Skip to main content

August 28, 2015 Newsletter August 28, 2015
Heading On Vacation; See You After Labor Day!

Thanks to all who wrote congratulatory notes about the 19th anniversary of Bookreporter! I still am catching up on my replies, as this has been a really busy week. Next week, we take our traditional summer hiatus with no production or updates, giving me and the staff a chance to wind down for a week and recharge. But that means this week has a whole lot crammed into it! It’s going to be a staycation for me again this year; Cory starts classes on Tuesday, and Greg is holding down the fort at the office. With the pool at the house looking spectacular and the flowers bursting with color, it seems a tad crazy to head out of town.

It will be nice not to have to pack, and I am sure we will cook up some adventures, along with the joy of mid-week entertaining --- something I do not get to do often. With that in mind, the staff is headed to my house for a pool party on Monday. I have been told to make the same menu as last year; I guess it was a hit! Looking forward to floating in the pool with them. For amusement, I ordered a set of 72 colored pencils, and I have some coloring books on hand. We have been talking about coloring, so I thought it might be fun to give it a whirl. Yes, I am sure it will be amusing. Can I stay inside the lines?

Last weekend on Friday afternoon, we had no plans for the weekend. That rapidly changed as our friend, Cathy, called to invite us for a sushi dinner at her home as our friend, Lisa, was in town. That morphed into Saturday night dinner al fresco at our house with another couple added into the mix, and then on Sunday those friends hosted a third dinner. Outrageously spontaneous fun. You can see a photo of the beautiful sushi arrangement above! Cathy and Lisa are BIG readers, thus we had lots of conversation about books. Lisa downloaded I AM PILGRIM after I told her how I was enjoying the audio.

Lisa also shared her stories about hiking to Base Camp of Everest in 1995, and we talked about it being open again to climbers for the first time since the deadly earthquake this spring. I had just finished reading Beck Weathers’ book, LEFT FOR DEAD, about his experience on Everest. After having read three books about the 1996 events, I vote that if you read one, I would select Lou Kasischke’s AFTER THE WIND. I think his perspective is right as he wrote the first draft of his book shortly after the events, but edited it a decade later and did not publish his book until last year. I think perspective helps. Three books inspired the Everest film!

There are some BIG books publishing on Tuesday. One is PURITY by Jonathan Franzen. We have Franzen’s first words on PURITY that you can read here in this interview with Laura Miller. Another is THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB by David Lagercrantz, who is picking up the mantle of Stieg Larsson. You can read an excerpt here at Entertainment Weekly. I have this one on my reading pile right behind THE GATES OF EVANGELINE by Hester Young, which I have just started and am loving...a tad fitting as it was our last Summer Reading Contest title! You can read more about these books later in this newsletter, and we will have reviews for many of these in September.

We have our early reader comments on Charles Belfoure's HOUSE OF THIEVES. Many enjoyed it for all the reasons that I did --- a sharp story with a good historical perspective. It will be a Bets On selection and will be in stores on September 15th. We will have much more about it in the weeks to come.

Onward to this week’s news….

Sue Grafton returns with X, the latest installment of her Alphabet series featuring private investigator Kinsey Millhone. In this chilling new entry, Kinsey has her hands full with several cases that require her attention. But when she discovers an unapologetic serial killer who leaves no evidence, she may have met her match. As Kinsey breaks protocol and sets off on a dangerous path, the identity of the killer becomes clear. The real question is if rule-breaking Kinsey can provide proof before she loses her case --- and her life.

Roz Shea, a longtime Grafton fan who has read all 24 books in the series, has this to say in her review: “Twenty-four books later, I’m impressed that Grafton is still developing Kinsey’s personal backstory and philosophizing through her characters on her own take of living the simple life in the midst of the ‘greed is good’ ’80s…. What may be the best part of the series is that X takes place in 1989, having gained only seven years over the past three decades. Kinsey still operates as an old-fashioned gumshoe.”

Greg read X and called it “X for X-cellent.” He also said, “I once again have a fresh feeling that I remember from my year-long marathon from A-Q back in middle school, using every lunch break and bus ride to dive in. If Y and Z are up to this standard, it’s going to be a perfect, if bittersweet, way to say goodbye.”

