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Weekly Update

January 23, 2015

Bookreporter.com Newsletter January 23, 2015
Milestones Bring Back Memories
Big day today in our house as Cory turns 20, which means that I have officially survived the teen years and now am the mom of two 20somethings. Greg turns 25 next Wednesday, thus this week and next are a blur of chocolate cake and memories. The candles get lit, and I get flashbacks of earlier birthdays. And though there is not a balloon in the room, I still can picture them, as well as a rush of faces through the years in my own version of the movie Boyhood. By the way, I am sticking with my claim that I am 27, no matter how old the boys are. Cory started his new semester at college on Tuesday, so we celebrated Monday night; it’s only the second time that we are not celebrating on the “really really” day, but life does march on!

By the way, I still lament that I never took the Wilton Cake Decorating class. It was on my calendar for the week when we had our first meeting with AOL about launching The Book Report, the site that preceded Bookreporter.com. I still cannot frost a cake well, which the boys tease me about (though my cakes are very, very tasty); if I had had ONE more week, my cakes would have looked amazing as well.

Yesterday I stopped by one of my favorite yarn stores, String Yarns, to do some sale shopping as the original owner, Linda, has sold the store, and it will be moving a few blocks across town with a new owner in early February. Many of you have told me how much you enjoy this newsletter on Friday nights or Saturday mornings. I feel the same way about the weekly mailing from String that arrives on Sunday morning. I dropped by the store, as I wanted to wish Linda well and tell her that while the store’s newsletter will continue, I will miss “hearing her voice in my head” as I read it.

Thanks to the MANY of you who wrote to tell me that you thought last week’s newsletter was “the best.” The pressure is on to ratchet it up another notch this week!

Last weekend, I read SEARCHING FOR GRACE KELLY by Michael Callahan, which releases on Tuesday. It’s a fun read set at the Barbizon Hotel in the mid-1950s. For those who do not know, this was a “women only” hotel in New York City that “was a safe retreat that felt like the family home” for young ladies leaving home for the first time. It had as its claim to fame such guests as Sylvia Plath, Eudora Welty, Ali MacGraw, Joan Didion and, yes, Grace Kelly. One of the characters was a college editor for Mademoiselle magazine; their college editors used to stay at the Barbizon. I spent 17 years at Mademoiselle before starting Bookreporter.com, and reading about the legendary editor, Betsy Blackwell, and the college program was huge fun. Callahan dishes up a great escape of a story of another time and another place that was very pleasant reading while a fire burned in the fireplace last weekend.

I was thrilled to see that THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, Paula Hawkins' debut psychological thriller, will hit the New York Times list at #1. I knew I was reading the tea leaves right on this one when I read an early copy back in late October. See here why I selected it as a Bookreporter.com Bets On pick! Also, for those into book trivia, I have this nugget to share. I was speaking with Nora Rawlinson, the editor/founder of EarlyWord.com, yesterday, and she thinks that this is only the second time that a debut author has gone straight to #1 on the New York Times list; the first time was THE HISTORIAN by Elizabeth Kostova. If anyone knows differently, please let me know! And THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN inspired our “Reliable Reads from Unreliable Narrators” bookshelf, which you can see here. Also, you can see our review here.

And now on to this week’s update…

Our latest Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight focuses on Sarah Addison Allen, whose newest novel, FIRST FROST, revisits the Waverley women from her 2007 debut novel, GARDEN SPELLS. Though Claire has started a successful new candy business, she misses the time she once spent with her family. Sydney, too, is missing something --- a new baby to adore and carry on her husband’s name. Her daughter, Bey, meanwhile, is suffering the pangs of her first unrequited love. When a mysterious stranger appears and challenges the heart of the Waverley family, each must make a difficult choice --- all while continuing to hold the family together.

Bronwyn Miller has our review and says, “Once again, Sarah Addison Allen blends her unique mix of southern charm with magical realism.... If you want to lose yourself in an enchanting and enjoyable escape, FIRST FROST is the perfect recipe for an idyllic afternoon.” Bronwyn also had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah about FIRST FROST, and you can read their conversation here.

