an orphan.

Our History Books roundup has been updated for August. We have books about politics (THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, LINCOLN’S GAMBLE: The Tumultuous Six Months that Gave America the Emancipation Proclamation and Changed the Course of the Civil War), biographies (CHURCHILL AND EMPIRE: A Portrait of an Imperialist, EISENHOWER: A Life) and World War II titles (AVENUE OF SPIES: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family's Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris, FARTHEST FIELD: An Indian Story of the Second World War). Hmmmm…how many history book columns does Greg have to write before I can write off his four years as a history major at Fordham?

In this week’s Summer Reading contests, we gave away the aforementioned THE RACE FOR PARIS, along with BRIGHT LINES by Tanwi Nandini Islam (I have this packed for the weekend), THE GUILTY ONE by Sophie Littlefield (which we review this week), and HOSTAGE TAKER by Stefanie Pintoff. Next week’s prize books will be EVERYBODY RISE by Stephanie Clifford (I loved this, and it will be a Bets On pick; to me, the cover looks like a Lilly Pulitzer creation), THE GIRL FROM THE GARDEN by Parnaz Foroutan, WE NEVER ASKED FOR WINGS by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (you remember Vanessa from THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS; I liked this one even more!), and A WINDOW OPENS by Elisabeth Egan (I loved this, and it will be a Bets On selection). The first contest of the week kicks off on Monday, August 17th at noon ET. We love your interest in these contests; we are so happy to be bringing you a great selection of titles!

THE RACE FOR PARIS is also one of our Word of Mouth prize books, along with FRICTION by Sandra Brown (I cannot wait to read this) and the aforementioned SILVER LININGS. Let us know by Friday, August 21st at noon ET what books you’ve finished reading, and five of you will win all three of these novels.

Our current Sounding Off on Audio contest continues for one more week. Let us know by the 21st at noon ET what audiobooks you’ve finished listening to, and three winners will be awarded the digital version or a CD of both Harper Lee's GO SET A WATCHMAN, performed by Reese Witherspoon, and Daniel Silva’s THE ENGLISH SPY, performed by George Guidall. I would love to know what kinds of books you would like to have as prizes for this feature. If you are contributing to Sounding Off on Audio, let me know, as we still are feeling our way with this feature. Fiction? Nonfiction? New books? Older titles? Shoot me a note with “Audiobook Prize Suggestions” in the subject line.

In our latest poll, we’d like to know if you use coloring books or would like to give them a try if you don’t. Click here to cast your vote. I still want the 150 colored pencil set to get started. I mean, why not start out with EVERY color that I might need?

News and Pop Culture:

"Show Me a Hero": Looking forward to this six-part HBO miniseries from David Simon ("The Wire," "Treme"), based on the book by Lisa Belkin, which looks at Yonkers, NY mayor Nick Wasicsko, who got caught up in a racially divided housing issue. Trivia fact: Our Editorial Director, Tom Donadio, remembers meeting Wasicsko during a fourth-grade field trip to Yonkers City Hall. It premieres this Sunday with two episodes and airs the next two weekends with two more episodes each weekend.

Crayon donations: As we talk about coloring books for adults, let’s talk about crayon donations for kids who have none. Read more about it here. By the way, THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT was a favorite book of mine, and I look forward to THE DAY THE CRAYONS CAME HOME when it releases on Tuesday.

JUST KIDS by Patti Smith: Got word this week that this book is being adapted into a Showtime miniseries.

Z the TV series: Therese Anne Fowler was in Savannah watching the filming of the show that is based on her book. We are looking forward to this and will announce the air date when it is available.

Remember learning the term "opt out"?: Saw that the Columbia House Mail Order music business will be no more. Who remembers getting eight CDs for a penny? And agonizing over what CDs those would be? And then trying feverishly to opt out? I actually think I got into this when there were albums, not even CDs. Columbia House filed for bankruptcy this week.

