Skip to main content

August 1, 2014 Newsletter August 1, 2014
Jewels, Wine, Singing and Authors

As we enjoyed a blissfully cool week of weather this week, I had one of my most hectic weeks of the summer with three evenings of fabulously fun author events. On Monday night, I started the week off with an event at Verdura for the launch of Daisy Goodwin’s novel, THE FORTUNE HUNTER. My friend Beverley joined me, and we were surrounded by staggeringly beautiful gems and pieces, including two cuffs that were owned by Coco Chanel that Daisy posed with; Daisy also was wearing stunning emerald and diamond earrings on loan for the evening like we were at the Academy Awards. Verdura is celebrating its 75th anniversary, and they will be having a special event for the public starting in October called “The Power of Style,” and I am going to see if Beverley wants to join me to view it. I wear the same jewelry every day, but it does not stop me from ogling amazing gems.

This was a perfect setting to celebrate THE FORTUNE HUNTER, which released this week and features Sisi of Austria, the Empress who wove diamonds into her lustrous hair. I am a huge fan of Daisy’s, having read THE AMERICAN HEIRESS (which is still selling strong in paperback!) a few years ago and selecting it as a Bets On pick. Her books work for me as there are wonderful period details that enhance rather than tax the story.

On Tuesday night, I joined Daisy (you can see a blurry photo of us above with the Empire State Building in the background) for a discussion of THE FORTUNE HUNTER with The League, a group of twentysomething women, many of whom attended Hamilton College together. It was the first time she had sat down with American readers to talk about this book, and the chatter was brilliant and lively. This conversation was such fun that I am writing it up for a blog piece that I will plan to have for you next week. They loved the period details, as well as the love triangle between "Sisi,” horseman Captain Bay and the heiress Charlotte Baird. Next week, I also will tell you why I am picking THE FORTUNE HUNTER as a Bets On.

I am not alone in enjoying this book, and in our latest Historical Fiction Author Spotlight on Daisy, we have our review this week from Bronwyn Miller, who advises, “Fans of Lauren Willig’s novels, like THE ASHFORD AFFAIR and The Pink Carnation series, Jo Baker’s LONGBOURN and the PBS series “Downton Abbey” will relish this compelling story with its meticulously researched details…. The impeccably researched settings and characters, along with the scintillating story, will make new fans of author Daisy Goodwin.” Also, be sure to read Bronwyn’s interview with Daisy here.

On Wednesday night, Lorenzo Carcaterra invited me to a fun book launch party for THE WOLF at his favorite Italian restaurant, complete with wine branded with the book’s logo (see above), lots of Italian food, singing and music (including a medley of Four Seasons tunes that Lorenzo had them cue up for me) and lots of publisher and friend joking and good cheer. I have been told that at least one in the audience was “packing a piece,” keeping true to the theme of Lorenzo's writing. It was a lively evening, and I regretted having to dash at 10 to meet up with Greg, who was heading downtown from the Liverpool/Manchester soccer game at Yankee Stadium, to coordinate the drive back home.

Joe Hartlaub recently had the pleasure of interviewing Lorenzo as part of our Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight of THE WOLF. In this page-turning thriller, organized crime launches a war against terrorism following the murder of a powerful mob boss’s family. The Wolf --- Vincent Marelli --- realizes this war may be his last, but his need for revenge knows no bounds. Joe has our review and raves, “Carcaterra balances his character development with a fast-paced and suspenseful plot --- you will want to strap yourself in your seat during the last half of the book --- and those who crave action with their reading will not be disappointed in any way.” Be sure to read Joe’s interview with the New York Times bestselling author here.

In a note to me a few weeks ago, Lorenzo mentioned that his book group, which his daughter, Kate, co-founded, was reading INVISIBLE CITY by Julia Dahl. This week, we interviewed Kate and Lorenzo about The Red Table Book Group on, which you can read about here. Next week, Lorenzo will have a piece for us about their discussion of INVISIBLE CITY. I love when we can share little book nuggets like this with you.

Before we get further into this week’s update, I want to thank Rebecca Munro, our intern, who has been working with Tom and me on this newsletter for the past few weeks. We really appreciate her support in bringing our news to you!

