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April 7, 2006 Newsletter

April 7, 2006

This Week on

Celebrating National Library Week, National Poetry Month and Spring Break! Talks to Lisa Jackson, Author of SHIVER

Author Talk: George Shuman, Author of 18 SECONDS

New One to Watch Author: Naomi Hirahara, Author of SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN

New Featured One to Watch Author: Kelley Armstrong, Author of BROKEN

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

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

Now in Paperback: LOCKED ROOMS by Laurie R. King

Now in Stores: WOLF BOY by Evan Kuhlman

What's New on

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: What's YOUR Favorite Thing About
Question of the Week: Other Bookish Websites
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: Who is an author (name up to 3) you will skip dinner to read?
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

Celebrating National Library Week, National Poetry Month and Spring Break!

One of my favorite authors is Charles Martin. I discovered him two years ago when I read THE DEAD DON'T DANCE in manuscript and said --- this is an author who can write and make me feel. His latest book, WHEN CRICKETS CRY, is just out this week. I read it, again in manuscript, last summer. I've been looking forward to sharing it with you. Our Marketing Manager, Wiley Saichek, read an advance copy last fall and told me it was one of his favorite books of 2005. And now our reviewer, Cindy Crosby, loves it too. Trust that reading Charles Martin will take you to another place and leave you looking for his next book once you're done. People tell me this over and over again after I share his work with them.

Last weekend I flew through 18 SECONDS in about 18 hours. What a ride that book was; Stuart Shiffman reviews it this week and loved it as much as me. This week I am well into Mary Higgins Clark's TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE, which I was going to just start and then save for the beach, but Mary Mary Mary, she does those chapter endings that hook me to turn the page --- every time. I keep saying, "I will stop here" and then...another hour goes by. This week we also have Eileen Zimmerman Nicol's review of MONEY: A MEMOIR by Liz Perle. I read this a few months ago and enjoyed it. AND...we have a terrific interview with Lisa Jackson and a review by Joe Hartlaub of SHIVER, which has an opening chapter that made us SHIVER. Read on to find out why.

This is National Library Week. Here are some interesting library statistics that I read the other morning on "More than 135 million adults visited American public libraries last year, and students made 1.5 billion visits to school libraries during the school year, according to the first-ever 'State of America's Libraries' report from the ALA, released during National Library Week. Almost 90% of Americans surveyed are satisfied with their public libraries. Some 62% of adult Americans have library cards, and circulation of public library materials has climbed every year since 1990. This week we were one of the sponsors of the Oregon Library Association's Readers Advisory PreConference, which we heard about from one of our librarian readers. How fitting it was that this program fell this week.

Each month on we'd like to feature interviews with librarians and booksellers from across the country in much the same way that we interview book groups each month. If you'd like to share your knowledge and opinions about book clubs with our readers, here are links to our distinct groups of interview questions for librarians, booksellers and readers. 

In honor of National Poetry Month our Quotes of the Day this month are all taken from poems. Thanks to Marisa Emralino, our Editorial Coordinator, for this poetic effort.

Also, Robert Dugoni, author of THE JURY MASTER, answers our readers' advance reader questions.

We've added some new bestseller lists to the site --- Booksense, the national list from the Independent Booksellers Association and a list from the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. We plan to add more regional lists in the months to come as they give you a good picture of what people are reading cross-country.

We are off to the Outer Banks for Spring Break. We've rented the same house that we had over the holidays so at least we all know exactly what's there and thus will not have to spend half a day figuring out a new place! The boys are ready to shoot pool again in the rec room, I am ready to read and watch season one of "24," which I bought from Amazon and my husband is ready to play golf...lots of golf. I'll be sure to share what I read next week when I write you from the deck.

For our Jewish readers, have a wonderful Passover.


Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on April 7th.

List of titles reviewed and featured on March 31st.

Click here to see our Bestseller Lists. Talks to Lisa Jackson, Author of SHIVER's Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub and Wiley Saichek interviewed acclaimed suspense novelist Lisa Jackson about her latest release, SHIVER. Jackson describes how she creates such "chilly" atmospheres and explains why her protagonist, Detective Reuben Montoya, is one of her favorite characters. She also details how and why she chooses her novels' settings and shares her excitement over her #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list.  

