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October 4, 2013 Newsletter October 4, 2013
Book Journeys Behind the Scenes

The week has been so warm that there has been no need for a wetsuit in the pool. I am ready to get my glue gun out and start gluing leaves back on the trees. I know this is the start of a beautifully colorful time of year, but too many leaves will be the hallmark of pool closing time. I still can collect them by hand at this point, but I am a couple of big winds away from the season ending; for the moment, I am urging the leaves to fall straight. The flowers still are blooming (two moonflowers last night), but this weekend will be about transplanting and readying for winter.

On Monday night, I joined my enthusiastic bookseller friends from NAIBA (New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association) at their fall trade show. They gathered that evening at Baker & Taylor, the book distribution company, where tours of the plant were offered. I have a new appreciation for the backend of the book business after doing this tour. We saw the process from the moment books arrive from a publisher, through shelving, packing and heading out to stores, libraries and other customers. There are soooo many steps. And books touch soooo many hands along the way. I am not sure I will hold a book again without thinking about the line of boxes waiting for packing and the systems it took to get that book to me. At some point, I would love to take a tour of a printer; I will try to arrange that with a publisher. It’s the one part of the process I have not seen, though thanks to my years working at a newspaper, I somewhat can picture it.

Since BEA, I feel like I have been on tour with Wally Lamb as I have seen him at BEA, ALA, NAIBA, and then this week at a private reception at his publisher. I have been lucky enough to hear a number of wonderful stories about his upcoming book, WE ARE WATER, which will be in stores on October 22nd. You can see a photo of me with Wally on "our last tour stop" above.

Part of Wally’s inspiration came from his own memories of the 1963 flood in Norwich, CT, and a story he heard about that of a young mother who was swept away by the water. He spoke with the sons who were saved that day, and their stories infused his work. His best friend (besides his wife, he is quick to say) is a woman who is gay, and he journeyed with her through her civil union and then was best man at her wedding when gay marriage became legal in CT. While this is not autobiographical, it’s clear that his personal research is at the heart of this story. During this week’s interview, he shared how he has worked with writers’ groups through the years both at the prison where he has been mentoring inmate writers since 1999 and a group of other published authors. His writers’ groups are very important to him for feedback and inspiration. I am looking forward to seeing what you all have to say about this book, his first in five years, which booksellers were quick to remind him about!

We were all taken aback at the office when we learned that Tom Clancy passed away on Tuesday at the still-young age of 66. He had been publishing spy and military thrillers since 1984 when THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER released. That debut, along with PATRIOT GAMES, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER and THE SUM OF ALL FEARS, all became successful feature films, with Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck playing covert CIA agent Jack Ryan. Our reviewer Joe Hartlaub is a huge fan of Clancy’s work and offers this tribute to the man who many feel, along with Michael Crichton, invented the “techno-thriller.” I was quoted in USA Today about his popularity and longevity; you can read the entire article here. By the way, one of our former staffers, Jen Levitsky Kasoff, reminded me that years ago Clancy used to stop by the Bookaccino chat room to talk to readers. He first was there under a pseudonym and then one day revealed himself!

Jeffery Deaver’s ambitious new thriller, THE OCTOBER LIST, is told in reverse order, making it a unique --- and very powerful --- book. Gabriela’s six-year-old daughter, Sarah, has been kidnapped, and the only chance to get her back is to complete two tasks sent to her in mysterious instructions: pony up half a million dollars and find a document known as the “October List.” She has 30 hours, and every tick of the clock --- and turn of the page --- brings a twist to her journey, all leading up to a shocking revelation. Joe Hartlaub has our review and says, "[I]t would behoove you to read the book at least three times: once for the pure surprise and enjoyment of your first encounter with it, once to see how Deaver did it ('it' being how he resolved every single dangling element in the book), and once to…well, just because you'll want to."

I heard Jeffery talk about this book at the American Library Association Conference. He already had published THE KILL ROOM in June, but had a polished manuscript for a book that he had tried something different with: writing backwards. Through the years, I have heard that Jeff is a consummate professional. He prides himself on perfecting his craft, turning in manuscripts that he has edited meticulously. The one trick with this book: it needed to be published in October, thus it was rushed to print. It's a true delight for Deaver fans to have a bonus work from him this year. I am looking forward to reading it to see how he crafted this unusual story. For those who read the last page first, this is the book for you!

