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November 30, 2007 Newsletter

November 30, 2007

This Week on

Making the Cut Talks to Kyle Mills, Author of DARKNESS FALLS

Now in Stores: BIG BONED by Meg Cabot

Now in Stores: THE CHASE by Clive Cussler

Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest on Spotlight on A CHRISTMAS BEGINNING by Anne Perry

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Steve Berry, Author of THE VENETIAN BETRAYAL

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Kevin O'Brien, Author of ONE LAST SCREAM

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Titles Perfect for Holiday Reading

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Humor Books

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Great Choices for Booklovers

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Cookbooks, Entertaining Guides & Culinary Tales
New in Paperback for November and December

This Week's Reviews

Poll and Question of the Week: Holiday Gifts

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

Historical Fiction Promotion

One to Watch Promotion
Books Into Movies
Bestseller Lists
Coming Soon
New in Paperback

Summer Beach Bag of Books Promotion

Making the Cut

Looking at my hands as I type I still have cuts healing from my Thanksgiving cooking adventure. I definitely wreaked havoc on my hands with my chop chop chopping. I have 16 knives and I have proven that I know how to use none of them. And in my rushing to cut I usually do the wrong thing, a knife slips and thus bandaids become a stock commodity when I set out to cook. I have thought about taking a course in how to use knives. I always love watching chefs on cooking shows chopping/slicing/dicing away with precision, but there's never enough time for that.

Thus I was happy to find the perfect book on this subject, KNIFE SKILLS ILLUSTRATED: A User's Manual by Peter Hertzmann. It has a section that describes how knives work that even someone non-scientific like me can follow, ideas on caring for knives and well-illustrated sections on how to cut fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and poultry. I have two huge cookbook shelves in my kitchen and I can see this book going on the "most-used" one under the counter. It's a great gift for a chef.

I realize that last week I failed to talk about the recipes that I selected from readers for the holiday. Confession: a neighbor joined us for the holiday at the last moment, pairing her feast with mine, so I had no holes in the menu. That said, I did select two recipes that I am going to try in the upcoming weeks. One is from Dena for an Eggnog Poundcake that sounds great for Christmas morning, and the other is from Lesley for a Potato Casserole. I will get a book out to each of them next week as a thank you. I also appreciate all the other recipes that were shared. I printed them out and will hold them in my "recipes from friends and family" file.

Earlier this week I went to the dentist and we were chatting. Actually he was chatting...I was trying to gurgle out responses as he had my jaw locked open. Don't you love the way the dentist asks you questions as you are in that position? Well, as he was chatting he told me about a book that a friend of his, Adam D. Roberts, had written, THE AMATEUR GOURMET, which was based on his very successful blog of the same name. Well, how happy was I that we have this book in our What to Give/What to Get feature!

The spotlight book this week in our terrific Holiday Basket of Cheer promotion is A CHRISTMAS BEGINNING by Anne Perry, a murder mystery that has themes of passion and redemption.

We also received advance reader comments for DARKNESS FALLS by Kyle Mills, which our readers really enjoyed. You can read their responses here.

Tuesday night Mary Dubbs from our office and I caught a screening of The Golden Compass, which opens in theaters on December 7th. I confess that I have not read Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, while Mary had. I was able to follow the story, though she was very clear that I would have gotten more out of it had I read the books. Sooo... listen to Mary and get reading. I enjoyed it, recommend it and want many of the outfits worn by Nicole Kidman. The costuming and scenery truly was over the top, much like in The Chronicles of Narnia.

This weekend the boys and I are putting up the holiday tree that we do for a charity event each year. Those who have been following this newsletter over the years know that this is one of my favorite holiday traditions. This year our theme is Southwestern with a cowboy influence. I am making a garland out of very colorful bandanas. We have the chili pepper lights and a number of great ornaments that we have collected over the years. The boys are trying to convince me to have my cowboy boots under it, but that is NOT happening. I like them too much to have them there for the two weeks of the display. Next week I’ll be sure to include a photo of the tree.

The extra week to prepare for the holidays this year is a welcome treat. I still feel calm and under control. I am sure that I will implode in the next month, but it’s nice to at least start out calm, isn’t it? Happy Hanukkah to all our Jewish readers. Enjoy the celebration!

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Kyle Mills, Author of DARKNESS FALLS

Kyle Mills is the New York Times bestselling author of eight books, including RISING PHOENIX, THE SECOND HORSEMAN and FADE. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Mills explains why he prefers to write about realistic and timely subjects, and discusses some of the parallels between real-life occurrences and events that take place in his latest novel, DARKNESS FALLS. He also reveals what he has learned through his research on alternative forms of energy, shares his thoughts on environmental issues and describes what he is currently working on.

