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February 2, 2007 Newsletter

February 2, 2007

This Week on

Hunting for Books and Bookish Multi-tasking Talks to Steve Berry, Author of THE ALEXANDRIA LINK Talks to William Landay, Author of THE STRANGLER Talks to Lisa Jackson, Beverly Barton and Wendy Corsi Staub, Authors of MOST LIKELY TO DIE Talks to Hisham Matar, Author of IN THE COUNTRY OF MEN Talks to J.G. Sandom, Author of GOSPEL TRUTHS

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Michele Martinez, Author of COVER-UP

New Featured One to Watch Author: Karen Harter, Author of AUTUMN BLUE

Valentine's Day Contest Ends February 6th --- Don't Miss Your Chance to Win!!!!

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Robert Dugoni, Author of DAMAGE CONTROL

Featured One to Watch Author: Elizabeth Crook, Author of THE NIGHT JOURNAL

This Week's Reviews and Features

February's Books into Movies

Poll and Question of the Week

Word of Mouth

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

Historical Fiction Promotion

One to Watch Promotion
Chick Lit Promotion
Books Into Movies
Bestseller Lists

10th Anniversary Page and Pictures

Valentine's Day Basket Contest

Hunting for Books and Bookish Multi-tasking

I spent part of this week traveling to and from Indianapolis for a trade show. While I was cruising through LaGuardia and the Indianapolis airports, I spent some time at the Hudson Bookstores. I was surprised how many of the BIG books like Linda Fairstein's BAD BLOOD were not there (I was looking as I had told a fellow passenger to read it). While I know every book cannot be every place, I am very frustrated whenever I cannot find what I am looking for in a store. I am not even talking about how hard it often is to find a book in a store. I am talking about it just not being there. Thus, please see our poll and question this week, which ask about this very subject. Are you able to find the books that you want in bookstores? I ask since there are times I throw up my hands in utter frustration since I feel like I am on a quest for the Holy Grail for a title that SHOULD be there.
While I was sitting in the airport I was knitting and reading, which I seem to have mastered doing simultaneously when I am doing basic knitting where I do not have to count and when I can prop a book at the right angle. People kept coming up to me asking me HOW I was able to do that. I was thinking, how can I NOT do this? There are too many books to read and too many fun knitting projects to do just one at a time! What was I reading? SCAVENGER by David Morrell, which hits stores on March 30th. Readers of CREEPERS will recognize the main characters who become pawns in a high-tech scavenger hunt for a 100-year-old time capsule. I finished this one as we touched down in New York yesterday and felt like I had been on one wild ride, though the skies were calm.
This week we are bringing you five author interviews. I really enjoyed reading through their replies as they came in, and I truly think you will enjoy reading these pieces. I know a few of these authors personally --- Steve Berry, Lisa Jackson and Wendy Corsi Staub ---- and thus I felt myself hearing their voices in my head as I read their replies. Others I was picturing in the context of their work. Considering that 25% of you told us in our last poll that you never have met an author, we welcome this opportunity to share thoughts from these authors with you. To me, hearing an author talk about a book makes it a whole new experience.
I also am happy to share that, as promised last week, we are featuring Michele Martinez as our latest Suspense/Thriller author. Her new book, COVER-UP, will be in stores on March 13th. Michele is an author I have been following since we selected her as a Debut Suspense/Thriller author in 2005. We have 20 copies of COVER-UP to give away. To enter, send an email to by Friday, February 16th.
We also have a new One to Watch author, Karen Harter, whose latest, AUTUMN BLUE, will be in stores on March 1st. Her debut novel WHERE MERCY FLOWS was given a glowing recommend by our reviewer last year. We have 10 copies of AUTUMN BLUE to give away. To enter to win one, send an email with your name and mailing address to by Friday, February 9th.
Have you entered to win our Valentine's Day Contest? It ends Tuesday so we have plenty of time to get the prizes to winners by the 14th. So the time to enter is NOW! Click here for details and read more about this contest below. Also, we have advance reader comments about Gayle Brandeis' SELF STORAGE and Frank Turner Hollon's BLOOD AND CIRCUMSTANCE.
For those of you who like updates. My son, Greg, did get his driver's license Monday and he still is driving up and down the street. He has been asking if I need errands done downtown. We live in rural suburbia, but I still think...DOWNTOWN? ALONE? And the meal I prepared from the ONE SPICE, TWO SPICE cookbook was a wonderful success. I also learned that the Indian bread called naan can be bought at my local supermarket (it's a lot like pita, but more doughy). Who knew?
For those of you who live in the South, please take note that I am going to attend the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia, South Carolina on February 23rd-25th. Michele Martinez, Charles Martin, Patti Callahan Henry (read her upcoming June release, BETWEEN THE TIDES last weekend and felt the water between my toes as I read), Ad Hudler and Jim Born are among the authors who will be there. I have heard wonderful things about this show and it will be my first trip there. Let me know if you will be there.
Super Bowl is on tap for Sunday night. At the risk of alienating our Chicago readers, I am saying, Gooooo Colts. Oh, and my reading choices for the next week? KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL by Deborah Rodriguez, which is the story of an American woman who traveled to Afghanistan to open a beauty school. It will be out in April and it's getting great buzz. Also, THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB by Kate Jacobs. I figure reading about knitting while knitting will be the ultimate multitask. Seriously this book has been getting raves and has become a real hit with readers. Have a great on.

