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September 16, 2004 Newsletter

September 16, 2005

This Week on

Authors To Read and Enjoy Talks to Nancy Pearl, Author of BOOK LUST and MORE BOOK LUST

Our Newest One to Watch Author: Brian Strause, Author of MAYBE A MIRACLE

Our Newest Suspense/Thriller Author: David Morrell, Author of CREEPERS

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Greg Rucka, Author of PRIVATE WARS

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

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

One to Watch: Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler, Editors of WOMEN'S LETTERS New Guides For Your Book Group

What's New on

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Do You Have a Library Card?
Question of the Week: Library Favorites
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 Question of the Week: 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.
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

Authors To Read and Enjoy

This week we bring you news and information about two books that I cannot wait to share with you. The first is CREEPERS from our latest Suspense/Thriller author, David Morrell, which just hit stores last week. I read this book when I was on vacation and loved the pacing of it as well as the plot. The story unfolds in an abandoned hotel as a group of "creepers," people who explore abandoned buildings, prepare to break in. Interestingly the book takes place over eight hours --- and Morrell has written it so it can be read in eight hours. It reads like a documentary with zero downtime. We have 20 SIGNED copies to give away for readers who would like to read this book and comment on it. Please send your name and mailing address to by Friday, September 30th if you would like to be considered for this contest.

The second book is MAYBE A MIRACLE by Brian Strause, our latest One to Watch author, and it comes out October 11th. I heard about this book back in June at Book Expo America, the three-day bookseller convention. I was completely exhausted at the end of these events and I wanted to collapse in my chaise lounge and just nap for about a week. I headed to the yard with this book and there went all ideas of the nap. You can read more about this book below, but I will share that everyone I know who has read it calls me to talk about it. It's got that kind of a buzz. Interested in being one of our 10 advance readers? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, September 23rd if you want to be considered for this contest.

This fall there are so many movies that are based on books that we decided to break them out month-by-month. Click here to read our Books to Movies feature.

As you know, I love it when something innovative is done to promote books either by publishers or authors. Anita Shreve, whose upcoming novel A WEDDING IN DECEMBER, which comes out October 10th, features an innkeeper protagonist, and her publisher have sent advanced copies of the book to inns and B&Bs around the country. You know how much I love good reading at vacation spots, so this would be a nice treat.

Then one of my favorite authors, Jennifer Weiner, is promoting her new title GOODNIGHT NOBODY, which hits bookshelves September 20th, with a short story contest. Weiner's "My White Lie" short story contest calls on women nationwide to craft a smart and sassy short story based on their favorite white lie. One grand prize winner selected by Weiner will land an all-expenses paid, private meeting with Weiner and her agent in New York City. Five runners-up will receive signed copies of Weiner's books. What a great way for aspiring writers to get a glimpse into the world of publishing! You can find out all the details of the White Lie Contest by clicking here. And I am not sharing my white lie!

Nicholas Evans's new book THE DIVIDE will pub on September 27th. In anticipation of this he has launched his new website, which can be found here. Those who sign up for his newsletter by September 20th will be eligible to win one of five signed copies of the book. Interested? Sign up here. And for the record, if you liked THE HORSE WHISPERER, you'll love this one. Again Evans takes a look at marriage, family relationships, and of course, you will see the setting in the West that he loves so much.

I am off to Winston-Salem this weekend for the Southeastern Booksellers Association Conference. Very much looking forward to this event as a chance to see authors and meet some booksellers. More about this next week.

Have a great week!

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on September 16th

List of titles reviewed and featured on September 9th. Talks to Nancy Pearl, Author of BOOK LUST and MORE BOOK LUST

Carol Fitzgerald and Shannon McKenna interviewed Nancy Pearl, librarian and bestselling author of BOOK LUST and MORE BOOK LUST. Pearl discusses the inspiration behind these two titles and talks about the current state of literature and reading.

To read more about MORE BOOK LUST click here.

To read more about BOOK LUST click here.

Click here to read our interview with Nancy Pearl.


Our Newest One to Watch Author: Brian Strause, Author of MAYBE A MIRACLE

Our newest One to Watch author is Brian Strause, whose debut novel MAYBE A MIRACLE hits bookshelves on October 11th. Strause writes his protagonist, Monroe Anderson, in a voice filled with wit and honesty. Quickly readers are drawn into the story and from there they cannot stop reading. 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 23rd.

Read more about MAYBE A MIRACLE here:
In this disarming debut, Brian Strause has written a vastly entertaining novel about an American family transfixed by a series of mysterious events. From a comfortable suburb of Columbus, Ohio, emerges a story of rebellion, faith and hope, bridging the cultural gap between those who believe in miracles and those who wish they could.

On the night of his senior prom, Monroe Anderson finds his eleven-year-old sister, Annika, floating facedown in the family pool. He dives in and rescues her, but not quickly enough to prevent her from slipping into a coma. As the family copes with this crisis, Monroe's mother turns to religion, his father turns to liquor, and Monroe himself must decide what's worth believing in, what's worth fighting for, and, finally, who he wants to be.