Fan favorite Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns in THE NATURE OF THE BEAST, Louise Penny’s latest mystery. To Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache, it seems like nine-year-old Laurent Lepage is always crying wolf. Whether he claims to have seen aliens, walking trees or dinosaurs, there is always something to cry about. But when Laurent disappears, the local villagers are faced with the possibility that the little boy may have been on to something. As a frantic search turns up a dark secret in the forest, the horrific history of Three Pines forces itself into the present.

Roz also has our review of THE NATURE OF THE BEAST and calls it “a triumph of terrifying depth as the implications and potential consequences of the monstrous weapon discovered by the boy are revealed. This tale of the terrors that exist in today’s world broadens the scope of a series that continues to grow in possibilities.”

We’re giving away THE NATURE OF THE BEAST, along with DID YOU EVER HAVE A FAMILY by Bill Clegg and the aforementioned PURITY, in our Word of Mouth contest. What books have you finished reading? Let us know by Friday, September 11th at noon ET, and five of you will win all three of these titles.

Philippa Gregory has penned THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN, a new Tudor tale featuring King Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Kateryn Parr. At 30 years old and indulging in a secret affair, Kateryn has no choice when King Henry commands her to marry him. Although she is terrified of the man who has already killed four wives, Kateryn begins to trust Henry, creating a unity within the castle that allows her more freedom than most women of the time. Still, as a natural leader and the first woman to publish under her own name, Kateryn stands out --- and rivals begin to accuse her of heresy.

According to reviewer Amie Taylor, “THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN is the fascinating tale of the last wife of Henry VIII, the one who would outlive him and triumph over his reign of domestic terror. Readers are thrust back in time where they will enjoy a fictional account based on historically accurate records that show Kateryn Parr to be a strong, brave and quick-witted woman who prevailed where numerous others had failed.” We also have an interview with Philippa, which you can see here. I had the pleasure of meeting her a few months ago and found her fascinating!

The audio version of THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN, which is read by Bianca Amato, is one of the prizes in our Sounding Off on Audio contest (in addition to Lee Child's MAKE ME: A Jack Reacher Novel, read by Dick Hill). Let us know by Friday, September 18th at noon ET what audiobooks you’ve finished listening to, and three winners will be awarded both of these titles.

Our One to Watch Author Spotlight of Stephanie Clifford’s debut novel, EVERYBODY RISE, continues. At 26, Evelyn Beegan is bright and funny, but that means close to nothing among her old-money peers. Although Evelyn has always been careful to avoid her mother’s social-climbing ways, when she gets a job at a social network aimed at the privileged, she must embrace the peers who have always discounted her. But as she steps into the land of shopping sprees and trips to the Hamptons, she finds its pull intoxicating and soon racks up an insurmountable amount of lies and debt that threaten her future.

We have our review this week from Jamie Layton, who advises that “EVERYBODY RISE should be in every beach bag as we head into Labor Day weekend. It is a delicious last bit of summer in a book, a juicy read with a questionable heroine and an inside glimpse into the world of the very privileged. Most every reader will find a character with whom he or she can relate.” Jamie also had the pleasure of interviewing Stephanie, and you can read their conversation here. EVERYBODY RISE is one of my Bets On titles for this week. Click here for my thoughts on the book.

There is still plenty of time to enter our giveaway for your chance to win one of 50 copies of EVERYBODY RISE and share your comments on it. All you have to do is fill out this form by Tuesday, September 8th at noon ET.

My other Bets On title for the week is A WINDOW OPENS by Elisabeth Egan, the books editor at Glamour magazine. This debut novel introduces readers to Alice Pearse, a wife, mother of three and part-time editor. When her husband makes a drastic career change, Alice is forced to take on a job at Scroll, a hip young start-up that represents the future of reading. Although her best friend disapproves, Alice is sure that she finally has it all --- an intellectually satisfying career and a perfect family. But when her father takes ill, her marriage falters, and her work takes an unexpected turn, Alice must figure out whether or not it’s really possible to have it all.

