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May 5, 2006 Newsletter

May 5, 2006

This Week on

Flying and Reading on the Redeye...

Author Talk: Alex Berenson, Author of THE FAITHFUL SPY

Author Talk: Jacquelyn Mitchard, Author of CAGE OF STARS

New Featured One to Watch Author --- Sy Montgomery, Author of THE GOOD GOOD PIG

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author --- Gayle Lynds, Author of THE LAST SPYMASTER

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author --- Lee Child, Author of THE HARD WAY

Mother's Day Hat Box Contest on

New Featured Chick Lit Author --- Meg Cabot, Author of QUEEN OF BABBLE


THRILLERFEST --- You've Never Been Thrilled Like This Before!

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: THE DA VINCI CODE --- Countdown to the Movie.....
Question of the Week: What's the Appeal of THE DA VINCI CODE?
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
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

Flying and Reading on the Redeye...


I had a great trip to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books where the events were just terrific! There's too much to share in this opener, but you can reference my three-part blog about it if you want to read more about the events and festivities. For those of you who wrote wondering what I read on the plane --- on the flight out it was THE KING OF LIES by John Hart. For the flight back it was IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN WHAT HE SAID by Eden Collinsworth. Both were really enjoyable reading, which I was glad to have along.

I do have a new peeve. I flew the redeye back and I was not tired. At all. Soooo I wanted to read, but everyone was asleep thus turning on the light above me seemed a tad rude. I was kicking myself that I left my Light Wedge at home!

I seriously thought about going to the bathroom to read.
I think redeye flights need "lighted" and "non-lighted" areas, much like we used to have smoking and non-smoking.

Finally able to share one of my favorite new reads with you --- THE GOOD GOOD PIG, which will hit stores on May 30th. I read this months ago and fell in love with the story, which just makes you feel good when reading it. The author, Sy Montgomery, was somewhat of a loner until she adopted a small pig who changed her world. We have 10 advance reading copies of THE GOOD GOOD PIG to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please send your name and mailing address to by Friday, May 12th, 2006.

In anticipation of the film release of THE DA VINCI CODE, and its recent availability in paperback for the first time,'s contributing writer Marcia Ford takes a look at 15 books that range from novels to debunkers to an authorized new edition of the original. Also included are additional titles (many of which were reviewed in the past on that we think will be of interest to readers of Dan Brown's bestselling and controversial novel.

I wanted to weigh in for a sec about the controversy surrounding HOW OPAL MEHTA GOT KISSED, GOT WILD AND GOT A LIFE. The press has been focused on the numerous passages that were picked up and used in her writing. All I can say is that I barely can quote a line from my favorite book, let alone an entire paragraph. I spent most of the week asking fellow readers about this and not one person was able to quote more than one line.

Have a great week. And's time to get that Mother's Day shopping on for ideas...a whole half dozen of them....

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on May 5th.

List of titles reviewed and featured on April 28th.


Click here to read our DA VINCI CODE Roundup.

Author Talk: Alex Berenson, Author of THE FAITHFUL SPY

In late 2003, after coming back from almost three months in Iraq as a reporter for the New York Times, Alex Berenson decided to write a novel that would explore the complexities of the fight against terrorism in the post-9/11 era. That novel is the recently released THE FAITHFUL SPY, his first work of fiction. In this interview, Berenson explains why he made the switch to fiction, what al Qaeda has in common with the CIA --- and why Keanu Reeves is his new favorite actor.

THE FAITHFUL SPY by Alex Berenson (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
A New York Times reporter has drawn upon his experience covering the occupation in Iraq to write a gripping and chillingly plausible thriller of the post-9/11 era. Alex Berenson's debut novel of suspense is a sharp, explosive story that takes readers inside the war on terror as fiction has never done before.

Click here to read an interview with Alex Berenson and a review of THE FAITHFUL SPY.

Author Talk: Jacquelyn Mitchard, Author of CAGE OF STARS

Jacquelyn Mitchard's first novel, THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN, launched Oprah's Book Club and became a huge international bestseller. In this interview, Mitchard describes the real-life incident that inspired this debut and discusses the thematic elements of her latest work of fiction, CAGE OF STARS. She also explains how her career and experience in journalism has segued into writing novels, and shares a few details about upcoming projects.