Real estate news: The home in the Hollywood Hills that was owned by World War II hero Louis Zamperini went on the market for a cool two million this week, as reported here. Angelina and Brad live in the 'hood. She used to run back and forth to visit with him.

Last Sunday night, we spied a little brown bunny on the lawn. Hmmmmm…wonder if he/she has been eating the dead Japanese beetles in the bowl! I could write a children’s book about my garden adventures this summer. Maybe I should color it in crayon...or wait, THAT would be the reason for the 150 colored pencil set!

Tom, Greg and I are in the Hamptons for our annual weekend visiting our friend Moe at his home there. Sadly, Cory has to work and will not be joining us; I knew these moments were coming, but I thought they were a few years away. I packed MANY books and started knitting a tank top. Okay, I actually restarted after I was 3/4 done and realized the variegated yarn I was using was from two different dye lots and thus was not looking right, but rather all stripey in one section. I wish I had noticed a lot sooner or that it did not bother me as much. Regardless, I am all set for the weekend.

Before Tom left (he went out in advance with the luggage), he failed to grab the extra produce in the fridge, thus the office was treated to lots of watermelon yesterday! I carried cut cantaloupe in my bag, and Greg had four tomatoes with him. Yes, it was amusing.

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: SILVER LININGS by Debbie Macomber
SILVER LININGS: A Rose Harbor Novel by Debbie Macomber (Romance)
Jo Marie Rose and her handyman, Mark Taylor, are good friends --- and are becoming something more --- yet he still won’t reveal anything about his past. When Mark tells her that he’s moving out of town, Jo Marie is baffled. As she discovers the secret behind his decision to leave, she welcomes two visitors also seeking their own answers. Best friends Kellie Crenshaw and Katie Gilroy have returned to Cedar Cove for their 10-year high school reunion, looking to face down old hurts and find a sense of closure. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to visit Debbie Macomber’s official website.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: DEVIL'S BRIDGE by Linda Fairstein
DEVIL'S BRIDGE by Linda Fairstein (Thriller)
The Manhattan waterfront is one of New York City’s most magnificent vistas, boasting both the majestic Statue of Liberty and the George Washington Bridge, the world’s busiest span for motor vehicles. But in DEVIL’S BRIDGE, Detective Mike Chapman will discover the peril that lurks along this seemingly benign expanse as he takes on his most personal case yet: the disappearance of Alex Cooper. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: WHO DO YOU LOVE by Jennifer Weiner
WHO DO YOU LOVE by Jennifer Weiner (Fiction)
Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are just eight years old when they meet one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she’s intrigued by the boy who shows up alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. After Andy is taken back to a doctor and Rachel is sent back to her bed, they think they’ll never see each other again. Yet, over the next three decades, they will meet again and again --- linked by chance, history, and the memory of the first time they met, a night that changed the course of both of their lives. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE RACE FOR PARIS by Meg Waite Clayton

THE RACE FOR PARIS by Meg Waite Clayton (Historical Fiction)
Encouraged by her husband, the editor of a New York newspaper, Liv is determined to be the first photographer to reach Paris with the Allies and capture its freedom from the Nazis. However, her Commanding Officer has other ideas about the role of women in the press corps. To fulfill her ambitions, Liv must go AWOL. She persuades her reporter friend Jane to join her, and the two women find a guardian angel in Fletcher, a British military photographer who reluctantly agrees to escort them. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

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

Click here to read a review. Bets On: IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware and ORPHAN #8 by Kim van Alkemade
IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware (Psychological Thriller)
I love dark psychological thrillers; I’m not sure what that says about me. Thus, when IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware came across my desk, I looked at the cover and thought this was my kind of book.

Bachelorette parties were not in vogue when I was married, but I know enough about them from our staffers to recognize that they have enough components to set up a good story. Plunk together women who know each other from various points of their lives, and, well, the opportunity for tension is there. But what if you are asked to join this weekend soiree by someone you had fallen out of touch with? Why are you there? What does this gathering mean for you?

