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June 27, 2008 Newsletter

June 27, 2008

This Week on

Commencing...Then On The Road Again.... 

Now in Stores: WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES by David Sedaris

Now in Stores: HIT AND RUN by Lawrence Block

Our Summer Beach Bag Contest: Spotlight This Week on QUEEN OF BABBLE GETS HITCHED by Meg Cabot

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Brandon Massey, Author of DON'T EVER TELL

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Christopher Reich, Author of RULES OF DECEPTION

Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Tana French, Author of IN THE WOODS

New in Paperback for June

This Week's Graphic Novel Reviews

Now Available in Paperback: AWAY by Amy Bloom
Now in Stores: HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE by Dorothy Howell's Beach Bag of Books Contest

This Week's Reviews

Poll and Question of the Week: Vacation Reading

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- THREE 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

Commencing...Then On The Road Again.... 

My son graduated from high school! It was a wonderfully crazy 48 hours of celebrating with lots of jokes and surprisingly no tears from sentimental me. Perhaps that came from the joyous concept that there will be no alarms, homework or endless rushing around in the AM for a blessed 2 1/2 months. I woke Greg up on the last day of graduation practice (there were three days of this) and confess I did get a bit misty-eyed realizing this is the last time I would be doing reveille for him. May he please have a college schedule with late classes or may he have roommates who make lots and lots of noise. He already has demonstrated that he can sleep through the alarm.

We have family and friends all over the country, so I was trying to think how to make them a part of this event. My friend Cathy purchased a terrific steamer trunk with a White Star Line logo/ship on it a few months ago, and last week I got a brainstorm and wrote our friends asking them to contribute good wishes to Greg in the form of notes and special memories. It was great fun to print these on parchment paper, tie them with raffia and pack them into the trunk. As Greg unwrapped and read each one, it was like our friends were there --- and there were some amazingly fun memories (many of which I had forgotten) to mull over. We are going to compile all the graduation paraphernalia --- and these messages --- into a book. By the way, Greg, who is never at a loss for wit, said that he found it rather amusing that he graduated with a piece of cardboard on his head and in a gown that resembled a shower curtain, which could not be ironed lest it melt. Trust that after hearing him say this you never will look at a cap and gown the same way again.

During the ceremony the graduates managed to inflate beach balls and balloons and toss them among themselves. Those of us in the stands were endlessly impressed with the length of these volleys before the administration and teachers caught them and hoarded them away. What was amusing was that about three minutes later another ball would materialize and it would start all over again. Good fun! Both the superintendent and the principal quoted from THE LAST LECTURE by Randy Pausch during their speeches, which was interesting. What was more interesting was that neither had read the other's speech. Coming second was not a fun thing, but it was nice to see the book getting attention like that at the ceremony. And yes, I am sure this is not the only school where that happened!
As I write this I again am sitting in Newark Airport waiting for a flight. This time I am headed to Anaheim for the American Library Association Conference & Exhibition. I am looking forward to this weekend since I have found that librarians I meet at this convention are some of the most bookishly smart people I know. Seriously. I think I am well read and then I ride the convention bus to an event and I realize that, while I might have grasped the plot of a book or a twist in the tale, these people see every nuance. I have thought books were good until they dissected them and I realize what was lacking. I like a book and then they let me know why I should LOVE it. I will be taking notes so fast my head will spin. Then on the convention floor I not only will see books, but also library furniture. Trust stroll around the floor and the tables and chairs at your local library will be scruntized in great detail the next time you are there.
My husband and sons are sailing to Martha's Vineyard this weekend...on a 32' sailboat. Somehow this annual sailing trip never sounds like vacation to me, so I wave them bon voyage each year and then suppress humming the "Gilligan's Island" theme song as I walk away! The QE2 is my idea of sailing. I also hope that none of them have packed THE PERFECT STORM for light reading on the trip. My younger son will pack lots of books for this trip. He has a favorite reading spot on the boat and usually hunkers down there for most of the sail. I have nicknamed him "the book monster" who has a book habit that requires some pretty hefty feeding. Last week he read a book that he was really crazy about called THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins. It's coming out in October. I read it on the way back from L.A. last month, and I can see this one being a huge success. He was on the phone with a friend describing it the other day as "a cross between THE QUILLAN GAMES in Pendragon and HATCHET." Really fun to hear him this enthused!
Speaking of vacation reading, our beach bag book this week is QUEEN OF BABBLE GETS HITCHED by Meg Cabot. It's the third in her Queen of Babble series and once again packs a fashiony punch as she takes on a subject that is just ripe for laughs --- weddings. To marry or not to marry, to marry and where to marry, to... well you get it. It's a romp of a tale. Our beach bag includes pink DuWop Original Lip Venom Tingly Lip Gloss (I love the name), a red pool float and a pink martini shaker. Read on below for more about the book and how to enter.
We are launching a new Suspense/Thriller feature for Brandon Massey, whose new thriller, DON’T EVER TELL, will be available on July 1st. In this new thriller, a ruthless murderer will do anything to get back what belongs to him. We have 10 copies of DON’T EVER TELL 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, July 4th.