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on February 2nd.

List of titles reviewed and featured on January 26th. Talks to Steve Berry, Author of THE ALEXANDRIA LINK

International bestselling author Steve Berry has made a name for himself writing thrillers based on unsolved historical mysteries, such as the true fates of Russia's last tzar in THE ROMANOV PROPHECY and the Knights Templar in THE TEMPLAR LEGACY. His latest novel, THE ALEXANDRIA LINK, revolves around the disappearance of the largest library in the ancient world. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Berry describes what first ignited his interest on the subject and shares theories behind the organization's unusual vanishing. He also discusses the advantages of writing a series with recurring characters, names some of the authors who have influenced his writing, and explains how penning novels has relieved the pressures of his "day job."

THE ALEXANDRIA LINK by Steve Berry (Suspense)
The Library of Alexandria was the most ambitious and important collection of ancient knowledge ever assembled. However, it vanished fifteen hundred years ago, and no trace of the main library has ever been unearthed. Now, Cotton Malone's quiet existence is shattered when his son is kidnapped and his bookshop is burned to the ground --- all because he's the only man alive who knows the whereabouts of the Alexandria link, the conduit for locating the missing library. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Click here to read our interview with Steve Berry and a review of THE ALEXANDRIA LINK. Talks to William Landay, Author of THE STRANGLER

William Landay, author of MISSION FLATS, loosely based his second novel THE STRANGLER on a series of murders that took place in Boston in 1963. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Landay reveals why such grisly events peaked his interest and discusses the various factors that contributed to the city's overall mood of fear, loss and anxiety during that period. He also describes why he has such an affinity for that particular place and time despite its negative context, draws similarities between the atmosphere of the '60s with today's post-9/11 mindset, and explains which of his unlikely protagonists he sympathizes with most.

THE STRANGLER by William Landay (Suspense)
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the presence of a murderer who already has claimed a dozen victims --- the Boston Strangler --- is the electrifying backdrop of William Landay's new novel, a story of one Irish-American family, a city under siege and the long shadow cast by the most infamous killer of his day. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Click here to read our interview with William Landay and a review of THE STRANGLER. Talks to Lisa Jackson, Beverly Barton and Wendy Corsi Staub, Authors of MOST LIKELY TO DIE

New York Times bestselling novelists Lisa Jackson, Beverly Barton and Wendy Corsi Staub recently combined their talents to co-author MOST LIKELY TO DIE, a romantic suspense thriller. In this interview with's Hillary Wagy, the authors discuss their initial reactions to being asked to participate in this project and explain how they collaborated to create one cohesive story that still maintained their distinctive voices. They also describe the advantages of writing with peers, share their thoughts on Mr. Right and reveal the "true" inspiration behind the steamy scenes found in their novels.

MOST LIKELY TO DIE by Lisa Jackson, Beverly Barton and Wendy Corsi Staub (Romantic Suspense)
High school memories can be some of the best or some of the worst --- especially when a classmate is brutally slain on Valentine's Day at the school dance. New York Times bestselling authors Lisa Jackson, Beverly Barton and Wendy Corsi Staub join forces to create a thrilling novel about love, revenge and the dark secrets three women hold to a terrifying murder. Reviewed by Hillary Wagy.

