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August 26, 2005 Newsletter

August 26, 2005

This Week on

See You In September... Talks to Karin Slaughter, Author of FAITHLESS

New One To Watch Author: Morag Joss, Author of HALF BROKEN THINGS

New One to Watch Authors: Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler, Editors of WOMEN'S LETTERS

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

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

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Stephen J. Cannell, Author of COLD HIT

Enter the SLOW BURN Contest as We Celebrate the Release of SLOW BURN by Julie Garwood

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

New in Paperback

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Required Summer Reading in School --- Hate it or Love it?
Question of the Week: I Had To Read That?
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: When you go into a bookstore, what best describes your behavior?

Past Question of the Week: What book would you hand someone and say, "You HAVE to read this!"?
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

See You In September...

Today is the 9th anniversary of, which I get nostalgic about in a blog that can found here. We're celebrating by bringing you some terrific new features and reviews this week --- and then taking a break. Our tradition is to not publish the last week of the summer and to take some much-needed time off to read --- and relax. I am headed to the Outer Banks. Other staffers are planning vacations or time to clean off their desks a bit.

We also bid farewell these next weeks to Emily Graff, who was our summer intern. In these past few months she became a part of The Book Report Network by jumping in and becoming a part of the team. She also was a terrific baker and supplier of all things sweet. We will miss her.

Last Sunday I started reading HALF BROKEN THINGS by Morag Joss, which we are offering as one of our latest One to Watch titles this week. Whoa, this one is great. It's so great that Monday I ended up riding the exercise bike for an hour to finish it instead of swimming! You can read more about it below. We have 10 copies to give away to advance readers. Want to enter to win? Then write by Friday, September 9th.

In school I loathed history facts, but I loved learning about history through people. This is why I am excited about our second One To Watch title, WOMEN'S LETTERS by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler. This is history completely written through the letters of women through the decades. We have 10 copies to give away to advance readers. Want to enter to win? Then write by Friday, September 9th. (Please note the 2 in this address!)

For those of you who already miss our Beach Bag contests, here is a reminder that contests for Kristin Hannah and Karen Robards still are open on their websites til August 31st. For those of you looking for yet another new contest, we offer our Julie Garwood SLOW BURN Contest this month.

On Monday night, September 5th, Speak, a movie based on the award-winning young adult novel by Laurie Halse Anderson will air simultaneously on Showtime and Lifetime. We had the opportunity to view the movie --- and interview Laurie specifically about this project. This is a book that I read years ago that stayed with me. It's the story of Melinda Sordino, a sharp, witty "everygirl" who turns into a social pariah following a tragic but obscure set of events at an end-of-summer party. Good viewing, as well as good reading. 

We got a note from Leslie, one of our readers, with a reaction to our new shopping lists. "One of the different ways I use your newsletter and together, is to save all interesting books you suggest in your newsletter into my "wish list" on Amazon. Then I always have a record when I decide to order from them or take a few suggestions over to the local book store. It sure beats the pieces of paper I used to have laying around to remind of books you suggested in the newsletter." Good idea.

For those of you who wonder what books I plan to bring on vacation, I listed them on this blog. As always, I am packing too many books, but a girl does need choices! Have a great end of the summer, a lovely Labor Day and we'll see you in September. By the way, if you want to celebrate our anniversary with us, may we suggest you buy a book here.

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on August 26th.

List of titles reviewed and featured on August 19th. Talks to Karin Slaughter, Author of FAITHLESS's Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek) interviewed Karin Slaughter, author of FAITHLESS. Slaughter discusses why she decided to incorporate a number of controversial topics into this fifth installment of her Grant County series, and the importance of maintaining a balance between reality and the sensationalism of violence in her writing. She also reveals her affinity for secondary characters, talks about the significance of a book's title, and explains the international appeal of her novels.

Read our Advance Reader Comments for Karin Slaughter and FAITHLESS here.

FAITHLESS by Karin Slaughter (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
When Sara Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver stumble upon the body of a victim that was buried alive in the Georgia woods --- and then killed in a horrifying fashion --- both become consumed with finding out who committed this gruesome murder. 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.