We received fantastic responses from our advance readers for THE HOUSE AT MIDNIGHT by Lucie Whitehouse, which you can read here. Our readers also loved MERCY STREET by Mariah Stewart. You may read their responses here.
For all of our paperback lovers we have our New in Paperback feature for June, which includes THE SECRET SERVANT by Daniel Silva , SPOOK COUNTRY by William Gibson, AWAY by Amy Bloom, THUNDER BAY by William Kent Krueger and THE REST OF HER LIFE by Laura Moriarty among our 56 selections. John Hogan brings us reviews of a graphic novel, BURNOUT, and two manga titles that I just loved --- WITH THE LIGHT: Raising an Autistic Child, Volumes 1 and 2. I had never read manga before I picked up the first book in this series, but I concur with John that it was much easier reading this format than I thought it would be.
Okay, the flight is being called, so it's time to power down. A few weeks ago someone asked what all this travel means. I said...soon to be Silver Elite status on Continental. The way I see it, the way I pack I need Silver Elite or I am going to be paying some hefty second bag charges. Thus I am earning my free bag by flying a lot since Silver Elite travelers can bring extra bags for free. I know, it really makes no sense, but I am so sleep-deprived these days that traveling to California really means the chance to sleep on the plane. While I wish there was Internet on board, there is something nice about reading or knitting without having my usual Pavlovian response to the email bell. And yes, I do plan to see the ocean this trip. You know, from sea to shining sea....again. The logo for this convention even sports a surfboard, which I find amusing considering we actually are at Disneyland. Note I have not mentioned Disneyland until now. Let's be kind and say this girl will not be sporting mouse ears or hitting Space Mountain if she has anything to do with it!
Have a great week...get some books in the house for the long weekend next weekend.

Carol Fitzgerald (


Now in Stores: WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES by David Sedaris

WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES by David Sedaris (Nonfiction/Essays)
David Sedaris’s sixth book of essays speaks of his coming out to a truck driver and his wife, having a flock of birds furiously peck at his windows, discovering a “boil” in a very inconvenient location, and buying his boyfriend a skeleton that is then hung from the bedroom ceiling. WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES is a must read for anyone who has come to love this talented essayist. Reviewed by Shannon Luders-Manuel.

-Click here to read an excerpt from WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES.

Click here to read a review of WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES.


Now in Stores: HIT AND RUN by Lawrence Block

HIT AND RUN by Lawrence Block (Mystery)
Bestselling author Lawrence Block --- who has been named a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America and is a four-time winner of the prestigious Edgar and Shamus awards --- brings back his nice guy hit man, John Paul Keller, in HIT AND RUN. What happens to Keller when he is framed for the assassination of a presidential candidate? Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

-Click here to read an excerpt from HIT AND RUN.


Click here to read a review of HIT AND RUN.


