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July 2, 2009 Newsletter July 2, 2009
Have a Firecracker Fourth!
For something new and different, it’s raining. Imagine that. I slept through the thunder last night. I think it’s become like living in a house near the train track. At some point you just do not hear the train anymore.

As I mentioned last week, this is a short work week for us as we are taking tomorrow off, which is why this newsletter is arriving a day early. No, it’s not Friday yet! Thanks to our intrepid team of Tom, Marisa, Alex and Vicky, the update will be just as robust as usual. They just worked at double warp speed to make that happen, which I thank them for.

My older son wrote a blog piece for with his thoughts on required summer reading for school, which you can read here. As many of you know, I am not a fan of most required summer reading lists as I think they are not inspiring. But then I am the mother of two readers, so there is no cattle prodding going on to get them reading. This week Greg read four books --- MUDBOUND by Hillary Jordan,
TRUST NO ONE by Gregg Hurwitz (he saw Gregg with me last week), AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM by Wade Rouse, and Jonathan Tropper’s upcoming THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU --- and now he is reading A RELIABLE WIFE by Robert Goolrick. He will give me an idea of what he wants --- a thriller, something funny, something literary --- and from there I browse my shelves looking for the perfect book. I love my role as his book concierge.

I have found that many college students are very out of the loop on what to read once school gets out. I have talked to some of Greg’s friends, and it’s interesting how much they have missed what has been recently published. I mention books and get blank faces. It makes me think that next April/May I want to do a list of what we think they might want to read over the summer to get caught up. I remember sneaking in novels in between course work when I was at school and being really excited when summer came so I could just do pleasure reading. On it definitely would be THE MIDDLE PLACE by Kelly Corrigan. Kelly was the speaker on Monday at Women’s Media Group, and though I had met her a few times before and seen her video on YouTube, her talk reminded me why this book is so special. It’s from the heart.

Oh, and for Greg’s feedback.
MUDBOUND had an important message delivered powerfully, TRUST NO ONE was both full of surprises and gripping, AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM was funny, even funnier than Rouse’s CONFESSIONS OF A PREP SCHOOL MOMMY HANDLER, Tropper was both hilarious and thought-provoking, and he’s loving the way the story is unfolding with A RELIABLE WIFE.

This week we are launching a new spotlight feature for historical fiction author Jeanne Kalogridis. In her new book, THE DEVIL’S QUEEN, Kalogridis weaves a tale about one of the most reviled monarchs in history --- Catherine de Medici. We have 10 copies 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 10th. THE DEVIL’S QUEEN will be in stores on July 21st.

We also bring you advance readers’ comments for George Rabasa (THE WONDER SINGER) and Heather Barbieri (THE LACE MAKERS OF GLENMARA). Click on the authors' names to see what our readers had to say about these books. While there is no Beach Bag of Books contest this week, we encourage you to take a look at the feature and check out all of this year's featured titles. As we know many people will be traveling this weekend, we will start a new contest next Friday the 10th.

On our website we have posted a survey for teens that will be running until August 31st. We ask teens about their book reading, browsing, buying and borrowing habits, as well as their thoughts about eBooks, other media --- and entertainment. If you have a teen in your house who likes to read, or know a teen reader, may we ask that you share this link with them? As an incentive to anyone who completes the survey, we will be giving away 775 books in a random drawing. We will be posting a survey for kids 6-12 in the next two weeks. readers will be surveyed in the fall.

I have this desktop weather forecaster, and it has a big sun on Saturday and Sunday, which is amusing and I hope true. Last month was so much darker than usual that it was like someone had not turned on the lights brightly enough.

Next week I start a marathon group of conferences that will once again get me from sea to shining sea. I kick off with ThrillerFest, the International Thriller Writers Conference in New York on Wednesday through Friday and then fly to Chicago Friday afternoon for the American Library Association Convention. Then it’s on to the Romance Writers of America Conference in Washington, DC and then Comic-Con in San Diego. Thus this weekend for me is going to be a reading weekend as I catch up on the authors I am going to see. I am looking forward to THE NEIGHBOR by Lisa Gardner, A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS by R.J. Ellroy (September 3rd), TWENTIES GIRL by Sophie Kinsella (July 21st), FEAR THE WORST by Linwood Barclay (August 11th), SMASHER by Keith Raffel (October 1st) and GOING AWAY SHOES by Jill McCorkle (September 22nd), among others.

Have a firecracker 4th. I see the sun…going to run to the hammock before it disappears.

