Skip to main content

December 11, 2015 Newsletter December 11, 2015
Making Lists, Checking Them Twice, and Counting Down to the Holidays!

December is the month where 4.5 weeks of work get crammed into 3 or 3.5 weeks! Everyone is scurrying around managing work life with moments of holiday cheer packed in between. It’s rather hectic as we all are juggling intense deadlines with random moments of planned and often frenetic fun.

Layer in a December birthday like mine, and you find yourself smushing events together. On Monday, as I celebrated the annual anniversary of my 27th birthday, Cory came home from college and baked me a three-layer chocolate cake. He used the upper oven, which has just one shelf where three layers typically do not fit. That is, unless you are an engineer. He made a pyramid in the oven in lieu of heating up the lower oven! Give him an A in Strategic Baking. He also helped me decorate the Christmas tree that night, where holiday smushing came in with my birthday colliding with Christmas.

In between all else, I have been reading. Kudos to Eric Weiner for THE GEOGRAPHY OF GENIUS, which will be in stores on January 5th. You may remember Eric’s previous books, MAN SEEKS GOD and THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS. Here he takes on the subject of genius. Today we think of Silicon Valley as the home of genius, but is it? Was Steve Jobs really a genius? Is Eric a genius? He looks back through history at geniuses and walks through places where they lived to see if their locations inspired them. What evolves is a book that makes you think. A lot. What I love most about Eric's writing is his voice, which has subtle humor that ensures his subject is not just readable, but utterly engaging! He also is wickedly self-deprecating as well as informed, but is not smug about it. All contribute to making this an eminently readable, brilliant read. (I love the bright cover!)

I've been giving a lot of thought to the timing of news about books. I read far, far in advance (I am now reading some books that are not being published until next summer!), and thus I make endless notes to ensure that I can bring them to you with the same level of enthusiasm that I had when I first read them. Right now, I find that often the focus is on books publishing months from now instead of what is just coming out, or is coming in the next 2-3 months. At Bookreporter, we try to keep our heads “in the moment” of when you are finding books with our reviews; they typically run no earlier than the Friday of the week a book publishes. And we try to keep the excitement building as readers, who are not pre-publication readers, find the books. It’s a very delicate balance, and one goal for 2016 is to perfect how we handle it even more.

This was on my mind more than usual last week for two reasons. First, we have a town Facebook page where people talk about what they are reading. Last weekend, someone noted he had just started reading THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN and was talking about how he was enjoying it and likening it to GONE GIRL. Now many of you read that in January, and here we are 11 months later, and to this reader it is a new book he was discovering and talking about on a page with other people who have identified themselves as readers. At the same time, I heard from Kristin Hannah on Wednesday night with news that her book, THE NIGHTINGALE, finally will hit #1 on the New York Times Print and eBook Bestseller list for the week dated December 20th, 43 weeks after it came out and after 40 weeks on the print Times list. Clearly many new readers discovered that this week.

Also, last week I got this note from Jill, who is one of our readers: “I love your newsletter. I just found it a couple of months ago, and I always look forward to reading it. I have taken many of your recommendations and have enjoyed almost all of them. We have similar tastes. One question or piece of advice I am looking for is how do I remember the books you mention? You often write about pre-releases that I think would be a great read, but they are out in a few months. I lose track and don’t remember by the time they actually come out. Any ideas (other than writing them down and creating yet another list of things I will forget about) to get them when they come out?” Note that we are working on a way to archive these forthcoming mentions of mine so you have them in one place.

One last thing on this subject. When I presented at the Garden City Library last week, I only had six upcoming books in my presentation. All others had been published in the last 12-18 months. I wanted to be sure that they had their moment before we flashed ahead to what is NEW.

It is a very delicate balance. Know that we are aware of it, and we will be focusing on this more in the new year! I would love to hear from you about this subject.