-Click here to read more of Carol's thoughts on the book.
-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read an interview with Ruth Ware.

ORPHAN #8 by Kim van Alkemade (Historical Fiction)
Last year, I read THE PAYING GUESTS by Sarah Waters and enjoyed it. When I saw that ORPHAN #8 by Kim van Alkemade was being compared to it, as a historical fiction title, it immediately caught my attention. The book opens in the early 1900s with Rachel Rabinowitz becoming orphaned at the age of four, separated from her brother and placed in the Hebrew Infant Home in Manhattan. While her family home was a crowded tenement, the orphanage she moves to lacks much beyond the basics, the victim of poor funding and overcrowding. There are moments of hope for adoption and a better life that are quickly dashed, and Rachel realizes that life for her will be within the orphanage walls.

-Click here to read more of Carol's thoughts on the book.
-Click here to read more about the book.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
Click here for more books we're betting you'll love.
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight & Contest: PRETTY BABY by Mary Kubica
We have 10 copies of PRETTY BABY by Mary Kubica 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, August 20th at noon ET.

PRETTY BABY by Mary Kubica (Psychological Thriller)
She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can't get the girl out of her head…

Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal --- or worse. But despite her family's objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.

Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow's past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she's willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read our interview with Mary Kubica.
-Click here to read Mary Kubica’s bio.
-Click here to visit Mary Kubica’s official website.
-Connect with Mary Kubica on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight and enter the contest.
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: THE MURDERER’S DAUGHTER by Jonathan Kellerman
THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTER by Jonathan Kellerman (Psychological Thriller)
A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches --- perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents’ deaths in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace’s harrowing past returns with a vengeance.

Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace’s renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses --- a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.

An evil she thought she’d outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she’d long ago fled.

THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTER releases on August 18th.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Jonathan Kellerman’s bio.
-Click here to visit Jonathan Kellerman’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Jonathan Kellerman on Facebook.
Click here to read more in our Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight.
Women's Fiction Author Spotlight: THE COLOR OF LIGHT by Emilie Richards
THE COLOR OF LIGHT by Emilie Richards (Fiction)
For more than a decade, minister Analiese Wagner has felt privileged to lead her parishioners along a well-lit path. Her commitment has never been seriously tested until the frigid night she encounters a homeless family huddling in the churchyard. Offering them shelter in a vacant parish house apartment and taking teenage Shiloh Fowler --- a girl desperate to rescue her parents --- under her wing, she tests the loyalty and faith of her congregation.

Isaiah Colburn, the Catholic priest who was her first mentor and the man she secretly longed for, understands her struggles only too well. At a crossroads, he's suddenly reappeared in her life, torn between his priesthood and his growing desire for a future with Analiese.

Divided between love and vows they've taken, both must face the possibilities of living very different lives or continuing to serve their communities. With a defeated family's trust and her own happiness on the line, Analiese must define for herself where darkness ends and light begins.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read our interview with Emilie Richards.
-Click here to read Emilie Richards’ bio.
-Click here to visit Emilie Richards’ official website.
-Connect with Emilie Richards on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
-Click here to see the 10 winners selected to read and comment on the book.
Click here to read more in our Women's Fiction Author Spotlight.
August's History Books Roundup
August's roundup of History titles includes GIVE US THE BALLOT, in which Ari Berman charts both the transformation of American democracy under the Voting Rights Act and the counterrevolution that has sought to limit voting rights, from 1965 to the present day; AVENUE OF SPIES, the latest book from the bestselling author of THE LIBERATOR, who documents the incredible true story of an American doctor in Paris and his heroic espionage efforts during World War II; THE STORM OF THE CENTURY by Al Roker, a gripping narrative history that vividly brings to life the Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900, the deadliest natural disaster in American history; and DEATH IN FLORENCE, in which Paul Strathern reveals the paradoxes, self-doubts and political compromises that made the battle for the soul of the Renaissance city of Florence one of the most complex and important moments in Western history.
Click here to see our History Books roundup for August.'s Summer Reading Contests and Feature
Summer has arrived! At, this means it's time for us to share some great summer book picks with our Summer Reading Contests and Feature. We are 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 are sending a special newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, August 17th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles are:

