Skip to main content

Weekly Update

February 27, 2015

Bookreporter.com Newsletter February 27, 2015
A Week of Wine, Vinegar, Books and More…

Wow, an upcoming weekend forecast without snow in it in our neck of the woods; this is shocking and lovely! Last Sunday, we went for a walk around the neighborhood, completely jazzed by the idea that it was 48, sunny, and we did not have to wear boots. It was just what we all needed before plunging back into a deep freeze on Monday; amazing how my mood was lifted during those 24 hours. I have been seeing snow pictures from friends in North Carolina and Virginia, where white like this is not a typical part of the landscape. Last Friday night, I saw a news piece that the weather has had a brutal effect on the economy, with a net loss of about $5 billion as we cocoon. So not good!

As I looked at those photos and posts from friends on Facebook, I once again felt like I was running my own personal news channel. There is a lot of criticism about social media and what it means for communication. While I have a profile on Twitter, I never tweet or even look at it. Believe it or not, I am not a “140-character” kind of person. I like Facebook and am lucky enough to have a far-flung group of friends who are both witty and smart. They turn me on to a lot of articles that I might otherwise miss, and I like reading many sides of an issue or story. I can get that from my posse.

On Wednesday morning, I popped open my Facebook app and saw an Instagram photo and note from author Kelly Corrigan that gave me pause and made me realize how much these virtual relationships are ones I appreciate. Kelly wrote that her dad, “Greenie,” had passed away with these lines: “Somehow, the best person I ever knew slipped away from me tonight. I tried like hell to keep him, my Greenie, but it turned out he was just human after all. Such love. Such love love love. Lucky me.” I have spent time with Kelly on a few occasions and always have enjoyed her company, but through the power of her writing in both THE MIDDLE PLACE (where she wrote about her dad’s bladder cancer, which coincided with her own breast cancer diagnosis/treatment) and GLITTER AND GLUE (where her dad “Greenie” was the glitter and her mom was the glue), I feel like I know her and her family. Watching the outpouring of sympathy from her friends and her readers was heartwarming, and at one point she posted on how much these words meant to her and her family on what was a really tough day --- and asked people to keep them coming. Losing someone you love is never easy, watching someone share what it means to them is uplifting while also sad, and watching a community surround a person to share their own reminiscences and kind words is pretty special.

I watched the entire "Bosch" series on Amazon this week and loved it! Titus Welliver is excellent as Bosch, and the others are well cast too. I think Michael Connelly’s hand as an Executive Producer has helped the series enormously. Also, he co-wrote episodes one, four and 10; four with George Pelecanos. Confession here: I have not read the Bosch books (I have read THE LINCOLN LAWYER), but now I definitely want to start at the beginning. I'm looking forward to the next season of the show. Amusingly, when I searched “Bosch” alone in Google, the dishwashers came up. For the record, we have a Bosch dishwasher and love it.

Last night, I turned on the TV in the background as I was answering email (always multitasking), and the show that was on grabbed my attention, though I had no idea what it was. It was like picking up a book in the middle. As the credits rolled, I realized it was "The Slap," based on Christos Tsiolkas' book of the same name, which made my thought about picking up a book in the middle pretty amusing. I am going to go back to the first episode and catch up. It’s not fun to start in the middle. Linwood Barclay (we will have more on his upcoming book soon!) usually is spot-on at recommending movies and programs that match my interests; he was two episodes in the other day and was planning to continue, which was a good sign for me.

Fun outing this week with a wine tasting and cheese party to celebrate Laura Dave’s upcoming novel, EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES (June 2nd), which is set at a vineyard. She had wines from three different vineyards to share, including one from where she wrote the book. She prepared topics on how to discuss the book with wine pairings, which we know will make this a book group delight. By the way, I learned it takes 800 grapes to make a bottle of red wine, hence the title of the book. She also described the wine-making process to me. Of course, I was envious that Laura got to spend time in the beautiful Sonoma Valley as she researched and wrote. I'm looking forward to reading this and sharing more about it with you! At the book's heart is a woman who has learned a devastating secret about her fiancé; she retreats home to the family vineyard where life there is not as she remembered it either. It sounds like a great storyline...and wine!

