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September 17, 2004 Newsletter September 17, 2004
This Week on
Reading Ahead for Pleasure Talks to Jennifer Weiner, Author of LITTLE EARTHQUAKES
THE OLD MAN AND THE TEE by Turk Pipkin: Special Feature and Contest
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Greg Rucka, Author of A GENTLEMAN'S GAME
One To Watch: ABSENT FRIENDS by S.J. Rozan
TRUE LOVE (AND OTHER LIES) by Whitney Gaskell
This Week's Book Reviews and Features
Poll: Political Books
Question of the Week: What Political Book Have You Enjoyed Most?
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: Do you read dedications and acknowledgements in books?
Past Question of the Week: Who would you dedicate a book to?
Read an interview with Liza Ward and a review of OUTSIDE VALENTINE here. ALL THAT MATTERS Reading Group Guide and Contest See what our advance readers had to say about RIFT ZONE.
Reading Ahead for Pleasure

On Monday I had lunch with a publisher friend who told me about a book that he was very excited about called DEAR ZOE. Hearing him talk about it and reading the first paragraph while sitting in the restaurant, I knew I wanted to delve into this one right away. But the book is not coming out until April. I already had on my bedside table three books I wanted to finish, some of which were for interviews I am scheduled to do next week, and there were four more on my floor that I wanted to get to as well that are coming out in the next few weeks. And I have four books to read for a panel that I am moderating in Toronto next month for Bouchercon, the mystery/suspense/thriller conference.

Hmmmm...I had the advance reading copy of DEAR ZOE in my briefcase and I moved it onto my chair. I stared at it for about 10 minutes. Then I said, I will read it, but limit myself to ONE page. Three chapters later I forced myself to put it down summoning great willpower. That night I read more, justifying this by saying I was tired anyway and would not read THAT long so this was really not taking away from other "required reading." I guiltily read for an hour just loving this book.

I got up Thursday with my 6:00 alarm and realized my son did not have school because of Rosh Hashanah, so I read for another hour and a half. Exhibiting true self-control I put the book down and got ready to go to the office. Okay, I confess, I read while blow drying my hair. Last night, four more chapters. This morning I woke up at 5, and instead of doing the "5 more minutes of sleep" game for an hour, I read till 6. See, this reading time is "free reading time" since I should not even be AWAKE yet.

I finished the book thinking that I have to wait SEVEN months to share this with our readers. I could not wait. I liked it THAT much. The story is this: It's a letter from a teen-aged girl to her baby sister who died on her watch telling her what has been going on in her life since her death, how she misses her and what her loss has done to the family. But it's a lot more than that. It's written in a voice that is sharp and clean and cuts through emotion like few books that I have read. It's going to be a huge hit and you are going to remember I told you about it. So flip to the last page of your 2004 calendar and mark DEAR ZOE goes on sale in April 2005. Doing this you will make me feel a lot less guilty about reading for pure indulgence!

OUTSIDE VALENTINE by Liza Ward is based on the infamous Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate killing spree in 1958. Ward's grandparents were two of their victims. We have an interview with Liza Ward this week where she talks candidly about how writing this novel has been a way for her to try to understand tragedy and how it affects those who are left behind. Ward also discusses her stylistic choice for the book, which weaves together the points of view of three characters from three different time periods and even gives voice to Fugate herself. Click on the link above to read it and a review of OUTSIDE VALENTINE.

I am not sure if any of you caught Tom Brokaw's "Dateline" piece with Aron Ralston last week. It was one of the best documentaries that I have ever seen. I review BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE this week and I want all of you who have said, "I already know his story" and "I cannot read that book since it's gory" (Note: it's not) to read my review this week.

How many of you LOVE to play golf, or know someone who LOVES to play golf? I see all mice waving on this one. Well, we have news of a contest for golfers that you will want to check out. In conjunction with the publication of THE OLD MAN AND THE TEE, which our reviewer really enjoyed, St. Martin's is co-sponsoring a golf essay contest where the Grand Prize is a Six Days/Five Nights stay in Turnberry, Scotland for two. See details below. You will want to spread the word about this one.