DARKNESS FALLS by Kyle Mills (Thriller)
When a deadly bacteria begins threatening the world’s oil reserves, the Department of Homeland Security sends Erin Neal to investigate. It soon becomes clear that if this contagion isn’t stopped, the industrial world will be cut off from the energy that provides the heat, food and transportation necessary for survival. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of DARKNESS FALLS.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DARKNESS FALLS.

Click here to read our interview with Kyle Mills.


Now in Stores: BIG BONED by Meg Cabot

BIG BONED by Meg Cabot (Mystery)
In this third mystery of Meg Cabot’s series, ex-pop star Heather Wells continues her career as dormitory director and amateur sleuth. The upswing in her love life turns out to be rather unnerving, but it recedes in importance when her boss winds up dead --- and Heather finds herself to be one of the suspects. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BIG BONED.


Click here to read a review of BIG BONED.


Now in Stores: THE CHASE by Clive Cussler

THE CHASE by Clive Cussler (Historical Thriller)
Without question, the best thing about any novel by Clive Cussler is that the reader is hooked by the end of the first chapter. Another given is that you will be introduced to many forms of transportation, most of them unique, historic and classic. THE CHASE, a stand-alone historical thriller, is no exception. Reviewed by Marge Fletcher.

Click here to read a review of THE CHASE.

Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest on Spotlight on A CHRISTMAS BEGINNING by Anne Perry

The holiday season is upon us! At this means it's time for us to share the spirit of the season with you with our Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest.

Each week from November 2nd through December 14th we are spotlighting a different title that is perfect for holiday gift giving, and five readers have the chance to win a holiday basket filled with winter-themed items as well as two copies of the featured book. Why two? One is to keep, of course, and one is for someone on your holiday gift list. We also include festive wrapping paper and a ribbon to make the gift-giving hassle-free.

This week we are featuring A CHRISTMAS BEGINNING by Anne Perry, a murder mystery that has themes of passion and redemption.

Our Holiday Basket of Cheer is a woven basket stocked with holiday-themed items. Along with two copies of A CHRISTMAS BEGINNING and green-and-tan checkered wrapping paper, winners will receive a cranberry orange-scented Illuminations candle, Ghirardelli hot chocolate mix, gourmet hand-cut vanilla marshmallows, sweet-smelling cinnamon sticks, delicious Chewy Peps peppermint candies, a festive serving tray depicting a winter scene and a large snowman cookie. (Approximate retail value: $100)

To enter to win, answer the question below:

What is the innkeeper’s name and what does she talk to Runcorn about?

You can find the answer by reading an excerpt here.

A CHRISTMAS BEGINNING by Anne Perry (Fiction)
Bestselling author Anne Perry returns with her fifth holiday novel. Superintendent Runcorn of Scotland Yard travels to an isolated island off the coast of Wales for the holidays. But he soon has to solve the murder of the vicar’s sister and confront his own personal crisis. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

-Click here to read a review of A CHRISTMAS BEGINNING.
-Read more about Anne Perry and A CHRISTMAS BEGINNING here.


Click here to read all the details of our Holiday Basket of Cheer contest.


Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Steve Berry, Author of THE VENETIAN BETRAYAL

With novels such as THE TEMPLAR LEGACY and THE ALEXANDRIA LINK, New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry has been celebrated by readers worldwide. December 11th marks the release of Berry's new suspense/thriller, THE VENETIAN BETRAYAL, in which former U.S. Justice Department agent Cotton Malone and his friend Cassiopeia Vitt embark on a quest to try to unravel an ancient riddle whose solution could destroy or save millions of people.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from THE VENETIAN BETRAYAL.
-Click here to read fast facts about Steve Berry.

-Click here to read Steve Berry’s bio.
-Click here to see Steve Berry's backlist.
-Visit the author’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

Backed by a secret cabal of powerbrokers, the Central Asian Federation has amassed a harrowing arsenal of biological weapons. Equipped with the hellish power to decimate other nations at will, only one thing keeps the Federation’s ruler from setting in motion her death march of domination: a miraculous healing serum, kept secret by an ancient puzzle and buried with the mummified remains of Alexander the Great --- in a tomb lost to the ages for more than 1,500 years. Together, Cotton Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt must outrun and outthink the forces allied against them and find the tomb before the Federation does.


Click here to read more about Steve Berry and THE VENETIAN BETRAYAL.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Kevin O'Brien, Author of ONE LAST SCREAM
Kevin O’Brien is the New York Times bestselling author of THE LAST VICTIM and KILLING SPREE. In his new thriller, ONE LAST SCREAM (which releases on December 18th), a series of mysterious murders leads a young woman suffering from blackouts to question herself and her past. Could she be a cold-blooded killer? Or a pawn in a deadly game?

