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April 22, 2016 Newsletter April 22, 2016
Upcoming Books: We're Making Lists and Checking 'Em Twice

The traffic driving home a couple of nights this week was a nightmare; one night it took two hours, which is a lot of time behind the wheel. The annoyance of it was overcome as I listened to THE RAINBOW COMES AND GOES, narrated by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt. The “conversation” between them originated in a yearlong set of emails, and they covered many pivotal and inconsequential moments that have happened in their lives, which I found fascinating. From start to finish, they unraveled so much that had been hidden in their lives, as well as encouraging one another. They are so different and yet so alike. I highly recommend it.

I talk to my dad most nights when I drive home, and we banter about a variety of topics --- from work to family history and life. I consider myself extremely lucky that I still have both of my parents. Mom is more of an emailer (I love seeing her notes pop up between business emails); Dad is the phone guy. He keeps the house and lawn meticulous. I told him we have a sea of dandelions, a brutal shock of yellow that popped up as the weather warmed and they mix in with a shock of white clover. He, of course, has averted this lawn travesty with careful planning!

Last month, at an intimate concert in New York for just 300 people, Prince announced he was writing his memoir tentatively to be called THE BEAUTIFUL ONES. Thus, when the news of his death broke midday yesterday, that was what I thought of first. I read somewhere that he was 50 pages into the writing. He was a creative genius who spawned creativity in the tributes that were created to celebrate his life. I love the Chevy ad above, as well as the cover of The New Yorker that will run next week. He was eccentric, but many described him as very shy and kind, as well as cool and creative. Here is an interview with the publicist of his last book, 21 NIGHTS, that will give you some insight into who he was. I remember the book party for this event in LA, which was one very coveted ticket. I did not attend; he came on stage at 2am!

Tom Donadio, our Editorial Director, and I attended a terrific preview event on Wednesday that was put on by the Penguin Random House Library Group. We heard from six authors who were both debuts and bestsellers --- and every single one of them knocked it out of the park with their presentations. Then four editors presented their picks, and finally the library team shared theirs. I was scrawling notes feverishly to be sure we have background tidbits on these books to share with you when they come out. Some do not release until spring of next year!

Next Friday, I will be at the Random House Open House interviewing Melanie Benjamin, Dawn Tripp and Helen Simonson. I'm prepping questions and looking forward to this. Among others on the lineup are Debbie Macomber, Anna Quindlen, Lee Woodruff and Justin Cronin. Tickets for the Summer Open House in New York on July 22nd go on sale May 6th at 9am. Last time it sold out in 35 minutes, so set the clock on your phone calendar now to remember to get signed up!

I have booked a few library and other speaking appearances in the tri-state area for the next few months, which I am looking forward to. As much as I love what we do on the website and with this newsletter, I also love meeting readers and hearing what books are resonating with them.

Now to this week’s update…

Picking up where MEMORY MAN left off, top-notch thriller author David Baldacci has written the second book in his Amos Decker series. In THE LAST MILE, convicted murderer Melvin Mars patiently awaits his execution for the brutal killing of his parents 20 years earlier. But when another man takes the blame for the crime, Mars is granted a reprieve. Newly hired on the FBI special task force, Amos Decker takes a special interest in Mars’ case, intrigued that both men were talented football players with promising careers cut short by tragedy. When a member of Decker’s team disappears, it’s clear that something much larger --- and sinister --- is at play.

According to reviewer Ray Palen, “Baldacci's fertile imagination and intricate plotting abilities make each of his books a treat for thriller readers. THE LAST MILE is no exception.”

In another highly anticipated novel, Curtis Sittenfeld pays homage to Jane Austen with a modern retelling of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. ELIGIBLE tells the story of magazine writer Liz Bennet, who, with her yoga instructor older sister Jane, returns to their childhood home in Cincinnati after their father has a health scare. Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy obsessing over their diets and workouts to help out, while Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves the room. Mrs. Bennet only has one thing on her mind --- figure out how to marry off her daughters, especially since Jane’s 40th birthday looms ahead. When the sisters meet Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor, and his friend, neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, Liz realizes that first impressions can be deceiving.

