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June 16, 2006 Newsletter

June 16, 2006

This Week on

Happy Father's Day to the Dads!

Author Talk: Mary Sharratt, Author of THE VANISHING POINT

Our Newest Suspense/Thriller Author --- Kay Hooper, Author of SLEEPING WITH FEAR Beach Bag of Books Contest --- Spotlight on BABY PROOF by Emily Giffin

Featured One to Watch Author --- Elisabeth Hyde, Author of THE ABORTIONIST'S DAUGHTER

Our Newest One to Watch Author --- Robyn Young, Author of BRETHREN

New Featured Debut Suspense/Thriller Author --- Stephen Spignesi, Author of DIALOGUES

Great Gift Ideas For Dad

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: M. J. Rose, Author of THE VENUS FIX

Now in Stores: SHOWDOWN by Tilly Bagshawe

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Summer Reading Rituals
Question of the Week: Where You Love to Read
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

Happy Father's Day to the Dads!

We have the last week of school coming up. I cannot wait for Thursday. I think I am more excited than my boys about this. I look forward to no conversations about homework, lunch, lunch money and things to be signed in backpacks. I am trying not to think about their summer reading lists for the moment!

This brings me to this week's beach bag book, BABY PROOF by Emily Giffin, which is about a young woman who never saw children in her future and the guy she married who saw life the same way and then changed his mind. It got me thinking that three of my best friends are childless by choice and how different our lives are. I could not picture life without my boys (even with the above school examples and even when they are maddening about picking up after themselves), but I know for many people this is would not be their idea of a great life. I took my advice to all of you and read this book swinging in the hammock last weekend and it was a great escape. Pulling together the beach bag was such one point Claudia is eating an ice cream cone. This inspired me to get gift certificates for Cold Stone Creamery Stores, which offer premium ice cream, as one of the prizes! See more details below and enter this week's Beach Bag Contest.

THE VANISHING POINT by Mary Sharratt is a book that I wrote you about right after I read it a few months ago. It's now in stores and we have an interview with Sharratt running this week as well as Kathy Weissman's review. It's historical fiction. Continuing in this genre, I've started reading HIDDEN, a debut novel by Victoria Lustbader, a story that starts around the time of World War I and takes readers through Roaring '20s. I love stories that are multi-generational and full of characters. This one is just that. I am not far in, but I already am caught up in the writing. She also does a terrific job of writing New York in this period of time where the city itself takes on its own character.

This week we have advance reader comments about THE DARKEST PLACE by Daniel Judson and THE GOOD GOOD PIG by Sy Montgomery. We also have Gayle Lynds' replies to reader questions.  

Our latest Suspense/Thriller author is Kay Hooper, whose latest, SLEEPING WITH FEAR, hits shelves on July 18th and is sure to send chills down your spine. 
We have 20 Advance Copies of SLEEPING WITH FEAR 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, June 30th. Now I have not read this one yet, but the description alone reminds me of the time I was reading a scary book and drying my hair at the same time (I am known for reading and drying and leaving a trail of hair on pages). My husband came in as I was lost in the pages and it scared me so much I clocked him with the hairdryer. This sounds like a "no hairdryers while reading" kind of a book.

Happy Father's Day to the dads among our readers. May the day bring a book instead of a tie! Moms who are planning a loving gift made at school that has anything to do with ceramics or handprints, do consider pairing it with...a book.

Have a great week....

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on June 16th.

List of titles reviewed and featured on June 9th.

Author Talk: Mary Sharratt, Author of THE VANISHING POINT

In this interview, Eleanor Herman --- author of SEX WITH THE QUEEN --- spoke with Mary Sharratt, who has penned the historical fiction novels SUMMIT AVENUE, THE REAL MINERVA, and most recently, THE VANISHING POINT. Sharratt explains the initial inspiration behind her latest work and discusses her fascination with the hidden history of women. She also details some of the religious and societal constraints placed on females in the 17th century, and provides insight into how people today can learn from their past struggles and achievements.