Now on to this week’s update….

Laura Lippman’s “accidental” P.I. Tess Monaghan is back in HUSH HUSH. Years ago, on a hot August day, Melisandre Harris Dawes left her infant daughter locked in a car while she sat nearby. Though her daughter died, Melisandre was found not guilty by reason of insanity and immediately left the country and her family to start over. Now she is back to meet her estranged surviving daughters and film their reunion. Though she wants nothing to do with the case, Tess has been asked by her mentor and close friend, Tyner Gray, to assess Melisandre’s security needs. A mother herself, Tess tries not to judge the manipulative Melisandre --- until she becomes the prime suspect in a murder.

Sarah Rachel Egelman has our review and raves, “Lippman's fans have been eagerly awaiting the return of Tess Monaghan, and this thoughtful and subtly provocative 12th installment is sure to make them happy. While the detective work is basic and the danger mostly light, catching up with Tess is enjoyable and the insight into her life and feelings absorbing.”

Fans of Jeffrey Archer’s Clifton and Barrington families will love MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD, the latest installment in The Clifton Chronicles series. The novel begins with a bang --- literally --- when an IRA bomb explodes during the MV Buckingham’s maiden voyage. Now Emma Clifton, chairman of Barrington Shipping, must deal with the blow to her reputation. At the same time, her husband Harry has become president of English PEN and immediately sets out to free an author imprisoned in Siberia for his controversial book about working for Stalin. Unfortunately, Harry’s determination may cost him his life. Meanwhile, the Barrington family faces both political and financial ruin as Sir Giles Barrington, minister of the Crown, confronts an old adversary.

Reviewer Judy Gigstad says, "Labour vs. Conservative politics, gentry vs. commoners, and freedom vs. imprisonment all become important aspects of the novel, the themes of which are skillfully played out in the words penned here. Although previously familiar with just one book in the series, I eased into the total picture that Archer paints with his characters and look forward to catching up on the earlier stories as soon as possible." Remember that the nice thing about MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD is that this is already the fifth book in the series. Perfect for binge reading! My husband started with this one last week and said it also works well as a stand-alone!

Both HUSH HUSH and MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD are prizes in our current Word of Mouth contest. Let us know by Friday, March 6th at noon ET what books you’ve finished reading, and you’ll be in the running to win these two titles, in addition to MRS. GRANT AND MADAME JULE by Jennifer Chiaverini, which we’re planning to review next week.

Wendy Corsi Staub is back with a new stand-alone thriller, THE BLACK WIDOW. It’s about newly divorced Gaby Duran, who isn't really expecting to find her soul mate on a dating site like InTune. She just needs a distraction from pining over her ex-husband, Ben, and the happy marriage they once had. But Gaby quickly discovers there is much more at stake than her lonely heart. Local singles are going missing after making online connections. And a predator is searching again for the perfect match --- one who will fulfill every twisted desire.

According to reviewer Joe Hartlaub, “THE BLACK WIDOW is one of Staub’s best books to date. The twists and turns start coming early on, and while you might be able to predict a couple of things, there are plenty of surprises nonetheless. If the novel’s mystery and suspense aren’t enough, the characters are magnificent”

This week, we debut our Women's Fiction Author Spotlight of Susan Mallery and her latest novel, THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY, with our review and interview. In the first installment of this new series, three friends brought together by proximity and fate tackle life and heartbreak. Nicole Lord is trying to be a good wife, but can’t help feeling that her husband isn’t putting enough effort into their family. Shannon Rigg, meanwhile, has long sacrificed love for her career, but now she’s wondering if she should try to have it all. At the same time, Pam Eiland tries to bring the spark back into her marriage until a personal crisis changes everything. Throughout it all, these three friends learn that they can overcome anything as long as they have each other.