CAGE OF STARS by Jacquelyn Mitchard (Fiction)
Reviewed by Marge Fletcher
Twelve-year-old Veronica Swan's idyllic life in a close-knit Mormon community is shattered when her two younger sisters are brutally murdered. Although her parents find the strength to forgive the deranged killer, Veronica cannot do the same. Years later, she sets out alone to avenge her sisters' deaths, dropping her identity and severing ties in the process.

Click here to read an interview with Jacquelyn Mitchard and a review of CAGE OF STARS.


New Featured One to Watch Author --- Sy Montgomery, Author of THE GOOD GOOD PIG

We are so excited to be spotlighting Sy Montgomery as our newest featured One to Watch Author. Her heartwarming tale THE GOOD GOOD PIG --- which comes out May 30th --- is the unexpectedly sweet and compelling story of a pig named Christopher Hogwood.

We have 10 Advance Reading Copies of THE GOOD GOOD PIG by Sy Montgomery to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. A description can be found by clicking the link below. If you are interested, please send your name and mailing address to by Friday, May 12th, 2006.

A naturalist who spent months at a time living on her own among wild creatures in remote jungles, Sy Montgomery had always felt more comfortable with animals than with people. So she gladly opened her heart to a sick piglet who had been crowded away from nourishing meals by his stronger siblings. Yet Sy had no inkling that this piglet, later named Christopher Hogwood, would not only survive but flourish --- and she soon found herself engaged with her small-town community in ways she had never dreamed possible. Unexpectedly, Christopher provided this peripatetic traveler with something she had sought all her life: an anchor (eventually weighing 750 pounds) to family and home.

Sy reveals what she and others learned from this generous soul who just so happened to be a pig --- lessons about self-acceptance, the meaning of family, the value of community, and the pleasures of the sweet green Earth. THE GOOD GOOD PIG provides proof that with love, almost anything is possible.

Click here to read more about Sy Montgomery and THE GOOD GOOD PIG.


New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author --- Gayle Lynds, Author of THE LAST SPYMASTER

Gayle Lynds, the New York Times bestselling author of THE COIL, MASQUERADE, MOSAIC and MESMERIZED, is our newest featured Suspense/Thriller author. Her latest tale of intrigue and espionage is THE LAST SPYMASTER, which hits shelves May 30th and re-establishes her title of "The Queen of the International Spy Thriller."

We have 20 Advance Copies of THE LAST SPYMASTER to share with readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. Interested? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, May 12th.

Charles "Jay" Tice was a spy's spy. The chief of the CIA's elite Clandestine Services, he was a legend throughout the world of international intelligence. But secretly he was also a traitor, reputedly selling information that will seriously compromise the security of the United States for decades to come. Since his treachery was exposed, Tice has been kept under strict surveillance in a maximum security prison.

Then one morning, his cell is discovered empty. Jay Tice has vanished --- without tripping an alarm or leaving any trace of his passing.

Elaine Cunningham is a hunter --- a CIA operative who specializes in finding people who don't want to be found.  Young, gifted and a maverick, she is assigned to track Tice and bring him to ground before he disappears forever. But as she matches wits in a perilous game with one of the greatest spymasters of all time, she discovers there is far more at stake than an old spy's last run for freedom.

Lurking in the shadows are other hidden players with their own lethal agendas and, from Geneva to Washington, Berlin to New York City, a deadly conspiracy is coalescing. With only a few hours to go, and the future of millions in the balance, she must uncover the truth behind the legend of the last spymaster.

With THE LAST SPYMASTER, New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds has created her masterwork --- a compelling thriller of loyalty, betrayal, and the wheels-within-wheels world of modern espionage. Once again, she proves herself to be one of the most original and exciting writers in the field today.

Click here to read more about Gayle Lynds and THE LAST SPYMASTER.