THE VANISHING POINT by Mary Sharratt (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Kathy Weissman
Two sisters --- one a sexually liberated powerhouse; the other a shy, medically trained intellectual --- find their way from late-seventeenth-century England to the New World and meet their fate in the wilderness. Meticulous research, right down to the recipes, informs this gothic romance.

Click here to read an interview with Mary Sharratt and a review of THE VANISHING POINT.

Our Newest Suspense/Thriller Author --- Kay Hooper, Author of SLEEPING WITH FEAR

Kay Hooper, the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of HUNTING FEAR, CHILL OF FEAR, TOUCHING EVIL and the Shadows trilogy, is our newest featured Suspense/Thriller author. Her mesmerizing newest page-turner is SLEEPING WITH FEAR, which hits shelves on July 18th and is sure to send chills down your spine.

We have 20 Advance Copies of SLEEPING WITH FEAR 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, June 30th.

Fear has never been so close....

New York Times bestselling author Kay Hooper returns with a relentless thriller that brings her readers face-to-face with fear itself. In this terrifying new novel, a psychic special agent finds herself caught up in a tangled web of secrets, lies . . . and evil.

Riley Crane woke up fully dressed, a gun under her pillow, and covered in blood. Even more frightening, she didn't remember what happened the night before. In fact, she barely remembered the previous three weeks.

Click here to read more about Kay Hooper and SLEEPING WITH FEAR. Beach Bag of Books Contest --- Spotlight on BABY PROOF by Emily Giffin

Every week from May 19th through August 25th a different title in the Second Annual Beach Bag of Books promotion will be featured with a review and contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with that book, plus summertime essentials that tie in to its theme. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the book to additional winners.

Our fifth spotlighted title is BABY PROOF by Emily Giffin, a smart and thoughtful take on love and marriage, and something other than a baby carriage. In a pink and green mesh bag, winners will find mini frozen drink pops in Margarita or Cosmopolitan flavors, a green or pink scented candle, a teal blue towel with surfer boy motif, a colorful tea mug and highly caffeinated "Awake" Tea from Starbucks, a book of postcards of New York City, and the piece de resistance, the perfect summer gift --- a $10 Gift certificate to Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream Shop --- and a copy of the book. We have five to give away, as well as five additional prizes of copies of BABY PROOF. To enter to win answer the question below:

Where do Claudia and Ben go on vacation?

You can find the answer by reading an excerpt here:

BABY PROOF by Emily Giffin (Chick Lit)
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
Things seem too good to be true when Claudia and warm, wonderful Ben fall in love and agree to buck tradition with a satisfying, child-free marriage. Then the unexpected occurs: one of them has a change of heart. One of them wants children after all.

Click here to read all the details of our Summer Beach Bag Contest.


Featured One to Watch Author --- Elisabeth Hyde, Author of THE ABORTIONIST'S DAUGHTER

We are spotlighting Elisabeth Hyde as one of our One to Watch Authors. The author of three previous novels, including CRAZY AS CHOCOLATE, her newest work, THE ABORTIONIST'S DAUGHTER, is a compelling and provocative tale that comes out June 20th and is already garnering advance praise from readers.

-Click here to read a new excerpt from THE ABORTIONIST'S DAUGHTER.
-Click here to see the winners of our Advance Reader Copies.
-Click here to read Elisabeth Hyde's Backlist.
-Click here to read Critical Praise for THE ABORTIONIST'S DAUGHTER.

Elisabeth Hyde has taken a powerful moral predicament and constructed around it a richly layered, compulsively readable novel about a murder in a small Colorado town, about the choices we make and the way their unintended consequences ripple through our lives.

It's a riveting and provocative page-turner: a novel of stunning economy and momentum by a writer poised for wide discovery.

Click here to read more about Elisabeth Hyde and THE ABORTIONIST'S DAUGHTER.


Our Newest One to Watch Author --- Robyn Young, Author of BRETHREN

Robyn Young, author of BRETHREN --- an epic and atmospheric historical tale --- is our newest One to Watch Author. Loaded with adventure, intrigue, politics and romance, BRETHREN, which hits stores on July 11th, is already garnering praise from critics and fellow authors.

