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August 19, 2004 Newsletter

August 19, 2005

This Week on

Reading Traditions and Inspirations

Author Talk: Bret Easton Ellis, Author of LUNAR PARK

Beach Bag Of Books: Spotlight on WHERE THE RIVER RUNS by Patti Callahan Henry and Weekly Beach Bag Giveaway

Our Newest Suspense/Thriller Author: Paul Levine, Author of SOLOMON VS. LORD

Suspense/Thriller: Spotlight on Karin Slaughter, Author of FAITHLESS

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Stephen J. Cannell, Author of COLD HIT

Our Latest Mystery Mayhem Author: Margaret Coel, Author of EYE OF THE WOLF

Our Newest One to Watch Author: Jim Lynch, Author of THE HIGHEST TIDE

Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Becka, Author of TRACE EVIDENCE

Take the Edge off the Summer Heat --- CHILL FACTOR by Sandra Brown is Now in Stores

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Bookstore Behavior
Question of the Week: Must-Reads
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: Series Books, How Fast is Just Right?

Past Question of the Week: What is your favorite series? As we know you are voracious readers, you can name up to three.
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

Reading Traditions and Inspirations

There are some authors that I have a tradition of when and where I read them. One is Tess Gerritsen. She traditionally publishes in late August and I can remember the pool or beach where I read each of her books as vividly as her plots. Last Saturday I read VANISH, which will be in stores next week. Once again it was one of my favorite days of summer as I fell into the thrilling world that she created and met her well-crafted characters. The plot has to do with the human trafficking of Russian women to become prostitutes and the big business that wants to keep their stories quiet. It's great reading and strong social commentary on a real crisis among women with no voices that is often left untold. Also what's fun about Tess is that you can catch up with her recurring characters as well, since they find a home in each of her books.

Sunday I read a book that's coming out in September called JULIE AND JULIA. It's a fun book that actually originated on a blog. Julie Powell writes about creating every recipe in Julia Child's MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING, VOLUME ONE in 365 days in her small Manhattan apartment. While reading you can feel the heat in the kitchen, the eggs cracking in your hands and see the dishes piling in the sink! (As I am a really messy cook, the last image was rather vivid!) While I did not create a dinner with brains, kidneys or liver, I did whip up a great meal Sunday night once I finished reading.

I read Gourmet magazine for July today at the beauty salon. After 17 years of working for magazines I am not a big magazine reader any more, but as I was flipping through this one I saw Ruth Reichl's editor letter where she talked about listening to audiobooks as she cooked. I have not done that, but it sounds like a great idea. She said that when she is not cooking, she is reading and when she is not reading, she is cooking, so this is a perfect blend of her two passions. I do agree.

Su Doku puzzles made their way into our local newspaper a few months ago. Now the battle in our house is who does the puzzle first. A book of Su Doku puzzles came across my desk this week that may help --- THE BIG BOOK OF SU DOKU #1. It's full of puzzles that are graded by difficulty. If you do Su Doku, check it out. For those of you heading off on summer family vacations, may I suggest it for the car or the beach/lake/country house?

This is the last week of our Summer Beach Bag Contest and we wrap up with WHERE THE RIVER RUNS by Patti Callahan Henry. Our reviewer, Joni Rendon, loved this book and she was happy to find Patti's work and told me she is a new favorite author. We hope that you all have enjoyed our 14 weeks of summer reading and discovered some new favorite authors along the way. If you have not explored these titles yet, take a peek and enjoy this last contest. By the way, so many of you wrote to tell us how much you liked this feature that we are planning another feature/contest for the holidays with holiday gift baskets.

This week we have a review of Bret Easton Ellis's LUNAR PARK that was written by one of our summer interns, Scott Handwerker. He loves Ellis's work and it's a pleasure to share his review with you. Also, if you are thinking you might want to be one of our 20 advance readers for Paul Levine's SOLOMON VS. LORD, see details below and check out his newly launched website,

Don't forget to vote in the Quills Book Awards. They are the first national "reader's choice" book awards designed to celebrate the written word, honor excellence in writing and recognize the authors and illustrators of popular books and great literature. Voting is open now through September 15th at or in store at Borders Books & Music stores across the country.

Have a great week...tomorrow I plan to read one of my other summer favorites, Sandra Brown. See her review in this newsletter. Happy reading.

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on August 12th

List of titles reviewed and featured on August 19th


Click here to read more about THE BIG BOOK OF SU DOKU #1.

Author Talk: Bret Easton Ellis, Author of LUNAR PARK

In his latest novel, LUNAR PARK, controversial author Bret Easton Ellis places his literary alter ego amidst the McMansions and golden retrievers of sleepy suburbia. In this interview Ellis discusses the fine line between fact and fiction, and the ways in which he defines himself as a writer. He also reflects on the past and present state of his career, and how his writing processes, his perspective, and his reception in the public have changed over time.