Next up is a book that I think is destined to be one of the biggest books of the end of the summer from the author of last summer’s blockbuster, THE HUSBAND’S SECRET, which spent umpteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. I read Liane Moriarty’s BIG LITTLE LIES a few weeks ago, and it was a complete page-turner. It follows three mothers at the greatest crossroads of their lives, and the way their paths intersect is brilliantly done. Kathy Weissman has our review and says, “BIG LITTLE LIES has suspense to spare, and it kept me guessing until the end. It’s a warm-hearted, juicy novel that will resonate not only with frazzled parents, but also with all the women in the world --- too many --- who are victims of violence and don’t or can’t stick up for themselves.”

We’re wrapping up our Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight of Mary Kubica, whose first novel, THE GOOD GIRL, released this week. Prepare yourself for an addictively suspenseful read as Mia Dennett, the daughter of a prominent judge and his socialite wife, is kidnapped as part of an extortion plot. But when her kidnapper, Colin Thatcher, takes Mia to a secluded cabin instead of delivering her to his employers, no one is prepared for the change in plans. According to reviewer Norah Piehl, “Kubica's work has a surprise ending, to be sure, one that most readers won't see coming. But her characters are also sympathetic and believable, and the surprise ending feels more like an act of redemption than a clever trick on the reader.” Norah also had the pleasure of interviewing Mary about her debut work of fiction, and you can read their discussion here.

Fans of former sheriff turned private investigator Cork O’Connor will enjoy our newest Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight on William Kent Krueger in anticipation of WINDIGO ISLAND. The latest mystery in the series finds Cork battling mythical and modern villains after the disappearance of two young girls. When the body of one girl washes up on the banks of Lake Superior, the residents of the nearby Bad Bluff reservation blame a mythical beast, the Windigo. The parents of the second girl are less certain and call upon Cork to investigate. He soon discovers that the girls may have been targeted by sex traffickers and must fight against the leaders of the lucrative enterprise and irresponsible government agencies to save the still-missing girl. To celebrate its August 19th release, we’re giving away 25 copies to those who would like to read the book and share their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, August 14th at noon ET.

More news on Krueger. His stand-alone title ORDINARY GRACE was selected as a South Lake Minnetonka One Book, One Community read, and the event to celebrate it was this week. Kent will share his story about that with us next week, as well as news about more events like this to come!

Featured in our New Release Spotlight this week is THE HEXED by Heather Graham. Meet Devin Lyle, a young woman who has recently returned to the Salem area after inheriting an 18th-century cabin from her eccentric aunt. Craig Rockwell is a new member of the Krewe of Hunters, the FBI’s team of paranormal investigators. When bodies mysteriously begin turning up in the woods near Devin’s cabin, the two must work together to discover the secrets of the ghosts and witches of Salem before Devin’s own life is risked. Click here to read more about the book.

Journey through 1940s America with Amy Bloom’s LUCKY US, the story of friends Iris and Eva, who take a trip to spend some time away from their disappointing families. Iris’s quest for stardom takes the pair across the America of Reinvention, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island. Together the girls learn about success, failure, luck and the creation of one’s family --- conventional or otherwise. Reviewer Norah Piehl calls the book “a purely pleasurable reading experience, a funny, bittersweet reflection on the mutability and constancy of love.” I’m cheering for Amy with this one; I had two delightful conversations with her earlier this year during her pre-pub tour, and her love of family and performance imbues this book.

Supplying your weekly thrills is BACK CHANNEL by Stephen L. Carter, a gripping combination of fact, fiction and suspense. The year is 1962, and Kennedy and Khrushchev are in the middle of a military face-off that threatens to turn nuclear. With war seemingly imminent, the two leaders must negotiate through a "back channel" --- a clandestine path of communication hidden from their own people. To be successful, they need a messenger no one will suspect: Margo Jensen, one of the few black women at Cornell. Protected only by her own cunning and courage, Margo begins her terrifying journey --- at the risk of her life. According to reviewer Roz Shea, “Stephen L. Carter portrays the players on this terrifying world stage, both real and fictional, with such absorbing characterizations that if Netflix or HBO doesn’t turn BACK CHANNEL into a TV miniseries, they’re missing a good bet.”