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Carol Fitzgerald (

Click here to take part in the 2009 Reader Survey. Talks to Ridley Pearson, Author of KILLER SUMMER
Ridley Pearson is the author of over 20 novels for both adults and young readers, including THE DIARY OF ELLEN RIMBAUER, PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS (co-written with Dave Barry), KILLER VIEW and KILLER WEEKEND. In this interview with's L. Dean Murphy, Pearson discusses what prompted him to write his latest, KILLER SUMMER, as a heist novel, and describes the real-life inspirations behind the book's setting and characters. He also gives insight into his writing process, professes his love for villainous characters, and explains how he got started writing children's books.

KILLER SUMMER by Ridley Pearson (Thriller)
Sun Valley, Idaho --- playground of the wealthy and politically connected --- is home to an annual wine auction that attracts high rollers from across the country, and Blaine County Sheriff Walt Fleming is the one who must ensure it goes off without a hitch. But when a passing truck catches his eye, his suspicions throw him headlong into the discovery of a complicated plan to steal the rare wine. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

-Click here to read a review of KILLER SUMMER.

Click here to read our interview with Ridley Pearson. Talks to Henry Perez, Author of KILLING RED
Henry Perez is a former television producer and journalist who recently published his debut novel, KILLING RED, a suspense thriller about a serial murderer on death row whose crimes are being replicated by a copycat killer. In this interview with's Joe Hartlaub, Perez compares and contrasts himself to his reporter protagonist, Alex Chapa, and discusses his and other characters' evolutions throughout the course of the story. He also describes his favorite aspect of the writing process, shares his thoughts on the current state of print media, and reveals what readers can look forward to in his follow-up novel, MOURN THE LIVING.

KILLING RED by Henry Perez (Thriller)
On death row, serial killer Kenneth Lee Grubb has six days to live, and his last request is an interview with reporter Alex Chapa. What begins as a dream story soon turns into a nightmare for Alex. For amidst Grubb’s taunts and boasts lies the horrific claim that someone is carefully repeating his past crimes. When nine people suddenly turn up dead, Alex realizes Grubb is telling the truth. Now the copycat killer is ready to pay his ultimate tribute to his idol. He has set his sights on Annie “Red” Sykes, the only survivor of his bloodlust 15 years ago. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of KILLING RED.
-Click here to read an excerpt from KILLING RED.

Click here to read our interview with Henry Perez. Talks to Dorothy Howell, Author of HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE
With over 20 historical romances under her belt, Dorothy Howell's most recent novel HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE --- now in paperback --- marks her first attempt at writing a mystery. In this interview with's Amie Taylor, Howell explains why she chose to try her hand at this new genre and describes what inspired the book's quirky plot and main character. She also confesses to a weakness for shopping --- one accessory in particular --- lists some of the many career hats she wore before turning to writing full time, and hints at what's in store for protagonist Haley Randolph in the next installment of the series.

HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE: A Haley Randolph Mystery by Dorothy Howell (Mystery)
The only reason a twenty-something gal like Haley Randolph would ever work at a mid-class department store like Holt's is for the extra cash required to support her serious designer handbag habit. Unfortunately, when Haley becomes the prime suspect in her miserly manager's murder, her part-time job turns into a full-time headache. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

-Click here to read a review of HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE.

Click here to read our interview with Dorothy Howell.

Author Talk: Katherine Howe, Author of THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE
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Katherine Howe's debut, THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE, follows two intertwined narratives --- one of a Harvard graduate student in 1991, and the other of a woman caught in the middle of the infamous Salem Witch Trials three centuries previous. In this interview, Howe describes her personal connection to this historical event, and discusses her interest in portraying it accurately as opposed to its more common "fairy tale version." She also explains what drew her to the real-life titular figure, and speculates why people have always been fascinated with this period in American history.

A name written on a tiny piece of paper leads Connie Goodwin, a Harvard graduate student, on a quest that uncovers evidence of a long-lost book. Written in the late 1600s, it seems to point to witchcraft. Now, in 1991, someone other than Connie is intent on finding the book and will stop at nothing to possess it. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

-Click here to read a review of
Click here to read an interview with Katherine Howe.

Our Summer Beach Bag Feature: Great Books for a Holiday Weekend
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 Fifth Annual Beach Bag of Books feature and contests.

During select weeks from May 22nd through September 4th, a different title or collection of titles will be featured with a contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with the featured book(s) and summertime essentials. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the featured book(s) to additional winners.

