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September 30, 2005 Newsletter

September 30, 2005

This Week on

Clear Skies and Good Reading

Author Talk: Nicholas Evans, Author of THE DIVIDE Talks to Paul Levine, Author of SOLOMON VS. LORD

One to Watch: HALF BROKEN THINGS by Morag Joss is Now in Stores

One to Watch: WOMEN'S LETTERS by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler is Now in Stores

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

New In Paperback

Books Into Movies

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Which are you looking forward to reading?
Question of the Week: What book are you most looking forward to reading?
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: What do you like best about your library?
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

Clear Skies and Good Reading

The New York area this month has had a string of blue sky days, which I just love. The temperatures are dropping, but I am in total denial about this! I did stop the boys from leaving the house in shorts and polo shirts this morning, noting to them that I would get the Bad Mother Award if I allowed them to get on the bus like this. Of course, this is the same threat that I utter when they tell me they do not need to bring anything for lunch since they are not hungry. I just picture the lunch monitor at my younger son's school telling people, "She may know books, but she forgot the LUNCH!" This is my nightmare.
I am glad the weather forecasts look good for the weekend since I am headed into the city on Sunday for the New York Times Great Reads in the Park event. It has a stellar lineup of authors --- and I do mean stellar --- who will be doing readings and signings, as well as some panels worth checking out. If you are going to be there, drop me an email at, perhaps we can say hi.
Last night I went to Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Center to hear Nicholas Evans talk about THE DIVIDE, his new book, which you know I love. As he walked the audience through the story and the background to his writing, I found myself drawn to want to re-read it. Confession here. I do not love it when authors read from their books. I do love when they TALK about their books. Thus this event was a real treat since he talked for more than an hour and a half. By the way, he is one of the authors in the Park this weekend.
Looking through this week's lineup, I noted how many of these books I have read, which makes it even more exciting as I have looked forward to sharing them with you. Joe Hartlaub's review of SOLOMON VS. LORD, Joni Rendon's of HALF BROKEN THINGS and Jennifer Krieger's of WOMEN'S LETTERS are just three you do not want to miss.
It's Banned Book Week this week. I am just mindboggled by the concept of banning books, and each year when we recognize this, I feel the same way. For more about this, click here.
I read John Grisham's editorial in the New York Times last weekend about the Gulf Coast coming back from Katrina. He talked about the previous BIG STORM, Camilla, and how people came back from that by working together. Last weekend I was at the beach with my parents and I tried to visualize everything destroyed a half mile in from the ocean. I know this story has been overdone by the media, but I also remembered something Marcia Ford, one of our reviewers who was hit by three hurricanes last year, told me when I saw her in July of this year. Her roof still was not fixed nine months later! She walked me through the lack of building supplies, workers and the enormity of the cleanup. Hearing her made me realize that I want to remind you to keep giving and donating. Take something that matters to you and figure out how to replace it for someone there. It's a small thing, but a lot of small things are needed as much as big things right now.

I am reading THE KITE RUNNER now and I can see why it's such a hit with book clubs and readers. I know, how did I miss this one when it came out? I am not sure. I do know that I am glad I am reading it now. 
Nelson DeMille fans, remember that the television movie adaptation of MAYDAY, which DeMille wrote with Thomas Block, airs on October 2nd at 9PM ET on CBS. Check your local listings for the time in your area.
I still am in denial about it being fall. I had lunch with my friend Kelly yesterday and told her I am living in Denial-land. She said, "Well, it's next door to Fantasyland where I live and the streets are clean and we like it there." Her comment made me smile and I had to share it. Have a nice weekend.

List of titles reviewed and featured on September 30th

List of titles reviewed and featured on September 23rd

Carol Fitzgerald (

Author Talk: Nicholas Evans, Author of THE DIVIDE

In this interview Nicholas Evans --- author of the international bestseller THE HORSE WHISPERER --- discusses his latest release, THE DIVIDE. He traces the ideas that collided, literally, to give him his initial inspiration, as well as the book's multifaceted titular metaphor. He also muses on gender differences and the nature of male/female relationships.

-To read an excerpt from THE DIVIDE, click here.
-To read more about Nicholas Evans, click here.

