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February 6, 2004 Newsletter February 6, 2004
This Week on
A Good Book Makes Waiting Easier Talks To Linda Fairstein, author of THE KILLS
Read Advanced Readers' Comments of Reed Arvin's THE LAST GOODBYE Talks To Joyce Maynard, author of THE USUAL RULES.
Laurie R. King, author of THE GAME is our First Mystery Mayhem Author
BLINDED by Stephen White
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 the Romance Author Roundtable here. Read more about Light Wedge here. Read more about Daniel Silva here.
A Good Book Makes Waiting Easier
I spent good part of this week at the Christian Booksellers Association Conference in Indianapolis. Traveling by plane in winter can be an adventure, especially when it involves prop planes. My suitcase STILL is traveling, earning a tad more frequent flyer miles than me!

Tuesday when I was changing to a prop plane at Midway Airport I had to surrender all carryon luggage to keep the plane in balance (this was after taking a bus onto the tarmac to the plane, which is another treat that comes with traveling). I grabbed my book before my bag got carted away and read to tune out the whine of the prop engines. Yesterday I spent the hours waiting for my flight reading THE BOOK OF JOE by Jonathan Tropper, a very humorous debut novel that we will be featuring in the next few weeks. As the flight board registered "Canceled, Canceled, Canceled" I kept flipping the pages. Getting caught up in Joe's life made that time pass a lot more quickly.

Sometimes when I look at the books on my shelves I recall the adventures I had while reading them --- always fun!

I have been a fan of Joyce Maynard's work since she appeared on the cover of The New York Times Magazine back in 1972 with a piece that defined her as the spokesperson of her generation. I was a few years younger than Maynard, but remember thinking it was pretty amazing to have that opportunity at 18. Fast forward to 2004 when last month I had the opportunity to interview her about her book, THE USUAL RULES, which is just out in trade paperback.

This is a book that can be appreciated --- and enjoyed --- on so many levels. It's the story of Wendy, a thirteen-year-old girl who loses her mom on the morning of 9/11. And what happens when life needs to be written "without the usual rules." By the way, this is not a book just about the events of 9/11. It's a story about loss and love --- and the power of family. The translates far beyond the events of that day and the months that followed. Maynard wrote THE USUAL RULES the year her last child started college. We talk about that in the interview --- how her personal life transcended into her writing.

Last October I moderated a panel where Stephen White (our February 2003 Suspense/Thriller author) was a guest. I enjoy his work, so this was a real treat. I had just finished reading an advanced reading copy of BLINDED, his book that is just out this week. We spent time discussing how Sam Purdy had a real voice in this book --- and how much he enjoyed writing and hearing Sam. For those of you who are fans, you will know what I mean when you read BLINDED. For those who have not yet explored Stephen's work, our reviewer Barbara Gershenbaum urges you to start now --- even with this new book in the series. And then go back to his others.

Our Author of the Month on is Daniel Silva whose new book A DEATH IN VIENNA will be out on February 23rd. It's the third book in the Gabriel Allon trilogy that began with THE ENGLISH ASSASSIN and THE CONFESSOR. From what I have read, it promises to be another great read. Click on the graphic above to read this feature and more about Silva.

Love is in the air this week as Valentine's Day approaches. To celebrate we have two features. The first is our 3rd Annual Romance Authors Roundtable where 17 authors share their thoughts about writing and reading romance novels. See the link above to read this group interview. The second is our roundup of great fiction and nonfiction titles about romance, sex, intimacy and plain old-fashioned love. See our link below for more about this.

Have a great week. I hope my suitcase shows up soon.

Carol Fitzgerald (
Read our Valentine's Day roundup here. Talks To Linda Fairstein, author of THE KILLS
Linda Fairstein, a veteran prosecutor specializing in cases of sexual assault and domestic violence, headed the Sex Crimes Unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office for more than two decades. She published her first Alexandra Cooper novel, FINAL JEOPARDY, in 1996. THE KILLS, her sixth novel, is now making its way up the bestseller list.

In this interview with Co-Founder Jesse Kornbluth, Fairstein talks about the development of the plot and characters in THE KILLS, and draws on her own experiences in the courtroom to provide some startling insights into how the criminal justice system operates.
Read the interview with Linda Fairstein here.
Read more about THE LAST GOODBYE  here. Read more about Reed Arvin here.
Read Advanced Readers' Comments of 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 Our Advanced Readers' Comments on THE LAST GOODBYE.
-Read the terrific press that this book has been getting.
-Read three excerpts from THE LAST GOODBYE
-Read about Reed Arvin

Attorney Jack Hammond has nothing but suspicions when his friend --- a recovering addict --- is found dead in his apartment with a syringe stuck in his arm. Jack believes this "overdose" was in fact murder and that his friend's obsession with a woman might have led to his untimely demise.
Read our Suspense/Thriller Spotlight here. Talks To Joyce Maynard, author of THE USUAL RULES.
Jesse Kornbluth and Carol Fitzgerald, co-Founders of interviewed Joyce Maynard, author of THE USUAL RULES. Read on to learn why Maynard used 9/11 as the backdrop for her story, as well as why writing this book had such a personal impact on her. See why THE USUAL RULES is a great discussion book for book clubs (and the books that Maynard suggests pairing it with), as well as how Wendy, the teen protagonist has had an impact on younger readers.