Click here to read our interview with Karin Slaughter and a review of FAITHLESS.


New One To Watch Author: Morag Joss, Author of HALF BROKEN THINGS

Morag Joss is one of the new authors in our One to Watch feature. Her newest title, HALF BROKEN THINGS, is a gripping tale of psychological suspense perfect for the readership of Minette Walters and Ruth Rendell. HALF BROKEN THINGS is a novel that peers into the lives of three dangerously lost people...and the ominous haven they find when they find each other. It hits bookstores on September 27th.

We have 10 advance copies to share with readers who would like to read and comment on the book. Interested? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, September 9th.

Read more about HALF BROKEN THINGS here.

Jean is a house sitter at the end of a dreary career. Steph is nine months pregnant and on the run. And Michael is a thief. Through a mixture of deceit, good luck, and misfortune, these three damaged loners have come together at a secluded country home called Walden Manor. Now all three have found what they needed most: a new beginning, a little kindness, a little love. Living off the manor's riches, tending its grounds and gardens, they leave the outside world far behind and build a happiness so long denied them. That is, until the first unexpected visitor arrives...igniting a chain reaction that is at once spellbinding and disastrous.

A stunning, thought-provoking crime novel of chilling moral complexity, HALF BROKEN THINGS is a gripping, haunting exploration of love and our need for it, of the damage done when we go long without it, and the deeds we might be driven to in its name.

Click here to read more about Morag Joss and HALF BROKEN THINGS.


New One to Watch Authors: Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler, Editors of WOMEN'S LETTERS

Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler are a literary power-couple. She is the author of the novels WHATEVER MAKES YOU HAPPY, NEW YEARS EVE, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, and SUMMER. He is editor-in-chief of Business Week magazine and author of THE JURY: TRIAL AND ERROR IN THE AMERICAN COURTROOM. 

In LETTERS OF THE CENTURY, Grunwald and Adler offered an epistolary romp through American life in the 20th century. Now in WOMEN'S LETTERS: America from the Revolutionary War to the Present, which hits shelves on September 27th, the husband-and-wife duo turn their considerable talents to the letters of American women. From grand historical events --- e.g., Abigail Adams gushing to husband John about a July 1776 public reading of the Declaration of Independence --- to everyday women musing on such familiar struggles as sickness, loneliness and childrearing, WOMEN'S LETTERS captures thoughts and reveals truths about our nation that are both deeply personal and nationally transcendent.

We have 10 advance copies to share with readers who would like to read and comment on the book. Interested? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, September 9th.

Read more about WOMEN'S LETTERS here.
Historical events of the last three centuries come alive through these women's singular correspondences-often their only form of public expression.
The letters gathered here also offer fresh insight into the personal milestones in women's lives. Here is a mid-nineteenth-century missionary describing a mastectomy performed without anesthesia; Marilyn Monroe asking her doctor to spare her ovaries in a handwritten note she taped to her stomach before appendix surgery; an eighteen-year-old telling her mother about her decision to have an abortion the year after Roe v. Wade; and a woman writing to her parents and in-laws about adopting a Chinese baby.

With more than 400 letters and over 100 stunning photographs, WOMEN'S LETTERS is a work of astonishing breadth and scope, and a remarkable testament to the women who lived --- and made --- history.

Click here to read more about Lisa Grunwald, Stephen J. Adler and WOMEN'S LETTERS.

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

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Jim Lynch, whose debut title THE HIGHEST TIDE goes on sale September 8th, is one of our featured One To Watch authors. THE HIGHEST TIDE 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.

New This Week:
-Read a new excerpt from THE HIGHEST TIDE here.

Previous Weeks:
-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 Newest Suspense/Thriller Author: Paul Levine, Author of SOLOMON VS. LORD

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.

New This Week:
-Read Fast Facts about Paul Levine here.
-Read an excerpt from SOLOMON VS. LORD here.
-Read Paul Levine's Backlist here.
-See our Advanced Copy Winners here.

