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Weekly Update

November 25, 2015 Newsletter November 25, 2015
Giving Thanks for All of YOU!

I love to cook, though Thanksgiving dinner is not my favorite to prepare as I prefer meals where there are not “should have” items on the menu, like turkey. Therefore, I was really happy to get my hands on SIMPLY NIGELLA for some cookbook reading; I can read cookbooks like novels for inspiration. Immediately I made the Brocamole that you see above, which is made with broccoli and avocado as ingredients. I know --- not a combo that you would consider, but trust me, it’s really terrific! I also marked the Porcini Mushroom Parsnips for the Thanksgiving feast.

Here’s some humor about the Heritage Turkey that I mentioned in last Friday’s newsletter. For all its supposed heirloom-like specialness, it clocked in at just nine pounds, which is on the tiny side (and we got a large one from the group of birds that were offered), thus we also will be making a turkey breast. I had a suggestion to cook the latter on Wednesday night, but was shot down. We have two ovens, with one designated for turkey and one for sides, so the grill was suggested for our third cooking area; let’s see how that goes! Many of the old staples are on the menu --- stuffing from DEAN FEARING’S SOUTHWEST CUISINE: Blending Asia and the Americas, which I picked up an early reader copy of in 1990 when I worked at Mademoiselle. Mine has a plain burgundy cover on it and is well-stained, so you can imagine how many years it has been a part of our holiday. It’s now out of print.

A family gathering for the holidays is always nice, but imagine if the "family" is three highly accomplished authors who specialize in page-turning thrillers and mystery novels. Such was the case on November 9th when, as shown in the photo above (from R to L), Lee Child, Tasha Alexander and Andrew Grant gathered to speak at the Tuscan Market Book Club fundraiser in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Child and Grant are brothers (Lee’s real name is Jim Grant), and Alexander is married to Grant. Child's latest book is MAKE ME, Alexander's new release is THE ADVENTURESS, and Grant's upcoming novel, FALSE POSITIVE, will be in stores on December 29th. Portions of the proceeds from the book club event went to the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights.

Speaking of Lee, we have a review of REACHER SAID NOTHING by Andy Martin, a behind-the-scenes look at Lee Child’s creative process as he undertakes the writing of the aforementioned MAKE ME (the 20th Jack Reacher novel). I have to get my hands on this one as I am fascinated by a writer's process! And I am trying to imagine the conversation over Thanksgiving dinner when three mystery/thriller authors sit together. Does carving the turkey take on an ominous tone?

Frank Sinatra would be turning 100 on December 12th, and the publishing world is cranked up to celebrate this milestone. We wanted to get our party started early, so we assembled a bookshelf of 20 books, CDs and DVDs that celebrate his life, music and films. It was such fun to curate this one; I literally sat on my couch last Saturday night and pulled the list together with my toe tapping. We know we're a little early for his birthday, but because this weekend kicks off mega-holiday shopping, we thought there may be ideas here for the Sinatra lover in your life. Mom, this one's for you!

Speaking of musical interludes, I have been enjoying Carly Simon’s memoir, BOYS IN THE TREES, this week. She reads it --- and you know how I love memoirs read by their authors --- and it includes original music composed especially for the program by Simon and Teese Gohl. There are 250 musical interludes, plus a previously unreleased bonus Carly song. If only I did not think of ketchup every time I hear "Anticipation"!

While I was disappointed that my schedule didn’t permit me to attend this year’s Miami Book Fair, I’m happy to report that one of our readers, Cristina Vazquez, who I have spent time with at the Fair in the past, was there and was kind enough to share her thoughts on the Fair. Click here to read our interview with her.

Next week, we kick off our Author Holiday Blogs, which will be returning for an eighth year. Keep your eyes on the site for the first one on Tuesday, December 1st.

Tom Donadio, our Editorial Director, managed to deliver our usual lineup of 15(!) reviews in a short week. He is a vegetarian; otherwise, I would be awarding him the wishbone!

