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June 23, 2006 Newsletter

June 23, 2006

This Week on

Required Summer Reading and Just Pleasure Summer Reading Talks to Elisabeth Hyde, Author of THE ABORTIONIST'S DAUGHTER

Our Newest Suspense/Thriller Author --- David L. Robbins, Author of THE ASSASSINS GALLERY Beach Bag of Books Contest --- Spotlight on SWAPPING LIVES by Jane Green

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

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

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

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

Teen Summer Reading

Host Your Own Book Discussion on the Message Board

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Summer Reading Lists --- You Weigh In
Question of the Week: Best Required 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
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 Feature

Required Summer Reading and Just Pleasure Summer Reading

Last month when I was at Book Expo in Washington, D.C. I heard a speech given by Laurie Halse Anderson, the YA author of SPEAK, PROM and CATALYST. She said this about the classics that typically dominate high school summer reading lists: "Classics were written for middle-aged people a century ago." She went on to talk about how books like this do not foster a lifelong love of reading. I am in agreement with her.

Last summer my older son had a daunting summer reading list. With these four books "hanging" over his head he barely read all summer. My younger son, who was "list-free," was a reading machine. On our website we are asking teens to weigh in to help us create the Ultimate Summer Reading List, which we will share with high schools and librarians across the country. See details about this later in this newsletter, and please pass this along to any teens who you know who may want to weigh in.

Last night I finished reading this week's Beach Bag title, SWAPPING LIVES by Jane Green. As someone who once worked at a magazine I thoroughly enjoyed this "escape book" where two women --- one a "desperate housewife" from Connecticut and the other a magazine writer from London --- exchange lives. Fun reading. Our beach bag has a bit of a British theme and the quintessential humor you have come to expect from the items we include. Read on for details later in this newsletter and enter this week's contest. By the way, my son, Greg, takes the beach bag photos each week and I wanted to take a moment to thank him for this. "Styling" these shots is often a very interesting mother/son experience. I am convinced he is not aware at all of wrinkles!

Dean Koontz's book, THE HUSBAND, will see its third week at number one on the New York Times bestseller list next Sunday. (I already have this one packed for my trip next week.) We have something special to get on your radar --- an eight-episode podcast where Koontz will discuss everything from where he gets his ideas, to his experiences in Hollywood, to his latest novel, THE HUSBAND. New episodes will be posted every Monday throughout the summer. A number of you mentioned that you wanted to know more about podcasts, so this may be a good way to explore them. You can listen to the podcast in one of three ways: Listen via a direct download, subscribe via iTunes or subscribe via RSS. Also, thinking of Koontz, remember our Dean Koontz Contest ends next Friday. We are giving away a copy of THE HUSBAND to up to 20 readers who read an excerpt and comment about it. Interested in entering? Then click here.

We have a terrific interview this week with Elisabeth Hyde, the author of THE ABORTIONIST'S DAUGHTER. I enjoyed reading her answers to the questions as I had read this book a few weeks ago. She answered my personal question about the hardhitting title of the book. It certainly is "in your face."

Our newest featured Suspense/Thriller author is David L. Robbins, New York Times bestselling author of WAR OF THE RATS, LIBERATION ROAD and LAST CITADEL. His newest thriller, THE ASSASSINS GALLERY, comes out July 25th and is a breathlessly-paced historical thriller, with an ending you'll never see coming.

We have 20 Advance Copies of THE ASSASSINS GALLERY 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, July 7th.
(Please note the slight difference in the mailbox address as we have two Suspense/Thriller ARC giveaways running simultaneously.)

My husband and sons are away sailing this weekend, in what they thought was the perfect way to kick off summer. I was invited, but I read THE PERFECT STORM and let's just say the description of those waves has me thinking the pool is a lovely place to be. I leave for ThrillerFest, the International Thriller Writers conference in Phoenix (108 degrees the last time I checked, and please no comments about "dry heat." The oven has dry heat too.) After that I am off to Colorado for a couple of weeks of biz and vaca that I am sure will spawn some stories.

Have a great first weekend of summer whatever you are doing...

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on June 23rd.

List of titles reviewed and featured on June 16th.

Enter our Dean Koontz Contest here. Talks to Elisabeth Hyde, Author of THE ABORTIONIST'S DAUGHTER's contributing writer Alexis Burling interviewed Elisabeth Hyde --- author of CRAZY AS CHOCOLATE --- about her latest release, THE ABORTIONIST'S DAUGHTER. Hyde discusses the various issues surrounding the book's controversial topic, and how its strong "in your face" title was decided upon. She also delves into the difficult relationships between parents and children, and attempts to explain her attraction to the depressing and complicated subjects found in her work.

