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September 25, 2015 Newsletter September 25, 2015
Fall --- It Has Arrived!
On Wednesday, I wrapped my head around the fact that it’s fall by wearing orange, which felt very pumpkin-like. That moment passed, and I was back in turquoise on Thursday channeling pool water.

Last weekend, we pulled an old favorite cookbook, Bobby Flay’s BOY MEETS GRILL, off the shelf and made the flatbreads you can see above. Tom made pizza dough instead of flatbread dough (they are very similar, and we did not have enough time for all the steps in Flay’s recipe), and it still was terrific. Want to try it? I found this video online where Flay demonstrates how to make it, and here is the recipe for one of the flatbreads that we made. This cookbook came out in 1999, but I still love it! I made roasted tomato catsup from it a few weeks ago, and it was fabulous! And I made a regular burger into a delight on an onion roll.

There's been lots of excitement with the Pope in town yesterday and today. Greg figured that today when the Pope traveled from Central Park to Madison Square Garden, the route would be past our offices and he raced down to see that! I caught some of the coverage last night, and it was lovely to see people moved by someone who was walking the walk and talking the talk by spending time with his people --- the ordinary folks, the poor and the ill --- instead of the political drama and celebrity-driven drivel that dominates most of our culture. Truly inspiring.

On Tuesday evening, very spur of the moment, Greg, Nicole and I decided to go see Everest in IMAX 3D. The previews had us looking forward to this, especially that treacherous walk across the Khumbu Icefall that is at 17,999 feet, not far from Base Camp on Everest. This is the walk where you traverse the icefall, which is typically moving as it melts and freezes, via ladders with crampons on. There is no one part of this that I would like to experience! But watching from my movie seat, count me in. The film is very well done, and kudos to the crew for the shots done on location, though I thought the IMAX was good, not great. Also, the film took poetic license on some of the events to keep the story moving --- as in Beck was the second person choppered out, not the first. As I had read three books about this particular adventure, I was filling in Greg and Nicole on details as we walked back to the office.

On the drive home, Greg was reading me pieces off the Internet as he was looking for more of the story. The next day, Nicole added that she, too, had spent time online reading background material. I had done my pre-movie homework and read three books. While he has the smallest part in the film (on screen, just there for a few seconds), I think that Lou Kasischke’s book, AFTER THE WIND, is the one I would suggest as I like both his perspective and the beautiful illustrations (there are 52 of them) done by Jane Cardinal. You can see some here. He was one of the consultants on the film. The book is out in hardcover now and is coming in paperback on October 8th. You can read more about it later in the newsletter; I am selecting it as a Bets On title and will have my commentary in early October. Many of you read Jon Krakauer’s INTO THIN AIR when it published in 1997, but I think that Lou has a longer lens perspective.

We were saddened to learn of the passing of Jackie Collins following a secret six-and-a-half-year battle with Stage IV breast cancer. World famous for her glamorous and raunchy tales of Hollywood life, Collins was the author of nearly 30 New York Times bestselling novels, sold in more than 40 countries. She leaves behind a devoted readership of millions, three grown daughters, and sister Joan. I offered my thoughts to USA Today on the keys to her success and her overall legacy. Click here to read the article.

Early staffers at The Book Report Network have our own memories of Jackie Collins. She would call the office and chat at length with whoever answered the phone as she waited to talk to Jesse, our Editorial Director. Whoever she spoke with would be smiling later as she had an ability to make everyone feel on top of the world! She also was inquisitive and asked many questions, which we loved. She will be missed...and how perfect it is that she did it “her way,” keeping her story quiet until the end. However, I was saddened to read last night that she felt a lump for two years before she had it checked out; she truly thought it was benign. She does not want anyone else to do this. So, in tribute to her, may our female readers note to make appointments to get mammograms, do self-checks and ask tons of questions of their doctors, and may our male readers remind them to make these appointments. Celebrate when this is done! Jackie would have suggested champagne!

On to this week’s lineup….

EAT, PRAY, LOVE author Elizabeth Gilbert has long inspired her readers to live their lives to the fullest. In her new book, BIG MAGIC: Creative Living Beyond Fear, she deconstructs her own creative process to share her unique wisdoms about life, fear and inspiration. Drawing upon her profound empathy and cheerful disposition, Gilbert shows readers how to identify what they most love and face what they most fear. She then discusses the attitudes and habits we must adopt in order to live our most creative, enriched lives.