Reviewer Bronwyn Miller says, “Once again, Susan Mallery has created an inviting world that envelops her readers’ senses and sensibilities. It’s not just a tale of how true friendship can lift you up, but also how change is an integral part of life… [F]ans of Jodi Picoult, Debbie Macomber and Elin Hilderbrand will assuredly fall for THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY, as Mallery deftly upholds what Audrey Hepburn once said: 'The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.'" Bronwyn also had an opportunity to chat with Susan, and you can read their conversation here.

We are celebrating the paperback release of MARGARITA WEDNESDAYS: Making a New Life by the Mexican Sea by Deborah Rodriguez with a special contest that will give 10 readers the opportunity to win a copy of the book. Following her bestseller, KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL, Rodriguez tells readers what happened after she was forced to flee Afghanistan in 2007. First settling in California, she was left restless, wondering where her bravery had gone. Finally, packing her life into a Mini Cooper, she moves to a bright seaside town in Mexico. In her blatantly honest and insightful voice, Rodriguez explains how she soon found herself in a world of adventures, love and music --- all on her own terms. To enter, please fill out this form by Tuesday, March 10th at noon ET. I loved KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL and am looking forward to seeing what happened next for Deborah!

Next Friday, March 6th, we’ll be announcing the titles in this year’s Spring Preview feature, with our first 24-hour contest going live on Tuesday the 10th at noon ET. You’ll have to check the site each day to see which title is being given away --- or you can sign up here for our Spring Preview newsletter to be notified when contests go live. We’ll be giving away a different book on select days until Thursday, April 16th, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to be a winner!

Many YA (Young Adult) titles make for great reading and discussion. With this in mind, we were inspired to create a bookshelf displaying 20 young adult titles that are thought-provoking and compelling reading. Although the bookshelf originated on our ReadingGroupGuides.com site, with the idea being that these 20 books are perfect for book group discussions, you certainly don’t need to be in a book group to appreciate and talk about these books. Looking for more great YA reads for yourself or for a teen in your life? Then check out our newly updated Young Adult Books You Want to Read feature, which spotlights books we’ve reviewed on our Teenreads.com site that we think adults may enjoy as well.

And speaking of book groups, we wanted to point out that three contests from ReadingGroupGuides.com are coming to a close this Wednesday, March 4th at noon. So if you’re in a book club, please consider entering our giveaways.

The first is for 10 copies of TIFFANY GIRL by Deeanne Gist, PLUS dinner with her where you’ll discuss her book. It’s historical fiction that gives readers an inside look at the fascinating world of Tiffany glass and the creation of this project. Deeanne will host a special evening at a restaurant local to you and your group one night during the week of Monday, April 27th - Friday, May 1st. Enter here by Wednesday, March 4th at noon ET.

We’re also giving away 10 copies of bestselling Australian author Frances Whiting’s WALKING ON TRAMPOLINES. Praised as "a tender exploration of friendship, families and first love,” it’s a coming-of-age novel equal parts heartwarming, accessible and thought-provoking. Enter here by Wednesday, March 4th at noon ET for your chance to win.

The third contest on ReadingGroupGuides.com that we want to let you know about is our monthly “What’s Your Book Group Reading This Month?” contest, featuring Phil Klay’s National Book Award-winning debut, REDEPLOYMENT. This collection of short stories takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Enter here by Wednesday, March 4th at noon ET, and let us know what your group is reading this month.

There are a number of outstanding fiction titles to look forward to in March (many of which we’ll be reviewing), and so we’re curious which, if any, you’re planning to read. We’ve compiled 23 of them here and would love for you to let us know in our current poll. We love seeing what interests you; we discuss what we are seeing in the poll results at our regular Tuesday morning meeting.

News and Pop Culture:

For Fans of ME BEFORE YOU: Happy to share that the sequel, AFTER YOU, will be available on September 29th, and the film adaptation of ME BEFORE YOU is coming in 2016. Read more about this here.

Little Free Libraries: Are these lawbreakers? Seems in some places permits are required to have them. Seriously? Read more here.

"Sesame Street" Parody of "House of Cards": Frank Underwood is back today with 13 episodes on Netflix. If you are diving in, you may first want to humor yourself with this parody brought to you by the folks at "Sesame Street," which I loved!