LUNAR PARK by Bret Easton Ellis (Fiction)
Reviewed by Scott Handwerker
Where does sanity begin and end? Can moving to the suburbs bring you sanity, or lure you into insanity? In Bret Easton Ellis's brilliant new novel --- his first in six years --- these ideas surface through the life of a character who surprisingly has the same name as the author.
Click here to read an interview with Bret Easton Ellis and a review of LUNAR PARK.
See our  Summer Beach Bag of Books feature here.

Beach Bag Of Books: Spotlight on WHERE THE RIVER RUNS by Patti Callahan Henry 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 fourteenth --- and final --- spotlighted title is WHERE THE RIVER RUNS by Patti Callahan Henry, who introduces us to Meridy Dresden, a once free-spirited, fun-loving girl whose whole life changed when the boy she loved was killed in a tragic fire. Now, years later, Meridy must return to the South Carolina Low Country and summon the courage to face the past.

Our WHERE THE RIVER RUNS Beach Bag is a beautiful, lightweight beach tote filled with some truly special summer items. Along with a copy of WHERE THE RIVER RUNS, winners will receive a colorful stainless steel thermos, a large woven beach mat, cute bikini-shaped playing cards, bath salts shaped like a beach ball, and a colorful over-sized floppy sun-hat guaranteed to keep the sun out of your eyes as you are reading. Please note that the colors of each item will vary. We have five to give away, as well as five copies of WHERE THE RIVER RUNS.
 Click here to enter.

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


Our Newest Suspense/Thriller Author: Paul Levine, Author of SOLOMON VS. LORD

Paul Levine, whose thriller SOLOMON VS. LORD hits bookstores on September 27th, is the latest author spotlighted in our Suspense/Thriller Author feature. SOLOMON VS. LORD introduces readers to the two passionate, intelligent, driven and completely different lawyers Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord.

New This Week:
-Check out Paul Levine's new website

Previous Weeks:
This week we're giving away 20 copies of SOLOMON VS. LORD to readers who would like to preview the book and comment on it. If you're interested please send your name and mailing address to by Thursday, August 25th, 2005.

More about SOLOMON VS. LORD:
Steve Solomon is the sharpest lawyer ever to barely graduate from Key West School of Law. Victoria Lord is fresh from Yale, toiling for an ambitious D.A. and soon to be married. And Katrina Barksdale is a sexy former figure skater charged with killing her incredibly wealthy, incredibly kinky husband. With all three tangled in the steamiest trial of the century, the case is sure to make sparks fly, headlines scream-and opposites attract.

But with Solomon inventing his own laws and Lord sticking to the real ones, these two can't stop squabbling, even after teaming up to defend the glamorous widow. With crooks, con men, and a cast of colorful characters swirling around Solomon, and an anxious fiance waiting for Lord, the two attorneys begin to believe their luscious client has been lying through her perfect teeth. Now Solomon and Lord must solve the case before they end up in ruin, in jail...or in bed.

Click here to read more about Paul Levine and SOLOMON VS. LORD.


Suspense/Thriller: Spotlight on Karin Slaughter, Author of FAITHLESS

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Karin Slaughter, whose newest title FAITHLESS is on sale August 30th, is one of the authors spotlighted in our Suspense/Thriller Feature. Karin Slaughter is the internationally bestselling author of BLINDSIGHTED, KISSCUT, A FAINT COLD FEAR, and INDELIBLE.

New This Week:
-Watch a video of Karin Slaughter' talking about FAITHLESS here.
-Read an excerpt from FAITHLESS here.

Previous Weeks:
-See our Advance Copy Winners here.
-Read Karin Slaughter's Backlist here.
-Read Critical Praise for FAITHLESS here.

More about FAITHLESS:
The victim was buried alive in the Georgia woods-then killed in a horrifying fashion. When Sara Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver stumble upon the body, both become consumed with finding out who killed the pretty, impeccably dressed young woman. And for Sara and Jeffrey, a harrowing journey begins, one that will test their own turbulent relationship and draw dozens of lives into the case.

Lena Adams is one of them. A Grant County detective for years, she has her own reasons for being drawn to this case and a fierce drive to see justice done. For these three people, who have each seen the darkest side of human nature, the body of the murdered girl is but the first in a series of shocking and sordid revelations.