Here’s what we have for you this week….

Fan favorite detective and psychologist Alex Cross makes a thrilling return in CROSS JUSTICE by James Patterson. When Cross’ cousin is accused of a heinous crime, Cross must return to his North Carolina hometown for the first time in 35 years. In a town where everyone seems to be hiding something, Cross has his work cut out for him in trying to prove his cousin’s innocence. But when Cross uncovers a horrifying family secret, he must question everything. As he chases a ghost he once believed dead, Cross gets pulled into a local case involving a brutal string of socialite murders. With the brutal killer and the truth about Cross’ past both at large, this may be his deadliest case yet.

Joe Hartlaub has our review and raves, "CROSS JUSTICE is an amazing book, full of mysteries, twists and turns, and flat-out jaw-dropping revelations.... You may guess some of the answers to the mysteries presented here, but I’m fairly certain you won’t figure them all out."

From Shonda Rhimes, the über-talented creator of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” and executive producer of “How to Get Away with Murder,” comes YEAR OF YES: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person. With three hit shows on television and three children at home, introvert Rhimes had plenty of reasons to refuse unexpected invitations to attend parties or make media appearances. Turning these invitations down had the added benefit of protecting her from any new fears. But then her sister challenged her to say “yes” to any and all unexpected invitations for just one year. In YEAR OF YES, Rhimes chronicles that year, showing readers how it transformed her life and gave her the empowerment she needed --- and how saying “yes” can change your life, too.

Maya Gittelman has this to say in her review: "YEAR OF YES reads like the best friend you haven’t met yet, sharing a very personal but exciting secret. Rhimes’ voice is kind, funny, intimate and natural." I loved reading Maya's review; reading is such a personal experience, and seeing someone else say "yes, yes, yes" to what you loved in a book is so lovely.

The audiobook of YEAR OF YES, narrated by Rhimes herself, is my latest Bets On pick; you can read my commentary here. It's also one of the prizes in our Sounding Off on Audio contest (the other being the aforementioned BOYS IN THE TREES). There are only a few more days left to enter, so please let us know by Tuesday, December 1st at noon ET what audiobooks you’ve finished listening to for your chance to win both prizes.

Pulitzer Prize winner John Sandford and internationally renowned photo-artist Ctein team up for SATURN RUN. The year is 2066, and a Caltech intern has just noticed a game-changing anomaly from a space telescope: a spaceship approaching Saturn. All top-level government officials agree that whatever or whoever built the spaceship is at least a hundred years ahead technologically, and so the nation that captures the ship and brings it back will have a huge advantage --- and the Chinese definitely agree. The race is on, and it’s up to the members of one hastily compiled crew to draw upon their strengths and courage to bring the ship home for their nation.

According to reviewer Pauline Finch, SATURN RUN “does an outstanding job of bringing speculative fiction and current theoretical science into close-enough proximity to keep the pages turning. It has not only a steady pulse but also a strong heartbeat.” My husband, who does not love sci-fi but is a John Sandford fan, read this one in a day and loved it.

Other notable titles we’re reviewing this week include GRATITUDE, essays that Oliver Sacks wrote during the last few months of his life in which he explores his feelings about coming to terms with his own death; A WILD SWAN, Michael Cunningham's new collection of short stories that updates an assortment of classic fairy tales; and RAZZLE DAZZLE, in which theater columnist Michael Riedel pulls back the curtain on Broadway's stars, producers and mega-hits to reveal all the shocking drama, intrigue and power plays that happened off stage. Our reviewer for RAZZLE DAZZLE is Ann Bruns, who has been a part of from its early days on AOL where she was a chat host extraordinaire. When I saw this book, I knew that Ann being the theater lover that she is (loved seeing her when she did her recent theater trip to New York) would be the perfect person to review it!

