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November 11, 2005 Newsletter

November 11, 2005

This Week on

Leaves That Are Green Turn To Brown...And Then...The Holidaze Begins....

Now In Stores: A FEAST FOR CROWS by George R. R. Martin

Now In Stores: GOING OVERBOARD by Sarah Smiley

Holiday Basket of Cheer: Spotlight on THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS by Debbie Macomber and Weekly Basket Giveaway

Our Newest Debut Suspense/Thriller Author: Peter Temple, Author of BAD DEBTS and BLACK TIDE

Author Talk: Amy Tan, Author of SAVING FISH FROM DROWNING

What's New On

November Books Into Movies

Don't Miss Out --- Register Your Group With and Win!!!

Author Newsletter Contests

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Holiday Shopping
Question of the Week: Book-Giving
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 Question of the Week: Name up to five authors you would like to hear give online audio interviews.
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
Holiday Basket of Cheer Promotion

Leaves That Are Green Turn To Brown...And Then...The Holidaze Begins....

This morning when I looked out of my home office, I saw a palette with lots of brown and just a few hints of yellow. There are crumpled leaves on the lawn, the trees are barren and I can see we are probably a week or so away from ardent leaf blowing and raking. The morning air has a kick of cold in it that's announcing that winter is on the way. Every year this is the week that the weather snaps...what's the Paul Simon line that sums it up? "The leaves that are green, turn to brown..."
I am crazy about the holidays. I love painting holiday presents, ordering things online, and wrapping presents. I started making shopping lists last week and I already have some piles of presents stashed away.
As you know, we started our Holiday Basket of Cheer promotion last week. What I did not disclose is that this basket of gifts has many of my favorite holiday-related items in it. I am addicted to Chewy Peps. I am mad about fires in the fireplace and always toss in cinnamon sticks and colored pinecones; it's the one reason I hold off on converting to a gas fire. I love dark rich hot chocolate with decadent marshmallows, not the ones that you get in the supermarket. I enjoy the scent of candles all year round. Right now, it's cranberry orange season and a true night of fun shopping for me is a night in Illuminations. Comfy socks are perfect for reading. Sooo let's just say this basket is full of a few of my favorite things!
This week's title is THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS by Debbie Macomber. It's reviewed by Shannon McKenna, who shared that she read it in one sitting a couple of Saturdays ago snuggled up on her couch. She said it got her right in the mood for the holidays. I have quite a collection of holiday books --- a couple of shelves of them. I add a few each year and then re-read treasured favorites. I keep them on tables around the house and it's fun to watch people pick up a book, grab a chair and read. I look forward to adding THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS to my stack. Hope you do too.
These days I am reading THE BOY WHO FELL OUT OF THE SKY by Ken Dornstein, which will be in stores next March. I love the title of this has such strong imagery attached to it. It's a beautifully written true story about Dornstein's quest to learn more about his older brother, David, who was killed on Pan Am Flight 103. David was about five years older than Ken; the quintessential older brother. He loved the written word and the craft of writing. As Ken traces the story of what happened to David on that flight and the weeks leading up to it, he reads all of Ken's journals and writings from over the years. This reading inspires this book, which is moving, emotional and very poignant. I try not to "read so far ahead," since I like to talk here about books that are available now, but I am trying to "get ahead," thus I have quite a stack in my bedroom and home office that I am enjoying.
The National Book Awards are next Wednesday night. It's always one of my favorite evenings of book celebrations. Then Thursday I leave for the Miami Book Fair. Have a nice week. And be sure to write and tell us what you are reading at Word of Mouth

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on November 11th

List of titles reviewed and featured on November 4th

Now In Stores: A FEAST FOR CROWS by George R. R. Martin

A FEAST FOR CROWS: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4 by George R. R. Martin (Fantasy)
Reviewed by Pauline Finch
George R. R. Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book in his landmark series of high fantasy, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace...only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction.

