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January 20, 2006 Newsletter

January 20, 2006

This Week on

Quintessential Bookreporter Talks to Raymond Khoury, Author of THE LAST TEMPLAR

Valentine's Day Contest: Books to Fall in Love With --- Enter to Win a Romantic Basket for Yourself or Your Valentine

Now in Stores: GENTLEMEN & PLAYERS by Joanne Harris


Suspense/Thriller Feature --- Spotlight on Steve Berry, Author of THE TEMPLAR LEGACY

Our Newest Featured One to Watch Author: Keri Arthur, Author of FULL MOON RISING

7 DEADLY WONDERS by Matthew Reilly

JUST REWARDS by Barbara Taylor Bradford

New in Paperback

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Finding Books
Question of the Week: Recommended Reading
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 question of the Week: What book did you buy in spite of reviews that were less than stellar?
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

Quintessential Bookreporter

Last night I was looking over this week's lineup and smiling. To me it's one of those quintessential weeks where the lineup just speaks to why I love doing what I do.
First, we have Sally Beauman's new book, THE SISTERS MORTLAND. Her book DESTINY, which came out in 1987, is one of my all-time favorite books. I think I bought ten copies of it to give to people over the years; something I am wont to do when I love a book. I was so pleased to read our reviewer Terry Miller Shannon's review yesterday since it's clear that while she had never read Beauman before, she's now a fan. I love sharing authors and seeing that kind of a reaction from people. By the way, I read THE SISTERS MORTLAND last summer and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Often we miss a book when it first comes out and circle back later for a review. Last summer I picked up IMMORAL by Brian Freeman and spent the entire day floating in the pool reading it. Really enjoyed it. Well, somehow we did not get around to a review til this week, which I regret. Joe Hartlaub gives it a real rave, which I hope will have many of you picking it up even at this late date.
As you know Raymond Khoury is one of the debut suspense/thriller authors who we have been featuring this past month. We have a review of THE LAST TEMPLAR and an interview with Khoury this week as the book just hit stores. I am very excited to share that this book has been at number one in Germany for TWO weeks already. It's great to hear news like that about an author who we are so excited about introducing you to!
Little secret: I love pulling together the baskets for our contests. With this in mind I am happy to share that today we are unveiling a NEW contest for Valentine's Day with five books that oh so perfectly capture this holiday --- they are a mix of love, sex and intimacy. Once again, we are doing a contest with a twist. You either can win this basket for yourself or have it sent to your Valentine. Your choice! The contest is open until February 5th to give us enough time to get your basket to you. Read on for details and to enter.
This week I have been reading THE FAITHFUL SPY by Alex Berenson. It's about a CIA agent who infiltrates Al Qaeda and is brought into a plot against the United States. When he returns home, the Agency does not trust that he has not crossed over. He becomes a man between two worlds trying to foil a threat, but remain undercover enough to continue to be useful to the United States. The fiction reads so much like fact that I was wondering where John Wells, Berenson's character, was this week when I heard that Bin Laden had sent a new tape. Here's what Berenson does so well --- he captures how being in the Agency and living on the edge like this leads one to a world that is so over the top that being in the real world brings challenges that many of us cannot imagine. It's like running at Mach 10 on a go-cart course. It's out on April 25th. You'll hear more about it here.
This week we share our advance reader comments about Richard Hawke's SPEAK OF THE DEVIL. See what they had to say here.
And for any of you who were something like out of the country this week and did not know that Oprah's new selection is NIGHT by Elie Wiesel, well now you know. We have a reading group guide for this book and the other two titles in this trilogy -- DAWN and DAY.
I have both of my son's birthday celebrations this week. We kick off what looks like 10 days of non-stop celebrating tonight with my younger son's sleepover with his two best pals. One of them loves to read so MAYBE it will be a quiet night. Okay, I am kidding myself. Monday the Newbery and Caldecott children's book winners will be announced as well as a number of other prizes. Check back for our feature on these titles. In the middle of the week I am off to Nashville for the Christian Booksellers Association's winter show.

Have a great week. Here's hoping you find something terrific to read.



Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on January 20th.

List of titles reviewed and featured on January 13th.