SHIVER by Lisa Jackson (Romantic Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
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 is playing a sick game, and Montoya intends to beat him at it.

Click here to read our interview with Lisa Jackson and a review of SHIVER.


Author Talk: George Shuman, Author of 18 SECONDS

After working in law enforcement for 20 years, George Shuman has decided to pursue his lifelong interest in writing with the release of his debut novel, 18 SECONDS. In this interview, Shuman explains how his experience as a police officer has strengthened his voice as a writer and describes a childhood memory that inspired elements of his book. He also draws comparisons between the two sexes and gives his two cents on the crime-solving psychics he's encountered.

18 SECONDS by George Shuman (Mystery/Suspense)
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
Investigative consultant Sherry Moore is blind but has the extraordinary ability to "see" the deceased's last 18 seconds of memory by touching the corpse. She tries using this remarkable gift to help police lieutenant Kelly O'Shaughnessy discover the identity of a serial killer who's abducting young women for his gruesome games.

Click here to read an interview with George Shuman and a review of 18 SECONDS.


New One to Watch Author: Naomi Hirahara, Author of SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN

We are very excited to be featuring Naomi Hirahara as one of our two newest featured One to Watch Authors. In her newest book, SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN, which comes out April 25th, she showcases her unique blend of wit and suspense.

-Click here to see winners of the Advance Reader Copies.
-Click here to read an excerpt from SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN.
-Click here to read Naomi Hirahara's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN

From SUMMER OF THE BIG BACHI to GASA-GASA GIRL, Naomi Hirahara's acclaimed novels have featured one of mystery fiction's most unique heroes: Mas Arai, a curmudgeonly L.A. gardener, Hiroshima survivor, and inveterate gambler.

Few things get Mas more excited than gambling, so when he hears about a $500,000 win --- from a novelty slot machine! --- he's torn between admiration and derision. But the stakes are quickly raised when the winner, a friend of Mas's pal G. I. Hasuike, is found stabbed to death just days later. The last thing Mas wants to do is stick his nose in someone else's business, but at G.I.'s prodding he reluctantly agrees to follow the trail of a battered snakeskin shamisen (a traditional Okinawan musical instrument) left at the scene of the crime...and suddenly finds himself caught up in a dark mystery that reaches from the islands of Okinawa to the streets of L.A. --- a world of heartbreaking memories, deception, and murder.

Click here to read more about Naomi Hirahara and SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN.


New Featured One to Watch Author: Kelley Armstrong, Author of BROKEN

Our second featured One to Watch author is Kelley Armstrong, whose newest supernatural thriller is BROKEN --- a chilling tale of vampires, zombies and things that go bump in the night.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BROKEN.
-Click here to see our Advance Copy Winners.
-Click here to read Kelley Armstrong's backlist.

More about BROKEN:
In this thrilling new novel from the author of INDUSTRIAL MAGIC, a pregnant werewolf may have unwittingly unleashed Jack the Ripper on twenty-first-century-and become his next target.

Ever since she discovered she's pregnant, Elena Michaels has been on edge. After all, she's never heard of another living female werewolf, let alone one who's given birth. But thankfully, her expertise is needed to retrieve a stolen letter allegedly written by Jack the Ripper. As a distraction, the job seems simple enough-only the letter contains a portal to Victorian London's underworld, which Elena inadvertently triggers-unleashing a vicious killer and a pair of zombie thugs.

Now Elena must find a way to seal the portal before the unwelcome visitors get what they're looking for --- which, for some unknown reason, is Elena.

Click here to read more about Kelley Armstrong and BROKEN.


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 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 a new 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.

Now in Paperback: LOCKED ROOMS by Laurie R. King

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.

-Click here to read an interview with Laurie R. King.
-Click here to read an excerpt from LOCKED ROOMS.
-Click here to read a review of LOCKED ROOMS.
-Click here to read our Laurie R. King Mystery Mayhem Feature.