Transport yourself into a world filled with fascinating characters, in the midst of a war that is the bloody result of a vicious power play among ruling families. Here, life is a fascinatingly fatal game that is so intricate, so volatile, so enthralling, that every one of the four contending kings is a pawn ... and each is on the move....

 "An absorbing combination of the mythic, the sweepingly historical, and the intensely personal....A grand feast and pageant ... reminiscent of T. H. White's Once and Future King."-Chicago Sun-Times

-Click here to read an excerpt from A FEAST FOR CROWS.

Click here to read our review of A FEAST FOR CROWS.


Now In Stores: GOING OVERBOARD by Sarah Smiley

Sarah Smiley, author of the syndicated newspaper column "Shore Duty," has written her first book, GOING OVERBOARD. In this memoir about her experiences as the wife of a Navy flight instructor, she sheds light on a previously misunderstood and misrepresented side of military life. In this interview Smiley discusses the difficulties of being a military spouse, and the solidarity that arises between women in similar circumstances. She also shares her thoughts on being compared to Erma Bombeck, and humorously dispels the notion that having a husband in the Navy is just as glamorous as Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer make it out to be on the big screen.

GOING OVERBOARD: The Misadventures of a Military Wife by Sarah Smiley (Memoir)
Reviewed by Carole Turner
When Sarah Smiley's husband, a Navy pilot, is sent away for an unexpected deployment, what follows is a true test of strength and wit that even Sarah's list-making mother couldn't have prepared her for. Just when Sarah thinks she has it all under control, a charming doctor creates temptation that is hard to resist.

-Click here to read an excerpt from GOING OVERBOARD.
-See a reading group discussion guide here.

Click here to read our review of GOING OVERBOARD.


Holiday Basket of Cheer: Spotlight on THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS by Debbie Macomber and Weekly Basket Giveaway

The holiday season is upon us! At this means it's time for us to share the spirit of the season with you with our Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest.

Each week from November 4th through December 16th we will spotlight a different title, and readers will have the chance to win one of five holiday baskets filled with winter-themed items as well as two copies of the featured book. Why two? One is to keep, of course, and one is for someone on your holiday gift list. We will also include festive wrapping paper and a bow to make the gift-giving hassle-free.

This week our featured title is THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS by Debbie Macomber.

Our Holiday Basket of Cheer is a woven basket stocked with holiday-themed items. Along with two copies of THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS by Debbie Macomber, green-and-tan checkered wrapping paper and a matching bow --- winners will receive a cinnamon spice-scented Illuminations candle, Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate mix, gourmet vanilla marshmallows, sweet-smelling Cinnamon sticks, delicious Chewy Peps peppermint candies, soft comfy slipper socks and blue-green treated pinecones that will color your holiday fire.

Reviewed by Shannon McKenna
Emma Collins has an aversion to all things Christmas --- and that includes fruitcake. It's not only the confection that she doesn't like, but since the death of her mother two years ago Emma has avoided the holiday altogether. But this year, some unexpected cheer is headed her way.

Click here to read all the details of our Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest.


Our Newest Debut Suspense/Thriller Author: Peter Temple, Author of BAD DEBTS and BLACK TIDE

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Peter Temple is the newest author in our Debut Suspense/Thriller feature. Temple is one of Australia's most acclaimed writers, and has worked as a journalist, magazine editor and teacher. He is the author of eight novels, four of which have received the Ned Kelly Award for crime fiction. BAD DEBTS and BLACK TIDE are the first and second titles in his celebrated Jack Irish series, which is just being released in the States.

New this week:
-Click here to read a new excerpt from BAD DEBTS.

Previous weeks:
-Click here to see our Advanced Copy Winners.

More about BAD DEBTS:
Jack Irish doesn't immediately remember ex-client Danny McKillop when he picks up an unexpected voicemail message - his life is hard enough without having to dredge up old problems. But when Danny turns up dead, Jack has no choice but to take a walk back into the dark and dangerous past.

