BOOK NOTES: More book news, Dec. 15, 2012

Published:

Weight Watchers anniversary cookbook out in May

NEW YORK (AP) -- Weight Watchers is marking its 50th year by shedding its old publisher and hoping to expand its audience for an anniversary cookbook.

"Weight Watchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook: 270 Delicious Recipes for Every Meal," will come out in May. The release starts a partnership between the diet company and St. Martin's Press. Weight Watchers had previously released its cookbooks through Wiley.

According to a joint announcement Friday from Weight Watchers and St. Martin's, the new cookbook will offer new and old recipes and "fun facts" on Weight Watchers history,

Weight Watchers and St. Martin's plan another cookbook later in 2013 and more publications in 2014.

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Best-seller lists

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

The Associated Press

HARDCOVER FICTION

1. "Threat Vector" by Tom Clancy (Putnam)

2. "The Racketeer" by John Grisham (Doubleday)

3. "Notorious Nineteen: A Stephanie Plum Novel" by Janet Evanovich (Bantam)

4. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn (Crown)

5. "Merry Christmas, Alex Cross" by James Patterson (Little, Brown)

6. "The Forgotten" by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)

7. "The Black Box" by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)

8. "The Last Man: A Novel" by Vince Flynn (Atria/Emily Bestler Books)

9. "Agenda 21" by Glenn Beck and Harriet Parke (Threshold Editions)

10. "The Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowling (Little, Brown)

11. "Winter of the World" by Ken Follett (Dutton)

12. "Flight Behavior" by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper)

13. "Cross Roads" by Wm. Paul Young (Faith/Words)

14. "The Time Keeper" by Mitch Albom (Hyperion)

15. "Cold Days" by Jim Butcher (Roc)

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. "Killing Kennedy" by Bill O'Reilly (Henry Holt and Co.)

2. "Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust" by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter)

3. "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" by Jon Meachum (Random House)

4. "Guinness World Records 2013" by Guinness World Records (Guinness World Records)

5. "No Easy Day" by Mark Owen (Dutton)

6. "America Again" by Stephen Colbert (Grand Central Publishing)

7. "Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers" (Faith/Words)

8. "I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak" by Joel Osteen (Faith/Words)

9. "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die" by Willie Nelson (William Morrow)

10. "The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook" by Deb Perelman (Knopf)

11. "Bruce" by Peter Ames Carlin (Touchstone Books)

12. "I Could Pee on This" by Francesco Marciuliano (Chronicle)

13. "Waging Heavy Peace" by Neil Young (Blue Rider Press)

14. "The Last Lion" by William Manchester (Little, Brown)

15. "The Signal and the Noise" by Nate Silver (Penguin)

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS

1. "Kill Alex Cross" by James Patterson (Vision)

2. "Locked On" by Janet Evanovich (Bantam)

3. "Wicked Business: A Lizzy and Diesel Novel" by Janet Evanovich (Bantam)

4. "Jack Reacher: One Shot: A Novel" by Lee Child (Dell)

5. "Unspoken" by Lisa Jackson (Zebra)

6. "Unnatural Acts" by Stuart Woods (Signet)

7. "The First Prophet" by Kay Hooper (Jove)

8. "Glad Tidings" by Debbie Macomber (Harlequin Mira)

9. "Running Wild: The Men from Battle Ridge" by Linda Howard (Ballantine)

10. "The Sins of the Father" by Jeffrey Archer (St. Martin's)

11. "V Is for Vengeance" by Sue Grafton (Berkley)

12. "Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbor" by Ann Rule (Pocket Books)

13. "Hotel Vendome" by Danielle Steel (Dell)

14. "Eat to Live" by Joel Fuhrman (Little, Brown)

15. "1225 Christmas Tree Lane" by Debbie Macomber (Harlequin Mira)

TRADE PAPERBACKS

1. "Proof of Heaven" by Eben Alexander (Simon & Schuster)

2. "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James (Vintage)

3. "Private London" by James Patterson (Grand Central)

4. "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster)

5. "Fifty Shades Freed" by E.L. James (Vintage)

6. "Fifty Shades Darker" by E.L. James (Vintage)

7. "The Perfect Hope" by Nora Roberts (Berkley)

8. "World Almanac and Book of Facts 2013" by World Almanac (World Almanac)

9. "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel (Mariner Books)

10. "Reflected in You" by Sylvia Day (Berkley)

11. "The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain (Ballantine)

12. "How to Tell if Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You" by The Oatmeal/Matthew Inman (Andrews McMeel)

13. "The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again" by J.R.R. Tolkien (Mariner Books)

14. "To Heaven and Back" by Mary C. Neal (WaterBrook Press)

15. "Bared to You" by Sylvia Day (Berkley)

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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WALL STREET JOURNAL BEST-SELLERS

The Associated Press

FICTION

1. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel" by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books)

2. "Threat Vector" by Tom Clancy with Mark Greaney (Putnam)

3. "The Racketeer" by John Grisham (Doubleday)

4. "Notorious Nineteen: A Stephanie Plum Novel" by Janet Evanovich (Bantam)

5. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn (Crown Publishing Group)

6. "Heroes of Olympus: The Mark of Athena" by Rick Riordan (Disney-Hyperion)

7. "Merry Christmas, Alex Cross" by James Patterson (Little, Brown)

8. "The Forgotten" by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)

9. "The Black Box" by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)

10. "The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

NONFICTION

1. "The Elf on the Shelf" by Carol V. Aebersold, Chanda A. Bell (CCA&B)

2. "Killing Kennedy" by Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard (Henry Holt & Co.)

