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November 3, 2006 Newsletter

November 3, 2006

This Week on

The Blue Issue: Most Fashionable Cover --- and Holiday Cheer Has Arrived!

Now in Stores: HOME TO BIG STONE GAP by Adriana Trigiani

Announcing Our Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest on! Our First Title: BLUE CHRISTMAS by Mary Kay Andrews

Now in Stores: THUNDERSTRUCK by Erik Larson

Now in Stores: FRAGILE THINGS by Neil Gaiman

Now in Stores: BRAINLESS by Joe Maguire --- TWO Reviews

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Authors: Jonathan and Faye Kellerman, Authors of CAPITAL CRIMES

Featured Historical Fiction Author: Jeff Shaara, Author of THE RISING TIDE

Now in Stores: BEFORE I WAKE by Dee Henderson

Books Into Movies for November

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog Poll: Owning Your Own Bookstore

Question of the Week: The Author YOU Would Host
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
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Promotion
Debut Suspense/Thriller One to Watch Promotion
Mystery Mayhem Promotion

Historical Fiction Promotion

One to Watch Promotion
Chick Lit Promotion
Books Into Movies
Bestseller Lists

10th Anniversary Page and Pictures

The Blue Issue: Most Fashionable Cover --- and Holiday Cheer Has Arrived!

In November 1968 the Beatles released the White Album (your trivia for the week) and this week we have "The Blue Issue" at First I am giving an award for Most Fashionable Cover. Okay, 17 years at a fashion magazine is coming through here, but truly, take a look at the cover of Adriana Trigiani's new book, HOME TO BIG STONE GAP, below and let me know if you do not agree that it looks like a magazine fashion shoot. Yes, turquoise IS my favorite color so I had to love the jacket, but that skirt is just over-the-top amazing and just looking at it makes me want to know the story behind that girl.
I will share that our reviewer, Lourdes Orive, says readers of the original three Stone Gap books --- BIG STONE GAPBIG CHERRY HOLLER and MILK GLASS MOON --- will LOVE this visit to check in on their old friends in the mountains of of Virginia. I confess I have not read the Stone Gap books, though I read Adriana's three stand-alones, and I STILL enjoyed HOME TO BIG STONE GAP. Sooooo if you have not read this series yet, jump in now and then play catchup. Oh, and clearly I am not the only one thinking good things about that skirt, as Adriana has announced a contest on her website where a reader can WIN that skirt, which will be designed by Alison Kelly of "Project Runway." Details are here. Whoever knew I would be writing about fashion related to a book?
Continuing our blue theme here we move on to our Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest, which kicks off this week with BLUE CHRISTMAS by Mary Kay Andrews. I read this book, loved it and already have stashed a few copies for holiday gift giving. Mary Kay's characters, Weezie and BeBe, are back in this third title in her Savannah series. And again whether you've explored them before or are catching up now, it's a fun read.
As for the contest, I have had fun playing lead elf doing my usual "shop around" to find the coolest and warmest items for the holiday to include in the basket. Read on for more about the contents, though I will share now that we have the most amazingly scrumptious cookies as part of the giveaway. They are in the shapes of a stocking hat, mittens and a snowflake. Seriously, these are too cute for words and will go well with the Ghirardelli hot chocolate and marshmallows. Picture yourself reading and munching and enter to win here. Oh, and on Mary Kay's site she has a contest where you can win a blue Christmas tree pin like the one in the book, and she also has a listing of her favorite yule tunes to further set the mood.
Thanks to Jen Krieger in our office for a stellar effort of coordinating this holiday feature for you. We're announcing six Holiday Cheer titles this week so grab your holiday list and get a start on your holiday shopping with these suggestions. Oh, and our extensive What to Give/What to Get Guide will be live on November 17th!
I am reading Brad Meltzer's THE BOOK OF FATE, and loving it. I am hoping to see Brad at the Miami Book Fair in two weeks. If you are going to be there, let me know and we can compare events that we will be attending and try to catch up. It's one of my favorite events of the year.
Note to Nelson DeMille fans: WILD FIRE will be in stores this Monday. Yes, DeMille fans, the wait is over. John Corey is back, and if you know Corey, you're ready for the humor that's laced in with the plot. If you don't know him, it's time you did.
Two other books that are on my radar --- and my bedside table --- are both collections. The first is THE BOOK THAT CHANGED MY LIFE: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them, which was edited by bookseller extraordinaire Roxanne J. Coady and Joy Johannessen. It has pieces by authors including Kate Atkinson, Elizabeth Berg and Dominick Dunne. There's a piece by Carol Higgins Clark on reading her mom's book A STRANGER IS WATCHING that I look forward to reading. Roxanne is giving a talk on this book on the 20th that I am attending, and I will share more with you about this book after that.
The second is A HAND TO GUIDE ME by Denzel Washington, a book that was written in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Boys and Girls Club. It's filled with personal stories by a diverse group of well-known and lesser-known folks talking about the people who influenced their lives, including Toni Morrison, Colin Powell, Leonard Nimoy, Jimmy Carter and Bonnie Raitt. It will make you think about the people who influenced you and perhaps have you dig in to mentor someone else.
No matter what side of the aisle you sit on, please remember to vote on Tuesday. I have to say I will be glad when Tuesday is over. I am tired of the completely ridiculous political ads that have been running, which seem more over the top each election. The mud-slinging and shouting is just exhausting. My favorite is that now there is that law that each candidate needs to approve his or her message. In New Jersey there is a candidate running who has his wife and children appearing with him on this ending endorsement. The two little girls say in a sing-song along with their dad, "I'm ______ and I approve this message." The interesting thing: I cannot remember the candidate's name. It's like the Super Bowl ads that people spend a fortune on and no one remembers. When I think of the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on these campaigns, I cringe. I know, this turned into a rant, but you just might agree. But do vote.
I still am reveling in my younger son's baseball team's championship win last night. A great evening of baseball! Have a great something wonderful. 