Click here to read our interview with Lisa Jackson, Beverly Barton and Wendy Corsi Staub and a review of MOST LIKELY TO DIE. Talks to Hisham Matar, Author of IN THE COUNTRY OF MEN

In this interview with's Alexis Burling, Hisham Matar --- author of IN THE COUNTRY OF MEN --- describes the significance of his debut novel's title in relation to his protagonist and explains why, rather than writing an autobiography, he chose to fictionalize events of his childhood. He also likens the process of creating characters to "dancing with a stranger in the dark," discusses his personal attachment to the book's setting and shares his thoughts on what is --- or isn't --- missing in the world today.

IN THE COUNTRY OF MEN by Hisham Matar (Fiction)
This complicated story of deception, pride, nationalism and sacrifice is a searing portrait of Muammar Qaddafi's Libya as viewed through the eyes of a nine-year-old boy. IN THE COUNTRY OF MEN is both timely and poignant, and delivers an important message that is likely to resonate deeply with readers the world over. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

Click here to read our interview with Hisham Matar and a review of IN THE COUNTRY OF MEN. Talks to J.G. Sandom, Author of GOSPEL TRUTHS

In this interview with's Marcia Ford, author J.G. Sandom recounts the true incidents upon which his book GOSPEL TRUTHS (originally published in 1992) is based and describes the research he performed on a wide variety of subjects in preparation for the novel. He also reveals how he first became interested in studying gospel origins, explains the transition from his career in Internet advertising to writing for both adults and teens, and discusses the possibility of film adaptations of his work.

GOSPEL TRUTHS by J.G. Sandom (Mystery)
Three strangers are about to crack a code that dozens have died for, a puzzle whose power reaches back to the birth of the Christian faith, through the echoing halls of the Vatican, and to the dark, corrupt realms of organized crime. Now staying alive is the ultimate challenge. Because the next revelation is the most forbidden of all... Reviewed by Marcia Ford.

Click here to read our interview with J.G. Sandom and a review of GOSPEL TRUTHS.

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Michele Martinez, Author of COVER-UP

We are thrilled to be spotlighting Michele Martinez as the newest addition to our Suspense/Thriller feature. The bestselling author of MOST WANTED and THE FINISHING SCHOOL, Michele Martinez is an expert at weaving chilling tales of murder, corruption and scandal. Her latest, COVER-UP --- hitting stores March 13th --- is Martinez at her best.

We have 20 advance copies of COVER-UP 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, February 16th.

More about COVER-UP:
Television reporter Suzanne Shepard was a ruthless celebrity scandalmonger with a roster of high-profile enemies. But which one left her mutilated, lifeless body in the dark recesses of New York's Central Park? Federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas needs to find out.

Was it the sinister Park Avenue plastic surgeon with a secret past? Or the trendy personal trainer selling recreational drugs to his rich clients? Or the ambitious city power broker who also happens to be the father of one of Melanie's best friends? Sifting through the scandals that fueled the dead reporter's career is what keeps Melanie from obsessing about her own intense affair with sexy FBI agent Dan O'Reilly.

But there's more at risk than Melanie's heart. She's been receiving chilling e-mails from an anonymous "admirer" who knows way too much about the murder --- and about Melanie's every move. If Melanie doesn't find the killer soon, it will be her own death that makes headlines.

Click here to read more about Michele Martinez and COVER-UP.


New Featured One to Watch Author: Karen Harter, Author of AUTUMN BLUE

Karen Harter, whose lyrical prose and compelling characters where showcased in her debut novel WHERE MERCY FLOWS, is our newest featured One to Watch author. AUTUMN BLUE is Karen's newest title --- a finely-observed tale of family and community that is coming out in paperback on March 1st.

We have 10 advance copies of AUTUMN BLUE 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, February 9th.

More about AUTUMN BLUE:
Sidney Walker is doing her best at raising her three children alone. But lately her sweet teenage son, Ty, has become broodingly angry. When the deputy sheriff arrests Ty and later invades their home with a search warrant connected with another local crime, Sidney is overwhelmed. As much as she wants to believe her son is innocent, the evidence is too strong to ignore.

As autumn rolls across the landscape, Sidney fights to save her son from himself and give him renewed hope. Though her options seem to grow more limited, Sidney finds she is not as alone as she thinks, and the solution just may be in the most unlikely of people.

Karen Harter grew up in Seattle, Washington. From her parents, she learned early to appreciate the beauties and intricacies of family, nature and God which are prevalent themes in her writing. With her family of six she spent countless hours exploring, camping and fishing, often singing together around campfires or as they drove in the car.

Click here to read more about Karen Harter and AUTUMN BLUE.

Valentine's Day Contest Ends February 6th --- Don't Miss Your Chance to Win!!!!