Katherine B. Weissman has our review and calls A WINDOW OPENS “smart, honest, alternately touching and funny... [Egan] lives in New Jersey with her husband and three kids, and ends her author’s acknowledgments with a nod to someone who sounds a lot like her father. This gives her a handle on the intimate details of family life…” We’re pleased to share this interview with Elisabeth, and you can see my Bets On commentary here. founder Jesse Kornbluth, who founded with me 19 years ago, has released his first novel, MARRIED SEX: A Love Story. As a divorce lawyer for Manhattan’s elite, David Greenfield has seen it all. As such, he knows he’s lucky to be married to Blair, the mother to his college-aged daughter who he loves more than ever. But when seductive photographer Jean Coin asks David to be her lover for six weeks until she leaves for Timbuktu, he invites his wife into a three-way tryst. Although he believes a threesome will refresh their stale marriage, the erotic night has unintended consequences.

Joe Hartlaub, whose forte is reviewing mysteries and suspense/thrillers for us, genuinely enjoyed this book: “What sets MARRIED SEX apart from the pack is Kornbluth’s style, which puts one in the mind of Norman Mailer here and John Barth there, while maintaining an original voice and pitch all the way through in what is ultimately a cautionary tale.” We have a Q&A with Jesse, which you can see here. It’s “so Jesse” as he interviews himself! And over on, we’re giving three groups the chance to win 12 copies of the book, and we’re also giving away 25 single copies. Click here for all the contest details and here for the guide.

Our latest New Release Spotlight features IF YOU ONLY KNEW by Kristan Higgins. Jenny Tate is having trouble finding closure following her divorce. In an attempt to start anew, she trades Manhattan for the beautiful Hudson, where she plans to start her own business while bonding with her sister, Rachel. But when Rachel’s perfect marriage explodes after Rachel catches her husband sexting with a colleague, everyone is shocked. Jenny, however, is even more surprised when Rachel considers forgiving her husband, using her parents’ marriage as a shining example. In order to protect her sister, Jenny may have to reveal a long-held secret about her family --- and force Rachel to come to terms with her present.

We wrapped up our Summer Reading contests this week. Our final four prize books were the aforementioned MARRIED SEX and THE GATES OF EVANGELINE, along with THE FALL OF PRINCES by Robert Goolrick (which we review this week) and THE LAST TIME I SAW HER by Karen Robards. Congratulations to the winners of all 51 of this year’s giveaways, and many thanks to all who entered throughout the summer!

On September 11th, we’ll announce the details of our fifth annual Fall Preview feature! Similar to our Summer Reading contests, on select days in September and October, we will spotlight a different title and offer a 24-hour contest to win five copies of the book. We also will be sending a special newsletter to announce each day's title. You can sign up here to receive the Fall Preview newsletters. Our first prize book will be announced on Tuesday, September 15th.

We’ve updated our Young Adult Books You Want to Read feature, books we’ve reviewed on that we think our adult readers will enjoy. This month’s titles are BECOMING MARIA: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx by Sonia Manzano, DROWNED CITY: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown, and THE NEXT BIG THING: A History of the Boom-or-Bust Moments That Shaped the Modern World by Richard Faulk.

How would you describe the typical condition of your books after you've read them? Are they in stellar condition, or do they look slightly (or very much) beat up? Let us know in our latest poll.

News and Pop Culture:

Knitting and Authors: Got an email from String Yarn, one of my favorite yarn stores in New York, where Lisa Hoffman works, with this note: “Lisa Hoffman, and her cousin, the talented author Alice Hoffman, will be together at String on Tuesday, October 27th, from 4-5pm to sign copies of Faerie Magazine and talk about their new project. From the Faerie Magazine blog: ‘This will be a regular feature in Faerie: an original fairy tale from Alice Hoffman about a magical knit design created by her cousin Lisa Hoffman, who then shares the pattern so that you can make, wear, and own the design yourself. The first issue features the Blue Heron Shawl, but you'll have to wait to see it in the issue! It's everything we love at Faerie, the magic of a fairy tale woven into everyday life and then back out again. Magic you can hold in your hands.'" See more here.

Adele: Heard she has a new album coming in November. Love this quote from Stereogum: “The music business only has to survive for three more months, and then Adele will come and bail it out."

"Fear the Walking Dead": This premiered last weekend to some astonishingly good numbers. I am looking forward to seeing it!