3. "Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust" by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter)

4. "Killing Lincoln" by Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard (Henry Holt & Co.)

5. "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" by Jon Meachum (Random House)

6. "Guinness World Records 2013" by Guiness Book Records (Guiness Book Records)

7. "Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence" by Sarah Young (Integrity Publishers)

8. "No Easy Day" by Mark Owen with Kevin Maurer (Dutton Books)

9. "LEGO Ninjago: Character Encyclopedia" by DK Publishing (DK Publishing)

10. "America Again" by Stephen Colbert (Grand Central Publishing)

FICTION E-BOOKS

1. "Threat Vector" by Tom Clancy with Mark Greaney (Penguin Group)

2. "The Edge of Never" by J.A. Redmerski (J.A. Redmerski)

3. "Private London" by James Patterson, Mark Pearson (Grand Central Publishing)

4. "The Forgotten" by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)

5. "The Black Box" by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)

6. "Wallbanger" by Alice Clayton (Alice Clayton)

7. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn (Crown Publishing Group)

8. "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" by Diana Gabaldon (Random House)

9. "Merry Christmas, Alex Cross" by James Patterson (Little, Brown)

10. "Notorious Nineteen: A Stephanie Plum Novel" by Janet Evanovich (Random House)

NONFICTION E-BOOKS

1. "Proof of Heaven" by Eben Alexander (Simon & Schuster)

2. "Killing Kennedy" by Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard (Henry Holt & Co.)

3. "Eat to Live" by Joel Fuhrman (Little, Brown)

4. "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster)

5. "Wheat Belly" by William Davis (Rodale)

6. "Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever" by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard (Henry Holt and Co.)

7. "The Ascent of George Washington" by John Ferling (Bloomsbury USA)

8. "Damaged" by Cathy Glass (HarperCollins)

9. "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" by Jon Meachum (Random House)

10. "Heads in Beds" by Jacob Tomsky (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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USA TODAY BEST-SELLERS

The Associated Press

1. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel" by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books)

2. "The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition" by Carol V. Aebersold, Chanda B. Bell (CCA and B)

3. "Threat Vector" by Tom Clancy, Mark Greaney (Putnam Adult)

4. "Proof of Heaven" by Eben Alexander (Simon & Schuster)

5. "Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot" by Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard (Henry Holt and Co.)

6. "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

7. "The Racketeer" by John Grisham (Doubleday)

8. "Notorious Nineteen: A Stephanie Plum Novel" by Janet Evanovich (Bantam)

9. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn (Crown)

10. "Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust" by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter)

11. "The Forgotten" by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)

12. "Private London" by James Patterson, Mark Pearson (Grand Central Publishing)

13. "Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever" by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard (Henry Holt and Co.)

14. "Merry Christmas, Alex Cross" by James Patterson (Little, Brown)

15. "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James (Vintage)

16. "The Black Box" by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)

17. "Guinness World Records 2013" by Guinness World Records (Guinness World Records)

18. "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" by Jon Meacham (Random House)

19. "Heroes of Olympus: The Mark of Athena" by Rick Riordan (Disney-Hyperion)

20. "The Edge of Never" by J.A. Redmerski (Self-published via Amazon Digital Services)

21. "The Last Man: A Novel" by Vince Flynn (Atria/Emily Bestler Books)

22. "Fifty Shades Freed" by E.L. James (Vintage)

23. "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

24. "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster)

25. "Fifty Shades Darker" by E.L. James (Vintage)

For the extended, interactive and searchable version of this list, visit http://books.usatoday.com/list/index

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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Review: 'Political Suicide' won't disappoint

By JEFF AYERS, Associated Press

"Political Suicide" (St. Martin's Press), by Michael Palmer

Michael Palmer brings back his doctor-hero, Lou Welcome, from "Oath of Office," to help a friend involved in a huge scandal in his new novel, "Political Suicide."

Palmer writes terrific medical suspense, and he has thrown political intrigue into the mix with his last few books. While "Political Suicide" relies more on the thrills and the mystery, it still resonates.

Welcome receives a call from Dr. Gary McHugh. McHugh has been battling alcoholism, and Welcome has been his counselor and trusted confidante. McHugh needs help. He had just visited a congressman on the House Armed Services Committee and woke up with his car wrapped around a tree. The medics on the scene believe he's drunk. To make matters worse, the congressman is found murdered in his garage, and McHugh was the last person to see him alive. Then the news leaks that McHugh was having an affair with the congressman's wife.

Welcome investigates and soon believes that his friend did commit the horrible crime. Then he finds evidence of a conspiracy that has terrifying ramifications for the United States and its political future.