With suspenseful prose and black humor, Peter Temple builds an unforgettable character in Jack Irish and brings the reader on a journey that is as intelligent as it is exciting.

More about BLACK TIDE:
Jack Irish is recovering from his last foray into the criminal underworld when he agrees to look for the missing son of Des Connors, the last living link to Jack's father. It's an offer he soon regrets, as he discovers that prodigal sons often go missing for a reason, and they always have something to hide.

The second book in Peter Temple's Jack Irish series, BLACK TIDE takes us back into a brilliantly evoked world of pubs, racetracks, and sports -- not to mention intrigue, corruption, and violence.

Click here to read more about Peter Temple, BAD DEBTS and BLACK TIDE.


Author Talk: Amy Tan, Author of SAVING FISH FROM DROWNING

The author of such works as THE JOY LUCK CLUB, THE KITCHEN GOD'S WIFE and THE BONESETTER'S DAUGHTER, Amy Tan is best known for her poignant novels that examine the dynamic relationships between mothers and daughters. She shifts her focus from this familiar theme in her latest offering, SAVING FISH FROM DROWNING, which she utilizes as a platform to explore questions of morality, the perceptions of truth, and the negative outcomes of even the best of intentions.

In this interview, Tan discusses the reasons for this departure, and stresses the importance of humor and fiction to address serious subjects. She also examines the book's underlying socio-political dimension and describes how she combined various literary conventions from several genres to create a literary puzzle that is both thought-provoking and entertaining to read.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
From the bestselling author of THE JOY LUCK CLUB and THE BONESETTER'S DAUGHTER comes this provocative novel about a group of friends who vanish while touring the Himalayan foothills in search of art. One of the tourists is the ghost of opinionated socialite Bibi Chen, who narrates the tale from beyond the grave.

Click here to read an interview with Amy Tan and a review of SAVING FISH FROM DROWNING.


What's New On

This month spotlights two new series: The It Girl by Gossip Girl author Cecily von Ziegesar and The Demonata by Darren Shan, who has written the popular Cirque du Freak novels. We also share interviews with Tamora Pierce, author of THE WILL OF THE EMPRESS; Lola Douglas, whose debut novel is TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET; and Rosemary Graham, author of THOU SHALT NOT DUMP THE SKATER DUDE. Reviews include INEXCUSABLE by Chris Lynch (a finalist for this year's National Book Award in the Young People's Literature category), THE HUMAN FLY AND OTHER STORIES by T.C. Boyle, and BOOK SENSE BEST CHILDREN'S BOOKS: 240 Favorites for All Ages Recommended by Independent Booksellers.

November Books Into Movies






November brings a multitude of offerings for book-loving cinephiles. There's major buzz surrounding the newest Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but as we gear up for Oscar season, other highly anticipated projects are vying for the spotlight. From the much-hyped adaptation of Jane Austen's classic PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, the long-awaited Jennifer Aniston vehicle Derailed, and the timely and topical Jarhead, to the wild and zany adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg's picture book ZATHURA and the delectable Juliette Binoche's star-turn in Bee Season (based on Myla Goldberg's beloved first novel), this month's lineup promises to incite dialogue and debate. These are movies that demand to be discussed and mused on long after the credits roll.

But the cinema isn't the only place you'll find movie versions of your favorite books. This month Hallmark Hall of Fame presents Silver Bells on CBS, which is based on the bestselling novel by Luanne Rice. So grab some popcorn, and chill out on the couch or head to your favorite theater --- November is the month for the movies everyone will be talking about.

Click here to read our Books Into Movies Feature.

Don't Miss Out --- Register Your Group With and Win!!!

This month, is offering the following FIVE special opportunities to book clubs who are registered with us by Monday, November 14th. Registered groups will receive a newsletter on November 16th with complete contest details. Click here to register your group.

SENSEO® Coffee Machine:
This month we have a very special offer for registered book clubs on Registered book clubs are eligible to receive a free SENSEO® coffee machine while supplies last. Each package will come with one bag of 18 coffee pods, all specially packaged to guarantee maximum freshness. Shipping and handling will also be covered. 