For even more suspenseful reading, try THE PERFECT STRANGER by Wendy Corsi Staub. Landry Wells has found support and companionship through a group of bloggers following a dark period in her life. Happy to have found women who have been through the same struggle, Landry has shared things with her online friends that she has kept from even her husband and children. Now one of the bloggers is dead, and Landry is about to meet the others at a funeral a thousand miles from home. These women know everything about her, from her grief to her joy --- and one of them may be the killer. Joe Hartlaub calls the book “the perfect wild night’s reading ride for the closing days of summer. Loaded with suspense, tragedy and mystery, it is a page-turner from beginning to end, a book that keeps the reader guessing and misdirected until practically the last page.”

There is still time to enter our special contest celebrating the September 30th release of A SUDDEN LIGHT by Garth Stein. When a boy tries to save his parents’ marriage, he uncovers a legacy of family secrets in this coming-of-age ghost story by the author of THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN. We have 25 advance copies to give away to readers who would like to read the book and share their comments about it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, August 7th at noon ET.

Also continuing is our contest for SMALL BLESSINGS by Martha Woodroof, our latest Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight title. This is the inspiring tale of a small-town college professor, a remarkable new woman at the bookshop, and the 10-year-old son he never knew he had. We’re giving 25 lucky readers the chance to win a copy of SMALL BLESSINGS and share their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, August 7th at noon ET.

I never have been to Charleston, which is on my bucket list, thus I was excited to read CHARLESTON by Margaret Bradham Thornton, my latest Bets On selection. This haunting novel follows Eliza Poinsett, who left the elegant world of Charleston 10 years ago for college. Now residing in London with a charming boyfriend, Eliza is shocked when she runs into her first love, Henry, at a wedding in the countryside. Her already shaken sense of self is further challenged when she meets Henry again at her sister’s debut in their childhood town. Amidst the stately homes and seductive Lowcountry, Eliza contemplates whether she should toss her life abroad aside to be with the only man she has ever truly loved in a city that clearly has seduced her as well. Click here to see why I’m betting you’ll love this book.

I’ve already picked 23 books as Bets On titles in 2014. This and the aforementioned THE FORTUNE HUNTER get me to 25! And it’s only early August! There are just soooooo many great books that have been published this year so far that I want to be sure are on your radar.

This year’s Summer Reading contests will be coming to an end next week, so please be on the lookout for our final four fabulous giveaways, starting this Monday, August 4th at noon ET: the aforementioned CHARLESTON by Margaret Bradham Thornton, along with CHINA DOLLS by Lisa See, SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE by Anouska Knight, and SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY by Joshilyn Jackson.

In just a few short weeks, we’ll be announcing the details of our Fourth Annual Fall Preview feature! Similar to our Summer Reading contests, on select days in September and October, we will spotlight a different title and offer a 24-hour contest to win five copies of the book. We also will be sending a special newsletter to announce each day's title. You can sign up here to receive the Fall Preview newsletters. Our first prize book will be announced on Monday, September 8th.

Our poll question continues to ask, “When you are reading, do you typically stop at the end of a chapter?” Click here to let us know what you usually do.

Our current Word of Mouth contest will be up for another week. Let us know by Friday, August 8th at noon ET what books you’ve finished reading, and you’ll be in the running to win the aforementioned BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty, along with BAGMEN by William Lashner and THE LOST ISLAND: A Gideon Crew Novel by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, both of which we’ll be reviewing next week.

We’ve posted advance readers' comments for six books we recently gave away as part of our Author Spotlights. Click on the book titles to see what our contest winners had to say about ENDURING COURAGE by John F. Ross, THE HIDDEN CHILD by Camilla Läckberg, THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL by Nadia Hashimi, ’TIL THE WELL RUNS DRY by Lauren Francis-Sharma, WHERE EARTH MEETS WATER by Pia Padukone and YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN by Jean Hanff Korelitz. Many thanks to all who shared their comments and feedback with us!

