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January 21, 2011 Newsletter January 21, 2011

Authors and Great Books to Beat the Doldrums

Just for the record, I am a tad bored with the colors white and gray that I see outside my window. I would prefer blue and green with streaming sunlight. Since that does not look like it’s going to happen any time soon, I am brightening my days with reading.

I had a wonderful multi-tasking experience last weekend as I rode the exercise bike and then hit the treadmill at the Y while reading Luanne Rice’s THE SILVER BOAT. Some people exercise for a set amount of time. I instead was selecting a set number of pages or chapters to read, and I have to say that working out was a lot more fun with a book. Amusingly, I hopped off the bike as soon as I hit the last page on Monday, thinking, "Okay, workout is done!" I enjoyed my time at the Y a lot more than usual, and I also felt like I accomplished more than one thing. Given my schedule this month, anytime I can do two things at once, I am thrilled.

I can see me downloading a book to my iPad to read much the same as folks download audiobooks to listen to when they exercise, since it’s easier to click a button on the iPad than it is to turn a page. Luckily I am not concerned about “gym coolness,” thus I was not stressing that I did not look super aggressive as I sat pedaling and walking with my book propped up or in hand! In our recent poll asking "Do you own an eReader?" we had more than 800 responses, with 92 of you indicating that you own iPads. In about two weeks, I have some questions that I specifically would like to ask iPad readers, so if you have an iPad, can you shoot me an email with the subject line “I have an iPad” if you have time to answer some questions?

Someone who will have a whole lot of great reading ahead of her is Tina from Winterset, Iowa, who was the BIG winner of a full collection of my 2010 Bets On picks. The set includes 13 of my favorite titles from last year, and all but two books are hardcover editions. Tina, hope you’re ready for some good reads! Thanks again for all who entered to win our Holiday Cheer Grand Prize; it was such a nice ending to a few weeks of daily contests.

I am writing today from Arlington, Virginia, where I am in town for the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute Conference. Part of the conference has sales reps from various publishers introducing their new books for spring to independent booksellers. It’s always interesting to see what the reps say about the books and also for me to hear the reactions of the booksellers at the tables. Heather Gudenkauf’s publisher shared her upcoming book, THESE THINGS HIDDEN, which is on my “to be read" stack. They cited that her last book, THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE, had been a Bets On selection, which was really nice. THESE THINGS HIDDEN will be featured on in February and will be a great book group pick.

I realized the bookseller sitting next to me, Karen Emmerling from Beach Books in Seaside, Oregon, has my same taste. I mentioned some of my upcoming picks with her, and she was suggesting books for me. Love moments like that! The aforementioned Heather was in town for this event, and it was nice to get to catch up with her last night. I also got to see Sarah Blake, whose book THE POSTMISTRESS will be out in paperback February 1st; we will also feature it on in February.

Over dinner I got to speak with Victoria Brown, whose book MINDING BEN (out April 12th) struck a chord with me. In it, Grace Caton leaves her small town in Trinidad to immigrate to New York to find a better life. She finds herself becoming a nanny for a wealthy family where the little boy she cares for is a delight and his parents are horrors. Victoria is from Trinidad, and when she arrived here, she did work as a nanny. In our house, my older son Greg had a wonderful nanny named Gillian for his first three years. Talking to Victoria brought back a lot of wonderful memories.

I got to meet Rachel Simon, who wrote THE STORY OF A BEAUTIFUL GIRL (out May 4th) that I am just crazy about. Many other authors whose work I look forward to sharing with you in the months to come were also around. There were more than 50 authors at the reception last night, and while I met them, I was trying to plot how to share these books with you in the months to come. Thus my suitcase is a lot heavier now than when I left home --- and I am very glad I drove down instead of taking the train since I do not want to schlep my VERY full suitcase too much.

Speaking of upcoming releases, we know that you like our Coming Soon feature, where we list books that we think you would want to be aware of. We currently have that list updated through April. Many of you have written us during the past few months asking if there was any regular posting of new titles coming out and those soon on the horizon. Each week we have our On Sale This Week blog post featuring a list of titles in stores that week, as well as our Coming Soon feature, but now we’re taking getting this news to you a step further. Besides listing titles in those ways, we’re going to be combining those two features into’s “On Sale This Week” newsletter, which will let you know titles now on sale and those due out the following week. We plan to mail this special newsletter on the first and third Tuesdays of each month and eventually every week. If you would like to subscribe to this special newsletter, sign up here. We plan to begin this newsletter in March.