Mixture Candles: I have been on a quest for a candle with a eucalyptus smell. This all started when I discovered amazing Eucalyptus bath salts from Bliss that had this scent, which I found to be relaxing. I had wanted to check out the spa at the Grove Park Inn (which was cost and time prohibitive) as they had a “eucalyptus-infused steam room.” I remembered my friend Anna Knapp telling me about Mixture Candles (which you can find here) and my having luck with them a few years ago for some subtle holiday scents. Their Eucalyptus Sage is amazing, as is the White Ginger.

Piece to Ponder: So you find out you are living with limited days left. What matters? Read this piece by author Oliver Sacks (THE MIND'S EYE and AWAKENINGS are among his books). Since I read it, I have been giving it a lot of thought; it's one of the best pieces I have read recently.

Lady Gaga: She CAN sing. As Nikki and Emily wrote in the 20SomethingReads.com newsletter, “Luckily, Gaga saved the show in the eleventh hour (literally) with her rousing, surreal tribute to The Sound of Music. Turns out, there is someone in the world who can out-Julie Andrews Julie Andrews.” I could not have said it better! Missed it? Watch here.

GOODNIGHT MOON: HOW many of us read this over and over again to children…and, for some of you, to grandchildren? So I thought you might appreciate this analysis of the child’s bedroom, which Greg found online. Very amusing.

Last Saturday, we braved the snow to shop for oil and vinegar. Tom’s mom had given us a really tasty peach balsamic vinegar for Christmas, and I wanted to get more of it. So as the flurries flew and then the snow dumped, we were on our way to Fourchette in Clinton to shop. The good news: With the terrible weather, it was easy to find a parking spot! We then taste-tested pairings of white pear balsamic vinegar with rosemary olive oil and Meyer lemon olive oil paired with plain balsamic vinegar. What a treat! We ended up with seven bottles (one a gift for a friend), and I can share that white pear balsamic vinegar will give a spinach salad a whole new taste. We also sampled some scrumptious cheeses and a to-die-for chocolate-covered almond that had me swooning. It was like a mini taste vacation. And I held back on buying some gorgeous linens from Provence. Sadly, with the weather getting worse by the second, I did not get to swing by the Clinton Book Shop to check in with Harvey and Rob as we wanted to sneak in a quick visit with Tom’s mom.

I AM planning to be at that bookstore on Tuesday, March 10th to participate in their “Politically Incorrect Book Club” to talk about THE SHORT AND TRAGIC LIFE OF ROBERT PEACE. I am very much looking forward to that!

My parents are headed over for dinner this weekend, Cory plans to swing on by, and Greg is headed to Vermont to pick up his new used Land Rover. Amusingly, he is buying a Coniston Green 1994 Discovery, the same color and model we first had, which got him started on his love of Land Rovers. With snow piled everywhere, I have NO idea WHERE we are going to park ANOTHER car! Tom and the boys are to cars as I am to yarn and knitting. We ALL have the same book addiction!

Read on, and here’s to a great week ahead….

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

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

Now in Stores: HUSH HUSH by Laura Lippman
HUSH HUSH: A Tess Monaghan Novel by Laura Lippman (Mystery/Thriller)
Tess Monaghan wants nothing to do with a woman crazy enough to have killed her own child. But when her mentor asks her to keep an eye on Melisandre Harris Dawes, who --- by reason of criminal insanity --- was judged not guilty of her daughter’s death, she has to accept. However, things gets tricky after Melisandre becomes a prime suspect in a recent murder. While Tess scrutinizes her, a judgmental stalker has been watching her every move as well. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read more about the book.
 
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD by Jeffrey Archer
MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD by Jeffrey Archer (Historical Fiction)
When Harry Clifton visits his publisher in New York, he learns that he has been elected as the new president of English PEN, and immediately launches a campaign for the release of a fellow author, Anatoly Babakov, who's imprisoned in Siberia. Babakov's crime? Writing a book called Uncle Joe, a devastating insight into what it was like to work for Stalin. So determined is Harry to see Babakov released and the book published that he puts his own life in danger. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

-Click here to read more about the book.
 