Although there is no contest this week, please be sure to visit our
Beach Bag of Books page to see all of this summer's featured titles.

Next week we will be spotlighting a collection of books from Vanguard Press, including
THE COMPASS by Tammy Kling and John Spencer Ellis, DIAMONDHEAD by Patrick Robinson, DOMESTIC AFFAIRS by Eileen Goudge and THE SHIMMER by David Morrell. Also, please be sure to check back to see the winners of our most recent contest for MERCURY IN RETROGRADE by Paula Froelich.

This year our featured titles include:

-CHOSEN TO DIE by Lisa Jackson
-THE COMPASS by Tammy Kling and John Spencer Ellis
-THE CONDITION by Jennifer Haigh
-DIAMONDHEAD by Patrick Robinson
-DO DEAD PEOPLE WALK THEIR DOGS?: Questions You'd Ask a Medium If You Had the Chance by Concetta Bertoldi
-DOMESTIC AFFAIRS by Eileen Goudge
-DRIFTWOOD SUMMER by Patti Callahan Henry
-THE EX-MRS. HEDGEFUND by Jill Kargman
-LOOSE GIRL: A Memoir of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen
-THE RICHEST SEASON by Maryann McFadden
-THE SEAMSTRESS by Frances de Pontes Peebles
-THE SHIMMER by David Morrell
-SUMMER BLOWOUT by Claire Cook
-SUMMER HOUSE by Nancy Thayer
-THE UNIT by Ninni Holmqvist

Click here to visit our Beach Bag of Books feature.

New Featured Historical Fiction Author: Jeanne Kalogridis, Author of THE DEVIL'S QUEEN
Jeanne Kalogridis is the author of many critically acclaimed titles, including THE BORGIA BRIDE and I, MONA LISA. In her new historical fiction book, THE DEVIL’S QUEEN: A Novel of Catherine de Medici, Kalogridis crafts an intriguing tale about one of the most infamous queens in history. THE DEVIL’S QUEEN will be available in stores on July 21st.

We have 10 advance copies of THE DEVIL’S QUEEN 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 10th.

-Click here to read Jeanne Kalogridis’s bio.
-Visit Jeanne Kalogridis’s official website,

From Jeanne Kalogridis, the bestselling author of I, MONA LISA and THE BORGIA BRIDE, comes a new novel that tells the passionate story of a queen who loved not wisely...but all too well.

Confidante of Nostradamus, scheming mother-in-law to Mary, Queen of Scots, and architect of the bloody St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, Catherine de Medici is one of the most maligned monarchs in history. In her latest historical fiction, Jeanne Kalogridis tells Catherine’s story --- that of a tender young girl, destined to be a pawn in Machiavellian games.

Click here to read more about Jeanne Kalogridis and THE DEVIL'S QUEEN.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Karin Slaughter, Author of UNDONE

Karin Slaughter is the New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including BEYOND REACH and A FAINT COLD FEAR, which was named an International Book of the Month selection. In UNDONE, her new thriller releasing on July 14th, Slaughter weaves together the moving, powerful human stories of characters as real as they are complex and unforgettable.

-Click here to read an excerpt from UNDONE.
-Click here to read Karin Slaughter’s bio.
-Click here to see Karin Slaughter's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for UNDONE.
-Visit Karin Slaughter’s official website,

*Check back next week to see our advance copy winners.

More about UNDONE:
In the trauma center of Atlanta’s busiest hospital, Sara Linton treats the poor, wounded and unlucky --- and finds refuge from the tragedy that rocked her life in rural Grant County. But in an instant, Sara is thrust into a frantic police investigation that will take her right back to Grant County. In UNDONE, three unforgettable characters from Karin Slaughter’s bestselling novels FAITHLESS and FRACTURED collide for the first time, entering an electrifying race against the clock.


Click here to read more about Karin Slaughter and UNDONE.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: David Morrell, Author of THE SHIMMER
Creator of Rambo and cofounder of the International Thriller Writers Organization, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author David Morrell has been called “the father of the modern action novel.” In THE SHIMMER, his new novel releasing on July 7th, a police officer’s search for his missing wife leads him to a small Texas town that is the site of a mysterious --- and possibly deadly --- phenomenon.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from THE SHIMMER.
-Click here to read David Morrell’s bio.
-Click here to see David Morrell's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE SHIMMER.
-Visit David Morrell’s official website,
-Visit the official book website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about THE SHIMMER:
In New York Times bestselling author David Morrell’s new novel, THE SHIMMER, bizarre phenomena draw hundreds of people to a remote Texas town, including a Santa Fe police officer and his wife who find themselves plunged into violence and bloodshed that quickly spiral out of control. But has the military known about --- and exploited --- these inexplicable phenomena for decades, thus unleashing forces they may not be able to control?