Stephen Febick has our review and says, “This is a book of invaluable advice and the ultimate literary pep talk. I imagine Gilbert as someone who, despite her success, has never strayed too far from that young writer who wrote ferociously to get to where she is and literally made vows to the universe that she would write forever, regardless of the result.”

Jan Karon invites readers to return to scenic Mitford for a beautiful wedding in COME RAIN OR COME SHINE. First introduced in AT HOME IN MITFORD, Father Tim Kavanagh’s adopted son, Dooley, has long captured the hearts of readers. Now Dooley has graduated from veterinary school and opened his own animal clinic. Although money is tight, he and Lace Harper decide to continue with plans for their wedding, eliminating the cost of catering by hosting a potluck. With the barn cleaned out and a friend bringing his popular country band, it seems like nothing could go wrong --- but it’s the surprises that will make the day memorable.

Reviewer Melanie Reynolds has the following suggestion: “Choose a cup of your favorite tea and your most comfortable chair, and settle in with the Mitford characters, new and old, whom we’ve all come to love as you open COME RAIN OR COME SHINE. Jan Karon has done it again.”

Legendary author Lawrence Block returns with a new stand-alone mystery, THE GIRL WITH THE DEEP BLUE EYES. After spending 24 years with the NYPD, Doak Miller needed a change of pace. Now he works as a private investigator in small-town Florida, doing jobs for the local police. His latest case requires him to pose as a hitman and approach a local wife looking to get rid of her husband. The job seems easy enough until he looks into her beautiful blue eyes. Before Doak knows it, he’s working with her, plotting to free her from her husband and put millions in her bank account --- all at the risk of landing in jail himself.

Tom Callahan raves in his review, “In case you needed more proof, THE GIRL WITH THE DEEP BLUE EYES establishes once and for all that Lawrence Block is among the greatest mystery writers America has ever produced. His work ranks up there in noir with names like Hammett, Chandler, James M. Cain and Jim Thompson.” Tom was lucky enough to ask Lawrence some questions about the book, his prolific career and his future plans. Click here to read the interview.

Swedish police detective Patrik Hedström and his writer wife, Erica, return in Camilla Läckberg’s THE DROWNING. Here, readers are introduced to Christian Thydell, a young man who has just published his debut novel, The Mermaid, to rave reviews. Despite this grand accomplishment, Christian is as unhappy as ever --- and receiving anonymous threats. When Erica learns of these threats, she sets out to investigate the source, as well as Christian’s mysterious past. When one of Christian’s closest friends goes missing, Patrik gets involved. As he and Erica investigate Christian’s tangled web of friends, it becomes clear that a dark secret is hidden beneath the complicated love triangles and family secrets.

According to reviewer Ray Palen, “THE DROWNING may be [Läckberg's] finest work to date; it’s a cold-as-steel chiller that will get deep under your skin and threaten to stay there…. Her plotting is first-rate, and I defy any of you not to push yourself past the point of breathlessness as you turn the pages of this top-notch thriller that will stay with you for a long time to come.” I am reading it --- and loving it. If you have not explored Läckberg yet, try this or my Bets On selection from last year, THE HIDDEN CHILD. I never declare a Bets On until I finish a book, but THE DROWNING is heading that way. Also, for those of you who liked "Broadchurch," THE DROWNING has a feel like that.

I have two Bets On picks to share with you this week, both of which we reviewed in last week’s newsletter. First up is Charles Belfoure’s riveting Gilded Age drama, HOUSE OF THIEVES. Rich with history, architectural imagery and crime, it’s not only a terrific story but also a fascinating snapshot of 19th-century New York City. Click here for my thoughts on the book.

My second Bets On selection is THE LAST SEPTEMBER by Nina de Gramont. Here, readers meet Brett and Charlie, a married couple living in Cape Cod with their young child. When Charlie’s troubled brother moves in with them, old and new tensions alike are brought to the surface, leading to an unpredictable tragedy. As Charlie navigates her changed life, she must grapple with her love, loyalty and grief. Click here to see why I’m betting you’ll love this book.