Elizabeth Gilbert of EAT, PRAY, LOVE fame returns to fiction with THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS, which tells the story of biologist Alma Whittaker. While Alma’s mind has always been scientific, she finds that her romance with free spirit Ambrose opens her mind to things that can’t be explained. Reviewer Terry Miller Shannon calls the book “a magnificent literary triumph that surely will be long heralded as an enduring classic. But more than that, it's an absorbing, satisfying page-turner of a read. That the pace is unhurried only adds layers to the fascinating depths of Alma's life story.” When I was in Crested Butte back in March, I stopped by Towne Books where I had a lovely chat with Diane; she was raving about her early galley of THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS. She had not been a fan of EAT, PRAY, LOVE but thoroughly enjoyed this one!

Tom Franklin, author of CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER (a Bets On selection), and his wife, celebrated poet Beth Ann Fennelly, team up for THE TITLED WORLD, a lush southern novel filled with murder, suspicion and romance, set against the backdrop of the flooding banks of the mighty Mississippi. Efforts to save an abandoned baby boy lead federal revenue agents Ted and Ham to Dixie Clay, a pretty and charming young wife who also happens to be the best bootlegger in the county. Dixie’s guard is up around strangers, but when the group learns that someone may be planning a catastrophe for the tiny town, they are thrown together in an effort to stop it, leading to some unexpected connections. In his review, Joe Hartlaub says, "While THE TILTED WORLD is beautifully told from beginning to end, the memorable narration does not sacrifice the story of these star-crossed, erstwhile lovers, whose entire world is on the brink of both salvation and tragedy."

In MRS. POE by Lynn Cullen, we see the world of Edgar Allan Poe, which is at the height of his success with “The Raven,” springing to life through his affair with undiscovered poet Frances Osgood. When Poe’s sickly wife, Virginia, takes an interest in the young woman her husband has befriended, Frances finds herself caught between a dark tryst with the writer and an increasingly sinister friendship with his wife. According to reviewer Amy Gwiazdowski, “the timing of MRS. POE'S release is perfect. There's something about October that always makes me want to find my copy of Poe’s works on my shelf to peruse before Halloween. MRS. POE has gone a long way in making me want to digest THE RAVEN, reading in between the lines and wondering once more about its meaning.” We also have an interview with Lynn Cullen, which you can take a look at here. I am looking forward to reading this one, and I confess I keep thinking of Joe, the character on the FOX show "The Following," who was a rabid Poe fan.

Sandra Dallas returns to our Historical Fiction Author Spotlight with her upcoming novel, FALLEN WOMEN, which releases on October 22nd. This time, she transports readers to 1890s Denver, journeying from inside its most elegant mansions to the depths of its darkest alleys. When wealthy socialite Beret Osmundsen finds out that her sister has been murdered, she not only learns of her sister’s double life, but also of the gritty underworld beneath the city’s Gilded Age façade. I spent last weekend reading FALLEN WOMEN, and, as always with Sandra Dallas, I found myself enjoying the period details, as well as the story. I love Denver, and thus reading more about its history like this was such fun. We have 35 copies of the book to give away to readers who would like to read and comment on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, October 17th at noon ET.

By the way, speaking of Denver, I read in Shelf Awareness this week that one of my favorite bookstores, Tattered Cover, on Wynkoop and 16th in Denver, will be downsizing come the spring; they will have the same number of books albeit in less space. If you have a chance to visit the store now and see its iconic sweeping staircase and two floors, do it. I truly love that place.

In our New Release Spotlight is STATE VS. LASSITER, the latest installment in Paul Levine’s series featuring lawyer Jake Lassiter. Here, Jake finds himself in trouble when Pamela --- the banker he suspected of skimming funds from his account and the woman he’s been seeing on the side --- is found dead. Jake becomes suspect number one, and the recent success he’s been enjoying with his law practice and family begins to crumble. All will be ruined unless the real killer is caught. Joe Hartlaub has our review and says, “You can pick up STATE VS. LASSITER without knowing what has gone before, though Lassiter’s narrative, which oscillates between self-deprecating and wiseass (and all points in between), is so entertaining and the story so deftly plotted that you will want to read more of his adventures even before you’re through.” Having spent a lot of time with Paul through the years, I love seeing that this new book is out. Lassiter is a recurring character who soooo many readers have loved, and my wondering if THIS latest adventure will be his undoing is good reason to read it!

