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May 13, 2005 Newsletter

May 13, 2005

This Week on

Getting Crafty With Reading Talks to Neil Olson, Author of THE ICON

Graduation  Books

NEW Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Jack Kerley, Author of THE DEATH COLLECTORS

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Erica Spindler, Author of KILLER TAKES ALL

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight:  Iris Johansen, Author of COUNTDOWN

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Steve Berry, Author of THE THIRD SECRET

OH MY STARS by Lorna Landvik is Now in Stores

What's New on

What's New on

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: You Start Reading And....
Question of the Week: Graduation Books
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- TWO Prizes!
Quick Links to Features On The Book Report Network
Past Reviews
Can't See the Graphics? Read This Newsletter Online

Past Poll: Do you read historical fiction?

Past Question of the Week: What is one of your favorite historical fiction books?
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Promotion
Debut Suspense/Thriller One to Watch Promotion
Mystery Mayhem Promotion

Fantasy Author Spotlight Promotion

One to Watch Promotion
Chick Lit Promotion
Read more about CUPCAKES FROM THE CAKE MIX DOCTOR here. Answer the Audiobooks survey here.

Getting Crafty With Reading


I am a cupcake overachiever. There, I said it. I love to bake cupcakes and decorate them for every occasion. Thus, I was thrilled to see that Anne Byrn, the author of THE CAKE MIX DOCTOR had a new book out --- CUPCAKES FROM THE CAKE MIX DOCTOR. Oh are there ideas in this book! There are flavored cupcakes, great frostings and decorating ideas. Lots of ideas. Last weekend for my mom's birthday I made her a cupcake bouquet. This entailed sticking cupcakes into a Styrofoam dome and sticking flowers around them. Okay...sticking is not a great verb here, but since I stuck them on toothpicks, it's very applicable. Well, this was a big hit. I am eyeing the Cupcake Wreath, the Fireworks Confetti cupcakes...I could go on and on.

People often ask me how we find our reviewers. Many times, they find us. This was the case with Stephen Hubbard. Last month I got a note from him asking why we did not review many fantasy titles. I replied that we would love to, but we had not found a reviewer who was comfortable enough writing in the genre. We went back and forth in email over the weekend, in a conversation that ended with my suggesting he submit review samples to write for us. He did. We loved his work. And this week he reviews two titles for us --- MIRRORMASK: The Illustrated Film Script of the Motion Picture from The Jim Henson Company, by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean and MYRREN'S GIFT: The Quickening, Book One by Fiona McIntosh. We can use a good science fiction reviewer. If you like this genre, click here to get more details on how to become a reviewer.

I am reading Jilliane Hoffman's new one, LAST WITNESS, and enjoying it. Joe Hartlaub reviews LAST WITNESS this week. Many of you wrote to tell me how much you liked her last book, RETRIBUTION. Speaking of comments, be sure to read the comments from our advance readers about THE THIRD SECRET by Steve Berry, which is in stores on Tuesday. What's interesting to me is how many of these readers are picking up his backlist since they enjoyed this one so much.

This week's Blog is about encouraging a reader to read. I look back at Mrs. Falk's influence on me. Curious as to who she is? Read here.

Next week we will be announcing our Summer Beach Bag of Books feature. Here's all we are telling you now. There are 14 books --- and weekly prizes. Be sure to check back for more on this next Friday.

I am hoping that baseball is not rained out tomorrow. I am knitting a scarf and I need the time to work on it. I had to figure out something to do while I was sitting in those stands. It's been so cool, I should be making a blanket. Have a great week.

Carol Fitzgerald (

. Talks to Neil Olson, Author of THE ICON

Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek of interviewed Neil Olson, author of THE ICON. Olson, who has a background in the publishing industry, talks about the most rewarding aspect of being on the "other side" of the publishing spectrum with the publication of his debut novel. He discusses the inspiration for some of his characters and the events that transpire in the book, and explains the many challenges he encountered during the writing process.

THE ICON by Neil Olson (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Its value is beyond measure, and its power beyond belief. A religious icon, thought to have been destroyed during World War II, reappears in contemporary New York in Neil Olson's debut thriller that blends faith, art, history and suspense.

Read an interview with Neil Olson and a review of THE ICON here.
Read the graduation feature here. Read the graduation feature here. Read the graduation feature here.

Graduation  Books

As the school year draws to a close, a new crop of graduates is preparing to move on to new opportunities. With prospects of high school, college, grad school, or first jobs in sight, they all are in need of support and encouragement, some sound advice, a few laughs to ease the transition, and words of wisdom to guide them in the right direction. We at have made shopping for the special grad in your life a little easier. Included in this roundup are must-have reference guides, a collection of entertaining and poignant commencement speeches, and essays and memoirs with just the right amount of insight and humor needed during this momentous yet uncertain time. 


Read our graduation feature to get suggestions for the grads you are celebrating.