In my weekly audio update, I still am listening to UNBROKEN --- three more discs to go! The other night, one of the twentysomething book group members who joined us for the discussion of THE FORTUNE HUNTER said she usually listens to books on audio instead of reading them. She has a 40-minute walking commute each day, and it’s a great time for her to enjoy a book as the rest of her days are too hectic for reading. Last night, I was reading a Vogue Knitting interview with Laura Bryant of Prism Yarns, who is one of my favorite yarn designers. She noted that she “loves to read, although lately I’ve accomplished that by listening to audiobooks while I knit. There is never enough time to do all I want to do.” We are kindred spirits, though I have not yet tried knitting while listening.

We’ve been seeing ads all over the city with the slogan “The Kilt Drops” with the premiere date for “Outlander” on August 9th. But Starz is offering a free sampling of the first episode beginning August 2nd via, the Starz “Outlander” Twitter page, the Starz YouTube page, Starz “Outlander” Facebook page, and the free STARZ PLAY app for all users in the United States. All you fans of Jamie, get ready.

Weekend plans include Greg heading for a weekend of Rover Polo with his Land Rover pals, trying to figure out what to do with a room here at the house that is becoming a guest room, dinner company and lots of reading. Next weekend, we are off to visit our family friend Moe in Amagansett, where my visit once again luckily timed to coordinate with the East Hampton Authors Night, which benefits the East Hampton Public Library. What a lineup of authors they have! I'm looking forward to it and sharing news about that evening with you. If you are going to be there, let me know!

Here’s to a great week…and read on….

Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected]) Talks to Daisy Goodwin, Author of THE FORTUNE HUNTER --- Our Latest Historical Fiction Author Spotlight Title

In addition to publishing numerous poetry anthologies and the New York Times bestselling novel THE AMERICAN HEIRESS, Daisy Goodwin has presented award-winning television series on poetry and on the enduring appeal of romantic fiction. She currently lives in London with her husband, two daughters and three dogs. So when she says she’s been researching her latest book, THE FORTUNE HUNTER, her “whole life,” she isn’t kidding! In this interview with’s Bronwyn Miller, Goodwin talks about the picture of Empress Elizabeth of Austria that inspired her to tell this story and the challenges of crafting fiction that has roots in real history. She also shares how her experience working in television production has been invaluable to her writing, why she feels so strongly about her charity, Women Taking Action, and why a 2am text message from a reader was one of the highlights of her career.

THE FORTUNE HUNTER by Daisy Goodwin (Historical Fiction)
A clever, plainspoken heiress whose money gives her a choice among suitors, Charlotte Baird falls in love with Captain Bay Middleton, the first man to really notice her. When Empress Elizabeth of Austria joins the legendary hunt organized by Earl Spencer in England, Bay is asked to guide her on the treacherous course. Their shared passion for riding leads to an infatuation that jeopardizes the growing bond between Bay and Charlotte, and threatens all of their futures. 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 Daisy Goodwin’s bio.
-Click here to visit Daisy Goodwin’s official website.
-Connect with Daisy Goodwin on Facebook and Twitter.
-Click here to read more in our Historical Fiction Author Spotlight.

Click here to read our interview. Talks to Lorenzo Carcaterra, Author of THE WOLF --- Our Latest Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Title

Lorenzo Carcaterra is a former journalist and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of such books as PARADISE CITY, CHASERS and MIDNIGHT ANGELS. In his latest novel, THE WOLF, organized crime goes to war with international terrorism in the name of one man’s quest for revenge. In this interview with’s Joe Hartlaub, the king of gritty crime fiction talks about writing a sympathetic mob boss, the extensive research that goes into each of his books --- including travel and plenty of neighborhood connections --- and why he so often sets his stories (at least in part) in Italy. He also shares how much of his characters are based on real people, why he’s so interested in the relativity of moral standards, and why organized crime is here to stay.