Now --- speaking of timeless --- tomorrow, December 12th, marks what would have been Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday. In honor of this centennial event, we wanted to remind you of the bookshelf we curated a couple of weeks ago that celebrates Sinatra’s legacy in all its forms --- from his best CDs and DVDs to books exploring his career. Click here to see our tribute to this timeless artist. The Grammy special about his music last week was so enjoyable; I loved seeing today’s singers crooning to his music, many with the original Nelson Riddle arrangements.

Our latest themed bookshelf comes just in time for the holiday season. The holidays are all about spending time with the ones you love --- and often traveling to visit with them. In this spirit of spending time in large gatherings, we’ve pulled together a list of 20 audiobooks that feature more than one narrator. Many include full ensemble casts! I’ve become a huge fan of audiobooks and discovered several favorite narrators over the past year or so. But it’s always a treat when multiple voices come together for an outstanding reading (and listening) experience; it really feels like a performance. Our collection includes one audiobook that has a cast of 50! Click here to peruse the bookshelf and enjoy these audio experiences that we have gathered for you.

Speaking of audiobooks, we encourage you to enter our current Sounding Off on Audio contest if you haven’t done so already. The two prizes are the audio versions of DEAR MR. YOU, written and read by Mary-Louise Parker, and James Lee Burke's HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN, read by Will Patton. Let us know by Monday, January 4th at noon ET what books you’ve finished listening to, and you may be the happy recipient of both these audiobooks.

From New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz comes ASHLEY BELL, a dark and chilling combination of psychological suspense and classic mystery. When fierce and funny Bibi Blair is informed by her doctor that she only has one year to live, she challenges death head on. Her sudden recovery astounds her doctors, but a mysterious woman tells Bibi that she is now meant to save someone else named Ashley Bell. Bibi has no idea who Ashley is or why she needs saving, but she quickly becomes obsessed with finding the girl. Her search puts her in the crosshairs of both mystical and worldly threats, including a charismatic cult leader with frightening aspirations.

Roz Shea read the book and thought so highly of it that it prompted her to say this in her review: “When a story grabs you on page one and keeps you enthralled with ever-widening loops of intrigue, spine-tingling plot twists, absorbing characters and emotional involvement, it is akin to sitting back after a satisfying gourmet meal, feeling that you have savored something extraordinary.”

ASHLEY BELL was one of the books we gave away in this week’s Holiday Cheer contests; the others were LOST OCEAN: An Inky Adventure & Coloring Book by Johanna Basford, A QUILT FOR CHRISTMAS by Sandra Dallas, and TAILS FROM THE BOOTH by Lynn Terry. These contests will wrap up next week with our final four prize books: CALMING THERAPY: An Anti-Stress Coloring Book, LIGHTEN UP, Y'ALL: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome by Virginia Willis, MARRY ME AT CHRISTMAS: A Fool's Gold Romance by Susan Mallery, and STARS OVER SUNSET BOULEVARD by Susan Meissner. The first contest of the week will go live on Monday the 14th at noon ET.

We’re also giving you a chance to win ASHLEY BELL in our Word of Mouth contest, along with THE BONE LABYRINTH: A Sigma Force Novel by James Rollins (which we’ll be reviewing next week). Let us know by Friday, December 18th at noon ET what books you’ve finished reading for your chance to win both these anticipated thrillers.

Other notable reviews this week include COMMANDER IN CHIEF, the latest Jack Ryan thriller from Mark Greaney, who has taken over the series from Tom Clancy, who passed away in 2013; THE RELIC MASTER, a departure of sorts for Christopher Buckley, who veers away from his usual satires of DC politics to pen the adventures of a 16th-century relic hunter and his best friend, who conspire to forge the Shroud of Turin; and TWAIN & STANLEY ENTER PARADISE by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning author Oscar Hijuelos, whose final novel was inspired by the real-life, 37-year friendship between Mark Twain and legendary explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley.