We are continuing our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight of THE SAME SKY by Amanda Eyre Ward with our review and interview. Along with her husband, Jake, Alice owns a restaurant in Austin, Texas. Though they are hardworking and happy, Alice feels as though something is missing. Across the border, young Carla is forced to care for her little brother after their mother leaves Honduras for Texas. When violence in the city escalates, Carla decides to follow in her mother’s path for the chance at a better life.

In her review, Bronwyn has this to say: “Told in alternating chapters, Ward is able to fully inhabit her characters and their harrowing circumstances on both sides of the border.... In addition to being a moving and engaging read, it seems a natural choice for book groups, with a myriad of interesting topics to discuss.” Bronwyn also had a chance to talk with Amanda about her inspiration for this heartrending novel, and you can read the interview here. I loved this book and will share my Bookreporter.com Bets On commentary about it next week.

Our Historical Fiction Author Spotlight of Priya Parmar and her latest novel, VANESSA AND HER SISTER, continues with our interview with her. Reviewer Roz Shea had the pleasure of chatting with Priya about her fascination with Vanessa Bell and her sister, Virginia Woolf, as well as the extended, equally eccentric Bloomsbury Group. Click here to read the interview, here for Roz’s review of the book, which we featured in the January 9th newsletter, and here for my Bets On commentary.

Our first Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight of the new year features Jess Lourey, whose Murder-By-Month Mystery series continues with FEBRUARY FEVER. In this 10th installment private investigator Mira James has been keeping warm through the winter with boyfriend Johnny. When he is offered an amazing internship in Portland, Mrs. Berns talks Mira into visiting him. Unfortunately, Mrs. Berns has accidentally booked them on a Valentine Train designed to help singles mingle and meet. Hoping to make the best of it, Mira begins to relax --- until a fellow passenger is murdered. In anticipation of the February 8th release of this compelling mystery, we’re offering 35 readers the opportunity to win a copy and share their comments about it. Enter here by Thursday, February 5th at noon ET. I had fun reading FEBRUARY FEVER, and it’s nice to know there are nine other books similarly themed that can be enjoyed; reading it made me wonder what Mira had been up to in the past. When we interview Jess, I want to be sure to ask her why she did not start with January!

Just in time for this snowy season comes ECHO LAKE, one of two titles to be featured in this week’s Paperback Spotlight. In this fourth installment of Carla NeggersSwift River Valley series, which releases January 27th, Heather Sloan has been hired to renovate Vic Scarlatti’s 1912 country home near Echo Lake. Also on the property is Brody Hancock, a diplomatic security service agent who left town at 18 --- just avoiding the rage of Heather’s brothers. Though Heather is wary of Brody’s surprise homecoming, the two may just find themselves in an unexpected romance.

Also in the Paperback Spotlight is THREE SISTERS by Susan Mallery, which releases in mass market paperback on January 27th (it was originally published as a trade paperback in 2013). In this heartwarming novel, Mallery invites readers back to beautiful Blackberry Island, where three women develop a powerful friendship. Andi Gordon, left at the altar, has just purchased one of the famous Three Sisters houses on the island and now must focus on revamping the house and her life. Next door, Deanna Phillips confronts her husband about his suspected affair. And in the third house, artist Boston King deals with a tragedy that may ruin her perfect marriage. Brought together by fate and proximity, these three ladies will find that friendship, laughter and love may truly cure all.

Continuing from last week are our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight contest for Kristin Hannah’s THE NIGHTINGALE and our two special contests for INSIDE THE O’BRIENS by Lisa Genova and THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY by the aforementioned Susan Mallery. Click on each of the titles for all the contest details.

Things are really kicking into gear this week as we have 18 reviews to share with you.

A couple of books we're reviewing to note. First is FEAR THE DARKNESS, which is Becky Masterman’s follow-up to the Edgar Award and CWA Gold Dagger finalist RAGE AGAINST THE DYING starring ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn. Becky has done a terrific job with Brigid’s character. Instead of keeping her in the same direction as the last book, she immediately pivoted her into a new challenge. She definitely is an author to keep an eye on. Note that we have a contest on the site where 25 readers will have a chance to win a copy of the book. Click here to enter by Monday, February 9th at noon ET. My Bets On commentary for this book will follow next week; I want to be sure you are reading her now!

We also have our very own John Maher’s review of MARCH: Book Two by Congressman John Lewis, whose interview we featured in last week’s newsletter. I got a lovely note from Virginia in Ventura, CA, who “hasn’t read a graphic novel as an adult,” but loved the interview with John Lewis and ordered both books after reading it.