THE WOLF by Lorenzo Carcaterra (Thriller)
When the world's most powerful mob boss loses his wife and daughters in a terrorist attack funded by one of his rivals, he resolves to turn the tables. Rallying the heads of the globe's top criminal organizations, Vincent Marelli launches a war that may be his last. With the weight of the criminal world on his shoulders, he has only one desire in his heart: to know who ordered the hit that took out his girls. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Lorenzo Carcaterra’s bio.
-Click here to visit Lorenzo Carcaterra’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Lorenzo Carcaterra on Facebook.
-Click here to see the 35 winners selected to read and comment on the book.
-Click here to read more in our Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight.

Click here to read our interview.
Now in Stores: BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty
BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty (Fiction)
The setting: a gorgeous beachfront community in Australia. The women: three kindergarten moms who don’t always tell the truth to others --- or to themselves. The novel: a page-turner that’s part mystery, part black comedy and part feminist manifesto, from the author of last summer’s hit, THE HUSBAND’S SECRET. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review. Talks to Mary Kubica, Author of THE GOOD GIRL --- Our Latest Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Title
Mary Kubica’s first novel, THE GOOD GIRL, is a taut, character-driven psychological thriller --- so it’s no surprise it’s being compared to Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL. The book revolves around the abduction of Mia Dennett, and is told from three very interesting points of view: Mia's mother, the detective assigned to her case, and her abductor. In this interview with’s Norah Piehl, Kubica talks about why she chose to tell the story from multiple perspectives, the thrills and challenges that choice brought to her writing, and how she went about craftily embedding a surprise ending readers won’t see coming. She also opens up about how supportive the writing community has been of her debut effort, and why you should never give up on your dreams.

THE GOOD GIRL by Mary Kubica (Psychological Thriller)
Mia Dennett is abducted one night by an enigmatic stranger named Colin Thatcher, whose job was to kidnap Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin. Mia's mother and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-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 watch the book trailer.
-Click here for the digital book club kit.
-Click here to read Mary Kubica’s bio.
-Click here to visit Mary Kubica’s official website.
-Connect with Mary Kubica on Facebook and Twitter.
-Click here to see the 25 winners selected to read and comment on the book.
-Click here to read more in our Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight.
Click here to read our interview.
New Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight & Contest: WINDIGO ISLAND by William Kent Krueger
We have 25 copies of WINDIGO ISLAND by William Kent Krueger, which releases on August 19th, 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, August 14th at noon ET.

WINDIGO ISLAND by William Kent Krueger (Mystery)
When the body of a teenage Ojibwe girl washes up on the shore of an island in Lake Superior, the residents of the nearby Bad Bluff reservation whisper that it was the work of a mythical beast, the Windigo, or a vengeful spirit called Michi Peshu. Such stories have been told by the Ojibwe people for generations, but they don’t solve the mystery of how the girl and her friend, Mariah Arceneaux, disappeared a year ago. At the request of the Arceneaux family, Cork O’Connor, former sheriff turned private investigator, is soon on the case.

But on the Bad Bluff reservation, nobody’s talking. Still, Cork puts enough information together to find a possible trail. In Duluth, Minnesota, he learns from an Ojibwe social worker that both Duluth and the Twin Cities are among the most active areas in the US for sex trafficking of vulnerable women, many of whom are young Native Americans. As the investigation deepens, so does the danger. Cork realizes he’s not only up against those who control the lucrative sex enterprise --- he must also battle government agencies more than willing to look the other way.

Yet Cork holds tight to his purpose --- Mariah, an innocent 15-year-old girl at the heart of this grotesque web, who is still missing and whose family is desperate to get her back. With only the barest hope of saving her, Cork prepares to battle men whose evil rivals that of the bloodthirsty Windigo and who are as powerful, elusive and vengeful as the dark spirit Michi Peshu.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read William Kent Krueger's bio.
-Click here to visit William Kent Krueger's official website.
-Connect with William Kent Krueger on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight and enter the contest.
New Release Spotlight: THE HEXED by Heather Graham
THE HEXED by Heather Graham (Paranormal Romantic Suspense)
Devin Lyle has recently returned to the Salem area, but her timing couldn’t be worse. Soon after she moved into the 18th-century cabin she inherited from her great aunt Mina --- her “crazy” great-aunt, who spoke to the dead --- a woman was murdered nearby.