THE ABORTIONIST'S DAUGHTER by Elisabeth Hyde (Mystery)
Reviewed by Alexis Burling
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.

Click here to read our interview with Elisabeth Hyde and a review of THE ABORTIONIST'S DAUGHTER.

Our Newest Suspense/Thriller Author --- David L. Robbins, Author of THE ASSASSINS GALLERY

Our newest featured Suspense/Thriller author is David L. Robbins, New York Times bestselling author of WAR OF THE RATS, LIBERATION ROAD and LAST CITADEL. His newest thriller, THE ASSASSINS GALLERY, comes out July 25th and is a breathlessly-paced historical thriller, with an ending you'll never see coming.

We have 20 Advance Copies of THE ASSASSINS GALLERY 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, July 7th.

(Please note the slight difference in the mailbox address as we have two Suspense/Thriller ARC giveaways running simultaneously)

New Year's Eve, 1945. The assassin steps out of the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of a raging nor'easter. Cool and efficient, she's a weapon of war superbly trained in the ancient arts of subterfuge and murder. And even though she's outnumbered, she's got one major advantage --- No one knows she's coming.

Professor Mikhal Lammeck's specialty is the history and weaponry of assassins. But even Lammeck is caught off guard when the Secret Service urgently requests his help: A gruesome double murder and suicide in Massachusetts has set off alarm bells. It's only a hunch, but all too soon Lammeck suspects the unthinkable.

In the waning days of the war, someone wants one last shot to alter history. An assassin is headed to Washington, D.C., to kill the most important soldier of them all: the U.S. commander in chief. As Lammeck and a killer at the top of her profession circle the streets of the capital in the hunt for FDR, one of them will attempt to kill the world's most powerful man; the other, to save him. And between them, for an instant, history will hang in the balance...

Click here to read more about David L. Robbins and THE ASSASSINS GALLERY. Beach Bag of Books Contest --- Spotlight on SWAPPING LIVES by Jane Green

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 sixth spotlighted title is SWAPPING LIVES by Jane Green, a wry and poignant look at what happens when two restless women walk in each other's shoes for a month, only to discover that happiness is closer than they thought. In our English-inspired Beach Bag Prize --- a lime green and pink basket-weave styled tote --- winners will find a copy of British Vogue, a green-striped towel, a green picnic blanket and carrying case, homey and delicious 'Little Grandma's Northwest Apple Cake Mix,' Twining's English Breakfast Tea and a striped mug to sip it, two packages of flip-flop floating candles with colors you can swap and switch in keeping with the theme of SWAPPING LIVES --- and a copy of the book. We have five to give away, as well as five additional prizes of copies of SWAPPING LIVES. To enter to win answer the question below:

What is the name of Amber's children's nanny?

You can find the answer by reading an excerpt here:

SWAPPING LIVES by Jane Green (Fiction)
Reviewed by Norah Piehl
In Jane Green's breezy new novel, a high-powered, single but fabulous British fashion editor and an American "desperate housewife" trade places to see if the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence.

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


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.


Featured 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 one of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors. 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.

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

We are thrilled to be featuring M. J. Rose as one of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors. 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.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE VENUS FIX.

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.

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 a new 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.

Teen Summer Reading

We are asking teens for help in creating our Ultimate Summer Reading List with what they think is perfect summer reading. Teens can drop us a note at and we will consider their entries as we work to create our list.

Know a teen? Think they would want to weigh in? We want to hear their selections --- and why they selected the book(s) that they did, so please pass this along. It's a great opportunity for teens to make their voices heard.

Click here to visit


Host Your Own Book Discussion on the Message Board

We wanted to create an option for readers to be able to post their own threads and host their own discussions on the Message Board. We had heard from a number of readers asking about this and we are happy to offer this opportunity. This is a place where you can start a discussion topic for your own book groups. Or, you can utilize our boards to start and host an ongoing discussion among members of your group for any reason. With summer, we are thinking about members who perhaps are traveling and still would like to weigh in.

Whether you need to work on scheduling, want to choose a new book, or just chat, the Message Board has a lot to offer.  Please remember that no topic is private; you may have new friends joining your group when you start posting!