We also are celebrating the January 27th release of THE DEVIL TAKES A BRIDE by Julia London with a contest that will give 15 readers the opportunity to win a copy of the book. It’s the steamy story of Grace Cabot, who was once the toast of society, but is now driven to desperate measures in order to save her family: a wicked plot to seduce a wealthy viscount into marriage. But once a stolen embrace with the wrong man leads her to be discovered in the arms of Jeffrey, the Earl of Merryton, her plan takes a most unexpected --- and scorching --- twist. Enter here by Tuesday, February 17th at noon ET for your chance to win.

The nominees for this year’s Edgar Awards were announced this week. Among the finalists are COP TOWN by Karin Slaughter (Best Novel) and THE BARKEEP by William Lashner (Best Paperback Original). Click here for the complete list of nominees. The winners will be announced on April 29th.

The nominees for this year’s National Book Critics Circle Awards were also revealed. They include LILA by Marilynne Robinson (Fiction) and ON IMMUNITY by Eula Biss (Criticism). By the way, Bill Gates mentioned ON IMMUNITY in an article on Wired.com this week. In addition, Phil Klay, who won the National Book Award for Fiction just two months ago, has been named this year’s recipient of the John Leonard First Book Prize for his story collection, REDEPLOYMENT. Click here for the full list of finalists. The winners will be announced on March 12th.

This week’s “Sounding Off on Audio” interviews are with Lesley Scher, a bookseller for a major brick-and-mortar retailer who enjoys sharing her love of books with her co-workers, customers, and friends and family, and Mark Freeburg, a mail carrier who listens to audiobooks while on the job (I am picturing Mark walking his route and enjoying his book, and I think I should tell our mail carrier about this.) I loved both of their pieces. If you are interested in being interviewed for this feature, please email me at Carol@bookreporter.com with the subject line "Audiobook Lover."

How many reviews do you typically look at before reading a book? Let us know by taking our latest poll here. In our previous poll, we were curious as to how you discovered Bookreporter.com. 25 percent of you found us through a search engine, while 24 percent were our earliest readers when the site was on AOL; the latter comment means you have been reading for more than 15 years. Click here for all the results.

A new Word of Mouth contest is up this week. This period’s prizes are CRASH & BURN by Lisa Gardner, INSIDE A SILVER BOX by Walter Mosley and THE SACRIFICE by Joyce Carol Oates. Please let us know by Friday, February 6th at noon ET what books you’ve read, and you’ll be in the running to win all three titles.

Here are a few pop culture items to share:

Something I Am Giving A LOT of Thought To: There is a lot being written about the films that were nominated for Oscars not being big box office successes. But there is part of me that thinks this is pop culture right now: small slices that appeal to passionate audiences. I see it with books as well as with movies. I think it's time to redefine what success is.

Watched and Recommend: Boyhood. I never checked the running time in advance, and thus did not realize it was 2 hours and 44 minutes long! I think it was better to watch at home than in the theater. I liked the ending years more than the beginning and middle, so I was glad I stayed with it. One thing as I watched Patricia Arquette: I kept thinking of her as Allison on “Medium,” and I kept waiting for her phone to ring with that signature Nokia ring (they should have had that happen at some point for insider humor). I do admire the commitment they all undertook to make this film, which I read a lot about this week.

Watched and Recommend: Whiplash. It’s very intense, and I never will watch a drummer the same way again. Jesse Kornbluth, my Bookreporter.com co-founder, weighed in with this: “Think if he was a sports coach instead of a music teacher. What then? He would have been fired, arrested, possibly jailed, certainly sued. But a music teacher? ‘Oh, he just wants excellence.’” Also, there is one scene that literally made me jump. You were warned. And I do confess I was thinking of the Farmers Insurance commercials way too much watching J.K. Simmons.

Watched, but Skippable: A Most Violent Year. All I can say is it reminded me of what NYC was like in 1981 when walking to Port Authority from my office at Condé Nast on Madison Avenue meant that I tried to get across town without one of the following three things happening (usually on 41st Street) as I walked very, very quickly: 1) Being asked for money with a cup thrust at me; 2) Seeing someone peeing on the street or pee in the street; and 3) Seeing at least two people nodded out in a drug stupor or sleeping on the street. I think it happened once. Yes, I KNOW this happens still all over the city today, but it was different then. Now it seems sad; then it seemed sinister.