Now, as Jeffrey and Sara narrow the field of suspects, they must confront their own doubts and indiscretions, while Lena Adams sees herself reflected in the frightened eyes of a battered woman who may be the key figure in the case. As Faithless builds to a stunning and unforgettable climax, Karin Slaughter masterfully brings together strands of interlocking lives, family secrets, and hidden passions with one astounding truth: the identity of a killer who is more evil and dangerous than anyone could have guessed.

Click here to read more about Karin Slaughter and FAITHLESS.

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Stephen J. Cannell, Author of COLD HIT

Stephen J. Cannell, whose newest title COLD HIT is on sale now, is one of our featured Suspense/Thriller authors. You may recognize this Emmy-Winning television writer as has featured his titles: VERTICAL COFFIN, HOLLYWOOD TOUGH, and THE TIN COLLECTORS.

New This Week:
-Read our Advanced Reader Comments here.

Previous Weeks:
-See our Advance Copy Winners of COLD HIT here.
-Read Fast Facts about Stephen J. Cannell.
-Read Critical Praise for Stephen J. Cannell.

Read more about COLD HIT here:
Detective Shane Scully suspects that the regional boss of the Department of Homeland Security is thwarting a major murder investigation. But why?

Robert Allen Virtue can act without oversight or accountability. There's no way to question him; there's no way to way to check up on him; there's no way to find out if he's exceeding his authority. Virtually at will, he can bug anyone he considers a threat to national security, take over criminal investigations, and jail cops. Even if he is breaking the law, there's no way to know it. There's nothing to rely on but his integrity. His professional commitment. His good name. Virtue.

That may be a very big mistake.

Shane and his partner are investigating "the Fingertip Killer," a serial murderer preying on homeless Vietnam vets in Los Angeles. But there's a problem: Robert Allen Virtue wants him taken off it.

To solve the cop's murder, and possibly the Fingertip case, Scully must go behind the powerful bureaucrat's back and deep undercover -- where he will begin unraveling a deadly far-reaching conspiracy that threatens to destroy everything he loves: his career, his freedom, and his family.

Click here to read more about Stephen J. Cannell and COLD HIT.

Our Latest Mystery Mayhem Author: Margaret Coel, Author of EYE OF THE WOLF

Margaret Coel, author of EYE OF THE WOLF, is our newest featured Mystery Mayhem author. EYE OF THE WOLF is on sale September 6th. Coel demonstrated her ability to combine her expertise in Arapaho Indian history with her skills as a writer in her previous bestseller WIFE OF MOON. Now she gives fans the chance to re-visit a world where history and present-day collide with devastating consequences.

Previous Weeks:
-Read Critical Praise for EYE OF THE WOLF here.
-Read Tony Hillerman's interview with Margaret Coel here.
-See our Advance Copy Winners here.

More about EYE OF THE WOLF (On sale September 6th)
In Margaret Coel's all-new Wind River Reservation mystery, a psychopathic killer has brutally murdered three Shoshone Indians and posed their bodies on a historical battlefield. Is his intent to provoke a civil war between the reservation's Shoshone and Arapaho inhabitants, or is his target actually Father John O'Malley?


Click here to read more about Margaret Coel and EYE OF THE WOLF.


Our Newest One to Watch Author: Jim Lynch, Author of THE HIGHEST TIDE






Our latest One to Watch author is Jim Lynch, whose debut title THE HIGHEST TIDE goes on sale September 8th. This is a mesmerizing, allegorical, and beautifully wrought first novel about one boy's wonder with the sea during the summer that will change his life, and the lives around him.

-Read a new excerpt from THE HIGHEST TIDE here.
-See our Advance Copy Winners here.

One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles O'Malley slips out of his house, packs up his kayak and goes exploring on the flats of Puget Sound. But what begins as an ordinary hunt for starfish, snails, and clams is soon transformed by an astonishing sight: a beached giant squid. As the first person to ever see a giant squid alive, the speed-reading Rachel Carson-obsessed insomniac instantly becomes a local curiosity. When he later finds a rare deepwater fish in the tidal waters by his home, and saves a dog from drowning, he is hailed as a prophet. The media hovers and everyone wants to hear what Miles has to say.

But Miles is really just a teenager on the verge of growing up, infatuated with the girl next door, worried that his bickering parents will divorce, and fearful that everything, even the bay he loves, is shifting away from him. While the sea continues to offer up discoveries from its mysterious depths, Miles struggles to deal with the difficulties that attend the equally mysterious process of growing up. In this mesmerizing, beautifully wrought first novel, we witness the dramatic sea change for both Miles and the coastline that he adores over the course of a summer, one that will culminate with the highest tide in fifty years.



Click here to read more about Jim Lynch and THE HIGHEST TIDE.