Craig Rockwell --- known as Rocky --- is a new member of the Krewe of Hunters, the FBI’s team of paranormal investigators. He never got over finding a friend dead in the woods. Now another body’s been found in those same woods, not far from the home of Devin Lyle. And Devin’s been led to a third body --- by...a ghost?

Her discovery draws them both deeper into the case and Salem’s rich and disturbing history. Even as the danger mounts, Devin and Rocky begin to fall for each other, something the ghosts of Mina and past witches seem to approve of. But the two of them need every skill they possess to learn the truth --- or Devin’s might be the next body in the woods.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Heather Graham's bio.
-Click here to visit Heather Graham's website.
-Connect with Heather Graham on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our New Release Spotlight.
Now in Stores: LUCKY US by Amy Bloom
LUCKY US by Amy Bloom (Historical Fiction)
When Eva's mother abandons her on her half-sister Iris's front porch, the girls don't seem to have much in common. Thrown together with no mothers to care for them and a father who could not be considered a parent, Eva and Iris become family. Iris wants to be a movie star, while Eva is her sidekick. The sisters look out for each other through good and bad, until unexpected events send Iris to London, leaving Eva with a responsibility she never could have imagined. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Special Contest: Win a Copy of A SUDDEN LIGHT by Garth Stein Before Its September 30th Release
We are celebrating the September 30th release of A SUDDEN LIGHT by Garth Stein 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, August 7th at noon ET.

A SUDDEN LIGHT by Garth Stein (Supernatural Mystery)
In the summer of 1990, 14-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel --- who is flickering in and out of dementia --- to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into “tract housing for millionaires,” divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

But Trevor soon discovers there’s someone else living in Riddell House: a ghost with an agenda of his own. For while the land holds tremendous value, it is also burdened by the final wishes of the family patriarch, Elijah, who mandated it be allowed to return to untamed forestland as a penance for the millions of trees harvested over the decades by the Riddell Timber company. The ghost will not rest until Elijah’s wish is fulfilled, and Trevor’s willingness to face the past holds the key to his family’s future.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Garth Stein’s bio.
-Click here to visit Garth Stein’s official website.
-Connect with Garth Stein on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to enter the contest.
Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight & Contest: SMALL BLESSINGS by Martha Woodroof
We have 25 copies of SMALL BLESSINGS by Martha Woodroof to give away to readers who would like to read the book, which releases on August 12th, and share their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, August 7th at noon ET.

SMALL BLESSINGS by Martha Woodroof (Fiction)
Tom Putnam has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. An English professor in a sleepy college town, he spends his days browsing the Shakespeare shelves at the campus bookstore, managing the oddball faculty in his department and caring, alongside his formidable mother-in-law, for his wife Marjory, a fragile shut-in with unrelenting neuroses, a condition exacerbated by her discovery of Tom’s brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess a decade earlier.

Then, one evening at the bookstore, Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the shop's charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to their home for dinner, out of the blue, her first social interaction since her breakdown. Tom wonders if it’s a sign that change is on the horizon, a feeling confirmed upon his return home, where he opens a letter from his former paramour, informing him he'd fathered a son who is heading Tom's way on a train. His mind races at the possibility of having a family after so many years of loneliness. And it becomes clear change is coming whether Tom is ready or not.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Martha Woodroof’s bio.
-Click here to visit Martha Woodroof’s official website.
-Connect with Martha Woodroof on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight and enter the contest.'s Summer Reading Contests and Feature

Summer is here! At, this means it's time for us to share some great summer book picks with our Summer Reading Contests and Feature. We are hosting a number of 24-hour contests for these titles on select days throughout the summer, so you have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter to win. We also are sending a special newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, August 4th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles are:


Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles. Bets On: CHARLESTON by Margaret Bradham Thornton
CHARLESTON by Margaret Bradham Thornton (Fiction)
Charleston is a place on my “bucket list.” I love cities with charm, atmosphere, history and style --- and Charleston seems to have all of that. Thus, when I saw Margaret Bradham Thornton’s debut novel, CHARLESTON, on a shelf at a conference earlier this year, I knew I had to read it.