Tashi and the Monk: A wonderful documentary on HBO about the perseverance of one man to make a difference in children’s lives. Here’s their promo copy: "On a remote mountaintop a brave social experiment is taking place. Buddhist Monk Lobsang was trained under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama but 8 years ago he left behind a life as a spiritual teacher in the United States to create a unique community in the foothills of the Himalayas which rescues orphaned and neglected children. 5 year-old Tashi is the newest arrival. Her mother recently passed away and she’s been abandoned by her alcoholic father. Wild and troubled, Tashi is struggling to find her place amongst 84 new siblings. Lobsang has channeled his own unhappy childhood into an opportunity for other ‘uninvited guests of the universe’ to avoid a similar fate. But can the community’s love and compassion transform Tashi’s alienation and tantrums into a capacity to make her first real friend?"

Wesleyan Center for Prison Education: Read about this way to help their students get ready for the upcoming semester.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN movie news: Emily Blunt is cast as Rachel, while Rebecca Ferguson will play Anna and Haley Bennett will play Megan. Love that the women were cast before the men! Heard also that the setting will be changed from England, as it is in the book, to the U.S. for the film.

Book Festivals: Thinking ahead to fall? Take a look at our list of book festivals scheduled for the upcoming months here.

See you again on Friday, September 11th. Read on, and have a great TWO weeks, including a wonderful Labor Day!

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: X by Sue Grafton
X by Sue Grafton (Mystery)
Perhaps her darkest and most chilling novel, Sue Grafton’s X features a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Once again breaking the rules and establishing new paths, Grafton wastes little time identifying this sociopath. The test is whether Kinsey Millhone can prove her case against him before she becomes his next victim. 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: THE NATURE OF THE BEAST by Louise Penny
THE NATURE OF THE BEAST: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny (Mystery)
Hardly a day goes by when nine-year-old Laurent Lepage doesn't cry wolf. His tales are so extraordinary that no one can possibly believe him, including Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache, who now live in the Quebec village of Three Pine. But when the boy disappears, the villagers are faced with the possibility that one of his tall tales might have been true. And so begins a frantic search for the boy and the truth. What they uncover deep in the forest sets off a sequence of events that leads to murder, an old crime, an old betrayal, and right to the door of an old poet. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
An Interview with Philippa Gregory, Author of THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN

For fans of historical fiction, Philippa Gregory needs no introduction; THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN is the latest in a long list of bestselling novels. It tells the fascinating story of Kateryn Parr --- King Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife --- a brilliant scholar and deeply religious woman who would outlive her husband and triumph over his domestic reign of terror. In this interview, Gregory reveals how she captures historical figures and events with such precision and immediacy, and why she thinks historians haven’t given Kateryn her due. She also discusses the queen’s love of language and publishing --- a love the author herself shares --- and why it’s important to write about women who were not inactive victims of male power.

THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN by Philippa Gregory (Historical Fiction)
Kateryn Parr, a 30-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives --- King Henry VIII --- commands her to marry him. Despite being a leader of religious reform and the first woman to publish in English, Kateryn cannot save the Protestants, under threat for their faith, and Henry’s dangerous gaze turns on her. The traditional churchmen and rivals for power accuse her of heresy. The punishment is death by fire, and the king’s name is on the warrant. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

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

Click here to read the interview. Talks to Stephanie Clifford, Author of EVERYBODY RISE --- Our Latest One to Watch Author Spotlight Title

EVERYBODY RISE is award-winning New York Times reporter Stephanie Clifford’s excellent debut and a surefire end-of-summer must-read. It’s the keenly observed story of the rise of society wannabe Evelyn Beegan --- and her inevitable fall. Clifford reported on the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, so it’s no surprise that the novel is set in the years leading up to it. In this interview with’s Jamie Layton, Clifford discusses what makes those years so fascinating and how the excesses of the mega-rich led to a country’s financial collapse. She also talks about having sympathy for flawed characters, why children work so hard for their parents’ approval, and how Evelyn’s ambition is a universal experience --- just kicked up a notch or 10.

EVERYBODY RISE by Stephanie Clifford (Fiction)
EVERYBODY RISE is a keenly observed novel in which a young woman plunges headlong into a glittering world of wealth and social prestige. Evelyn Beegan, an irresistibly flawed heroine, relentlessly elbows her way up the social ladder. In order to be accepted, she must pass as upper class and be seen as someone with an established old money background. Her lies start slowly but quickly grow until the ground underneath her begins to give way. Reviewed by Jamie Layton.

We have 50 copies of EVERYBODY RISE to give away to readers who would like to read the book and share their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Tuesday, September 8th at noon ET.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to see why we're betting you'll love this book.