Listened to: THE ROSIE EFFECT, narrated by Dan O’Grady, and LOVED it. As much as I enjoyed reading THE ROSIE PROJECT, I think that the audio was an even more fun experience.

Listening to: THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, narrated by the late Edward Herrmann. I admit I swoon for his voice. Loving this so far. Hmmmmm…wonder how far I would need to drive to listen to the whole thing? Maybe I should see how many miles it takes me on the treadmill instead.

Watched: “Grantchester” when I left PBS on after “Downton Abbey.” Enjoyed it enough that I will watch again.

Still Left to Watch: The last episode of “Black Mirror” on Netflix.

Re-watched: My friend Cindy joined me on Saturday to watch Still Alice. I have to say that even with a second viewing, I loved it.

IKEA Video: Humor for those who contemplate print vs. eBooks. This product changes everything! My husband found this one. Very amusing.

Ride I Would Rather Watch Than Experience (but it looks cool): Alpine Coaster in the SNOW! Today we rode the awesome coaster at Utah's Park City Mountain Resort in freezing cold temps! So much fun, SHARE if you want to ride!

Something to Note: Mercury is retrograde January 21st - February 11th in case you are wondering why communication may be awry.

Quiet weekend on tap, which I sorely need. These past few weeks have been a blur. I am reading Sara Gruen's AT THE WATER'S EDGE. I loved her WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, but confess APE HOUSE did nothing for me. A few pages in, and I am thoroughly enjoying this one. 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!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound
Bookreporter.com Talks to Sarah Addison Allen, Author of FIRST FROST --- Our Latest Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight Title
Bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen never planned on revisiting the characters from her beloved first novel, GARDEN SPELLS. But much to the delight of fans, she has brought the Waverley women back to life in her latest book, FIRST FROST. In this charming follow-up, Claire, Sydney and Bay are still struggling with their unique “gifts,” until a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of the family. Here, Allen talks to Bookreporter.com’s Bronwyn Miller about why she chose to return to her old characters and how their familiarity helped her through a hard time. She also shares how much she appreciates meeting her fans on tour (a lot!), whether or not she plans on returning to Bascom again, and how she feels social media has allowed for a less isolated writing experience.

FIRST FROST by Sarah Addison Allen (Fiction)
Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies, though it’s costing her the everyday joys of her family. With each passing day, her half-sister, Sydney, longs more for a baby, while her daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to…if only he could see it, too. When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. 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 for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read Sarah Addison Allen’s bio.
-Click here to visit Sarah Addison Allen’s official website.
-Connect with Sarah Addison Allen on Facebook and Twitter.
-Click here to read more in our Women's Fiction Author Spotlight.
 
Click here to read our interview.
Bookreporter.com Talks to Amanda Eyre Ward, Author of THE SAME SKY --- A Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight Title
Critically acclaimed author Amanda Eyre Ward spent the last year visiting shelters in Texas and California, meeting immigrant children whose stories inspired her latest novel, THE SAME SKY. In it, strong-willed Carla decides to leave Honduras with her young brother and make the difficult journey to Texas --- hoping to reunite with the only family they have left. In her interview with Bookreporter.com’s Bronwyn Miller, Ward reveals the real-life inspiration for Carla and how moved she was by the stories that the kids at the Brownsville shelter shared with her. She also discusses how she hopes THE SAME SKY will add depth to an issue that is often over-simplified in the news and will mobilize readers to get involved.

THE SAME SKY by Amanda Eyre Ward (Fiction)
Alice and her husband, Jake, have a loving marriage and thriving business, but Alice still feels that something is missing. Carla is a strong-willed young girl who is acting as caretaker to her six-year-old brother, Junior. Years ago, her mother left the family behind in Honduras to make the arduous, illegal journey to Texas. But when her grandmother dies, Carla takes fate into her own hands. The lives of Alice and Carla will intersect in a profound and surprising way. 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 Amanda Eyre Ward’s bio.
-Click here to visit Amanda Eyre Ward’s official website.
-Connect with Amanda Eyre Ward on Facebook and Twitter.
 