Click here to read more about David Morrell and THE SHIMMER.

Featured Women's Fiction Author: Mary Kay Andrews, Author of THE FIXER UPPER
Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of many acclaimed books, including DEEP DISH and SAVANNAH BREEZE. In THE FIXER UPPER, which is now availble in stores, Andrews offers a hilarious novel about one woman's quest to redo an old house...and her life.

-Click here to read a review of THE FIXER UPPER.
-Click here to read a third excerpt from THE FIXER UPPER.
-Click here to read our interview with Mary Kay Andrews.
-Click here to read Mary Kay Andrews’s bio.
-Click here to see Mary Kay Andrews's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE FIXER UPPER.
-Visit Mary Kay Andrews’s official website,
-Click here to watch a video in which Mary Kay Andrews discusses THE FIXER UPPER.
-Click here to read Mary Kay Andrews's blog.
-Become of fan of Mary Kay Andrews on Facebook here.
-Follow Mary Kay Andrews on Twitter here.
-Click here to see our finished copy winners.

After her boss in a Washington PR firm is caught in a scandal, lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left broke, unemployed and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father's offer to help refurbish Birdsong, a dilapidated, Pepto Bismol–pink Victorian house he recently inherited in Guthrie, Georgia. The delightful New York Times bestselling author returns with a hilarious novel about one woman's quest to redo an old house...and her life.

Click here to read more about Mary Kay Andrews and THE FIXER UPPER.

Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Tana French, Author of THE LIKENESS, Now Available in Paperback

In her award-winning debut novel, IN THE WOODS, Tana French demonstrated that she has an uncanny ability to draw disparate elements from her characters' past into the present. THE LIKENESS, which is now available in paperback, continues this theme, though in a totally different manner. With her richly nuanced characters and deep psychological insight, Tana French explores themes of self-invention, deception and the ways truth can emerge from even the most convincing disguises.

-Click here to read a review of THE LIKENESS.
-Click here to read a second excerpt from THE LIKENESS.
-Click here to read Tana French’s bio.
-Click here to see Tana French's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE LIKENESS.
-Visit Tana French's official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about THE LIKENESS:
Six months after the events of IN THE WOODS, Detective Cassie Maddox is still trying to recover. She’s transferred out of the Murder squad and started a relationship with Detective Sam O’Neill, but she’s too badly shaken to make any commitment either to him or to her career. Then Sam calls her to the scene of his new case: a young woman found stabbed to death in a small town outside Dublin.

The dead girl’s ID says her name is Lexie Madison --- the identity Cassie used, years ago, as an undercover detective. And she looks exactly like Cassie.


Click here to read more about Tana French and THE LIKENESS.

Books into Movies/Books into Movies on DVD for July

The summer blockbuster season is already in full swing, and July's Books into Movies feature boasts some of the most anticipated, buzzworthy films of the year, starting with the July 1st release of Public Enemies, directed by Michael Mann and starring Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard. This 1930s gangster flick chronicling the rise and fall of John Dillinger and the Chicago crime scene should not be missed by history buffs, action/thriller junkies, crime lovers...and maybe even those in search of a little eye candy!

Sure to win over younger viewers with its charm, slapstick humor and quirky teen antics is I Love You, Beth Cooper, based on the award-winning YA novel by Larry Doyle. This teen romantic comedy will give hope to nerds everywhere, as a geeky valedictorian professes his affections for the most popular girl in school in the middle of his graduation speech. Much to his surprise, she doesn't turn him down.

And in case you hadn't already marked your calendars and begun your countdown, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hits the big screen on July 15th. The sixth installment of the epic good-vs.-evil saga promises plenty of magic, mystery, heart-pounding adventure and hair-raising suspense, not to mention some long-sought answers to dark secrets, raging teenage hormones and a jaw-dropping, gasp-worthy ending.

This month's DVD releases include Coraline, a delightfully creepy animated film à la The Nightmare Before Christmas fit for the whole family, and Watchmen, the big-screen, live-action adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's groundbreaking graphic novel about a band of retired superheroes attempting to uncover a plot against them in an alternate 1985.