In this week’s Fall Preview contests, we gave away KILLERS by Howie Carr, along with the aforementioned HOUSE OF THIEVES, THE DROWNING, THE HIDDEN CHILD and AFTER THE WIND (Everest opens wide today). Next week’s prize books will be THE LAST MIDWIFE by Sandra Dallas (I read this one, and once again Dallas has nailed her storytelling) and PRETTY GIRLS by Karin Slaughter. The first contest of the week will go up on Tuesday, September 29th at noon ET.

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 we have new titles from Brian Selznick (THE MARVELS; I love the beautiful art in this book and the gilded edges, both of which make it a rich-looking holiday gift), Neil Gaiman (THE SLEEPER AND THE SPINDLE) and M. T. Anderson (SYMPHONY FOR THE CITY OF THE DEAD), along with CHILD SOLDIER: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War by Michel Chikwanine and Jessica Dee Humphreys and OUT OF DARKNESS by Ashley Hope Pérez.

How long does it typically take for you to read a book that’s between 350 and 400 pages? Vote in our latest poll and let us know! This question is coming out of my research into reader habits and behavior, so please take a moment to weigh in!

In our previous poll, we wanted to know if you listen to podcasts or digital narrative radio, and, if so, what topics are covered in the shows that you listen to. Click here for all the results.

We have a new Word of Mouth contest to tell you about this week. Let us know by Friday, October 9th at noon ET what books you’ve finished reading, and you’ll be in the running to win the aforementioned THE LAST MIDWIFE, along with THE HEART GOES LAST by Margaret Atwood and THE SECRET CHORD by Geraldine Brooks.

There are just a few days left in our current Sounding Off on Audio contest. Let us know by Thursday, October 1st at noon ET what audiobooks you’ve finished listening to, and you’ll have the chance to win the audio versions of both Lee Child’s MAKE ME: A Jack Reacher Novel, read by Dick Hill, and Philippa Gregory’s THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN, read by Bianca Amato. Please note that going forward these contests will be monthly and kick off on the first day of each month, which will be next Thursday!

News and Pop Culture:

Reader Mail: Nice note from a reader named Cam, who said, “This has been my ‘go to’ site for a long time, and while I subscribe to others, this is my favorite.” Shared it with the staff and it made our day. Then Gretchen weighed in with word about a waterproof fitness device that she uses for water aerobics called Misfit Shine, which I am going to look into. Let no step go uncounted!

Banned Books Week: Since 1982, the American Library Association (ALA) has designated a seven-day period to raise awareness for book censorship and the freedom to read. It kicks off on Saturday, and the theme this year is Young Adult books. In 2014, 311 challenges were reported to the ALA, meaning that people raised complaints about the content of books. However, as Kristin Pekoll, the Assistant Director of the Office of Intellectual Freedom, reminded people who attended the recent Young to Publishing Group panel on Children’s Censorship, 85% of challenged books aren’t reported to the ALA. That means there were probably more than 2,000 challenges in 2014 --- whoa!

Shara Zaval, our Editorial Manager, has put together two terrific features to spotlight this. First, she has a feature with 17 of the most frequently banned YA books, ranging from THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN by Sherman Alexie to TTYL by Lauren Myracle. She asked one YA author and one or two Teen Board members to answer questions about the books that spoke most to them. We’ve been featuring one book every weekday since September 17th and will continue until Friday, October 9th.

Also, every year on Teenreads, we update our Ultimate Reading List --- a list of more than 400 titles that we think make perfect pleasure reading for teens. Books that are compelling, beautifully written, pure fun, thought-provoking or edge-of-your-seat gripping. Books that we would hand to someone and say, “Read this!” This year, to celebrate Banned Books Week, we made a special version of the Ultimate Reading List that only features books that have been banned in at least one school or library in the United States. On this list are 85 books --- that's more than a fifth of the whole list! Please go to the Ultimate Reading list page here to download the banned books version.

Damon Tweedy, author of BLACK MAN IN A WHITE COAT: Found this terrific interview with Dr. Tweedy. This is an excellent book, worth both reading and discussing.

Room: So looking forward to this film, based on the bestselling book by Emma Donoghue. Early buzz on it has been great as it won the Grolsch People’s Choice Award at the 40th Annual Toronto International Film Festival; it already got accolades at the Telluride Film Festival. Read more here. I would love to attend a film festival at some point!

"Serial" Season Two: We learned this week that season two of "Serial" will focus on Bowe Bergdahl, “the American army sergeant accused of desertion in Afghanistan. Bergdahl was subsequently captured and imprisoned by the Taliban, and finally released in a prisoner exchange.” I sure hope this is better than the second season of "True Detective."