THE DIVIDE by Nicholas Evans (Fiction)
Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton
Two backcountry skiers find the body of a young woman embedded in the ice of a remote mountain creek. She is later identified as Abbie Cooper, who was wanted for murder and acts of eco-terrorism. But exactly how did she die? And what was the trail of events that led this joyous, golden child of a loving family so tragically astray?

Click here to read an interview with Nicholas Evans and a review of THE DIVIDE Talks to Paul Levine, Author of SOLOMON VS. LORD's Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek) interviewed Paul Levine about SOLOMON VS. LORD, the first in a series of novels featuring Florida lawyers Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord. Levine discusses his inspiration for this new series, as well as the extreme disparities that fuel the fiery relationship between the novel's two protagonists. He also explains how being a television scriptwriter and a novelist differ and reveals just how much reality is reflected in his fiction.

-To read our Advanced Reader Comments for SOLOMON VS. LORD, click here.

SOLOMON VS. LORD by Paul Levine (Mystery & Detective)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
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.

Click here to read our interview with Paul Levine and a review of SOLOMON VS. LORD.


One to Watch: HALF BROKEN THINGS by Morag Joss is Now in Stores

HALF BROKEN THINGS by Morag Joss (Fiction)
Reviewed by Joni Rendon
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 discover when they find each other.

-Click here to read our Advanced Reader Comments for HALF BROKEN THINGS.

Click here to read a review of HALF BROKEN THINGS.

One to Watch: WOMEN'S LETTERS by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler is Now in Stores

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WOMEN'S LETTERS: America from the Revolutionary War to the Present edited by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler (Literary Criticism & Collections)
Reviewed by Jennifer Krieger
With more than 400 letters and over 100 stunning photographs, Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler's "anti-textbook" is a work of astonishing breadth and scope, and a remarkable testament to the women who lived --- and made --- history.

-Click here to read our Advance Reader Comments for WOMEN'S LETTERS.

Click here to read a review of WOMEN'S LETTERS.

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.

New This Week:
-To read a new excerpt from MAYBE A MIRACLE, click here.

Previous Weeks:
-To read critical praise for Brian Strause, click here.

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. 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, hit bookshelves on September 6th and is sending chills down the spine of Morrell's longtime fans and new readers alike with its dark storyline.

New This Week:
-See our Advanced Copy Winners here.
-Read Fast Facts about David Morrell here.

Previous Weeks:
-Read an essay by David Morrell about exploring abandoned buildings here.
-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.  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






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.

New This Week:
-See our Advanced Copy Winners here.

Previous Weeks:
-Read Fast Facts about Greg Rucka here.
-Read Greg Rucka's bibliography here.

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.

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. 


New In Paperback

September's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes TRUE BELIEVER, whose publication ties in to the October release of Nicholas Sparks's new hardcover, AT FIRST SIGHT, a continuation of the saga of Jeremy Marsh and Lexie Darnell; HOUR GAME, a thriller by David Baldacci in which a wristwatch links together a series of brutal murders; HARD, HARD CITY, the fourth entry in Jim Fusilli's mystery series featuring single parent and occasional private eye Terry Orr; THE VIRTUES OF WAR, a work of historical fiction by Steven Pressfield that brings to life the story of Alexander the Great; and Philip Roth's national bestseller THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA, in which the Pulitzer Prize-winning author imagines an alternate version of American history.

Click here to read our September New in Paperback feature.


Books Into Movies

September boasts a truly outstanding lineup of movies based on books. Readers with tastes that run the gamut from modern fiction to classical literature will find something to rave about in films as diverse as Everything is Illuminated and Oliver Twist. Nonfiction fans will be rewarded with the release of The Greatest Game Ever Played and Capote --- one heartwarming, one chilling, both featuring stellar acting and compelling true plots. 

Those in the mood for something different will be delighted by the quirkiness of Thumbsucker, the surreal world of MirrorMask, and the sweet-natured humor of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. And if you haven't already seen The Constant Gardener, an independent movie based on the bestseller of the same name by John le Carré, don't miss it. The twists and turns of the plot and the compelling performances will have you captivated until the credits roll. 

And the cinema isn't the only place you'll find your favorite books on-screen. Tune in to CBS on Sunday, October 2nd to catch Mayday, a thriller based on Nelson DeMille's novel written with Thomas Block.

Click here to read our Books into Movies feature.


