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March 24, 2006 Newsletter

March 24, 2006

This Week on

On the Road Again... Talks to Richard Montanari, Author of THE SKIN GODS Talks to Robert Dugoni, Author of THE JURY MASTER Talks to Elizabeth Gilbert, Author of EAT, PRAY, LOVE

Our Newest Featured Mystery Mayhem Author --- Harley Jane Kozak, Author of DATING IS MURDER

Chick Lit Author Feature --- Spotlight on Laurie Graff and LOOKING FOR MR. GOODFROG

Our First Featured Romantic Suspense Author --- Lisa Jackson, Author of SHIVER

Our Newest Debut Suspense/Thriller Author --- Robert Taylor, Author of PARADIGM

Now in Stores: THE MINOTAUR by Barbara Vine

What's New on

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Books to Anticipate
Question of the Week: Authors Who Fill You Up
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's your favorite author website? What do you like on it?
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

On the Road Again...

As promised, I am writing this note from Charlottesville where I am in town for the Virginia Festival of the Book. I think this is my sixth year of coming to this event, which always is one of my favorites. I will blog about this as things happen. You can read my comments about the drive down here. Charlottesville is such a warm and welcoming town with a nice mix of college students, great restaurants and warm ambience. Also flowers are in bloom and the trees are is good!
This week we have a review of a book that wowed me a couple of months ago when I read it --- THE AMERICAN by Andrew Britton. Britton is just 24, but writes like a seasoned writer. I was eager to share this one with Joe Hartlaub for review and I was thrilled to see he shared my sentiments.
Likewise, Terry Miller Shannon raves about WHITE GHOST GIRLS, another title that captured my attention a few months back. Set in Hong Kong in 1967, it's the story of two sisters whose father makes a living photographing the Vietnam War. This line from our review sets the tone: "Kate and Frankie feel invisible, like white ghosts. Their mother is afraid to truly see them; their father can only see Vietnam even when he's physically with them." I read the bestseller lists from around the country and am thrilled to see the momentum that this book is picking up. Cindy Crosby reviews WHERE MERCY FLOWS and has this to say: "Beautiful prose, a poignant prodigal story, and vivid imagery mark this debut novel by Karen Harter."

On Tuesday more than 5 million copies of THE DA VINCI CODE will release in mass market and trade paperback. Three weeks ago I saw someone reading the hardcover version at the pool in Boca Raton and I wanted to ask him what he's been reading the last three years to just be getting to this NOW.
I enjoyed our interviews with both Richard Montanari and Robert Dugoni this week where they both share a lot of background on their new books, which we also review this week. Good reading.
I am off to lunch with Michele Martinez, author of THE FINISHING SCHOOL, and more events. Will write more on blogs this week. Enjoy spring...maybe vibes that we want it here will warm things up.

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on March 24th.

List of titles reviewed and featured on March 17th.

Click here to read more about THE DA VINCI CODE. Talks to Richard Montanari, Author of THE SKIN GODS's Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek) interviewed Richard Montanari --- author of such novels as THE ROSARY GIRLS and THE VIOLET HOUR --- about his most recent endeavor, THE SKIN GODS. Montanari explains some of the technical aspects of writing, such as how a character's point of view can set the tone of the entire novel, and the ways in which he structures multiple plot lines in a single book. He also discusses his lifelong passion for film and its effect on his work, explores the possibility of writing sequels to his previous books, and shares details on the future of the Byrne/Balzano series.

THE SKIN GODS by Richard Montanari (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Back on the force after taking a bullet during the arrest of a sadistic murderer, Detective Kevin Byrne warily returns to police headquarters. He cannot shake the memory of the Rosary Killer's innocent victims --- or his growing sense that the evil has not been vanquished. When he and his partner, Detective Jessica Balzano, are called in on a bizarre case, Byrne's gravest suspicions are confirmed.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SKIN GODS.

Click here to read our interview with Richard Montanari and a review of THE SKIN GODS. Talks to Robert Dugoni, Author of THE JURY MASTER
As the author of a legal thriller, Robert Dugoni successfully melds together his backgrounds in journalism and law.'s Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek) interviewed Dugoni about his debut novel, THE JURY MASTER. Dugoni discusses the recurring themes of justice and the abuse of power, and parallels himself with the novel's protagonist, David Sloane. He also shares his lifelong passion for writing --- despite his decision to pursue a doctorate in jurisprudence --- and sheds light on details for future series projects.

THE JURY MASTER by Robert Dugoni (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Attorney David Sloane is beginning to suspect that his professional success stems not from extraordinary legal skills, but a rare gift that allows him to influence and even control a jury's decisions. Teaming up with a former CIA agent turned recluse and a West Virginia police detective, Sloane will try to solve a murder purposely cast as a suicide.