Click here to read our interview.
Bookreporter.com Talks to Priya Parmar, Author of VANESSA AND HER SISTER --- Our Latest Historical Fiction Author Spotlight Title

Although VANESSA AND HER SISTER is only Priya Parmar’s second book (following her debut, EXIT THE ACTRESS), it has already wowed critics and readers. Set in the exhilarating days of prewar London, it tells the extraordinary tale of two gifted artists: Vanessa Bell and her sister, Virginia Woolf. In this interview with Bookreporter.com’s Roz Shea, Parmar talks about her fascination with Vanessa and Virginia, as well as the extended, equally eccentric Bloomsbury Group. She also discusses why she chose to tell the story in an epistolary format and why she hopes that the wonderful personalization of letter writing will not be lost in our technology-saturated world.

VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar (Historical Fiction)
London, 1905: The city is alight with change, and the Stephen siblings are at the forefront. Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby and Adrian are leaving behind their childhood home and taking a house in the leafy heart of avant-garde Bloomsbury. There they bring together a glittering circle of bright, outrageous, artistic friends who will grow into legend and come to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. And at the center of this charmed circle are the devoted, gifted sisters: Vanessa, the painter, and Virginia, the writer. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here for Carol’s “Bookreporter.com Bets On” commentary.
-Click here to read Priya Parmar’s bio.
-Click here to visit Priya Parmar’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Priya Parmar on Facebook.

Click here to read our interview.
New Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight & Contest: FEBRUARY FEVER by Jess Lourey
We have 35 copies of FEBRUARY FEVER by Jess Lourey, which releases on February 8th, to give away to readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, February 5th at noon ET.

FEBRUARY FEVER: A Murder-By-Month Mystery by Jess Lourey (Mystery)
Check out FEBRUARY FEVER, the 10th book in Jess Lourey’s critically acclaimed Murder-by-Month mysteries. In this installment, Mira James' budding relationship with boyfriend Johnny is definitely warming up her winter. But when Johnny is offered an internship he can't pass up in Portland, Oregon, Mira lets Mrs. Berns talk her into a visit. On the plus side, Mira will be able to take the trip as a tax write-off by attending the International Private Investigator Conference that happens to be going on at the same time. The only drawback for airplane-averse Mira is that Mrs. Berns has booked them on the Valentine Train --- a route designed to help singles meet and mingle.


Relaxing into the experience with a few glasses of champagne and Mrs. Berns' encouragement, Mira begins to enjoy herself...until a fellow passenger is murdered.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Jess Lourey’s bio.
-Click here to visit Jess Lourey’s official website.
-Connect with Jess Lourey on Facebook and Twitter.
 
Click here to read more in our Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight and enter the contest.
New Paperback Spotlight: ECHO LAKE by Carla Neggers
ECHO LAKE: A Swift River Valley Novel by Carla Neggers (Romance)
Heather Sloan has landed her dream job --- the renovation of Vic Scarlatti's stately 1912 country home overlooking the icy waters of Echo Lake in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts. It's the perfect project for the family business, but for once, Heather is in charge.

Diplomatic Security Service agent Brody Hancock left Knights Bridge at 18, a few steps ahead of arrest and the wrath of Heather's older brothers. Though Brody had never planned to return, Vic, a retired diplomat and friend, needs his help.

Staying at Vic's guest house makes it impossible to avoid running into a Sloan at every turn --- especially Heather. Seeing her again has affected Brody more than he wants to admit. But Heather is wary of Brody's sudden interest in her, and she suspects there's more to his homecoming than he's letting on...

Set against the scenic backdrop of a New England winter, ECHO LAKE is a captivating tale of family, friends and the possibility of new love.

ECHO LAKE releases on January 27th.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Carla Neggers’ bio.
-Click here to visit Carla Neggers’ official website.
-Connect with Carla Neggers on Facebook and Twitter.
 
Click here to read more in our Paperback Spotlight.
New Paperback Spotlight: THREE SISTERS by Susan Mallery
THREE SISTERS: A Blackberry Island Novel by Susan Mallery (Romance)
After Andi Gordon is jilted at the altar, she makes an impetuous decision --- buying one of the famed Three Sisters on Blackberry Island. Now the proud-ish owner of the ugly duckling of the trio of Queen Anne houses, her life is just as badly in need of a major renovation as her new home.