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
More Reviews This Week
Felicia Day is a violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become at least semi-influential in the world of Internet geeks and Goodreads book clubs. She moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and was immediately typecast as a crazy cat-lady secretary. But her misadventures in Hollywood led her to produce her own web series, own her very own production company, and become an Internet star. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

DAYS OF AWE by Lauren Fox (Fiction)
Only a year ago Isabel Moore was married, was the object of adoration for her 10-year-old daughter, and thought she knew everything about her wild, extravagant, beloved best friend, Josie. But in that one short year, her husband moved out and rented his own apartment; her daughter grew into a moody insomniac; and Josie was killed in a single-car accident. As the relationships that long defined Isabel change before her eyes, she must try to understand who she really is. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

IN THE DARK PLACES: An Inspector Banks Novel by Peter Robinson (Mystery)
Two young men have vanished, and the investigation leads to two troubling clues in two different locations --- a scorched van and a peculiar bloodstain in an abandoned airport hangar. As Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks and his team scramble for answers, the inquiry takes an even darker turn when a truck careens off an icy road in a freak hailstorm. In the wreckage, rescuers find the driver, who was killed on impact, as well as another body --- a body that was dead well before the crash. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

AURORA by Kim Stanley Robinson (Science Fiction)
A major new novel from one of science fiction's most powerful voices, AURORA tells the incredible story of our first voyage beyond the solar system. Brilliantly imagined and beautifully told, it is the work of a writer at the height of his powers. Reviewed by Pauline Finch.

OUR MAN IN CHARLESTON: Britain's Secret Agent in the Civil War South by Christopher Dickey (History)
When Robert Bunch arrived in Charleston to take up the post of British consul in 1853, he was young and full of ambition, but even he couldn’t have imagined the incredible role he would play in the history-making events to unfold. In an age when diplomats often were spies, Bunch’s job included sending intelligence back to the British government in London. Yet as the United States threatened to erupt into Civil War, Bunch found himself plunged into a double life, settling into an amiable routine with his slavery-loving neighbors on the one hand, while working furiously to thwart their plans to achieve a new Confederacy. Reviewed by Gena LeBlanc.

THE BEAT GOES ON: The Complete Rebus Stories by Ian Rankin (Crime Fiction/Short Stories)
Brilliant, irascible, and frequently frustrating to both his friends and his long-suffering bosses, DI John Rebus has made the dark places of Edinburgh his home for over two decades. THE BEAT GOES ON collects all of Ian Rankin's Rebus short stories for the first time, including two never-before published tales written specifically for this collection. It’s a must-have book for crime fiction aficionados and a superb introduction for anyone looking to experience Rebus and the dark, twist-filled crimes he investigates. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

BROWSINGS: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books by Michael Dirda (Literary Criticism)
Michael Dirda's latest volume collects 50 of his witty and wide-ranging reflections on literary journalism, book collecting, and the writers he loves. Reaching from the classics to the post-moderns, his allusions dance from Samuel Johnson, Ralph Waldo Emerson and M. F. K. Fisher to Marilynne Robinson, Hunter S. Thompson and David Foster Wallace. Dirda's topics are equally diverse: literary pets, the lost art of cursive writing, novelists in old age, Oberlin College, a year in Marseille, writer's block and much more, not to overlook a few rants about Washington life and American culture. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