HUSH LITTLE BABY by Suzanne Redfearn, which delves into the darkness of an abusive marriage, is the newest featured title in our Paperback Spotlight. When a desperate moment forces Jillian Kane on the run from her husband, she finds herself with nowhere to turn. Her escape may have gotten her away from the horrors of home, but it may also be the most dangerous thing she has ever done. Jillian only hopes that the risk will lead to a better life, and her will as a mother and woman can get her there. Click here to read more about this book, which releases on October 8th.

Our Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight of Emma Chapman, whose first novel is the psychological thriller HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE, continues. Marta has been such a good wife to Hector that she can hardly remember what it was like without him. But when she starts having strange visions, including that of a blonde girl no one else can see, she wonders if she’s losing her mind --- or starting to remember something important. This book is soooo edgy…and I love the tasks that “a good wife” should do, which are sprinkled throughout the pages. Think 1950s! We have 35 copies of the book, which releases on October 15th, to give away to those who would like to read and comment on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, October 10th at noon ET.

This week, we update three of our monthly features. Last month, in our ongoing effort to increase the number of nonfiction books we cover on the site, we debuted our History Books Roundup: Reliving the Past feature. Each month, my son Greg will be taking a look at some of the hardcover and paperback releases in the history genre that stand out to him. As a huge history buff who majored in history at college, I trust his judgment on these selections! Among the books we’re featuring this month are TIP AND THE GIPPER: When Politics Worked by Chris Matthews (which we’re also reviewing this week --- and, given the Congressional standoff, I am wishing it was required reading in DC), THE SEA AND CIVILIZATION: A Maritime History of the World by Lincoln Paine, TREES IN PARADISE: A California History by Jared Farmer, and THE HIDDEN WHITE HOUSE: Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America's Most Famous Residence by Robert Klara.

Next is our New in Paperback roundup. Among October’s featured titles are THE TIME KEEPER by Mitch Albom, NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book Five by George R. R. Martin, CUSTER by Larry McMurtry, ANGELS AT THE TABLE: A Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy Christmas Story by Debbie Macomber and THE TWELVE TRIBES OF HATTIE by Ayana Mathis, the latter of which we also are featuring on Click here for many more.

And last but certainly not least is our Books on Screen feature. Among October’s feature films are the classics Great Expectations, Romeo & Juliet and Stephen King’s Carrie. On the small screen, don’t miss the series premiere of NBC’s “Dracula” and the series finale of “The White Queen” on STARZ, while DVD releases include Much Ado About Nothing and Midnight’s Children. Click here for all the movies, TV shows and DVDs coming your way this month.

How many books do you typically read each month? That’s our newest poll question, and we want to hear what you have to say. It’s a really simple question, so click here and let us know! As you probably guessed, I am a “More than 10” kind of reader.

We’re also offering a new Word of Mouth contest this week. Let us know what books you’ve been reading, and you’ll have the opportunity to win these three books, two of which will get you in the mood for the holidays: CHRISTMAS BLISS by Mary Kay Andrews, IDENTICAL by Scott Turow and STARRY NIGHT: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber. All you have to do is fill out the form found on this page by Friday, October 18th at noon ET.

Confession: Last week, I did watch the final episode of "Breaking Bad," though I only had been through two seasons of the show. Some may say it's heresy to "read the last chapter," but I wanted to view it with my own lens before I heard comments from people. It by no means jaded my wanting to watch the rest of the episodes; I am halfway through season three. Here’s an excellent piece that Nikki in our office found that is a wonderful analysis of “the end.”

Busy weekend with friends in town and dinner company two nights! I hear corn on the cob still is in season, which makes me smile. Here’s to a great week of reading….

Carol Fitzgerald (

Remembering Tom Clancy, 1947-2013
We at mourn the loss of Tom Clancy, who passed away on October 1st at the age of 66.

In the early 1980s, Tom Clancy was a Maryland insurance broker with a passion for naval history. Years before, he had been an English major at Baltimore's Loyola College and had always dreamed of writing a novel. His first effort, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, sold briskly as a result of rave reviews, then catapulted onto the New York Times bestseller list after President Reagan pronounced it "the perfect yarn." From that point, Clancy established himself as an undisputed master at blending exceptional realism and authenticity, intricate plotting, and razor-sharp suspense.

