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November 23, 2011 Newsletter November 23, 2011
Happy Thanksgiving! Giving Thanks to Our Readers

The Holly Channel is back on XM. I heard ads for it, but refuse to listen 'til Friday. I prefer doing my holidays in order. This morning I was in the supermarket shopping at 7:45. I told my husband we would be done and home by 8:30. He doubted me. I should have bet him; I was right. For some reason that defies me, they were out of fresh thyme and sage, thus there will be a second trip later, but that one is NOT my fault. I think last year it took four trips to get everything. It’s a record that I do not want to beat!

Last night I went to a screening of Hugo, which is an adaptation of Brian Selznick’s brilliant book, THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET. It’s spellbindingly brilliant. I saw it in 3D and loved the way the format made viewers feel like they are part of the story. It was lush and grand and stylized and just wonderful. Great choice for this weekend.

Also last night, Katherine in our office went to the Lady Gaga event at The New Museum where she was first in line to get a signed copy of LADY GAGA X TERRY RICHARDSON, a book of photos Richardson compiled after a year of following Gaga everywhere with a camera. See the photo above. Apparently, this is Lady Gaga acting "naturally." I confess that I have a weakness for the outrageousness of Lady Gaga! I wonder if I am too old to be one of her “Little Monsters.”

As promised, I have written a blog about my weekend at the Miami Book Fair, which you can read here. As always it was a great experience, and I saw/heard/met MANY authors who I was not familiar with. You can see me photographed above with the Henley Family of Wimpy Kid fame, which was part of the promotion for CABIN FEVER at the Fair. Could not resist the opportunity!

I am happy to announce our latest Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight feature. It’s Raymond Khoury, whose latest book, THE DEVIL’S ELIXIR, will be in stores on December 22nd. Once again, Raymond delivers a brilliant thriller, but this time he pushes his writing to a new level, alternating first and third person voices throughout the book. Sean Reilly and Tess Chaykin, who you may remember from his Templar books, are back. This time, they are on the hunt for a drug kingpin who has formulated a catastrophic drug, and they are also embroiled with the DEA as they try to track it down. And along the way, Sean comes across a surprise that ups the stakes higher than he would have thought. His writing is vivid, and I found myself thinking breathe more than once as I read. We have 20 copies of THE DEVIL’S ELIXIR to give away to readers who enter here by Thursday, December 8th at noon ET. By the way, this would be an excellent holiday gift, and the timing could not be better for it to be just that!

Yesterday, we posted the first of our Holiday Cheer contests, which was for A CHRISTMAS BLIZZARD by Garrison Keillor. Our winners will be posted early next week. If you didn’t get a chance to enter, no worries --- there will be three contests next week for OMG PANCAKES! by Jim Belosic, CHRISTMAS AT COLD COMFORT FARM by Stella Gibbons and WHEN SHE WOKE by Hillary Jordan, and more in the weeks to come. Keep checking back on the site for your chance to win one of the books in our Holiday Cheer feature, and sign up here to receive our special Holiday Cheer newsletter so you know when to enter. We love spreading holiday cheer this way.

Also, be sure to check out our other holiday feature, What to Give, What to Get, for some great ideas for your friends, family…and yourself! This week we are spotlighting our Faces & Places category for all you nonfiction lovers.

As part of our holiday features, we are also bringing back our Author Holiday Blogs. Starting Monday, we will be featuring new blog posts from authors every day of the holidays! Click here to see some of last year's Holiday Blog posts. And don't forget to check in on Monday for the first of this new season. is not the only one of our sites caught up in the holiday spirit. If you have a teen, be sure to let him or her know about our Holiday Bundle of Cheer Contest and Feature on As part of the contest, five lucky teens will walk away with holiday “bundles” --- stockings filled with some great books and other holiday goodies. To check out the titles we are giving away and to read more about the feature, click here.

