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January 23, 2004 Newsletter January 23, 2004
This Week on
Chatting Up Some Books Talks To: Brad Meltzer, author of THE ZERO GAME
Read Our Third Excerpt from Reed Arvin's THE LAST GOODBYE
Author Talk: Stephen J. Cannell, author of VERTICAL COFFIN
Now in Paperback: THE BLESSING STONE by Barbara Wood -- And An Opportunity to e-Mail the Author
UNDER THE DUVET by Marian Keyes
This Week's Book Reviews and Features
Poll: Books You've Read or Are Looking Forward To Reading
Question of the Week: What is The Most Romantic Book You Ever Read?
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- TWO Prizes!
On The Book Report Network
Past Reviews
Can't See the Graphics? Read This Newsletter Online
Past Poll: What do you want to see in book ads?
Past Question of the Week: Memorable Book Ads
Read more about LIONBOY here. Read more about Light Wedge here. Click here to read more about the book awards.
Chatting Up Some Books
Thanks to all of you who answered our poll about what you would like to see in book advertising. We had close to 1,000 respondents in two weeks! We heartily agree with you that we want to see "what the book is about" in the ads. I realize how many books I read just because I saw one of our one-line promos! When I see "tantalizing," "mesmerizing" and "breathtaking" in ads I just bluster. You could be talking about breath mints, Donald Trump's hair on "The Apprentice" or sunsets instead of books. We will be sharing your feedback with publishers and other folks who create these campaigns.

Last night I went to the Barnes & Noble store on 82nd Street to listen to Joseph Finder talk about his new corporate espionage thriller, PARANOIA. Joe did a ton of research at companies in the software and tech arena before he wrote the book. He shared that during the course of these meetings he was surprised at the level of information that he received from CEOs and other key players in the business --- stories they typically would not share with reporters, shareholders or even company members. Why? Because he was writing FICTION, not nonfiction. He also told stories about how much major corporations can monitor their employees lives. It was enough to make one paranoid. By the way, there were a lot of questions about the ending. If you have read the book, you know why! If not, get reading, and see what people are referring to.

While many of you are lucky enough to live in places where authors visit, we know many of you never get this opportunity. That's why we are excited about a special feature that we are launching this week for a book called THE BLESSING STONE, which came out in hardcover last year, and was just released in trade paperback this week. The author, Barbara Wood, is offering to answer book club and reader questions about the book via e-mail from now through April 9th. You can see more details about how to participate later in this newsletter.

I have been reading --- and enjoying --- THE BLESSING STONE. I am not an avid reader of historical fiction, but Wood's writing has wrapped me completely around the story. I was "there" from the first chapter. Her level of research and attention to detail has given me pause more than once. This week as part of our feature I interviewed Wood and asked her specifically about her research and how she plotted out the book, which is described as "a sweeping epic about the history of humanity." I encourage you to take a look at this interview and feature. Our reviewer loved this book last year --- and I can see why.

On a slightly different note --- for those of you with children, grandchildren and special young friends in your lives --- I came across a children's book that I am just wild about called LIONBOY (the recommended age group on this one is 8-12). It's the first in a series by Zizou Corder (the pseudonym of a mother/daughter writing team). The story is smart and my eight-year-old son read way past his bedtime on more than one night as he followed the story of Charlie Ashanti, the boy who speaks cat. To celebrate its publication we are giving away 25 copies of the book on Click on the cover above to get more details on the book and the promotion.

One more note...last week we failed to share a link to the winners of the ALA's Newbery and Caldecott Awards. Click on the photo of the Newbery winner, THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX above for more information about these prizes. Also, on we have the winners of the YA prize, the Michael Printz Award. A YA book with one of my favorite book titles -- THE EARTH, MY BUTT AND OTHER BIG THINGS --- won one of the Printz honors!

Have a good week....stay warm...light a if you are looking for a great book light if you want to stay up all night reading while your significant other sleeps, click on the Light Wedge photo at the top of this note.

Carol Fitzgerald (
Click here to read an interview with Barbara Wood, author of THE BLESSING STONE. Talks To: Brad Meltzer, author of THE ZERO GAME
In this interview with reviewer Joe Hartlaub, Brad Meltzer discusses some of the dramatic plot lines and compelling characters in his latest thriller THE ZERO GAME. He also talks extensively about his other projects and how he was able to overcome rejection early in his career to become a New York Times bestselling author.

THE ZERO GAME by Brad Meltzer (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Two senior staffers to well-respected congressmen become involved in a clandestine game known as the Zero Game. It starts out to be good fun, but they soon realize that this "game" is far more sinister than they ever imagined --- and that they are about to be its next victims.

Please note: Brad Meltzer is our January Author of the Month on
Read our interview with Brad Meltzer here.
Read Our Third Excerpt from Reed Arvin's THE LAST GOODBYE
THE LAST GOODBYE by Reed Arvin will be in stores on February 17, 2004.