Among his many notable books are PATRIOT GAMES, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER and THE SUM OF ALL FEARS, which (along with THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER) all became successful feature films, with Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck playing covert CIA agent Jack Ryan.’s Joe Hartlaub reflects on Clancy’s work and legacy in this special tribute.

Click here to read Joe Hartlaub's tribute to Tom Clancy.
Now in Stores: THE OCTOBER LIST by Jeffery Deaver

THE OCTOBER LIST by Jeffery Deaver (Thriller)
Two days ago, Gabriela's life was normal. Then, out of the blue, she gets word that her six-year-old daughter has been taken. She's given an ultimatum: pay half a million dollars and find a mysterious document known as the "October List" within 30 hours, or she'll never see her child again. THE OCTOBER LIST is a mind-bending novel with twists and turns that unfold from its dramatic climax back to its surprising beginning. 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: THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS by Elizabeth Gilbert

THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS by Elizabeth Gilbert (Historical Fiction)
As Alma Whittaker's careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she comes to love draws her in the opposite direction --- into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose is a Utopian artist. But what unites this couple is a shared passion for knowing --- a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all of life. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

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

Click here to read a review.
New Historical Fiction Author Spotlight & Contest: FALLEN WOMEN by Sandra Dallas

We have 35 copies of FALLEN WOMEN by Sandra Dallas, which releases on October 22nd, 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, October 17th at noon ET.

FALLEN WOMEN by Sandra Dallas (Historical Fiction)
It is the spring of 1885 and wealthy New York socialite Beret Osmundsen has been estranged from her younger sister, Lillie, for a year when she gets word from her aunt and uncle that Lillie has died suddenly in Denver. What they do not tell her is that Lillie had become a prostitute and was brutally murdered in the brothel where she had been living. When Beret discovers the sordid truth of Lillie’s death, she makes her way to Denver, determined to find her sister’s murderer. Detective Mick McCauley may not want her involved in the case, but Beret is determined, and the investigation soon takes her from the dangerous, seedy underworld of Denver’s tenderloin to the highest levels of Denver society. Along the way, Beret not only learns the depths of Lillie’s depravity, but also exposes the sinister side of Gilded Age ambition in the process.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Sandra Dallas's bio.
-Click here to visit Sandra Dallas's official website.
-Click here to connect with Sandra Dallas on Facebook.

Click here to read more in our Historical Fiction Author Spotlight and enter the contest.
New Release Spotlight: STATE VS. LASSITER by Paul Levine

STATE VS. LASSITER by Paul Levine (Thriller)
Life is great for Jake at the start of STATE VS. LASSITER, the newest tale in Paul Levine’s award-winning series.
His law practice is booming. He’s crazy about the new woman in his life. His one-time delinquent nephew Kip is getting A’s in school. What can go wrong? about a charge of first-degree murder?

When money goes missing from client trust accounts, Jake confronts his banker, Pamela Baylins, who also happens to be his lover. She accuses Jake of skimming client funds; he accuses her of dipping into the till. She threatens to report him to the State Attorney, but within hours she is killed.

All the evidence points to Jake, who is charged with murder. Is this the end of the linebacker-turned-lawyer?

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Paul Levine's bio.
-Click here to visit Paul Levine's official website.
-Connect with Paul Levine on Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to read more in our New Release Spotlight.
New Paperback Spotlight: HUSH LITTLE BABY by Suzanne Redfearn

HUSH LITTLE BABY by Suzanne Redfearn (Fiction)
Jillian Kane appears to have it all --- a successful career, a gorgeous home, a loving husband and two wonderful children. The reality behind closed doors is something else entirely. For nine years, she has hid the bruises and the truth of her abusive marriage in order to protect Addie and Drew, knowing, if she left, Gordon would destroy her --- destroy them.

When, in an act of desperation, she flees, her worst nightmare is realized, and she finds herself on the run with her two young children, no money, and no plan. With Gordon in hot pursuit, there is only one inescapable certainty: No matter where she goes, he will find her. Kill her. And take her children.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Suzanne Redfearn's bio.
-Click here to visit Suzanne Redfearn's official website.
-Connect with Suzanne Redfearn on Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to read more in our Paperback Spotlight.
Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight & Contest: HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE by Emma Chapman
We have 35 copies of HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE by Emma Chapman, which releases on October 15th, 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, October 10th at noon ET.

HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE by Emma Chapman (Psychological Thriller)
Marta and Hector have been married for a long time. Through the good and bad; through raising a son and sending him off to life after university. So long, in fact, that Marta finds it difficult to remember her life before Hector. He has always taken care of her, and she has always done everything she can to be a good wife --- as advised by a dog-eared manual given to her by Hector’s aloof mother on their wedding day.

But now, something is changing. Small things seem off. A flash of movement in the corner of her eye, elapsed moments that she can’t recall. Visions of a blonde girl in the darkness that only Marta can see. Perhaps she is starting to remember --- or perhaps her mind is playing tricks on her. As Marta’s visions persist and her reality grows more disjointed, it’s unclear if the danger lies in the world around her, or in Marta herself. The girl is growing more real every day, and she wants something.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to visit the book’s Facebook page.
-Click here to read Emma Chapman’s bio.
-Click here to connect with Emma Chapman on Twitter.

Click here to read more in our Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight and enter the contest.’s History Books Roundup for October
In many ways, history defines us. When we can examine where we have been, we often can see a path to the future. Whether we’re reading books about battles and wars, political and personal triumphs and failures, or tales of places and moments that were significant, stories built on history give us a chance to assess the past with a new perspective. In this monthly feature, we take a look at some of the hardcover and paperback releases in the history genre that we think will be of interest to our readers.

In this second installment of our History Books Roundup, we've compiled a number of titles releasing in October that you may want to consider checking out. They include TIP AND THE GIPPER: When Politics Worked by Chris Matthews, HITLER'S FURIES: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower, THE MEN WHO UNITED THE STATES: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible by Simon Winchester, and JFK IN THE SENATE: Pathway to the Presidency by John T. Shaw.
Click here to see our History Books roundup for October.
October’s New in Paperback Roundups

October’s New in Paperback roundups include the following highlights:

THE TIME KEEPER by Mitch Albom (Fiction)
The inventor of the world's first clock is punished for trying to measure God's greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (Supernatural Thriller/Horror)
Charles Talent Manx likes to take children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing --- and terrifying --- playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.” Victoria McQueen, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up now and desperate to forget. But Manx is on the road again and has picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

A DANCE WITH DRAGONS: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book Five by George R. R. Martin (Fantasy)
In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance --- beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

CUSTER by Larry McMurtry (History)
Larry McMurtry has long been fascinated by George Custer and his rightful place in history. In CUSTER, he examines how the “Boy General,” who graduated last in his class at West Point, went on to earn distinction in the Civil War and rose through the ranks. In this lavishly illustrated volume, McMurtry delivers an honest assessment of Custer’s legacy and redefines our understanding of the American West.

ANGELS AT THE TABLE: A Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy Christmas Story by Debbie Macomber (Romance)
Shirley, Goodness and Mercy know that an angel’s work is never done, especially during a time as wondrous as New Year’s Eve. With an apprentice angel, Will, under their wings, they descend upon Times Square in New York City eager to join in the festivities. And when Will spies two lonely strangers in the crowd, he decides midnight is the perfect time to lend a heavenly helping hand.

THE TWELVE TRIBES OF HATTIE by Ayana Mathis (Historical Fiction)
In 1923, 15-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave.

ONE FOR THE BOOKS by Joe Queenan (Humor)
Joe Queenan became a voracious reader as a means of escape from a joyless childhood in a Philadelphia housing project. In the years since then, he has dedicated himself to an assortment of idiosyncratic reading challenges: spending a year reading only short books, spending a year reading books he always suspected he would hate, spending a year reading books he picked with his eyes closed. In ONE FOR THE BOOKS, Queenan tries to come to terms with his own eccentric reading style.

-Find out what's New in Paperback for the weeks of September 30th, October 7th, October 14th, October 21st and October 28th.

Books on Screen for October
Put on your tweed jacket and Gregory Peck glasses, because it's October and we're getting serious! The drama is non-stop, on screens both big and small. Sometimes it's hard to decide between reading a good book and watching a thought-provoking movie or TV show. But with so many incredible books on screen to choose from this month, it's a win-win situation.