As we approach the end of the year, we’re happy to announce our Fifth Annual Bets On Contest, featuring all 33(!) of my Bets On picks from 2015. One very lucky grand prize winner will be awarded all 33 titles, while 11 other winners will receive a selection of three of these titles. Among the books you can win are AFTER THE WIND by Lou Kasischke, DID YOU EVER HAVE A FAMILY by Bill Clegg, INSIDE THE O'BRIENS by Lisa Genova, and THE SECRET WISDOM OF THE EARTH by Christopher Scotton. To enter, please fill out this form by Monday, January 11th at noon ET.

Our Holiday Author Blog series just wrapped up its second week, and I am thoroughly enjoying these pieces. This week we heard from Robert Daniels, Paula McLain, Mary Kubica, Charles Belfoure and Merissa Alink. Still to come are contributions from Chris Bohjalian, Melanie Benjamin, Linwood Barclay, Sloane Crosley, Heather Gudenkauf, and more.

We’ve updated our History Books roundup for December. Here you’ll find biographies of Richard III and Princess Louise, “Queen Victoria's Mysterious Daughter”; true crime stories (THE RECKONING and THE WILDERNESS OF RUIN); histories of Hawaii, the Andes Mountains and Sri Lanka; and much more.

In our latest poll, we continue to ask: “When it comes to gifts this holiday season, are you buying more, less, or about the same compared to last year?” Click here to let us know.

News and Pop Culture:

Reader Mail: First, thank you for the many lovely birthday notes. I had to share this one from Jean, and you will see why: “Every year I mean to wish you a happy birthday as we share the same day, and finally I am remembering to do it. I am a woman of a certain age but appear much younger (or at least some people think so). When I tell people my actual age, they have been known to break out in semi-hysterical laughing as they don’t believe it. I offer to show them my Medicare card. I want to thank you for the Bookreporter newsletter, which I read faithfully every week. The tales of your adventures in bookland are delightful. As a writer, I appreciate your support for those of us who make our livings selling words.”

Mary Lou wrote to share that “I am listening to BOYS IN THE TREES based upon my longtime admiration of Carly AND your comments about it. And I do really, really like it.” Susan wrote to say, “Just had my fix for the morning by reading the weekly newsletter. How I so enjoy Saturday mornings catching up on all the latest happenings in your life and the latest books to explore. I have found so many of interest, which just keep adding to my overflowing bookshelves already. Thank you for enlightening me every week.”

Room: All of us at are wild about the film adaptation of ROOM and were thrilled to see it receive three Golden Globe nominations. Here is a terrific piece where Brie Larson talks about her role in the film. We love seeing the award buzz about her and her darling co-star, Jacob Tremblay. Every accolade is deserved. And here is another fabulous piece about the movie from Rolling Stone.

Star Wars: The countdown is on for the December 18th release. I loved this "Good Morning America" interview with Carrie Fisher where she conducted one of the funniest dialogues I have seen; she literally took control of the interview. I laughed all three times I watched it. Also, I am happy to share that Princess Leia, I mean Carrie, will release a new memoir in April called THE PRINCESS DIARIST.

The Grammys: They were announced this week and included a category for Best Spoken Word Album. Here are the nominees: BLOOD ON SNOW by Jo Nesbø, narrated by Patti Smith; BRIEF ENCOUNTERS: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks narrated by Dick Cavett; A FULL LIFE: Reflections at Ninety narrated by Jimmy Carter; PATIENCE AND SARAH by Isabel Miller, narrated by Janis Ian and Jean Smart; and YES PLEASE narrated by Amy Poehler and various other artists.

Interesting Piece on How Our Digital Lives Impact Us: I gave this one a lot of thought. My friends who are young parents take thousands of pictures. I often wonder if they will have access to them the way we do to the ones we have developed and chronicled in albums. And what will our bookshelves look like if the digital world continues to grow?

"Transparent": Season 2 is live today on Amazon Prime.