This week we’re excited to launch our annual Valentine’s Day feature. We have five sets of six great books to give away, as well as a heart-shaped box of truffles, a chocolate heart lollipop, and a chocolate-dipped strawberry bar, all from Godiva. We thought there is nothing more perfect for a booklover than books and chocolate (and yes, we thought about sending wine, but state laws got in the way!). You can click here for more information about our titles, and enter our contest here by Friday, February 4th at noon ET.

Also, if you haven’t taken our Millennium Series Survey yet, please do! Not only do we want your feedback about Stieg Larsson’s mega-selling smash series, we also have three editions of the Millennium Trilogy boxed set to give away to lucky winners. The boxed set includes special hardcover editions of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST. Also included is ON STIEG LARSSON, a special collection of essays and correspondence about and by the author. We hope you’re enjoying our special Millennium tribute site and all its features as we celebrate THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST as our Book of the Year and the Millennium trilogy as our Series of the Decade.

If you’re in a book group, we invite you to enter's "Share Your 2010 Picks" Contest, where your whole group could win a set of book group-perfect titles, most of which will not be available until later in the year. All you have to do is enter your group’s month-by-month choices on our entry form here, and we’ll pick some winners next month. You can check out the full list of prize books here. Originally we had this contest ending on January 31st, but we've decided to extend it because we've been hearing that the weather has wreaked havoc on meeting schedules (in our town, we have had three snow days in January), as well as people getting to their local stores and libraries. So we're extending the contest until February 21st. Full details below!

If you have a teen in your house, we would love to get them to weigh in on nominations for the 2011 Teen Choice Book of the Year. Teen readers can vote for up to five of their favorite 2010 titles from our list of 185 nominees, or they can submit books not on our list, as long as they released for the first time last year. There are some great, great choices for your teens and plenty you may enjoy yourself!

Also, in the news this week, the Edgar Award nominees were announced, and we have them for you here. There are more than 10 categories, including Best Novel, Best First Novel by an American Author, Best Fact Crime, and The Simon & Schuster - Mary Higgins Clark Award. Sara Paretsky will be honored as a Grand Master. Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore in Forest Park, Illinois, and Once Upon a Crime Bookstore in Minneapolis, will be honored with the Raven Awards. Awards will be handed out on April 28th at a gala in New York City. You can read more about the Edgar Awards here.

Busy weekend ahead as I head to New York for the Vogue Knitting Convention on Saturday and then Cory’s birthday is Sunday. Next week is a conference on Digital Books, and then I am planning a February with no conferences or travel! Yippee to that. Have a great week…and read on….

Carol Fitzgerald (


Now in Stores: THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT by Laura Lippman

THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT: A Tess Monaghan Novel by Laura Lippman /span>(Thriller)
Baltimore PI Tess Monaghan is in her third trimester and being forced to watch the world go by her window. She likes watching a dog walker in a green raincoat; then one day, the woman disappears. Tess is determined to find out why, and opens a Pandora’s box of past crimes and troubling deaths. Now her life is in danger --- and so is her unborn child’s. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.


Click here to read a review of THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT.

Now in Stores: STRATEGIC MOVES by Stuart Woods

STRATEGIC MOVES: A Stone Barrington Novel by Stuart Woods (Mystery)Stone Barrington is enjoying dinner at Elaine's when his boss at the law firm Woodman & Weld hands him a check for $1,000,000. It seems Stone's undercover dealings brought in a big new client, and they're willing to make him a partner. But the client could be a Bernie Madoff in disguise… Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.


Click here to read a review of STRATEGIC MOVES.

Now in Stores: THE LOVER'S DICTIONARY by David Levithan

THE LOVER’S DICTIONARY by David Levithan (Fiction)
How does one talk about love? Do we even have words to describe it? Taking a unique approach to this problem, David Levithan’s nameless narrator constructs the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides a window into the great events and quotidian trifles of couples, offering a moving portrait of love in our time. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.