Our Summer Beach Bag Contest: Spotlight This Week on QUEEN OF BABBLE GETS HITCHED by Meg Cabot

Whether your "beach" is on sand, your backyard deck or a grassy meadow in the country, the summer months mean it's time for "beach reading." is celebrating the lazy days of summer reading with our Fourth Annual " Beach Bag of Books."

Every week from May 16th through August 29th, a different title or collection of titles will be featured with a review and contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with the featured book(s), plus summertime essentials that tie in to the weekly theme. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the featured book(s) to additional winners.

This week we’re spotlighting QUEEN OF BABBLE GETS HITCHED by Meg Cabot, a charming story about a young woman preparing for her dream wedding --- until a few problems get in the way. In a pink bag with a floral design, winners will find a pink and orange striped towel, a red pool float, a box of Tazo Passion Tea, a pink and green picture frame, a pink martini shaker, fashionable pink scissors, a bottle of pink DuWop Original Lip Venom Tingly Lip Gloss, a copy of OK Magazine and a pack of Orbit gum, as well as a copy of QUEEN OF BABBLE GETS HITCHED. We have five to give away, as well as five additional prizes of copies of QUEEN OF BABBLE GETS HITCHED.

To enter, fill out this form and answer the following question by Thursday, July 3rd at 11:59PM. You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

According to Lizzie, what does Luke plan on doing for a living?

by Meg Cabot
Can wedding gown designer and rehabber Lizzie Nichols find her own happy ending? As the third book of this frothily entertaining series begins, it appears that her happy ending has already begun. Then, as Lizzie's life unravels bit by bit, we find out what happens when bad things happen to good chatterboxes. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.


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

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Brandon Massey, Author of DON'T EVER TELL
In 2000, Brandon Massey won the Black Writers Alliance’s Gold Pen Award for Best Thriller for his first book, THUNDERLAND. He has since published nine more suspense novels and short story collections. In DON’T EVER TELL, his newest thriller releasing on July 1st, a woman’s dark secrets have a way of coming back with a vengeance.

We have 10 copies of DON’T EVER TELL 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, July 4th.

-Click here to read Brandon Massey’s bio.
-Visit the author’s official website,

More about DON’T EVER TELL:
With a new identity, a new city to live in and a wonderful new husband, Rachel Moore believes she's finally free of the demons in her past. But nothing could be farther from the truth. For the deadly secrets she thought were long buried are now on the brink of being exposed...


Click here to read more about Brandon Massey and DON'T EVER TELL.


Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Christopher Reich, Author of RULES OF DECEPTION

Christopher Reich is the New York Times bestselling author of NUMBERED ACCOUNT and THE PATRIOTS CLUB, the latter of which won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel in 2006. In RULES OF DECEPTION, his new thriller releasing on July 15th, a man finds himself the subject of an international manhunt and the target of a master assassin after his wife's death.

-Click here to read an excerpt from RULES OF DECEPTION.
-Click here to read fast facts about Christopher Reich.
-Click here to read Christopher Reich’s bio.
-Visit the author’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

Dr. Jonathan Ransom, world-class mountaineer and surgeon for Doctors Without Borders, is climbing in the Swiss Alps with his wife, Emma, when a blizzard sets in. In their bid to escape the storm, Emma is killed when she falls into a hidden crevasse.

Twenty-four hours later, Jonathan receives an envelope addressed to his wife containing two baggage-claim tickets. So begins a journey that will draw him deeper into a world of spies, high-tech weaponry and global terrorism --- a world where no one is who they appear to be and where the end always justifies the means.


Click here to read more about Christopher Reich and RULES OF DECEPTION.

Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Tana French, Author of IN THE WOODS

Released in hardcover in 2007, IN THE WOODS --- Tana French’s critically acclaimed debut novel --- won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Now available in paperback and a New York Times bestseller, IN THE WOODS is a compelling psychological mystery. When the body of a young girl is found murdered, detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox find chilling links to a disappearance decades earlier.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from IN THE WOODS.
-Click here to read Tana French’s bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for IN THE WOODS.
-Visit the author’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about IN THE WOODS:
In the mid-1980s, a terrible tragedy befell a small suburb of Dublin. Two children mysteriously vanished in the woods while a third was found terrified and with no recollection of what happened.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Cassie Maddox --- his partner and closest friend --- find themselves investigating a case with chilling links to that long-ago disappearance.


