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December 3, 2004 Newsletter December 3, 2004
This Week on

Making a List...or Two...or Three... Talks to Jonathan Kellerman, Author of TWISTED

ONE TO WATCH: CAGE'S BEND by Carter Coleman

HIT REPLY by Rocki St. Claire is Now In Stores


Special Feature: Preview of John Grisham's THE BROKER, due in stores on January 11th 

This Week's Book Reviews and Features
Poll: Holiday Shopping
Question of the Week: What Author Would You Invite for the Holidays?
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- THREE Prizes!
Quick Links to Features On The Book Report Network
Past Reviews
Can't See the Graphics? Read This Newsletter Online
Past Poll: Which of the following books have you read or do you look forward to reading?
Past Question of the Week: What author would you like to have a holiday meal with?
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Promotion
Debut Suspense/Thriller One to Watch Promotion
Mystery Mayhem Promotion

Fantasy Author Spotlight Promotion

One to Watch Promotion
Chick Lit Promotion
Click here to read more about THE KNOW IT ALL. Read more about HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU here. Read more about FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN here.

Making a List...or Two...or Three...

It's official: My lists have lists. There are lists of presents to buy, presents to make, cookies to bake and things to decorate. I am vowing to remain calm, perky and festive this holiday season. Note: This is an annual vow, which lasts about as long as my New Year's resolutions.

For me the start of the holiday season is not noted by watching Rudolph on TV, hearing Santa's bells in the malls or sorting the catalogs that get stuffed into my mailbox. No, my holiday is announced by the phone calls and e-mails that I get from friends asking, "What book do you think so and so might like?" Note to all: There is a book for everyone on your list. No matter what the interest, you always can find "the perfect book." And do not tell me the gift recipient does not read. There are books of sports facts, how to stock a wine cellar and beers from around the world. We need not think pure literature here; think hunger for info and how to satiate it.

Three books I am spotlighting this week can work for MANY people on your list.  I don't know about you, but every time I hear 22 more shopping days till Christmas and 5 till Hanukkah, I think what can be bought in multiples! So here you go....

The first is perfect for women of all ages: HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. You would expect the audience for this one to be women in their 20s and 30s, but in the last few weeks I have heard more about this book from women in their 50s and 60s than you might believe. What's there? Straight facts about how a woman knows a guy is into her --- or not. Based on a line that was immortalized on a "Sex and the City" episode, this book has the skinny on just about every excuse that men have dealt and that women have accepted. I am amending what I said above. This is good for women AND MEN of all ages. After all, I think it's only fair that guys learn that women are onto them!

Next was one of my favorite fall books --- THE KNOW IT ALL: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacobs. Jacobs read the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica --- and then wrote about it. What resulted is a highly entertaining book about what he learned. For the person on your list who constantly spews facts and factoids and plays let's stump the relatives, mark this one down. And let's remember this: Ken Jennings made how much money being smart on Jeopardy?

THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN by Mitch Albom was a huge holiday hit last year and it promises to be again this year. Sunday night, December 5th, ABC will air the movie based on the book at 8PM ET. Think about who will want to read the book after they have seen the movie!

For those looking for an update. The three recipes I tried from Nigella Lawson's FEAST were each a big hit! I tried the Green Bean and Lemon Casserole, Maple-Roast Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows (these have lime in them, which gave them a whole new flavor). Cookbook of the week for me this week is WOLFGANG PUCK MAKES IT EASY. I love to make pizza so I want to try some of his recipes for that. There also is a Grilled Eggplant Parmesan that looks heavenly.

For those of you who will miss Tom Brokaw's nightly broadcasts as much as me, may I suggest A LONG WAY FROM HOME by Tom Brokaw, his autobiography?

For those of you who love John Grisham, we have a Special Preview of his new book, THE BROKER, which will be in stores on January 11th.

Thanks to the more than 2,078 of you who already responded to our 3rd Annual Reader Survey. For those of you who have not yet been polled, you have till Sunday, December 5th. Reminder...for sharing your thoughts in this poll you can be entered to win a $100 gift certificate from Amazon, as well as two other $25 gift certificates. Click on the link below to learn more. One quick comment. There are three parts to the survey, so if you only answered one or two parts and would like to finish the survey, please click on the link below to access it.

