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August 12, 2005 Newsletter

August 12, 2005

This Week on

Author Wisdom, Road Trip Reading and Library Tales Talks to Stephen J. Cannell, Author of COLD HIT

Beach Bag Of Books: Spotlight on HEART'S DESIRE by Laura Pedersen and Weekly Beach Bag Giveaway Talks to Jacqueline Winspear, Author of PARDONABLE LIES

Our Newest Suspense/Thriller Author: Paul Levine, Author of SOLOMON VS. LORD

Suspense/Thriller: Spotlight on Karin Slaughter, Author of FAITHLESS

Our Newest One to Watch Author: Jim Lynch, Author of THE HIGHEST TIDE

Our Latest Mystery Mayhem Author: Margaret Coel, Author of EYE OF THE WOLF Poll: What Titles Have Your Group Read?

Authors on the Web Newsletter Prizes

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Bookstore Behavior
Question of the Week: Must-Reads
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: Series Books, How Fast is Just Right?

Past Question of the Week: What is your favorite series? As we know you are voracious readers, you can name up to three.
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
Summer Beach Bag Promotion

Author Wisdom, Road Trip Reading and Library Tales

This week we bring you three author interviews that I am excited about as each author had something to share that resonated with me personally beyond their words about their books. Stephen J. Cannell writes about his thoughts on succeeding in life. I found myself sharing them with a friend this week since his views so match my own. Jacqueline Winspear talks about what she loved about learning history. It has to do with the stories behind the history. I love reading about history the same way. I thought about this when I watched the tributes to Peter Jennings this week --- he loved presenting the news like this, as good journalists do. Laura Pedersen, our Beach Bag author this week, has some great lines about the joy of love at any age and when she talks about thinking back on her life as "rerunning the movie." I love that line especially since I envision my life with a soundtrack beneath it so often it seems like a movie to me.

Our latest Suspense/Thriller Author is Paul Levine, whose new book SOLOMON VS. LORD will be in bookstores on September 27th. If you love banter between the sexes like you saw with Hepburn and Tracy in ADAM'S RIB, you will love this book. Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord are two lawyers working on the same case while they battle --- and spar --- with each other. Sparks fly. It's a fun read. We're looking for 20 advance readers to read and comment. Interested? Then send your name and mailing information to by Thursday, August 25th.

Last weekend we spent a fair amount of time in the car. My younger son, Cory, was in the backseat asking me questions such as, "Can you tell me the name of one of the Supreme Court justices?" and "Who is our congressman?" I was wondering where he was getting these questions from and then I realized he was reading VITAL STATISTICS: An Amazing Compendium of Factoids, Minutiae, and Random Bits of Wisdom, which I had brought home the day before. In between games at the lacrosse tournament we were attending he sat with my friend Jimmy's son, Alex, and read the book. I got a complete kick out of watching them. For the record, Cory is refusing to touch dollar bills after reading this. He learned that 80% of dollar bills bear traces of cocaine. If you are looking for a book that is sure to keep everyone involved and chatting, pick this one up.

As many of our readers know, I am a huge fan of the LightWedge booklights. I have one in every seat pocket of my car so we can read while riding at night. I was happy to see that the booklights are now available with a Harry Potter theme, which is sure to get kids interested in using them. Included are seven themed, interchangeable button covers such as the Golden Snitch, Harry's wand, and Harry's owl, Hedwig. Soft cases for storing the Harry Potter Lumos book light, embroidered with each of the Hogwarts house crests, are also available. Great gift idea for birthdays, or dare I say, the holidays?

So many readers wrote in to share their personal library stories that I am running them as a feature this week on the Blog. Read what your fellow readers had to say and see if these spark any memories with you. I got this note from a reader just this morning: "I always love the 'old library, book smell,' whether it is the books, the leather chairs, the index files, we all know it and can relate. I had stopped into a library in another town with my five year old. As we walked up the stairs, he turns to me and says, 'Oh, I just love the smell of libraries!'  To which I responded, 'Yes, me too!' Another reader born!"