"Serial": The second season of this podcast, hosted by journalist Sarah Koenig, will feature Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl sharing his experiences as a prisoner of the Taliban in Afghanistan. It'll be interesting to see how this continues to grow the podcast audience in general.

"The Affair": I love the way Noah is planning to write a totally different book after Descent. He had a major bestseller and now is thinking he wants to write something meatier. I truly think that someone who is writing this show did not get a book deal, and they are exacting revenge on the publishing business by the way they portray it. Trust me folks, this is fiction to the nth degree!

"Homeland": Again, this show is just too spot-on in its coverage of international politics. It’s eerie.

I am writing this newsletter early this week as I am spending today at the Random House Open House, where guest authors include Lee Child, Kathy Reichs, Gloria Steinem, Drew Barrymore, Elizabeth Strout, Laura Lynne Jackson and Mary Giuliani. We will have a report on this event next week. What a lineup!

We got into the holiday spirit by wrapping and gift tagging the 23 prizes that were won in the BROKEN PROMISE contest, where a personally inscribed copy of the book is being sent to a recipient specified by our 23 winners. You can see our pile of packages above. We will alert the winners next week before the books are sent out. FUN project!

This weekend, our neighborhood has a fun event planned: a luminary walk. Neighbors are being asked to light candles along their street with a goal of showing a sign of holiday community. Over 215 homes are participating. Tom and I are going to help with loading the bags with sand and candles on Saturday; there are about 400 that need to be packed up. I am looking forward to this; last weekend we got to meet a lot of new neighbors, many of them young families. It reminded me that we were those people when we moved in 26 years ago when I was pregnant with Greg!

Greg is going to do some planning with his curling club, and Cory is trapped in the vortex known as final exams. He is looking forward to freedom!

Oh, the photo above is me with the holiday Christmas stocking that my friend Cathy gave me. I posted this on Facebook, and friends thought I got a pair of actual cowboy boots. Trust me…the stocking is amazing enough. I am off to check the water level on the amaryllis plants that will be holiday gifts. Last week’s big achievement was getting lighted candles in the windows. After frantically looking for them in the attic with the other decorations, Tom found them with the timers and extension cords. I remember thinking we were so smart last year to pack them together. True brilliance, perhaps even genius, would have been remembering what we did!

Loving these warm temperatures in DECEMBER in the New York metro area!

Hope you are getting into the holiday spirit. Read on, and have a great week!

If you are holiday shopping online, may we ask that you use the links below? We see a small percentage of the sales, and that does make us smile!

Carol Fitzgerald (

Now in Stores: ASHLEY BELL by Dean Koontz
ASHLEY BELL by Dean Koontz (Psychological Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Suzy Jackson
Bibi Blair is a fierce, funny, dauntless young woman --- whose doctor says she has one year to live. Her sudden recovery astonishes medical science. An enigmatic woman convinces Bibi that she escaped death so that she can save someone else. Someone named Ashley Bell. But save her from what? And who is Ashley Bell? Where is she? Bibi’s obsession with finding Ashley sends her on the run from threats both mystical and worldly, including a rich and charismatic cult leader with terrifying ambitions. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

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

Click here to read a review.
Special Contest: Enter to Win Our End-of-the-Year Celebration, Featuring All 33 "Bets On" Titles from 2015
We are thrilled to announce a very special contest featuring Carol Fitzgerald’s Bets On picks from 2015. One Grand Prize winner will be awarded all 33 books, while 11 other winners will receive a selection of three of these titles. To enter, please fill out this form by Monday, January 11th at noon ET.

Here are this year's Bets On titles:

-Click here for the official contest rules.
Click here to enter the contest.'s Latest Bookshelf: Multicast Recordings --- 20 Audiobooks Featuring Multiple Narrators
Audiobooks featuring more than one narrator have caught our eye over the past few months. Many feature full ensemble casts!