When Deanna Phillips confronts her husband about a suspected affair, she opens up a Pandora's Box of unhappiness. In her quest to be the perfect woman, she's lost herself...and could lose her entire family if things don't change.

Next door, artist Boston King thought she and her college sweetheart would be married forever. But after tragedy strikes, she's not so sure. Now it's time for them to move forward, with or without one another.

Thrown together by fate and geography, and bound by the strongest of friendships, these three women will discover what they're truly made of: laughter, tears and love.

THREE SISTERS releases as a mass market paperback on January 27th.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read more about the Blackberry Island series.
-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 Paperback Spotlight.
Women's Fiction Author Spotlight & Contest: THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah
We have 25 copies of THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah to give away to readers who would like to read the book, which releases on February 3rd, and share their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, January 29th at noon ET.

THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah (Historical Fiction)
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious 18-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Kristin Hannah’s bio.
-Click here to visit Kristin Hannah’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Kristin Hannah on Facebook.
 
Click here to read more in our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight and enter the contest.
Special Contest: Win a Copy of INSIDE THE O’BRIENS by Lisa Genova
We are celebrating the April 7th release of INSIDE THE O'BRIENS by Lisa Genova with a special contest that will give 25 readers the opportunity to win an advance copy of the book and submit their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Friday, January 30th at noon ET.

INSIDE THE O’BRIENS by Lisa Genova (Fiction)
Joe O’Brien is a 44-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their 20s, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease.

Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, 21-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?

As his symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Lisa Genova’s bio.
-Click here to visit Lisa Genova’s official website.
-Connect with Lisa Genova on Facebook and Twitter.
 
Click here to enter the contest.
Special Contest: Win a Copy of THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY by Susan Mallery
We are celebrating the February 24th release of THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY by Susan Mallery with a special contest that will give 25 readers the opportunity to win an advance copy of the book and submit their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, January 29th at noon ET.

THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY by Susan Mallery (Fiction)
Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there's a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she's never seen. He won't even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time.

Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg became VP at her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late --- until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she really can have it all.

Although Pam Eiland adores her husband, she feels restless now that the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise him brings the heat and humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she'll have to redefine herself. Again.

Through romance and heartbreak, laughter and tears, the girls of Mischief Bay will discover that life is richer with friends at your side.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read more about the Mischief Bay series.
-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 enter the contest.
Bookreporter.com’s Winter Reading Contests and Feature
At Bookreporter.com, we are kicking off 2015 with our first-ever Winter Reading Contests and Feature. On select days between now and mid-February, we will be hosting a series of 24-hour contests spotlighting a book releasing this winter and giving five lucky readers a chance to win it. We also will be sending a special newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

We encourage you to take a look at this year's featured titles, as these are the books you will want to read during the winter months --- and into the warmer ones!

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, January 26th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include:

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
One to Watch Author Spotlight: THE MAGICIAN’S LIE by Greer Macallister
THE MAGICIAN’S LIE by Greer Macallister (Historical Mystery)
The Amazing Arden is the most notorious female illusionist of her day, renowned for sawing a man in half. One night, with policeman Virgil Holt in the audience, she swaps her saw for a fire ax. A new trick or an all-too-real murder? When a dead body is discovered, the answer seems clear. But under Holt's interrogation, what Arden’s story reveals is both unbelievable and spellbinding. Even handcuffed and alone, she is far from powerless. During one eerie night, Holt must decide whether to turn Arden in or set her free... and it will take all he has to see through the smoke and mirrors.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to see advance readers’ comments.
-Click here to read Greer Macallister’s bio.
-Click here to visit Greer Macallister’s official website.
-Connect with Greer Macallister on Facebook and Twitter.
 
Click here to read more in our One to Watch Author Spotlight.
Sounding Off on Audio: Interviews with Listeners About Their Love of Audiobooks
In this week's "Sounding Off on Audio" feature, we interview Lesley Scher, a bookseller for a major brick-and-mortar retailer who is lucky enough to have her dream job. She loves sharing her favorite books with customers, family and friends...and ever since she got hooked on audiobooks, that list has grown! True to form, Lesley shares some pretty stellar books here, guaranteed to amp up your listening. She also describes the strange way time seems to speed up when you’re listening to a good audiobook, and why sometimes it’s better to listen alone.