Click here to read a review.
Bookreporter.com Talks to Susan Mallery, Author of THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY --- Our Latest Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight Title

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery --- whose work has been called "luscious and provocative" --- is back with a brand new series. THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY is the first book, and introduces us to three women at different stages in life who come together in the beautiful seaside town of Mischief Bay, California, to provide solace and support for one another. In this interview with Bookreporter.com’s Bronwyn Miller, Mallery talks about creating Mischief Bay (which is so well-conceived that it seems like a real place!) and why she chose to feature three distinctly different women. She also shares how she manages to be so prolific and where you can find more of her delicious recipes.

THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY by Susan Mallery (Fiction)
In this first novel of a brand new series from New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery, three women at different stages in life come together in the beautiful seaside town of Mischief Bay, California, to provide solace and support through shared laughter and tears, proving that when all else fails, you always have your friends. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to visit the series' official website.
-Click here to read Susan Mallery’s bio.
-Click here to visit Susan Mallery's official website.
-Connect with Susan Mallery on Facebook and Twitter.
-Click here to read more in our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight.

Click here to read our interview.
Special Contest: Win a Paperback Copy of MARGARITA WEDNESDAYS by Deborah Rodriguez
We are celebrating the recent paperback release of MARGARITA WEDNESDAYS: Making a New Life by the Mexican Sea by Deborah Rodriguez with a special contest that will give 10 readers the opportunity to win a copy of the book. To enter, please fill out this form by Tuesday, March 10th at noon ET.

MARGARITA WEDNESDAYS: Making a New Life by the Mexican Sea by Deborah Rodriguez (Memoir/Travel)
Irreverent, insightful and blatantly honest, Deborah Rodriguez --- author of the New York Times bestseller KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL --- takes us along on her inspiring journey of self-discovery and renewal after she is forced to flee Afghanistan in 2007. She first lands in California, where she feels like a misfit teetering on the brink of sanity. Where was that fearless redhead who stared danger in the face back in Kabul?

After being advised to commune with glowworms and sit in contemplation for one year, Rodriguez finally packs her life and her cat into her Mini Cooper and moves to a seaside town in Mexico. Despite having no plan, no friends and no Spanish speaking skills, a determined Rodriguez soon finds herself swept up in a world where the music never stops and a new life can begin. Her adventures and misadventures among the expats and locals help lead the way to new love, new family and a new sense of herself.

In the magic of Mexico, she finds the hairdresser within, and builds the life she never knew was possible --- a life on her own terms.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read Deborah Rodriguez’s bio.
-Click here to visit Deborah Rodriguez’s official website.
-Connect with Deborah Rodriguez on Facebook and Twitter.
 
Click here to enter the contest.
Now in Stores: DOUBLE FUDGE BROWNIE MURDER by Joanne Fluke
DOUBLE FUDGE BROWNIE MURDER: A Hannah Swensen Mystery with Recipes! by Joanne Fluke (Mystery)
Hannah Swensen is nervous about the upcoming trial for her involvement in a tragic accident. She's eager to clear her name once and for all, but her troubles only double when she finds the judge bludgeoned to death with his own gavel --- and Hannah is the number one suspect. Now on trial in the court of public opinion, she sets out in search of the culprit and discovers that the judge made more than a few enemies during his career. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

-Click here to read more about the book.
 
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE BLACK WIDOW by Wendy Corsi Staub
THE BLACK WIDOW by Wendy Corsi Staub (Thriller)
Newly divorced Gaby Duran isn't really expecting to find her soul mate on a dating site like InTune. She just needs a distraction from pining over her ex-husband, Ben, and the happy marriage they once had. And she's wise enough to know that online, the truth doesn't always match the profile. But Gaby quickly discovers there is much more at stake than her lonely heart. Local singles are going missing after making online connections. And a predator is searching again for the perfect match. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to visit Wendy Corsi Staub's official website.
 