Click here to read a guide for NIGHT. Talks to Raymond Khoury, Author of THE LAST TEMPLAR's Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek) interviewed veteran screenwriter Raymond Khoury about his novel, THE LAST TEMPLAR. Khoury discusses how he first became interested in the mysterious order of knights on which the book is based, and reveals the long and arduous process of writing and publishing this debut work of fiction. He also comments on the recent popularity of religion-themed thrillers, compares and contrasts screenplays with novels, and even recommends a few titles for further study on the period's history.

THE LAST TEMPLAR by Raymond Khoury (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Following a bizarre incident at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, in which four masked horsemen dressed as Templar Knights steal an artifact from "The Treasures of the Vatican" exhibit, an FBI investigation led by anti-terrorist specialist Sean Reilly is launched. Soon, he and archaeologist Tess Chaykin are drawn into the dark, hidden history of the Templar Knights, plunging them into a deadly game of cat and mouse with ruthless killers as they race across three continents to recover the lost secret of the Templars.

Click here to read our interview with Raymond Khoury and a review of THE LAST TEMPLAR.

Valentine's Day Contest: Books to Fall in Love With --- Enter to Win a Romantic Basket for Yourself or Your Valentine

Valentine's Day is all about love, sex and intimacy --- and our Valentine's Day Basket is filled with books about just that.

How about the love poems of Pablo Neruda? Sexy tips from relationship expert Tracey Cox? Three wry and witty Valentine's Day murder-mysteries? A book to "share" the inner you? --- and another to fill out with your lover to get to know each other better? Yes, these are books to fall in love with.

From January 20th through February 5th, readers will have the chance to win one of our five Valentine's Day baskets. They are filled with one copy of each of our featured books --- ALL ABOUT ME and ALL ABOUT US by Philipp Keel, THE HOT SEX HANDBOOK by Tracey Cox, TWENTY POEMS OF LOVE AND A SONG OF DESPAIR by Pablo Neruda and VALENTINE'S DAY IS KILLING ME by MaryJanice Davidson, Leslie Esdaile and Susanna Carr. Also included: some irresistible Valentine's Day goodies --- a red heart-shaped candle from Illuminations; pink, white and red roses that are mineral bath salts; a heart-decorated picture frame; Lucky Lovers Message Dice; a red comfy pillow; and Godiva heart-shaped candies in a heart-shaped box.

What makes this contest even more romantic? You can have your basket shipped either to yourself or to your valentine! If you want to fete your valentine, send us the name and address of the person you want it sent to along with your entry. Also tell us what you would want the gift card to say. Either way,we'll notify you if you win.

Click here to read all the details about our Valentine's Day Basket Contest.


Now in Stores: GENTLEMEN & PLAYERS by Joanne Harris

GENTLEMEN & PLAYERS by Joanne Harris (Thriller)
Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara
For generations, privileged young men have attended St. Oswald's Grammar School for Boys. But this year the wind of unwelcome change is blowing, and Roy Straitley, the eccentric Classics teacher who has been a fixture there for more than thirty years, is contemplating retirement. He is joined this term by five new faculty members --- and one of them has nefarious plans that involve the ultimate demise of St. Oswald's.

-Click here to read an excerpt from GENTLEMEN & PLAYERS. 

Click here to read a review of GENTLEMEN & PLAYERS.



THE SISTERS MORTLAND by Sally Beauman (Fiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
In this gothic tale of excruciatingly perfect pacing and suspense, a family tragedy occurs, triggering repercussions that span decades. Pieces of the puzzle are added bit by tantalizing bit from various viewpoints gathered from past and present, mesmerizing the reader until the very last page.

Click here to read a review of THE SISTERS MORTLAND.


Suspense/Thriller Feature --- Spotlight on Steve Berry, Author of THE TEMPLAR LEGACY

Our newest featured Suspense/Thriller author is Steve Berry, who has already made a name for himself with such page-turners as THE THIRD SECRET, THE ROMANOV PROPHECY and THE AMBER ROOM. His newest work, THE TEMPLAR LEGACY, comes out February 21st, and is sure to satisfy old fans and lure new readers with it's DA VINCI CODE-esque mix of modern day thrills and ancient religious mysteries.