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on November 3rd.

List of titles reviewed and featured on October 27th.


Now in Stores: HOME TO BIG STONE GAP by Adriana Trigiani

HOME TO BIG STONE GAP by Adriana Trigiani (Fiction)
Reviewed by Lourdes Orive
Adriana Trigiani's latest offering --- a powerful novel full of humor and heart, wisdom and hope --- returns to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia for the fourth installment in the Big Stone Gap series, a welcome opportunity to reconnect with Ave Maria Mulligan MacChesney, Jack Mac, Iva Lou, Fleeta and the other colorful residents of Big Stone Gap.

-Click here to read an excerpt from HOME TO BIG STONE GAP.

Click here to read a review of HOME TO BIG STONE GAP.

Announcing Our Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest on! Our First Title: BLUE CHRISTMAS by Mary Kay Andrews

Each week from November 3rd through December 15th 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 ribbon to make the gift-giving hassle-free.

Our first featured title is BLUE CHRISTMAS by Mary Kay Andrews --- a charming and funny tale of Southern-style suspense. Along with two copies of BLUE CHRISTMAS and green-and-tan checkered wrapping paper and coordinating ribbon --- winners will receive a Cinnamon Sugar Scented Illuminations candle, Ghirardelli Rich Dark Hot Chocolate mix, gourmet vanilla marshmallows, sweet-smelling cinnamon sticks, delicious Chewy Peps peppermint candies, adorable winter-themed cookies, a snowman-themed wooden tray and soft comfy fluffy socks (colors on this may vary from what is pictured). 

To enter to win, answer the question below:

What year does Weezie want her wine for Daniel to come from?

You can find the answer by reading an excerpt here.

BLUE CHRISTMAS by Mary Kay Andrews (Fiction)
Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara
It's the week before Christmas, and antiques dealer Weezie Foley is in a frenzy to dress up her shop for the Savannah historical district decorating contest, which she intends to win. Finding vintage ornaments and holiday trinkets at an auction , she feels she has what she needs to one-up the competition. But suddenly things start to go missing from her display, and there seems to be a mysterious midnight visitor at her shop.

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


Now in Stores: THUNDERSTRUCK by Erik Larson

THUNDERSTRUCK by Erik Larson (History)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
In this fascinating book, the author of the bestseller THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY chronicles the lives of two men whose passions took them in vastly divergent directions. In an exciting pocket of time around the turn of the 20th century, both became famous --- one for a brilliant development, the other for a sensational murder.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THUNDERSTRUCK.

Click here to read a review of THUNDERSTRUCK.


Now in Stores: FRAGILE THINGS by Neil Gaiman

FRAGILE THINGS: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman (Fantasy/Short Stories)
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard
Neil Gaiman's FRAGILE THINGS contains 30 previously published pieces of short fiction --- stories, verse and an AMERICAN GODS novella --- plus one new piece written especially for this volume. These diverse entries run the gamut of emotions, but all will leave you impressed.

-Click here to read an excerpt from FRAGILE THINGS.