Lorraine W. Shanley has our review and says, “[Sittenfeld] shows an impressive ability to get to the heart of relationships, even as she transposes 18th-century English society and manners to another continent, 200 or so years later. She also has mastered the pacing of today’s fast-paced fiction: a cliffhanger at the end of every chapter, most of which can be read while standing in a checkout line.”

THE LAST MILE and ELIGIBLE are the two prizes in our current Word of Mouth contest. Let us know by Friday, April 29th at noon ET what books you’ve finished reading for a chance to win both novels.

We’re excited about Nathalia Holt’s much-talked-about book, RISE OF THE ROCKET GIRLS. Based on extensive research and interviews with living members of the team, Holt traces the lives of prominent female aeronautical scientists, including Barbara Lewis, Janez Lawson, Helen Yee Chow, Susan Finley and Susan Lundy. They compose the core of the “rocket girls,” female scientists and engineers whose calculations, designs and hard work got us to the moon and beyond. These are the women who broke the boundaries of both gender and science, and Holt brings their achievements to light.

Maya Gittelman has this to say in her review: “Holt’s narrative is superbly readable. The text spans the 1940s through today, and the trajectory is as clearly plotted as her subjects’ spaceflight designs…. RISE OF THE ROCKET GIRLS is brought even further to life by including original pictures and diagrams. Holt’s poignant narrative should be required reading for anyone who studies aeronautics, history or women’s rights.”

There’s still time to enter our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight contest for THE VERSIONS OF US by Laura Barnett. The publisher’s description of this debut novel, which releases on May 3rd, starts off intriguingly enough with this line: “In one moment, two lives will be changed forever…and forever…and forever.” There are three distinct storylines at work here, and it's so well done! If you’d like to be one of the 25 winners who will be selected to read and comment on the book, then enter here by Thursday, April 28th at noon ET.

This year’s Spring Preview contests have come to an end. Our final four prizes books were THE ATOMIC WEIGHT OF LOVE by Elizabeth J. Church, DESIGN FOR DYING: A Lillian Frost & Edith Head Novel by Renee Patrick, HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, and MAESTRA by L. S. Hilton (the latter of which we’re reviewing this week). Many thanks to all who entered our 18 contests, and congratulations to the winners, which you can see here. (Please note that we’ll be announcing the winners of the last two contests, DESIGN FOR DYING and HEX, by the end of the day next Thursday.)

Our Mother’s Day contest is still up and running. For an 11th year in a row, we’re giving moms the chance to win some wonderful fiction and nonfiction titles (nine to be exact), along with assorted mom-themed goodies. To enter, please fill out this form by Monday, May 9th at noon ET, and you’ll be in the running to win one of our five prize packages.

Our poll continues to ask: “Do you remove the dust jacket (the detachable outer cover) when you read a hardcover book?” Click here to weigh in!

Are you an audiobook listener? If so, then be sure to enter this month’s Sounding Off on Audio contest. All you have to do is let us know by Monday, May 2nd at noon ET what audiobooks you’ve finished listening to, and you’ll be entered to win the audio versions of both Mary Higgins Clark’s AS TIME GOES BY, read by Jan Maxwell, and Kathleen Grissom’s GLORY OVER EVERYTHING: Beyond The Kitchen House, read by Santino Fontana, with Kyle Beltran, Madeleine Maby and Heather Alicia Simms. We now have a review of the hardcover edition of AS TIME GOES BY, which you can see here.

This week, the 100th annual Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music were announced. We’re happy to share that of the six books that won in the categories of Letters and Drama, three of them were reviewed on Bookreporter: THE SYMPATHIZER (Fiction), CUSTER’S TRIALS (History) and BARBARIAN DAYS (Biography). Click here for the other three winners, and here for the full list of winners and nominees, including those for journalism and music.

We also have the winners of the 20th Annual Books for a Better Life Awards, which the New York City – Southern New York Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society announced during a ceremony here in Manhattan that was hosted by Meredith Vieira. Click here for a complete listing of the winners and finalists.