Make sure your book club is registered! Click here to register your group and be on the lookout for the invitation to this special offer.

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KILL ME by Stephen White: Ten groups will be eligible to win 12 copies of this book for their group

About KILL ME:
We've all been there. A loved one or a dear friend becomes desperately ill or is tragically injured. Someone --- maybe even you --- says, "If that ever happens to me, I wish someone would just kill me."

What if you could choose when to die? But once you decide, you can't change your mind. Ever. No matter what.
This one is different. New York Times bestselling author Stephen White has written a new breed of thriller. Throw out everything you think you know about twists, turns, and surprises.

"KILL ME is that rarest of creations --- a thinking person's thriller. In this age of the same-old, same-old fiction, White's novel stand dizzingly above the pack. The concept is unique (and brilliant), the writing is sharp, observant, and wry (White's trademark), and every page of this compelling tale is filled with perfectly realized human emotion --- about life, death, and family. Superb."
-Jeffery Deaver
"Stephen White has always been a rock-sold writer. But this book should turn heads. Big, provocative, and downright gripping, this is his best yet."
-Michael Connelly


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SHANTARAM by Gregory David Roberts: Ten groups will have the opportunity to win chats with Gregory David Roberts, as well as 12 copies of SHANTARAM for their groups. Please note this is a very special offer since Roberts lives in India.

Burning slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison agonies, criminal wars and Bollywood films, spiritual gurus and mujaheddin guerrillas --- SHANTARAM has the world of human experience in its reach, and a passionate love for India at its heart. Based on the life of the author, it is by any measure the debut of an extraordinary voice in literature.

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THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Masha Hamilton: Three groups will have the opportunity to win chats with Masha Hamilton, as well as exclusive THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US CDs with bonus materials and 12 copies of THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US for their groups.

An exclusive interview with an elusive Lebanese crime king and thug --- the kind of opportunity that every journalist lives for in the war-torn Middle East. But for Caddie Blair and her colleagues en route to just such an assignment, things are off-balance from the start. Not long into the trip, their Land Rover is ambushed by a band of radical militiamen, and photojournalist Marcus Lancour --- Caddie's colleague, friend, and lover --- is shot and killed in an assignment gone awry.

In her latest novel, Masha Hamilton, a seasoned journalist herself, gives readers an insider's perspective about the decisions that war correspondents sometimes face and the impact these decisions have on their lives. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US allows readers to reconsider their own judgments and views about reporting, knowing that objectivity and detachment often come at a substantial cost.
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THE GRACE THAT KEEPS THIS WORLD by Tom Bailey: Ten groups will have the opportunity to win chats with Tom Bailey, as well as 12 copies of THE GRACE THAT KEEPS THIS WORLD for their groups.

Tom Bailey has written a unique and engrossing first novel, infused with a deep sense of foreboding. Alternately narrated by members of the Hazen family (whose patriarch is a respected forester and hunter) and their neighbors in Lost Lake, this story perfectly captures the enduring rhythms of life in a rural town.

Click here to register your group.

Author Newsletter Contests

Sign up for the following author newsletters and be eligible to win prizes.

Nicholas Evans - Subscribers who sign up for Nicholas Evans's newsletter by November 30, 2005 will be entered in a random drawing to win one of five signed copies of THE DIVIDE. Click here to sign up: Nicholas Evans

Daniel Silva - Subscribers who sign up for Daniel Silva's newsletter by November 30, 2005 will be entered in a random drawing to win a signed copy of PRINCE OF FIRE. Click here to sign up: Daniel Silva

Nelson DeMille - Subscribers who sign up for Nelson DeMille's newsletter by December 31, 2005 are eligible to win one of five signed copies of the hard-to-find hardcover MAYDAY. Click here to sign up: Nelson DeMille