By turns humorous and heartbreaking, personal and sweeping, familiar and extraordinary, Brian Strause's mesmerizing novel takes readers on an unforgettable emotional journey into America's heartland.

Click here to read more about Brian Strause and MAYBE A MIRACLE.


Our Newest Suspense/Thriller Author: David Morrell, Author of CREEPERS

New York Times bestselling author David Morrell, author FIRST BLOOD, THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSE, THE FIFTH PROFESSION and EXTREME DENIAL, is our newest featured Suspense/Thriller author. CREEPERS, Morrell's new thriller, hits bookshelves on September 6th and is sending chills down the spine of Morrell's longtime fans and new readers alike with its dark storyline.

We're giving away 20 signed copies of CREEPERS 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 Friday, September 30th, 2005.

-Learn more about David Morrell by visiting his website at
-Visit CREEPERS online at

-Read David Morrell's thoughts on writing CREEPERS in real time here.
-Click here to play the "Be A Creeper" Game for a chance to win some chilling prizes.

Read more about CREEPERS here:
On a cold October night, five people gather in a run-down motel on the Jersey shore and begin preparations to break into The Paragon Hotel.  Built in the glory days of Asbury Park by a reclusive millionaire, the magnificent structure, which foreshadowed the beauties of Art Deco architecture, is now boarded-up and marked for demolition.

The five people are "creepers," the slang term for urban explorers: city archeologists with a passion for investigating abandoned buildings and their dying secrets.  On this evening, they are joined by a reporter who wants to profile them -- anonymously, as this is highly illegal activity -- for a New York Times article. After the group enters the rat-infested tunnel leading to the hotel, it becomes clear that he will get much more than he bargained for. Danger, terror, and death await the creepers in a place ravaged by time and redolent of evil.

CREEPERS, David Morrell's gripping joy-ride of a thriller, depicts every harrowing second in eight hours of relentless suspense.  It will haunt readers for many nights to come.  

Click here to read more about David Morrell and CREEPERS.

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Greg Rucka, Author of PRIVATE WARS

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Greg Rucka, author of A GENTLEMAN'S GAME, A FISTFUL OF RAIN and the QUEEN & COUNTRY graphic novel series, has been making a name for himself in both the suspense and graphic novel genres for several years. His newest title PRIVATE WARS hits bookshelves October 25th, reuniting readers with the edgy, explosive and sexy spy Tara Chace. 

This week we're giving away 20 copies of PRIVATE WARS 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 Friday, September 23rd, 2005.

Read more about PRIVATE WARS here:
Tara Chace was once the most dangerous woman alive. And now that the international spy network thinks she's as good as dead, she's even more dangerous than ever.

Only one thing could coax Tara back into the game: a chance to vindicate herself. The torture and execution of Dina Malikov has set off a cutthroat grab for power in strategically crucial Uzbekistan. Tara's job is to slip into the country and extract Dina's pro-Western husband and their young son before they are murdered-by his ruthless sister.

Combine a thriller that defies every expectation with a heroine for whom nothing is out of bounds, and the result is PRIVATE WARS, a suspense novel so explosively realistic, it should be classified.

Click here to read more about Greg Rucka and PRIVATE WARS.

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

Paul Levine is one of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors and his newest thriller SOLOMON VS. LORD hits bookstores on September 27th. SOLOMON VS. LORD introduces readers to the two passionate, intelligent, driven and completely different lawyers Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord.

New This Week:
-Read a new excerpt from SOLOMON VS. LORD here.

Previous Weeks:
-Watch a video of an interview with Paul Levine here.
-Read Fast Facts about Paul Levine here.
-Read Paul Levine's Backlist here.
-See our Advanced Copy Winners here.
-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.

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

Morag Joss's 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.

-Read a new excerpt from HALF BROKEN THINGS here.
-To see our Advanced Copy Winners, click here.

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.


One to Watch: 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.

-Read a new excerpt from WOMEN'S LETTERS here.
-To see our Advanced Copy Winners, click here.

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. New Guides For Your Book Group

These discussion guides are now available on

After the Apple by Naomi Harris Rosenblatt
American Taboo by Philip Weiss
The Art of Uncontrolled Flight by Kim Ponders
The Bastard on the Couch by Daniel Jones
The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch
The Last Run by Todd Lewan
Light on Snow by Anita Shreve
Necklace of Kisses by Francesca Lia Block
The PayPal Wars by Eric M. Jackson
A Perfect Divorce by Avery Corman
Savannah from Savannah by Denise Hildreth
The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

The Secret Fruit of Peter Paddington by
Brian Francis
Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
Vita by Melania G. Mazzucco

Click here to read our newest guides on

What's New on, The Book Report Network's website for Christian readers, has been updated. Our features include a discussion with Philip Gulley, whose "Harmony" series focuses on small town life, as well as interviews with Lynn Austin, Patti Hill and Deeanne Gist, all three of whom responded to the Faithful Fifteen, a list of questions developed to give readers insight into Christian authors --- and what they write. Also, we have added 22 new reviews in three different categories: Fiction, Christian Living, and Marriage & Family Life.