-Click here to see our Advance Copy winners.
-Click here to read an excerpt from BRETHREN.

More about BRETHREN:
When Will Campbell joins the most powerful organization in Europe, the Order of the Knights Templar, he is thrown into a world of intrigue. Apprenticed to the foul-tempered scholar Everard, he must try to make sense of many things: his own past, the dangerous mystery that surrounds Everard, and his feelings for Elwen, the strong-willed young woman whose path seems linked with his own.

From the filthy backstreets of Paris and London to the burning plains of Syria, BRETHREN culminates on the eve of the last Crusade. With page-turning suspense and breathtaking battle scenes, Robyn Young portrays a rich cast of characters, reflecting on each side greed, ambition and religious fanaticism, as well as courage, love and faith.

Click here to read more about Robyn Young and BRETHREN.

New Featured Debut Suspense/Thriller Author --- Stephen Spignesi, Author of DIALOGUES

Stephen Spignesi is our newest featured Debut Suspense/Thriller author. Spignesi is the New York Times bestselling author of three dozen nonfiction books and one novel. His newest work is DIALOGUES --- a complex and compelling legal drama that hits shelves in paperback on June 27th.

-Click here to see our Advance Reader Copy Winners.
-Click here to read a new excerpt from DIALOGUES.
-Click here to read Critical Praise for DIALOGUES.

More about DIALOGUES:
With this electrifying debut, Stephen Spignesi reinvents the psychological thriller with a chilling tale of mounting intensity. Ingeniously crafted and crackling with suspense, here is a puzzle within a puzzle, at the center of which stands a hauntingly enigmatic young woman whose story will challenge everything you think you know....

Six people have been murdered in the animal shelter in which they worked. One unlikely woman stands accused of the crimes. Her name is Victoria Troy, and she is the most improbable of cold-blooded killers. A lover of animals, petite, brainy, and gifted with a sharp sense of humor, she too worked in the shelter, in an anguishingly difficult job. What could possibly have provoked her to murder six of her own coworkers --- some of whom were her friends.

Fiercely engaging and morally provocative, DIALOGUES is a rush of adrenaline that will keep you riveted from the first page to the last, a novel that will leave readers deeply shaken --- and deeply moved.

Click here to read more about Stephen Spignesi and DIALOGUES.

Great Gift Ideas For Dad

Our Father's Day Duffel Bag of Books contest may be over, but if you're still not sure of the perfect gift for Dad, may we suggest one of our featured titles?

KILLER INSTINCT by Joseph Finder - A riveting tale of ambition, intrigue, and the price of success, KILLER INSTINCT is Joseph Finder at his best.

MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN by Bob Mitchell - Bighearted and delightfully original, Bob Mitchell's MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN is a grand celebration of golf and a profound parable of traveling our own personal fairways in a game where no effort is wasted, and every failure is just another chance to try again.

MEXICAN DAYS by Tony Cohan - Told with the intimate, sensuous insight and broad sweep that captivated readers of ON MEXICAN TIME, MEXICAN DAYS is set against a changing world as Cohan encounters surprise and adventure in a Mexico both old and new.

THE MILLIONAIRES' UNIT by Marc Wortman - THE MILLIONAIRES' UNIT is the story of a gilded generation of young men from the zenith of privilege. They would share rivalries over girlfriends, jealousies over membership in Skull and Bones, and fierce ambition to be the most daring young man over the battlefields of France.

POP CULTURE by Christopher Healy - New and prospective fathers have the equivalent of a Sherpa dad in Christopher Healy, who brings his experience-and that of more than 100 other dads-to this clearheaded and hilarious guide. Healy goes beyond the basics and tackles the questions that really matter:

THE RABBIT FACTORY by Marshall Karp - Bringing a fresh duo of cops to the thriller set, THE RABBIT FACTORY is both suspenseful and satiric, a taut mystery wrapped in sharp, comedic prose.