In theaters is the highly anticipated and reimagined Romeo & Juliet. Teen sensation Hailee Steinfeld and the gorgeous Douglas Booth star as the eponymous lovers, who are still as star-crossed as ever --- even though the setting for their doomed love gets a 21st-century update. It doesn't hurt that the screenplay was adapted by the very capable Julian Fellowes of "Downton Abbey" fame.

If you're not looking for love this month, check out Tom Hanks in the tense thriller Captain Phillips, based on the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. Also in October --- and just in time for Halloween --- is a remake of the Stephen King gorefest, CARRIE. America's favorite troubled teen is back, this time played by Chloe Grace Moretz, with Julianne Moore as her religious, overbearing mother.

If you're saving your money for Oktoberfest, there are plenty of books on screen to watch for free in the comfort of your own home. Vampires are hot this season (as with all seasons, post-Twilight), and you have your choice of the brooding CW kind or the brooding NBC kind. On the CW, "The Vampire Diaries" returns for its fifth season, and Stefan, Damon and Elena are all still fang-deep in old drama and new. Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays a more grown-up vampire over on NBC, starring as Dracula on the show of the same title, which premieres on October 25th.

Between all the romance, horror and remakes galore, there's something for everyone on screen this October. Get out there and enjoy!
Click here to see all the movies, TV shows and DVDs featured in October's Books on Screen.
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: RASPUTIN’S SHADOW by Raymond Khoury

RASPUTIN'S SHADOW by Raymond Khoury (Historical Thriller)
On a cold, bleak day in 1916, a mining pit in Siberia turns into a bloodbath when its miners attack each other, savagely and ferociously. Minutes later, two men --- a horrified scientist and Grigory Rasputin, trusted confidant of the tsar --- hit a detonator, blowing up the mine to conceal all evidence of the carnage.

In the present day, FBI agent Sean Reilly is tasked with a new, disturbing case. A Russian embassy attaché seems to have committed suicide by jumping out of a fourth-floor window in Queens. The apartment’s owners, a retired high school teacher and his wife, have gone missing, while a faceless killer is roaming New York City, leaving a trail of death in his wake.

Joined by Russian FSB agent Larisa Tchoumitcheva, Reilly’s investigation into the old man’s identity will uncover a deadly, desperate search for a mysterious device whose origins reach back in time to the darkest days of the Cold War and to Imperial Russia and which, in the wrong hands, could have a devastating impact on the modern world.

RASPUTIN'S SHADOW releases on October 8th.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here
to read an excerpt.
-Click here
to read Raymond Khoury’s bio.
-Click here
to visit Raymond Khoury’s official website.
-Connect with Raymond Khoury on Facebook
and Twitter.

Click here to read more in our Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight.
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: THE STRANGER YOU KNOW by Andrea Kane

THE STRANGER YOU KNOW: A Forensic Instincts Novel by Andrea Kane (Thriller)
College-age girls with long red hair. Brutally murdered, they're posed like victims in a film noir. Each crime scene is eerily similar to the twisted fantasy of a serial offender now serving 30 years to life --- a criminal brought to justice with the help of Forensic Instincts.

But the similarities are more than one psychopath's desire to outdo another. As more red-haired victims are added to the body count, it becomes clear that each one has been chosen because of a unique connection to Casey --- a connection that grows closer and closer to her.

Now the Forensic Instincts team must race to uncover the identity of a serial killer before his ever-tightening circle of death closes in on Casey as the ultimate target. As the stalker methodically moves in on his prey, his actions make one thing clear: he knows everything about Casey. And Casey realizes that this psychopath won't stop until he makes sure she's dead.

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 read our interview with Andrea Kane.
Click here to read Andrea Kane’s bio.
Click here to visit Andrea Kane’s official website.
-Connect with Andrea Kane on
Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to read more in our Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight.
More Reviews This Week

TIP AND THE GIPPER: When Politics Worked by Chris Matthews (History/Politics)
Chris Matthews was a top aide to Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, who waged a principled war of political ideals with President Reagan from 1980 to 1986. Together, the two men forged compromises that shaped America’s future and became one of history’s most celebrated political pairings --- the epitome of how ideological opposites can get things done. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