We have 15 copies of ONE LAST SCREAM to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, December 7th.

-Click here to read Kevin O’Brien’s bio.
-Visit the author’s official website,

Amelia Faraday is beautiful, smart and a walking disaster. Suffering from blackouts, she also suffers from something worse --- the feeling that she is personally involved in a series of deaths. Now as a new series of murders begins, and she continues to suffer from blackouts, Amelia is left wondering if she is a cold-blooded killer --- or a pawn in a deadly game that’s only just beginning.


Click here read more about Kevin O'Brien and ONE LAST SCREAM.


What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Titles Perfect for Holiday Reading

Getting into the holiday spirit is a piece of cake with these sweet holiday-inspired treats that will put you in the mood for mistletoe, snowmen and reading by the fire.

Our featured titles in the Holiday Spirit category are:

CANDY CANE MURDER by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine and Leslie Meier
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS: The Making of a Tradition by Charles M. Schulz
THE CHRISTMAS PEARL by Dorothea Benton Frank
AN IRISH CHRISTMAS by Melody Carlson
WHERE ANGELS GO by Debbie Macomber


Click here to see our Holiday Spirit category.

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Humor Books
Got a trivia buff or a humor-lover? Check out our Just for Fun category and you're bound to find exactly what you're looking for.

Our featured titles in this category are:

ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER?: The Play-At-Home Companion Book to the Hit TV Show! by Michael Benson
THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR DOGS: A Parody by Rex & Sparky by Joe Garden, Janet Ginsburg, Chris Pauls and Anita Serwacki
THE FAMILY GUY: Peter Griffin's Guide to the Holidays by Danny Smith
FILTHY SHAKESPEARE: Shakespeare's Most Outrageous Sexual Puns by Pauline Kiernan
THE SIMPSONS HANDBOOK: Secret Tips from the Pros by Matt Groening


Click here to see our Just for Fun category.


What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Great Choices for Booklovers

Got someone on your list who loves great fiction and nonfiction reads? Our Great Choices for Booklovers category is bound to give you some ideas for what to get the avid reader(s) in your life.

Our featured titles in this category are:

THE CHOICE by Nicholas Sparks
THE DARK-HUNTER COMPANION by Sherrilyn Kenyon, with Alethea Kontis
GARDEN SPELLS by Sarah Addison Allen
THE MITFORD BEDSIDE COMPANION written by Jan Karon, edited by Brenda Furman
STONE COLD by David Baldacci
TRANSIT MAPS OF THE WORLD written by Mark Ovenden, edited by Mike Ashworth


Click here to see our Great Choices for Booklovers category.

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide: Spotlight on Cookbooks, Entertaining Guides & Culinary Tales
With the holidays right around the corner, our Eat, Drink & Be Merry category features titles that will delight any connoisseur of good food, good wine and good books.

Our featured titles in this category are:

THE AMATEUR GOURMET: How to Shop, Chop, and Table Hop Like a Pro (Almost) by Adam D. Roberts
COOKING JEWISH: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family by Judy Bart Kancigor
DISCOVER CHOCOLATE: The Ultimate Guide to Buying, Tasting, and Enjoying Fine Chocolate by Clay Gordon
THE HOUSE OF MONDAVI: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty by Julia Flynn Siler
THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
PURE DESSERT by Alice Medrich
SANTA'S NORTH POLE COOKBOOK: Classic Christmas Recipes from Saint Nicholas Himself by Jeff Guinn
THE SNEAKY CHEF: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals by Missy Chase Lapine

Click here to see our Eat, Drink & Be Merry category.

New in Paperback for November and December
November and December’s roundup of New in Paperback fiction titles includes NEXT, Michael Crichton’s frightening and compelling tale of a new world where nothing is what it seems and a set of new possibilities can open at every turn; MISSION SONG, another high-stakes thrill ride from John le Carre full of espionage, global meddling and inter-character intrigue; BAD BLOOD, Linda Fairstein’s ninth legal thriller starring Manhattan prosecutor Alexandra Cooper; WHEN DARKNESS FALLS, the sixth installment in James Grippando’s series featuring Miami criminal defense attorney Jack Swyteck; and MAGIC HOUR by Kristin Hannah, in which a child psychologist is determined to save a little girl locked in a world of unimaginable fear and isolation.