THE USUAL RULES is a coming-of-age story, a story about discovering family and a story about healing. Thirteen-year-old Wendy must cope with the loss of her mother, who died in the World Trade Center on that fateful day in September 2001. She moves to California to live with her father, who has been absent for years. Torn between her old life in Brooklyn and a new one three thousand miles away, Wendy is faced with a world where the usual rules no longer apply --- and life must go on without them. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.
Read the interview with Joyce Maynard and the review of THE USUAL RULES here.
Read more about THE GAME. Read more about Laurie R. King Read more about KEEPING WATCH.
Laurie R. King, author of THE GAME is our First Mystery Mayhem Author
Mystery lovers know --- there's nothing more fun than solving a mystery. Legends in this genre include Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Well-known authors include Ruth Rendell, P.D. James and Marcia Muller. To help you unravel the endless question of "what mystery authors should I read next?" we bring you our Mystery Mayhem feature. It's a chance to get to know a group of authors who sleuth, track clues, and captivate readers by bringing fictitious characters to justice. We call them "Authors Who Keep You Guessing." We hope you enjoy exploring their work as much as we did tracking them down.

We are pleased to introduce Laurie R. King as the first showcased author in our Mystery Mayhem feature. Her latest Mary Russell novel, THE GAME, will be in bookstores on March 2, 2004. Enter to be one of 20 advance readers of THE GAME by sending your name and mailing address (street address, not email address) to by Friday, February 13th.

Read more about the book and author by checking out the graphics above and the link below.
Read our Mystery Mayhem feature here.
Read more about BLINDED here. Read more about THE BEST REVENGE here.
BLINDED by Stephen White
Stephen White, our February 2003 Suspense/Thriller Author has a new hardcover title, BLINDED out this week and his book, THE BEST REVENGE, is now out in paperback.

BLINDED by Stephen White (Suspense)
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum
Bestselling author Stephen White, who has always maintained a high level of suspense in his work, turns a new corner in his latest Alan Gregory novel. Readers are given a further glimpse into the personal lives of his ensemble characters, while a serial killer stalks and murders at least four women.
Read our review of BLINDED here.
This Week's Book Reviews and Features
GIRLS IN TROUBLE by Caroline Leavitt (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
A pregnant teenager, and the husband and wife who want her baby, find their lives hopelessly entwined as everyone involved in the open adoption winds up acting out of fear and insecurity when they think they're acting out of love and longing.

HATE CRIME by William Bernhardt (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Tulsa attorney Ben Kincaid and his partner Christina McCall return in William Bernhardt's gripping new legal thriller, as the two try to prove the innocence of Johnny Christensen, who is accused of beating and stabbing a gay man to death.

ORACLE NIGHT by Paul Auster (Fiction)
Reviewed by Heather Grimshaw
To help revitalize his struggling career, novelist Sidney Orr purchases a blue notebook and begins writing in it. For the next nine days, he lives under the spell of this blank book, trapped inside a world of eerie premonitions and puzzling events that threaten to destroy his marriage and undermine his faith in reality.

A VERY PRIVATE GENTLEMAN by Martin Booth (Fiction)
Reviewed by Stephen M. Deusner
Martin Booth's very accomplished eleventh novel features a very untrustworthy narrator hiding out from a very perilous enemy and contemplating life and death in a very picturesque Italian village.

WORK AND OTHER SINS: Life in New York City and Thereabouts by Charlie LeDuff (Current Affairs)
Reviewed by Joni Rendon
From Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Charlie LeDuff comes this compelling and compassionate collection of stories celebrating the laborers, dreamers, hustlers and immigrants who make up the real New York.

THE LANGUAGE OF LIGHT by Meg Waite Clayton (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
The death of her husband sends amateur photographer Nelly Grace back home to Maryland horse country, where she and her two young sons try to make sense of their family's new shape. Meanwhile, Nelly tries coping with the demands of her heart and her head --- which are not necessarily always in agreement.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
Jiro Adachi's debut novel is the splendid coming-of-age-story of twenty-year-old Yurika Song, a Korean-Japanese woman who comes from Japan to New York City for a summer to work with her Korean relatives and improve her English.

THE PYTHONS: An Autobiography by Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Bob McCabe (Autobiography)
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan
Monty Python fans rejoice! The surviving members of the groundbreaking British comedy troupe have come together to reminisce about their childhood, early successes and, of course, the television program that helped launch their long collaboration --- Monty Python's Flying Circus.
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 (