Our contest featuring Linwood Barclay’s thriller, BROKEN PROMISE, continues. Keeping in line with the mysterious number that keeps being featured in his Promise Falls trilogy, we’re giving away 23 personalized signed copies for readers to give to their friends or family members this holiday season. To enter, tell us by Monday, December 7th at noon ET which of your friends or family members would like to receive a signed copy of BROKEN PROMISE; if selected, they will receive the book as a special holiday gift with a personal inscription of your choosing. Remember that the goal here is for you to give this book and thus is not a “to me/from me” moment. You can enter here.

In this week’s Holiday Cheer contests, we gave away THE DEAD PLAY ON by Heather Graham and THE GIVING WAY TO HAPPINESS: Stories and Science Behind the Life-Changing Power of Giving by Jenny Santi. Next week’s prizes will be AMISH CHRISTMAS AT NORTH STAR: Four Stories of Love and Family by Cindy Woodsmall, Mindy Starns Clark, Emily Clark, Amanda Flower and Katie Ganshert, CHRISTMAS ON CANDY CANE LANE: Life in Icicle Falls by Sheila Roberts, DOG CRAZY: A Novel of Love Lost and Found by Meg Donohue, and TENACITY by J.S. Law. The first contest of the week will go up on Monday, November 30th at noon ET.

What types of books are YOU planning to give as gifts for the holidays? Will it be fiction, nonfiction, children’s/teen books, coffee table books…or something different? Vote in our poll here and let us know! Some of you mentioned that you are planning to give gift cards to bookstores. Yet another way to treat the readers in your world.

We’ve updated our Young Adult Books You Want to Read feature, reviews we’ve posted on that we think will appeal to our adult readers. This month’s titles are TRAFFICK by Ellen Hopkins, NEED by Joelle Charbonneau, and CALVIN by Martine Leavitt.

In our latest Word of Mouth contest, three readers will have the chance to win HIS RIGHT HAND: A Linda Wallheim Mystery Set in Mormon Utah by Mette Ivie Harrison, HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN by James Lee Burke, and SPLINTER THE SILENCE: A Tony Hill and Carol Jordan Novel by Val McDermid. Let us know by Friday, December 4th at noon ET what books you’ve finished reading, and you’ll be in the running to win all three of these December 1st releases.

News and Pop Culture:

Reader Mail: From Deb: "I am so glad you are indicating not only the audio availability, but also who the performer is. So many times I've checked the "Full Record" posting in the library system and the performer is often not listed. As you know, there are some terrific ones out there, but there are also some terrible ones! It's always such a disappointment when the surprise narrator is the latter. So THANK YOU!!!"

From Susan: "If someone answers that they don't give books as presents, they should be drummed out of the Bookreporter."

From Lita: "Last year, I gave Barnes and Noble gift cards to the readers in my family. They all expressed liking them. After Christmas, my sister was telling me she had been shopping online with her new card, and my nephew was getting the next book in a series he was reading. I will probably do the same this year. I get one for me to put on my tablet."

Also, Linda shared this fun story about Adam Johnson, who won the National Book Award for Fiction last week: "Your comment about meeting Adam Johnson years ago brings up my favorite story ever. I listen to a podcast that decided to have a retreat weekend that went so well that the next year the podcasters decided to have three, each in a different city. At the second one, with several people who had been to the first three, they announced that anyone who made 100% attendance for the next one in Santa Cruz would have a special presentation. I was the only one who made it there with perfect attendance, and true to their promise, I was called up front at the opening cocktail hour and given a beautiful pin of a stack of books.

"For the rest of the weekend, other participants, mostly female, would pass me and say, 'Hi, Linda,' which was exasperating since I didn't know any of their names. It was also a bit embarrassing. The second day a very tall man passed and said, 'Hey, Linda!' 'Do I know you?,' I asked. 'I wrote a book about southeast Asia,' he said. I was in awe. 'You're Adam Johnson.' That was in September 2011. The following April, I was driving home from another of those weekends when on the radio I heard that Adam had won the Pulitzer for fiction. This means that I could honestly say, 'A Pulitzer Prize winner recognized me on the street!'"