Have a great week. Let's get some progress going on those holiday lists. 

--Carol Fitzgerald (

Answer our 3rd Annual Reader Study here.
Read more about A LONG WAY FROM HOME here. Click here to read more about WOLFGANG PUCK MAKES IT EASY. Read more about FEAST here. Talks to Jonathan Kellerman, Author of TWISTED co-Founder Carol Fitzgerald and senior writer Joe Hartlaub interviewed Jonathan Kellerman, who has written numerous bestselling tales of suspense. His latest novel, TWISTED, features Hollywood homicide detective Petra Connor and characters from some of his previous books. In this interview Kellerman talks about his writing process and how he is able to be such a prolific author while maintaining the standards he sets for himself. He also talks about DOUBLE HOMICIDE --- his first collaborative work with wife Faye --- and what readers can expect from him in the future.

TWISTED by Jonathan Kellerman (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
While trying to solve the apparently random and senseless slaying of an unidentified young woman, Hollywood homicide detective Petra Connor must also deal with the findings of Isaac Gomez, a gifted young man who is convinced that he has stumbled upon a bizarre connection between several unsolved murders.

Read our interview with Jonathan Kellerman and a review of TWISTED here, as well as an excerpt.
Read more about ONE TO WATCH here.

ONE TO WATCH: CAGE'S BEND by Carter Coleman

Our newest One To Watch author is Carter Coleman. His novel, CAGE'S BEND is written in the tradition of Pat Conroy's THE PRINCE OF TIDES. It's the dramatic story of the unraveling of a tight-knit Southern family. It will be in stores on January 7th.

New This Week:
Read our first excerpt.

Here's more about CAGE'S BEND:

Cage, Nick, and Harper appear to be the archetypal sons of the ideal American family of the 1960s and 70s. The firstborn, Cage, is the golden boy --- star athlete and scholar, adventurous, handsome, and preternaturally popular; Nick is the quiet, late-blooming middle son, and Harper, 10 years younger, chases after his older siblings, trying not to be left out. With the tragic death of Nick in the 1980s, the breakdown of the family begins. Cage's guilt triggers incipient mental illness, and the next two decades find him swinging between mania and depression, between grim institutions and comebacks. Harper, who achieved early success on Wall Street, is torn between wanting to help his brother and seeking escape from his ghosts via an endless stream of women. Told in the alternating voices of Cage, Harper, and their parents, CAGE'S BEND is the story of a family damaged by tragedy and unfulfilled dreams, and renewed by the unshakable bonds of love.

Read more about Carter Coleman and CAGE'S BEND here.


HIT REPLY by Rocki St. Claire is Now In Stores

When you get an e-mail from the one who got away, there's only one thing to do - HIT REPLY!

That's what three Boston friends do in Rocki St. Claire's flirty, and surprisingly touching chick lit debut, which is cleverly written entirely in instant messages and e-mails.  

Laugh and cry with Amber, Stevie and Julie as they click their way through the minefields of Cyberspace in search of love, laughter, and the heady endorphins that come when romance blossoms on the two-dimensional screen. Because romance is always good - right?  Wrong.  Not when the one tempting you to hook up with him is not your husband . . . or when the Cyberdust clears, and the flesh-and-blood guy steps into your life.

Read more about HIT REPLY by Roxie St. Claire here.



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In JEWISH HOLIDAY FUN...FOR YOU Barbara Rushkoff explains a myriad of Jewish holidays with wit, kitsch, and just a bit of sarcasm. With hilarious text and fun graphics, this book is more funny than informative, although much rings true. For example, the chapter on Hanukkah is subtitled "the one with the menorah and greasy pancakes." Even those who don't celebrate these holidays will find something to laugh about in chapters like "Sukkot: the one where you live in a harvest hut and eat way too much fruit" or the Purim play rewritten with characters from '70s television. Charming, original, and full of many pop culture references, Rushkoff's debut book makes a great holiday gift.
--- Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman

Click here for more about Jewish Holiday Fun...For You by Barbara Rushkoff.


