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August 27, 2004 Newsletter August 27, 2004
This Week on
Happy 8th Anniversary -- Lift Your Mouse and Celebrate with Us Talks to David Wolstencroft, Author of GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS
Our Suspense/Thriller Authors: Steve Berry, Author of THE ROMANOV PROPHECY and Greg Rucka, Author of A GENTLEMAN'S GAME
Fantasy Author Spotlight: Stephen R. Donaldson, Author of THE RUNES OF THE EARTH
Debut Suspense/Thriller Author: Raelynn Hillhouse, Author of RIFT ZONE
New in Paperback for August
This Week's Book Reviews and Features
Poll: Dedications and Acknowledgements
Question of the Week: What do you think will be remembered as the book of summer for 2004?
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: Which of the following books are you looking forward to reading?
Past Question of the Week: What do you think will be remembered as the book of summer for 2004?
Happy 8th Anniversary -- Lift Your Mouse and Celebrate with Us
Happy Anniversary to! Today we celebrate our 8th Anniversary. Research tells me that gifts to commemorate the 8th anniversary are bronze (traditional) or linens/lace (modern). Does this mean we should ask for bronze bookends? Or lace handkerchiefs for reading books that make us weep? We are going to be more bold and bodacious (I just love that word) and request the following:

1) If you enjoy this newsletter, forward it to someone you know who loves to read.
2) If you see a book that you like here, buy it on Amazon through one of our links.
3) If you enjoy our website print out the home page and share it with your local bookseller or librarian.

I still remember when we started with one website on AOL. I keep a screen shot of that website on the wall in my office as it reminds me of how it all began with Jesse Kornbluth, Murray Bruce and myself. Thank you to all of you who read us each week. It's such a pleasure to write for you. My heartfelt thanks to all of our reviewers, who I never say thank you to enough, and our terrific editorial staff --- Tom Donadio, Gena Bland and Wiley Saichek, who have been with us 2, 8 and 7 years respectively.

Here is something you may not know about our staff. Tom and I work out of the New York office; Gena (who handles all production) is in Knoxville, TN; we have never met and Wiley lives in Port Lavaca, Texas and has been to the office just once. Each week we pull together and our other websites via email and IM. We rarely talk to Gena and Wiley on the phone. People come to our office thinking there is a staff of at least 20. The other two full-time people in the New York office are Joan, our website designer, who is responsible for our gorgeous graphics, and Sunil, who handles production for the websites that we build for authors. I lift my mouse to all of them with a huge thank you. Thanks also to "the interns" --- Sara, Marisa, Matt, Chris and Greg --- who were with us all summer.

I finished my vacation reading two very different books. One was A RIP IN HEAVEN, a memoir by Jeanine Cummins. A friend had told me that she knew the author. Here's the story: In the early '90s a family went on vacation from Maryland to visit relatives in Missouri. While they were there three of the cousins went out one night. While they were out two were killed and the third was left for dead. The third ends up being accused wrongly of their murder. The book is so well-written in the third person. I often found myself stopping to think --- wait, this person was the brother of one of the victims.

My last summer read was LEAVE IT TO CLEAVAGE by Wendy Wax. I had met Wendy at Romance Writers of America in July and she had sent her book to me when we got back. Sunday I was in the mood to pretend vaca was going on forever. I was ignoring the suitcases that needed to be emptied. Instead I pulled up a chair by the pool and read --- a terrific Beach Read was just what I needed to make sure my last day off was a true escape. There are books to suit every mood. Hope you find one this weekend to suit yours.

A reader wrote last week with a very interesting question. She asked if I ever do not like what I read since I am always so enthused about the books that I talk about. Good question. The simple answer is YES, there are a LOT of books I do not like. I just choose not to talk about them. Why? Pretty simple. I want to encourage you to read, not give you reasons why not to. As a result, our reviews are mostly positive. But, after 8 years, here's the secret. If a reviewer does not like a book, they can opt not to do it. Life's short. I prefer to focus on sharing the good things. I hope you agree.

We have a new feature this week. We have been hearing from readers that they would like us to explore the Fantasy genre more than we have been. As a result, this week we launch our Fantasy Author Spotlight. Our first author is Stephen R. Donaldson, author of six previous books in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, who returns with the first of four new Covenant novels, THE RUNES OF THE EARTH, which will be in stores on October 14th. For any of you who have followed Donaldson's career, you know how exciting this is. We are looking for 20 advance readers who are interested in reading this book. Please send your name and your mailing address to by Friday, September 10th.