Click here to read a review of FRAGILE THINGS.

Now in Stores: BRAINLESS by Joe Maguire --- TWO Reviews

BRAINLESS: The Lies and Lunacy of Ann Coulter by Joe Maguire (Current Events)
Reviewed by Jesse Kornbluth and Joe Hartlaub
In BRAINLESS, author Joe Maguire attempts to illustrate "the dangers, ironies, and hypocrisies" of Ann Coulter, the so-called "Mistress of Malice." Surprisingly, though, Co-Founder Jesse Kornbluth and Senior Writer Joe Hartlaub, who disagree on almost everything, share similar opinions about the book.

-Click here to read Jesse Kornbluth's review.
-Click here to read Joe Hartlaub's review.

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Authors: Jonathan and Faye Kellerman, Authors of CAPITAL CRIMES

Our newest Suspense/Thriller feature spotlights the powerhouse husband and wife literary team of Jonathan and Faye Kellerman, whose new page-turner is CAPITAL CRIMES. The book hits shelves November 21st and, with two thrillers in one, is bound to be a runaway bestseller.

-Click here to read a new excerpt from CAPITAL CRIMES.
-Click here to see our Advance Copy Winners.
-Click here to read Fast Facts for Jonathan and Faye Kellerman.
-Click here to read Faye Kellerman's backlist.
-Click here to read Jonathan Kellerman's backlist.

Internationally bestselling husband and wife Jonathan and Faye Kellerman team up for a powerful one-two punch with CAPITAL CRIMES, a gripping pair of original crime thrillers.

Some of progressive state representative Davida Grayson's views have made her unpopular. Although her foes are numerous no one suspects that any buttons Davida might push could evoke deadly force.

But now Davida lies brutally murdered in her office, and Berkeley homicide detectives Will Barnes and Amanda Isis must unravel Davida's complex, before the killer pulls off a repeat performance.

Baker Southerby was a child prodigy performer. But something leads him to become a Nashville cop. His partner, Lamar Van Gundy, is a would-be studio bassist who earned himself a detective's badge. As part of Nashville PD's elite Murder Squad, they catch a homicide that's high-profile even for a city where musical celebrity is routine.

CAPITAL CRIMES is page-turning, psychologically resonant suspense ---- just what we've come to expect from two of the world's most successful crime writers.

Click here to read more about Jonathan and Faye Kellerman and CAPITAL CRIMES.

Featured Historical Fiction Author: Jeff Shaara, Author of THE RISING TIDE

We are so excited to be launching a NEW Feature --- Historical Fiction --- and Jeff Shaara is the perfect inaugural author. A modern master of the historical novel, Shaara has painted brilliant depictions of the Civil War, the Revolutionary War and World War I. Now he embarks upon his most ambitious epic, a trilogy about the military conflict that defined the twentieth century that begins with THE RISING TIDE, which comes out November 7th.

-Click here to see our Advance Reader Copy Winners.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE RISING TIDE.
-Click here to read Fast Facts for Jeff Shaara.

THE RISING TIDE begins a staggering work of fiction bound to be a new generation's most poignant chronicle of World War II. With you-are-there immediacy, painstaking historical detail, and all-inclusive points of view, Shaara portrays the momentous and increasingly dramatic events that pulled America into the vortex of this monumental conflict.

More than an unprecedented and intimate portrait of those who waged this astonishing global war, THE RISING TIDE is a vivid gallery of characters both immortal and unknown: the as-yet obscure administrator Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose tireless efficiency helped win the war; his subordinates, clashing in both style and personality, from George Patton and Mark Clark to Omar Bradley and Bernard Montgomery. In the desolate hills and deserts, the Allies confront Erwin Rommel, the battlefield genius known as "the Desert Fox," a wounded beast who hands the Americans their first humiliating defeat in the European theater of the war. From tank driver to paratrooper to the men who gave the commands, Shaara's stirring portrayals bring the heroic and the tragic to life in brilliant detail.

Click here to read more about Jeff Shaara and THE RISING TIDE.

Now in Stores: BEFORE I WAKE by Dee Henderson

BEFORE I WAKE by Dee Henderson
The Sheriff of Justice, Illinois is hunting a killer. Women visiting town are being murdered, tourists in nice hotels, money still in their billfolds, jewelry still on the dresser. Quiet kills --- they go to sleep and never awaken.

-Click here to read a study guide for BEFORE I WAKE on

Click here to read more about BEFORE I WAKE.