Previous Weeks:
-Check out Paul Levine's new website

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 fiance 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 Author Spotlight: Stephen J. Cannell, Author of COLD HIT

Stephen J. Cannell, whose newest title COLD HIT is on sale now, is one of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors. You may recognize this Emmy-Winning television writer as has featured his titles: VERTICAL COFFIN, HOLLYWOOD TOUGH, and THE TIN COLLECTORS.

-Read our Advanced Reader Comments here.
-See our Advance Copy Winners of COLD HIT here.
-Read Fast Facts about Stephen J. Cannell.
-Read Critical Praise for Stephen J. Cannell.

Read more about COLD HIT here:
Detective Shane Scully suspects that the regional boss of the Department of Homeland Security is thwarting a major murder investigation. But why?

Robert Allen Virtue can act without oversight or accountability. There's no way to question him; there's no way to way to check up on him; there's no way to find out if he's exceeding his authority. Virtually at will, he can bug anyone he considers a threat to national security, take over criminal investigations, and jail cops. Even if he is breaking the law, there's no way to know it. There's nothing to rely on but his integrity. His professional commitment. His good name. Virtue.

That may be a very big mistake.

Shane and his partner are investigating "the Fingertip Killer," a serial murderer preying on homeless Vietnam vets in Los Angeles. But there's a problem: Robert Allen Virtue wants him taken off it.

To solve the cop's murder, and possibly the Fingertip case, Scully must go behind the powerful bureaucrat's back and deep undercover -- where he will begin unraveling a deadly far-reaching conspiracy that threatens to destroy everything he loves: his career, his freedom, and his family.

Click here to read more about Stephen J. Cannell and COLD HIT.


Enter the SLOW BURN Contest as We Celebrate the Release of SLOW BURN by Julie Garwood






To celebrate the release of SLOW BURN, the latest romantic suspense release from bestselling author Julie Garwood, on August 30th, is sponsoring a SLOW BURN Contest.

One Grand Prize winner will receive a group of sizzling prizes including two gift certificates--- one for Macy's to buy a Wonderbra ($30), and one for Victoria's Secret to simply indulge ($25) --- a Fresh Basil scented candle with hints of tangy grapefruit, Honey and Shea butter Moisturizing Body Milk and a signed copy of SLOW BURN, all wrapped up in an authentic Scottish quilt. 10 runners up each will receive signed copies of SLOW BURN. The contest runs from August 26, 2005 at 9AM EDT through September 23, 2005 at 11:59PM EDT.

To enter:
1) Read an excerpt of the book here.
2) Tell us what you think about it.
3) Let us know what three things you would buy if you unexpectedly inherited a million dollars.

4) Give us your name and mailing address (snail mail)
Send all of this to by September 23rd at 11:59PM.

Here's more about SLOW BURN:
Burdened with grad-school woes, a struggling business, and responsibility for her sisters after her mother's death, Kate McKenna finds relief in an ill-advised fling-and then discovers that someone wants her dead.

Skillfully blending action-packed suspense with matters of the heart, in SLOW BURN Julie Garwood once again pens an exhilarating tale that will keep her faithful readers guessing until its explosive and utterly unpredictable ending.

Click here to read all the details for our SLOW BURN Contest.


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 our Advanced Reader Comments for EYE OF THE WOLF here.

Previous Weeks:
-Read Critical Praise for EYE OF THE WOLF here.
-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.


New in Paperback

Our New in Paperback titles for August include SHOPAHOLIC & SISTER, the fourth installment in Sophie Kinsella's hilarious series starring world-class shopper extraordinaire Becky Bloomwood; WHITE HOT, a compelling page-turner from Sandra Brown that combines hard-edged suspense with emotionally charged relationships; Tess Gerritsen's BODY DOUBLE, a first-rate thriller that marks the return of Boston medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles and homicide detective Jane Rizzoli; OUTSIDE VALENTINE, Liza Ward's debut novel based on the Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate murders in Nebraska in the 1950s; and BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, Aron Ralston's riveting account of his terrifying ordeal in one of the most remote spots in America and the extreme measures he took to ensure his survival.


Click here to read our August New In Paperback Feature.