Eliza Poinsett left Charleston years ago, first for school at Princeton and Columbia (she has two Masters; one in English and one in Art History) and then for England, where she became an art historian. At a wedding across the pond that she attends with her British boyfriend, Jamie, she runs into her old flame from Charleston, Henry. Seeing him evokes memories of home.

When she is lured back to the States for her stepsister’s debut, Eliza again sees Henry, and it’s quite clear that the flames between them had just been ebbing and by no means are extinguished. Eliza finds herself caught up in a decision on whether to stay in Charleston or head back to England. Before she does that, she needs to unravel the complicated world that Henry has drawn her into, as well as come to terms with the reasons they split in the past.

Charleston is a character here, and in fact may rival Eliza for the lead role. Stately homes that have been in families for generations --- and bear their names -- are coveted here. The land around the city is awash with history as well. I read it in a day and wanted to get my plane ticket booked once I closed it.

By the way, Thornton’s previous work, NOTEBOOKS, looked at the life and work of Tennessee Williams. Readers will enjoy the references she makes to his work in CHARLESTON.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here for more books we're betting you'll love.
Women's Fiction Author Spotlight: SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STORY by Joshilyn Jackson
SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY by Joshilyn Jackson (Romance)
SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY is beloved and highly acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson's funny, charming and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love, and learning that things aren't always what they seem --- or what we hope they will be.

Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents. She has enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up and falling in love with William Ashe, who willingly steps between the robber and her son.

Shandi doesn't know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun, he believed it was destiny: It's been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn't define destiny the way others do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in facts and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.

SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY releases in paperback on August 5th.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read more about the book on the publisher’s website.
-Click here to read Joshilyn Jackson’s bio.
-Click here to visit Joshilyn Jackson’s official website.
-Connect with Joshilyn Jackson on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight.
More Reviews This Week

BACK CHANNEL by Stephen L. Carter (Historical Thriller)
It’s October 1962, and the Soviet Union has smuggled missiles into Cuba. Kennedy and Khrushchev are in the midst of a military face-off that could lead to nuclear conflagration. The only way for the two leaders to negotiate safely is to open a “back channel” --- a surreptitious path of communication hidden from their own people. They need a clandestine emissary nobody would ever suspect. If the secret gets out, her life will be at risk…but they’re careful not to tell her that. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to visit Stephen L. Carter’s official website.

THE PERFECT STRANGER by Wendy Corsi Staub (Thriller)
During the darkest period of her life, Landry Wells found solace in a group of bloggers who had been in her shoes and lived to tell the tale. She has shared things with her online friends that even her husband and children didn't know. One of the bloggers is dead, the victim of a random crime. Or was it? At the funeral, Landry is about to come face to face at last with the others. These women are her closest confidantes in the world --- and one of them might be a cold-blooded killer. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to visit Wendy Corsi Staub’s official website.

POWER PLAY: An FBI Thriller by Catherine Coulter (Thriller)
Natalie Black, the U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James, returns to Washington with her job in jeopardy. She is being blamed for her fiancé’s death and has survived two attempts on her life, but only FBI Special Agent Davis Sullivan believes her. Meanwhile, someone is following Lacey Sherlock. She is shot at, and an Atlanta mental hospital warns her that Blessed Backman, a psychopath out for revenge against Sherlock, has escaped. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

THE GIRLS OF AUGUST by Anne Rivers Siddons (Fiction)
Every August, four women gather to spend a week together at the beach. When one of them dies tragically, the group drifts apart and the vacations come to a halt. Years later, a new marriage reunites them and they come together once again on a remote island off the coast of South Carolina. There, far from civilization, the women make startling discoveries that will change them in ways they never expected. Reviewed by Donna Smallwood.