The Original Gerber Baby Writing Mystery Novels: She turned 89 last week and is writing now! Read about it here.

Adele Impersonators: A group of Adele impersonators were fooled when the star disguised herself and made herself part of their performance…until she sang. Also, the skit on "Saturday Night Live" where Thanksgiving is saved by Adele’s "Hello" is very amusing.

Adele singing "Hello" on "The Tonight Show": She is backed up by Jimmy and the band playing childhood instruments. Watch it here. The number of clever ideas for this release set a high bar for the future.

Reading Brings Us Together: A terrific piece by Kate DiCamillo, who is currently the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature of the Library of Congress and the Children’s Book Council for 2014-2015, where she reflects on the power of reading together.

Greg Mortenson Steps Down from Charity: After years where his authenticity was found to be in question, Mortenson has moved on from his charity.

"The Affair": I have not previewed this week’s episode, but I found this piece about why it does not represent publishing the way it really is.

"Homeland": There are times when I watch where I have to remember that this is not real...because it seems to be!

And a mention here carried over from last Friday, as we think it’s important: Please keep in mind that this Saturday, November 28th will be the “Indies First” celebration, a national campaign of events in support of independent bookstores. You can look at the map here to see if a store near you will be participating, where host authors will act as “honorary booksellers throughout the day to help sell and sign books, share recommendations, give readings, and more.” Cheryl Strayed, the bestselling author of WILD, TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS, TORCH and BRAVE ENOUGH, is the 2015 official spokesperson for Indies First.

I am looking forward to the long weekend. Cory will be around for 4.5 days, which will be nice. I am not sure he slept at the house four nights in a row the entire summer. On the agenda is thinking about decorating for the holiday; I am not one to rush that. Cleaning up the garden and wood chopping will happen if the weather cooperates. I love it when I go to plant in the spring and everything has been spruced up already. It’s worth spending the time now.

The herbs in the kitchen for stuffing the turkey --- parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (there’s a song that goes like that, right?) --- are still looking good. I'm kicking dinner off with pumpkin ravioli with sage butter sauce and endive stuffed with pears and blue cheese.

And time for reading, relaxing, knitting, football and kicking it back a notch. Here’s wishing you and yours a memorable Thanksgiving. We all give thanks for you…we appreciate your reading us each week. You are the reason we can do this week after week.

Oh, and if you are holiday shopping online this weekend, keep the links below in mind. We receive small revenue fees from transactions made for orders that are checked out within 24 hours, so shop, shop away.

Read on, and we will see you a week from Friday.

Carol Fitzgerald (

Now in Stores: CROSS JUSTICE by James Patterson
CROSS JUSTICE by James Patterson (Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Jefferson Mays
When his cousin is accused of a heinous crime, Alex Cross returns to his North Carolina hometown for the first time in over three decades. As he tries to prove his cousin's innocence, Cross unearths a family secret that forces him to question everything he's ever known. Chasing a ghost he believed was long dead, Cross gets pulled into a case that has local cops needing his help: a grisly string of socialite murders. Now he's hot on the trail of both a brutal killer and the truth about his own past --- and the answers he finds might be fatal. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: YEAR OF YES by Shonda Rhimes --- Our Latest Bets On Pick
YEAR OF YES: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes (Memoir)
Audiobook available, narrated by Shonda Rhimes
With three hit television shows and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. She reluctantly agreed --- and the result was nothing short of transformative. In YEAR OF YES, Shonda chronicles the powerful impact saying YES had on every aspect of her life --- and how we can all change our lives with that one little word. Reviewed by Maya Gittelman.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read Carol's " Bets On" commentary for the audiobook.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: GRATITUDE by Oliver Sacks
GRATITUDE by Oliver Sacks (Essays)
Audiobook available, narrated by Dan Woren
No writer has succeeded in capturing the medical and human drama of illness as honestly and as eloquently as Oliver Sacks. During the last few months of his life, he wrote a set of essays in which he movingly explored his feelings about completing a life and coming to terms with his own death. “It is the fate of every human being,” Sacks writes, “to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.” Together, these four essays form an ode to the uniqueness of each human being and to gratitude for the gift of life. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Special Contest: Win a Personalized Signed Copy of Linwood Barclay’s BROKEN PROMISE for Your Friend or Relative!
Here’s an opportunity to win a personalized signed copy of BROKEN PROMISE by Linwood Barclay for someone on your holiday list. And, ahem, this is not a “To Me/From Me” gift! The purpose is for you to give the book to a thriller reader.