We wanted to be sure to acknowledge the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. It is believed that the Bard passed away on April 23, 1616, leaving behind a treasure trove of plays, poems and sayings that, to this day, still enthrall and inspire audiences around the world.

Also, today is Earth Day. Recycle, reuse and walk a bit to celebrate.

News and Pop Culture:

Reader Mail: Bobbie wrote to share, “This weekend I took my daughter to a soccer tournament in Columbus, Ohio. When we were checking into the hotel, we were talking about what we were going to do. The guy at the front desk told us about The Bookloft in a German village about a block away from our hotel. I cannot describe this bookstore, but it is a sight to be seen: 32 rooms in an old house filled with books. It took two hours to get her out the first night, and we needed to return a second night. Her team won the tournament, but the highlight for her was The Bookloft. I highly suggest a trip if you have not been there. It was definitely a unique experience.” I have not been there, but would love to shop in that store! And a cheer and a stamp for this teen!

Shirley wrote with this really lovely idea: “I enjoy your newsletters very much, but as their ultimate goal is marketing, I am never going to be your desired audience because I never buy books. Since I retired, I just borrow from the library for myself. And gift books have given way to gift cards for eReader purchases. I would actually like to compensate the authors I look forward to and follow faithfully by being able to push a button and pay them a quarter or 50 cents or some such when I read a borrowed book that I like. This would also be great for used books too. Libraries or major booksellers should offer this through their computer systems and take a small percentage for handling the money. Thanks again for so fully covering the new book market, especially fiction." I have to think on this one; it’s a generous and very wise idea!

My friend Beverley wrote during the week when she saw that the actress Doris Roberts passed away. She reminded me that we met her at a Debbie Macomber appearance at the Borders store near our office on Columbus Circle when she was promoting Mrs. Miracle and that she was a “funny lady.” Indeed she was, and I am glad Beverley reminded me of that!

Sue, a bookseller who owns Chapter2Books in Hudson, wrote in response to my question about the humor in THE WANGS VS. THE WORLD, saying that it’s “hilarious.” She went on to say, “I read the whole thing. I was recently on a panel for the ABA Indies Introduce recommendations. I loved THE WANGS VS. THE WORLD. I think you can safely recommend it to people as a funny book. That's what I like best: FAMILY FANG and always WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE.”

Brooklyn: Watched the film last week…just wonderful. I should have read the book first…again!

"The Americans": Thursday night’s episode was EXCELLENT! What a fabulous show; brilliant writing.

The Girl on the Train Movie Trailer: The trailer for the film adaptation of Paula Hawkins' bestselling novel came out this week. Friends who live in Westchester County, NY recognized many of the scenes. The movie stars Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett and Luke Evans, and is directed by Tate Taylor, who directed The Help. It opens October 7th. Curious as to what you think!

John D. MacDonald: In anticipation of what would've been the author’s 100th birthday (July 24th), a number of authors have been honoring him with pieces in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, including Paul Levine.

Fashion Moment: Anna Wintour was interviewed on the upcoming film about the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute Gala. Humorous viewing here.

My goal for the weekend is to clean out the garage. I know…how exciting can one get?

I am up to book nine of the 11 I am reading for author interviews. I feel more on track than I used to be when I was in school studying for finals, but I must resist ANY other books these next few weeks. I am sure I will fail at this; I have a weakness for shiny new things. One that really sparked my interest this week was BEHOLD THE DREAMERS by Imbolo Mbue, which I heard about on Wednesday and will be in stores on August 23rd. It’s the story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy. Thinking about it, I already can see less of the garage getting cleaned than I planned!

For Rent: For those of you in New York, we have extra office space in our office these days and are looking for some folks who may be in need of work space for themselves or a small team. We have one private office (sans window, but spacious) and six single desks. I figure that word of mouth from you would be a big help in this (help us find someone, and I will personally select a book or two for you). So, if you are in the market for an office space in NY, or know someone else who is, let me know! It’s perfect for a small team, or a freelancer who would prefer to work out of the house in a creative space…or someone who needs to be in the office a few days a week, but does not want to find his or her own space, or someone who just loves the vibe of working in a cool space without the hassles attached. The space is wired; the staff is fun. Need I add that there are lots of books around?