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE ALPHABET HOUSE by Jussi Adler-Olsen
THE ALPHABET HOUSE by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Historical/Psychological Thriller)
Due to their deception, British pilots James Teasdale and Bryan Young end up in the Alphabet House, a mental hospital where German doctors subject their patients to daily rounds of shock treatments and experimental drugs. Their only hope of survival is to fake insanity until World War II ends, but their friendship and courage are put to the ultimate test when James and Bryan realize they aren’t the only ones in the Alphabet House feigning madness. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
 
Click here to read a review.
Coming March 6th: Bookreporter.com’s Spring Preview Contests and Feature --- Sign Up Now for Contest Alerts!
Bookreporter.com’s Spring Preview contests are right around the corner! Here, we’ll be spotlighting a number of hot new books releasing in the spring that you will want to consider adding to your reading list. Starting Tuesday, March 10th at noon ET and continuing through Thursday, April 16th, we will be hosting a series of 24-hour contests for these books. You’ll have to check the site each day to see which title is being given away --- or you can sign up here for our Spring Preview newsletter to be notified when contests go live. We will be sending a special Sneak Preview newsletter on Monday, March 9th.
 
Click here to sign up for Spring Preview contest alerts.
Bookreporter.com’s Latest Bookshelf: Not Just for Teens: YA Books for Great Group Discussions
Young adult (YA) books aren't just for kids and the young at heart --- they're also great for book groups! In honor of GO SET A WATCHMAN, Harper Lee's forthcoming and long-awaited follow-up to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, we've rounded up 20 YA titles that are just as thought-provoking and compelling as their grownup counterparts. In addition to MOCKINGBIRD, we've included classics like THE GIVER, teen memoirs like Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai’s I AM MALALA, literary fiction like Printz Award winner I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN, and even novels in verse like BROWN GIRL DREAMING. You're never too old to give YA a chance, and these books are sure to lend themselves to a great discussion with your group --- or with family and friends if you're not in a book club!
 
Click here to see our "Not Just for Teens: YA Books for Great Group Discussions" bookshelf.
In a Book Group? Then Enter Our THREE ReadingGroupGuides.com Contests by Wednesday, March 4th at Noon ET
We have three book group contests from ReadingGroupGuides.com to share with you this month. All are open until Wednesday, March 4th at noon ET.

First, we’re offering one group the chance to win copies of bestselling author Deeanne Gist’s TIFFANY GIRL PLUS dinner with her where you’ll discuss her book. TIFFANY GIRL is the heartwarming story of the impetuous Flossie Jayne, a beautiful, budding artist who is handpicked by Louis Tiffany to help complete the Tiffany chapel. As challenges mount, her ambitions become threatened from an unexpected quarter: her own heart. Deeanne will host a special evening at a restaurant local to you and your group one night during the week of Monday, April 27th - Friday, May 1st. » Enter here.


We’re also giving away 10 copies of bestselling Australian author Frances Whiting’s WALKING ON TRAMPOLINES. Praised as "a tender exploration of friendship, families and first love,” it’s a coming-of-age novel equal parts heartwarming, accessible and thought-provoking. You won’t want to miss it! » Enter here.

Our “What’s Your Book Group Reading This Month?” contest prize is Phil Klay’s National Book Award-winning debut, REDEPLOYMENT. This collection of short stories takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos. » Enter here.
 
Click here to visit ReadingGroupGuides.com.
More Reviews This Week
OUTLINE by Rachel Cusk (Fiction)
OUTLINE is a novel in 10 conversations that follows a novelist teaching a course in creative writing during one oppressively hot summer in Athens. She leads her students in storytelling exercises, meets other visiting writers for dinner and discourse, and goes swimming in the Ionian Sea with her neighbor from the plane. The people she encounters speak volubly about themselves. And through these disclosures, a portrait of the narrator is drawn by contrast --- a portrait of a woman learning to face a great loss. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

DISCONTENT AND ITS CIVILIZATIONS: Dispatches from Lahore, New York, and London by Mohsin Hamid (Essays)
Mohsin Hamid’s stories are at once timeless and of-the-moment, and his themes are universal: love, language, ambition, power, corruption, religion, family and identity. In DISCONTENT AND ITS CIVILIZATIONS, he explores this terrain from a different angle in essays that deftly counterpoise the personal and the political, and are shot through with the same passion, imagination and breathtaking shifts of perspective that gives his fiction its unmistakable electric charge. Reviewed by Frederick Lloyd.

