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May 27, 2005 Newsletter

May 27, 2005

This Week on

Making Lemonade Matter Talks to Iris Johansen, Author of COUNTDOWN

Beach Bag Of Books: Spotlight on THE FROG PRINCE by Jane Porter and Weekly Beach Bag Giveaway

New In Paperback

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Perri O'Shaughnessy, Author of CASE OF LIES 

NEW Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Jack Kerley, Author of THE DEATH COLLECTORS
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Erica Spindler, Author of KILLER TAKES ALL

Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight: Laurie R. King, Author of LOCKED ROOMS

Red Sox Books, Part Deux Update

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: What Day Do Most Books Come Out?
Question of the Week: Must-buys or must-borrows
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- TWO Prizes!
Quick Links to Features On The Book Report Network
Past Reviews
Can't See the Graphics? Read This Newsletter Online

Past Poll: Finishing Books

Past Question of the Week: What book would you give a graduate?
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
Summer Beach Bag Promotion
Read more about ALEX'S LEMONADE STAND here. Read more about EMPIRE FALLS here.

Making Lemonade Matter


I am writing from a lawn chair on my deck. This is the first nice day we have seen all week and I am soaking it up. I am ready for a long weekend. My reading pile has ROCOCO by Adriana Trigiani (coming out June 21st), THE UNDOMESTIC GODDESS by Sophie Kinsella (coming out July 19th) and A GOOD YARN by Debbie Macomber, which is in stores now. I am going to be cooking recipes from the cookbook that Linda Greenlaw wrote with her mom called RECIPES FROM A VERY SMALL ISLAND (coming out July 6th; for more about it, go to That's my plan. Crack those lobsters.
Thinking of summer means lemonade. I love making lemonade, albeit from the can, with lots of ice and the "real thing" thrown in the blender for even more pulpy flavor. For those of you with a child or children in your life you may want to take note of a charity --- Alex's Lemonade Stand --- where kids raise money for pediatric cancer by selling lemonade. Here's some background on it.
Alex Scott was just shy of her first birthday when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a very rare childhood cancer. When she was four she decided to do something to help fight this disease. She started a lemonade stand to raise money. What started with that one stand has grown and grown as people across the country have embraced this idea. To date Alex's Lemonade stand has raised more than $1.6 million. Their goal is to get to $5 million this year.
While children can do a lemonade stand any time of year, June 10-12 is being designated as a fundraising weekend. Want to get a hold of an Alex's Lemonade Stand Kit (that includes lemonade mix) to get started? Then click on the graphic above. We think this is the perfect way to combine summer fun with fundraising.
Thinking beachy thoughts? Then think about our Beach Bag of Books feature with 14 great summer titles and a weekly contest. This week's beach bag giveaway is based on the book, THE FROG PRINCE. It's full of great summer items including some green frog lights that just make me smile. Be sure to enter!
Looking for something to watch this weekend, but wanting to stay with a bookish theme --- and not leave the house? May we recommend the two-part series based on EMPIRE FALLS by Richard Russo on HBO on Saturday and Sunday nights? Confession here: I have not read the book, but I am very much looking forward to watching this after hearing so many raves about the writing. Let me know what you think after you watch it by dropping me at note at
Have a wonderful three-day weekend. Enjoy the bonus day, but please also take time to remember its significance.
Carol Fitzgerald (

Read more about ROCOCO here. Read more about THE UNDOMESTIC GODDESS here. Read more about RECIPES FROM A VERY SMALL ISLAND here. Talks to Iris Johansen, Author of COUNTDOWN's Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek) interviewed Iris Johansen, author of COUNTDOWN. Johansen talks about the inspiration for the character of Jane MacGuire and the decision to "age" her fiery protagonist, her disciplined writing schedule and details of her next novel, which will be released in December 2005.

COUNTDOWN by Iris Johansen (Thriller)
Reviewed by
Joe Hartlaub
In this relentless psychological thriller a young woman is caught in a maze of secrets and stalked by a merciless killer. The countdown begins the moment you open this riveting novel that only grows more electrifying as the pages turn, more exciting as time runs out. . .

Read an interview with Iris Johansen and a review of COUNTDOWN here.
See our  Summer Beach Bag of Books feature here.

Beach Bag Of Books: Spotlight on THE FROG PRINCE by Jane Porter and Weekly Beach Bag Giveaway

Whether your "beach" is on sand, your backyard deck or a grassy meadow in the country, the summer months mean it's time for "beach reading." is celebrating the lazy days of summer reading with a special feature, Beach Bag of Books.