Season Finales: "Ray Donovan" and "Masters of Sex." Both air this week. To me, "Ray Donovan" is one of the fastest-paced shows; I always feel like there is so much jammed into each hour. If you watch, see how quickly each scene moves. They literally jump in and out of each scene, but it still has enough detail.

J.K. Rowling: Her detective books, the Cormoran Strike mysteries --- the ones she writes under the pen name "Robert Galbraith" --- are to become a BBC series.

"Scandal": Season five kicked off last night. Much better opener than last year, though I needed more of a refresher on where we left off last season, even with the flashbacks at the beginning.

"The Affair": Season two kicks off on October 4th, and I have been lucky enough to preview the first two episodes. Last year, it was told from the perspectives of Noah and Alison. This year, the story will be told from four perspectives: Noah and Alison, and Helen and Cole. Looking at the action from every perspective is so interesting. It makes me think how we each see the world through our own lens.

Music Video: Talking about this, I am remembering the early days of MTV! Katia Lief, a mystery/thriller author, shared a link with me to a video that Lady Gaga has released that speaks to sexual abuse of women on college campuses today. It’s graphic, but very, very thought-provoking.

Tom and I are headed to the beach this weekend to stay with our friends Beverley and Don. Tom has been at the BMW Club’s Annual Oktoberfest event since Thursday morning as he is instructing race car instructors and drivers as part of their club driving school. Greg is going to be curling in Bucks County again on Sunday; he told me this week that his club’s ending event will have a Harry Potter theme. I am sure we have a costume for that!

The pool is still open…and I am determined to get a few more swims in in the next few weeks! And it’s time to get some mums!

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: BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert
BIG MAGIC: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (Self-Help/Motivational)
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Reviewed by Stephen Febick.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: COME RAIN OR COME SHINE by Jan Karon
COME RAIN OR COME SHINE: A Mitford Novel by Jan Karon (Fiction)
Over the course of 10 Mitford novels, readers have kept a special place in their hearts for Dooley Kavanagh, first seen in AT HOME IN MITFORD as a barefoot, freckle-faced boy in filthy overalls. Now, Father Tim Kavanagh’s adopted son has graduated from vet school and opened his own animal clinic. Since money will be tight for a while, maybe he and Lace Harper, his once and future soul mate, should keep their wedding simple. In COME RAIN OR COME SHINE, Jan Karon delivers the wedding that millions of Mitford fans have waited for. Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review. Talks to Lawrence Block, Author of THE GIRL WITH THE DEEP BLUE EYES

Lawrence Block has won more awards than almost any other living mystery writer and has been named Grandmaster by the Mystery Writers of America. His latest book, THE GIRL WITH THE DEEP BLUE EYES, follows private investigator Doak Miller, a retired NYPD officer now residing in small-town Florida. Miller does small jobs for the local police force, until an encounter with a femme fatale leads to his fall from grace. In this interview conducted by's Tom Callahan, Block discusses the philosophy behind the creation of his characters; his writing process, which is very organic and largely inspiration-based; and his upcoming projects and plans --- or lack thereof.

THE GIRL WITH THE DEEP BLUE EYES by Lawrence Block (Hard-boiled Mystery)
Cashed out from the NYPD after 24 years, Doak Miller operates as a private eye in steamy small-town Florida, doing jobs for the local police. Like posing as a hit man and wearing a wire to incriminate a local wife who’s looking to get rid of her husband. But when he sees the wife, when he looks into her deep blue eyes, he falls --- and falls hard. Soon he’s working with her, against his employer, plotting a devious plan that could get her free from her husband and put millions in her bank account. But can they do it without landing in jail? Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