HOW TO BE A GROWN-UP by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (Fiction)
When Rory McGovern’s husband, Blake, loses his dream job, he announces that he feels like “taking a break” from being a husband and father. Without him, her only hope is to accept a full-time position working for two twenty-somethings. These girls think they know it all and have been given the millions from venture capitalists to back up their delusion: that the future of digital media is a high-end “lifestyle” site --- for kids! Can Rory learn to decipher her bosses’ lingo, texts that read like license plates, and arbitrary mandates? And is there any hope of saving her marriage? Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

MALICE AT THE PALACE: A Royal Spyness Mystery by Rhys Bowen (Historical Mystery)
Caught between her high birth and empty purse, Lady Georgiana Ranoch is glad to get a new assignment from the Queen --- especially one that includes lodging in the supposedly haunted Kensington Palace. As companion to Princess Marina of Greece, who is to marry the King’s youngest son, Georgie expects to live the high life --- until she stumbles across a dead body. Reviewed by Carly Silver.

FISHBOWL by Bradley Somer (Fiction)
A goldfish named Ian is falling from the 27th-floor balcony on which his fishbowl sits. He's longed for adventure, so when the opportunity arises, he escapes from his bowl, clears the balcony railing and finds himself airborne. Plummeting toward the street below, Ian witnesses the lives of the Seville on Roxy residents. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

THE GUILTY ONE by Sophie Littlefield (Psychological Suspense)
Maris’ safe suburban world was shattered the day her daughter was found murdered, presumably at the hands of the young woman’s boyfriend. Her marriage crumbling, her routine shattered, Maris walks away from her pampered life as a Bay Area mom the day she receives a call from Ron, father of her daughter’s killer. Wracked with guilt over his son’s actions (and his own possible contribution to them), he asks Maris a single question: Should he jump? With a man’s life in her hands, Maris must decide, perhaps for the first time, what she truly wants. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

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

COLLECTOR OF SECRETS by Richard Goodfellow (Thriller)
Max Travers, an English teacher in Japan, wants out, as his manipulative boss, Yoko, is trying to swindle the unsuspecting parents of his students. Desperate to seize his locked-up passport, he sneaks into Yoko's office in the middle of the night only to surprise the Japanese mafia's burglary in progress. Escaping with his life, Max is on the run from tattooed Yakuza, the Japanese police, and a mysterious American named Lloyd Elgin, who seems to have ties in high places. All are after the leather book Max grabbed instead of his passport. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

ONE MURDER MORE by Kris Calvin (Mystery)
A beautiful legislative aide is found stabbed to death in California's Capitol building. Maren Kane, a lobbyist for a fledgling Sacramento-based toy company, is in the midst of a legislative fight that could make or break her career. When police arrest Maren's colleague for the crime, she's certain they have the wrong man. The cops suspect a crime of passion, but Maren knows that money and power drive all things tragic and scandalous in the capital. Will she be able to prove her theory --- and free her friend --- before she becomes the next victim? Reviewed by Kate Ayers.
Our Latest Poll: Coloring Books for Adults

Coloring books for adults are all the rage these days. Do you use them?

  • Yes, every chance I get.
  • Yes, occasionally.
  • No, but I would be interested in doing this.
  • I have no interest in coloring books.
Click here to vote in the poll.
Word of Mouth Contest: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win Three Books!

Tell us about the books you've finished reading with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from August 7th to August 21st, five lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of FRICTION by Sandra Brown, THE RACE FOR PARIS by Meg Waite Clayton, and SILVING LININGS: A Rose Harbor Novel by Debbie Macomber.

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 rules and guidelines, click here.

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

Click here to enter the contest.
Sounding Off on Audio Contest: Tell Us What You're Listening to --- and You Can Win Two Audiobooks!
Tell us about the audiobooks you’ve finished listening to with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars for both the performance and the content. During the contest period from July 31st to August 21st, THREE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win the digital version or a CD of both GO SET A WATCHMAN written by Harper Lee and performed by Reese Witherspoon, and THE ENGLISH SPY written by Daniel Silva and performed by George Guidall.

To make sure other readers will be able to find the audiobook, 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.

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

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