A number of readers have written to ask that each week we give you a listing of the books featured and reviewed on the site. Jen Krieger, one of our staffers, took this project to heart and you can find this listing linked below my name. Just for good measure, we also are sharing last week's listing with you. Thanks to all of you who wrote with this idea. We hope it makes your book shopping easier. Thanks go to

Have you heard about the Quills Book Awards? They are the first national "reader's choice" book awards designed to celebrate the written word, honor excellence in writing and recognize the authors and illustrators of popular books and great literature. Beginning Monday, August 15th through September 15th, vote online at or in store at Borders Books & Music stores across the country.

I am going to try the cream cheese and A-1 recipe this weekend. Read the Cannell interview and you will know what I am talking about. Off to float and read. Have a wonderful week...and take some time to enjoy the dog days of August.

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on August 12th
List of titles reviewed and featured on August 5th



Click here for more information about VITAL STATISTICS by Paul Grobman. Talks to Stephen J. Cannell, Author of COLD HIT's Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek) interviewed bestselling author and award-winning television producer/screenwriter Stephen J. Cannell about his recently released COLD HIT. Cannell discusses his illustrious film and TV career and segue into the literary world, as well as the controversial current political events that fuel his latest Shane Scully novel. He also describes his painstaking research methods, explains the ups and downs of writing with a learning disability, and even shares a recipe for a tasty appetizer. 

COLD HIT by Stephen J. Cannell (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Detective Shane Scully and his partner are investigating "the Fingertip Killer," a serial murderer preying on homeless Vietnam vets in Los Angeles. A bullet taken from one victim's skull matches the bullet that killed another man, an LAPD cop, ten years earlier. Robert Allen Virtue, the regional boss of the Department of Homeland Security, wants Scully taken off the case. But why?


Click here to read our interview with Stephen J. Cannell and a review of COLD HIT.
See our  Summer Beach Bag of Books feature here.

Beach Bag Of Books: Spotlight on HEART'S DESIRE by Laura Pedersen and Weekly Beach Bag Giveaway

Whether your "beach" is on sand, your backyard deck or a grassy meadow in the country, the summer months mean it's time for "beach reading." is celebrating the lazy days of summer reading with a special feature, Beach Bag of Books.

Every week from May 20th through August 19th a different title will be featured with a review and author interview, as well as a contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with that book, plus summertime essentials that tie in to its theme. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the book to additional winners.

Our thirteenth spotlighted title is HEART'S DESIRE by Laura Pedersen who, with her fourth novel, reintroduces readers to the madcap world of quick-witted card-shark Hallie Palmer. Former wild child Hallie's predictable, collegiate world is thrown into disarray when she returns to her eccentric family in Cosgrove County, Ohio with the hopes of helping an old friend and maybe finding a little bit of herself that she had left behind. With equal parts tenderness and wry wit, Pedersen brings us an ensemble of quirky, luminous and unconventional characters that capture our hearts and remind us of the magic that exists all around us.

Our HEART'S DESIRE Beach Bag prize is a refreshing blue and white striped beach bag stuffed with all the tools you'll need to make your summer blossom with luck and love. Along with a copy of HEART'S DESIRE, and Laura Pedersen's two previous reader favorites --- LAST CALL and BEGINNER'S LUCK --- winners will receive a maize bath towel, a bucket for keeping drinks cool all summer, invisible playing cards, a trowel, gardening gloves, the miniature gift book A LITTLE BOOK OF LOVE by Helen Exley, a Magic 8 Ball and a Lime green bucket with a lime green washcloth, bath bubbles and bath ball, as well as a colorful orange silk flower. We have five to give away, as well as five additional prizes of copies of HEART'S DESIRE.
Click here to enter.

Special Feature: Author Talk: Laura Pedersen, author of HEART'S DESIRE
In this interview Laura Pedersen talks about the themes and various social issues that are addressed in HEART'S DESIRE, the sequel to her acclaimed novel BEGINNER'S LUCK. She explains the importance of friendships in her own life, offers advice to young adults about taking relationships to "the next level," and discusses the plans she has for her protagonist in future books.

Enjoying our summer beach bag contests and want to make sure you don't miss out on the next one? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter and we'll alert you when the weekly Beach Bag contest has been updated.