Read the Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight feature here

NEW Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Jack Kerley, Author of THE DEATH COLLECTORS

Jack Kerley, whose book THE DEATH COLLECTORS is on sale on June 23rd, is our latest author to be spotlighted in our Suspense/Thriller feature. Many of you may remember his book, THE HUNDREDTH MAN that we shared with you last year. 

We have 20 advanced reading copies of THE DEATH COLLECTORS to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please send your name and mailing address to by May 26, 2005.

Read more about THE DEATH COLLECTORS here:

In 1972, on the day of his sentencing, renowned artist and serial killer Marsden Hexcampis shot dead in the courtroom. Members of his Mansonesque band of followers are imprisoned or simply disappear.

Fast-forward more than thirty years: A suspected prostitute is found murdered in a candlelit motel room, the first in a series of horrors suggesting Hexcamp's art remains alive and treacherous. Following a trail of beautiful --- and profoundly disturbing --- artwork, homicide detectives Carson Ryder and Harry Nautilus descend into the shocking world of the Death Collectors, people who spend vast sums to collect serial-killer memorabilia. As Ryder and Nautilus race to solve a thirty-year conspiracy, it becomes sadly evident that at the intersection of art and madness, death is beauty, tragedy a memento, and suffering suitable for framing.

Click here to read more about Jack Kerley and THE DEATH COLLECTORS.


Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Erica Spindler, Author of KILLER TAKES ALL

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Praised for her insight into the dark world of psychological terror, Erica Spindler delivers novels that are sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last moment. In KILLER TAKES ALL, which is on sale May 31st, the white rabbit beckons you to follow him, down the rabbit hole, into his world. He's a deceiver, a trickster. You won't know what is truth and what is a lie. He aims to best you. beat you. And when he does, you die.

See a list of our advance readers.
Read an excerpt of KILLER TAKES ALL here.

Don't miss: Fast Facts about Erica Spindler.

Read more about KILLER TAKES ALL here:
When a friend is found brutally murdered in her New Orleans apartment, former homicide detective Stacy Killian has reason to believe her death is related to the cultish fantasy role-playing game White Rabbit. The game is dark, violent --- and addictive.

As a former member of the Dallas police force, Stacy was exposed to more than her share of the horrors of crime. Moving to New Orleans was her attempt to pursue a quieter life. But her friend's murder plunges her back into the role that she fled.

She finds White Rabbit is more than a game. It's more real than life and death. And anyone can die before the final moment when the game is over...and the killer takes all.

Read more about Erica Spindler and KILLER TAKES ALL here.


Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight:  Iris Johansen, Author of COUNTDOWN

Fiction meets fact as bestselling author Iris Johansen and real-life forensic artist and veteran northern New Jersey police sergeant Daniel Sollitti get together to discuss their work. Mr. Sollitti completed his formal forensic art training at the United States Secret Service Training Facility in Maryland and studied 3-Dimensional clay reconstruction of a skull under forensic sculptor Seth Wolfson. Ms. Johansen's newest hardcover, COUNTDOWN --- her sixth thriller featuring forensic sculptor Eve Duncan --- will be released on May 10th, while last year's bestseller, BLIND ALLEY, is now available in paperback.

Read a third excerpt from COUNTDOWN here.
See what our advance readers had to say --- we've added some new ones this week!

More about COUNTDOWN:
In this relentless psychological thriller a young woman is caught in a maze of secrets and stalked by a merciless killer. The countdown begins the moment you open this riveting novel that only grows more electrifying as the pages turn, more exciting as time runs out. . .

Read more about Iris Johansen and COUNTDOWN here.

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Steve Berry, Author of THE THIRD SECRET
Steve Berry has been a favorite with our readers since his first book, THE AMBER ROOM. Many of you may remember THE ROMANOV PROPHECY, which is now out in paperback. His new book, THE THIRD SECRET, which will be in stores on May 17th, talks about the third secret of Fatima and also shares a riveting story about the events during a Papal conclave.

Read a third excerpt from THE THIRD SECRET here.
See what our advance readers had to say about THE THIRD SECRET.

Read more about THE THIRD SECRET here:
Explosive in both its pace and its revelations, THE THIRD SECRET is a remarkable international thriller. Bestselling author Steve Berry tackles some of the most controversial ideas of our time in a breakneck journey through the history of the Church and the future of religion.

Click here to read more about Steve Berry and THE THIRD SECRET.


OH MY STARS by Lorna Landvik is Now in Stores

From Lorna Landvik, the author of the bestselling book club favorite, Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons comes OH MY STARS, her most ambitious novel yet, with a cast of characters whose travails and triumphs you'll long remember. It is a tale of love and hope, bigotry and betrayal, loss and discovery -- as Violet, who's always considered herself a minor character in her own life story, emerges as a heroine you'll laugh with, cry with, and, most important, cheer for all the way.