This Week's Reviews and Features

THE WIDOW OF THE SOUTH by Robert Hicks (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad
Based on a true story, Richard Hicks's first historical novel centers on Carrie McGavock, whose plantation was taken over by the Confederate army and turned into a hospital before the Battle of Franklin, TN, in November 1864. The tragedy that ensued turned McGavock into "the widow of the South" and changed her life forever.

-Read an excerpt from THE WIDOW OF THE SOUTH here.

FRIENDS, LOVERS, CHOCOLATE: The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith (Mystery)
Reviewed by Roz Shea
In this delightful second installment in Alexander McCall Smith's bestselling new detective series, the irrepressibly curious Isabel Dalhousie, editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, gets caught up in an affair of the heart --- this one involving a transplant and a retired psychologist with a most interesting problem.

-Read an excerpt from FRIENDS, LOVERS, CHOCOLATE here.

THE PAINTED DRUM by Louise Erdrich (Fiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
In Louise Erdrich's compelling and highly recommended novel, an estate appraiser discovers an Ojibwe drum with mystical powers. The find reveals intertwined stories, past and present, that celebrate the courage of daughters and the resurrection of hope within the bleakest lives.

-Read an excerpt from THE PAINTED DRUM here.

POLAR SHIFT: A Novel from the NUMA Files by Clive Cussler with Paul Kemprecos (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
Reviewed by Colleen Quinn
Austin, Zavala, and the rest of the NUMA Special Assignments Team certainly have faced dire situations before, but never have they encountered anything like this. The gang must stop an evil scheme by a group of neo-anarchists to disturb the earth's magnetic poles and bring about the end of the world.

A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon (Historical Fantasy)
Reviewed by Kathy Weissman
Outlander fans, cancel all dates for the next month: Diana Gabaldon's romantic, fantastical, genre-busting saga continues with a book set in the turbulent early years of the American Revolution. Imagine a plot in which century-spanning trips sit side-by-side with pirate ships and Paul Revere's famous ride...and have a bon voyage.

TROUBLESHOOTER by Gregg Hurwitz (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Deputy U.S. Marshal Tim Rackley is in hot pursuit of Den Laurey, the leader of one of the country's most violent biker gangs. But just when Laurey is within his grasp, circumstances force Rackley to let him go, resulting in a devastating tragedy. Driven by guilt, Rackley vows to hunt him down.

GHOST TOWN: Tales of Manhattan Then and Now by Patrick McGrath (Fiction)
Reviewed by Colleen Quinn
In the newest addition to Bloomsbury's Writer in the City series, acclaimed novelist Patrick McGrath presents three stories about New York City spanning three centuries, all of which are marked by a shared sense of loss and distance.

THE MYTH OF YOU & ME by Leah Stewart (Fiction)
Reviewed by Alexis Burling
Ten years after the incident that ended their friendship, Cameron receives an unexpected letter from Sonia, but she doesn't reply. When Cameron's boss --- noted historian Oliver Doucet --- passes away, she discovers that he has left her with one final task: to track down Sonia and hand-deliver a mysterious package to her.

THE HOLDING by Merilyn Simonds (Fiction)
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
In Merilyn Simonds's psychologically complex and beautifully rendered debut novel, two women living on the same piece of land decades apart are faced with emotional and physical isolation, and find strength in self-reliance.

LINCOLN'S MELANCHOLY: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk (History)
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan
Drawing on seven years of his own research and the work of other esteemed Lincoln scholars, Joshua Wolf Shenk reveals how the sixteenth president harnessed his depression to fuel his


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
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: Which are you looking forward to reading?
Which of the following books are you looking forward to reading, or have you read?
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
Angels in the Gloom by Anne Perry
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt
The Divide by Nicholas Evans
The Diviners by Rick Moody
Friends, Lovers, Chocolate: The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith
Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner
The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant
The March by E. L. Doctorow
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley
Thud! by Terry Pratchett
The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks
None of the above
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: What book are you most looking forward to reading?

Right now what book are you most looking forward to reading?

Please note: Our question of the week will update October 7th.

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 EVERYONE WORTH KNOWING by Lauren Weisberger and THE LINCOLN LAWYER by Michael Connelly.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on October 7th. 

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


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--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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