Click here to read more about's Beach Bag of Books feature. Talks to Jacqueline Winspear, Author of PARDONABLE LIES Co-Founder Carol Fitzgerald and contributing writer Shannon McKenna interviewed Jacqueline Winspear, author of PARDONABLE LIES, the third installment in her Maisie Dobbs mystery series. Winspear talks about her fascination with history and the social, as well as emotional, resonance of setting her novel during the tumultuous period between the two World Wars. She also sheds light on aspects of her writing processes, her "influences," and the future of her literary heroine. 

PARDONABLE LIES by Jacqueline Winspear (Mystery)
Reviewed by Shannon McKenna
In this third novel of Jacqueline Winspear's bestselling series, psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs faces grave danger as she returns to the site of her most painful World War I memories to resolve the mystery of a pilot's death.


Click here to read our interview with Jacqueline Winspear and a review of PARDONABLE LIES.


Our Newest Suspense/Thriller Author: Paul Levine, Author of SOLOMON VS. LORD

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Paul Levine, whose thriller SOLOMON VS. LORD hits bookstores on September 27th, is the latest author spotlighted in our Suspense/Thriller Author feature. SOLOMON VS. LORD introduces readers to the two passionate, intelligent, driven and completely different lawyers Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord.

This week we're giving away 20 copies of SOLOMON VS. LORD to readers who would like to preview the book and comment on it. If you're interested please send your name and mailing address to by Thursday, August 25th, 2005.

More about SOLOMON VS. LORD:
Steve Solomon is the sharpest lawyer ever to barely graduate from Key West School of Law. Victoria Lord is fresh from Yale, toiling for an ambitious D.A. and soon to be married. And Katrina Barksdale is a sexy former figure skater charged with killing her incredibly wealthy, incredibly kinky husband. With all three tangled in the steamiest trial of the century, the case is sure to make sparks fly, headlines scream-and opposites attract.

But with Solomon inventing his own laws and Lord sticking to the real ones, these two can't stop squabbling, even after teaming up to defend the glamorous widow. With crooks, con men, and a cast of colorful characters swirling around Solomon, and an anxious fiancé waiting for Lord, the two attorneys begin to believe their luscious client has been lying through her perfect teeth. Now Solomon and Lord must solve the case before they end up in ruin, in jail...or in bed.

Click here to read more about Paul Levine and SOLOMON VS. LORD.

Suspense/Thriller: Spotlight on Karin Slaughter, Author of FAITHLESS

Karin Slaughter, whose newest title FAITHLESS is on sale August 30th, is one of the authors spotlighted in our Suspense/Thriller Feature. Karin Slaughter is the internationally bestselling author of BLINDSIGHTED, KISSCUT, A FAINT COLD FEAR, and INDELIBLE.

-Read an excerpt from FAITHLESS here.
-See our Advance Copy Winners here.
-Read Karin Slaughter's Backlist here.
-Read Critical Praise for FAITHLESS here.

More about FAITHLESS:
The victim was buried alive in the Georgia woods-then killed in a horrifying fashion. When Sara Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver stumble upon the body, both become consumed with finding out who killed the pretty, impeccably dressed young woman. And for Sara and Jeffrey, a harrowing journey begins, one that will test their own turbulent relationship and draw dozens of lives into the case.

Lena Adams is one of them. A Grant County detective for years, she has her own reasons for being drawn to this case and a fierce drive to see justice done. For these three people, who have each seen the darkest side of human nature, the body of the murdered girl is but the first in a series of shocking and sordid revelations.

Now, as Jeffrey and Sara narrow the field of suspects, they must confront their own doubts and indiscretions, while Lena Adams sees herself reflected in the frightened eyes of a battered woman who may be the key figure in the case. As Faithless builds to a stunning and unforgettable climax, Karin Slaughter masterfully brings together strands of interlocking lives, family secrets, and hidden passions with one astounding truth: the identity of a killer who is more evil and dangerous than anyone could have guessed.

Click here to read more about Karin Slaughter and FAITHLESS.

Our Newest One to Watch Author: Jim Lynch, Author of THE HIGHEST TIDE

Our latest One to Watch author is Jim Lynch, whose debut title THE HIGHEST TIDE goes on sale September 8th. This is a mesmerizing, allegorical, and beautifully wrought first novel about one boy's wonder with the sea during the summer that will change his life, and the lives around him.