GONE: A Michael Bennett Novel by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Thriller)
Detective Michael Bennett once managed to put charismatic and ruthless leader Manuel Perrine behind bars, the only official in the US ever to accomplish that. But now Perrine is out, and he has sworn to find and kill Bennett and everyone dear to him. He begins to embark on an escalating series of assassinations across the country, killings whose brazenness and audacity bring into question the possibility of safety and law in the US. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

THE FINAL CUT by Catherine Coulter and J. T. Ellison (Thriller)
Scotland Yard’s new chief inspector Nicholas Drummond learns that his colleague, Elaine York, the “minder” of the Crown Jewels for the “Jewel of the Lion” exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was found murdered. Then the centerpiece of the exhibit, the infamous Koh-i-Noor Diamond, is stolen from the Queen Mother’s crown. Special Agents Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich don’t hesitate to help Drummond find the cunning international thief known as the Fox. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

LEVELS OF LIFE by Julian Barnes (Fiction)
This latest book from Julian Barnes, author of the Man Booker Prize–winning novel THE SENSE OF AN ENDING, begins in the 19th century and leads seamlessly into an entirely personal account of loss. LEVELS OF LIFE is about ballooning, photography, love and loss; about putting two things --- and two people --- together and tearing them apart. Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol.

THE TILTED WORLD by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly (Historical Fiction)
Set against the backdrop of the historic flooding of the Mississippi River, THE TILTED WORLD --- written by Tom Franklin, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER, and award-winning poet Beth Ann Fennelly --- is an extraordinary tale of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, and a man and a woman who find unexpected love. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

MRS. POE by Lynn Cullen
(Historical Fiction)
Frances Osgood’s life is already complicated when she meets Edgar Allan Poe. Admiration, quickly followed by deep attraction, sends the two on a strange journey. Knowing they can’t have what their hearts both want, they deny their love and yet find themselves in a very complicated relationship that neither knows how to get out of --- or if they even want out. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

-Click here to read an interview with Lynn Cullen.

In SISTER MOTHER HUSBAND DOG, Delia Ephron brings her trademark wit and effervescent prose to a series of unforgettable, moving and provocative essays. The emotional linchpin in this collection is the author’s stirring, eloquent response to the death of Nora Ephron --- Delia’s older sister and frequent writing companion. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

BEING A ROCKEFELLER, BECOMING MYSELF: A Memoir by Eileen Rockefeller (Memoir)
In BEING A ROCKEFELLER, BECOMING MYSELF, the great-granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller and the daughter of David and Peggy Rockefeller reveals what it was like to grow up as the youngest of six children and 22 cousins in one of the world’s most famous families. Eileen learned in childhood that great wealth and fame could open almost any door, but they could not buy a sense of personal worth. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

Putting aside poetry in favor of music, and drawing on his classical bassoon training, Paul Chowder turns instead to his new acoustic guitar with one goal in mind: to learn songwriting. As he struggles to come to terms with the horror of America’s drone wars and ex-girlfriend Roz’s recent relationship with a local NPR radio host, Paul fills his days with Quaker meetings, Planet Fitness workouts, and some experiments with tobacco. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

CATCH AND RELEASE by Lawrence Block (Noir Mystery/Short Stories)
Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Lawrence Block brings together in one collection 16 of his short stories and a short play. These are truly tales from the dark side involving serial killers, dirty cops, obsessed fans, and dangerous, desperate people. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

BLACK SKIES: An Icelandic Thriller by Arnaldur Indridason (Thriller)
A man is making a "death mask," and he has revenge in mind. Meanwhile, a school reunion has left Inspector Erlendur's colleague Sigurdur Óli unhappy with life in the police force. While Iceland is enjoying an economic boom, Óli's relationship is on the rocks, and soon even his position in the department is compromised. When a favor to a friend goes wrong and a woman dies before his eyes, Óli has a murder investigation on his hands. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

THE DEAD RUN by Adam Mansbach (Thriller)
On both sides of the border, girls are going missing and bodies are beginning to surface. It’s a deadly epidemic of crime that plunges a small-town police chief into a monster of an investigation he's not equipped to handle. An ancient evil has returned, and now everyone --- the innocent and the guilty --- must face their deepest terrors. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

(Historical Mystery)
Leah Randall, a young vaudeville actress, discovers that she looks exactly like Jessie Carr, an heiress who vanished years ago. When Jessie's uncle asks her to impersonate Jessie in order to inherit her considerable estate and then split it with him, Leah is reluctant but can't resist --- which propels her into more than one murder mystery. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

HAVANA LOST by Libby Fischer Hellmann (Historical Thriller)
On the eve of the Cuban Revolution, headstrong 18-year-old Francesca Pacelli flees from her ruthless Mafia-boss father in Havana to the arms of her lover, a rebel fighting with Fidel Castro. Her father, desperate to send her to safety in the US, resorts to torture and blackmail as he searches the island for her. So begins the first part of a spellbinding saga that spans three generations of the same family. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.