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

Click here to read our interview.
Now in Stores: GIRL WAITS WITH GUN by Amy Stewart
GIRL WAITS WITH GUN by Amy Stewart (Historical Mystery)
Constance Kopp towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters into hiding 15 years ago. One day, a belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down their buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets and threats as he unleashes his gang on their family farm. When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family --- and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE DROWNING by Camilla Läckberg
THE DROWNING by Camilla Läckberg (Mystery/Thriller)
Christian Thydell’s dream has come true. His debut novel, The Mermaid, has been published to rave reviews. So why is he as distant and unhappy as ever? When crime writer Erica Falk, who helped Christian discover and develop his talents, learns he has been receiving anonymous threats, she investigates not just the messages but also the young author’s mysterious past. Then, one of Christian’s closet friends, Magnus, goes missing. Erica’s husband, Detective Patrik Hedström, has his worst suspicions confirmed as the mind games aimed at Christian become a disturbing reality. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
AFTER THE WIND by Lou Kasischke is Coming in Paperback on October 8th --- Pre-Order Now!
AFTER THE WIND: Tragedy on Everest --- One Survivor's Story by Lou Kasischke (Memoir)

From a consultant on the movie Everest
Near the top of Mount Everest, on May 10, 1996, eight climbers died. Lou Kasischke was there. He wrote his account of the events 16 years ago in the aftermath of the tragedy telling two stories: one about the historic events and the other about what inspired him to survive. His perspective and analysis about what happened and what went wrong have never been told, and his account differs markedly from what others have written.

"An unforgettable survival story."
-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"An eye-opening look at the perils and extreme conditions on Everest.”
-- Publishers Weekly

"A deeply personal story of the enduring power of love.”
-- New Orleans Review

-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to visit the book’s official website.
Click here to read more about the book. Bets On: HOUSE OF THIEVES by Charles Belfoure and THE LAST SEPTEMBER by Nina de Gramont
HOUSE OF THIEVES by Charles Belfoure (Historical Fiction)
Last year, I read THE PARIS ARCHITECT by Charles Belfoure and selected it as a Bets On selection. I could not wait to see what he wrote next, thus I was eager to read HOUSE OF THIEVES. Set in New York in 1886, it features John Cross, an architect who must work with a prominent underworld gang member to cover the debts of his gambling son, George. He’s charged with using his insider knowledge of high society homes and places of business to plot the perfect heists.

This book had nary a dull moment, and it made me want to watch the Ken Burns documentary series on New York to see photos of this time period in the city as the descriptions are so wonderfully rich.

-Click here for 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 advance readers’ comments.

THE LAST SEPTEMBER by Nina de Gramont (Psychological Thriller)
THE LAST SEPTEMBER by Nina de Gramont is one of those books I both sped through and savored.

Central to the story are two brothers, Charlie and Eli --- and Brett, the wife of Charlie --- whose lives have been intertwined for years. Brett and Eli met in college and were close friends. One night at a party, Brett met Charlie, who was charismatic and immediately won Brett’s heart, though Eli cautions her about him. He feels Charlie is a philanderer and is destined to break Brett’s heart. Eli is right, but Brett finds herself caught up in Charlie’s spell. Together they forge a rocky marriage and have a daughter. They are tested by the stresses of young marriage, a young child, tight finances, and the pressure that Brett is feeling to complete her dissertation on Emily Dickinson.

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

Click here for more books we're betting you'll love.'s Fall Preview Contests and Feature
Fall is known as the biggest season of the year for books. The titles that release during this latter part of the year often become holiday gifts, and many are blockbusters. To celebrate the arrival of fall, we are spotlighting a number of outstanding books that we know people will be talking about in the days and months to come.

We are hosting a series of 24-hour contests for these titles on select days in September and October, so you 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 Tuesday, September 29th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include:

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
What's New This Month on
We currently are giving away the following books on

The following guides are now available:

Please note that these titles, for which we already had the guides when they appeared in hardcover, are now available in paperback:

Click here to visit
More Reviews This Week
1944: FDR and the Year That Changed History by Jay Winik (History)
1944 witnessed a series of titanic events: FDR at the pinnacle of his wartime leadership as well as his reelection, the planning of Operation Overlord with Churchill and Stalin, the unprecedented D-Day invasion, the liberation of Paris and the horrific Battle of the Bulge, and the tumultuous conferences that finally shaped the coming peace. But on the way, millions of more lives were still at stake as President Roosevelt was exposed to mounting evidence of the most grotesque crime in history: the Final Solution. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

THE SHIFT: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients' Lives by Theresa Brown (Memoir)
A moving story unfolds in real time as practicing nurse and New York Times columnist Theresa Brown reveals the individual struggles as well as the larger truths about medicine in this country. She lets us experience all the life that happens in just one day in a busy teaching hospital’s oncology ward. In the span of 12 hours, lives can be lost, life-altering treatment decisions made, and dreams fulfilled or irrevocably stolen. Every day, Theresa Brown holds these lives in her hands. On this day there are four. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