-Click here to read our interview with Lesley Scher.


We also chat with Mark Freeburg, a 28-year veteran of the US Postal Service who has plenty of time to listen to audiobooks on his delivery route. He only started listening five years ago, but since then, his repertoire has expanded to include all kinds of fiction and nonfiction audio. Check out his interview to see some of his tips and top picks.

-Click here to read our interview with Mark Freeburg.
 
Click here for more "Sounding Off on Audio" interviews.
More Reviews This Week
MARCH: Book Two written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell (Graphic Memoir)
Congressman John Lewis, an American icon and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, continues his award-winning graphic novel trilogy with co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell. After the success of the Nashville sit-in campaign, Lewis is more committed than ever to changing the world through nonviolence --- but as he and his fellow Freedom Riders board a bus into the vicious heart of the deep south, they will be tested like never before. Reviewed by John Maher.

-Click here to read our interview with John Lewis.

THE BODY SNATCHERS AFFAIR: A Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini (Historical Mystery)
For John Quincannon, this is a first: searching a Chinatown opium den for his client's husband, missing in the middle of a brewing tong war set to ignite over the stolen corpse of Bing Ah Kee. Meanwhile, his partner, Sabina Carpenter, searches for the corpse of a millionaire, stolen from a sealed family crypt and currently being held for ransom. Is there a connection between the two body snatchers? Or is simple greed the answer to this one? Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

CANE AND ABE by James Grippando (Thriller)
A woman’s body is discovered dumped in the Everglades, and Abe Beckham is called upon to monitor the investigation. The FBI is tracking a killer in South Florida they call “Cutter” because his brutal methods harken back to Florida’s dark past, when machete-wielding men cut sugarcane by hand in the blazing sun. But when the Feds discover that Abe had a brief encounter with the victim after his first wife’s death, and when his current wife goes missing, the respected attorney finds himself under fire. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

FEAR THE DARKNESS by Becky Masterman (Thriller)
After her sister-in-law dies, retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn’s niece, Gemma Kate, comes to live with her and her husband, Carlo. There's always been something unsettling about Gemma Kate, but family is family. Meanwhile, Brigid agrees to help a local couple by investigating the death of their son --- until dangerous things start to happen. As the menace comes closer and closer to home, Brigid begins to wonder if she can trust anyone. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to enter a contest for your chance to win one of 25 copies of the book.


ETTA AND OTTO AND RUSSELL AND JAMES by Emma Hooper (Fiction)
Otto finds a note left by his wife in the kitchen of their farmhouse in windswept Saskatchewan. Eighty-three-year-old Etta will be walking 3,200 kilometers to see the ocean, but somehow, Otto understands. He took his own journey once before, to fight in a faraway land. With Etta gone, Otto struggles with his demons of war, while their friend Russell initially pursues the woman he has loved from afar. And James --- well, James you have to meet on the page. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE LAST AMERICAN VAMPIRE by Seth Grahame-Smith (Horror)
In Reconstruction-era America, vampire Henry Sturges is searching for renewed purpose in the wake of his friend Abraham Lincoln's shocking death. It will be an expansive journey that will send him first to England for an unexpected encounter with Jack the Ripper, then to New York City for the birth of a new American century, the dawn of the electric era of Tesla and Edison, and the blazing disaster of the 1937 Hindenburg crash. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

UNBECOMING by Rebecca Scherm (Psychological Thriller)
In Garland, Tennessee, two young men have just been paroled. Both were jailed for a crime that Grace planned in exacting detail. The heist went bad, but not before she was on a plane to Prague with a stolen canvas rolled in her bag. And so, in Paris, begins a cat-and-mouse waiting game as Grace’s web of deception and lies unravels --- and she becomes another young woman entirely. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE BISHOP'S WIFE by Mette Ivie Harrison (Crime Fiction/Mystery)
One cold winter night, a young wife and mother named Carrie Helm disappears, leaving behind everything she owns. Carrie’s husband, Jared, claims his wife has always been unstable and that she has abandoned the family. Linda Wallheim, a devout Mormon and the wife of a bishop, doesn’t trust him. As Linda snoops in the Helm family’s circumstances, she becomes convinced that Jared has murdered his wife and painted himself as a wronged husband. Reviewed by Rebecca Munro.