Here we have gathered 20 audiobooks that we think will give you an appreciation of this experience. Included are audio versions of bestselling novels (THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO by Mitch Albom and THE SLEEPER AND THE SPINDLE by Neil Gaiman), historical titles (LAFAYETTE IN THE SOMEWHAT UNITED STATES by Sarah Vowell) and even original dramas (THE STARLING PROJECT by Jeffery Deaver).

While audiobook listeners appreciate a strong narrator, the experience takes on a true performance level with multiple narrators. Our collection even includes one selection (LOCKE & KEY by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez) that has a cast of over 50! Listen alone, or listen with another person or a group.
Click here to see our Multicast Recordings bookshelf.'s Holiday Author Blogs: Authors Write About Their Favorite Holiday Memories of Giving or Receiving Books
We continue to bring you our Holiday Author Blogs, which we’ve brought back for an EIGHTH consecutive year. From now until Christmas Eve, we're featuring new blog posts from authors each weekday talking about the books that they've given and received.

Thus far we have heard from Elisabeth Egan, Stefanie Pintoff, C. W. Gortner, Ruth Ware, Robert Daniels, Paula McLain, Mary Kubica, Charles Belfoure and Merissa Alink. In the days ahead, you can look forward to contributions from Linwood Barclay, Melanie Benjamin, Chris Bohjalian, Sloane Crosley, Nadia Hashimi and more.

As always, we so appreciate all the authors who have taken the time to share these wonderful holiday memories with us.
Click here to read's 2015 Holiday Author Blogs.'s Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature
At, we kick off the holiday season in style with our Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature. This year’s Holiday Cheer titles include books that you want to give and get, as well as a “hot” 2016 title or two. The contests start at noon ET on select days in November and December, and run for just 24 hours, so you will have to check the site to see what is being featured. As always, we’ll be sending our special Holiday Cheer newsletter on the days when there are contests. Click here to sign up for these email alerts.

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, December 14th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles are:

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
Now in Stores: TOM CLANCY COMMANDER IN CHIEF by Mark Greaney
TOM CLANCY COMMANDER IN CHIEF: A Jack Ryan Novel by Mark Greaney (Thriller/Adventure)
Audiobook available, narrated by Scott Brick
When Russian President Valeri Volodin’s ambitions are foiled in Dagestan, he faces a difficult choice. The oligarchs who support him expect a constant flow of graft, but with energy prices cratering, the Russian economy sputters to a virtual halt. Unable to grow the Russian market at home, his hold on power relies on expansion abroad --- a plan that has been thwarted by the United States in the past. But this time, Volodin has determined that an indirect approach is the best. Only one man recognizes an ominous pattern in the reports of terror from around the globe. U.S. President Jack Ryan sees a guiding hand in the worldwide chaos, but before he can act, he needs proof. Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE RELIC MASTER by Christopher Buckley
THE RELIC MASTER by Christopher Buckley (Historical Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by James Langton
In a departure from his usual satires of Washington politics, Christopher Buckley turns to politics of a more medieval nature. In 1517, a former Swiss mercenary named Dismas sells holy relics to powerful clients who then use their purchases to sell indulgences to people hoping to shorten their stay in Purgatory. The sudden loss of his life savings forces Dismas to sell a forgery of Christ’s burial shroud --- a scheme that goes harrowingly wrong. Reviewed by Michael Magras.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: TWAIN & STANLEY ENTER PARADISE by Oscar Hijuelos
TWAIN & STANLEY ENTER PARADISE by Oscar Hijuelos (Historical Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by James Langton
Oscar Hijuelos was fascinated by the 37-year friendship between famed writer and humorist Mark Twain and legendary explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley. So he began researching and writing a novel that used the scant historical record of their relationship as a starting point for a more detailed fictional account. It was a labor of love for Hijuelos, who worked on the project for more than 10 years and was still revising the manuscript the day before his sudden passing in 2013. The resulting novel blends correspondence, memoir and third-person omniscience to explore the intersection of these Victorian giants in a long-vanished world. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
December's History Books Roundup
December's roundup of History titles includes Kim MacQuarrie's LIFE AND DEATH IN THE ANDES, which offers unique portraits of legendary characters along South America’s mountain spine, from Charles Darwin to the present day; CONQUERORS, in which Roger Crowley tells the epic story of the emergence of Portugal, a small, poor nation that enjoyed a century of maritime supremacy thanks to the daring and navigational skill of its explorers; Michael A. McDonnell's MASTERS OF EMPIRE, which reveals the pivotal role played by the native peoples of the Great Lakes in the history of North America; and AGINCOURT, Sir Ranulph Fiennes' dynamic account of the Battle of Agincourt, which gives a unique perspective on one of the most significant battles in English history.
Click here to see our History Books roundup for December.
Enter to Win Our Holiday Bundle of Cheer Contests on 20SomethingReads, Teenreads and Kidsreads
At, and, we're celebrating the holiday season with our Holiday Bundle of Cheer contests. As our gift to you, we're spotlighting some amazing books for twentysomethings, teens and kids. Five lucky readers per contest will win a copy of each featured title to curl up with during the holidays, along with some incredibly festive goodies. The deadline for all three contests is Thursday, December 17th at noon ET, so the time to enter is now!