In other teen-related news, this week we re-launched with a whole new look. Take a peek. It’s the next step in the total relaunch of all the sites in The Book Report Network. We still are moving over a number of features (with it’s 14 years of content, while was 15 years!) but hope to have it all completed by May., our site for Christian readers, has a new look as well. Take a look at that here. Also, contests will now be promoted along with contests on this page, so it will be easy to enter all the contests in one place.

Speaking of housekeeping, we heard from a few of you that the design of our Word of Mouth feature on the new site was not as easy to read as it had been in the past. Thus, we worked on the page. Let me know if it’s now easier to read, or if you have any suggestions. As always, if you enter our Word of Mouth contest by telling us what you are reading, you could win three books. The prizes this contest period are THE DROP by Michael Connelly, MICRO by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston, and THE SCOTTISH PRISONER by Diana Gabaldon. Click here to go to this feature.

On a sad note, I wanted to note the passing of science fiction/fantasy author Anne McCaffrey. Her best known novels were those in her Dragonriders of Pern series, a New York Times bestselling series that includes DRAGON'S FIRE: A New Novel of Pern. Our reviewer Stephen Hubbard called this book "strong and exciting" and explains "millions of readers worldwide have been caught up in her wondrous tales set in this other world, a mixture of science fiction and fantasy." She died of a stroke in Wicklow County, Ireland. She was 85 years old.

Though this is a short week, we still have a full review lineup for you thanks to our stellar editorial team.

First up is our review of Walter Isaacson’s biography, STEVE JOBS. Reviewer Harvey Freedenberg says, "Walter Isaacson’s book is more a work of journalism than it is the kind of biography he’s written of subjects like Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin. With that caveat, it’s a thoroughly researched (more than 40 interviews with Jobs and over 100 with family, friends, business rivals and others) and comprehensive portrait of the life of an American business icon."

Also among our reviews, THE HOUSE OF SILK is a new Sherlock Holmes novel from Anthony Horowitz. By the way, there will be a new Sherlock Holmes movie that's coming out in December, so it’s a good time for things Sherlockian! We are also featuring reviews of collections by author favorites Daphne du Maurier, whose book THE DOLL is a collection of her “lost” short stories, and Jonathan Lethem, who has just published THE ECSTASY OF INFLUENCE, a collection of his nonfiction work.

In this week’s poll, we want to know if you prefer watching an author video or reading an author interview. And in our Question of the Week, we follow up by asking you to name up to three authors you would like to see interviewed on video or in print.

And if you are in a reading group, answer our current poll on We want to know if your group would read a book if there is no discussion guide available for it.

After the turkey extravaganza tomorrow and besides turkey leftover eating, the weekend plans include hunting around the attic for Christmas decorations and getting some decorating done. We are going to see Paul Simon on Sunday night. This concert totally crept up on me. I bought the tickets a while ago and promptly forgot about them until they arrived in the mail this week. I bought something called the “Silver Circle” tickets so we would have great seats. The Silver package includes a Paul Simon exclusive merchandise item and collectible laminate, which will be shipped 30 days after the show date. They go on to tell me that the merchandise is not needed for entry to the show, which is clearly a good thing as it arrives after the show. Also, the collectible laminate is "commemorative only and does not gain or authorize access into the venue or backstage areas." I love legalese. I also wonder what it IS!

And these 4.5 days of downtime also should mean lots of time for reading. My stacks await me.

I am off to chop chop chop, which is the staccato sound of Thanksgiving. May there be no need for bandages. I am jazzed about the scraps that will go into my compost pile. I know. I am easily amused.

Here’s wishing you all the Happiest of Thanksgivings. May you enjoy celebrating with family and friends. We all give thanks to you, our readers. We appreciate you…thanks so much for reading!