Click here to read a review of THE LOVER'S DICTIONARY.’s Sixth Annual Valentine's Day Contest --- Enter to Win Some Sweet Treats for Yourself or Your Valentine
The countdown to Valentine's Day is on! Stuck on what to buy your Valentine? Our featured titles have the bookish answer. From January 21st through February 4th, readers will have the chance to win one of our five Valentine's Day prizes. Along with one copy of each of our featured books, winners will receive some delicious gourmet chocolate from Godiva --- including a heart-shaped box of truffles, a chocolate heart lollipop, and a chocolate-dipped strawberry bar.

Our featured Valentine’s Day titles are:

-BRAVA, VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani

-EVERY ZOMBIE EATS SOMEBODY SOMETIME: A Book of Zombie Love Songs written by Michael P. Spradlin and illustrated by Jeff Weigel
-MARRYING DAISY BELLAMY: The Lakeshore Chronicles by Susan Wiggs
-THE PERFECT MISTRESS by Victoria Alexander
-PICTURES OF YOU by Caroline Leavitt
-WILD MAN CREEK: A Virgin River Novel by Robyn Carr

Click here to read all the contest details.’s Book of the Year and Series of the Decade --- and the Millennium Series Survey and Contest!
THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST, the third volume in Stieg Larsson’s international bestselling Millennium series, is’s Book of the Year. This is just as much a celebration of the book as it is Larsson’s trilogy, which includes THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE. There was no denying the series’ global impact upon the release of THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST. A copy of one of Larsson’s books seemed to be everywhere you turned --- in cafés, trains, buses, airports, pools, parks, and so on.

We hope you enjoy this special feature and tribute to the crusading journalist and his cyberhacking sidekick who have captivated readers and book lovers all over the globe. Here you will find information about all three novels, as well as the special deluxe boxed set, including reviews, reading guides, the official film trailers, and links to articles and information of interest to fans of the serie

In honor of this feature, we are giving away three boxed sets of The Millennium Trilogy. All you have to do is take our Millennium Series Survey, answering a few questions to share your thoughts on the series, and you are automatically entered in the random drawing to win one of three boxed sets. The survey will be open through Monday, January 31st at 11:59PM ET.

-Click here to take the survey and enter the contest.

Click here to see our special feature for The Millennium Trilogy.

Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Mary Burton, Author of SENSELESS

Romantic suspense author Mary Burton returns with SENSELESS, a taut tale of a woman trying to move past the tragic events that plagued her since her college days, and the detective who's wondering if he should be protecting her or investigating her.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from SENSELESS.
here to read Mary Burton’s bio.
here to see Mary Burton’s backlist.
-Visit Mary Burton’s official website,

-Click here to see the winners of SENSELESS.

More about SENSELESS:
The vicious burns scarring the victims’ flesh reveal the agony of their last moments. Each woman was branded with a star, then stabbed through the heart. With every death, a vengeful killer finds a brief, blissful moment of calm. But soon it’s time for the bloodshed to start again…

Ten years ago, Eva Rayburn and her sorority sisters were celebrating the end of the school year. That party turned into a nightmare Eva can’t forget. Now she’s trying to start over in her Virginia hometown, but a new nightmare has begun. Every victim is linked to her. And Detective Deacon Garrison isn’t sure whether this mysterious woman needs investigating --- or protecting…

Click here to read more about Mary Burton and SENSELESS.

Featured One to Watch Author: Sherri Wood Emmons, Author of PRAYERS AND LIES

Sherri Wood Emmons has crafted a lyrical and touching coming-of-age story in her debut novel, PRAYERS AND LIES, which focuses on a young woman coming to grips with her less-than-perfect family in her small coal mining hometown.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from PRAYERS AND LIES.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for PRAYERS AND LIES.
-Click here to read critical praise for PRAYERS AND LIES.
-Click here to read Sherri Wood Emmons’s bio.
-Visit Sherri Wood Emmons’s official website,
-Click here to see the winners of PRAYERS AND LIES.