Happy Passover to those of you who are celebrating! New York City public schools are closed next week; I think that means that the last of the Spring Breaks are over…finally!

Read on, and have a great week!

Carol Fitzgerald (

P.S. For those of you who are doing online shopping, if you use the store links below, gets a small affiliate fee on your purchases. We would appreciate your considering this!

Featured Review: THE LAST MILE by David Baldacci --- Book #2 in the Amos Decker Series
THE LAST MILE by David Baldacci (Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Kyf Brewer
Convicted murderer Melvin Mars is counting down the last hours before his execution --- for the violent killing of his parents 20 years earlier --- when he's granted an unexpected reprieve. Another man has confessed to the crime. Amos Decker, newly hired on an FBI special task force, takes an interest in Mars' case after discovering the striking similarities to his own life. Who wants Mars out of prison? And why now? But when a member of Decker's team disappears, it becomes clear that something much larger --- and more sinister --- than just one convicted criminal's life hangs in the balance. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: ELIGIBLE by Curtis Sittenfeld --- A Modern Retelling of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
ELIGIBLE: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld (Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Cassandra Campbell
This version of the Bennet family --- and Mr. Darcy --- is one that you have and haven’t met before. Liz is a magazine writer in her late 30s who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help --- and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray. Reviewed by Lorraine W. Shanley.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: AS TIME GOES BY by Mary Higgins Clark
AS TIME GOES BY by Mary Higgins Clark (Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Jan Maxwell
Television journalist Delaney Wright is on the brink of stardom after she begins covering a sensational murder trial. She should be thrilled, yet her growing desire to locate her birth mother consumes her thoughts. When Delaney’s friends, Alvirah Meehan and her husband, Willy, offer to look into the mystery surrounding her birth, they uncover a shocking secret they do not want to reveal. On trial for murder is Betsy Grant, widow of a wealthy doctor who has been an Alzheimer’s victim for eight years. As the trial unfolds, and the damning evidence against Betsy piles up, Delaney is convinced that Betsy is not guilty and frantically tries to prove her innocence. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: MAESTRA by L. S. Hilton
MAESTRA by L. S. Hilton (Psychological Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Emilia Fox
By day, Judith Rashleigh is a put-upon assistant at a prestigious London art house. By night, she’s a hostess at one of the capital’s notorious champagne bars, although her work there pales against her activities on nights off. Feeling reckless, she accompanies one of the champagne bar’s biggest clients to the French Riviera, only to find herself alone again after a fatal accident. Tired of striving and the slow crawl to the top, Judith has a realization: If you need to turn yourself into someone else, loneliness is a good place to start. And she’s been lonely a long time. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: RISE OF THE ROCKET GIRLS by Nathalia Holt
RISE OF THE ROCKET GIRLS: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt (History)
Audiobook available, narrated by Erin Bennett
In the 1940s and ’50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn't turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible. For the first time, RISE OF THE ROCKET GIRLS tells the stories of these women --- known as "human computers" --- who broke the boundaries of both gender and science. Reviewed by Maya Gittelman.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read the review.
An Interview with Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Author of BEFORE WE VISIT THE GODDESS
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the award-winning author of numerous books, including THE PALACE OF ILLUSIONS, ONE AMAZING THING and OLEANDER GIRL. Her latest novel, BEFORE WE VISIT THE GODDESS, sweeps across the 20th century from the countryside of Bengal to the streets of Houston, exploring the complex relationships between mothers and daughters, and the different kinds of love that bind us across generations. In this interview, Divakaruni discusses the various elements that inspired GODDESS --- including books by other authors, cultural mythology and personal experiences --- as well as the themes she seems to return to, intentionally or not, again and again in her work.