-Click here to read Stephanie Clifford’s bio.
-Click here to visit Stephanie Clifford’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Stephanie Clifford on Twitter.
-Click here to read more in our One to Watch Author Spotlight and enter the contest.

Click here to read our interview.
New Release Spotlight: IF YOU ONLY KNEW by Kristan Higgins
IF YOU ONLY KNEW by Kristan Higgins (Fiction)
Letting go of her ex-husband is harder than wedding-dress designer Jenny Tate expected…especially since his new wife wants to be Jenny's new best friend. Sensing this isn't exactly helping her achieve closure, Jenny trades the Manhattan skyline for her hometown up the Hudson, where she'll start her own business and bask in her sister Rachel's picture-perfect family life…and maybe even find a little romance of her own with Leo, her downstairs neighbor, a guy who's utterly irresistible and annoyingly distant at the same time.

Rachel's idyllic marriage, however, is imploding after she discovers her husband sexting with a colleague. She always thought she'd walk away in this situation, but her triplet daughters have her reconsidering her stance on adultery, much to Jenny's surprise. Rachel points to their parents' perfect marriage as a shining example of patience and forgiveness. But to protect her sister, Jenny may have to tarnish that memory --- and their relationship --- and reveal a family secret she's been keeping since childhood.

Both Rachel and Jenny will have to come to terms with the past and the present and find a way to get what they want most of all.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Kristan Higgins’ bio.
-Click here to visit Kristan Higgins’ official website.
-Connect with Kristan Higgins on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our New Release Spotlight.
An Interview with Elisabeth Egan, Author of A WINDOW OPENS

Elisabeth Egan is the books editor at Glamour, and her essays and book reviews have appeared in an impressive array of publications. In her debut novel, A WINDOW OPENS, Egan tells the story of Alice Pearse, a mostly satisfied wife and mother of three, who decides to make a radical career change and learns that “happily ever after” is not as easy as it seems. In this interview, Egan talks about some of the traits she shares with her protagonist (book preferences, for one) and which books and authors have inspired her through the years. As an industry insider, she also weighs in on the merits of digital readers versus traditional books, as well as the important role women’s magazines play in contemporary book culture.

A WINDOW OPENS by Elisabeth Egan (Fiction)
Alice Pearse is a mostly happily married mother of three, an attentive daughter, an ambivalent dog-owner, a part-time editor, a loyal neighbor and a Zen commuter. When her husband makes a radical career change, Alice is ready to lean in --- and she knows exactly how lucky she is to land a job at Scroll, a hip young start-up that promises to be the future of reading. She is proud of her new “balancing act” until her dad gets sick, her marriage flounders, her babysitter gets fed up, her kids start to grow up, and her work takes an unexpected turn. Reviewed by Katherine B. Weissman.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to see why we're betting you'll love this book.

Click here to read the interview.
An Interview with Jesse Kornbluth, Author of MARRIED SEX
Not only is Jesse Kornbluth the founder of, a cultural concierge site, he also co-founded The Book Report Network. His debut novel, MARRIED SEX, is more interesting than its title would suggest: It’s the story of divorce lawyer David Greenfield, who --- when propositioned by a seductive photographer to be her lover for six weeks --- reasons that “it’s not cheating if your wife’s there,” and invites his wife to join. What harm could come of fulfilling his longtime sexual fantasy? In this frank interview, Jesse addresses speculation that MARRIED SEX is autobiographical, why writing (accurately) about sex is not as easy as it seems, and whether or not he’s ever actually been in a threesome.

MARRIED SEX: A Love Story by Jesse Kornbluth (Fiction)
As a divorce lawyer for Manhattan’s elite, David Greenfield is privy to the intimate, dirty details of failed marriages. He knows he’s lucky to be married to Blair, who he loves more today than he did when they tied the knot. Then seductive photographer Jean Coin asks David to be her lover for six weeks, until she leaves for Timbuktu. Tempted, David reasons that “it’s not cheating if your wife’s there.” A one-night threesome would relieve the pressure of monogamy without wrecking their marriage. What harm could come of fulfilling his longtime sexual fantasy? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-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 the interview.
Now in Stores: THE FALL OF PRINCES by Robert Goolrick
THE FALL OF PRINCES by Robert Goolrick (Fiction)
In THE FALL OF PRINCES, Robert Goolrick brings to vivid life a world of excess and self-indulgence, where limousines waited for hours outside Manhattan’s newest trendy club or the latest dining hot spot. Where drugs were bountiful and not refused. Where no price was too high and flesh was always on offer. Where a quick trip to Europe or a weekend on the coast or a fabulous Hamptons beach house were just part of what was expected. When the money just kept coming and coming and coming...until it didn’t. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Seven Noteworthy Books Releasing on September 1st
As we are not publishing an update on September 4th, here are seven books releasing next week that you’ll want to note. We plan on featuring reviews of many of these titles next month.