Click here to read our interview with Robert Dugoni and a review of THE JURY MASTER. Talks to Elizabeth Gilbert, Author of EAT, PRAY, LOVE

Throughout her writing career, Elizabeth Gilbert has experimented with several different genres: she has penned a novel, a biography, a short story collection, and worked as a staff journalist for publications like GQ and SPIN. She tries her hand at yet another --- travel memoir --- with her latest release, EAT, PRAY, LOVE. In this interview with's contributing writer Alexis Burling, Gilbert talks about why she chose to follow this path and explains how these various styles have affected her abilities as a writer. She also contemplates the pressures that society places on women and shares what she has learned about herself and others from her extensive travels.

EAT, PRAY, LOVE: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert (Memoir)
Reviewed by Alexis Burling
Despite a big beautiful house, a husband and an incredibly successful career, Elizabeth Gilbert was consumed with panic, grief and confusion. After going through a long, painful divorce, a deep depression and another failed romance, she found herself in need of change. EAT, PRAY, LOVE is Gilbert's deeply personal chronicle of the year she spent living in three different countries in order to better understand herself and her ultimate place in the universe.

-Click here to read an excerpt from EAT, PRAY, LOVE.

Click here to read our interview with Elizabeth Gilbert and a review of EAT, PRAY, LOVE.


Our Newest Featured Mystery Mayhem Author --- Harley Jane Kozak, Author of DATING IS MURDER

Harley Jane Kozak is our newest featured Mystery Mayhem author. Her smart and funny novel DATING IS MURDER is coming out in paperback and we're excited to be spreading the word about this witty and suspenseful tale.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DATING IS MURDER.
-Click here to see our Advance Copy Winners.
-Click here to see Harley Jane Kozak's backlist.
-Click here to read Fast Facts about Harley Jane Kozak.
-Click here to read Critical Praise for DATING IS MURDER.

Wollie Shelley, the plucky amateur sleuth Kirkus Reviews called "funny, brave, smart, and altogether the fetchingest crime heroine since the early Stephanie Plum," returns to face suspect lovers and unlovable suspects in this hilarious sequel to DATING DEAD MEN.

Wollie Shelley is a greeting card artist struggling to keep afloat financially and to pursue --- despite a series of recent disasters --- the search for the love of her life. She reluctantly agrees to be a contestant on the reality television show Biological Clock. The show's premise: Six eligible singles date each other, and the audience votes on which couple would make the best parents. Alas, Wollie isn't having much luck finding a man she'd like to date "off the air," much less father her child. As her own biological clock ticks away, Wollie gets caught up in a much more pressing demand on her time. Her friend Annika has vanished into thin air, and Wollie is convinced that she's in grave danger.

Click here to read more about Harley Jane Kozak and DATING IS MURDER.


Chick Lit Author Feature --- Spotlight on Laurie Graff and LOOKING FOR MR. GOODFROG

Our newest featured Chick Lit author is Laurie Graff, whose book LOOKING FOR MR. GOODFROG comes out on April 1st and is a fun twist on the old story about a princess and a frog.

-Click here to read an excerpt from LOOKING FOR MR. GOODFROG.
-Click here to see our Advance Copy Winners.
-Click here to read Critical Praise for LOOKING FOR MR. GOODFROG.
-Click here to read Fast Facts about Laurie Graff.
-Click here to read Laurie Graff's backlist.

A Fact About Frogging:

With new species discovered every day, it's hard to find a rule to catch a good frog, except to say that when it comes to frogs there are no rules at all.

Karrie Kline had kissed her share of frogs. But when it came to finding her prince, her pond was dry. With disappointments ranging from a Colorado-bound Casanova to a lascivious lawyer she meets online, Karrie's frustration climbs so high, even dreams of meeting her match on her own reality show become a nightmare. But she still has her tales.

An enterprising actress, Karrie turns her dating stories into a successful one-woman show. Has her quest to put her bad-date karma to good use turned her into a dating pariah? Her old frogs are hopping out of the woodwork. But offstage, Karrie journeys back to the beginning to figure out how she got here. From finding her very first tadpole on up to her biggest horniest toad, Karrie comes away with an even stronger sense of herself and relationships, passing on a prince for her own good frog.

Click here to read more about Laurie Graff and LOOKING FOR MR. GOODFROG.

Our First Featured Romantic Suspense Author --- Lisa Jackson, Author of SHIVER

To launch our Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight we are featuring Lisa Jackson, author of SHIVER. In each of her gripping bestsellers, Lisa Jackson has brought readers to the edge of their seats and proven herself a master of romantic suspense. Now the New York Times bestselling author delivers SHIVER --- her most powerful novel yet.