Click here to read more details about July's films.

Available in Paperback on July 7th: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS
July 7th marks the paperback release of the final Harry Potter adventure!

It all comes down to this --- a final face off between good and evil. You plan to pull out all the stops, but every time you solve one mystery, three more evolve. Do you stay the course you started, despite your lack of progress? Do you detour and follow a new lead that may not help? Do you listen to your instincts, or your friends?

Lord Voldemort is preparing for battle and so must Harry. With Ron and Hermione at his side, he's trying to hunt down Voldemort's Horcruxes, escape danger at every turn, and find a way to defeat evil once and for all. How does it all end?


-Click here to read a review of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS.
-Click here to visit Harry Central on


This Week's Reviews
RELENTLESS by Dean Koontz (Thriller)
Dean Koontz’s new thriller explores the razor-thin line between the best and worst of human nature --- and the anarchy simmering just beneath society’s surface --- as a likable, successful family man is drawn into a confrontation with a foe of unimaginable malice. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

-Click here to read an excerpt from RELENTLESS.

RETURN TO SULLIVANS ISLAND by Dorothea Benton Frank (Fiction)
The next generation of Hamiltons and Hayes may well have its beginning with the return of Beth Hayes to the family homestead on Sullivans Island. The family has recruited her to housesit the Island Gamble for a year while her elders are off “doing their own thing.” Will she be able to overcome her resentments and live up to her family’s expectations? Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

When author Kendall Aims loses everything in one fell swoop, her author friends step in to assist her by secretly collaborating on the book Kendall must write but can't. What follows is an intriguing plot with lots of twists and turns, a rumination on friendship, and a fascinating peek into the publishing business. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

SATCHEL: The Life and Times of an American Legend by Larry Tye (Biography)
Few reliable records or news reports survive about players in the Negro Leagues. Through dogged detective work, Larry Tye has tracked down the truth about Leroy “Satchel” Paige, interviewing more than 200 Negro Leaguers and Major Leaguers, talking to family and friends who had never told their stories before, and retracing Paige’s steps across the continent. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

FAKE I.D. by Jason Starr (Thriller)
A New York bar bouncer with dreams of being more, Tommy Russo jumps at the chance to join a horse-owning syndicate. But to do so he’ll have to pony up $10,000 --- and that’s money he doesn’t have. So what’s an ambitious young man to do? Anything he has to... Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

DOWN AROUND MIDNIGHT: A Memoir of Crash and Survival by Robert Sabbag (Memoir)
What would it be like to experience a plane crash as a passenger? It's a terrifying scenario that we've all thought about at one time or another. In DOWN AROUND MIDNIGHT, Robert Sabbag writes about his own harrowing experience. Thirty years after the event, he tells about the crash and its aftermath on his own life and the lives of other passengers. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

NEWTON AND THE COUNTERFEITER: The Unknown Detective Career of the World’s Greatest Scientist by Thomas Levenson (History/Biography)
What most people know about Isaac Newton starts --- and usually ends --- with an apple falling from a tree. That led eventually to Newton’s theory of gravity and to his famous “laws of motion,” the invention of calculus and discoveries about the behavior of light. Much less known is his role in reforming the coinage of money in England and his pursuit of counterfeiters. MIT science professor Thomas Levenson focuses on one such case --- a long-running battle of wits between Newton and a master counterfeiter named William Chaloner. Reviewed by Robert Finn.

Read this week's reviews here.

Poll, Question and Word of Mouth


Do you consider yourself to be a fast reader?

Very fast
Moderately fast
Very slow

-Click here to answer our poll.


What is a recent book that you just zipped through reading?

-Click here to answer our question.

Word of Mouth:

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 THE DOOMSDAY KEY by James Rollins, FINGER LICKIN’ FIFTEEN by Janet Evanovich and KILLER SUMMER by Ridley Pearson. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on July 10th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

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 July 31, 2009 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE BEST OF TIMES by Penny Vincenzi, BLACK HILLS by Nora Roberts, THE DEFECTOR by Daniel Silva, LABOR DAY by Joyce Maynard and TWENTIES GIRL by Sophie Kinsella. Raina from Gardner, NY was last month's newsletter winner. She won THE ANGEL’S GAME by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, THE BOURNE DECEPTION by Eric Van Lustbader, THE FIXER UPPER by Mary Kay Andrews, KILLER SUMMER by Ridley Pearson and THE STRAIN by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.

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

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