Carol Fitzgerald (

Now in Stores: MICRO by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston
MICRO by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston (Science Fiction/Thriller)
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, seven graduate students at the forefront of their fields are recruited by a pioneering microbiology start-up. Nanigen MicroTechnologies dispatches the group to a mysterious lab in Hawaii, where they are promised access to tools that will open a whole new scientific frontier. But once in the Oahu rain forest, the scientists are thrust into a hostile wilderness that reveals profound and surprising dangers at every turn. Armed only with their knowledge of the natural world, they find themselves prey to a technology of radical and unbridled power. To survive, they must harness the inherent forces of nature itself.

-Click here to browse inside the book.

Click here to read more about the book. Reviews STEVE JOBS by Walter Isaacson
STEVE JOBS by Walter Isaacson (Biography)
Based on more than 40 interviews with Steve Jobs and over 100 interviews with family, friends, business rivals and others, Walter Isaacson’s biography is a comprehensive portrait of the life of an American business icon. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here to read a review.
New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Raymond Khoury, Author of THE DEVIL'S ELIXIR
Raymond Khoury's latest book, THE DEVIL'S ELIXIR, marks the return of FBI agent Sean Reilly and his girlfriend, archaeologist Tess Chaykin, as they find themselves on a quest for a drug in the depths of the Central American jungle.

We have 20 advance copies of THE DEVIL'S ELIXIR, which will be in stores December 22nd, to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment on it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Thursday, December 8th at noon ET.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise for Raymond Khoury and his books.
-Click here to read Raymond Khoury’s bio.
-Click here to visit Raymond Khoury’s official website.

In Raymond Khoury's million-copy-selling Templar novels, FBI agent Sean Reilly and his girlfriend, archaeologist Tess Chaykin, traveled the globe to unravel ancient mysteries with present-day ramifications. In THE DEVIL'S ELIXIR, Sean and Tess find themselves in a race --- against the clock, against drug kingpins, and even against the DEA --- to merge two divergent trails, one several hundred years old, the other as current as a heartbeat, which together may lead humanity to the brink of annihilation.

Click here to read more about Raymond Khoury and THE DEVIL'S ELIXIR in our Suspense/Thriller feature.'s Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature
At, we kick off the holiday season in style with our Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature. As our gift to you, on certain days we will spotlight a book and give five lucky readers a chance to win it. You have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter the contest. Some days may even feature special bonus prizes, including gourmet treats, holiday items, or some of Carol Fitzgerald’s Bets On picks from throughout the year. If you think you will forget to check, no worries: we also send a special newsletter to announce the day's title.

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, November 28th at noon ET.

-Click here to sign up for our Holiday Cheer Daily Featured Book and Contest alerts.

Click here to see this year's featured Holiday Cheer titles.
What to Give, What to Get: Spotlight on "Faces & Places" knows that readers crave ideas for gift-giving --- and getting --- at the holidays. With this in mind, we're offering a What to Give, What to Get Guide with suggestions in multiple categories: Eat, Drink & Be Merry, Faces & Places, Great Choices for Book Lovers and Holiday Spirit. We have book ideas for everyone on your holiday list! And while you're looking for gifts for others, may we suggest you jot down notes for books YOU want?

We'll be spotlighting the various categories in the newsletter this week and in upcoming weeks. This week we are spotlighting Faces & Places. Shopping for a history buff, a sports fan, or perhaps a railroad enthusiast? Our "Faces & Places" category has some great choices, from historical narratives to inspiring memoirs.

Our featured titles in this category are:

-AMERICA'S GREAT RAILROAD STATIONS by Roger Straus III, Hugh Van Dusen and Ed Breslin
-LIONS OF THE WEST: Heroes and Villains of the Westward Expansion by Robert Morgan
-PRAYING FOR STRANGERS: An Adventure of the Human Spirit by River Jordan
-SWEETNESS: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton by Jeff Pearlman

-Click here to see our Faces & Places category.