PURITY by Jonathan Franzen (Fiction)
A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads young Pip Tyler to an internship in South America with The Sunlight Project, an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world --- including, Pip hopes, the secret of her origins. TSP is the brainchild of Andreas Wolf, a charismatic provocateur who rose to fame in the chaos following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now on the lam in Bolivia, Andreas is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn't understand, and the intensity of her response to him upends her conventional ideas of right and wrong.

THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB: A Lisbeth Salander Novel by David Lagercrantz (Thriller)
Late one night, Mikael Blomkvist receives a phone call from a source claiming to have information vital to the United States. The source has been in contact with a young female superhacker --- a hacker resembling someone Blomkvist knows all too well. The implications are staggering. Blomkvist, in desperate need of a scoop for Millennium, turns to Lisbeth Salander for help. The secret they are both chasing is at the center of a tangled web of spies, cybercriminals and governments around the world, and someone is prepared to kill to protect it.

THE STORY OF THE LOST CHILD: The Fourth and Final Neapolitan Novel written by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Fiction)
Here is the dazzling saga of two women: the brilliant, bookish Elena and the fiery uncontainable Lila. In the fourth and final Neapolitan novel, both are adults; life’s great discoveries have been made, its vagaries and losses have been suffered. Through it all, the women’s friendship, examined in its every detail over the course of four books, remains the gravitational center of their lives.

UNDERCOVER by Danielle Steel (Romantic Suspense)
For DEA Special Agent Marshall Everett, life as he knows it is over once a gunshot wound renders his arm useless. He’s called to action in the most unlikely of places when he stumbles upon a beautiful girl burying an old steel box in a Parisian park. Drawn into the mystery, Marshall soon discovers that she is Ariana Gregory, daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Argentina, who is trying to find herself again after being kidnapped and brainwashed by radical revolutionaries. But there are powerful forces at large who will not rest until they secure revenge.

THE SOLOMON CURSE: A Sam and Remi Fargo Adventure by Clive Cussler and Russell Blake (Thriller/Adventure)
There are many rumors about the bay off Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Some say it was the site of the lost empire of the Solomon king and that great treasure lies beneath the waters. Others say terrible things happened here, atrocities and disappearances at the hands of cannibal giants, and those who venture there do not return. It is cursed. Which is exactly what attracts the attention of husband-and-wife treasure-hunting team Sam and Remi Fargo. What they find at the end of the trail is both wonderful and monstrous --- and like nothing they have ever seen before.

A CURIOUS BEGINNING: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery by Deanna Raybourn (Historical Mystery)
After her home is ransacked in 1887 England, Veronica Speedwell receives a visit from the mysterious Baron von Stauffenbach, warning her of additional danger. Instinctively trusting him, she accepts his offer of sanctuary in London. But when the Baron is found murdered, Veronica is left with her host’s associate, an ill-tempered naturalist named Stoker. Together, they must evade unknown assailants while unraveling the mystery of the threat against Veronica --- a threat tied to her true parentage.

THE GATES OF EVANGELINE by Hester Young (Gothic Mystery)
When New York journalist and recently bereaved mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children, she is sure that she has lost her mind. Yet these are not the nightmares of a grieving parent, she soon realizes. They are messages and warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees, if only she can make sense of them. After a little boy in a boat appears in Charlie’s dreams asking for her help, Charlie finds herself entangled in a 30-year-old missing-child case that has never ceased to haunt Louisiana’s prestigious Deveau family.
More Reviews This Week
SECONDHAND SOULS by Christopher Moore (Mystery/Humor)
Something really strange is happening in the City by the Bay. People are dying, but their souls are not being collected. Someone --- or something --- is stealing them, and no one knows where they are going, or why, but it has something to do with that big orange bridge. Death Merchant Charlie Asher is just as flummoxed as everyone else. He’s trapped in the body of a 14-inch-tall “meat puppet” waiting for his Buddhist nun girlfriend, Audrey, to find him a suitable new body to play host. To get to the bottom of this abomination, a motley crew of heroes will band together. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here for the reading group guide.