This year's featured titles are:

-Click here to enter the Holiday Bundle of Cheer contest.

This year's featured titles are:

-Click here to enter the Holiday Bundle of Cheer contest.

This year's featured titles are:

-Click here to enter the Holiday Bundle of Cheer contest.
More Reviews This Week

BRADY VS. MANNING: The Untold Story of the Rivalry That Transformed the NFL by Gary Myers (Sports)
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are perhaps the two greatest quarterbacks of all time. But what do they actually think of each other? What are they like behind closed doors and in the locker room, and how does that influence their careers? Veteran NFL correspondent Gary Myers tackles this subject from every angle and with unprecedented access and insight, drawing on a huge number of never-before-heard interviews with Brady and Manning, their coaches, their families, and those who have played with them and against them. Reviewed by Miriam Tuliao.

LIFE AND DEATH IN THE ANDES: On the Trail of Bandits, Heroes, and Revolutionaries by Kim MacQuarrie (History)
Audiobook available, narrated by Jonathan Yen
The Andes Mountains are the world’s longest mountain chain, linking most of the countries in South America. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author Kim MacQuarrie takes us on a historical journey through this unique region. Through the stories he shares, MacQuarrie raises such questions as: Where did the people of South America come from? Did they create or import their cultures? What makes South America different from other continents --- and what makes the cultures of the Andes different from other cultures in South America? Reviewed by Lorraine W. Shanley.

CURTAIN UP: Agatha Christie: A Life in the Theatre by Julius Green (Biography)
Agatha Christie has long been revered around the world for her mysteries and the indelible characters she created, Miss Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot. In addition to her contributions as a novelist, this gifted writer was also an acclaimed playwright. Offering a unique, in-depth look at her work for the stage, CURTAIN UP analyzes her plays and features excerpts from Agatha Christie’s correspondences, notebooks, and several unpublished and unperformed scripts quoted from for the first time. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

THE VERDICT by Nick Stone (Legal Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by David Thorpe
Terry Flynt is a struggling legal clerk, desperately trying to get promoted. And then he is given the biggest opportunity of his career: to help defend a millionaire accused of murdering a woman in his hotel suite. The only problem is that the accused man, Vernon James, turns out to be not only someone he knows, but someone he loathes. This case could potentially make Terry's career, but how can he defend a former friend who betrayed him so badly? Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

TALES OF ACCIDENTAL GENIUS: Stories by Simon Van Booy (Fiction/Short Stories)
In his first book of short stories since LOVE BEGINS IN WINTER, Simon Van Booy offers a collection of stories highlighting how human genius can emerge through acts of compassion. Through characters including an eccentric film director, an aging Cockney bodyguard, the teenage child of Nigerian immigrants, a divorced amateur magician from New Jersey, and a Beijing street vendor who becomes an overnight billionaire, TALES OF ACCIDENTAL GENIUS contemplates individuals from different cultures and races, and reveals how faith and yearning for connection helps us all transcend darkness of fear and misfortune. Reviewed by Maya Gittelman.