Contests Running on Other Sites in

We have a number of contests currently running on our other sites in Please take a look at them below, and enter for your chance to win some fabulous books!

We are celebrating the October 10th release of THE PRESERVATIONIST --- a riveting psychological thriller about three people whose dark pasts are beginning to catch up with them --- with a special contest that will give 150 groups the opportunity to win one copy of the book and for the author, Justin Kramon, to personally visit their book club meeting. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, November 6th at noon ET.

STRINGS ATTACHED: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations by Joanne Lipman and Melanie Kupchynsky
We are celebrating the release of STRINGS ATTACHED: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations by Joanne Lipman and Melanie Kupchynsky --- which was launched by a New York Times Op-Ed piece that went viral about a remarkable teacher’s legacy --- with a special contest. 50 readers will have the opportunity to win a copy of the book, which is now in stores, for their group. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, November 6th at noon ET. And, in the spirit of the book’s theme, we would like you to tell us about a favorite teacher of yours who had a major impact on you. Once the contest is over, we plan to share your comments on the site!

"What Are You Reading?" Monthly Contest Feature

Let us know what your group is reading in October, and you will be entered in a giveaway to win multiple copies of a book for your group! Our latest prize book is THE OBITUARY WRITER by Ann Hood, a sophisticated and suspenseful novel about the poignant lives of two women living in different eras. We have 12 copies of the book, which is now available in paperback, to give away to three groups. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, November 6th at noon ET.

Book O'Lantern 2013
We are celebrating the season of ghouls and ghosts with our Third Annual Book O'Lantern Contest! Between now and Thursday, October 31st, teens can enter to win a bag perfect for trick-or-treating, filled with a few special sweet treats, plus some spooky reads that will help make the scariest season of them all last well beyond Halloween.

When Connor's little sister, Grace, falls into a coma, he finds out it's his task to discover what happened to her and try to fix it --- all without running into an alternate version of himself! We are celebrating the release of THE LAST PRESENT, the latest entry in Wendy Mass's Willow Falls series, with a special contest that will give 15 readers the opportunity to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Thursday, October 31st at noon ET.

by Wendelin Van Draanen

Sammy Keyes knew that getting to know her new dad on a cruise would be a little uncomfortable. But when an heiress disappears from the ship, it turns out everyone is in for a rocky ride. We are celebrating the release of SAMMY KEYES AND THE KILLER CRUISE, Wendelin Van Draanen’s penultimate Sammy Keyes mystery, with a special contest that will give five readers the opportunity to win a SIGNED copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, October 16th at noon ET.

by Tommy Greenwald

Jack Strong is overworked and stages a sit-in on his couch, refusing to get up until his parents let him quit some of the extracurriculars. We are celebrating the release of JACK STRONG TAKES A STAND by Tommy Greenwald with a special contest that will give 15 readers the opportunity to win a SIGNED copy of this tale of protest. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, October 8th at noon ET.

THE SECRET KEEPER: Home to Hickory Hollow, Book 4
by Beverly Lewis

We are celebrating the release of THE SECRET KEEPER with a special contest that will give 30 readers the opportunity to win a copy of this fourth installment in Beverly Lewis's Home to Hickory Hollow series. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, October 16th at noon ET.

by Lisa Wingate

We are celebrating the release of THE PRAYER BOX with a special contest that will give five readers the opportunity to win a copy of Lisa Wingate's latest book. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, October 16th at noon ET.’s Monthly Contest

In our latest monthly contest, 30 readers will receive a copy of REBELLIOUS HEART by Jody Hedlund, a star-crossed love story about two people who find themselves bound together in what quickly becomes a very dangerous fight for justice. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, October 16th at noon ET.

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