SO YOU DON'T GET LOST IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD written by Patrick Modiano, translated by Euan Cameron (Mystery/Psychological Suspense)
In the stillness of his Paris apartment, Jean Daragane has built a life of total solitude. Then a surprising phone call shatters the silence of an unusually hot September, and the threatening voice on the other end of the line leaves Daragane wary but irresistibly curious. Almost at once, he finds himself entangled with a shady gambler and a beautiful, fragile young woman, who draw him into the mystery of a decades-old murder. The investigation will force Daragane to confront the memory of a trauma he had all but buried. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THIS IS YOUR LIFE, HARRIET CHANCE! by Jonathan Evison (Fiction)
Seventy-eight-year-old Harriet Chance impulsively sets sail on an ill-conceived Alaskan cruise that her late husband, Bernard, had planned. There, between the imagined appearances of Bernard and the very real arrival of her estranged daughter midway through the cruise, Harriet is forced to take a long look back, confronting the truth about pivotal events that changed the course of her life. In the process, she discovers that she’s been living the better part of that life under entirely false assumptions. Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol.

EILEEN by Ottessa Moshfegh (Psychological Suspense)
The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop, an unassuming yet disturbed young woman trapped between her role as her alcoholic father’s caretaker and a day job as a secretary at a prison for boys. When the bright, beautiful and cheery Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the prison’s new counselor, Eileen is enchanted and proves unable to resist what appears at first to be a miraculously budding friendship. In a Hitchcockian twist, her affection for Rebecca ultimately pulls her into complicity in a crime that surpasses her wildest imaginings. Reviewed by Matthew Mastricova.

FLOOD OF FIRE by Amitav Ghosh (Historical Fiction)
It is 1839, and China has embargoed the trade of opium, yet too much is at stake in the lucrative business and the British Foreign Secretary has ordered the colonial government in India to assemble an expeditionary force for an attack to reinstate the trade. Among those consigned is Kesri Singh, a soldier in the army of the East India Company. He makes his way eastward on the Hind, a transport ship that will carry him from Bengal to Hong Kong. FLOOD OF FIRE is the final novel in Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis Trilogy. Reviewed by Miriam Tuliao.

UNDER THE UDALA TREES by Chinelo Okparanta (Fiction)
Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is 11 when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child, and they fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls. When their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself. But there is a cost to living inside a lie. Reviewed by Maya Gittelman.

THE SPARROW SISTERS by Ellen Herrick (Magical Realism/Fantasy)
When a new doctor settles into Granite Point, he brings with him a mystery so compelling that town healer Patience Sparrow is drawn to love him. But when her herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear --- and its 300-year-old history resurfaces as a modern-day witch hunt threatens. It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow Sisters. Will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point? Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

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

CLOCKWORK LIVES by Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart (Science Fiction/Adventure)
Marinda Peake is a woman with a quiet, perfect life in a small village; she long ago gave up on her dreams and ambitions to take care of her ailing father, an alchemist and an inventor. When he dies, he gives Marinda a mysterious inheritance: a blank book that she must fill with other people’s stories --- and ultimately her own. CLOCKWORK LIVES is a steampunk CANTERBURY TALES, and much more, as Marinda strives to change her life from a mere “sentence or two” to a true epic. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