IT’S. NICE. OUTSIDE. by Jim Kokoris (Fiction)
John Nichols, his ex-wife Mary, and their three children are held together by love and humor, as well as the spiky parts of sisterly competition and a difficult baby brother. John and Mary have devoted themselves to caregiving, and John especially finds himself caught in the tension between being a parent and being true to himself. So when a new challenge comes their way in the wake of a road trip and wedding plans, the family bonds are stretched and tested. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

MEDICIS DAUGHTER: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois by Sophie Perinot (Historical Fiction)
Eager to be an obedient daughter, Princess Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot's heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother's schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot's wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul. Reviewed by Carly Silver.

PARADISE CITY by Elizabeth Day (Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Alison Reid
Howard Pink is a wildly successful businessman still struggling to cope 15 years after his 19-year-old daughter disappeared. Beatrice Kizza fled persecution from Uganda where homosexuality is illegal; she now works as a maid at a hotel Howard frequents. Esme Reade, an ambitious staff reporter for a Sunday tabloid, is desperate to get the Howard Pink interview for which all London reporters froth at the mouths. Carol Hetherington, a widow who keeps an eye on her neighbors' actions, makes an astonishing discovery. These four disparate characters find themselves linked together in PARADISE CITY. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE ABSOLUTION by Jonathan Holt (Mystery/Thriller)
On Venice’s popular Lido beach, a man is found lying on the shore, his throat slit and his tongue viciously torn out, and his face covered by an unusual antique mask. Superiors inside the Venice Carabinieri have finally given Captain Kat Tapo permission to run her first murder case. But when she learns that the mask is a Masonic “hoodwink” --- and that the circumstances of the man’s death are eerily similar to the Masonic punishment for betrayal --- she suspects that her appointment has darker implications. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE LAST WITNESS: A Detective Daley Thriller by Denzil Meyrick (Thriller)
James Machie was a man with a genius for violence, his criminal empire spreading beyond Glasgow into the UK and mainland Europe. Fortunately, Machie is dead, assassinated in the back of a prison ambulance following his trial and conviction. But now, five years later, he is apparently back from the grave, set on avenging himself on those who brought him down. At the top of his list is his previous associate, Frank MacDougall, who, unbeknownst to D.C.I. Jim Daley, is living under protection on his lochside patch, the small Scottish town of Kinloch. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

RED LINE: A Detective Matt Sinclair Mystery by Brian Thiem (Mystery)
Audiobook available, narrated by Johnny Heller
When a teenager from a wealthy suburb outside of Oakland, CA is dumped at an inner city bus stop, homicide detective Matt Sinclair catches the case. It’s his first since being bumped to desk duty for a bust that went south…fast. With few leads and plenty of attention, it’s the worst kind of case to help him get back up to speed. And it only gets worse as the bodies start to pile up --- first at the same bus bench, then around the city. Unable to link the victims to each other, the killer is just getting started. Time is running out on Sinclair’s career, not to mention the people closest to him. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Our Latest Poll: Holiday Purchases
When it comes to gifts this holiday season, are you buying more, less, or about the same compared to last year?

  • More
  • Less
  • About the same
  • I haven’t started my holiday shopping.
Click here to vote in the poll.
Word of Mouth Contest: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win Two 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 December 4th to December 18th at noon ET, three lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of ASHLEY BELL by Dean Koontz and THE BONE LABYRINTH: A Sigma Force Novel by James Rollins.

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 December 1st to January 4th at noon ET, three lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win the audio versions of both DEAR MR. YOU, written and read by Mary-Louise Parker, and James Lee Burke's HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN, read by Will Patton.

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