Books Into Movies for November

This fall's astoundingly good array of thought-provoking Books into Movies continues into November. Craving romance, humor and luscious Italian scenery? Then A Good Year, starring Russell Crowe, is the film for you. Those in the mood for something darker will enjoy Nicole's Kidman's performance in Fur --- a haunting shadow of her Oscar-winning portrayal of Virginia Woolf in The Hours --- and Heath Ledger's turn as a drug-addicted poet in Candy, the follow-up to his Oscar-nominated performance in Brokeback Mountain.

Early naysayers may have thought that Richard Linklater was attempting the impossible in trying to adapt Eric Schlosser's incendiary nonfiction expose of America's fast food habit, FAST FOOD NATION, for the big screen. But early buzz on the film has been excellent, and his mélange of rising stars like Catalina Sandino Moreno and old hats like Greg Kinnear take big, meaty bites of the material --- although you may want to skip the drive-through on the way home.

Click here to read our Books into Movies feature.


This Week's Reviews and Features

HUNDRED-DOLLAR BABY by Robert B. Parker (Mystery)
Reviewed by Tom Callahan
Acclaimed mystery writer Robert B. Parker returns with his greatest creation: the Boston private eye Spenser. In this 34th Spenser novel --- a classic addition to the series --- the detective once again is forced to come to the rescue of prostitute April Kyle, who starred in two of Parker's books back in the 1980s. 

KEEPER OF THE KEYS by Perri O'Shaughnessy (Suspense)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
For ambitious, troubled architect Ray Jackson, the nightmare begins one sultry California night when his wife disappears. No phone call, no ransom note, no body --- nothing reveals whether Leigh is dead or alive. Suspected by his wife's friend and by the police, Ray launches a desperate and alarming search of his own.

BLIND WILLOW, SLEEPING WOMAN by Haruki Murakami (Fiction/Short Stories)
Reviewed by Alexis Burling

From the surreal to the mundane, these 24 stories from Haruki Murakami --- author of the bestseller KAFKA ON THE SHORE --- exhibit his ability to transform the full range of human experience in ways that are instructive, surprising and relentlessly entertaining.

ANGEL'S REST by Charles Davis (Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
ANGEL'S REST is a compelling story of prejudice, love and loss set against the backdrop of the Allegheny Mountains. Debut novelist Charles Davis paints a convincing portrait of a young boy's love for his parents and his struggle to make sense of a life suddenly gone awry.

THE LIZARD'S BITE by David Hewson (Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub

In David Hewson's new novel featuring Detective Nic Costa, a fire explodes in a glassmaking shop on a small island near Venice. When help arrives, two people are dead, a rich Englishman is implicated and investigators from Rome are assigned a case no one wants them to solve.

THE SECOND HORSEMAN by Kyle Mills (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub

Brandon Vale, a career thief, is thrown in prison for a jewel heist gone bad that he had absolutely nothing to do with. One night he is broken out against his will by Richard Scanlon, the now-retired FBI agent who framed him in the first place. Scanlon has a job for Vale, an impossible mission that very well could cost him his life.

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

October 6th Entry:
-Bouchercon 2006 --- A Prairie Escapade

September 8th Entries:
-What I Did On My Summer Vacation
-Reflecting on 9/11: The Books

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. Poll: Owning Your Own Bookstore

Have you ever fantasized about owning your own bookstore?

Yes, and it's no longer a fantasy, as I do own one.
No, but this could be fun.
I am not sure.
Have you ever worked in a bookstore or library?

Yes, a bookstore
Yes, a library
Yes, both a bookstore and a library
Answer the Poll here.

Read a list of upcoming books here. Browse our author bibliographies by clicking here Click here to visit our 10th Anniversary Page.
Question of the Week: The Author YOU Would Host

If you owned a bookstore, what authors (up to five) would you like to have at store readings or events?

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 NATURE GIRL by Carl Hiaasen and WILD FIRE by Nelson DeMille.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on November 17th.


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 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 November 30, 2006 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE BOSS by Stan Pottinger, BROTHER ODD by Dean Koontz, DEAR JOHN by Nicholas Sparks, NATURE GIRL by Carl Hiaasen and WILD FIRE by Nelson DeMille. Last month's winner was Edward from Green Lake, PA, who won THE COLLECTORS by David Baldacci, ECHO PARK by Michael Connelly, FAREWELL SUMMER by Ray Bradbury, THE INNOCENT MAN by John Grisham and MOTOR MOUTH by Janet Evanovich.

Happy reading! Don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend or to visit our other websites from,,,,, and

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