THE KILLING KIND by Chris Holm (Thriller)
Once a covert operative for a false-flag unit of the US military, Michael Hendricks was presumed dead after a mission in Afghanistan went sideways. He left behind his old life --- and beloved fiancée --- and set out on a path of redemption...or perhaps one of willful self-destruction. Now Hendricks makes his living as a hitman entrepreneur of sorts --- he only hits other hitmen. Not a bad way for a guy with his skill-set to make a living, but a great way to make himself a target. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SHE’S NOT THERE by P.J. Parrish (Psychological Thriller)
She knows her name is Amelia, but after waking up in a hospital battered and bruised with just the clothes on her back, it’s all she knows. Unable to piece together her shattered memory, she’s haunted by a vision: menacing faces and voices implying her nightmare is far from over. Relying only on her wits and her will to live, Amelia becomes a fugitive from a mysterious man, and a life she can’t even remember. But the past she’s fleeing has no intention of letting her go. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND by Stuart Neville (Mystery)
Ciaran Devine, who made Belfast headlines seven years ago as the “schoolboy killer,” is about to walk free. At the age of 12, he confessed to the brutal murder of his foster father; his testimony mitigated the sentence of his older brother, Thomas, who was also found at the crime scene, covered in blood. But DCI Serena Flanagan, the only officer who could convince a frightened Ciaran to speak, has silently harbored doubts about his confession all this time. She will soon discover that even closed cases can unleash terror on the streets of Belfast. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE SCRIBE by Matthew Guinn (Historical Mystery)
After leaving Atlanta in disgrace three years before, detective Thomas Canby is called back to the city on the eve of Atlanta's 1881 International Cotton Exposition to partner with Atlanta's first African American police officer, Cyrus Underwood. The case they're assigned is chilling: a serial murderer who seems to be violently targeting Atlanta's wealthiest black entrepreneurs. The killer's method is both strange and unusually gruesome. On each victim's mutilated body is inscribed a letter of the alphabet, beginning with "M." Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

INJUSTICE by Lee Goodman (Legal Thriller)
Someone close to Nick Davis is murdered. Investigators see it as either a case of mistaken identity or the work of a jealous fiancé. As a federal prosecutor, Nick tries shepherding the case to a swift conclusion, but it keeps slipping away. Meanwhile, Nick’s relationship with his wife, Tina, hangs by the thinnest of threads. She is also a lawyer, working to vindicate a young man convicted of killing a child eight years previously. When old DNA evidence is uncovered in the murder case, its analysis hurls Nick’s universe into upheaval. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

GUTSHOT: Stories by Amelia Gray (Fiction/Short Stories)
A woman creeps through the ductwork of a quiet home. A medical procedure reveals an object of worship. A carnivorous reptile divides and cauterizes a town. Amelia Gray's curio cabinet expands in GUTSHOT, where isolation and coupling are pushed to their dark and outrageous edges. A master of the macabre, Gray's work is not for the faint of heart or gut. Reviewed by Matthew Mastricova.
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:

THE MARVELS by Brian Selznick (Mystery/Adventure)
Two seemingly unrelated stories --- one in words, the other in pictures --- come together with spellbinding synergy. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle's puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries.

THE SLEEPER AND THE SPINDLE written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell (Fairy Tale)
In this captivating and darkly funny tale, Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell have twisted together the familiar and the new, as well as the beautiful and the wicked, to tell a brilliant version of Snow White's (sort of) and Sleeping Beauty's (almost) stories. This story was originally published (without illustrations) in RAGS & BONES. This is the first time it is being published as an illustrated, stand-alone edition, and the book is a beautiful work of art.

SYMPHONY FOR THE CITY OF THE DEAD: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M. T. Anderson (History)
In September 1941, Adolf Hitler’s Wehrmacht surrounded Leningrad in what was to become one of the longest and most destructive sieges in Western history --- almost three years of bombardment and starvation that culminated in the harsh winter of 1943–1944. Trapped between the Nazi invading force and the Soviet government itself was composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who would write a symphony that roused, rallied, eulogized and commemorated his fellow citizens --- the Leningrad Symphony, which came to occupy a surprising place of prominence in the eventual Allied victory.

CHILD SOLDIER: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War written by Michel Chikwanine and Jessica Dee Humphreys, illustrated by Claudia Davila (Memoir)
Michel Chikwanine was five years old when he was abducted from his schoolyard soccer game in the Democratic Republic of Congo and forced to become a soldier for a brutal rebel militia. Against the odds, Michel managed to escape and find his way back to his family, but he was never the same again. After immigrating to Canada, Michel was encouraged by a teacher to share what happened to him in order to raise awareness about child soldiers around the world. This book, presented in a graphic novel format, is part of that effort.

OUT OF DARKNESS by Ashley Hope Pérez (Historical Fiction)
New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive. Ashley Hope Pérez takes the facts of the 1937 New London school explosion, the worst school disaster in American history, as a backdrop for a riveting novel about segregation, love, family and the forces that destroy people.

Click here for more young adult books we recommend you read.
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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 September 25th to October 9th, five lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of THE HEART GOES LAST by Margaret Atwood, THE LAST MIDWIFE by Sandra Dallas, and THE SECRET CHORD by Geraldine Brooks.

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.

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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 October 1st, 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.

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