Valentine's Day is all about love, friendship and sweet things. Our Valentine's Day Basket celebrates the delicious things in life and includes books to put you in a holiday mood.

From the secret to creating the perfect chocolate mousse and finding a man who's worthy of you to a celebration of love among friends and tales of adventures in online dating, from a lying bride to a seductive tale of food and lust, the books in our Valentine's Day Basket are sure to satisfy whatever you're craving this Valentine's Day.

From January 19th through February 6th, readers will have the chance to win one of our five Valentine's Day baskets. Our Valentine's Day Baskets are sweet, charming and decorated with a polka-dot ribbon. They are filled with one copy of each of our featured books --- DATING UP by J. Courtney Sullivan, THE ESSENCE OF CHOCOLATE by John Scharffenberger, I LOVE YOU, LET'S MEET by Virginia Vitzthum, NOT QUITE A BRIDE by Kirsten Sawyer, SEDUCING HARRY by Judith Marks-White and STEALING HOME by Sherryl Woods. Also included are some irresistible Valentine's Day goodies --- a lilac-scented candle from Illuminations; heart-shaped pink and white sweetheart marshmallows; a silver heart-decorated picture frame; an adorable Valentine's Day-themed Beanie Baby dog; and a dozen Scharffen Berger chocolates.

Click here to read all the contest details.


Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Robert Dugoni, Author of DAMAGE CONTROL

Robert Dugoni, one of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors, has graduated from his Debut Suspense/Thriller status --- where we last featured him for THE JURY MASTER --- and established himself as as a top contender in the genre. His newest work is DAMAGE CONTROL, a thriller about a gifted attorney whose perfect world is torn apart by secrets and a crime only she can solve --- if she can stay alive. The book hits shelves on February 14th.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DAMAGE CONTROL.
-Click here to see our advance reader copy winners.
-Click here to read fast facts about Robert Dugoni.
-Click here to read critical praise for DAMAGE CONTROL.

A rising star at her prestigious Seattle law firm, Dana Hill knows all about stress. She pours herself into her work and family with all the energy she has. But her carefully balanced life is about to be turned upside down. First a frightening medical diagnosis forces her to reassess her roles as a lawyer, mother, and wife to a man she suddenly no longer trusts. Then her life is rocked further by the shocking and brutal murder of her twin brother.

As Dana and Logan chase the faint trail of evidence from Seattle to Maui, they threaten the reputation, career, and future of a powerful man who will stop at nothing to protect what he considers his. But for Dana, for whom time has a special meaning, nothing --- not even her own life --- is more important than finding the truth. She has moved beyond fear and beyond anyone's attempts at damage control.

Click here to read more about Robert Dugoni and DAMAGE CONTROL.

Featured One to Watch Author: Elizabeth Crook, Author of THE NIGHT JOURNAL

We are thrilled to bring you Elizabeth Crook, author of THE NIGHT JOURNAL, as one of our featured One to Watch authors. Seductive and richly told, THE NIGHT JOURNAL, which came out in paperback on January 30th, is an enthralling tale and establishes Elizabeth Crook as a true literary talent.

-Click here to see our advance copy winners.
-Click here to read a new excerpt from THE NIGHT JOURNAL.
-Click here to read a Reading Group Guide for THE NIGHT JOURNAL.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE NIGHT JOURNAL.

Elizabeth Crook's novel is a lavish and transporting tale of a young woman discovering the truth about her family's mythic past.

Meg Mabry has spent her life with her back turned to her legendary family legacy. In the 1890s her great-grandmother Hannah Bass composed starkly revealing diaries of her life on the southwestern frontier, first as a Harvey Girl at the glamorous Montezuma Resort in New Mexico and later as the wife of brilliant, and often absent, railway engineer Elliott Bass. A generation later, Hannah's daughter, Claudia Bass, a renowned historian known to all as Bassie, staked her academic career and reputation on these vibrant accounts, editing and publishing them to great acclaim, and establishing the Bass family as a pillar in the history of the American southwest.

Click here to read more about Elizabeth Crook and THE NIGHT JOURNAL.

This Week's Reviews and Features

SACRED GAMES by Vikram Chandra (Fiction)
Vikram Chandra presents an epic-sized view of life in Mumbai in his highly anticipated new novel, SACRED GAMES, a contemporary Mob tale. Can the aging and idealistic inspector Sartaj Singh uncover the clues of a Hindu gangster's self-destruction before the entire city is detonated in one deadly blow? Reviewed by Shannon Luders-Manuel.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SACRED GAMES.