Featured Suspense/Thriller Author --- Lee Child, Author of THE HARD WAY

Lee Child is one of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors. He's already a household name among thriller lovers, and with such page-turners as ONE SHOT, THE ENEMY and PERSUADER, Child has established himself at the forefront of the genre. THE HARD WAY, which comes out on May 16th, is Child at his fast-paced, thrilling best.

-Click here to see our Advance Copy Winners.
-Click here to read a new excerpt from THE HARD WAY.
-Click here to read Lee Child's backlist.
-Click here to read Critical Praise for THE HARD WAY.
-Click here to read Author Fast Facts.

More about THE HARD WAY:
In Lee Child's astonishing new thriller, ex-military cop Reacher sees more than most people would...and because of that, he's thrust into an explosive situation that's about to blow up in his face. For the only way to find the truth --- and save two innocent lives --- is to do it the way Jack Reacher does it best: the hard way....

Jack Reacher was alone, the way he liked it, soaking up the hot, electric New York City night, watching a man cross the street to a parked Mercedes and drive it away. The car contained one million dollars in ransom money. And Edward Lane, the man who paid it, will pay even more to get his family back. Lane runs a highly illegal soldiers-for-hire operation. He will use any amount of money and any tool to find his beautiful wife and child. And then he'll turn Jack Reacher loose with a vengeance --- because Reacher is the best man hunter in the world.

On the trail of a vicious kidnapper, Reacher is learning the chilling secrets of his employer's past...and of a horrific drama in the heart of a nasty little war. He's beginning to realize that Edward Lane is hiding something. Something dirty. Something big. But Reacher also knows this: he's already in way too deep to stop now.

Click here to read more about Lee Child and THE HARD WAY.

Mother's Day Hat Box Contest on

Our Mother's Day Contest is over and we will announce the winners next week. For now, don't miss out on your chance to get mom some books she'll LOVE for her special Day. 

Our Featured Mother's Day Titles were:

CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM by Melanie Lynne Hauser:
For every harried mother who dreams of cleaning with the power of 10,000 Swiffers, putting her children into Super Time Outs with just a flick of her Merciless Gaze, and employing a little Super Eavesdropping when the occasion warrants, CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM is a must-read. 

by Mary McGarry Morris:
It is a summer during the Great Depression, and the long days throb with heat and more freedom than eleven year old Thomas Talcott has ever known. He and his younger sister, Margaret, spend hours roaming the woods or floating in their rowboat on Black Pond. For the children it is a summer idyll, but all is not well in the Talcott family. 

A tender, funny, heartfelt novel about an uncertain bride and the Irish grandmother who teaches her the unexpected ingredients of marital happiness.

by Debbie Macomber:
When parents enter their twilight years, the roles are oftentimes switched for their daughters and sons.  In SUSANNAH'S GARDEN, one woman returns home to help her mother with a difficult lifetime transition. As she moves her mother into an assisted living complex, Susannah Nelson's life is filled with heartache --- but, as with most things in life, something good and joyful emerges from something sad.

Marjorie Williams knew Washington from top to bottom.  Beloved for her sharp analysis, elegant prose and exceptional ability to intuit character, Williams wrote political profiles for the Washington Post and Vanity Fair that came to be considered the final word on the capital's most powerful figures. Williams also penned a weekly column for the Post's op-ed page and epistolary book reviews for the online magazine Slate. Her essays for these and other publications tackled subjects ranging from politics to parenthood. During the last years of her life, she wrote about her own mortality as she battled liver cancer, using this harrowing experience to illuminate larger points about the nature of power and the randomness of life.

A YEAR IN THE WORLD by Frances Mayes:
The author who unforgettably captured the experience of starting a new life in Tuscany in bestselling travel memoirs expands her horizons to immerse herself --- and her readers --- in the sights, aromas, and treasures of twelve new special places.

Click here to read official rules and details for our Mother's Day Hat Box Contest.

New Featured Chick Lit Author --- Meg Cabot, Author of QUEEN OF BABBLE

Meg Cabot, author of the bestselling, critically acclaimed and immensely popular Princess Diaries novels, is our newest featured Chick Lit Author. From this New York Times bestselling writer comes QUEEN OF BABBLE, which comes out May 23rd, the charming and witty story of a lovable blabbermouth who can't seem to stay out of trouble....