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


Now in Stores: WOLF BOY by Evan Kuhlman

On a frosty winter's day, Francis --- the sweet, generous, responsible eldest child of the Harrelson family --- dies in a car accident on an ice-covered highway, and Wolf Boy is born.

The earth doesn't rumble, no angels descend, and the sun doesn't weep. Nothing, in short, to signify the deep change that each member of the Harrelson household will undergo. Parents Gene and Helen turn away from each other and look inward, losing themselves in private fantasies. Ten-year-old Crispy devises elaborate strategies for her escape from the suffocating clutch of the Harrelson home and into the waiting arms of pop star Marky Mark.

But the heart of this family portrait is younger brother Stephen, who, along with his quirky and creative friend Nicole, crafts an alternative reality in which their comic book hero, Wolf Boy, battles the forces of evil, champions the powers of good, and fights to keep his family intact. Through WOLF BOY, Stephen finds an outlet for his grief and a concrete expression for his place in a family spiraling out of control and for all the natural yearnings and hopes of a typical thirteen-year-old. Wolf Boy's adventures are featured throughout the book, introducing a graphic-novel subplot that adds humor and visual interest and stretches the limits of the conventional novel.

With warmth, humor, hope, and empathy, Evan Kuhlman's debut novel is truly unforgettable and signals a fresh new voice in today's fiction.

Click here to read more about Evan Kuhlman and WOLF BOY.


What's New on

We have a very special contest currently running on --- Three lucky groups will receive 12 copies of BREATH AND BONES by Susann Cokal and the chance to chat with the author. We also have the following guides now available on

ABOUT GRACE by Anthony Doerr
BEAUTIFUL INEZ by Bart Schneider
BELLA TUSCANY by Frances Mayes
BREATH AND BONES by Susann Cokal
A BRIEF LUNACY by Cynthia Thayer
DANIEL ISN'T TALKING by Marti Leimbach
EATING HEAVEN by Jennie Shortridge
INTUITION by Allegra Goodman
KILL ME by Stephen White
THE LAST BOYLEN by Karen Harper
METROPOLIS by Elizabeth Gaffney
MONEY, A MEMOIR by Liz Perle
SNOBS by Julian Fellowes
STOP THAT GIRL by Elizabeth McKenzie
THE TENTH CIRCLE by Jodi Picoult
WHAT I KNOW NOW by Ellyn Spragins

Please note that these titles, for which we already had guides when they appeared in hardcover, are now available in paperback:
THE WILD GIRL by Jim Fergus
ABOUT GRACE by Anthony Doerr
LIGHTHOUSEKEEPING by Jeanette Winterson
SATURDAY by Ian McEwan
YA-YAS IN BLOOM by Rebecca Wells

Click here to visit


This Week's Reviews and Features

PRIOR BAD ACTS by Tami Hoag (Suspense)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
The murder of a woman and her two young foster children set off an emotional chain reaction that ends in even more senseless violence in Tami Hoag's latest thriller featuring two of Minneapolis's top cops: hard-boiled detective Sam Kovac and his wisecracking partner Nikki Liska.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PRIOR BAD ACTS.

WHEN CRICKETS CRY by Charles Martin (Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
In a small town square of a sleepy Georgia town, a spirited seven-year-old sits at her lemonade stand, raising money for her own heart transplant. As a beat-up bread truck careens around the corner, a strong wind blows Annie's money into the road. A bearded stranger looks up in time to see Annie's yellow dress fluttering in the wind as she runs into the road. What happens next will change both of their lives forever.

-Click here to read an excerpt from WHEN CRICKETS CRY.

TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE by Mary Higgins Clark (Thriller)
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum
In this chilling new thriller, worldwide bestselling suspense writer Mary Higgins Clark weaves the mystery of twin telepathy into a mother's search for a kidnapped child, presumed dead. She tells a spellbinding and timely tale that takes us deep into the minds of her characters while lifting us to the heights of suspense.