-Read an excerpt from THE HIGHEST TIDE here.
-See our Advance Copy Winners here.

One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles O'Malley slips out of his house, packs up his kayak and goes exploring on the flats of Puget Sound. But what begins as an ordinary hunt for starfish, snails, and clams is soon transformed by an astonishing sight: a beached giant squid. As the first person to ever see a giant squid alive, the speed-reading Rachel Carson-obsessed insomniac instantly becomes a local curiosity. When he later finds a rare deepwater fish in the tidal waters by his home, and saves a dog from drowning, he is hailed as a prophet. The media hovers and everyone wants to hear what Miles has to say.

But Miles is really just a teenager on the verge of growing up, infatuated with the girl next door, worried that his bickering parents will divorce, and fearful that everything, even the bay he loves, is shifting away from him. While the sea continues to offer up discoveries from its mysterious depths, Miles struggles to deal with the difficulties that attend the equally mysterious process of growing up. In this mesmerizing, beautifully wrought first novel, we witness the dramatic sea change for both Miles and the coastline that he adores over the course of a summer, one that will culminate with the highest tide in fifty years.


Click here to read more about Jim Lynch and THE HIGHEST TIDE.


Our Latest Mystery Mayhem Author: Margaret Coel, Author of EYE OF THE WOLF






Margaret Coel, author of EYE OF THE WOLF, is our newest featured Mystery Mayhem author. EYE OF THE WOLF is on sale September 6th. Coel demonstrated her ability to combine her expertise in Arapaho Indian history with her skills as a writer in her previous bestseller WIFE OF MOON. Now she gives fans the chance to re-visit a world where history and present-day collide with devastating consequences.

New This Week:
-Read Critical Praise for EYE OF THE WOLF here.

Previous Week:
-Read Tony Hillerman's interview with Margaret Coel here.
-See our Advance Copy Winners here.

More about EYE OF THE WOLF (On sale September 6th)
In Margaret Coel's all-new Wind River Reservation mystery, a psychopathic killer has brutally murdered three Shoshone Indians and posed their bodies on a historical battlefield. Is his intent to provoke a civil war between the reservation's Shoshone and Arapaho inhabitants, or is his target actually Father John O'Malley?

Click here to read more about Margaret Coel and EYE OF THE WOLF. Poll: What Titles Have Your Group Read?

In a book club? Then we want to know which of the following popular book club titles your book club has read or plans to read.

Angels and Demons
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Da Vinci Code
The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Girl with a Pearl Earring
The Secret Life of Bees
The Kite Runner
The Lovely Bones
The Mermaid Chair
My Sister's Keeper
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Peace Like a River
Reading Lolita in Tehran

Answer our poll here.

Authors on the Web Newsletter Prizes

Sign up for the following author newsletters and be eligible to win prizes.

Nelson DeMille - Sign up by September 30th to be entered in a random drawing to win one of five signed copies of PLUM ISLAND. Click here to sign up.

Daniel Silva - Sign up by August 31st to be entered to win a signed copy of PRINCE OF FIRE. Click here to sign up.

Joseph Finder - Sign up by August 31st to be entered to win a signed copy of COMPANY MAN. Click here to sign up.

Linda Lael Miller - Sign up by Wednesday, August 17th to be eligible to win this month's contest Grand Prize: a rustic wire basket, terra cotta votive holder and candle, Arizona spa products, a pair of Linda Lael Miller "look book" sunglasses and a signed copy of the first book in the series, DON'T LOOK NOW. Click here to sign up.
Kate White - Sign up by August 31st to win a contest prize of a Beauty Basket and signed copies of OVER HER DEAD BODY and 'TIL DEATH DO US PART. Click here to sign up.

Kristin Hannah - Sign up by September 30th to win a copy of the paperback of THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE. Click here to sign up.

Marcia Muller - Sign up by September 30th to win one of 5 signed copies of CYANIDE WELLS. Click here to sign up.

Visit here.

This Week's Reviews and Features

CRUSADER'S CROSS by James Lee Burke (Mystery)
Reviewed by Roz Shea and Joe Hartlaub
For Dave Robicheaux, life in Louisiana is filled with haunting memories of the past --- images from Vietnam, the violent streets of New Orleans, and his own troubled youth. In James Lee Burke's latest mystery, a deathbed confession from an old schoolmate resurrects a story of injustice, the murder of a young woman, and a time in Robicheaux's life he has tried to forget.