THE LAST LOVE SONG: A Biography of Joan Didion by Tracy Daugherty (Biography)
Joan Didion lived a life in the public and private eye with her late husband, writer John Gregory Dunne. They became wildly successful writing partners and co-wrote screenplays and adaptations together. Didion is well-known for her literary journalistic style in both fiction and nonfiction. Tracy Daugherty takes readers on a journey back through time, following a young Didion in Sacramento, through to her adult life as a writer interviewing those who know and knew her personally, while maintaining a respectful distance from the reclusive literary great. Reviewed by Megan Elliott.

BLACK CHALK by Christopher J. Yates (Psychological Thriller)
It was only ever meant to be a game played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University --- a game of consequences, silly forfeits and childish dares. But then the game changed: The stakes grew higher and the dares more personal and humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results. Now, 14 years later, the remaining players must meet again for the final round. Who knows better than your best friends what would break you? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE DROWNED BOY: An Inspector Sejer Mystery by Karin Fossum (Mystery)
Carmen and Nicolai failed to resuscitate their son, Tommy, after finding him floating in their backyard pond. When Inspector Skarre arrives on the scene, Carmen reports that Tommy, a healthy toddler with Down’s syndrome, wandered into the garden while Nicolai was working in the basement and she was cleaning the house. Skarre senses something is off with Carmen’s story and consults his trusted colleague, the famed Inspector Sejer. An autopsy reveals Tommy’s lungs to be full of soap. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

BEST BOY by Eli Gottlieb (Fiction)
Sent to a “therapeutic community” for autism at the age of 11, Todd Aaron, now in his 50s, is the “Old Fox” of Payton LivingCenter. A joyous man who rereads the encyclopedia compulsively, he is unnerved by the sudden arrivals of a menacing new staffer and a disruptive, brain-injured roommate. His equilibrium is further worsened by Martine, a one-eyed new resident who has romantic intentions and convinces him to go off his meds to feel “normal” again. Undone by these pressures, Todd attempts an escape to return “home” to his younger brother and to a childhood that now inhabits only his dreams. Reviewed by Rebecca Munro.

INFINITE HOME by Kathleen Alcott (Fiction)
Edith is a widowed landlady who rents apartments in her Brooklyn brownstone to an unlikely collection of humans, all deeply in need of shelter. Crippled in various ways --- in spirit, in mind, in body, in heart --- the renters struggle to navigate daily existence. They come to realize that Edith’s deteriorating mind, and the menacing presence of her estranged, unscrupulous son, Owen, is the greatest challenge they must confront together. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

BILLION-DOLLAR BALL: A Journey Through the Big-Money Culture of College Football by Gilbert M. Gaul (Sports)
College football has doubled in size in the last decade, thanks to generous tax breaks, lavish TV deals, and corporate sponsors eager to slap their logos on everything from scoreboards to footballs and uniforms. In BILLION-DOLLAR BALL, Gilbert M. Gaul offers a surprising, incendiary examination of how college football has come to dominate some of our best, most prestigious universities, reframing campus values, distorting academic missions, and transforming athletic departments into astonishingly rich entertainment factories. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

THE INCARNATIONS by Susan Barker (Fiction)
Who are you? you must be wondering. I am your soulmate, your old friend, and I have come back to this city of sixteen million in search of you. So begins the first letter that falls into Wang’s lap as he flips down the visor in his taxi. The letters that follow are filled with the stories of his previous lives. As the letters continue to appear seemingly out of thin air, Wang becomes convinced that someone is watching him --- someone who claims to have known him for over a thousand years. And with each letter, he feels the watcher growing closer and closer. Reviewed by Stephen Febick.

PEDIGREE: A Memoir by Patrick Modiano, translated by Mark Polizzotti (Memoir)
PEDIGREE is a memoir, written in 2005 and now translated from the French, by Patrick Modiano, winner of the 2014 Literature Nobel. The book focuses on Modiano’s first 21 years, from 1945 to 1966, and includes ruminations on events he has explored in his fiction, from his father’s shady business dealings during and after World War II to the years Modiano spent in boarding schools, and the books and films that shaped him as writer. Reviewed by Michael Magras.