When seven-year-old Bethany meets her six-year-old cousin Reana Mae, it’s the beginning of a kinship of misfits that saves both from a bone-deep loneliness. Every summer, Bethany and her family leave Indianapolis for West Virginia’s Coal River Valley. For Bethany’s mother, the trips are a reminder of the coalmines and grinding poverty of her childhood, of a place she’d hoped to escape. But her loving relatives, and Bethany’s friendship with Reana Mae, keep them coming back.

But as Bethany grows older, she realizes that life in this small, close-knit community is not as simple as she once thought --- that the riverside cabins that hold so much of her family’s history also teem with scandalous whispers, and that those closest to her harbor unimaginable secrets.

Click here to read more about Sherri Wood Emmons and PRAYERS AND LIES.

Featured Debut Suspense/Thriller Author: Daniel Palmer, Author of DELIRIOUS

Some of the suspense/thriller genre's biggest authors --- including Steve Berry, Lee Child and Tess Gerritsen --- are giving rave reviews to Daniel Palmer's debut, DELIRIOUS, about a technology mogul whose life begins taking strange and violent twists and turns. This new voice is sure to turn heads in 2011!

-Click here to read a third excerpt from DELIRIOUS.
-Click here to read critical praise for DELIRIOUS.
-Click here to read Daniel Palmer’s bio.
-Visit Daniel Palmer’s official website,
-Click here to see the winners of DELIRIOUS.

More about DELIRIOUS:
Charlie Giles is at the top of his game. An electronics superstar, he’s sold his startup company to a giant Boston firm, where he’s now a senior director. With his dog, Monte, at his side, Charlie is treated like a VIP everywhere he goes.

Then one day, everything in Charlie’s neatly ordered world starts to go terrifyingly wrong. His prestigious job and his inventions are wrenched away from him. His family is targeted, and his former employers are dying gruesomely, picked off one by one. Every sign, every shred of evidence, points to Charlie as a cold-blooded killer. And soon Charlie is unable to tell whether he’s succumbed to the pressures of work and become the architect of his own destruction, or whether he’s the victim of a relentless, diabolical attack.

Click here to read more about Daniel Palmer and DELIRIOUS.

Sign Up for's "On Sale This Week" Newsletter

While’s Coming Soon feature has been on the site for many years, we have received requests from readers asking for weekly email notifications when books are released. Now we’re happy to announce our latest project,’s “On Sale This Week” Newsletter.

For the moment, we are planning to launch this as a bi-weekly newsletter sometime in March. At the start, it will be emailed on the first and third Tuesdays of every month. Eventually we plan to send it weekly. Inside this newsletter you will get a listing of hardcover, eBook and paperback titles releasing that week and the next, along with a one-line description.

Interested in subscribing?

Please fill out our form here to subscribe. If you are not subscribed to the weekly newsletter, which is sent out on Fridays, you can do so here.

Click here to sign up for's "On Sale This Week" newsletter.

Share the List of What Your Book Group Read in 2010 --- And You Could Win Books for Your Group! is interested in gathering a collective list of what groups read in 2010, so we want to know what books your book group discussed in 2010. Click here and give us a list of what your group read month by month. If you did not meet in a particular month, just write “Did Not Meet” in that slot. Also, you do not need to have attended the group discussion --- or read the book --- to add it. After all, we know many people’s schedules are hectic, and they may miss a month or two. Just include on the list what your group read each month.

Besides getting an opportunity to see the Most Discussed Titles in 2010, which we will release in late February or early March, we will be awarding prizes. Thirty-three participating groups will be eligible to win 12 copies of a recently published or soon-to-be published book that is “book group perfect.” You can see the entire list of books here. Note that prizes will be selected at random. This opportunity will be available until Monday, February 21st at 11:59PM ET, but may we suggest you click here now to list your titles? Please note that only U.S. and Canada residents are eligible to enter.


Click here to share your book group's 2010 year-end selections.

Calling All Teens! Nominate Your Favorite Books of 2010 for the Children's Book Council's Teen Choice Book of the Year

Have a teen in your house? If so, we have something they may want to explore. In association with the Children’s Book Council (CBC), is giving teen readers a very special opportunity to share their five favorite books of 2010. The five titles that receive the most “votes” will serve as the finalists for the CBC’s 2011 Teen Choice Book of the Year. Once this first round of nominees is ready, we will have more information on where teens can vote for the winner, which will be announced in May. This opportunity will be available until Monday, February 7th at 11:59PM ET.