BEFORE WE VISIT THE GODDESS by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Fiction)
Audiobook available; narrated by Sneha Mathan, Priya Ayyar and Vikas Adam
The daughter of a poor baker in rural Bengal, India, Sabitri yearns to get an education, but college is an impossible dream. Then an influential woman from Kolkata takes Sabitri under her wing, but her generosity soon proves dangerous after the girl makes a single, unforgiveable misstep. Years later, Sabitri’s own daughter, Bela, haunted by her mother’s choices, flees abroad with her political refugee lover --- but the America she finds is vastly different from the country she’d imagined. As the marriage crumbles and Bela is forced to forge her own path, she unwittingly imprints her own child, Tara, with indelible lessons about freedom, heartbreak and loyalty that will take a lifetime to unravel. Reviewed by Jane Krebs.

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

Click here to read the interview.
Women's Fiction Author Spotlight & Contest: THE VERSIONS OF US by Laura Barnett
We have 25 copies of THE VERSIONS OF US by Laura Barnett to give away to readers who would like to read the book, which releases on May 3rd, and share their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, April 28th at noon ET.

THE VERSIONS OF US by Laura Barnett (Fiction)
In one moment, two lives will be changed forever...and forever...and forever.

The one thing that’s certain is they met on a Cambridge street by chance and felt a connection that would last a lifetime. But as for what happened next... They fell wildly in love, or went their separate ways. They kissed, or they thought better of it. They married soon after, or were together for a few weeks before splitting up. They grew distracted and disappointed with their daily lives together, or found solace together only after hard years spent apart.

With THE VERSIONS OF US, Laura Barnett has created a world as magical and affecting as those that captivated readers in ONE DAY and LIFE AFTER LIFE. It is a tale of possibilities and consequences that rings across the shifting decades, from the '50s, '60s, '70s and on to the present, showing how even the smallest choices can define the course of our lives.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Laura Barnett's bio.
-Click here to visit Laura Barnett's official website.
-Click here to connect with Laura Barnett on Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Women's Fiction Author Spotlight and enter the contest.'s 11th Annual Mother's Day Contest: Books Mom Will Love
Mother’s Day is a time to recognize the woman who raised and nurtured us. To celebrate, we're giving you the opportunity to win books and goodies for you or the special lady in your life in our 11th annual "Books Mom Will Love" contest. From now through Monday, May 9th at noon ET, readers can enter to win one of our five prize packages, which includes the books listed below, along with some Mom-themed treats. With books that are moving, uplifting, humorous and informative, look no further than for the perfect gift for Mom.

This year's featured titles are:

Click here to read more about the prize books and enter the contest.
What's New This Month on
We currently are giving away the following book 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:

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More Reviews This Week
THE MURDER OF MARY RUSSELL: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R. King (Historical Mystery)
Audiobook available, narrated by Jenny Sterlin and Susan Lyons
Mary Russell is used to dark secrets --- her own, and those of her famous partner and husband, Sherlock Holmes. Trust is a thing slowly given, but over the course of a decade together, the two have forged an indissoluble bond. And what of the other person to whom Russell has opened her heart: the couple’s longtime housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson? Russell’s faith and affection are suddenly shattered when a man arrives on the doorstep claiming to be Mrs. Hudson’s son. What Samuel Hudson tells Russell cannot possibly be true, yet she believes him --- as surely as she believes the threat of the gun in his hand. In a devastating instant, everything changes. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

GAME 7, 1986: Failure and Triumph in the Biggest Game of My Life by Ron Darling with Daniel Paisner (Sports/Memoir)
Every little kid who's ever taken the mound in Little League dreams of someday getting the ball for Game Seven of the World Series. Ron Darling got to live that dream --- only it didn't go exactly as planned. In GAME 7, 1986, the award-winning baseball analyst looks back at what might have been a signature moment in his career, and reflects on the ways professional athletes must sometimes shoulder a personal disappointment as their teams find a way to win. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire (Fantasy)
Audiobook available, narrated by Cynthia Hopkins
In Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children, children have always disappeared under the right conditions and emerged somewhere else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children. Nancy tumbled once, but now she's back. The children under Miss West's care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world. But Nancy's arrival marks a change at the Home. There's a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it's up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of things. No matter the cost. Reviewed by Katherine B. Weissman.