Every week from May 20th through August 19th a different title will be featured with a review and author interview, as well as a contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with that book, plus summertime essentials that tie in to its theme. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the book to additional winners.

Our second spotlighted title is THE FROG PRINCE by Jane Porter, a book that's funny, sweet and not your typical fairy tale. Our THE FROG PRINCE Beach Bag prize is a multi-colored straw beach bag filled with everything you need to create your own fairy tale summer. Along with copies of Jane Porter's book --- THE FROG PRINCE --- and a discussion guide, you'll find a sarong and a beach towel, Raspberry Lemonade Mix, a polka-dotted drink cup, a set of frog decorating lights, sun block, red licorice, microwave popcorn, Burt's Bees skin and beauty products, and a bookmark. We have five to give away, as well as five additional prizes of copies of THE FROG PRINCE.

Enjoying our summer beach bag contests and want to make sure you don't miss out on the next one? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter and we'll alert you when the weekly Beach Bag contest has been updated.

Click here to read more about's Beach Bag of Books feature.

Click here to read our New In Paperback feature. Click here to read our New In Paperback feature. Click here to read our New In Paperback feature.

New In Paperback

May's roundup of New in Paperback fiction titles includes HISSY FIT by Mary Kay Andrews, about an interior decorator who catches her fiancée in a compromising position with her maid of honor the night before their wedding; THE QUEEN OF THE BIG TIME, Adriana Trigiani's heartfelt story of the limits and power of love; and THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB by Karen Joy Fowler, which spent 17 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Among our nonfiction selections are DRESS YOUR FAMILY IN CORDUROY AND DENIM, the enormously popular book of essays from celebrated humorist David Sedaris; BIG RUSS AND ME, Tim Russert's warm and engaging tribute to his father; and HOMESICK, in which Jenny Lauren, the niece of fashion icon Ralph Lauren, bravely recounts her battle with anorexia and bulimia.


Click here to read our New In Paperback feature.


Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Perri O'Shaughnessy, Author of CASE OF LIES 

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Readers love Perri O'Shaughnessy, a New York Times bestselling duo who have created a series of novels centered around lawyer and single mother Nina Reilly. The new Reilly novel is CASE OF LIES, which will be on-sale on June 28th.

We have 20 advanced reading copies of CASE OF LIES by Perri O'Shaughnessy to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. A description can be found by clicking the link below. If you are interested, please send your name and mailing address to by Friday, June 3rd, 2005. 
More About CASE OF LIES:
For Nina Reilly, the mountain town of Lake Tahoe is home. It's where she forged a successful career as a tough, resourceful attorney -- and raised her teenage son, Bob, alone. Back from a stint in Monterey, where her love life took a tumble, Nina has returned to her Tahoe law office with her old friends Sandy Whitefeather and Sandy's son, Wish. It isn't long before she has a new client. As Nina tries to unravel the mystery of one violent Tahoe night, a harrowing journey begins -- one that takes her from the dark underworld of Tahoe's casinos to the halls of a prestigious East Coast university to Europe and an emotional reunion with Kurt.

Read more about Perri O'Shaughnessy and CASE OF LIES here.

NEW Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Jack Kerley, Author of THE DEATH COLLECTORS

Jack Kerley, whose book THE DEATH COLLECTORS is on sale on June 23rd, is another author spotlighted in our Suspense/Thriller feature. Many of you may remember his book, THE HUNDREDTH MAN that we shared with you last year.

New This Week:
-See our Advanced Reader Copy Winners.
-Read Fast Facts about Jack Kerley.

Read more about THE DEATH COLLECTORS here:
In 1972, on the day of his sentencing, renowned artist and serial killer Marsden Hexcampis shot dead in the courtroom. Members of his Mansonesque band of followers are imprisoned or simply disappear.

Fast-forward more than thirty years: A suspected prostitute is found murdered in a candlelit motel room, the first in a series of horrors suggesting Hexcamp's art remains alive and treacherous. Following a trail of beautiful --- and profoundly disturbing --- artwork, homicide detectives Carson Ryder and Harry Nautilus descend into the shocking world of the Death Collectors, people who spend vast sums to collect serial-killer memorabilia. As Ryder and Nautilus race to solve a thirty-year conspiracy, it becomes sadly evident that at the intersection of art and madness, death is beauty, tragedy a memento, and suffering suitable for framing.