MAKING NICE by Matt Sumell (Fiction)
Our hero Alby flails wildly against the world around him --- he punches his sister (she deserved it), "unprotectos" broads (they deserved it and liked it), gets drunk and picks fights (all deserved), defends defenseless creatures both large and small, and spews insults at children, slow drivers, old ladies, and every single surviving member of his family. In each of these stories, Alby distills the anguish, terror, humor and strange grace --- or lack of --- he experiences in the aftermath of his mother’s death. Reviewed by Jane Krebs.

DOROTHY PARKER DRANK HERE by Ellen Meister (Fiction)
Heavenly peace? No, thank you. Dorothy Parker would rather wander the famous halls of the Algonquin Hotel, searching for someone, anyone, who will keep her company on this side of eternity. After 40 years, she thinks she’s found the perfect candidate in Ted Shriver, a brilliant literary voice of the 1970s, who is slowly dying of cancer, which he refuses to treat. But when she and ambitious TV producer Norah Wolfe manage to uncover startling secrets about Ted’s past, the future changes for all of them. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

THE DOOMSDAY EQUATION by Matt Richtel (Technological Thriller)
Computer genius Jeremy Stillwater has designed a machine that can predict global conflicts and ultimately head them off. There’s nowhere for him to turn when his computer beeps with a warning that the outbreak of World War III is imminent. Alone, armed with nothing but his own ingenuity, he embarks on a quest to find the mysterious and powerful nemesis determined to destroy mankind. But before he can save billions of lives, Jeremy has to figure out how to save his own. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

SWEET NOTHING: Stories by Richard Lange (Fiction/Short Stories)
Included in Richard Lange’s latest short story collection, SWEET NOTHING, are edge-of-your-seat tales: A prison guard must protect an inmate being tried for heinous crimes. A father and son set out to rescue a young couple trapped during a wildfire. An ex-con trying to make good as a security guard stumbles onto a burglary plot. A young father must submit to blackmail to protect the fragile life he's built. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

A MURDER OF MAGPIES by Judith Flanders (Mystery)
It’s just another day at the office for London book editor Samantha “Sam” Clair. Checking jacket copy for howlers, wondering how to break it to her star novelist that her latest effort is utterly unpublishable, lunch scheduled with gossipy author Kit Lowell, whose new book will dish the juicy dirt on a recent fashion industry scandal. Little does she know the trouble Kit’s book will cause before it even goes to print. Someone doesn't want Kit's manuscript published, and unless Sam can put the pieces together in time, they'll do anything to stop it. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

A LOVE LIKE BLOOD by Marcus Sedgwick (Historical/Psychological Thriller)
In 1944, just days after the liberation of Paris, Charles Jackson sees something horrific: a man in a dark tunnel, apparently drinking the blood of a murdered woman. Terrified, he does nothing, telling himself afterward that worse tragedies happen during war. Seven years later, he returns to the city --- and sees the same man dining in the company of a fascinating, beautiful young woman. When they leave the restaurant, Charles decides to follow. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

DOCTOR DEATH: A Madeleine Karno Mystery by Lene Kaaberbol (Historical Mystery)
When 17-year-old Cecile Montaine is found dead, her family will not permit a full post-mortem autopsy. Madeleine Karno and her pathologist father are left with a single mysterious clue: in the dead girl’s nostrils is a type of parasite normally seen only in dogs. Soon after, the priest who held vigil by the dead girl’s corpse is brutally murdered. The thread that connects these two events is a tangled one, and as the death toll mounts, Madeleine must seek knowledge in odd places. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
Young Adult Books You Want to Read
Our company, The Book Report Network, has a number of websites about books and authors in addition to Bookreporter.com. Throughout the year, Bookreporter.com features adult books on Teenreads.com, our site for young adult readers, that we think will have definite appeal to a teen audience. In the spirit of sharing, we also spotlight a selection of titles each month from Teenreads.com that we believe are great reads that you might enjoy.