CHARLOTTE BRONTE: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman (Biography)
Audiobook available, narrated by Corrie James
Charlotte Brontë famously lived her entire life in an isolated parsonage on a remote English moor with a demanding father and siblings whose astonishing childhood creativity was a closely held secret. The genius of Claire Harman’s biography is that it transcends these melancholy facts to reveal a woman for whom duty and piety gave way to quiet rebellion and fierce ambition. Drawing on letters unavailable to previous biographers, Harman depicts Charlotte’s inner life with absorbing, almost novelistic intensity. Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds.

THE DIG by John Preston (Historical Fiction)
Audiobook available; narrated by Simon Vance, Kate Reading, Fiona Hardingham and Derek Perkins
In the long, hot summer of 1939, Britain is preparing for war, but on a riverside farm in Suffolk there is excitement of another kind. Mrs. Pretty, the widowed owner of the farm, has had her hunch confirmed that the mounds on her land hold buried treasure. As the dig proceeds, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary find. This fictional recreation of the famed Sutton Hoo dig follows three months of intense activity when locals fought outsiders, professionals thwarted amateurs, and love and rivalry flourished in equal measure. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

THE LETTER WRITER by Dan Fesperman (Historical Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by David Bendena
When Woodrow Cain leaves North Carolina for New York City, he also leaves behind a wife who had left him, a daughter in the care of his sister, and a career as a police officer marred by questions surrounding his partner’s murder. He gets a job with the NYPD --- hoping to start anew --- but comes into contact with a man who calls himself Danzinger. He speaks five languages and has the appearance of a “crackpot,” yet he is the only person who can help Cain identity a body just found floating in the Hudson. Who is this mysterious man, and how does he know so much about Cain? The more Cain and Danzinger investigate, the nearer they come to the center of a citywide web of traitorous corruption from which neither of them may get out alive. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

BAD SIGNS by R.J. Ellory (Historical Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Doug Coleman
Orphaned by an act of senseless violence that took their mother from them, half-brothers Clarence Luckman and Elliott Danziger have been raised in state institutions, unaware of any world beyond its walls. But their lives take a sudden turn when they are seized as hostages by a convicted killer en route to death row. Earl Sheridan is a psychopath of the worst kind, and as he and his two hostages set off on a frenetic path through California down to Texas, Clarence and Elliot must come to terms with the ever-growing tide of violence in their wake. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy and Joe Hartlaub.

THE EMPRESS OF BRIGHT MOON: A Novel of Empress Wu by Weina Dai Randel (Historical Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
At the moment of the Emperor's death, everything changes in the palace. Mei, his former concubine, is free, and Pheasant, the heir and Mei's lover, is proclaimed as the new Emperor, heralding a new era in China. But just when Mei believes she's closer to her dream, Pheasant's chief wife, Lady Wang, turns against Mei and takes unthinkable measures to stop her. The power struggle that ensues will determine Mei's fate --- and that of China. Surrounded by enemies within the palace that she calls home, Mei continues her journey to the throne in this second book of Weina Dai Randel's acclaimed duology. Reviewed by Carly Silver.

PANTHER'S PREY: A Leo Maxwell Mystery by Lachlan Smith (Mystery)
Audiobook available, narrated by R. C. Bray
Leo Maxwell has left private practice and is working as a public defender in San Francisco. He and his co-counsel, Jordan Walker, are brilliantly defending Randall Rodriguez, a mentally ill homeless man whom they contend falsely confessed to the rape of a young San Francisco socialite. After their client is acquitted, Leo and Jordan fall into an intense relationship --- until Jordan is found brutally raped and murdered in her apartment. The story takes a shocking turn when Leo and Jordan's freshly acquitted client walks into the police station and offers to confess to Jordan's murder. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

A BRILLIANT DEATH by Robin Yocum (Historical Mystery)
Amanda Baron died in a boating accident on the Ohio River in 1953. Or did she? While it was generally accepted that she had lost her life when a coal barge rammed the pleasure boat she was sharing with her lover, her body was never found. Travis Baron was an infant when his mother disappeared. After the accident and the subsequent publicity, Travis’ father scoured the house of all evidence that Amanda Baron had ever lived, and her name was never to be uttered around him. Now in high school, Travis yearns to know more about her. With the help of his best friend, Mitch Malone, Travis begins a search for the truth about the mother he never knew. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
Next Week's Notables: Noteworthy Books Releasing on April 26th
Below are some notable titles releasing on April 26th that we would like to make you aware of. We will have more on many of these books in the weeks to come. For a list of additional hardcovers and paperbacks releasing the week of April 25th, see our “On Sale This Week” newsletter here.