DARK ASSASSIN by Anne Perry (Historical Mystery)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
A young woman and her fiance plunge to their deaths in the frigid Thames during the harsh winter of 1863-4. Was it a lovers' suicide pact, or something infinitely more sinister? It falls to Inspector William Monk to find out.

A DIRTY JOB by Christopher Moore (Fiction)
Reviewed by Andi Shechter
Charlie Asher is a pretty normal guy. But after his daughter is born, he sees a strange man in mint-green golf wear at his wife's hospital bedside --- even though the man claims no one should be able to see him. From this point on, things get really weird. (Did you expect anything less from a Christopher Moore book?)

MONEY, A MEMOIR: Women, Emotions, and Cash by Liz Perle (Memoir)
Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol
On a plane with her four-year-old son, Liz Perle is reluctant to count the wad of bills her soon-to-be ex-husband gave her as she left him at the airport. As she puts it, "There's nothing like losing just about everything to lay bare what's important." Thus begins the process of examining her emotional relationship to and assumptions about money.

Reviewed by Jesse Kornbluth
Tabloid hack Johnny Greco stumbles onto the story of a young man named Jay who's preaching radical notions (kindness, generosity) and tossing off miracles. As his scheme to announce in print that Jay is the Second Coming takes shape, Mr. Skeptic himself actually finds his own life being transformed by the new messiah.

TOMB OF THE GOLDEN BIRD by Elizabeth Peters (Mystery)
Reviewed by Roz Shea
In Elizabeth Peters's 18th Amelia Peabody mystery, the incomparable Emerson clan is a hairbreadth away from unearthing the legendary site they've been searching for. But a sinister plot and a dark family secret stand in the way of their ultimate ambition --- and threaten to change things forever.

A NECESSARY EVIL by Alex Kava (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Someone is killing Catholic priests across America --- ritualized murders that speak of vengeance and hatred. As the killing spree continues unabated, it quickly becomes very clear to Maggie O'Dell, the FBI profiler assigned to the case, that more than one perpetrator is responsible.

STRIVERS ROW by Kevin Baker (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Colleen Quinn
Master storyteller Kevin Baker has once again woven an epic tale set against the panoramic backdrop of a vanished New York in STRIVERS ROW, which completes the City of Fire trilogy begun with DREAMLAND and PARADISE ALLEY.

THE BEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD by Justin Tussing (Fiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
Seventeen-year-old Thomas Mahey and his lover (who is also his high school teacher), along with the town eccentric, flee his hometown to live in an abandoned house in Vermont. Free of the rules from his old world, Thomas glories --- and struggles --- within his new family.

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

Bookish in Virginia

March 24th Entry:
Thrilling Ride

March 10th Entry:
Spring Break - In Reading Style

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: What's YOUR Favorite Thing About
What are your favorite features of (Check as many as apply.)
Featured Author Spotlights (Suspense/Thriller, Mystery Mayhem, Debut Suspense/Thriller, One to Watch, Romantic Suspense and Chick Lit)
" Talks To" --- Exclusive Author Interviews
New in Paperback
Carol's Blog
Books into Movies
Coming Soon
Author Bibliographies
Sports Books Roundups
Holiday-themed Roundups
Holiday/Event-based Contests (Examples --- Beach Bag Summer Promotion, Valentine's Day, Oscar Basket and Holiday Cheer)
Poll and Question
Word of Mouth
None of the above.

What other websites in The Book Report Network do you visit?
I only visit
I did not know there were other websites in the Network
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: Other Bookish Websites

Do you visit other websites devoted to books and authors? If so, which are some of your favorites?

Please note: Our question of the week will update on April 14th.

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 SAVANNAH BREEZE by Mary Kay Andrews and TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE by Mary Higgins Clark.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on April 14th.


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 April 30th, 2006 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: BLUE SHOES AND HAPPINESS by Alexander McCall Smith, MY LATEST GRIEVANCE by Elinor Lipman, SAVANNAH BREEZE by Mary Kay Andrews, VANISHED by Karen Robards and WE ARE ALL WELCOME HERE by Elizabeth Berg. Last month's winner was Dan from Fayetteville, GA who won 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.

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