This week we also have advance reader comments about RIFT ZONE, the suspense/thriller title from Raelynn Hillhouse. Lots of raves there.

And one more contest for those of you in book clubs. Log onto to see details on how your group can win up to 20 copies of ALL THAT MATTERS by Jan Goldstein. Three groups will win prizes.

Lots more this week, so keep reading. Have a great week....

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Jennifer Weiner, Author of LITTLE EARTHQUAKES Co-Founder Carol Fitzgerald interviews Jennifer Weiner, author of LITTLE EARTHQUAKES. Weiner explores the meaning of the book's title and how the friendships she formed in her prenatal yoga classes served as inspiration for her characters. She also talks about motherhood's impact on her writing, the joys of fine dining, how she keeps in touch with her fans and upcoming projects.

LITTLE EARTHQUAKES by Jennifer Weiner (Fiction)
Reviewed by Jocelyn M. Kelley
Bestselling author Jennifer Weiner has created a tale of romance, forgiveness and extreme sleep deprivation, as four very different women navigate one of life's most wonderful and perilous transitions: the journey of new motherhood.

Read an interview with Jennifer Weiner and a review of LITTLE EARTHQUAKES here.
THE OLD MAN AND THE TEE by Turk Pipkin: Special Feature and Contest

THE OLD MAN AND THE TEE: How I Took Ten Strokes Off My Game and Learned to Love Golf All Over Again, by Turk Pipkin (Sports)
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
Due to an extremely busy schedule, accomplished writer and avid golfer Turk Pipkin found his golf game in drastic need of improvement. The death of his beloved father inspired Pipkin to set a lofty goal: to drop 10 strokes from his game in just one year.

THE OLD MAN AND THE TEE "Golf Trip of a Lifetime" Contest
Click on the link below between now and December 31, 2004 and write in one hundred words or less why you would want to take a family member or a close friend on a "Golf Trip of a Lifetime." The Grand Prize is six days/five nights in Turnberry, Scotland for two at the fabulous Westin Turnberry Resort. Second Prize is five days/four nights in Austin, Texas for two at Barton Creek Resort and Spa. Third Prize is three days/two nights in Austin, Texas for two at Barton Creek Resort and Spa.

Read more about the OLD MAN AND THE TEE contest and prizes here. Our review is linked from the review feature below.
Read more about our Suspense/Thriller  Author Spotlight here.
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Greg Rucka, Author of A GENTLEMAN'S GAME

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:
Read a third excerpt of A GENTLEMAN'S GAME.

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 Greg Rucka and A GENTLEMAN'S GAME here.
Read more about our One To Watch feature here.
One To Watch: ABSENT FRIENDS by S.J. Rozan

S.J. Rozan is the multi-award-winning author of eight novels in the Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series. While she is One To Watch all the time, we are spotlighting her for her stand-alone novel, ABSENT FRIENDS, which hits stores on September 28th.

New This Week:
See our list of advance readers.
Read an excerpt of ABSENT FRIENDS.

Here's more about ABSENT FRIENDS:
Jimmy. Markie. Vickie. Sally. Tom. Jack. Childhood friends, each will live in the shadow of a past that still echoes with hopes and regrets. Markie will die in prison. Kim will die a hero when the Towers fall. But it is a reporter's suicide and a colleague's desperate search for answers in the dark aftermath of a horrifying tragedy that will finally penetrate their silence.

Both a daring mystery and a tribute to an event that changed our lives irrevocably, it is ABSENT FRIENDS' rich characters and indelible portrait of New York City that readers will find unforgettable--- and that mark this extraordinary novel as the signature work of an author poised to take her place in the front ranks.

Read more about S.J. Rozan and ABSENT FRIENDS here.
Read our Chick Lit feature here.
TRUE LOVE (AND OTHER LIES) by Whitney Gaskell

TRUE LOVE (AND OTHER LIES) by Whitney Gaskell (Chick Lit)
Reviewed by Amie Taylor
When Claire Spencer, disgruntled travel writer for Sassy Seniors magazine, travels to London to review second-rate hotels and hot spots for the senior set, she finds more than she bargained for in the form of an attractive American lawyer. Is it possible that she could still believe in true love (and other lies)?