-Click here to read a new excerpt from SHIVER.
-Click here to see our Advance Copy Winners.

More about SHIVER:
Detective Reuben "Diego" Montoya is back in New Orleans where a serial killer is turning The Big Easy into his personal playground. The victims are killed in pairs -- no connection, no apparent motive, no real clues. Somebody's playing a sick game, and Montoya intends to beat him at it.

His only lead is the ex-wife of one of the victims, Abby Chastain,a woman haunted by painful secrets. Twenty years ago she watched in horror as her mother, a patient at the Our Lady of Virtues Mental Hospital, plunged through a window to her death. Abby has always dreaded that she too would one day go insane...especially now, back in this town, where she's begun to feel watched, as if the devil himself is scraping a fingernail along her spine.

As more bodies are found in gruesome, staged scenarios Montoya's in a desperate race to find a killer whose crimes are getting more terrifying, and closer all the time. Plunging deep into a nightmare investigation will uncover a shocking revelation -- a deadly connection between Abby and Montoya and an asylum where unspeakable crimes were committed, evil once roamed free, and a human predator may still wait.

Click here to read more about Lisa Jackson and SHIVER.

Our Newest Debut Suspense/Thriller Author --- Robert Taylor, Author of PARADIGM






Robert Taylor, whose intelligent and wickedly well-written thriller PARADIGM came out March 13th, is our newest featured Debut Suspense/Thriller author. 

-Click here to read a new excerpt from PARADIGM.
-Click here to see our list of Advance Copy Winners.
-Click here to see a list of Robert Taylor's Bookstore Appearances.

More about PARADIGM:
What is tomorrow's Wall Street Journal worth to you today? Where is the line between reality and fiction? Are the financial markets really predictable? Does an ancient artifact hold the key to how some of the world's wealthiest families made their fortunes?

When a mysterious granite and cypress Egyptian box is found hidden away in a secret room in the palatial Biltmore Estate, twin scientists Alex and Nicholas Shepard work to unlock the secret of its intricate dials, gauges, crystals, and carvings. What they discover has the potential to make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. But it could also collapse financial markets, bankrupt corporations around the globe, and destroy many of the world's most powerful families. As the twins quickly find out, people will not only kill to make money, but will kill to keep it

Click here to read more about Robert Taylor and PARADIGM.


Now in Stores: THE MINOTAUR by Barbara Vine

THE MINOTAUR by Barbara Vine
As soon as Kerstin Kvist arrives at remote, ivy-covered Lydstep Old Hall in Essex, she feels like a character in a gothic novel. A young nurse fresh out of school, Kerstin has been hired for a position with the Cosway family, residents of the Hall for generations. She is soon introduced to her "charge," John Cosway, a thirty-nine-year-old man whose strange behavior is vaguely explained by his mother and sisters as part of the madness that runs in the family.

Weeks go by at Lydstep with little to mark the passage of time beyond John's daily walks and the amusingly provincial happenings that engross the Cosway women, and Kerstin occupies her many free hours at the Hall reading or making entries into her diary. Meanwhile, bitter wrangling among Julia Cosway and her four grown daughters becomes increasingly evident. But this is just the most obvious of the tensions that charge the old remote estate, with its sealed rooms full of mystery. Soon Kerstin will find herself in possession of knowledge she will wish she'd never attained, secrets that will propel the occupants of Lydstep Old Hall headlong into sexual obsession, betrayal, and, finally, murder.

Click here to read more about THE MINOTAUR.


What's New on

Our March update is truly special. This month we are featuring an interview with Kate DiCamillo, whose charming and magical book THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE is bound to enchant both you and your kids. We also launched a Coming Soon feature, and along with our regular reviews and Cool New Books for March, we have reviews of three books your kids will love --- SIR THURSDAY: The Keys to the Kingdom, Book Four by Garth Nix, SPIRIT WALKER: Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #2 by Michelle Paver and FLYTE: Septimus Heap, Book Two by Angie Sage. Got a kid in the house? Make sure they're logging on to

Click here to visit


This Week's Reviews and Features

THE REBELS OF IRELAND: The Dublin Saga by Edward Rutherfurd (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Roz Shea
THE PRINCES OF IRELAND, the first volume of Edward Rutherfurd's magisterial epic of Irish history, ended with the disastrous Irish revolt of 1534 and the disappearance of the sacred Staff of Saint Patrick. THE REBELS OF IRELAND opens with an Ireland transformed. Plantation is the order of the day, and the subjugation of the native Irish Catholic population has begun in earnest.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE REBELS OF IRELAND.