Among our nonfiction highlights are THE INNOCENT MAN, John Grisham's exploration of small town justice gone terribly awry; TOO LATE TO SAY GOODBYE by Ann Rule, the true story of a 14-year saga of treachery and murder by a man who would never allow any woman to leave him; Karen DeYoung’s SOLDIER, the first full biography of Colin Powell, from his Bronx childhood to his military career to his controversial tenure as secretary of state; and two books that focus on autism and the people whose lives have been affected by it --- MOZART AND THE WHALE by Jerry and Mary Newport, and STRANGE SON by Portia Iversen.

Click here to see our New in Paperback roundup for November and December.


This Week's Reviews

THE GIFT by Richard Paul Evans (Fiction)
Nathan Hurst hated Christmas. For the rest of the world it was a day of joy and celebration; for Nathan it was simply a reminder of the event that destroyed his childhood until a snowstorm, a cancelled flight and an unexpected meeting with a young mother and her very special son would show him that Christmas is indeed the season of miracles. Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton.

THE TERROR DREAM: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America by Susan Faludi (Current Events)
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Susan Faludi delivers a blistering indictment of America’s response to the trauma of 9/11. Tracing the roots of that reaction to the “terror dream” of vulnerability that has haunted us since our colonial era, Faludi offers a well-informed critique of this country’s maladaptive retreat into cultural and social myth. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

THE WORST THING I’VE DONE by Ursula Hegi (Fiction)
Annie is driving alone from North Sea to Montauk and back again, as she has every night since her husband, Mason, challenged what she believed about herself and about their marriage. Eating junk food and listening to talk radio, Annie tries to shut out her rage and conceal her pain, but Mason's voice persists within her, as urgent as the voices of the anonymous callers who confess their misery to the radio psychologists. Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol.

THE GUM THIEF by Douglas Coupland (Fiction)
In Douglas Coupland’s darkly hilarious novel consisting of journal entries by divorced, middle-aged Roger and his young Staples co-worker Bethany, two unlikely misfits forge a surprising bond. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

ZUGZWANG by Ronan Bennett (Historical Thriller)
Set in pre-Revolution Russia, Ronan Bennett's latest thriller follows the politically apathetic Dr. Otto Spethmann as he is pulled into a terrorist plot. ZUGZWANG is an exciting and stylish tale of intrigue, romance, chess and power in St. Petersburg. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

RUMPOLE MISBEHAVES by John Mortimer (Mystery)
English barrister Horace Rumpole continues in his never-ending quest to bring meaning to the words “innocent until proven guilty.” In addition, he has another important client to defend. As his fellow barristers seek to obtain an order against his actions in chambers, Rumpole must resort to his legendary legal skills to represent himself against the tyranny of the majority. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

MISSING WITNESS by Gordon Campbell (Legal Thriller)
A woman is accused of murdering her husband, and there seems to be no question about her guilt. However, her wealthy father-in-law believes she’s innocent and hires Dan Morgan to defend her. The legendary criminal attorney rarely loses a case, and this one is no exception. But that’s just the beginning… Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

DIE WITH ME by Elena Forbes (Mystery)
Elena Forbes's first novel introduces a memorable cast of police investigators, a diabolical killer and a promising mystery writer who, based on this debut, is certainly worthy of being labeled as “one to watch.” Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

I LIVE FOR THIS!: Baseball’s Last True Believer by Bill Plaschke with Tommy Lasorda (Biography)
Award-winning sportswriter Bill Plaschke shows us Tommy Lasorda --- one of baseball’s most famous and enduring legends --- as we’ve never seen him before, revealing the secrets of his amazing, unlikely success and his unvarnished opinions on the state of the game. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.


Read this week's reviews here.


Poll and Question of the Week: Holiday Gifts


Do you like giving books as presents?

Do you like receiving books as presents?

Do you like giving gift cards to bookstores as presents?

Do you like receiving gift cards to bookstores as presents?

-Click here to answer our poll.


If you only gave books as presents this holiday season, name up to three titles you'd like to give.

-Click here to answer our question of the week.


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 THE DARKEST EVENING OF THE YEAR by Dean Koontz and T IS FOR TRESPASS by Sue Grafton
. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on December 14th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on December 14th.

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
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Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by November 30, 2007 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: DOUBLE CROSS by James Patterson, EVERLASTING by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, GENTLEMEN OF THE ROAD: A Tale of Adventure by Michael Chabon, THE HEIR by Barbara Taylor Bradford and STONE COLD by David Baldacci. J
essica from Brooklyn, NY was last month's newsletter winner. She won BOOK OF THE DEAD by Patricia Cornwell, EXIT GHOST by Philip Roth, NOW AND THEN: A Spenser Novel by Robert B. Parker, PANDORA'S DAUGHTER by Iris Johansen and PROTECT AND DEFEND by Vince Flynn.

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

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