Visit here.


This Week's Reviews and Features

THUD! by Terry Pratchett (Fantasy)
Reviewed by Roz Shea
Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch admits he may not be the sharpest knife in the cutlery drawer, but he's dogged and honest and he refuses to let anyone disturb his city's always-tentative peace --- and that includes a rabble-rousing dwarf who's been stirring up big trouble on the eve of the anniversary of one of Discworld's most infamous historical events.

Click here to read an excerpt from THUD!

THE LAST DAYS OF DOGTOWN by Anita Diamant (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad
Set on Cape Ann in the early 1800s and populated by widows, orphans, spinsters, scoundrels, whores, free Africans and "witches," Anita Diamant's third novel is about a small group of eccentrics and misfits, struggling in a harsh, isolated landscape only fifty miles north of Boston, yet a world away.

Click here to read an excerpt from THE LAST DAYS OF DOGTOWN.

LIPSTICK JUNGLE by Candace Bushnell (Fiction)
Reviewed by Hillary Wagy
Three best friends --- all with glamorous and successful careers in fashion design, movie making, and publishing --- support one another through strategic liaisons and sharing intimate details of their personal relationships. Avid fans of Candace Bushnell's bestselling SEX AND THE CITY will not be disappointed with the provocative scenes and strong women we've come to expect from her novels.

BODY SCISSORS by Michael Simon (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
As the Persian Gulf War is beginning in 1991, Detective Dan Reles --- Austin Homicide's only New Yorker and its only Jew --- attempts to unravel the surprising connection between the botched assassination attempt on a rising black community leader and the seedy Austin drug scene.

COURTESAN by Dora Levy Mossanen (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton
Set in Paris and the closely guarded world of nineteenth-century Persia, Dora Levy Mossanen's follow-up to her debut novel HAREM is about three generations of courtesans (high-priced French prostitutes) and the love story that develops between a Persian jeweler and a brave and rebellious French courtesan. 

INSIDE THE MIND OF SCOTT PETERSON by Keith Ablow, M.D. (Nonfiction)
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum
Scott Peterson murdered his wife and unborn son some time between the 23rd and 24th of December 2002. He had a fair trial and now sits on death row. Dr. Keith Ablow tries to explain why, in his educated opinion, Laci and Conner died that Christmas.

THE BOOK OF SPIRITS by James Reese (Historical/Supernatural Fiction)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
James Reese continues the epic story of Herculine, a mostly benign witch, this time charged with saving a young slave girl in the South of the 1820s. Richly interlaced with history, this is a clever Gothic tale of a flamboyant new character who is sure to be long remembered.

THE MAN FROM BEYOND by Gabriel Brownstein (Fiction)
Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle --- the great scientific defender of Spiritualism --- claims that the powers of Margery, one of the most famous mediums of the day, are superior to Harry Houdini's. Highly skeptical of this new religion, the magician goes on the attack. And into this mix of spirit-chasing celebrities enters Molly Goodman, a young reporter whose job is to cover the heated debate.

AMERICA'S CONSTITUTION by Akhil Reed Amar (Political Science)
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
Accomplished constitutional law scholar Akhil Reed Amar gives the first comprehensive account of one of the world's great political texts. This "biography" of America's framing document explains not only what the Constitution says but also why the Constitution says it.

DARK DELICACIES: Original Tales of Terror and the Macabre by the World's Greatest Horror Writers edited by Del Howison & Jeff Gelb (Horror Anthology)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Editors Del Howison and Jeff Gelb present a collection of dark tales written especially for this volume by such acknowledged contemporary masters of horror fiction as Clive Barker, Ray Bradbury, Nancy Holder, Richard Laymon, Brian Lumley, Joe Lansdale, F. Paul Wilson, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.

THE WINNERS CIRCLE by Christopher Klim (Fiction/Humor)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
Striking it rich is as much a part of American folklore as it is the American dream. For unemployed autoworker Jerry Nearing, it seems to be the answer to his prayers. But little does he know that after winning millions in the lottery, his troubles have only just begun.


Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

September 9th Entry:
Carol's Vacation Reading --- My Report
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
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: Do You Have a Library Card?
As September is National Library Month we are asking, do you have a valid library card?
I am not sure.
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: Library Favorites

What do you like best about your library?

Please note: Our question of the week will update September 23rd.

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 CINNAMON KISS by Walter Mosley and GOODNIGHT NOBODY by Jennifer Weiner.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on September 23rd. 

Need more details about Word of Mouth? 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 (see the link on the upper right) or change your preferences below.

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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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