Read more about Jack Kerley and THE DEATH COLLECTERS here.

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Erica Spindler, Author of KILLER TAKES ALL
Praised for her insight into the dark world of psychological terror, Erica Spindler delivers novels that are sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last moment. In KILLER TAKES ALL, which is on sale May 31st, the white rabbit beckons you to follow him, down the rabbit hole, into his world. He's a deceiver, a trickster. You won't know what is truth and what is a lie. He aims to best you. beat you. And when he does, you die.
See our Advance Winners' comments on KILLER TAKES ALL.
Read an excerpt of KILLER TAKES ALL here.
Read more about KILLER TAKES ALL here:
When a friend is found brutally murdered in her New Orleans apartment, former homicide detective Stacy Killian has reason to believe her death is related to the cultish fantasy role-playing game White Rabbit. The game is dark, violent --- and addictive.

As a former member of the Dallas police force, Stacy was exposed to more than her share of the horrors of crime. Moving to New Orleans was her attempt to pursue a quieter life. But her friend's murder plunges her back into the role that she fled.

She finds White Rabbit is more than a game. It's more real than life and death. And anyone can die before the final moment when the game is over...and the killer takes all.

Click here to read more about Erica Spindler and KILLER TAKES ALL.


Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight: Laurie R. King, Author of LOCKED ROOMS

Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes are back in Laurie R. King's highly acclaimed New York Times bestselling mystery series. And this time the first couple of detection pair up to unlock the buried memory of a shocking crime with the power to kill again --- lost somewhere in Russell's own past.
We have 20 advanced reading copies of LOCKED ROOMS by Laurie R. King to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. A description can be found by clicking the link below. If you are interested, please send your name and mailing address to by Friday, June 3, 2005.

Watch a video with Laurie R. King here.

More About LOCKED ROOMS (on-sale June 21st):

After departing Bombay by ship, Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes are en route to the bustling modern city of San Francisco. There, Mary will settle some legal affairs surrounding the inheritance of her family's old estate. But the closer they get to port, the more Mary finds herself prey to troubling dreams and irrational behavior --- a point not lost on Holmes, much to Russell's annoyance.

The more questions they ask of Mary's past, the more people from that past turn out to have died violent, unexplained deaths. Now, with the aid of a hard-boiled young detective and crime writer named Hammett, Russell and Holmes find themselves embroiled in a mystery that leads them through the winding streets of Chinatown to the unspoken secrets of a parent's marriage and the tragic car "accident" that a fourteen-year-old Mary alone survived --- an accident that may not have been an accident at all. What Russell is about to discover is that even a forgotten past never dies...and it can kill again.

Click here to read more about Laurie R. King and LOCKED ROOMS.


Red Sox Books, Part Deux

Despite the Yankees' slow start earlier this season, it's highly probable that New York and Boston once again will battle it out for the pennant (although the Orioles and the Blue Jays may have something to say about that). Taking advantage of Boston's first World Series title in almost ninety years, reviewer --- and baseball enthusiast --- Ron Kaplan takes a look at additional books that focus on the Boston Red Sox.

Click here to read our Baseball Feature. Update, The Book Report Network's website for Christian readers, has been updated for May. Our features include a Father's Day roundup of great books to give/get; an interview with David Murrow, author of WHY MEN HATE GOING TO CHURCH; and an interview with award-winning writer Catherine Palmer, who responds to the Faithful Fifteen, a list of questions developed to give readers insight into Christian authors --- and what they write. We also present the 2005 nominees for the Christy Awards and the Gold Medallion Book Awards, and have added 12 new reviews in three different categories: Fiction, Christian Living, and Marriage & Family Life.

Click here to visit


This Week's Reviews and Features

VELOCITY by Dean Koontz (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
One evening, bartender Billy Wiles finds a typewritten note under the windshield wiper of his car. The message is chilling; no matter what course of action Wiles decides to take, an innocent person will be murdered. But this is only the beginning, as Wiles is taunted and pursued by an unknown assailant who possesses not only an uncanny knowledge of his whereabouts at any given moment but also detailed insight into his past.

RAGE: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
In this brilliant, haunting work by bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman, psychologist Alex Delaware and LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis revisit a horrifying crime from the past that has taken on shocking and deadly new dimensions.