This Week's Reviews and Features

VANISH by Tess Gerritsen (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
A blessed event becomes a nightmare for pregnant homicide detective Jane Rizzoli when she finds herself on the wrong side of a hostage crisis in this timely and relentless new thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of BODY DOUBLE.

STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS by Faye Kellerman (Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
In 1920s Munich, the body of Anna Gross, a young society wife, has been found. Soon a second body is discovered, also a woman of high society. When a third body is found, homicide detective Axel Berg realizes he's dealing with unprecedented evil. Is the murderer politically motivated? Is he a lone madman? Or worse, is the killer possessed by both political and personal demons?

ELDEST: Inheritance, Book II by Christopher Paolini (Fantasy)
Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts
In Christopher Paolini's highly anticipated second book of the Inheritance Trilogy, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training as a Dragon Rider. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle --- one that might put Eragon in even graver danger.

PERFECT NIGHTMARE by John Saul (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Every parent's nightmare becomes reality for Kara Marshall when her daughter, Lindsay, vanishes from her bedroom during the night. Lindsay's recent eerie claim --- that someone invaded her room when the house was opened to prospective buyers --- drives Kara to fear the worst: a nameless, faceless stalker has walked the halls of her home in search of more than a place to live.

MIDNIGHT PLAGUE by Gregg Keizer (Historical Thriller)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
In this heart-pounding tale --- part historical suspense, part medical thriller --- set in the final months of World War II, an American doctor teams up with a diminutive Frenchwoman to find a German lab brewing up a deadly biological weapon as D-Day approaches.

HOT ICE by Cherry Adair (Romantic Suspense)
Reviewed by Hillary Wagy
This action-packed adventure --- with a James Bond-like hero and 21st century international globe hopping --- sizzles with intimate, steamy interludes between blue-eyed international jewel thief Taylor Kincaid and counterterror agent Huntington St. John.

HERE IS WHERE WE MEET by John Berger (Fiction)
Reviewed by Alexis Burling
In a series of stories and essays that are tenuously linked yet can stand alone as individual musings, widely admired writer John Berger has produced an enjoyable collection for those interested in skimming the surface of many locales and time frames, and forming their own opinions about what they encounter.

A PRINCESS OF ROUMANIA by Paul Park (Fantasy)
Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds
Teenager Miranda Popescu --- who was hidden by her aunt in our world and raised in a quiet Massachusetts college town --- is at the center of a deadly political battle between conjurers in an alternate world where "Roumania" is a leading European power. The narrative is split between our world and the people in Roumania working to protect or to capture Miranda.

NINE WIVES by Dan Elish (Fiction)
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
Henry Mann is a 32-year-old bachelor who has spent the last few years watching everyone he knows get married. After the most recent wedding, where an intoxicated Henry proposes to no less than three women (including the rabbi), it dawns on him that being single isn't that much fun after all.

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

Happy Anniversary,
Why I Loathe...Abhor and Out-and-Out Hate Required Summer Reading For Kids
Readers Share Their Library Stories
Remember When Amazon Was Only A River
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Read a list of upcoming books here. Browse our author bibliographies by clicking here. Sign up for Author Newsletters here.
Poll: Required Summer Reading in School --- Hate it or Love it?
My blog from August 25th on this subject inspires this week's poll question. Do you think schools should give children and teens required reading lists, or should students instead be able to choose their own titles for summer reading?
-I think students should be able to select their own summer reading.
-Required summer reading is like a rite of passage and should stay as is.
-Required summer reading is not a smart idea, but I am not sure children/teens can do this on their own.
-I am not sure how I feel about this.

When you were in school, what phrase best described how you felt about required summer reading?
-I loved it.
-I tolerated it.
-I hated it.
-I did not have a required summer reading list.
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: I Had To Read That?

As people seem to remember this, name the best or worst book that was on your summer reading list when you were back in school.

Please note: Our question of the week will update September 9th.

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 ANGELS IN THE GLOOM by Anne Perry and THE PAINTED DRUM by Louise Erdrich.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on September 9th. 

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


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--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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