Read more about TRUE LOVE (AND OTHER LIES) here.
This Week's Book Reviews and Features

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE by Aron Ralston (Memoir)
Reviewed by Carol Fitzgerald
For six days twenty-seven-year-old Aron Ralston, a mountaineer and outdoorsman, was trapped in one of the most remote spots in America. His account of this terrifying ordeal --- and the extreme measures he took to ensure his survival --- will captivate readers.

THE MAN CALLED CASH: The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend by Steve Turner (Biography)
Reviewed by Bob Rhubart
Johnny Cash is one of the most influential figures in music and American popular culture today, and his legacy continues even after his death. Cash's remarkable story is captured in this exclusive authorized biography that focuses on his entire life --- not just his unforgettable music but also his relationship with his beloved wife and his faith in Christ.

ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? by Sidney Sheldon (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
All over the world, people are being reported dead or missing. At first these seem to be random incidents, but the police soon discover that all four of the victims are connected to Kingsley International Group (KIG), the largest think tank in the world.

OUTSIDE VALENTINE by Liza Ward (Fiction)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
Prepare to be deeply scared as Liza Ward's debut novel takes readers through the violence wreaked by real-life murderers Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate --- and then beyond, to the stain it left on so many lives.

SAUCER: THE CONQUEST by Stephen Coonts (Science Fiction)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
In this sequel to SAUCER, Rip Cantrell is brought back to give the saucer one last flight. Charley Pine has begun flying for Pierre Artois, and there is believed to be another downed saucer somewhere in the area. Rip and the United States Government will go head to head with the rich French tycoon to try to be the first to reach it.

BLIND ALLEY by Iris Johansen (Suspense)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
Eve Duncan is a forensic sculptor who is locked in a deadly duel with a serial killer determined to destroy her --- one life at a time --- in this terrifying psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of FIRESTORM.

SOMETHING ROTTEN: A Thursday Next Mystery by Jasper Fforde (Mystery)
Reviewed by Andi Shechter
In Jasper Fforde's fourth Thursday Next adventure, the detective and her son return to Swindon, England accompanied by Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark. Caring for both is more than a full-time job, so Thursday decides that it's time to get her husband back, if only to babysit.

AN UNFINISHED LIFE by Mark Spragg (Fiction)
Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds
For a decade, Einar Gilkyson has blamed his daughter-in-law Jean for the accident that took his son's life, and he has chosen to go on living mainly because his oldest friend couldn't survive otherwise. But Jean's ten-year-old daughter attempts to strengthen the relationship between her mother and grandfather, and make their lives happier.

BAIT AND SWITCH by Larry Brooks (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Billionaire Nelson Scott wants Wolfgang Schmitt, a former model, to seduce his wife --- setting off a prenuptial clause that will keep her hands off his money. The job pays a million dollars just for trying and another four if he succeeds. Schmitt accepts the assignment --- but there's much more to this story than meets the eye.

AMAGANSETT by Mark Mills (Mystery)
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
The drowning of Lillian Wallace appears to be a tragic accident. But when the autopsy report raises the possibility of murder, Deputy Chief of Police Tom Hollis must determine if a crime has been committed and, if so, by whom.

YOUR FATHER'S VOICE: Letters for Emmy About Life with Jeremy --- and Without Him After 9/11, by Lyz Glick (Memoir)
Reviewed by Jill McAfee
In this poignant memoir, Lyz Glick narrates her struggle to come to grips with the loss of her husband Jeremy, one of the passengers on United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. The letters she has written to her daughter give a wrenching but clear-eyed account of Lyz's first years without Jeremy, as well as the life they shared before the tragedy.

Read the reviews and features here.
Read Author Bibliographies here. Search here Read about the Light Wedge reading light here.
Poll: Political Books

Have you found yourself reading more books about politics this year?
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 Political Book Have You Enjoyed Most?

Which political book have you enjoyed most and why?

Our next question update will be on September 24th.

Answer the Question of the Week.
Read more about LITTLE EARTHQUAKES here. Read more about HARD HARD CITY 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 LITTLE EARTHQUAKES by Jennifer Weiner and HARD HARD CITY by Jim Fusilli. Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on September 24th.

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.

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--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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