We have 20 advance copies of THE TEMPLAR LEGACY to share with readers who would like to read the book and comment on it. Interested? Then send your name and mailing address to by Friday, January 27th.

The ancient order of the Knights Templar possessed untold wealth and absolute power over kings and popes...until the Inquisition, when they were wiped from the face of the earth, their hidden riches lost. But now two forces vying for the treasure have learned that it is not at all what they thought it was --- and its true nature could change the modern world.

Click here to read more about Steve Berry and THE TEMPLAR LEGACY.

Our Newest Featured One to Watch Author: Keri Arthur, Author of FULL MOON RISING

Our newest featured One to Watch author is Keri Arthur, whose supernatural novel FULL MOON RISING hits shelves on January 31st. Deliciously sexy and mysterious, with a touch of humor, FULL MOON RISING is a sinfully delicious little bonbon of thrills, chills and romance.

-Click here to see our list of advance copy winners.
-Click here to read an excerpt from FULL MOON RISING.

In this exciting debut, author Keri Arthur explodes onto the supernatural scene with a sexy, sensuous tale of intrigue and suspense set in a world where legends walk and the shady paths of the underworld are far more sinister than anyone envisioned.

A rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf, Riley Jenson and her twin brother, Rhoan, work for Melbourne's Directorate of Other Races, an organization created to police the supernatural races-and protect humans from their depredations. While Rhoan is an exalted guardian, a.k.a. assassin, Riley is merely an office worker --- until her brother goes missing on one of his missions. The timing couldn't be worse. More werewolf than vampire, Riley is vulnerable to the moon heat, the weeklong period before the full moon, when her need to mate becomes all-consuming.

She must follow her instincts not only to find her brother but to stop an unholy harvest. For someone is doing some shifty cloning in an attempt to produce the ultimate warrior --- by tapping into the genome of nonhumans like Rhoan. Now Riley knows just how dangerous the world is for her kind --- and just how much it needs her.

Click here to read more about Keri Arthur and FULL MOON RISING.

7 DEADLY WONDERS by Matthew Reilly






7 DEADLY WONDERS by Matthew Reilly (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
In ancient times, at the peak of the Great Pyramid of Giza stood a magnificent capstone of gold. Split into seven pieces, it disappeared in antiquity. Whoever finds it will alter the future of the planet. Matthew Reilly is back in high gear on the greatest --- and deadliest --- treasure hunt of all time: a race to find the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Click here to read a review of 7 DEADLY WONDERS.


JUST REWARDS by Barbara Taylor Bradford

JUST REWARDS by Barbara Taylor Bradford (Romance)
Reviewed by Amie Taylor
Join the Harte women as they carry on the tradition started by their ancestor, Emma Harte --- a tradition of strength, determination and pride in the face of life's challenges --- while they run a successful, world-famous retail giant. This brand-new novel from Barbara Taylor Bradford is the dramatic conclusion of the extraordinary tale of Emma's great granddaughters.

Click here to read a review of JUST REWARDS.


New in Paperback

January's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes GILEAD, Marilynne Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century; THE THIRD SECRET, an international thriller from Steve Berry that takes place during a papal conclave where the third secret of Fatima is revealed; DANCE OF DEATH by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, which marks the return of FBI Agent Aloysius Pendergast and his diabolical brother Diogenes; THREE WEEKS WITH MY BROTHER, Nicholas and Micah Sparks's touching memoir about their life-affirming journey around the world; LOVE, ROSIE, (initially published in hardcover as ROSIE DUNNE), a lighthearted novel from Cecelia Ahern about what happens when two people who are meant to be together just can't seem to get it right; and THE GLASS CASTLE, the New York Times bestselling memoir by Jeanette Walls in which she recalls her deeply dysfunctional, nomadic and occasionally homeless childhood.

Click here to read our New in Paperback feature.


This Week's Reviews and Features

OUR ENDANGERED VALUES: America's Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter (Current Affairs)
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
Former President Jimmy Carter offers a personal consideration of "moral values" as they relate to the important issues of the day. He puts forward a passionate defense of separation of church and state, and a strong warning of where the country is heading as the lines between politics and rigid religious fundamentalism are blurred.