HIDE by Lisa Gardner (Suspense)
What would you do if you opened up the newspaper one morning and learned that you were supposed to be dead? For Annabelle Granger, the discovery forces her to question her very existence --- as well as the motives of the parents who loved her --- and thrusts her into the center of a 20-year-old crime with terrifying repercussions. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from HIDE.

PALESTINE: PEACE NOT APARTHEID by Jimmy Carter (Political Science)
Following his #1 New York Times bestseller OUR ENDANGERED VALUES, former president Jimmy Carter --- winner of the Nobel Peace Prize --- offers an assessment of what he thinks must be done to bring permanent peace to Israel with dignity and justice to Palestine. Reviewed by Pauline Finch.

WEB OF EVIL by J. A. Jance (Suspense)
A journey that promises a new beginning turns deadly as Ali Reynolds goes from a divorcing wife to widow --- and is suddenly the prime suspect in a grisly murder --- in this suspense-filled tale from J. A. Jance, the second in a series that started with EDGE OF EVIL. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

CONSOLATION by Michael Redhill (Fiction)
Canadian novelist, poet and playwright Michael Redhill offers a quiet yet powerful meditation on the ways in which we come to terms with the passage of time and the meaning of loss, in this riveting story of two families in two different centuries --- one searching for the past, the other creating a record of it. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

ADOPTED SON: Washington, Lafayette, and the Friendship that Saved the Revolution by David A. Clary (History)
Anyone who took American history in high school knows that the Marquis de Lafayette came over from France and helped the United States win the Revolutionary War. But few realize how close his personal friendship was with George Washington, who considered him the "son" he never had himself. Historian David A. Clary looks at this famous partnership from every angle, showing how it affected both men. Reviewed by Robert Finn.

THE SUPREME COURT: The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America by Jeffrey Rosen (History)
In this compelling work of character-driven history, Jeffrey Rosen, a professor of law at George Washington University and a reporter for The New Republic, recounts the history of the Supreme Court through the personal and philosophical rivalries on the bench that transformed the law --- and by extension, our lives. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

Click here to read our reviews and features.


February's Books into Movies

February's Books into Movies offerings are often shadowed by a looming golden statuette, and this year is no exception. Studios make it a point to hold off releasing their major motion pictures (especially those inspired by books, as often they are potential contenders for the Academy Award the following year) until after Oscar buzz has died down. But literary-loving moviegoers should not lose heart --- February delivers four films that just may hold you over until March rolls around.

Those in the mood for some delectably queasy thrills will be fully sated by Hannibal Rising, based on the recently released bestseller by Thomas Harris, and The Last Sin Eater will satisfy fans of family and faith-oriented drama. A more lighthearted movie-going experience is Starter for 10, a romantic comedy that boasts a stellar soundtrack and a quirky sense of humor. Also providing more family-oriented fare is Bridge to Terabithia, the film adaptation of Katherine Paterson's classic children's book about friendship, loss and the magic of being young.

Click here to read our Books into Movies feature.


Poll and Question of the Week


Does the bookstore that you shop in usually have the books in stock of what you want to read?

-Most of the time
-Some of the time
-I do not buy books.

Where do you have the most trouble finding books?

-Chain Stores (B&N, Borders, Booksamillion, etc.)
-Big Box Stores (BJs, Costco, Wal-Mart, etc.)
-Independent Stores
-Airport Stores
-Used bookstores
-None of the above
-I do not buy books.

-Click here to answer our Poll.

Question of the Week:

What are some titles that you were looking for when you were in a store that were not available?

-Click here to answer our Question of the Week.

Word of Mouth

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 FAMILY TREE by Barbara Delinsky and HIGH PROFILE: A Jesse Stone Novel by Robert B. Parker

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on February 16th.


Click here to enter our Word of Mouth Contest.

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 February 28, 2007 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE DOUBLE BIND by Chris Bohjalian, FAMILY TREE by Barbara Delinsky, INNOCENT IN DEATH by Nora Roberts, writing as J. D. Robb, SHOPAHOLIC & BABY by Sophie Kinsella and STEP ON A CRACK by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. Last month's winner was Sarah from Washington, DC who won BAD BLOOD by Linda Fairstein, DUST: A Richard Jury Mystery, by Martha Grimes, EXILE by Richard North Patterson, SKYLIGHT CONFESSIONS by Alice Hoffman and WHEN DARKNESS FALLS by James Grippando.

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