Read more about these great gifts for Father's Day here.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: M. J. Rose, Author of THE VENUS FIX

We are thrilled to be featuring M. J. Rose as our latest featured Suspense/Thriller author. Already an established voice in the genre, M. J. Rose is the author of the previous novels LIP SERVICE, IN FIDELITY, FLESH TONES, SHEET MUSIC and THE HALO EFFECT. Her newest psychologically chilling page-turner THE VENUS FIX, the latest in the Morgan Snow series, hits stores on July 1st.

-Click here to see our Advance Reader Copy winners.
-Click here to read M. J. Rose's backlist.

More about THE VENUS FIX:
International bestselling author M. J. Rose returns with the third thrilling book in her Butterfield Institute series featuring sex therapist/reluctant crime solver Dr. Morgan Snow. THE VENUS FIX follows Dr. Snow as she strives to make the connection between murdered online Web cam sex performers and her clients.

As one of New York's top sex therapists, Dr. Morgan Snow sees everything from the abused to the depraved. From high-profile clients with twisted obsessions to courageous survivors, the Butterfield Institute is the sanctuary to heal battered souls.

Morgan's newest patient is a powerful, influential man --- secretly addicted to watching Internet Web cam pornography. But he's not alone in those desires.  Morgan's also working with a group of high school teenagers equally and dangerously obsessed with these real-time fantasies. Fantasies that are all too accessible.

Click here to read more about M. J. Rose and THE VENUS FIX.


Now in Stores: SHOWDOWN by Tilly Bagshawe

New from the New York Times bestselling author of ADORED....Sex, lies, glamour, and cowboys. Don't go to the beach without it.

Bobby Cameron is a cowboy through and through. An alpha male of the old school, his classic good looks have made women swoon. After inheriting Highwood, his father's magnificent but debt-ridden ranch in California's Santa Ynez Valley, Bobby travels wherever he's wanted, breaking horses for their wealthy owners and raising the cash he needs to protect his land.
That's all he cares about --- until he meets an English girl named Milly Lockwood Groves, the seventeen-year-old daughter of a millionaire Newmarket breeder. Forbidden to race because of a childhood accident and her mother's notions about unladylike behavior, Milly is still secretly determined to follow her dreams.  She accepts Cameron's offer to work for a year at Highwood, desperate to make a name for herself in racing...and for Bobby to see her as a woman.
Caught up in a world where unscrupulous horse owners and billionaire media moguls rub shoulders-and more-with oversexed racing widows and fiercely ambitious jockeys, Milly must discover if she has what it takes to be a winner --- on the track, in the bedroom, and, ultimately, in the game of love.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SHOWDOWN.
-Click here to visit Tilly's website.
-Click here to read our review of SHOWDOWN

Click here to read more about SHOWDOWN.


This Week's Reviews and Features

THE POE SHADOW by Matthew Pearl (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard
Edgar Allan Poe is dead. The question is whether his death was accidental or the result of something far more devious. The public, the press, and even Poe's own family and friends accept the conclusion that Poe was a second-rate writer who met a disgraceful end as a drunkard. A young Baltimore lawyer puts his own career and reputation at risk in a passionate crusade to salvage Poe's.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE POE SHADOW.

BLOOD MASK by Joyce Carol Oates, writing as Lauren Kelly (Suspense)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
Joyce Carol Oates applies her formidable talent to crafting this psychological suspense in her third novel written as Lauren Kelly. A young woman and her aunt go missing, and only one of them is found. What led up to this apparent abduction, and who was behind it?

-Click here to read an excerpt from BLOOD MASK.

SHOWDOWN by Tilly Bagshawe (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller
Tilly Bagshawe is back with her latest novel, SHOWDOWN, which is one part HORSE WHISPERER, one part Jackie Collins, and all parts entertaining. Much like her debut novel, last year's ADORED, Bagshawe whisks her readers around the world to some of the wealthiest, most glamorous playgrounds of the rich. But instead of Tinseltown, this time her tale is set in the exciting world of high-stakes horse breeding.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SHOWDOWN.