Here are our latest featured titles:

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND by Kathryn Holmes (Fiction)
Sophomore Hallie Calhoun has just endured the most excruciating six months of her life. Once the rumors about her and the preacher's son, Luke, made their way around school, her friends abandoned her, and she has completely withdrawn. Now, on a hike in the Smoky Mountains with the same people who have relentlessly taunted her, Hallie is pushed to her limit. Then Hallie, outgoing newcomer Rachel, and Hallie's former friend, Jonah, get separated from the rest of the group. As days go by without rescue, their struggle for survival turns deadly.

UNLIKELY WARRIOR: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler's Army by Georg Rauch (Memoir)
As a young adult in wartime Vienna, Georg Rauch helped his mother hide dozens of Jews from the Gestapo behind false walls in their top-floor apartment and arrange for their safe transport out of the country. Then came the day he was drafted into Hitler's army and shipped out to fight on the Eastern front as part of the German infantry. Thus begins the incredible journey of a 19-year-old thrust unwillingly into an unjust war, who must use his smarts, skills and bare-knuckled determination to stay alive in the trenches.
 
Click here for more young adult books we recommend you read.
Our Latest Poll: Which March Books Are You Anticipating?
Which of the following fiction titles releasing in March are you planning to read? Please check all that apply.

THE ANGEL COURT AFFAIR: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel, by Anne Perry
THE ASSASSIN: An Isaac Bell Adventure, by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
AT THE WATER’S EDGE by Sara Gruen
THE BURIED GIANT by Kazuo Ishiguro
THE CAVENDON WOMEN by Barbara Taylor Bradford
COLD BETRAYAL: An Ali Reynolds Novel, by J.A. Jance
A DANGEROUS PLACE: A Maisie Dobbs Novel, by Jacqueline Winspear
ENDANGERED: A Joe Pickett Novel, by C.J. Box
EPITAPH: A Novel of the O.K. Corral, by Mary Doria Russell
THE FIFTH GOSPEL by Ian Caldwell
THE HARDER THEY COME by T.C. Boyle
INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD by David Morrell
LAST ONE HOME by Debbie Macomber
THE LOVE SONG OF MISS QUEENIE HENNESSY by Rachel Joyce
MADEMOISELLE CHANEL by C. W. Gortner
MRS. GRANT AND MADAME JULE by Jennifer Chiaverini
MURDER ON THE CHAMP DE MARS: An Aimée Leduc Investigation Set in Paris, by Cara Black
NYPD RED 3 by James Patterson and Marshall Karp
THE PATRIOT THREAT by Steve Berry
REBEL QUEEN by Michelle Moran
SOMEONE IS WATCHING by Joy Fielding
THE STRANGER by Harlan Coben
WORLD GONE BY by Dennis Lehane
None of the above
 
Click here to answer the poll.
Word of Mouth Contest: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win THREE Books!
Tell us your current reading recommendations with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from February 20th to March 6th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of HUSH HUSH: A Tess Monaghan Novel by Laura Lippman, MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD by Jeffrey Archer and MRS. GRANT AND MADAME JULE by Jennifer Chiaverini.

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 complete rules and guidelines, click here.

Please note: You must enter your full address, using correct capitalization and filling in all fields if you would like to be eligible to win this prize.

Also, we realize that many times, your opinion of a book will change as you get further along into the story. Thus, to ensure that your comments and ratings accurately reflect your entire reading experience, your review WILL NOT be posted if you have not finished the book.

One important technical note: If you're using an iPad or another iOS device to access the Word of Mouth page and you would like to enter the contest, you must wait for the page to fully load before you can rate your book. Only then will the stars be clickable.

-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 Bookreporter.com, please see the form on the Write to Us page. If you would like to reach me, please write Carol@bookreporter.com. 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 TheBookReportNetwork.com: www.20SomethingReads.com, www.Teenreads.com, www.Kidsreads.com, www.ReadingGroupGuides.com, www.GraphicNovelReporter.com, www.FaithfulReader.com and www.AuthorsOnTheWeb.com.

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