-Click here to read our Advance Copy Winners.
-Click here to read an excerpt from QUEEN OF BABBLE.
-Click here to read Meg Cabot's Backlist.
-Click here to read Fast Facts for Meg Cabot.

What's an American girl with a big mouth but an equally big heart to do?

Lizzie Nichols has a problem, and it isn't that she doesn't have the slightest idea what she's going to do with her life or that she's blowing what should be her down payment on a cute little Manhattan apartment on a trip to London to visit her long-distance boyfriend, Andrew. But what's the point of planning for the future when she's done it again? See, Lizzie can't keep her mouth shut. And it's not just that she can't keep her own secrets, she can't keep anything to herself.

Unless she can figure out a way to use that big mouth of hers to save the day.

Click here to read more about Meg Cabot and QUEEN OF BABBLE.



Sophie Katz has just offered a man $12,000 for his services... Is she desperate or just meshugeneh?

Considering the kind of disasters that usually befall the half-black, half-Jewish mystery writer, probably both. Because the last time Sophie saw sexy P.I. Anatoly Darinsky, he practically danced a jig when she waved goodbye --- a normal reaction for a man who'd nearly bought the farm trying to protect her from her own foolishness. What are the chances he'd agree to take incriminating pictures of her sister's philandering husband? Or that he'd let her tag along --- you know...for research?

But when her brother-in-law turns up dead and her sister becomes the prime suspect, Sophie's priority is finding the real killer. With or without Anatoly's help. Her brother-in-law's secret life yields plenty of suspects, but the San Francisco police aren't taking any of them seriously. So Sophie does what comes naturally to her: she stirs up trouble (to lure the killer out, of course).

But if her crazy plan works, will Anatoly be there to protect her this time?

Click here to read more about PASSION, BETRAYAL AND KILLER HIGHLIGHTS.


THRILLERFEST --- You've Never Been Thrilled Like This Before!

Come to the first annual THRILLERFEST
Meet, mix and mingle with
more than 50 bestselling authors.
June 29 - July 2, 2006.
Arizona Biltmore
Phoenix, AZ
Lee Child (er, Jack Reacher) tries to beat the rap for murder
Tess Gerritsen directs a (mock) autopsy
Brad Meltzer auctions off the careers of thriller authors
John Lescroart has his day in court - at last!
Sandra Brown keeps us in heart-throbbing suspense
R.L. Stine touches the child in all of us
Doug Preston shines light into atavistic shadows
David Morrell debriefs us about FIRST BLOOD and RAMBO
Winners of the first-ever international thriller awards revealed!
A murder of authors signs the first-ever thriller anthology
Authors, Panels, Craft Workshops, Parties
Sponsorship by International Thriller Writers, Inc.

Click here to learn more about ThrillerFest.

This Week's Reviews and Features

BEACH ROAD by James Patterson & Peter De Jonge (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Dante Halleyville, a local star athlete charged with a triple murder, asks lawyer Tom Dunleavy to represent him. When Dunleavy is joined by his former flame, the savvy and well-connected attorney Kate Costello, he believes he has a chance to find the real culprit. But the violent retaliations of billionaires threatened by their investigation exceed anything Dunleavy has ever seen.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BEACH ROAD.

THE DEBUTANTE DIVORCÉE by Plum Sykes (Fiction)
Reviewed by Hillary Wagy
Newlywed Sylvie Mortimer and Manhattan's newest debutante divorcee Lauren Blount meet in exotic Careyes, Mexico and become instant friends and confidantes. Plum Sykes's second novel (following BERGDORF BLONDES) offers private jets, luxury yachts and romantic interludes, along with a very insider peek at living life in the lap of luxury.

HITCHED: A Regan Reilly Mystery by Carol Higgins Clark (Mystery)
Reviewed by Amie Taylor
As if a bride isn't under enough pressure just before her wedding, now Regan Reilly must track down four stolen wedding dresses in one week, including her own, if she's to have any hope at all of making it down the aisle and marrying the man of her dreams.