Debut Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Becka, Author of TRACE EVIDENCE

Elizabeth Becka, whose debut title TRACE EVIDENCE is in stores now, is the latest author in our Debut Suspense/Thriller Feature. is excited to introduce Becka, a forensics specialist whose riveting thriller recalls the novels of Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs.

New This Week:
-Read our Advanced Reader Comments for TRACE EVIDENCE.

Previous Weeks:
-Read an excerpt from TRACE EVIDENCE.
-Read Critical Praise for TRACE EVIDENCE.
-See our Advance Copy Winners of TRACE EVIDENCE.

Read more about TRACE EVIDENCE here:
A gripping suspense novel, TRACE EVIDENCE introduces us to forensic expert Evelyn James as she tries to decipher trace evidence and solve a bizarre crime.

It's a cold Cleveland November day when forensic trace evidence expert Evelyn James is summoned to the scene of a bizarre crime. A young woman has been forcibly drowned, her feet chained and sunk in cement. When a second young victim is connected to a prominent family, all hell breaks loose, and the police -- and Evelyn -- are up against it to find the murderer. Evelyn just wants to get the job done, but is pulled into a web of conflicting loyalties, unexpected relationships, and professional betrayal. When Evelyn suspects that her own teenage daughter has become a pawn in the killer's plans, she must remain true to herself and her skills and follow the evidence to the murderer's door.

For more information about Elizabeth Becka and TRACE EVIDENCE, click here.

Take the Edge off the Summer Heat --- CHILL FACTOR by Sandra Brown is Now in Stores

CHILL FACTOR by Sandra Brown (Thriller)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
Suspense abounds in this gripping new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown. Lilly Martin is trapped in her remote cabin with a man believed to be a serial killer. Is Ben Tierney the feared abductor? Or is he who he claims to be...her rescuer from harm and from the tragedy that haunts her?


Click here to read our review of CHILL FACTOR.

This Week's Reviews and Features

REMAINS SILENT by Michael Baden and Linda Kenney (Mystery)
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
Fast-paced and well-written, this debut novel is a promising start to many future adventures that will be penned by husband-and-wife team Michael Baden and Linda Kenney, as they introduce readers to the crime fighting duo of deputy chief medical examiner Dr. Jake Rosen and trial attorney Manny Manfreda.

THE STOLEN HEART by Lauren Kelly (Suspense)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
Sixteen years ago, a vivacious fifth-grade classmate of Merilee Graf was abducted from a park in Mt. Olive, New York. Haunted by the memory of the girl whose disappearance has never been explained, Merilee returns home to keep a vigil at the bedside of her dying father.

THE WONDER SPOT by Melissa Bank (Fiction)
Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol
Melissa Bank follows up her runaway bestseller, THE GIRLS' GUIDE TO HUNTING AND FISHING, with a collection of short stories that follows Sophie Applebaum's quest for her own identity --- who she is, what she loves, whom she loves, and occasionally whom she feels others should love --- over the course of 25 years.

PIRATE by Ted Bell (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
In Ted Bell's follow-up to his New York Times bestseller ASSASSIN, intrepid intelligence operative Alex Hawke must thwart a secret, deadly alliance between China and France before they annihilate everything and everyone in their headlong rush toward world domination.

THE YOGA MAMAS by Katherine Stewart (Fiction)
Reviewed by Lourdes Orive
Laura meets four huge-hearted, pregnant women at the most elite yoga center in the city. Eventually they're exchanging birthing plans, baby names, and gossip about their significant others. But Laura soon discovers that each of her newfound friends has a secret.

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann (History)
Reviewed by Robert Finn
Science journalist Charles C. Mann has produced a detailed and wide-ranging examination of what North and South America were probably like before the arrival of Columbus. The result is a kind of archeological whodunit, with clues scattered all over the landscape, theories and conjectures galore, and very little firm agreement about anything.

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

Readers Share Their Library Stories
Remember When Amazon Was Only A River
More Random Musings
Library Memories
Note: You can read past blogs here as well.
Sign up here to get notified each time this blog is updated.
Click here to read the blog.
Read a list of upcoming books here. Browse our author bibliographies by clicking here. Sign up for Author Newsletters here.
Poll: Bookstore Behavior
Poll: When you go into a bookstore, what best describes your behavior?
I hone in on what I want and hit the register.
I browse the areas that I know have books that I like to read.
I roam the aisles to see what strikes my fancy.
I hone and then I roam.
I do not go to bookstores.
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: Must-Reads

What book would you hand someone and say, "You HAVE to read this!"?

Please note: Our question of the week will update August 26th.

Answer the Question of the Week 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 BELLE RUIN by Martha Grimes and CHILL FACTOR by Sandra Brown

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on August 26th.

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


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--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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