Barclay is hailed as “a suspense master” by Stephen King, and the writing in BROKEN PROMISE, the first book in the Promise Falls trilogy, lives up to that description. This fast-paced series is also on a fast publication schedule. The second book, FAR FROM TRUE, will be in stores on March 22, 2016. The third book, THE TWENTY THREE, will release on November 16, 2016.

We have 23 prizes to give away. Why 23? That is the number that keeps resurfacing in the series of strange events in Promise Falls that runs through the books and will be revealed in THE TWENTY THREE.

Tell us who you would like to nominate to win by Monday, December 7th at noon ET. Note: You can share a personalized greeting to include or leave it to Linwood to inscribe the book. We will wrap up the book with a gift tag for you and send it to the recipient who you select! What could be more fun?

BROKEN PROMISE by Linwood Barclay (Thriller)
After his wife’s death and the collapse of his newspaper, David Harwood has no choice but to uproot his nine-year-old son and move back into his childhood home in Promise Falls, New York. David believes his life is in free fall, and he can’t find a way to stop his descent. Then he comes across a family secret of epic proportions that will affect not only his family, but the entire town.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to see why we're betting you'll love this book.

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

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, November 30th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include:

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
Now in Stores: A WILD SWAN by Michael Cunningham
A WILD SWAN: And Other Tales written by Michael Cunningham, with illustrations by Yuko Shimizu (Fantasy/Short Stories)
Audiobook available, narrated by Billy Hough and Lili Taylor
A poisoned apple and a monkey's paw with the power to change fate; a girl whose extraordinarily long hair causes catastrophe; a man with one human arm and one swan's wing; and a house deep in the forest, constructed of gumdrops and gingerbread, vanilla frosting and boiled sugar. In A WILD SWAN, the people and the talismans of lands far, far away --- the mythic figures of our childhoods and the source of so much of our wonder --- are transformed by Michael Cunningham into stories of sublime revelation. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: SATURN RUN by John Sandford and Ctein
SATURN RUN by John Sandford and Ctein (Futuristic Thriller/Adventure)
Audiobook available, narrated by Eric Conger
The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope --- something is approaching Saturn and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate. Spaceships do. A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: Whatever built that ship is at least a hundred years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. The race is on, and a remarkable adventure begins. Reviewed by Pauline Finch.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: REACHER SAID NOTHING by Andy Martin
REACHER SAID NOTHING: Lee Child and the Making of Make Me by Andy Martin (Literary Criticism)
Fans of Lee Child know well that the muscular star of his bestselling novels, Jack Reacher, is a man of few words --- and a lot of action. In REACHER SAID NOTHING, Andy Martin shadows Child like a literary private eye in a yearlong investigation of what it takes to make fiction’s hottest hero hit the page running. The result is an up-close-and-personal look into the world and ways of an expert storyteller’s creative process as he undertakes the writing of the much-anticipated 20th Jack Reacher novel, MAKE ME. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: RAZZLE DAZZLE by Michael Riedel
RAZZLE DAZZLE: The Battle for Broadway by Michael Riedel (History/Performing Arts)
Audiobook available, narrated by Peter Berkrot
Broadway’s most respected (and feared) commentator pulls back the curtain on its stars, producers and mega-hits to reveal all the shocking drama, intrigue and power plays that happened off stage. RAZZLE DAZZLE is a no-holds-barred narrative account of the people, money and power that reinvented an iconic quarter of New York City, turning its gritty back alleys and sex shops into the glitzy, dazzling Great White Way --- and bringing a crippled New York from the brink of bankruptcy to its glittering glory. Reviewed by Ann Bruns.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
More Reviews This Week
AND YET…: Essays by Christopher Hitchens (Essays)
Audiobook available, narrated by Steve West
The author of five previous volumes of selected writings, including the international bestseller ARGUABLY, Christopher Hitchens left at his death nearly 250,000 words of essays not yet published in book form. AND YET… assembles a selection that ranges from the literary to the political and is, by turns, a banquet of entertaining and instructive delights, including essays on Orwell, Lermontov, Chesterton, Fleming, Naipaul, Rushdie, Pamuk and Dickens, among others, as well as his laugh-out-loud self-mocking “makeover.” Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