Click here to read more about Tana French and IN THE WOODS.


New in Paperback for June

June’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE SECRET SERVANT, Daniel Silva's seventh international thriller to feature art restorer and Israeli intelligence agent Gabriel Allon; LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN by Janet Evanovich, in which bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is wanted for questioning in the disappearance of her philandering ex-husband; James Lee Burke’s THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN, a Dave Robicheaux novel that takes place in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina; THE REST OF HER LIFE, Laura Moriarty’s fictional exploration of how mothers and daughters with the best intentions can be blind to the harm they do to one another; NORTH RIVER, a love story from Pete Hamill set in the Depression-ravished and war-haunted streets of lower Manhattan in the 1930s; SPOOK COUNTRY, William Gibson’s unique and thought-provoking look at America in the age of “the war on terror”; and FROM BAGHDAD, WITH LOVE, the inspiring true story of an unlikely band of heroes, led by a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marines, who come together in war-torn Iraq to rescue a stray puppy.

Click here to see our New in Paperback feature for June.


This Week's Graphic Novel Reviews

BURNOUT written by Rebecca Donner and illustrated by Inaki Miranda
A young girl moves with her mother from a big city to a small town in Oregon, where she learns just how far she will go for attention. Love is never simple for adults, and it’s even more complicated for troubled teens who want to do the right thing…no matter how dangerous it is. Reviewed by John Hogan.

WITH THE LIGHT: Raising an Autistic Child, Volumes 1 and 2 written and illustrated by Keiko Tobe
In two volumes, author Keiko Tobe explores the mysteries and heartbreak of autism, from the viewpoint of a young mother and her husband, both of whom struggle to understand their newborn son. As the years progress and their son grows, they continue to face new challenges, as well as celebrate new triumphs. Reviewed by John Hogan.

Now Available in Paperback: AWAY by Amy Bloom

AWAY by Amy Bloom (Fiction)
Panoramic in scope, AWAY is the epic and intimate story of young Lillian Leyb, a dangerous innocent, an accidental heroine. When her family is destroyed in a Russian pogrom, Lillian comes to America alone, determined to make her way in a new land. When word comes that her daughter, Sophie, might still be alive, Lillian embarks on a heartbreaking, romantic and dangerous odyssey to find her.

-Click here to read a review of AWAY.


Click here to read more about AWAY.

Now in Stores: HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE by Dorothy Howell
HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE: A Haley Randolph Mystery by Dorothy Howell (Mystery)
Haley Randolph would kill for the newest designer handbag --- apparently she’s not the only one…

When she discovers her boss is the ultimate fashion victim (he’s stone-cold dead), Haley Randolph goes shopping for a killer whose designer purse passion leads to murder --- and to clear her name.

“Dorothy Howell is one funny lady. I laughed out loud as I followed Haley’s adventures tracking down both a killer and a Louis Vuitton organizer in this fast-paced, fun-filled page turner. I recommend it highly.”
    --- Laura Levine, author of KILLING BRIDEZILLA

Click here to read more about Haley's Handbags!'s Beach Bag of Books Contest
It's time to think about Summer Reading --- and we’re not talking about the list of books you may have received for Required Summer Reading from school. What we’re talking about are the kinds of books that you’re glad you now have time to kick back with and enjoy. The way we see it, it wouldn't be summer without sun, surf and great reading. You supply the beach chair and the sunblock, and we'll provide the fantastic fiction in our Second Annual Beach Bag of Books Contest.