Click here to see this year's "What to Give, What to Get" feature.
Now in Stores: THE HOUSE OF SILK by Anthony Horowitz
THE HOUSE OF SILK: A Sherlock Holmes Novel by Anthony Horowitz (Mystery)
The Arthur Conan Doyle Estate has authorized a new Sherlock Holmes adventure, and Anthony Horowitz is definitely up to the task. Holmes and Watson embark on a mission to protect their client from a stalker, and soon find themselves chasing the mysterious House of Silk. As they come closer to discovering what they’re pursuing, they realize that it is worse than they could have imagined. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD by Ian Rankin
THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD by Ian Rankin (Thriller)
Malcolm Fox and the Complaints Unit return with an investigation of whether their colleagues are covering up for a cop suspected of being corrupt. When a murder is committed with a weapon that shouldn’t exist, the Complaints find themselves going back to 1985 and a cold case that may have dangerous bearing on the present. Reviewed by Ray Palen.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE ANGEL ESMERALDA by Don DeLillo

THE ANGEL ESMERALDA: Nine Stories by Don DeLillo (Fiction/Short Stories)
Set in Greece, the Caribbean, Manhattan, a white-collar prison and outer space, these nine stories are an introduction to Don DeLillo’s iconic voice --- from the rich, startling, jazz-infused rhythms of his early work to the spare, distilled, monastic language of the later stories. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.


Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: VAN GOGH: THE LIFE by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith
VAN GOGH: THE LIFE by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith (Biography)
Working with the full cooperation of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Steve Naifeh and Gregory White Smith have accessed a wealth of previously untapped materials, including hundreds of unpublished family correspondences. The authors shed new light on many unexplored aspects of Van Gogh’s inner world: his deep immersion in literature and art; his erratic and tumultuous romantic life; and his bouts of depression and mental illness. Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard.

Click here to read a review.
Announcing's Sixth Annual Holiday Cheer Contest and Feature
Celebrate the season with's Sixth Annual Holiday Cheer Contest and Feature! From now through December 16th, teens can enter to win a "Bundle of Holiday Reading and Fun." Five winners each will receive 9 books they'll want to read any time of year, along with tons of seasonal goodies: Peeps Marshmallow Snowmen, green rock candy, 12 peppermint candy canes, a Wilton Holiday Peppermint Bark Kit, Lotsa Lites! Flashing Holiday Necklace, and a snowman stocking.

Our featured titles are:

-THE ALCHEMYST: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 1 by Michael Scott
-ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE by Gabrielle Zevin
-CURSE OF THE SHAMRA: Book One of The Shamra Chronicles by Barry Hoffman
-SHAMRA DIVIDED: Book Two of The Shamra Chronicles by Barry Hoffman
-CHAOS UNLEASHED: Book Three of The Shamra Chronicles by Barry Hoffman
-THE GRAY WOLF THRONE: A Seven Realms Novel, Book Three by Cinda Williams Chima
-SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi

Click here to read all the contest details.
This Week's Reviews
THE TIME IN BETWEEN by Maria Duenas (Fiction)
By her early 20s, Sira Quiroga has learned the ropes of her mother’s seamstress business and is engaged to a government clerk. But everything changes when two charismatic men burst into her neatly mapped-out life: an attractive salesman and the father she never knew. With the Spanish Civil War brewing, Sira leaves her mother and fiancé, following her handsome lover to Morocco. However, she soon finds herself abandoned, penniless and heartbroken in an exotic land. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE ECSTASY OF INFLUENCE: Nonfictions, etc. by Jonathan Lethem (Literary Criticism)
What’s a novelist supposed to do with contemporary culture? And what’s contemporary culture sup­posed to do with novelists? In a constellation of previously published pieces and new essays as provocative and idiosyncratic as any he’s written, Jonathan Lethem, tangling with what he calls the “white elephant” role of the writer as public intellectual, arrives at an astonishing range of answers. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