In a book club? Win a chance to chat with Lorna Landvik about Oh My Stars here:

See links to guides for all of Landvik's books here: Oh My Stars, Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, Patty Jane's House of Curl, The Tall Pine Polka, Welcome to the Great Mysterious, Your Oasis on Flame Lake

Click here to read more about Lorna Landvik and OH MY STARS and how your book club can win a chat with her.


What's New on

People say that teens don't read, but we do not agree. And we have proof. Just this month more than 400 teens wrote us to have what they are reading added to the Word of Mouth feature! Have a teen in your house who loves to read? Send them to
Our update this month includes interviews with the outspoken Chris Crutcher and critically acclaimed author Rachel Vail. Among our reviews: Cecily von Ziegesar's seventh Gossip Girl novel, 47 by Walter Mosley (his YA fiction debut), and RAINA'S STORY, which is the second book in Lurlene McDaniel's "Angels in Pink" trilogy.

Go to


What's New on

Do you have a young reader in your house, or know a young reader who is hungry for some new great reading?

This month on we spotlight the award-winning novel CHASING VERMEER, which is now available in paperback, and share an interview with Deborah Wiles, author of EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS. Reviews include THE GAME OF SILENCE by Louise Erdrich, MAGYK: Septimus Heap, Book One by Angie Sage, and the ninth installment in Darren Shan's Cirque du Freak series.

Go to


This Week's Reviews and Features

THE HOT KID by Elmore Leonard (Fiction)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Elmore Leonard's 40th novel --- set in the world of 1930s gangsters, tommy guns and speakeasies --- is his most ambitious and arguably best work to date, rich in dialogue, characters, and subtle contrasts.

FREAKONOMICS: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (Economics/Popular Culture)
Reviewed by Robert Finn
In this wide-ranging and unconventional book, university professor Steven D. Levitt and co-writer Stephen J. Dubner take a quirky look at all sorts of everyday activities that seem to have unsuspected subtle connections --- but only when you know what sort of questions to ask.

BROKEN PREY by John Sandford (Suspense)
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum
When an inmate is released from the state mental hospital, gruesome killings begin. This latest Prey novel is rife with tension, great dialogue, and a fast-moving, twisting plot that will lead readers toward a surprise ending and more.

LAST WITNESS by Jilliane Hoffman (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
In this riveting new novel from the internationally bestselling author of RETRIBUTION, cops are being murdered. Special Agent Dominick Falconetti slowly uncovers a drug connection, but state prosecutor C. J. Townsend begins to suspect that she knows an even more terrible secret than Falconetti does.

HAUNTED by Chuck Palahniuk (Fiction)
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
In this novel comprised of 23 stories, a group of aspiring writers gather for a writers' retreat where they have agreed to isolate themselves for three months in order to devote their energy to composing their masterpieces. But what they don't realize is that they are kidnap victims of Mr. Whittier, a shadowy sadist who forces them to live in close and uncomfortable quarters.

Reviewed by Lourdes Orive
Sue Carswell, a reporter/researcher at Vanity Fair, reflects back on her two families --- her own, and the one comprised of the orphans living in her backyard. She weaves together stories spanning the decades and capturing generations of both the Carswell family and the Albany Home for Children.

MIRRORMASK: The Illustrated Film Script of the Motion Picture from The Jim Henson Company by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean (Fantasy/Screenplay)
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard
The upcoming feature film MirrorMask is a breathtaking journey through a strange and magical looking-glass world where anything can happen --- and frequently does. SANDMAN creator Neil Gaiman and acclaimed artist and director Dave McKean have assembled a collector's book, a companion that enhances one's understanding of how a major motion picture of this design is made.

MYRREN'S GIFT: The Quickening, Book One by Fiona McIntosh (Fantasy)
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard
Captivating, extremely entertaining and wholly addictive, Fiona McIntosh's first volume in "The Quickening" trilogy comes highly recommended to anyone who has an interest in fantasy novels of quality.

Click here to read this week's reviews and features.

Read our reviews and features here. Read our reviews and features here. Read our reviews and features here. Blog

Encouraging a Reader
Cooking a la Rachel Ray
Runaway Bride
Authors Authors Everywhere
Note: You can read past blogs here as well.
Sign up here to get notified each time this blog is updated.
Click here to read the blog.
Read a list of upcoming books here. Browse our author bibliographies by clicking here. Sign up for Author Newsletters here.
Poll: You Start Reading And....
If you start a book and you are not enjoying it, do you:

Finish it anyway
Read one more chapter
Stop reading
Not sure what I do
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: Graduation Books

What book would you give a graduate?

Please note: Our next question update will be on May 20th.

Answer the Question of the Week here.

Read more about 4th OF JULY here. Read more about  OH MY STARS here.
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- TWO Prizes!

Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have some great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of 4TH OF JULY by James Patterson and OH MY STARS by Lorna Landvik. Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on May 20th.

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


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--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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