BLUE SCREEN by Robert B. Parker (Mystery)
Reviewed by Tom Callahan
In Robert B. Parker's fifth Sunny Randall novel, the Boston PI comes fact to face with Jesse Stone, chief of police in Paradise, Massachusetts. It immediately becomes clear that Jesse and Sunny have much in common. While searching for a killer, they learn an awful lot about each other --- and themselves.

THE MAN FROM STONE CREEK by Linda Lael Miller (Romance)
Reviewed by Amie Taylor
Hunky schoolmaster Sam O'Ballivan may have his hands full wrangling rowdy children and tracking train robbers, but his biggest challenge comes in winning the heart of prim and proper postmistress Maddie Chancelor, who's more of a handful than the kids and the criminals combined.

THE LAST ASSASSIN by Barry Eisler (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
When Japanese/American contract killer John Rain learns that his former lover, Midori, has been raising their child in New York, he senses a chance for reconciliation, perhaps even for redemption. But Midori is being watched by Rain's enemies, and his sudden appearance puts mother and child in terrible danger.

THE WHISTLING SEASON by Ivan Doig (Fiction)
Reviewed by Jennifer McCord
In the fall of 1909, the widower Oliver Milliron places an ad in the newspaper offering the services of an "A-1 housekeeper, sound morals, exceptional disposition." The widow Rose Llewellyn applies with the statement "Can't cook but doesn't bite," and shockingly is hired anyway.

PIECE OF MY HEART by Peter Robinson (Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
In September 1969, the murder of a winsome young woman at a rock music festival occupies the attention of Detective Inspector Stanley Chadwick. Meanwhile, in October 2005, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is investigating the killing of a rock music journalist. PIECE OF MY HEART proceeds along these twin paths until their convergence ultimately makes clear the link between the two cases.

THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY by Donna Leon (Mystery)
Reviewed by Jennifer McCord
Commissario Brunetti and his assistant Vianello secure the release of Vianello's friend Marco Ribetti --- arrested during an environmental protest --- only to be faced by the fury of the man's father-in-law, a cantankerous glass factory owner who has been heard in the bars of Murano making violent threats about Ribetti. Brunetti's curiosity is piqued, and he finds himself drawn to Murano to investigate.

SHADOW MAN by Cody Mcfadyen (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
In all her years at the FBI, Special Agent Smoky Barrett has never encountered anyone like him --- a new and fascinating kind of monster, a twisted genius who defies profilers' attempts to understand him. And he's issued Smoky a direct challenge, coaxing her back from the brink with the only thing that could convince her to live.

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY by Howell Raines (Memoir)
Reviewed by H.V. Cordry
In this graceful sequel to his much-loved, bestselling memoir FLY FISHING THROUGH THE MIDLIFE CRISIS, Howell Raines shifts between fishing vignettes and personal reflections on his childhood, his second marriage, his relationships with his two sons, the trajectory of his career at the New York Times and his move toward old age.

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

Read the 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.
Poll: Summer Reading Rituals
During the summer do you find yourself reading more?

Yes, I read more during the summer.
No, my reading habits don't change.
I am not sure if my reading habits change.

Do you find yourself reading "lighter fare" during the summer?

Yes, I read lighter books during the summer.
No, my reading habits don't change.
I am not sure if I read "lighter fare" during the summer.
Answer the Poll here.

Read a list of upcoming books here. Browse our author bibliographies by clicking here Sign up for Author Newsletters here.
Question of the Week: Where You Love to Read

Question: Where is your favorite place to read during the summer?

Please note our Question of the Week will update June 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 two great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of TERRORIST by John Updike and TWELVE SHARP by Janet Evanovich.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on June 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 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 June 30th, 2006 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books:BLUE SCREEN by Robert B. Parker, THE COLD MOON by Jeffery Deaver, KILLER DREAMS by Iris Johansen, MOCKINGBIRD: A Portrait of Harper Lee, by Charles J. Shields and TWELVE SHARP by Janet Evanovich. Last month's winner was Lorinda from Saugerties, NY who won 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.

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

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