ZORRO by Isabel Allende (Fiction)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
Just how did Diego de la Vega, a young man of some privilege, become the dashing Zorro? Someone who knew him well recounts his formative years in Isabel Allende's richly imagined tale of this legendary hero.

WATCH YOUR BACK! A Dortmunder Novel by Donald E. Westlake (Mystery)
Reviewed by Tom Callahan
Preston Fareweather, an obnoxious rich guy who is hiding from numerous ex-wives seeking his fortune, leaves his luxury penthouse apartment on New York's Fifth Avenue empty. And it just happens to be filled with priceless art. Could it be any simpler for a crew of professional thieves? But, alas, Lady Luck once again has other things on her mind when it comes to John Dortmunder.

A PERFECT STRANGER: And Other Stories by Roxana Robinson (Fiction/Short Stories)
Reviewed by Alexis Burling
Roxana Robinson's latest collection of short stories examines the complex, intricate network of experiences that binds us to one another, with powerful, gripping meditations on such weighty subjects as premature death, extramarital affairs, and unrelenting depression.

MY LIFE SO FAR by Jane Fonda (Autobiography)
Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol
From her youth among Hollywood's elite and her early film career to the challenges and triumphs of her life today, Jane Fonda reveals intimate details and universal truths that she hopes "can provide a lens through which others can see their lives and how they can live them a little differently."

DOWN CAME THE RAIN: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression by Brooke Shields (Memoir)
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller
In this compelling memoir, actress Brooke Shields candidly documents her painful time dealing with postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter, and provides millions of women with an inspiring example of recovery.

BANGKOK TATTOO by John Burdett (Thriller)
Reviewed by Roz Shea
From the author of the highly acclaimed bestseller BANGKOK 8 comes a head-spinning new novel that reintroduces readers to the Buddhist Royal Thai Police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep.

LIGHT OF DAY by Jamie M. Saul (Fiction)
Reviewed by Lourdes Orive
Jamie M. Saul's debut novel is a moving and elegant story about love and loss, and the unforeseeable darkness that lurks around the corners of everyday life. It will linger with the reader long after the final page is turned.

LEGENDS: A Novel of Dissimulation by Robert Littell (Fiction)
Reviewed by Colleen Quinn
Martin Odum, a traumatized ex-CIA operative turned private detective, struggles to remember which of his espionage identities represents his actual self. He is caught in a "wilderness of mirrors" where both remembering and forgetting his past are deadly options.

HIGHWAY 61 RESURFACED by Bill Fitzhugh (Fiction)
Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds
FM rock deejay and private investigator Rick Shannon is asked to find a long-lost blues recording, which is somewhere out there on Highway 61, in this second novel of a series that began with RADIO ACTIVITY.

OUR FATHERS' WAR: Growing Up in the Shadow of the Greatest Generation by Tom Mathews (History)
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan
Tom Mathews's relations with his father, a veteran of World War II's fabled 10th Mountain Division, were terrible. He came back from the war to a young son he'd barely met and proceeded to bully and browbeat him --- for his own good, he thought. Mathews relates his awkward experiences, and those of his contemporaries, in this truly touching story.

THE FRIEND WHO GOT AWAY: Twenty Women's True Life Tales of Friendships that Blew Up, Burned Out or Faded Away edited by Jenny Offill and Elissa Schappell (Essays/Nonfiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
Twenty writers, including Francine Prose and Diana Abu-Jaber, share their tales of lost friendships in this thought-provoking and intriguing anthology. These stories are filled with pain, joy, humor and anger --- and all are fascinating to read.

Click here to read this week's reviews and features.

Read our reviews and features here. Read our reviews and features here. Read our reviews and features here. Blog

Encouraging a Reader
Cooking a la Rachel Ray
Runaway Bride
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Note: You can read past blogs here as well.
Sign up here to get notified each time this blog is updated.
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Read a list of upcoming books here. Browse our author bibliographies by clicking here. Sign up for Author Newsletters here.
Poll: What Day Do Most Books Come Out?
What day of the week do books typically come out?
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: Must-buys or must-borrows

Which author (name up to 3) is a must-buy or must-borrow as soon as his or her book comes out? 

Please note: Our question of the week will update June 10th.

Answer the Question of the Week here.

Read more about VELOCITY here. Read more about  ZORRO 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 VELOCITY by Dean Koontz and ZORRO by Isabel Allende. Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on June 10th.

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


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--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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