BEST OF MY LOVE: A Fool’s Gold Romance by Susan Mallery (Fiction)
To overcome her painful past, baker Shelby Gilmore goes on the hunt for a male friend to convince herself that men can be trusted. Instead, she meets the dark and charming one-night Casanova, Aidan Mitchell.

THE BIG SHOWDOWN: A Caleb York Western by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Western)
Just when Caleb York has made up his mind to move to San Diego and start a new life as a Pinkerton man, a peaceful morning erupts into blazing gunfire, and York is called to bring law and order to the wild town of Trinidad.

CITY OF SECRETS by Stewart O'Nan (Historical Thriller)
In 1945, Brand is one of the thousands of Jewish refugees --- with no homes to return to --- who sets out for Palestine, where they had to take on fake names, blend with the population and join the wildly different factions fighting for the independence of Israel.

EXTREME PREY by John Sandford (Thriller)
Lucas Davenport --- no longer employed by the Minnesota BCA --- finds himself tagging along with his friend the governor as he campaigns. But the two men soon discover that they are being followed by an armed man intent on killing the governor…and anyone who gets in the way.

HER AGAIN: Becoming Meryl Streep by Michael Schulman (Biography)
Michael Schulman brings into focus Meryl Streep’s heady rise to stardom on the New York stage; her passionate, tragically short-lived love affair with fellow actor John Cazale; her marriage to sculptor Don Gummer; and her evolution as a young woman of the 1970s wrestling with changing ideas of feminism, marriage, love and sacrifice.

HIDE AWAY: An Eve Duncan Novel by Iris Johansen (Thriller)
Faced with the task of protecting Cara Delaney, a young girl with ruthless enemies who want to see her dead, world-famous forensic sculptor Eve Duncan takes her away to the remote Scottish Highlands where they join Eve’s daughter, Jane MacGuire, in search of a hidden treasure.

In a former brothel turned low-rent hotel, the lives of three unusual strangers --- a former female priest, recently fired from her church; the ruined grandson of an ex-millionaire working as a receptionist; and Killer-Anders, a murderer newly released from prison --- accidently collide with darkly hilarious results.

MOCKINGBIRD: A Portrait of Harper Lee: From Scout to Go Set a Watchman by Charles J. Shields (Biography)
In this in-depth biography, first published in 2006, Charles J. Shields brings to life the woman who gave us two of American literature's most unforgettable characters: Atticus Finch and his daughter, Scout. Now, 10 years after its initial publication --- with revisions throughout the book and a new epilogue --- Shields finishes the story of Harper Lee's life, up to its end.

THE STATESMAN AND THE STORYTELLER: John Hay, Mark Twain, and the Rise of American Imperialism by Mark Zwonitzer (History/Biography)
John Hay and Samuel Langhorne Clemens --- famously “Mark Twain” --- grew up 50 miles apart in the same rural antebellum stew of race and class and want. Their shared history helped draw them together when they first met as up-and-coming young men in the late 1860s, and their mutual admiration never waned in spite of sharp differences in personality, worldview and public conduct.
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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 April 15th to April 29th at noon ET, three lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of ELIGIBLE: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld and THE LAST MILE by David Baldacci.

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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 April 1st to May 2nd at noon ET, two lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win the audio versions of Mary Higgins Clark’s AS TIME GOES BY, read by Jan Maxwell, and Kathleen Grissom’s GLORY OVER EVERYTHING: Beyond The Kitchen House, read by Santino Fontana, with Kyle Beltran, Madeleine Maby and Heather Alicia Simms.

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