-Click here to read Carol's "Bookreporter.com Bets On" commentary on the book.

AMNESIA by Peter Carey (Fiction)
When Gaby Baillieux releases the Angel Worm into Australia’s prison computer system, hundreds of asylum-seekers walk free. And because the Americans run the prisons, the doors of some 5,000 jails in the United States also open. Is this a mistake, or a declaration of cyber war? Felix Moore, known to himself as “our sole remaining left-wing journalist,” is determined to write Gaby’s biography in order to find the answers. But how can he get Gaby --- on the run, scared, confused and angry --- to cooperate? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.


THE DEEP by Nick Cutter (Horror)
A strange plague called the ’Gets is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget, and then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily. But now, far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, a heretofore unknown substance hailed as “ambrosia” has been discovered --- possibly a universal healer. It’s up to a brave few to descend through the lightless fathoms in hopes of unraveling the mysteries lurking at those crushing depths…and perhaps to encounter an evil blacker than anything one could possibly imagine. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE GIRL FROM HUMAN STREET: Ghosts of Memory in a Jewish Family by Roger Cohen (Memoir)
Award-winning New York Times columnist Roger Cohen turns a compassionate yet discerning eye on the legacy of his own forebears. As he follows them across continents and decades, mapping individual lives that diverge and intertwine, vital patterns of struggle and resilience, valued heritage and evolving loyalties (religious, ethnic and national) converge into a resonant portrait of cultural identity in the modern age. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

MORT(E) by Robert Repino (Science Fiction/Post-Apocalyptic Thriller)
Former housecat turned war hero, Mort(e) is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bio-weapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind his recklessness is his ongoing search for a pre-transformation friend --- a dog named Sheba. When he receives a mysterious message from the dwindling human resistance claiming Sheba is alive, he begins a journey that will take him from the remaining human strongholds to the heart of the Colony, where he will discover the source of EMSAH and the ultimate fate of all of earth's creatures. Reviewed by Pauline Finch.

THE BOOK OF LOVE: Improvisations on a Crazy Little Thing by Roger Rosenblatt (Love & Romance)
In THE BOOK OF LOVE, Roger Rosenblatt explores love in all its moods and variations --- romantic love, courtship, battle, mystery, marriage, heartbreak, fury, confusion, melancholy, delirium, ecstasy; love of family, of friends; love of home, of country, of work, of writing, of solitude, of art; love of nature; love of life itself. Rosenblatt is on a quest to illuminate this elusive and essential emotion, to define this thing called love. Reviewed by Miriam Tuliao.

BONITA AVENUE by Peter Buwalda (Fiction)
Siem Sigerius is a beloved, brilliant professor of mathematics with a promising future in politics. But there are elements of Siem's past that threaten to upend the peace and stability that he has achieved. When he stumbles upon a deception that’s painfully close to home, things begin to fall apart. A cataclysmic explosion in a fireworks factory, the advent of Internet pornography, and the reappearances of a discarded, dangerous son all play a terrible role in the spectacular fragmentation of the Sigerius clan. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

IF I FALL, IF I DIE by Michael Christie (Fiction)
Will has never been outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. But Will’s thirst for adventure can’t be contained. Clad in a protective helmet and unsure of how to talk to other kids, he finally ventures outside and is thrust headfirst into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers. Reviewed by Megan Elliott.

DIRTY CHICK: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer by Antonia Murphy (Memoir)
DIRTY CHICK chronicles Antonia Murphy’s first year of life as an artisan farmer. Having bought into the myth that farming is a peaceful, fulfilling endeavor that allows one to commune with nature and live the way humans were meant to live, Antonia soon realized that the reality is far dirtier and way more disgusting than she ever imagined. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.
Our Latest Poll and Word of Mouth Contest
Poll:

How many reviews do you typically look at before you read a book?

1
2
3
4
5
More than 5
None

-Click here to answer the poll.


Word of Mouth:

Tell us your current reading recommendations with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from January 23rd to February 6th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of CRASH & BURN by Lisa Gardner, INSIDE A SILVER BOX by Walter Mosley and THE SACRIFICE by Joyce Carol Oates.

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.

-Click here to enter the contest.
-To see reader comments from previous contest periods, click here.

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