THE MASTER OF THE PRADO by Javier Sierra (Historical Fiction)
Presented as a fictionalized autobiography, THE MASTER OF THE PRADO begins in Madrid in 1990, when Javier Sierra encounters a mysterious stranger named Luis Fovel within the halls of the Prado museum. Fovel takes him on a whirlwind tour and promises to uncover startling secrets hidden in the museum’s masterpieces. It is these secrets that lead Sierra to question his entire understanding of art history and unearth groundbreaking discoveries about European art. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

AMERICAN BLOOD by Ben Sanders (Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by George Newbern
After a botched undercover operation, ex-NYPD officer Marshall Grade is living in witness protection in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The mob wants him dead, and a contract killer known as the Dallas Man has been hired to track him down. Racked with guilt over wrongs committed during his undercover work, Marshall investigates the disappearance of a local woman named Alyce Ray. Members of a drug ring seem to hold clues to Ray's whereabouts, but hunting traffickers is no quiet task. Word of Marshall's efforts spreads, and soon the worst elements of his former life --- including the Dallas Man --- are coming for him. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

NEVER SURRENDER: Winston Churchill and Britain's Decision to Fight Nazi Germany in the Fateful Summer of 1940 by John Kelly (History)
London in April 1940, was a place of great fear and conflict. The Germans were marching. They had taken Poland, France, Holland, Belgium and Czechoslovakia, and were now menacing Britain. Churchill, leading the faction to fight, and Lord Halifax, cautioning that prudence was the way to survive, attempted to usurp one another by any means possible. Drawing on the War Cabinet papers, other government documents, private diaries, newspaper accounts and memoirs, historian John Kelly tells the story of the summer of 1940 --- the months of the “Supreme Question” of whether or not the British were to surrender. Reviewed by Lorraine W. Shanley.

BOHEMIAN GOSPEL by Dana Chamblee Carpenter (Historical Fiction)
Thirteenth-century Bohemia is a dangerous place for a girl, especially one as odd as Mouse, born with unnatural senses and an uncanny intellect. When young King Ottakar shows up at the Abbey wounded by a traitor's arrow, Mouse breaks church law to save him and then agrees to accompany him back to Prague as his personal healer. Caught in the undertow of court politics at the castle, Ottakar and Mouse find themselves drawn to each other as they work to uncover the threat against him and to unravel the mystery of her past. Reviewed by Rebecca Munro.

THE MISTAKE I MADE by Paula Daly (Psychological Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Dawn Murphy

After the dissolution of her marriage, Roz’s business has gone under, debts are racking up, the rent is late (again), and she's struggling to provide for her nine-year-old son. At her sister’s birthday party, Roz meets Scott Elias, who makes her an offer to spend the night with him --- for money. With that kind of cash, she could clear her debts and get her life back on track. But as the situation spirals out of her control, Roz is forced to do things she never thought herself capable of. Can she ever set things right again? Reviewed by Judy Frasca.