Palmer's novels also examine particular issues and causes, but to mention the subplot in "Political Suicide" that discusses a decidedly moral dilemma would be criminal -- and would give away a huge chunk of the surprises that follow.

Fans won't be disappointed, and Palmer can add another best-seller to his list.

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Review: 'Two Graves' is exceptional thriller

By JEFF AYERS, Associated Press

"Two Graves" (Grand Central), by Preston & Child

The names Preston & Child on the cover of a book promise a unique reading experience unlike any other, and "Two Graves" delivers the high thrills one expects from the two masters.

A good thriller forces the reader to finish the book in one sitting. An exceptional thriller does that plus forces the reader to slow down to savor every word. With "Two Graves," authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have delivered another exceptional book.

The novel is the conclusion of a trilogy that started with "Fever Dream" and last year's "Cold Vengeance," though one could easily pick up this book and not feel lost. The protagonist, FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast, has none of the usual qualities that make a hero. He's addicted to drugs, socially inept and has the appearance of a living ghost. But he has the most brilliant mind imaginable, and his keen insight and ability to think outside the box are desperately needed to solve a bizarre string of murders occurring in New York City hotels. He's just learned that his wife, long presumed dead, is alive. The hunt for answers to the murders and what happened to his wife take Pendergast to the edge of his sanity -- and career.

The gothic atmosphere that oozes from the pages of "Two Graves" will envelop the reader in a totally unique experience. Pendergast is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, quirks and all, who would live more comfortably in the past but must suffer through the inconveniences that living in the 21st century brings. The mystery tantalizes, and the shocks throughout the narrative are like bolts of lightning.

Fans will love the conclusion to the trilogy, and newcomers will seek out the authors' earlier titles.

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Review: Buckley's 'Invisible' is enthralling drama

By JEFF AYERS, Associated Press

"Invisible" (Bantam), by Carla Buckley

Family bonds unravel and a horrible secret tears sisters apart in Carla Buckley's enthralling new drama, "Invisible."

What secret would be horrible enough to cause two sisters who love each other deeply not to speak for 16 years? Dana regrets not patching up things with Julie, but now it's too late. Julie's daughter, Peyton, calls Dana with the news that Julie is dying of kidney failure. Dana rushes home to be with her sister, but Julie dies before she arrives.

The small town where the sisters grew up hasn't changed much, except that everyone has gotten older -- and they hold grudges. Dana decides to stay in town and make amends. Julie's husband wants her to leave, and Peyton wants nothing to do with her. The secret that Dana holds is too painful to reveal -- even with her sister gone -- and a chance for redemption seems impossible.

The vivid characters provide a spark of realism to this engrossing and sad tale. The secret is obvious from the first page of "Invisible," but that doesn't matter overall. Subplots involving a dead body at a construction site and the source of Julie's kidney disease provide mystery but are secondary to what makes this novel truly sing: family dynamics.

Buckley writes beautiful prose, and fans of Jodi Picoult and Lisa Unger will enjoy this journey with the author.

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Review: The action is fast in Kovacs' 'Good Junk'

By KENDAL WEAVER, Associated Press

"Good Junk" (Minotaur Books), by Ed Kovacs

New Orleans private detective Cliff St. James finds himself probing the deadly netherworld of foreign weapons dealers in "Good Junk," the second crime thriller by Ed Kovacs set in the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Despite his misgivings, St. James joins forces with the New Orleans Police Department after a double homicide on a seedy street leads him to a far-flung conspiracy of arms merchants. Known simply as "The Buyers Club," this crowd is a malignant mix of foreign intelligence agents, nefarious well-heeled locals, and maybe even federal government spooks and insiders.

St. James, an ex-cop with a deep dislike for the police chief, agrees to join the NOPD investigation for two reasons: The woman of his romantic desires, Detective Honey Baybee, needs his skills to unravel the murder case, and he needs the distraction as he tries to recover emotionally from the death of a young mixed-martial-arts fighter he was training.

There's a lot to distract him. The hunt for killers, crooks and high-tech weapons dealers takes him to sites all across the flood-scarred neighborhoods of New Orleans a year after the hurricane struck and levees failed.

Kovacs, a widely traveled man of many enthusiasms, spent more than two years in New Orleans after Katrina and knows the territory. One of the pleasures of "Good Junk" is following St. James into the many dives and diners of the Big Easy that tourists rarely enter.

Some of these are outside the French Quarter. But even in the Quarter, the private detective makes his office in a dark bar, Pravda, a kind of goth-Russian vodka and absinthe joint with a limited clientele, even among locals. (New owners in 2012 renamed it Perestroika at Pravda.)

The action in "Good Junk" is fast and filled with multiple puzzles for St. James and his would-be lover to solve. A multitude of stealth gadgets, security gizmos and exploding pens worthy of James Bond are employed by St. James in the process.

A wide cast that includes some stock crime thriller characters and their familiar dialogue can weigh on the plot. But one character, nicknamed Decon, is so memorable that he gives life to the narrative even when the exploits of St. James may seem over the top.

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