If you have any questions, please feel free to email our Moderator Anne --- you can send her a note at

Click here to learn more about starting your own discussion on the Message Board.

This Week's Reviews and Features

TWELVE SHARP by Janet Evanovich (Fiction)
Reviewed by Roz Shea
While chasing down the usual cast of miscreants and weirdoes Stephanie Plum discovers that a crazed woman who has a mysterious connection to the dark and dangerous Ranger is stalking her. And now, both Stephanie and Ranger are working together to find a killer, rescue a missing child, and stop a lunatic from raising the body count.

-Click here to read an excerpt from TWELVE SHARP.

BAD TWIN by Gary Troup (Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Paul Artisan, P.I. is a new version of an old breed --- a righter of wrongs, someone driven to get to the bottom of things. Too bad his usual cases are of the boring malpractice and fraud variety. Until now. Gary Troup's long-awaited BAD TWIN is a suspenseful novel that touches on many powerful themes, including the consequence of vengeance, the power of redemption, and where to turn when all seems lost.

FULL OF GRACE by Dorothea Benton Frank (Fiction)
Reviewed by Amie Taylor
Family is supposed to be a good thing, right? Try telling that to Grace Russo, whose family is loud, Italian and Catholic and just about to drive her crazy. But family is family, and you can't change that. And in the end, would Grace really want to?

THE BOOKWOMAN'S LAST FLING by John Dunning (Mystery)
Reviewed by Kathy Weissman
This latest thriller about ex-cop/antiquarian bookseller Cliff Janeway is distinguished by the series's trademark combination of hardboiled dialogue and literate prose, but this time it has an intriguingly horsey new twist as Janeway goes undercover at the racetrack. 

A GARDEN OF VIPERS by Jack Kerley (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
A number of horrific murders threatens to unveil the greed and madness of a prominent family in this latest and best installment of Jack Kerley's crime-thriller series featuring Mobile, Alabama detectives Carson Ryder and Harry Nautilus.

EYE OF VENGEANCE by Jonathon King (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
When a convicted murderer is dramatically gunned down in front of a corrections facility with a single bullet to the head, journalist Nick Mullins is quickly dispatched by his newspaper to cover the story. After researching his past stories, this veteran crime reporter determines that a serial sniper is on the loose --- and he has his eye on Nick.

LOST AND FOUND by Carolyn Parkhurst (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller
A mother and daughter, two former child stars, two divorced brothers, reunited high school sweethearts, two inventors, a born-again Christian couple, and two flight attendants are reality show participants who are traveling the globe in search of clues that will lead them to a million dollar prize. Can they survive this globe-trotting adventure with their relationships intact?

CHALLENGER PARK by Stephen Harrigan (Fiction)
Reviewed by Pauline Finch
Stephen Harrigan expertly rescues the dreams and aspirations of the space program, a topic sadly neglected through political disinterest, the distractions of international squabbling and a general pandemic of public cynicism. Even in the current vacuum of interest, this energetic and thoughtful novel is like a breath of fresh air.

SHE MAY NOT LEAVE by Fay Weldon (Fiction)
Reviewed by Marge Fletcher
Hattie and Martyn, the proud parents of newborn Kitty, hire a Polish nanny who's educated in early childhood development. Having her in the house makes life livable again for the young couple, so when problems arise with the au pair's immigration papers Martyn and Hattie are determined to keep her in the country.

STRAIGHT CUT by Madison Smartt Bell (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
When his old partner calls with an assignment, freelance film editor Tracy Bateman finds himself on a plane to Rome. But there are surprises waiting for him --- deadly surprises that will lead him on a desperate chase across Europe, into the hands of a pair of brutal drug smugglers, and back to New York City, where the greatest betrayal of all awaits...

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 Lists --- You Weigh In
Did you have a summer reading list when you were in school?
Not sure.

Do you think summer reading lists are valuable and necessary for kids and teens?
Yes, I think they are an important way to keep kids reading and stretching their minds during the summer.
No, I think they take the 'fun' out of summer reading.
I think it depends on the amount of books/length of books a school requires its students to read.
I am not sure what I think of summer reading lists.

Do you think kids should be able to choose the books on their summer reading lists?
Not sure
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: Best Required Reading

Question: What was your favorite book that you had to read for school?

Please note our Question of the Week will update July 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 two great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of HIT PARADE by Lawrence Block and SANDCASTLES by Luanne Rice

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


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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