PLAYING DAYS by Benjamin Markovits (Fiction)
In print for the first time in the United States, acclaimed novelist Benjamin Markovits’ PLAYING DAYS is a mostly autobiographical narrative concerning the author’s season playing minor league professional basketball in Germany and the love affair with another player’s estranged wife that ushers him into adulthood. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

PROTECTORS 2: HEROES: Stories to Benefit PROTECT edited by Thomas Pluck (Fiction/Nonfiction Anthology)
PROTECTORS 2, edited by Thomas Pluck, is a mammoth anthology of 55 stories and almost 600 pages, with all proceeds going to PROTECT, a nonpartisan pro-child and anti-crime lobby dedicated to the protection of children from physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Contributors include Andrew Vachss, Joyce Carol Oates, David Morrell, Linda Rodriguez, Charles de Lint, Hilary Davidson, Joe R. Lansdale, Joelle Charbonneau, Reed Farrel Coleman, SJ Rozan and Alison Arngrim. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.
Young Adult Books You Want to Read
Here are this month's books we reviewed on that we think will appeal to an adult audience:

TRAFFICK by Ellen Hopkins (Fiction)
In TRICKS, Ellen Hopkins introduced us to five memorable characters tackling enormous questions: Eden, the preacher’s daughter who is helped into a child prostitution rescue; Seth, the gay farm boy who finds himself without money or resources other than his own body; Whitney, the privileged kid whose dreams are ruined in a heroin haze; Ginger, who is arrested for soliciting an undercover cop; and Cody, whose gambling habit forces him into the life, but who is shot and left for dead. And now, in TRAFFICK, these five are faced with the toughest question of all: Is there a way out?

NEED by Joelle Charbonneau (Thriller)
Teenagers at Wisconsin’s Nottawa High School are drawn deeper into a social networking site that promises to grant their every need…regardless of the consequences. Soon the site turns sinister, with simple pranks escalating to malicious crimes. The body count rises. In this chilling thriller, the author of the bestselling Testing trilogy examines not only the dark side of social media, but the dark side of human nature.

CALVIN by Martine Leavitt (Fiction)
Seventeen-year-old Calvin has always known his fate is linked to the comic book character from "Calvin & Hobbes." He was born on the day the last strip was published; his grandpa left a stuffed tiger named Hobbes in his crib; and he even has a best friend named Susie. As a child Calvin played with the toy Hobbes, controlling his every word and action, until Hobbes was washed to death. But now Calvin is a teenager who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, Hobbes is back --- as a delusion --- and Calvin can't control him. Calvin decides that if he can convince Bill Watterson to draw one final comic strip, showing a normal teenaged Calvin, he will be cured.
Click here for more young adult books we recommend you read.
Our Latest Poll: Giving Books This Holiday Season
Which of the following types of books are you planning to give as gifts for the holidays? Please check all that apply.

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Children’s/teen books
  • Classics
  • Holiday-themed books
  • Cookbooks
  • Gift books
  • Coffee table books
  • Coloring books
  • None of the above
  • I do not give books over the holidays.
Click here to vote in the poll.
Word of Mouth Contest: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win Three Books!

Tell us about the books you've finished reading with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from November 20th to December 4th at noon ET, three lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of HIS RIGHT HAND: A Linda Wallheim Mystery Set in Mormon Utah by Mette Ivie Harrison, HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN by James Lee Burke, and SPLINTER THE SILENCE: A Tony Hill and Carol Jordan Novel by Val McDermid.

To make sure other readers will be able to find the books you write about, please include the full title and correct author names (your entry must include these to be eligible to win). For rules and guidelines, click here.

-To see reader comments from previous contest periods, click here.

Click here to enter the contest.
Sounding Off on Audio Contest: Tell Us What You're Listening to --- and You Can Win Two Audiobooks!
Tell us about the audiobooks you’ve finished listening to with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars for both the performance and the content. During the contest period from November 2nd to December 1st at noon ET, three lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win the audio versions of both BOYS IN THE TREES: A Memoir written and read by Carly Simon and YEAR OF YES: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person written and read by Shonda Rhimes.

To make sure other readers will be able to find the audiobook, please include the full title and correct author names (your entry must include these to be eligible to win). For complete rules and guidelines, click here.

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

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