THE PEOPLE'S TYCOON: Henry Ford and the American Century by Steven Watts (History)
Reviewed by Robert Finn
Was Henry Ford a great American or a ruthless industrial freebooter? A friend of the workingman or his uncaring exploiter? Historian Steven Watts, in this massively detailed look at Ford's life and times, finds that truth lies somewhere between those extremes. In the process he brings Ford, his associates and his corporate world vividly to life.

THE TIME OF THE UPROOTED by Elie Wiesel (Fiction)
Reviewed by Rob Cline
Gamaliel Friedman, whose life has been a series of struggles, is the focus of Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel's deeply moving meditation on despair and hope in the face of both the unthinkable and the mundane.

ALWAYS TIME TO DIE by Elizabeth Lowell (Romantic Suspense)
Reviewed by Amie Taylor
Family historian Carly May knows that digging into the past can be interesting and a lot of fun. What she doesn't know is that it also can be deadly if you start digging in the wrong places.

IT'S RAINING MEN by Naomi Rand (Mystery)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
Emma Price's boss and close friend, Dawn Prescott --- head of New York Capital Crimes Division and daughter of wealthy senator Hamilton Prescott --- is missing. When Dawn's body is found in a seedy motel room on Long Island, the local police are quick to label it a crime of passion. But Emma doesn't buy it.

THE WOODSMAN'S DAUGHTER by Gwyn Hyman Rubio (Fiction)
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
Dalia is the brassy and beautiful eldest daughter of Monroe Miller, a shrewd turpentine farmer in 1800s southern Georgia who is haunted by a devastating secret. A resilient and resourceful young woman, Dalia strives to create a better life for herself and will stop at nothing to protect her family, but the sins of the father are never far behind.

DUTCH UNCLE by Peter Pavia (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Three days out of prison and trying to stay clean, Harry Healy doesn't really want to get involved with Manfred Pfiser's drug deals. But he needs the cash, so he agrees to make one simple delivery. Simple, that is, until Harry stumbles across the results of a robbery cooked up by an old cellmate of his.

THE HOUSE IN AMALFI by Elizabeth Adler (Fiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
In this lusciously descriptive and thoroughly engaging story, landscape artist Lamour Harrington returns to her childhood home in Italy to discover the truth about her father's death. Along the way, she also finds a new life.

THE RELUCTANT TUSCAN: How I Discovered My Inner Italian by Phil Doran (Memoir/Travel)
Reviewed by Shannon McKenna
Phil Doran was a successful but stressed-out writer-producer in Hollywood when his wife surprised him by buying a house in Tuscany. Combining travel narrative and quirky humor, he recounts how he overcame his reluctance and found happiness in the last place he ever expected to.

FAITH IN CARLOS GOMEZ: A Memoir of Salsa, Sex, and Salvation by Samantha Dunn (Memoir)
Reviewed by Brandon M. Stickney
This passionate memoir is the story of a woman who discovers love --- for salsa dancing, for music, for a culture, and for Carlos Gomez --- and is determined to learn whatever steps she'll need to keep up.

STARGAZER: The Life and Times of the Telescope by Fred Watson (Nonfiction)
Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott
Professor Fred Watson, one of Australia's top astronomers, explains the science and technology behind the telescope, and the enormous impact that it has had for four hundred years on how we have come to understand our universe.


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

August 12th Entry:
Remember When Amazon Was Only A River
More Random Musings
Library Memories
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: Bookstore Behavior
Poll: When you go into a bookstore, what best describes your behavior?
I hone in on what I want and hit the register.
I browse the areas that I know have books that I like to read.
I roam the aisles to see what strikes my fancy.
I hone and then I roam.
I do not go to bookstores.
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: Must-Reads

What book would you hand someone and say, "You HAVE to read this!"?

Please note: Our question of the week will update August 26th.

Answer the Question of the Week 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 BELLE RUIN by Martha Grimes and CHILL FACTOR by Sandra Brown

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on August 26th.

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


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

--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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