Special Feature: Preview of John Grisham's THE BROKER, due in stores on January 11th 

John Grisham's latest is an international thriller called THE BROKER. It will be in stores on January 11th. Here we bring you a special feature:

Read more about THE BROKER.
Read an excerpt from THE BROKER.
Listen to John Grisham talk about the book.
Listen to an audio excerpt.

Read our Special John Grisham Feature here.

Read the reviews and features here. Read the reviews and features here. Read the reviews and features here.
This Week's Book Reviews and Features

DOWNTOWN: My Manhattan by Pete Hamill (Nonfiction)
Reviewed by Tom Callahan
Pete Hamill has written a brilliant tribute to the city he loves. Part history, part memoir, and part elegy, this book follows the growth of Manhattan from its roots as a Dutch trading post on the lower tip of the island to its inevitable expansion uptown to Times Square and upwards to the sky.

WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES by Debbie Macomber (Romance)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
Emily Springer is a widowed mother who decides to leave her hometown to spend Christmas with her daughter in Boston. Charles Brewster --- a history professor, seasoned curmudgeon and resident of Boston --- wants to avoid Christmas altogether. Through an Internet site, Emily and Charles arrange to swap houses for the holiday.

THE UNITED STATES OF EUROPE: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy, by T. R. Reid (Nonfiction)
Reviewed by Roz Shea
If you don't read another book on America this year, this is the one to pick up.  Author and American journalist T. R. Reid provides an infinitely readable, witty, analytical and information-packed description of the New Europe.

HALLELUJAH! THE WELCOME TABLE: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes, by Maya Angelou (Cookbook/Memoir)
Reviewed by Amie Taylor

Throughout Maya Angelou's life, good food has played a central role. Preparing and enjoying homemade meals provides a sense of purpose and calm, accomplishment and connection. HALLELUJAH! THE WELCOME TABLE is a wonderful collection of recipes and a lifetime of memories by the renowned poet and author. 

THE COVENANT by Naomi Ragen (Thriller)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
A young family in Israel is torn apart when terrorists kidnap the father and child, threatening to kill them if their demands are not met. But four old women who formed a bond called the Covenant while interred at Auschwitz step up to take on the terrorists. 

THE LAST DARK PLACE by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Mystery)
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
In Stuart M. Kaminsky's eighth mystery featuring Abe Lieberman, the veteran Chicago detective and his Irish partner Bill Hanrahan --- known on the streets as the Rabbi and the Priest --- have their hands full with dark matters both professional and personal.

THE ROAD TO PURGATORY by Max Allan Collins (Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Michael O'Sullivan returns from the jungles of Bataan a war hero and finds himself being asked by Eliot Ness to join another war -- between the government and Al Capone's gang.   

DARWIN'S WINK: A Novel of Nature and Love, by Alison Anderson (Fiction)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers

An American conservationist strives to save an endangered bird on a tiny island. But Nature isn't the only force working against her. And, as she realizes what she is up against, the stakes get higher. 

THE FAMILY TRADE: Book One of The Merchant Princes, by Charles Stross (Fantasy)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
In this fast-paced, quirky introduction to a new fantasy series, Miriam finds herself in a parallel world where her own true family rules --- and Miriam's life is in imminent danger. 

NAUGHTY OR NICE by Melanie George (Historical Romance)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
While caretaking her crumbling familial estate and struggling to make ends meet, Lady Francine Fitz Hugh meets Lucien Kendall, a handsome young man chosen by Fancy's late brother to be her guardian.

Read the reviews and features here.
Read our reviews and features here. Read our reviews and features here. Read our reviews and features here.
Poll: Holiday Shopping

How much of your holiday shopping is done?
All of it
I have not started yet.

Answer the Poll here.
Browse through forthcoming books here. Read about books that have won awards here. Sign up for Author Newsletters here.
Question of the Week: What Author Would You Invite for the Holidays?
What book(s) could you give multiple copies of this holiday season?

Our next question update will be on December 17th.
Answer the Question of the Week.
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- THREE 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 STATE OF FEAR by Michael Crichton,

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on December 17th.

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.

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--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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