COBRA II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq by Michael R. Gordon & General Bernard E. Trainor (Current Affairs)
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad
Informed by unparalleled access to still-secret documents, interviews with top field commanders, and a review of the military's own internal after-action reports, this definitive chronicle of America's invasion and occupation of Iraq reveals the inside story of how the war was actually planned and fought.

HALFWAY HOUSE by Katharine Noel (Fiction)
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
One day, Angie Voorster --- diligent student, all-star swimmer, and Ivy League-bound high school senior --- dives to the bottom of a pool and stays there. In that moment, everything the Voorster family believes they know about one another changes. Set in a small town in New Hampshire, this is the story of Angie's psychotic break and her family's subsequent turmoil.

THE BOOK OF LOST BOOKS: An Incomplete History of All the Great Books You'll Never Read by Stuart Kelly (History/Reference)
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan
Part detective story, part history lesson, part exposé, THE BOOK OF LOST BOOKS is the first guide to literature's what-ifs and never-weres. Stuart Kelly reveals details about tantalizing vanished works by the famous, the acclaimed and the influential, from the time of cave drawings to the late twentieth century.

BUST by Ken Bruen & Jason Starr (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Among the lessons you'll learn by reading this collaboration between Ken Bruen and Jason Starr: When you hire someone to kill your wife, don't hire a psychopath. Those locks on hotel room doors aren't very secure. A curly blond wig isn't much of a disguise. And secrets can kill.

THE TOUGHEST SHOW ON EARTH: My Rise and Reign at the Metropolitan Opera by Joseph Volpe with Charles Michener (Memoir)
Reviewed by Robert Finn
Joseph Volpe's career at the Metropolitan Opera began 43 years ago as an apprentice carpenter. Now, stepping down after 16 controversial years as the company's head, he tells his side of the story, distributing praise and blame with the hard-edged bluntness that has become his trademark.

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

May 5th Entries:
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books - Part 1 - Getting There, The Mystery Bookstore and the Book Prizes
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books - Part 2 - Saturday's Panels and The Rockbottom Remainders
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books - Part 3 - Sundays Panels and The Redeye

May 4th Entry:
Mysterious Doings

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: THE DA VINCI CODE --- Countdown to the Movie.....
Have you read THE DA VINCI CODE?

No, but I want to.
No, and I do not want to.

Do you plan to see The Da Vinci Code movie?

Yes, as soon as it opens.
Yes, but not rushing to get there.
I will wait for the DVD.
I am not interested in seeing this movie.

Which of the following books on codes and speculative history have you read or plan to read? (Please check as many as apply.)

HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln
THE JESUS PAPERS by Michael Baigent
LABYRINTH by Kate Mosse
THE LAST CATO by Matilde Asensi
THE LAST TEMPLAR by Raymond Khoury
THE MESSIANIC LEGACY by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln
THE RULE OF FOUR by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason
THE SECRET SUPPER by Javier Sierra
None of the above
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: What's the Appeal of THE DA VINCI CODE?

What do you think is the appeal of THE DA VINCI CODE? Why did so many people read it?

Please note: Our question of the week will update on May 12th.

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 two great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of ANYBODY OUT THERE? by Marian Keyes and CAGE OF STARS by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on May 12th.


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.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page.  If you would like to reach me, please write Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by April 30th, 2006 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: AT RISK by Patricia Cornwell, CAGE OF STARS by Jacquelyn Mitchard, KILLER INSTINCT by Joseph Finder, THE MAN OF MY DREAMS by Curtis Sittenfeld and POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: True Stories by Augusten Burroughs. Last month's winner was Barbara from Albuquerque, NM who won BLUE SHOES AND HAPPINESS by Alexander McCall Smith, MY LATEST GRIEVANCE by Elinor Lipman, SAVANNAH BREEZE by Mary Kay Andrews, VANISHED by Karen Robards and WE ARE ALL WELCOME HERE by Elizabeth Berg.

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