THE AMERICAN by Andrew Britton (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
The Senate Majority leader brazenly assassinated in the nation's capital. A high-rise apartment complex brought down by a suicide bomber. The most feared terrorist network aided by the most surprising --- and deadly --- of enemies. Welcome to THE AMERICAN, Andrew Britton's powerful debut thriller that introduces maverick CIA agent Ryan Kealey.

COMPANY by Max Barry (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller
Twenty-something corporate cog Stephen Jones tries to navigate his new job at the mysterious Zephyr Holdings, Incorporated --- only to discover himself mired in a corporate maze --- in Max Barry's caustically funny novel, an uproarious send-up of office life.

WHITE GHOST GIRLS by Alice Greenway (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
During the steamy summer of 1967 Hong Kong, American teenage sisters Kate and Frankie's devastating personal drama plays out against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. The suspense builds almost unbearably in this dreamlike novel written in a graceful and lyrical voice.

THE SWEETEST HOURS: Love Stories...of a Kind by Laura Pedersen (Fiction/Short Stories)
Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara
In this collection of 12 short stories, Laura Pedersen takes the reader on a compelling journey through a variety of original and delightfully unpredictable relationships. THE SWEETEST HOURS is a heartwarming, life affirming, laugh-out-loud funny meditation on the many different ways we live and love.

Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds
Bit by bit, the ravages of age are eroding Marina's grip on the everyday. And while the elderly Russian woman cannot hold on to fresh memories --- the details of her grown children's lives, the approaching wedding of her grandchild --- her distant past is preserved: vivid images that rise unbidden of her youth in war-torn Leningrad.

THE DRAMATIST by Ken Bruen (Mystery)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
Ken Bruen's fourth installment in his series finds ex-Garda Jack Taylor off the booze and trying to find out who killed his imprisoned drug dealer's sister. The action takes him to Dublin and back to Galway, with some nasty guys on his heels as he grapples with his personal demons.

THE DOCTOR'S DAUGHTER by Hilma Wolitzer (Fiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
Alice Brill awakens one morning with the sure knowledge that personal disaster is impending, though she has no clue what is amiss. As she seeks the source of her unease, she discovers unsuspected realities below the surface of her life, both past and present.

BLOOD HUNT by Ian Rankin (Thriller)
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum
Despite the fact that his journalist brother James's death has been ruled a suicide, Gordon Reeve, a former soldier, is convinced that someone else is responsible. Traveling across an ocean, Gordon arrives in California determined to get answers to the innumerable questions swirling in his head.

WHERE MERCY FLOWS by Karen Harter (Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
When Samantha Dodd left home, it was for love. But 10 years later, she finds herself a single mother struggling to get by, and when she fails to shake a lingering illness, she must return to her hometown in Washington State. Beautiful prose, a poignant prodigal story, and vivid imagery mark this debut novel by Karen Harter.

TOO MUCH, TOO LATE by Marc Spitz (Fiction)
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad
Unlikely ex-rock star Sandy James grumbles, bemoans and proselytizes about the long career but short success of his rock band, the Jane Ashers, in this edgy second novel from Spin senior writer Marc Spitz.

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

March 24th Entry:
Thrilling Ride

March 10th Entry:
Spring Break - In Reading Style

February 24th Entry:
Serious Expectations

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: Books to Anticipate
Which of the following highly anticipated March releases are you reading, or planning to read?

Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout
Dark Assassin by Anne Perry
Dirty Blonde by Lisa Scottoline
The Fallen by T. Jefferson Parker
False Impression by Jeffrey Archer
Gone: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman
Kill Me by Stephen White
Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
Nightlife by Thomas Perry
Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag
The Secret Supper by Javier Sierra
The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters
A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller by Frances Mayes
None of the above
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: Authors Who Fill You Up

Who is an author (name up to 3) you will skip dinner to read?

Please note: Our question of the week will update on March 31st.

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 PRIOR BAD ACTS by Tami Hoag and TOMB OF THE GOLDEN BIRD by Elizabeth Peters.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on March 31st. 

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 March 31st, 2006 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: CIRCLE OF QUILTERS by Jennifer Chiaverini, DARK ASSASSIN by Anne Perry, FALSE IMPRESSION by Jeffrey Archer, GONE by Jonathan Kellerman and THE TENTH CIRCLE by Jodi Picoult. Last month's winner was Sue from Council Bluffs, Iowa who won THE 5TH HORSEMAN by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEAD by Kevin Brockmeier, THE GOOD LIFE by Jay McInerney, MAGIC HOUR by Kristin Hannah and THE OLD WINE SHADES: A Richard Jury Mystery by Martha Grimes.

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