From June 23rd thru July 31st you can enter to win a " Beach Bag of Books." Five winners each will receive a beach bag stocked with the coolest summer goodies, along with 10 books --- THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX by Mary E. Pearson, BLACK RABBIT SUMMER by Kevin Brooks, GENERATION DEAD by Daniel Waters, HOW TO BE BAD by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski and Lauren Myracle, RUMORS: A Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen, SAVVY GIRL by Lynn Messina, SUNRISE OVER FALLUJAH by Walter Dean Myers, THAT’S WHAT’S UP!: A Del Rio Bay Clique Novel by Paula Chase, UNBELIEVABLE: Pretty Little Liars #4 by Sara Shepard and WHAT WAS LOST by Catherine O’Flynn.

Click here to read all the contest details.


This Week's Reviews

SAIL by James Patterson and Howard Roughan (Thriller)
Since the death of her husband, Katherine Dunne and her three children have struggled in every way. In a last-ditch effort to save the family, she plans an elaborate sailing vacation. Katherine manages to pull things together bit by bit, but just as they begin feeling like a family again, something catastrophic happens. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SAIL.

AMERICA AMERICA by Ethan Canin (Fiction)
Ethan Canin’s fourth novel, and his first since 2002, tells the compelling story of Henry Bonwiller, a revered political leader whose ambitions are thwarted by his moral failings. AMERICA AMERICA is a revealing cautionary tale about those we choose to lead us and the high price of a political life. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

THE LAST ORACLE by James Rollins (Thriller)
When a rogue group of world scientists mastermind a plot that tragically backfires --- a plan that will ultimately lead to the extinction of mankind --- it’s a race against the clock to solve a mystery that dates back to the most famous oracle of all time: the Greek Oracle at Delphi. Reviewed by Ray Palen.
DON’T TELL A SOUL by David Rosenfelt (Mystery)
DON’T TELL A SOUL represents a change for successful author David Rosenfelt from the courtroom mysteries of criminal defense attorney Andy Carpenter. His new novel is a Hitchcock-like saga of an innocent man evading both law enforcement and the wrongdoers who have framed him. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.
THE WAIT by Frank Turner Hollon (Fiction)
In this plain-spoken, honest novel, Frank Turner Hollon tells the story of James Early Winwood, from conception to death. Winwood chronicles his meager successes and mistakes, and considers all the usually unmentioned points that link them. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz.

THE GERMAN BRIDE by Joanna Hershon (Fiction)
A young German woman in the 1860s makes a life-changing decision after a tragic event. She marries a fellow German and moves with him to the American Wild West, where her life does not take the turn for the better that she had hoped. Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton.
SOMEBODY OWES ME MONEY by Donald E. Westlake (Mystery)
Cab driver Chet Conway finds his bookie lying dead on the living room floor. He knows he had nothing to do with it --- but try explaining that to the cops, to the two rival criminal gangs who each think Chet is working for the other, and to the dead man’s beautiful sister, who has flown in from Las Vegas to avenge her brother’s murder. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Read this week's reviews here.


Poll and Question of the Week: Vacation Reading


If you are going away for a week of vacation, how many books do you bring?

More than 10

-Click here to answer our poll.


What book are you most looking forward to reading this summer?

-Click here to answer our question.


Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- THREE Prizes

Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have three great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of FISHERMAN'S BEND: A Jane Bunker Novel by Linda Greenlaw, SOMEBODY ELSE'S DAUGHTER by Elizabeth Brundage and SWAN PEAK: A Dave Robicheaux Novel by James Lee Burke. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on July 11th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on July 11th.
Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


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Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by June 30, 2008 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE BROKEN WINDOW: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel by Jeffery Deaver, FEARLESS FOURTEEN: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich, THE MURDER NOTEBOOK by Jonathan Santlofer, NOTHING TO LOSE: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child and THIS CHARMING MAN by Marian Keyes. Alice from Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
was last month's newsletter winner. She won THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein, BLACK OUT by Lisa Unger, COMFORT FOOD by Kate Jacobs, KILLING ROMMEL by Steven Pressfield and ODD HOURS by Dean Koontz. /font>

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