We are not publishing an update next Friday; one of the few weeks of the year that we take a hiatus. Here's wishing you a great TWO weeks and a lovely Labor Day weekend.

--- Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to David Wolstencroft, Author of GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS
Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek of interviewed David Wolstencroft, author of GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS. Wolstencroft talks about the difficulty of researching a spy novel in today's security-conscious world and the challenge of getting the reader to recognize his work as fiction and not as a possible threat to worry about. He also discusses the advantages and drawbacks of being a television writer/novelist and reveals that his second novel, CONTACT ZERO, will be released next year.

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS by David Wolstencroft (Espionage/Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Two friends in the spy business are directed to assassinate each other during their last mission in the Agency. Realizing that some orders aren't meant to be followed, the two traverse Europe and America to find out why their bosses want them dead --- and in the process unearth a web of secrets that could destroy the Agency itself.
Read an interview with David Wolstencroft and a review of GOOD NEWS BAD NEWS here.
Read more about Greg Rucka here. Read more about Steve Berry here.
Our Suspense/Thriller Authors: Steve Berry, Author of THE ROMANOV PROPHECY and Greg Rucka, Author of A GENTLEMAN'S GAME
Steve Berry, who wrote THE AMBER ROOM, which was one of my favorite books of 2003 is back with THE ROMANOV PROPHECY, which is in stores THIS Tuesday. We will post our review and interview next week on the site and direct you to it in the newsletter the week we come back. If you cannot wait, just go to!

New This Week:
-See what our advance readers had to say
-Read a second excerpt from THE ROMANOV PROPHECY

Previous Weeks:
-See Our Advance Copy Winners
-Read Steve Berry Fast Facts

Here's more about the book:

Following the collapse of Communism and a series of weak governments, the Russian people have decided to re-instate the monarchy with a distant relative of Nicholas II, and it is Miles Lord's job to perform background checks on the Tsarist candidates. But after he is nearly killed by a gunman, Miles flees from his assassins and stumbles upon the mysterious writings of Rasputin. They reveal a cryptic message, implying that someone may have survived the bloody Romanov massacre, the effects of which could be life-altering for the future Tsar and mother Russia.

Greg Rucka, author of A GENTLEMAN'S GAME, which will be in bookstores on September 28th is our new Suspense/Thriller author.

New This Week:
-We will post our advance readers during the week of the 30th.
-Read an excerpt from A GENTLEMAN'S GAME.

Click on the link above to read more about the author.

Here's more about A GENTLEMAN'S GAME by Greg Rucka:
Tara Chace may be the most dangerous woman alive. She can seduce you into believing she's the woman of your dreams --- or kill you with the icy efficiency of an executioner. As the new head of Special Operations for British Intelligence, she no longer has to court death in the field --- she wants to. Throw away the old rules, the old school, the old-boy network. The world of international espionage is about to learn the hard way that spying is no longer merely a gentleman's game.
Read more about our Suspense/Thriller feature here.
Read more about our Fantasy Author Spotlight here.
Fantasy Author Spotlight: Stephen R. Donaldson, Author of THE RUNES OF THE EARTH
In response to popular outcry from our readers, here is our new Fantasy Author Spotlight feature. It will give us a chance to explore with you some authors that previously have not seen as much page time on

Our first author could not be more perfect. Stephen R. Donaldson is back with the latest in his Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series after a hiatus of 21 years. Six books were previously published. Four are planned for this continuation of the series.

Here is the story so far:

In the original series, Thomas Covenant is transported to a fantastic world in which a battle for the soul of the land is being waged, and he is forced to accept his role as savior of the Land. In THE RUNES OF THE EARTH, Linden Avery comes home one day to find her child building images of the Land with blocks. She never thought that she would be summoned to the Land again or see her beloved Thomas Covenant, who was killed ten years earlier. But in the Land, evil is unmaking the very laws of nature.

Interested in being one of our 20 advance readers? Then drop us a note with your name and your mailing address at by Friday, September 10th.
Read more about Stephen R. Donaldson and THE RUNES OF THE EARTH here.
Read more about our Debut Suspense/Thriller feature here.
Debut Suspense/Thriller Author: Raelynn Hillhouse, Author of RIFT ZONE
Our August Debut Suspense/Thriller author is Raelynn Hillhouse, author of RIFT ZONE, which hits stores on Tuesday.