THE DOLL: The Lost Short Stories by Daphne du Maurier (Fiction/Short Stories)
Tales of human frailty and obsession, and of romance gone tragically awry, the 13 stories in THE DOLL showcase an exciting budding talent before she went on to write REBECCA, the novel that would cement her reputation as a 20th-century literary giant. Weird, romantic, cynical, sinister, even downright kinky, Daphne du Maurier’s early efforts give intimations of a haunting voice and dark imagination. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

DEAD MAN’S GRIP by Peter James (Thriller)
Carly Chase is still traumatized 10 days after being in a fatal traffic accident that kills a teenage American student from Brighton University. Then she finds out that the drivers of the other two vehicles involved have been found tortured and murdered. Now Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of the Sussex Police force issues a stark and urgent warning to Carly: she could be next. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE by J.T. Ellison (Thriller)
In her showdown with the Pretender, a bullet taken at close range severed the connection between Taylor Jackson's thoughts and speech, leaving her effectively mute. When Memphis Highsmythe offers Taylor his home in the Scottish highlands to recuperate, her fiancé can't refuse her excitement. At first, the castle seems the perfect place for healing. But it begins to surround her like a menacing presence, and soon she finds herself losing her grip on reality. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

OPERATION NAPOLEON by Arnaldur Indridason (Thriller)
In 1945, a German bomber crash-lands in Iceland during a blizzard. Puzzlingly, there are both German and American officers on board. One of the German officers sets off in search of the nearest farm, only to disappear into the white vastness. Years later, a young Icelander, Elias, stumbles upon the excavation and promptly disappears. But he first manages to contact his sister, who embarks on a desperate mission to find him. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
Young Adult Books You Want to Read
As you may or may not know, our company, The Book Report Network, has a number of websites about books and authors in addition to Throughout the year, features adult books on, our site for young adult readers, that we think will have definite appeal to a teen audience. In the spirit of sharing, we are now spotlighting a selection of titles each month from that we believe are great reads that you might enjoy.

Here are our latest featured titles:

THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler (Fiction)
It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been best friends for their whole lives --- at least up until Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when a free AOL CD reveals their futures to them via Facebook --- which hasn’t been invented yet --- they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

CROSSED by Ally Condie (Dystopian Romance)
Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky, only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues behind. During her quest, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

DARK EDEN by Patrick Carman (Fantasy/Horror)
Will Besting suffers from a crippling fear, and no amount of traditional therapy has helped at all. So he and six other teens with various phobias decide they have no choice but to take it to the next level. They travel to a remote location to undergo an intensive alternate therapy. But something isn’t right, and Will doesn’t trust the system. What he discovers is way beyond his darkest nightmares. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

LIFE: AN EXPLODED DIAGRAM by Mal Peet (Historical Fiction)
In the fall of 1962, human beings came extremely close to blowing the world up during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And even though teenagers Clem and Frankie are completely wrapped up in their forbidden relationship, they too are worried that there may not be many more tomorrows left. Neither one wants to die a virgin, so during the final culmination to World War III, they make their own plans for the ultimate countdown. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

Click here to see all the young adult books you'll want to read.
This Week’s Poll and Question


Do you prefer watching an author video or reading an online interview?

I usually prefer watching an author video.
I usually prefer reading an online interview.
Only if I like the author a lot would I prefer watching a video.
If I like the author a lot, I would prefer reading an interview.
I enjoy watching author videos, but dislike waiting for them to load.
I have no preference; I like doing both.
I have no preference; I don’t do either.
I’m not sure how I feel.

-Click here to answer the poll.


Name up to three authors you would love to see interviewed on video or in an online interview.

-Click here to answer the question.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You’re Reading --- and You Could Win THREE Books!
Tell us your current reading recommendations with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from November 18th to December 2nd, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of THE DROP by Michael Connelly, MICRO by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston, and THE SCOTTISH PRISONER by Diana Gabaldon.

-To see reader comments from previous contest periods, click here.
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.

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