HOUNDED: An Andy Carpenter Mystery by David Rosenfelt (Legal Thriller/Mystery)
After getting a mysterious phone call from a good friend, policeman Pete Stanton, Andy Carpenter appears at the scene of a crime, where the body of ex-convict Danny Balfour has been discovered. It isn’t long before Pete himself comes under suspicion for Danny’s murder, and he needs defense attorney Andy to represent him…and to find out what really happened in Danny's house that day. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

DEAR DAUGHTER by Elizabeth Little (Thriller)
Former “It Girl” Janie Jenkins is acerbic, whip smart, and fresh out of prison. Ten years ago, at the height of her glamour and fame, she was incarcerated for the murder of her mother, a philanthropist best known for her string of rich husbands. Now, released on a technicality, Janie chops off her trademark hair, determined to chase down the one lead she has about her mother’s killer. The only problem? Janie doesn’t know if she’s the killer she’s looking for. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

THE HOME PLACE by Carrie La Seur (Fiction)
The only Terrebonne who made it out, Alma thought she was done with Montana. But an unexpected call from the local police takes the successful lawyer back to her provincial hometown and pulls her into the family trouble she thought she’d left far behind: Her lying, party-loving sister, Vicky, is dead. When she returns home to bury Vicky and see to her orphaned niece, she discovers that the death may not have been an accident. Reviewed by Jane Krebs.

THE INTERIOR CIRCUIT: A Mexico City Chronicle by Francisco Goldman (Memoir)
THE INTERIOR CIRCUIT is Francisco Goldman’s story of his emergence from grief five years after his wife’s death, symbolized by his attempt to overcome his fear of driving in the city. Embracing the DF (Mexico City) as his home, Goldman explores and celebrates the city, which stands defiantly apart from so many of the social ills and violence wracking Mexico. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

JOE AND MARILYN: Legends in Love by C. David Heymann (Biography)
When Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe eloped in January 1954, they became an international sensation. C. David Heymann's JOE AND MARILYN reveals the true inside story of these two iconic figures whose marital troubles were Hollywood legend. Though their marriage only lasted nine months, they remained close until Monroe’s mysterious death in 1962 at the age of 36. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

BLUE-EYED BOY: A Memoir by Robert Timberg (Memoir)
In January 1967, Robert Timberg was a short-timer, counting down the days until his combat tour ended. He had 13 days to go when his vehicle struck a Viet Cong land mine, resulting in third-degree burns of his face and much of his body. He survived, barely, then began the arduous battle back, determined to build a new life and make it matter. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

END GAME: A Jonathan Grave Thriller by John Gilstrap (Thriller)
Assassins have eliminated a Chechen scientist who's been working as a double agent for the U.S. government. The feds know who to call: Jonathan Grave and his elite rescue team. Their mission: find the dead man's teenage son, who's on the run --- and off the grid --- with crucial information that must not fall into the wrong hands. There's one problem: the boy's bodyguard is a security specialist with unusual talents, and she's not giving up without a fight. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

FORTY ACRES by Dwayne Alexander Smith (Thriller)
Martin Grey is a smart, talented black lawyer working in Queens. When he becomes friendly with a group of the most powerful and wealthy black men in America, they seem to think he has the potential to be as successful as they are. But when they invite him for a weekend away from wives, cell phones and business, he discovers a secret society where slavery is preserved, but black men are called “Master.” Martin must find a way out that will allow him to stay alive without becoming the very thing he hates. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

WALLS OF WIND: A Science Fiction Novel by J. A. McLachlan (Science Fiction)
WALLS OF WIND unfolds on an alien world whose two sentient species, Ghen and Bria, are interdependent and reproductively symbiotic, yet have been conditioned through many generations to believe they otherwise have very little in common. Against daunting challenges, they come together when threatened by a predator to whom both are dangerously --- and genetically --- linked. Reviewed by Pauline Finch.

Our Latest Poll and Word of Mouth Contest


When you are reading, do you typically stop at the end of a chapter?

All of the time
Some of the time
I try.
I never thought about this.

-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 July 25th to August 8th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of BAGMEN by William Lashner, BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty and THE LOST ISLAND: A Gideon Crew Novel by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

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, we ask that you finish reading the book before you submit your comments about it.

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.

As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page. If you would like to reach me, please write [email protected]. Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Happy reading! Don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend or to visit our other websites from,,,,, and

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