ALL THAT FOLLOWED by Gabriel Urza (Psychological Mystery)
It's 2004 in Muriga, a quiet town in Spain's northern Basque Country, a place with more secrets than inhabitants. Five years have passed since the kidnapping and murder of a young local politician, and the town's rhythms have almost returned to normal. But in the aftermath of the Atocha train bombings in Madrid, an act of terrorism that rocked a nation and a world, the townspeople want a reckoning of Muriga's own troubled past. Everyone knows who pulled the trigger five years ago, but is the young man now behind bars the only one to blame? Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

ZERO WORLD by Jason M. Hough (Science Fiction/Adventure)
Technologically enhanced superspy Peter Caswell has been dispatched on a top-secret assignment unlike any he’s ever faced. A spaceship that vanished years ago has been found, along with the bodies of its murdered crew --- save one. Peter’s mission is to find the missing crew member, who fled through what appears to be a tear in the fabric of space. Beyond this mysterious doorway lies an even more confounding reality: a world that seems to be Earth’s twin. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

CHASING JUSTICE: A Matt Royal Mystery by H. Terrell Griffin (Mystery)
Matt Royal has agreed to defend his good friend and wife of Longboat Key’s police chief, Abby Lester, who has been charged with the murder of the unlikable and shady Nate Bannister. Matt cannot refuse Abby’s pleas for help, despite having retired from the practice of law several years earlier. Police, politicians, academics, real estate moguls and other powerful forces are tied together in a cauldron of issues that Matt must untangle to get at the truth. Can he rekindle his legal skills and outwit the prosecution pitted against him? Matt knows he must, as the life of his friend hangs in the balance. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.
Young Adult Books You Want to Read
Here are this month's books we reviewed on that we think will appeal to an adult audience:

BECOMING MARIA: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx by Sonia Manzano (Memoir)
Emmy Award-winning actress and writer Sonia Manzano, who played Maria on "Sesame Street" for an astounding 44 years, plunges us into the daily lives of a Latino family that is loving --- and troubled. This is Sonia's own story rendered with an unforgettable narrative power. Spiced with culture, heartache and humor, BECOMING MARIA paints a lasting portrait of Sonia's resilience as she grows up to become an inspiration to millions.

DROWNED CITY: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown (Biography)
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina's monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans, Louisiana. Eighty percent of the city flooded, in some places under 20 feet of water; property damages across the Gulf Coast topped $100 billion; and 1,833 people lost their lives. The riveting tale of this historic storm and the drowning of an American city is one of selflessness, heroism and courage --- and also of incompetence, racism and criminality. Don Brown’s kinetic art and as-it-happens narrative capture both the tragedy and triumph of one of the worst natural disasters in American history.

THE NEXT BIG THING: A History of the Boom-or-Bust Moments That Shaped the Modern World by Richard Faulk (History/Reference)
We are always hearing about the Next Big Thing. Whether it is a new iPhone or the New World, the freshest and newest inventions, discoveries and fads loom large in the public mind. The impact that everyone thinks these "next big things" will have is often more important than the actual impact it generates. After all, if it fails, it will be almost immediately forgotten. THE NEXT BIG THING searches through 3,000 years of Western culture to find the colorful and key steps (and missteps) that led us to where we are today.

Click here for more young adult books we recommend you read.
Our Latest Poll: The Condition of Your Books
How would you describe the typical condition of your books after you've read them?

  • My books are in pristine condition.
  • Some pages are marked up (dog-ears, post-it notes, handwritten notes in the margins, etc.)
  • My books look beat up and are falling apart.
  • I only read eBooks.
  • I only borrow books from the library.
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 21st to September 11th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of DID YOU EVER HAVE A FAMILY by Bill Clegg, THE NATURE OF THE BEAST: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny, and PURITY by Jonathan Franzen.

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 August 21st to September 18th, THREE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win the audio versions of both MAKE ME: A Jack Reacher Novel written by Lee Child and read by Dick Hill, and THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN written by Philippa Gregory and read by Bianca Amato.

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.

As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page. If you would like to reach me, please write Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Happy reading! Don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend or to visit our other websites from,,,,, and

The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107
connect with us twitterfacebook