Click here for all the details.

This Week’s Reviews

CALL ME IRRESISTIBLE by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Romance)
Lucy Jorik is the daughter of a former president. Meg Koranda is the offspring of legends. One of them is about to marry Ted Beaudine, the favorite son of Wynette, Texas. The other isn’t happy about it and becomes the most hated woman in town. But Meg is sure she can survive on her own. What’s she going to do, fall for Mr. Irresistible? Not likely. Not likely at all. Reviewed by Jennifer McCord.

DEAD ZERO: A Bob Lee Swagger Novel by Stephen Hunter (Thriller)
A marine sniper team on a mission near the Afghan-Pakistan border, Whiskey 2-2 is ambushed. The sole survivor tries to finish the job, but a bomb explodes --- leaving a crater where he was meant to be hiding. Months pass, and the target becomes an American asset, arriving in DC as “Our Man in Kabul.” But so does a radio transmission from Whiskey 2-2. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

YOU KNOW WHEN THE MEN ARE GONE by Siobhan Fallon (Fiction)
In Fort Hood housing, you hear too much --- and you learn to move quietly through your domain. You also know when the men are gone. There’s a sense of muted silence, of muted life. Through these loosely connected stories, Siobhan Fallon takes readers onto the base and into the families, inside intimate places that aren’t in newspapers or politicians' speeches. Reviewed by Jamie Layton.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for YOU KNOW WHEN THE MEN ARE GONE.

TO HAVE AND TO KILL: A Wedding Cake Mystery by Mary Jane Clark (Mystery)
A struggling actress with a broken engagement, Piper Donovan moves home to take stock of her life. Working at her family’s bakery, she finds herself making a wedding cake for an acclaimed star. But someone close to the bride is horribly murdered. With the help of a handsome FBI agent, Piper zeros in on a suspect. But it might be hotter in the kitchen than she can handle… Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

THE POISON TREE by Erin Kelly (Psychological Thriller)
Karen and her nine-year-old daughter pick up Rex from a decade-long stint for murder. Flash back to the London summer when Karen first met him, falling into a rhythm of sex, alcohol and endless nights. But Rex has a complicated past, and Karen’s summer ends in blood. Now old ghosts threaten her new life, and Karen will do anything to keep her secret. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

COLD SHOT TO THE HEART by Wallace Stroby (Thriller)
Crissa Stone is a career criminal who rarely uses the same crew and never rushes. They’re the rules her lover taught her, rules he didn’t follow. Now he’s up for parole, and Crissa needs money, so she slaps together a crew for a seven-figure job. But things don’t go as planned, and she catches the attention of Eddie the Saint, a hit man who needs the work --- and the money. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (Science Fiction/Fantasy/Short Stories)
To honor the magnificent career of Jack Vance, one unparalleled in achievement and impact, George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have created this anthology. Here, the best of today's fantasy writers return to the milieu that inspired them, creating their own adventures in the world of Vance’s greatest novel. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

Click here to read this week's reviews.


Poll and Question of the Week: Shopping for Books


What percentage of your books do you currently purchase at Borders or

Less than 10%
I'm not sure.
I never shop at Borders.
I do not buy books.

-Click here to answer our poll.


Tell us about your favorite place to shop for books and why you like going there.

-Click here to answer our question.


Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win THREE Books!

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 DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X by Keigo Higashino, HEARTWOOD by Belva Plain and IT'S ALL RELATIVE: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine (A Memoir) by Wade Rouse. Tell us what you are reading here and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, February 4th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Click here for more details about Word of Mouth.

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 January 31, 2011 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: DAMAGE by John Lescroart, FAMILY AFFAIR by Debbie Macomber, THE INNER CIRCLE by Brad Meltzer, THE RED GARDEN by Alice Hoffman and SEPARATE BEDS by Elizabeth Buchan. Michael from Fort Collins, CO was last month's winner. He won OF LOVE AND EVIL: The Songs of the Seraphim, Book Two by Anne Rice, RESCUE by Anita Shreve, SECRETS TO THE GRAVE by Tami Hoag, UNBROKEN: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand, and WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS by Dean Koontz.

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

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