In Case You Missed Previous Weeks:
-Read the terrific press that this book has been getting!
-Read two other excerpts from THE LAST GOODBYE
-Find out who the advance readers of THE LAST GOODBYE are.
-Read Fast Facts about Arvin and more about his backlist.
-Read about Reed Arvin
Read our Suspense/Thriller Spotlight here.
Author Talk: Stephen J. Cannell, author of VERTICAL COFFIN
In this interview, Emmy award-winning writer and bestselling novelist Stephen J. Cannell talks about his latest thriller VERTICAL COFFIN, his fourth featuring LAPD Sergeant Shane Scully. He discusses the ongoing conflict that Scully is facing in his professional life and why he decided to create such a strong female character in Scully's wife, Alexa. Cannell also shares with readers his thoughts on what makes a strong novel and who some of his favorite authors are.

VERTICAL COFFIN by Stephen J. Cannell (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
LAPD Sergeant Shane Scully is assigned to investigate a nightmarish series of events involving the L.A. Sheriff's Special Enforcement Bureau and the federal ATF Situation Response Team --- and succeeds in putting himself, his loved ones, and his career in jeopardy before finally discovering the shocking and deadly truth.
Read the Stephen J. Cannell interview here.
Now in Paperback: THE BLESSING STONE by Barbara Wood -- And An Opportunity to e-Mail the Author
THE BLESSING STONE is a sweeping epic that chronicles the history of humanity as it traces the path of a mysterious blue stone. The history of the world unfolds as the stone is passed from generation to generation, and across 5 continents from the Jordan River Valley to ancient Israel, from Imperial Rome to Medieval England, from fifteenth-century Germany to the eighteenth-century Caribbean and finally to the pioneers of the American West. Wood's 19th novel is comprised of eight individual books linked by a common thread.

Our review says, "Wood masterfully weaves a legend destined to make The Blessing Stone a bestseller. Rarely does an author manage to combine so many vignettes into one book of such excellence."

To celebrate the trade paperback release of THE BLESSING STONE, we share a special offer --- between now and April 9th readers will have an opportunity to e-mail the book's internationally bestselling author, Barbara Wood.
To see more about this book, an interview with Barbara Wood and details about corresponding with her, click here.
UNDER THE DUVET by Marian Keyes
UNDER THE DUVET: Shoes, Reviews, Having the Blues, Builders, Babies, Families and Other Calamities by Marian Keyes (Nonfiction)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
From the acclaimed bestselling author of SUSHI FOR BEGINNERS and ANGELS comes a collection of personal essays on shopping, writing, moviemaking, motherhood, and all the assorted calamities involved in being a savvy woman in the new millennium.

For more about Marian Keyes, go to
Read more about UNDER THE DUVET here.
This Week's Book Reviews and Features
C'EST LA VIE by Suzy Gershman (Memoir)
Reviewed by Jesse Kornbluth
Following the death of her husband, Suzy Gershman decided to make a new life for herself in Paris, her favorite city. Here, she chronicles her first year in the City of Light --- the good times she experienced as well as the difficulties she faced in learning to be a Parisian.

THE CODEX by Douglas Preston (Thriller)
Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara
A notorious treasure hunter and tomb robber, Maxwell Broadbent accumulated over a half a billion dollars' worth of priceless art, gems and artifacts before vanishing --- along with his entire collection --- from his mansion in New Mexico. At first, robbery is suspected, but the truth proves far stranger.

THE HAVANA ROOM by Colin Harrison (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Bill Wyeth is a successful real-estate attorney whose career and marriage are suddenly destroyed by a tragic accident. Thereafter he becomes a regular at an old-time Manhattan steakhouse, is given access to the Havana Room --- the restaurant's private bar --- and is soon drawn into a dangerous venture in which human lives are at stake.

DATING DEAD MEN by Harley Jane Kozak (Mystery)
Reviewed by Norah Piehl
When Los Angeles greeting card designer Wollie Shelley agrees to a dating marathon, she expects a lot of surprises during her experiment, but never dreams that she would get tangled up with the Mafia. Blind Date meets The Godfather in this hilarious comic mystery.

THE CHEATING CULTURE: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead by David Callahan (Politics/Current Affairs)
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan
Through revealing interviews and extensive data, David Callahan --- co-founder of the public policy center Demos
and frequent television commentator --- talks about cheating in America and argues why it matters.

AN EMBARRASSMENT OF MANGOES: A Caribbean Interlude by Ann Vanderhoof (Travel)
Reviewed by Joni Rendon
This part travelogue, part cookbook is a delicious island-by-island, meal-by-meal guide to the Caribbean that will seduce the senses of food lovers, adventurers and armchair travelers alike.
Read the reviews and features here.
Read Author Bibliographies here. Search here Read about upcoming books here.
Poll: Books You've Read or Are Looking Forward To Reading
Which of the following books have you read or are you looking forward to reading?

EMMA'S SECRET by Barbara Taylor Bradford
THE KILLS by Linda Fairstein
MR. PARADISE by Elmore Leonard
PARANOIA by Joseph Finder
RETRIBUTION by Jilliane Hoffman
THE 37TH HOUR by Jodi Compton
VERTICAL COFFIN by Stephen J. Cannell
THE ZERO GAME by Brad Meltzer
I am not interested in reading any of these titles.
Answer the Poll here.
Question of the Week: What is The Most Romantic Book You Ever Read?
What is the most romantic book you ever read?
Answer the Question of the Week.
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- TWO Prizes!
Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have some great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of PARANOIA by Joseph Finder and VERTICAL COFFIN by Stephen J. Cannell. Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on February 13th
Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.

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--- Carol Fitzgerald (
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