Joseph Finder - Subscribers who sign up for Joseph Finder's newsletter by November 30, 2005 will be entered in a random drawing to win a signed copy of COMPANY MAN. Click here to sign up: Joseph Finder

Kate White - Readers who sign up for Kate White's newsletter by December 31, 2005 will be eligible to win a contest prize of a Beauty Basket and signed copies of OVER HER DEAD BODY and 'TIL DEATH DO US PART. Click here to sign up: Kate White

Kristin Hannah - One lucky subscriber will be chosen from those who sign up for the Kristin Hannah newsletter by December 31, 2005 to win a copy of the paperback of THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE. Click here to sign up: Kristin Hannah

Marcia Muller - Subscribers who sign up by December 31, 2005 will be entered in a contest to win one of five signed copies of Marcia's limited-edition short story collection TIME OF THE WOLVES. Click here to sign up: Marcia Muller

Click here to see all our authors on the web.

This Week's Reviews and Features

SHALIMAR THE CLOWN by Salman Rushdie (Fiction)
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
A beautiful young Hindu dancer named Boonyi and a handsome Muslim tightrope walker known as Shalimar the Clown fall in love. Despite their religious differences they are allowed to marry after their relationship is discovered. But soon after she weds Shalimar, Boonyi begins to long for more than what rural life can offer.

TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL: The Making of a Movie Star by Tab Hunter, with Eddie Muller (Autobiography)
Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott
Art Gelien, an introverted and attractive young boy, was discovered by a Hollywood agent and transformed into Tab Hunter, Movie Star. In this detailed autobiography, the 1950s heartthrob tells how it all happened, and what it felt like to be created, packaged and sold to the American public.

-Click here to see a video clip of Tab Hunter discussing TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL.

TILT A WHIRL by Chris Grabenstein (Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
The first entry in debut novelist Chris Grabenstein's mystery series introduces readers to Danny Boyle and John Ceepak, two cops who are investigating the murder of a billionaire real estate mogul at an amusement park and the kidnapping of his young daughter, who witnessed this horrific crime.

THE GIFT by Pete Hamill (Fiction)
Reviewed by Tom Callahan
First published in 1973, Pete Hamill's second work of fiction is a short autobiographical novella about a 17 1/2 year-old sailor coming home to Brooklyn in 1952 during Christmas leave. Back in his old neighborhood he discovers firsthand that the girl he left behind evidently meant what she said in the Dear John letter she sent him.

FLASHBACK by Gary Braver (Thriller)
Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara
On the 35th anniversary of his parents' mysterious drowning, Jack Koryan returns to his family beach cottage. During a swim, Jack is attacked by a school of rare jellyfish whose toxic stings put him in a coma for three years. When he awakens, he finds that the jellyfish toxin has left him with an extraordinary memory but also with some perplexing flashbacks.

IN THE FOLD by Rachel Cusk (Fiction)
Reviewed by Norah Piehl
Whitbread Award winner Rachel Cusk offers up an old-fashioned dark comedy of manners, marriage and real estate, as her protagonist returns to the country estate of his former college roommate's family that he had visited years earlier. But now nothing in Egypt Hill is as it was, or at least how it once seemed.

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

October 30th Entry:
Time Time Time...See What's Become of Me....

October 21st Entry:
My Role as a Book Concierge to My Friends
Note: You can read past blogs here as well.
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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: Holiday Shopping
When do you start your holiday shopping?
I already started.
I am starting these next few weeks.
I start after Thanksgiving.
I start in December.
I wait until the last minute.
I have finished shopping already.
I don't buy holiday presents.
Do you purchase books to give to friends and family for the holidays?
I never have, but I would if I thought it would be appropriate
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: Book-Giving

What book are you most inclined to give this year?

Please note: Our question of the week will update November 18th.

Answer the Question of the Week here.

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 PENELOPIAD: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood, TEACHER MAN by Frank McCourt, and a SIGNED audiobook of CREEPERS by David Morrell.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on November 18th. 

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


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