New This Week:
-Read a third excerpt from RIFT ZONE

Here's more about the book:
Faith Whitney is an expert smuggler living in 1989 Germany, though her activities have not gone unnoticed. The East German Stasi have recruited her to deliver a package to Moscow, a package that must be delivered within forty-eight hours...or Faith will be eliminated. Her payment: the long-desired location of her missing father.
Read more about RIFT ZONE and Raelynn Hillhouse here.
New in Paperback for August
The New in Paperback titles for August include THE DEVIL'S BANKER by Christopher Reich, who has been hailed by the New York Times as "the John Grisham of Wall Street" and BABYLON RISING by Tim LaHaye, who co-authored the phenomenally popular Left Behind series with Jerry B. Jenkins. Our nonfiction selections include DUDE, WHERE'S MY COUNTRY? from the highly controversial and always outspoken Michael Moore, and ULTIMATE PUNISHMENT, a gripping examination of the case for and against the death penalty by respected criminal lawyer Scott Turow.
Read our New In Paperback titles here.
This Week's Book Reviews and Features
STRANGE BUT TRUE by John Searles (Fiction)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
Five years ago, on the night of his senior prom, Ronnie Chase died in an accident. Now Melissa Moody, his girlfriend that night, brings startling news to his family, setting in motion a series of discoveries for them all.

OBLIVION: Stories by David Foster Wallace (Fiction)
Reviewed by Brandon M. Stickney
David Foster Wallace, one of the most talented and original writers at work today, returns with his first new fiction in five years. Fans of Wallace and his unique brand of humor will devour this latest collection of "short" stories.

Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara
Olivia Joules is a fashion journalist who dabbles in novice espionage. While covering the launch of a new product in Florida, she encounters a man who she suspects is a terrorist. Are her concerns legitimate? Or is it all just a product of Olivia's overactive imagination?

THE PROGRAM by Gregg Hurwitz (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Called back into the fold of the U.S. Marshals Service, Tim Rackley must rescue Leah Henning, the daughter of a powerful Hollywood producer, from a mind-control cult. As Tim wends his way deep undercover into an insidious operation called The Program, he confronts a brand of mind-warping manipulation beyond his worst expectations.

ORANGE CRUSHED: An Ivy League Mystery, by Pamela Thomas-Graham (Mystery)
Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara
Murder stalks the Princeton campus in this exciting, witty and fast-paced novel, the third Ivy League Mystery by critically acclaimed writer Pamela Thomas-Graham.

IN THE HOPE OF RISING AGAIN by Helen Scully (Fiction)
Reviewed by Norah Piehl
Ambitious first-time novelist Helen Scully paints a vivid portrait of Regina Riant, a resilient Southern woman and daughter of a Confederate veteran in the early twentieth century.

THE SECRET LIFE OF THE LONELY DOLL: The Search for Dare Wright, by Jean Nathan (Biography)
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller
Jean Nathan has written an engaging biography of children's author Dare Wright and how her relationship with her mother filtered through to her work, which eventually spawned the children's classic THE LONELY DOLL. In Wright's case, art more than imitated life --- her work was her life.

THE UNTOLD STORY: My 20 Years Running the National Enquirer, by Iain Calder (Memoir)
Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott
Iain Calder worked for the National Enquirer for over three decades and held the paper's senior editorial post for nearly twenty years. Here, Calder exposes the stories behind the Enquirer's headlines and the tactics the tabloid has employed in order to get their scoops.
Read the reviews and features here.
Read Author Bibliographies here. Search here Read about the Light Wedge reading light here.
Poll: Dedications and Acknowledgements
Do you read dedications in books?

Not sure

Do you read the acknowledgments in books?

Not sure
Answer the Poll here.
Browse through forthcoming books here. Read about books that have won awards here. Read more about Books Into Movies here.
Question of the Week: What do you think will be remembered as the book of summer for 2004?
If you wrote a book, who would you dedicate it to?

Our next question update will be on September 10th.
Answer the Question of the Week.
Read more about THE ROMANOV PROPHECY here. Read more about ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK here.
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 THE ROMANOV PROPHECY by Steve Berry and ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK by Sidney Sheldon. Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on September 10th.
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 (see the link on the upper right) or change your preferences below.

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

--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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