-Click here to read an excerpt from OUR ENDANGERED VALUES.

MAD RIVER ROAD by Joy Fielding (Romantic Suspense)
Reviewed by Amie Taylor
After several bad relationships, Jamie Kellogg --- a pretty but unaccomplished twenty-nine year old in a dead-end job, with an ex-husband who lives in another state --- thinks she finally has met the man of her dreams. Little does she know that this dream will soon become her worst nightmare.

SUNSTROKE by Jesse Kellerman (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Gloria Mendez is secretly and somewhat hopelessly in love with her oblivious (older) boss. But when he disappears on his annual trip to Mexico, Gloria's sudden and impulsive search for him reveals the wreckage of a hidden past. Carl Perreira was not who Gloria thought he was --- nor was he anything she could have imagined. This is an impressive and memorable debut from Jesse Kellerman, the son of bestselling authors Jonathan and Faye Kellerman.

THE PROMISE OF HAPPINESS by Justin Cartwright (Fiction)
Reviewed by Alexis Burling
A slow-to-unfold yet rightfully deliberate stroll through the contours of human suffering and a story that recognizes the importance of hope as an offset to seemingly irreversible tragedy, THE PROMISE OF HAPPINESS describes one family's pieced-together attempt at redemption following a far-reaching misfortune that threatens to break them apart permanently.

RASPUTIN'S DAUGHTER by Robert Alexander (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Alexis Burling
In Robert Alexander's new novel, the minutiae of Grigori Rasputin's last days are recounted with vivid detail and what seems like stunning accuracy. Retold from the perspective of his eldest daughter, the myths of how Rasputin died are dispelled and a proposed answer to the question of how he was actually killed is spelled out.

SHAKESPEARE: THE BIOGRAPHY by Peter Ackroyd (Biography)
Reviewed by Tony Leuzzi
Bestselling biographer and novelist Peter Ackroyd brings William Shakespeare to life by positioning the playwright in the context of his world, exploring everything from Stratford's humble town to its fields of wildflowers; discerning influences on the plays from unexpected quarters; and entering London with the playwright as modern theatre, as we know it, is just beginning to emerge.

IMMORAL by Brian Freeman (Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
For the second time in a year, a beautiful teenage girl has disappeared off the streets of Duluth, Minnesota --- gone without a trace. The media hounds Lieutenant Jonathan Stride to catch a serial killer, and he must decide which facts are real and which are illusions. And Stride finds his own life changed forever by the secrets he uncovers.

THE GIRL WITH THE LONG GREEN HEART by Lawrence Block (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Originally published in 1965, this noir classic from Lawrence Block is about Johnny Hayden and Doug Rance's scheme to take real estate entrepreneur Wallace Gunderman for all he's worth. In order to succeed they will need a girl on the inside. Enter Evelyn Stone: Gunderman's secretary, his lover --- and his worst enemy.

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

January 11th Entry:
My Week in January With James Frey

January 6th Entry:
Reading Outside the Comfort Zone

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: Finding Books
Where did you find out about the book you currently are reading?

Read a review on
Read a review someplace else online
Read a review someplace offline
A friend or family member
A local bookseller
A librarian
None of the above
I cannot remember where I heard about it.
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: Recommended Reading

What book are you recommending most these days?

Please note: Our question of the week will update on February 3rd.

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 two great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of CELL by Stephen King and GONE by Lisa Gardner.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on February 3rd. 

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online (see the link on the upper right) or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page.  If you would like to reach me, please write Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by January 31, 2006 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: CELL by Stephen King, DEATH DANCE by Linda Fairstein, GENTLEMEN AND PLAYERS by Joanne Harris, GOT THE LOOK by James Grippando and IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW by Cecelia Ahearn. Last month's winner was Sandi from Guilford, CT, who won THE CONSTANT PRINCESS by Philippa Gregory, NAIL BITER: A Home Repair is Homicide Mystery by Sarah Graves, THE NEW WOMAN: A Staggerford Novel by Jon Hassler, OH WHAT A SLAUGHTER by Larry McMurtry and TURNING ANGEL by Greg Iles.

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